May Day Message 2013
A PoorChurch and for the Poor
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES (2013)
Migrations: pilgrimage of faith and hope
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, recalled that “the Church goes forward together with humanity” (No. 40); therefore “the joys and the hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts” (ibid., 1). The Servant of God Paul VI echoed these words when he called the Church an “expert in humanity” (Populorum Progressio, 13), as did Blessed John Paul II when he tated that the human person is “the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission... the way traced out by Christ himself” (Centesimus Annus, 53). In the footsteps of my predecessors, I sought to emphasize in my Encyclical Caritas in Veritate that “the whole Church, in all her being and acting – when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity – is engaged in promoting integral human development” (No. 11). I was thinking also of the millions of men and women who, for various reasons, have known the experience of migration. Migration is in fact “a striking phenomenon
because of the sheer numbers of people involved, the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community” (ibid., 62), for “every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance” (ibid.).
For this reason, I have chosen to dedicate the 2013 World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme “Migrations: pilgrimage of faith and hope”, in conjunction with the celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia, and at a time when the whole Church is celebrating the Year of Faith, taking up with enthusiasm the challenge of the new evangelization.
Faith and hope are inseparable in the hearts of many migrants, who deeply desire a better life and not infrequently try to leave behind the “hopelessness” of an unpromising future. During their journey many of them are sustained by the deep trust that God never abandons his children; this certainty makes the pain of their uprooting and separation more tolerable and even gives them the hope of eventually returning to their country of origin. Faith and hope are often among the possessions which emigrants carry with them, knowing that with them, “we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey” (Spe Salvi, 1).
In the vast sector of migration, the Church shows her maternal concern in a variety of ways. On the one hand, she witnesses the immense poverty and suffering entailed in migration, leading often to painful and tragic situations. This inspires the creation of programmes aimed at meeting emergencies through the generous help of individuals and groups, volunteer associations and movements, parochial and diocesan organizations in cooperation with all people of good will. The Church also works to highlight the positive aspects, the potential and the resources which migrations offer. Along these lines, programmes and centres of welcome have been established to help and sustain the full integration of migrants, asylum
seekers and refugees into a new social and cultural context, without neglecting the religious dimension, fundamental for every person’s life. Indeed, it is to this dimension that the Church, by virtue of the mission entrusted to her by Christ, must devote special attention and care: this is her most important and specific task. For Christians coming from various parts of the world, attention to the religious dimension also entails ecumenical dialogue and the care of new communities, while for the Catholic faithful it involves, among other things, establishing new pastoral structures and showing esteem for the various rites, so as to foster full participation in the life of the local ecclesial community. Human promotion goes
side by side with spiritual communion, which opens the way “to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the only Saviour of the world” (Porta Fidei, 6). The Church always offers a precious gift when she guides people to an encounter with Christ, which opens the way to a stable and trustworthy hope.
Where migrants and refugees are concerned, the Church and her various agencies ought to avoid offering charitable services alone; they are also called to promote real integration in a society where all are active members and responsible for one another’s welfare, generously offering a creative contribution and rightfully sharing in the same rights and duties. Emigrants bring with them a sense oftrust and hope which has inspired and sustained their search for better opportunities in life. Yet they do not seek simply to improve their financial, social and political condition. It is true that the experience of migration often begins in fear, especially when persecutions and violence are its cause, and in the trauma of having to leave behind family and possessions which had in some way ensured survival. But suffering, great losses and at times a sense of disorientation before an uncertain future do not destroy the dream of being able to build, with hope and courage, a new life in a new country. Indeed, migrants trust that they will encounter acceptance, solidarity and help, that they will meet people who sympathize with the distress and tragedy experienced by others, recognize the values and resources the latter have to offer, and are open to sharing humanly and materially with the needy and disadvantaged. It is important to realize that “the reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty” (Caritas in Veritate, 43). Migrants and refugees can experience, along with difficulties, new, welcoming relationships which enable them to enrich their new countries with their professional skills, their social and cultural heritage and, not infrequently, their witness of faith, which can bring new energy and life to communities of ancient Christian tradition, and invite others to encounter Christ and to come to know the Church.
Certainly every state has the right to regulate migration and to enact policies dictated by the general requirements of the common good, albeit always in safeguarding respect for the dignity of each human person. The right of persons to migrate – as the Council’s Constitution Gaudium et Spes, No. 65, recalled – is numbered among the fundamental human rights, allowing persons to settle wherever they consider best for the realization of their abilities, aspirations and plans. In the current social and political context, however, even before the right to migrate, there is need to reaffirm the right not to emigrate,
that is, to remain in one’s homeland; as Blessed John Paul II stated: “It is a basic human right to live in one’s own ountry. However this rights become effective only if the factors that urge people to emigrate are constantly kept under control” (Address to the Fourth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, 9 October 1998). Today in fact we can see that many migrations are the result of economic instability, the lack of essential goods, natural disasters, wars and social unrest. Instead of a pilgrimage filled with trust, faith and hope, migration then becomes an ordeal undertaken for the sake of survival, where men and women appear more as victims than as agents responsible for the decision to migrate. As a result, while some migrants attain a satisfactory social status and a dignified level of life through proper integration into their new social setting, many others are living at the margins, frequently exploited and deprived of their fundamental rights, or engaged in forms of behaviour harmful to their host society. The process of integration entails rights and duties, attention and concern for the dignified existence of migrants; it also calls for attention on the part of migrants to the values offered by thesociety to which they now belong.
In this regard, we must not overlook the question of irregular migration, an issue all the more pressing when it takes the form of human trafficking and exploitation, particularly of women and children. These crimes must be clearly condemned and prosecuted, while an orderly migration policy which does not end up in a hermetic sealing of borders, more severe sanctions against irregular migrants and the adoption of measures meant to discourage new entries, could at least limit for many migrants the danger of falling prey to such forms of human trafficking. There is an urgent need for structured multilateral
interventions for the development of the countries of departure, effective countermeasures aimed at eliminating human trafficking, comprehensive programmes regulating legal entry, and a greater openness to considering individual cases calling for humanitarian protection more than political asylum. In addition to suitable legislation, there is a need for a patient and persevering effort to form minds and consciences. In all this, it is important to strengthen and develop understanding and cooperation between ecclesial and other institutions devoted to promoting the integral development of the human person. In the Christian vision, social and humanitarian commitment draws its strength from fidelity to the Gospel, in the knowledge that “to follow Christ, the perfect man, is to become more human oneself” (Gaudium et Spes, 41).
Dear brothers and sisters who yourselves are migrants, may this World Day help you renew your trust and hope in the Lord who is always at our side! Take every opportunity to encounter him and to see his face in the acts of kindness you receive during your pilgrimage of migration. Rejoice, for the Lord is near, and with him you will be able to overcome obstacles and difficulties, treasuring the experiences of openness and acceptance that many people offer you. For “life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way” (Spe Salvi, 49). I entrust each of you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, sign of sure hope and consolation, our “guiding star”, who with her maternal presence is close to us at every moment of our life. To all I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 12 October 2012
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People has issued a Message for the
2012 World Tourism Day (September 27th).
The theme this year is “Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development”.
In the message, the President of the Council, Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò, said: “Tourism has an important role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals which include ‘ensuring environmental sustainability’, and it must do everything in its power so that these goals will be reached. Therefore, it has to adapt to the conditions of climate change by reducing its emissions of hothouse gas, which at present represent 5% of the total. However, tourism not only contributes to global warming: it is also a victim of it.”
The full message is below:
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People Message for the 2012 World Tourism Day (September 27)
“Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development”
The World Tourism Day is celebrated on September 27th, promoted every year by the World Tourism Organization (WTO). The Holy See has adhered to this initiative from its first edition. It considers it an opportunity to dialogue with the civil world and offers its concrete contribution, based on the Gospel, and also sees it as an occasion to sensitize the whole Church about the importance of this sector from the economic and social standpoint and, in particular, in the context of the new evangelization.
As this message is being published, the echoes are still heard from the Seventh World Congress of the Pastoral Care of Tourism which was held last April in Cancún (Mexico) at the initiative of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in collaboration with the Prelature of Cancún-Chetumal and the Mexican Bishops' Conference. The work and the conclusions of that meeting will enlighten our pastoral action in the coming years. Also in this edition of the World Day we make the theme proposed by the WTO our own: “Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development”. It is in harmony with the present “International Year of Sustainable Energy For All” promulgated by the United Nations with the objective of highlighting “the need to improve access to reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services and resources for sustainable development”.
Tourism has grown at a significant rhythm in the past decades. According to the World Tourism Organization statistics, it is foreseen that during the year in progress the quota will reach one billion international tourist arrivals, which will become two billion in the year 2030. To these should be added the even higher numbers involved in local tourism. This growth, which surely has positive effects, can lead to a serious environmental impact owing, among other factors, to the immoderate consumption of energy resources, the increase in polluting agents and the production of waste. Tourism has an important role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals which include “ensuring environmental sustainability” (goal 7), and it must do everything in its power so that these goals will be reached. Therefore, it has to adapt to the conditions of climate change by reducing its emissions of hothouse gas, which at present represent 5% of the total. However, tourism not only contributes to global warming: it is also a victim of it.
The concept of “sustainable development” is already engrained in our society and the tourism sector cannot and must not remain on the margin. When we talk about “sustainable tourism”, we are not referring to one means among others, such as cultural, beach or adventure tourism. Every form and expression of tourism must necessarily be sustainable and cannot be otherwise. Along this way, the energy problems have to be taken into due consideration. It is an erroneous assumption to think that “an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available, that it is possible to renew them quickly, and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed”.
It is true, as the WTO Secretary General points out, that “tourism is leading the way in some of the world’s most innovative sustainable energy initiatives. However, we are also convinced that there is still much work to be done.
In this area also the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People wishes to offer its contribution based on the conviction that “the Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere”. It is not up to us to propose concrete technical solutions but to show that development cannot be reduced to mere technical, political or economic parameters. We wish to accompany this development with some appropriate ethical guidelines which stress the fact that all growth must always be at the service of the human being and the common good. In fact, in the Message sent to the Cancún Congress mentioned earlier, the Holy Father stresses that it is important “to shed light on this reality using the social teaching of the Church and promote a culture of ethical and responsible tourism, in such a way that it will respect the dignity of persons and of peoples, be open to all, be just, sustainable and ecological”. We cannot separate the theme of environmental ecology from concern for an appropriate human ecology in the sense of interest in the human being's integral development. In the same way, we cannot separate our view of man and nature from the bond which unites them with the Creator. God has entrusted the good stewardship of creation to the human being.
In the first place, a great educational effort is important in order to promote “an effective shift in mentality which can lead to the adoption of new life-styles”. This conversion of the mind and heart “allows us rapidly to become more proficient in the art of living together that respects the alliance between man and nature”. It is right to acknowledge that our daily habits are changing and that a greater ecological sensitivity exists. However, it is also true that the risk is easily run of forgetting these motivations during the vacation period in a search for certain comforts to which we believe we are entitled, without always reflecting on their consequences.
It is necessary to cultivate the ethics of responsibility and prudence and to ask ourselves about the impact and consequences of our actions. In this regard, the Holy Father says: “The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa. This invites contemporary society to a serious review of its life-style, which, in many parts of the world, is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences”. On this point, it will be important to encourage both entrepreneurs and tourists to consider the repercussions of their decisions and attitudes. In the same way, it is crucial “to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency”. These underlying ideas must necessarily be translated into concrete actions. Therefore, and with the objective of making the tourist destinations sustainable, all initiatives that are energy efficient and have the least environmental impact possible and lead to using renewable energies, should be promoted and supported to promoting the saving of resources and avoiding contamination. In this regard, it is fundamental for the ecclesial tourism structures and vacations proposals promoted by the Church to be characterized, among other things, by their respect for the environment.
All of the sectors involved (businesses, local communities, governments and tourists) must be aware of their respective responsibilities in order to achieve sustainable forms of tourism. Collaboration between all the parts involved is necessary. The Social Doctrine of the Church reminds us that “care for the environment represents a challenge for all of humanity. It is a matter of a common and universal duty, that of respecting a common good”. A good which human beings do not own but are “stewards” (Cf. Gn 1:28), a good which God entrusted to them so that they would administer it properly.
Pope Benedict XVI says that “the new evangelization, to which all are called, requires us to keep in mind and to make good use of the many occasions that tourism offers us to put forward Christ as the supreme response to modern man’s fundamental questions”. Therefore, we invite everyone to promote and use tourism in a respectful and responsible way in order to allow it to develop all of its potentialities, with the certainty that in contemplating the beauty of nature and peoples we can arrive at the encounter with God.
Vatican City, July 16th, 2012
Antonio Maria Card. Vegliò,
President, Joseph Kalathiparambil Secretary
S Y N O D O F B I S H O P S
XIII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
THE NEW EVANGELIZATIONFOR THE
TRANSMISSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
PREFACE“Increase our faith!” (Lk 17:5) is theApostles’ prayer to the Lord Jesus, when they realize that faith, which is agift from God, is the only way of having a personal relationship with him andfulfilling their vocation as disciples. Their plea arose from an awareness thattheir limitations kept them from forgiving others. Faith is also needed inperforming signs which illustrate the presence of the Kingdom of Godin the world. Jesus used the fig tree, withered to its roots, to encourage hisdisciples. “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to thismountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea’ and does not doubt in his heart,but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you havereceived it, and it will be yours” (Mk 11:22-24). St. Mark the Evangelist alsoemphasizes the importance of faith in accomplishing great works. “Truly, I sayto you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has beendone to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up andcast into the sea,’ it will be done” (Mt 21:21).
????p?sto?) (Mt 8:26). They were to entrustthemselves to God and to Providence,and not worry about material things. “But if God so clothes the grass of thefield, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he notmuch more clothe you, O men of little faith?” (Mt 6:30; cf. Lk 12:28). Asimilar situation takes place before the multiplication of the loaves. Facedwith the realization that the disciples had forgotten to take bread in crossingto the other side of the lake, the Lord Jesus says: “O men of little faith, whydo you discuss among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yetperceive? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and howmany baskets you gathered?” (Mt 16:8-9)._v) (Mt 17:20). On the Sea of Tiberias,before calming the storm, Jesus reproves his disciples: “Why are you afraid, Omen of little faith?” (_µ_???op?st?av _v _ t_On variousoccasions, the Lord Jesus admonishes “the Twelve” for their lack of faith. Tothe question of why they were unable to cast out a demon, the Master responds:“Because of your little faith” (??
Matthew’s Gospel gives special attention to theaccount of Jesus’ walking on the water and reaching the Apostles in the boat.After calming the Apostles’ fear, he accepts the challenge of St. Peter: “Lord,if it is you, bid me come to you on the water” (Mt 14:28). At first, St. Peterwalks towards Jesus on the water without any difficulty. “But when he saw thewind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesusimmediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘O man oflittle faith, why did you doubt?’” (Mt 14:30-31). Afterwards, Jesus and St.Peter together get into the boat and the wind ceases. The disciples, witnessesto this great happening, prostrate themselves before the Lord and make a fullprofession of faith: “Truly you are the Son of God!” (Mt 14:33).p?sto?; cf. Mt17:17; 13,58). At the same time, many particular Churches, after initiallydisplaying a great enthusiasm, are now showing signs of weariness andapprehension in the face of very complex situations in today’s world. Like St.Peter, they grow fearful of opposing forces and temptations of various kinds aswell as challenges that surpass their human capabilities. But, just assalvation came to St. Peter from Christ alone, so too the faithful, when theybecome personally involved as members of an ecclesial community, can experienceChrist’s saving grace. Only the Lord Jesus can extend his hand and indicate thesure path in the journey of faith._In our times, St. Peter’s experience canbe reflected in many of the faithful as well as entire Christian communities,especially in traditionally Christian countries. In fact, because of a lack offaith, various particular Churches are witnessing a decline in sacramental andChristian practice among the faithful to the point that some members can evenbe called “non-believers” (
These brief reflections on faith in the Gospelscan help illustrate the topic of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of theSynod of Bishops: “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the ChristianFaith”. The importance given to the faith is further emphasized by the decisionof the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate a Year of Faith, beginningon 11 October 2012, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening ofthe Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication ofThe Catechism of the Catholic Church. Both observances will take place duringthe celebration of the synod. Once again, the Lord’s words to St. Peter theApostle, the rock on which he built his Church, have particular meaning (cf. Mt16:19): “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when youhave turned again, strengthen your brethren" (Lk 22:32). “The door offaith” (Acts 14:27) will again be open to all of us.
The goal of evangelization today is, as always,the transmission of the Christian faith. This task primarily concernscommunities of Jesus’ disciples which are organized into particular Churches,diocesan and eparchial, whose worshippers gather regularly for liturgicalcelebrations, hear the Word of God, celebrate the sacraments — especially theEucharist — and look to pass on the treasure of faith to the members of theirfamilies, communities and parishes. They accomplish this task by proclaimingand bearing witness to the Christian life through the catechumenate, catechesisand works of charity. Evangelization in general is the everyday work of theChurch. With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, this so-called ordinaryevangelizing activity can be endowed with renewed vigour. New methods and newforms of expression are needed to convey to the people of today the perennialtruth of Jesus Christ, forever new and the source of all newness. Only a soundand robust faith, witnessed in a poignant manner in the lives of the martyrs,can give impetus to many short-term or long-range pastoral projects, breathenew life into existing structures and spur a pastoral creativity to meet the needsof people today and the expectations of present-day society.This reneweddynamism in the Christian community will lead to renewed missionary activity(missio ad gentes), now more urgent than ever, given the large number of peoplewho do not know Jesus Christ, in not only far-off countries but also thosealready evangelized.
By allowing themselves to be animated by theHoly Spirit, Christians will then be more attuned to their brothers and sisterswho, despite being baptized, have drifted from the Church and Christianpractice. The new evangelization is primarily directed to these people so thatthey can rediscover the beauty of their Christian faith and the joy of apersonal relationship with the Lord Jesus in the Church and the community ofthe faithful.
This Instrumentum laboris treats theafore-mentioned subjects and will serve as the agenda for the upcoming synodalassembly. The document is a summary of the responses to the questions in theLineamenta, which were submitted by the synods of bishops from the EasternCatholic Churches sui iuris, the episcopal conferences, the departments of theRoman Curia and the Union of Superiors General as well as other institutionsand communities of the faithful, who wished to participate in the Church'sreflection on the synod topic. Assisted by the Ordinary Council and thevaluable contribution of experts, the General Secretariat of the Synod ofBishops prepared this document which describes many promising aspects ofevangelization reflected in the Church on all five continents. At the sametime, it proposes various topics for consideration so that the Church maycontinue to perform adequately her work of evangelization, while taking intoaccount the many challenges and difficulties of the present moment. Encouragedby the Lord’s words, “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believealso in me.” (Jn 14:1) and clearly guided by the Holy Father, Pope BenedictXVI, the synod fathers are preparing themselves to reflect on these matters inan atmosphere of prayer, listening and affective and effective communion. Theywill not undertake this work alone; they will be accompanied by thosecontinuing to pray for the synod. Looking to the communion of the ChurchTriumphant, the members of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly trust in theintercession of the saints, in particular the Virgin Mary, who is blessedbecause “she believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken toher from the Lord” (Lk 1:45). TheAll-Good and Merciful God is constantly extending his hand to humanity and theChurch and is always prepared to do justice for his elect, who are invited tograsp his hand and, in faith, seek his assistance. This situation should not bepresupposed, as indicated by the forceful words of Jesus: “When the Son of mancomes, will he find faith on earth?" (Lk 18:8). Therefore, at the presenttime, the Church and all Christians need to repeat the following prayer overand over again: “I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24).
To ensure that this synodal assembly meets theseexpectations and the needs of the Church in our time, we invoke the grace ofthe Holy Spirit, whom God “has poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ ourSaviour" (Titus 3:6), and again call out to the Lord Jesus, "Increaseour faith!" (Lk 17:5).
_ Nikola ETEROVIXTitular Archbishop of Cibale
Vatican City, 27 May 2012
The Solemnity of Pentecost
1. As announced by Pope Benedict XVI at theclosing of the Special Assembly for the Middle Eastof the Synod Bishops, the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod ofBishops will be held from 7 to 28 October 2012 to treat the topic: “The NewEvangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”. To facilitate thepreparation of this event, the Lineamenta was prepared, including questions tobe answered by the bishops' conferences, synods of bishops of the EasternCatholic Churches sui iuris, the departments of the Roman Curia and the Unionof Superiors General. Observations were also submitted to the General Secretariatby individual bishops, priests, members of the institutes of consecrated life,lay associations and ecclesial movements. The great number of people whoparticipated in the preparation process confirmed the timeliness of the HolyFather’s choice of topic in the minds of Christians and the entire Churchtoday. All these observations and comments are collected and summarized in thisInstrumentum laboris.
THE POINT OF REFERENCE2. The convocation of thenext synodal assembly comes at a particularly significant moment for theCatholic Church. In fact, the time of its celebration will coincide with thefiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, thetwentieth anniversary of the publication of The Catechism of the CatholicChurch and the inauguration of The Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope BenedictXVI. The Synod will therefore provide a good opportunity to focus on thesubject of conversion and the necessity of holiness, emphasized by all theseanniversaries. The Synod will also be the place to grasp and repropose topeople the invitation to rediscover the faith. This invitation was initiallymade at the Second Vatican Council and restated in The Year of the Faithproclaimed by Pope Paul VI, and again addressed to us in our time by PopeBenedict XVI. All this will serve as the framework for the synod’s work oftreating the topic of the new evangelization.
3. During the years spanning the previouslymentioned occurrences, other essential documentation deserves consideration notonly at this time of preparation but also during the Synod itself. Besides adirect and explicit reference to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council,no discussion on evangelization can take place today, without considering whatwas expressed on the subject by Pope Paul VI in his Apostolic ExhortationEvangelii nuntiandi, and Pope John Paul II in both his Encyclical LetterRedemptoris missio, and Apostolic Letter Novo millennium ineunte. All thesetexts have been cited in a number of responses as a point of reference andcomparison.
EXPECTATIONS FROM THE SYNOD
4. Many responses stressed the urgency for allof us to consider how the Church today is responding to her fundamental call toevangelize and to assess her resources in meeting today’s challenges and avoidany danger of a dispersion of energy or fragmented efforts. Many particularChurches (dioceses, eparchies, Churches sui juris) and various episcopalconferences and synods of the Eastern Churches have for the past several yearsevaluated their programmes in proclaiming and witnessing to the faith. Theresponses provided an impressive list of initiatives undertaken by variousecclesial realities. Over the last ten years, a number of particular Churcheshave documented and planned pastoral projects on evangelization and itsrenewal. Programmes on the diocesan, national and continental levels have beendesigned to raise awareness and offer support. Training centres were alsocreated for Christians called to engage in these projects.5. Given the considerablenumber of initiatives and their reported positive and negative aspects — sincenot all the initiatives undertaken have produced the desired results — theconvocation of the Synod is seen as a timely opportunity for the entireCatholic Church to listen, discern and, above all, give a unified response towhat we are called to do. Hopefully, the upcoming synodal assembly will be anevent to energize Christian communities and, at the same time, provide concreteanswers to the many questions facing the Church today and the resourcesavailable in her evangelizing activity. The Synod is expected to be not only asource of encouragement but also the place to compare experiences and shareobservations on situations and approaches for action.
THE TOPIC OF THE SYNODAL ASSEMBLY
6. In convoking the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of theSynod of Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI wished to remind Christian communities ofthe primary task facing the Church at the start of the new millennium.Following up on the initiative of his predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II,who saw in the Jubilee of the Year 2000, celebrated thirty-five years after theSecond Vatican Council, as an occasion to undertake the Church’s evangelizingmission with renewed enthusiasm, Pope Benedict XVI gives further emphasis tothis mission and stresses its new character. The evangelizing mission receivedfrom the Apostles, — to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing themand forming them as witnesses (cf. Mt 28:19-20) and the mission which the Churchhas carried out and to which she has remained true over the centuries — istoday facing social and cultural changes that are profoundly affecting aperson’s perception of self and the world, and consequently, a person’s way ofbelieving in God.
7. All these changes are contributing to awidespread disorientation which leads to forms of distrust of all that has beenpassed down about the meaning of life and to an unwillingness to adhere in atotal, unconditional manner to what has been revealed as the profound truth ofour being. This detachment from the faith is increasingly being witnessed insocieties and cultures which for centuries appeared instilled with the Gospel.Increasingly considered an intimate and individual matter, faith has become apresupposition, even for many Christians, who continue to be justly concernedabout the social, cultural and political implications in preaching the Gospel,but have not been sufficiently trained to keep alive their faith and theircommunity, a faith which, like an invisible flame with its charity, nourishesand gives life to all the other actions of life. This situation, running therisk of weakening the faith, and consequently, the ability to bear witness tothe Gospel, has unfortunately become a reality in most of the countries where,for centuries, the Christian faith has contributed to the upbuilding of cultureand society.
8. From the beginning of his pontificate, PopeBenedict XVI has insisted that this situation needs to be addressed. At thattime he said: “The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must setout to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towardsfriendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life inabundance.” The Church feels the responsibility to devise new tools and newexpressions to ensure that the word of faith, which has begotten the true lifeof God in us, be heard more and be better understood, even in the new desertsof this world.9. ] renews the Church, revitalizes faith and the Christianidentity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive. Faith is strengthenedwhen it is given to others!”¼The convocation of the Synod on the newevangelization and the transmission of the Faith is part of a determined effortto give new fervour to the faith and to the testimony of Christians and theircommunities. The decision to focus the synod's deliberations on this topic is,in fact, one element in a unified plan, the most recent occurrences of whichhave been the establishment of a dicastery for the promotion of the newevangelization as well as the proclamation of The Year of Faith. Consequently,the celebration of the Synod is expected to enliven and energize the Church inundertaking a new evangelization, which will lead to a rediscovery of the joyof believing and a rekindling of enthusiasm in communicating the faith. Thequestion is not simply devising something new or undertaking unprecedentedinitiatives in spreading the Gospel, but living the faith in the spirit of itbeing a divine proclamation: “Mission [
FROM THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL TO THE NEWEVANGELIZATION
10. The idea of renewing the Church'sevangelizing activity, expressed most recently in the previously mentioneddecisions of Pope Benedict XVI, has a long history. This same idea inspired theteaching and apostolic ministry of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. In fact,the origin of the idea can be traced to the Second Vatican Council and itsdesire to respond to a sense of disorientation experienced by Christians facingpowerful changes and divisions which the world was experiencing at that time.The Church’s response was not characterized by pessimism or resignation, butthe regenerating power of the universal call to salvation, desired by God foreach individual.
11. In this way, evangelization became one ofthe central topics of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. In Christ, theLight of the Nations, all humanity regains its original and true identity,which sin has obscured, and the Church, whose countenance reflects this Light,has the task of continuing and making present and real, everywhere in today’sworld, the evangelizing mission of Jesus Christ. From this perspective,evangelization is one of the main demands made by the Council which called forrenewal and zeal in this mission. Bishops and priests as ordained ministers,have the strict duty to evangelize. However, this fundamental mission of theChurch is also the duty of all baptized Christians. The Decree Ad Gentesclearly points out that evangelization is the prime content of the Church’smission and shows how evangelization builds up the composition of particularChurches, and generally speaking, all Christian communities. Seen in this way,evangelization is not simply one activity among many, but, in the dynamic ofthe Church, evangelization is the energy which permits the Church to realizeher goal,namely, to respond to the universal call to holiness.
12. In the wake of the Council, Pope Paul VIperceptively observed that the duty of evangelization needed to be proposedagain with greater force and urgency, because of the de-Christianization ofmany ordinary people who, despite being baptized, live a life not in keepingwith their Christian faith or express some kind of faith but have an imperfectknowledge of its basic tenets. An increasing number of people are sensing aneed to know Jesus Christ in a different way from what they were taught aschildren. Faithful to conciliar teaching, Pope Paul VI added that the Church'sevangelizing activity “must constantly seek the proper means and language forpresenting, or representing, to them God's revelation and faith in JesusChrist.”
13. Later, Pope John Paul II made the duty toevangelize one of the key points in his vast magisterium, summarizing in theconcept of the new evangelization what he systematically developed in manydiscourses, namely, that this is the task facing the Church today, especiallyin countries with a Christian tradition. This programme directly affects theChurch’s relation to the outside world, but presupposes, first of all, anongoing internal renewal, a continuous passing, so to speak, from beingevangelized to evangelizing. The Pope explains: “Whole countries and nationswhere religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable offostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test,and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result ofa constant spreading of religious indifference, secularism and atheism. Thisparticularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, inwhich economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragicsituation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived ‘as if Goddid not exist’ [...] In other regions or nations many vital traditions of pietyand popular forms of Christian religion are still conserved; but today thismoral and spiritual patrimony runs the risk of being dispersed under the impactof a multiplicity of processes, including secularization and the spread ofsects. Only a re-evangelization can ensure the growth of a clear and deepfaith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom.Without doubt, a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently neededin all parts of the world. But for this to come about, what is needed is tofirst remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present inthese countries and nations.”
14. The Second VaticanCouncil and the new evangelization are also recurring themes in the teaching ofPope Benedict XVI. In 2005, in his Christmas greetings to the members of theRoman Curia — coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the close of theSecond Vatican Council — he said, a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”,must be counteracted by a “‘hermeneutic of reform’, of renewal in thecontinuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is asubject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same,the one subject of the journeying People of God.” In proclaiming The Year ofthe Faith, the Holy Father hoped that such an event “would provide a goodopportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the CouncilFathers, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, ‘have lost nothing of theirvalue or brilliance’.” Furthermore, he stated: “I would also like to emphasizestrongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months aftermy election as Successor of St. Peter: ‘if we interpret and implement it guidedby a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for theever necessary renewal of the Church’.” Therefore, as some responses to theLineamenta point out, the previously mentioned words of Pope Benedict XVI, inkeeping with his predecessors, can serve as a reliable guide in addressing thesubject of the transmission of the faith in the new evangelization, in a Churchcognisant of the challenges of today's world, but firmly anchored in her livingTradition, of which the Second Vatican Council is a part.
THE FORMAT OF THE INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS15.Synodal discussion is expected to result in a developed and heightenedtreatment of the work that has taken place in the Church in recent decades. Theconsiderable number of initiatives and documents already produced onevangelization and its renewal indicates that many particular Churches were notso much awaiting word on what to do, as seeking a place to hear about all thathas been done so far. More than one response reported that simply theannouncement of the topic and that work had begun on the Lineamenta causedChristian communities to feel stronger and more committed to the urgentcharacter today of the imperative of the new evangelization, and, as a furtherbenefit, to enjoy a sense of communion which allowed them to approach everydaychallenges with a different spirit.
16. Many responses do not overlook the problemthe Church is facing in the challenge of the new evangelization, namely, thatthe changes previously discussed not only affect the world and culture, butalso herself in the first person, that is, her communities, her activities andher conception of herself. This situation, therefore, calls for a process ofdiscernment, which can also serve as a way of responding to the currentsituation with greater courage and responsibility. In keeping with this idea,the Instrumentum laboris was drafted in four chapters which are useful inproviding the basic content and means for fostering this reflection anddiscernment.
17. The first chapter is dedicated to arediscovery of the heart of evangelization, namely, the experience of Christianfaith: the encounter with Jesus Christ, God the Father’s Gospel to humanity,which transforms us, gathers us together and introduces us, through the gift ofthe Spirit, to a new life, already experienced by us in the present, preciselyin our feeling gathered as the Church. At the same time, this new life is thecause of our joy which compels us, as witnesses and joyful heralds of the giftreceived, to travel the streets of the world, awaiting the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. The second chapter seeks to focusattention on discerning the changes which affect how we live our faith andwhich influence our Christian communities. The reasons for spreading the ideaof the new evangelization are then evaluated as well as the different ways themany particular Churches can feel involved. The third chapter treats the basicplaces, means, persons and activities in the transmission of the Christian faith— the liturgy, catechesis and works of charity — and how, in the process oftransmission, the faith needs to be professed, celebrated, lived and prayed.Finally, in similar fashion, the fourth and final chapter discusses areas ofpastoral activity, specifically those dedicated to the proclamation of theGospel and the transmission of faith. The classic areas are then discussed,with greater development given to the most recent ones which have arisen inresponse to the impact and concerns arising from a reflection on the newevangelization in Christian communities and the manner in which they live theirfaith.
CHAPTER I JESUS CHRIST, THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD TOHUMANITY
“The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk 1:15)
18. The Christian faith is not simply teachings,wise sayings, a code of morality or a tradition. The Christian faith is a trueencounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. Transmitting the faith means tocreate in every place and time the conditions which lead to this encounterbetween the person and Jesus Christ. The goal of all evangelization is tocreate the possibility for this encounter, which is, at one and the same time,intimate, personal, public and communal. Pope Benedict XVI stated: “BeingChristian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but theencounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and adecisive direction. [...] Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love isnow no longer a mere ‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love withwhich God draws near to us.” In the Christian faith, the encounter with Christand the relationship with him takes place “in accordance to the Scriptures” (1Cor 15:3, 4). The Church is formed precisely through the grace of thisrelationship.
19. This encounter with Jesus, through hisSpirit, is the Father’s great gift to humanity. We are prepared for thisencounter through the action of grace in us. In such an encounter, we feel anattraction which leads to our transformation, causing us to see new dimensionsto who we are and making us partakers of divine life (cf. 2 Pt 1:4). After thisencounter, everything is different as a result of metanoia, that is, the stateof conversion strongly urged by Jesus himself (cf. Mk 1:15). In a personalencounter with Jesus Christ, faith takes the form of a relationship with himand in remembrance of him, especially in the Eucharist and the Word of God, andcreates in us the mind of Christ, through the Spirit, a mentality which makesus recognize our brothers and sisters, gathered by the Spirit in his Church,and, in turn, see ourselves as witnesses and heralds of this Gospel. Thisencounter equips us to do new things and witness to the transformation of ourlives in the works of conversion as announced by the prophets (cf. Jer 3:6 ff;Ez 36:24-36). 20. This firstchapter gives particular attention to this fundamental aspect ofevangelization, because the responses to the Lineamenta reported a need torestate the core of the Christian faith which is unknown by many Christians.Consequently, the theological foundation of the new evangelization should notbe overlooked, but forcefully and authentically stated, so as to give energyand a proper framework to the Church’s evangelizing activity. The newevangelization must initially be seen as an opportunity to gauge thefaithfulness of Christians to the mandate received from Jesus Christ. The newevangelization is also an auspicious occasion (cf. 2 Cor 6:2) to return, as an individualChristian and a community, to drink from the source of our faith, and so becomemore disposed to undertake the work of evangelization and testimony. Indeed,before becoming action, evangelization and testimony are two states-of-mindwhich, as fruits of a faith in a continual state of purification andconversion, result in our lives from an encounter with Jesus Christ, the GoodNews of God to humanity.
JESUS CHRIST, THE EVANGELIZER
21. “Jesus himself, the Good News of God, wasthe very first and the greatest evangelizer.” He revealed himself as being sentto proclaim the fulfilment of the Gospel of God, foretold in the history of Israel,primarily through the prophets, and promised in Sacred Scripture. St. Mark theEvangelist begins his account by connecting “the beginning of the Gospel ofJesus Christ” (Mk 1:1) to a corresponding verse from the Scriptures: “As it iswritten in the prophet Isaiah” (Mk 1:2). In the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesusreveals himself in the synagogue at Nazareth through the reading of Scripture,as one who is able to bring the Scripture to fulfilment by his very presence,“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). The Gospelaccording to St. Matthew has a true and proper series of quotes of fulfilled prophecies,intended to reflect the deeper reality of Jesus, based on what was spokenthrough the prophets (cf. Mt 1:22; 2:15,17, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35;21:4). At the time of his arrest, Jesus sums up all things in his Person: “Allthis has taken place, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”(Mt 26:56). In the Gospel of John, the disciples themselves attest to thisconnection. After their first encounter, St. Philip states: “We have found himof whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote.” (Jn 1:45). During hisministry, Jesus repeatedly refers to his relation to Sacred Scripture and thetestimony associated with it: “You search the Scriptures, thinking they have inthem eternal life: it is they that give testimony of me” (Jn 5:39); “If youbelieved Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me” (Jn 5:46).
22. The concurring testimony of the Evangelistsaffirms that the Gospel of Jesus is the radical summation, continuation andtotal fulfillment of the Scriptures. Precisely because of this continuity, thenewness of Jesus appears both clearly and understandably. Indeed, hisevangelizing activity continues a history which was begun earlier. His gesturesand words are to be read in light of the Scriptures. In the last apparition recountedby St. Luke, the Risen Lord summarizes this understanding by saying: “These arethe words which I spoke to you, that everything written about me in the law ofMoses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled”(Lk 24:44). His supremegift to his disciples will indeed “open their minds to understand theScriptures” (Lk 24:45). Considering the depth of the Jewish people’s relationto the Scriptures, Jesus reveals himself to be the new evangelizer who bringsnewness and fullness to the Law, Prophets and Wisdom of Israel.
23. For Jesus, the purpose of evangelization isdrawing people into his intimate relationship with the Father and the Spirit.This is the primary reason for his preaching and miracles: to proclaim asalvation which, even though manifested through concrete acts of healing, isnot meant to indicate a desire for social or cultural change but a profoundexperience, accessible to each person, of being loved by God and learning torecognize him in the face of a loving and merciful Father (cf. Lk 15). Therevelation contained in his words and actions are linked to the words of theprophets. In this regard, the account of the signs performed by Jesus in thepresence of the messengers of John the Baptist are emblematic, namely, signswhich reveal the identity of Jesus as properly aligned with the great propheticutterances. St. Luke the Evangelist recounts: “In that hour he cured many ofdiseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowedsight. And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard:the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deafhear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them’” (Lk7:21, 22). The words of Jesus show the full meaning of his actions in relationto the signs contained in countless biblical prophecies (cf. especially Is29:18; 35:5,6; 42:18; 26:19; 61:1). Theway Jesus treated people is to be considered an essential element of Jesus’method of evangelizing. He was able to welcome everyone, without distinction,and never exclude anyone: first, the poor, then the rich like Zacchaeus andJoseph of Arimathea; outsiders like the centurion and the Syro-Phoenicianwoman; the righteous, like Nathanael; and prostitutes and public sinners withwhom he also sat at table. Jesus knew how to plumb the depths of a person andelicit faith in the God who first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10,19), whose lovealways precedes us and is not dependent on our own merits, because he is loveitself: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16). In this manner, he sets down how theChurch is to evangelize, demonstrating for her the heart of the Christianfaith, namely, to believe in Love and in the face and voice of this Love,namely, Jesus Christ.
24. Jesus’ evangelizing actions leads a personquite naturally to a conversion-experience. Every person is called toconversion and to faith in God’s merciful love. The kingdom will grow in themanner in which each person learns to turn, in the intimacy of prayer, to Godas Father (cf. Lk 11:2; Mt 23:9) and, following the example of Jesus Christ, torecognize, in a totally free manner, that the goal of life is fulfilling God’swill (cf. Mt 7.21). Evangelization and the call to holiness and conversion areintricately bound together, a matter which needs to be proposed to people hereand now, if they are to experience the Kingdom of God in Jesus, and, in turn,become the children of God. The Synod is expected to consider to what extentevangelization and the call to holiness and conversion are present in ourcommunities today and how, through their interaction, they nourish the lives ofour communities and produce fruit.
THE CHURCH, EVANGELIZED AND EVANGELIZING
25. Those who truly accept the Gospel, preciselyas a gift and for the fruits it produces in them, come together in the name ofJesus so as to preserve and nourish the faith which is received and shared, andto continue and grow in this lived-experience. The Gospels recount (cf. Mk3,13-15) that after the disciples had been with Jesus, after they had livedwith him, after they had been introduced by him into a new life-experience andafter they had been partakers of his divine life, they were, in turn, sent outto continue this work of evangelization: “He called the Twelve together andgave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. [...] Thenthey departed and went through the villages, preaching the Gospel and healingeverywhere” (Lk 9:1, 6).26. After Christ’s death and resurrection, themissionary mandate given to the disciples by the Lord (cf. Mk 16:15) makes anexplicit reference to proclaiming the Gospel to everyone, teaching them toobserve everything he commanded (cf. Mt 28:20). St. Paul presents himself as “called to be anApostle [...] set apart for the Gospel of God” (Rm 1:1). The Church's task isthus to bring about a traditio Evangelii, a proclamation and transmission ofthe Gospel, which is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith”(Rm 1:16) and which ultimately is identified with Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor1:24). We know now that when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel, we must thinkof a living, effective Word, which brings about what is stated (cf. Heb 4:12;Is 55:10) and is a Person: Jesus Christ, the definitive Word of God, who becameman.
As in the earthly life of Jesus, the Church’sevangelizing mission is properly the work of God and the Holy Spirit. The giftof the Spirit at Pentecost makes the Apostles witnesses and prophets,confirming them in all they shared with Jesus and learned from him (cf. Acts1:8; 2:17), instilling in them a serene courage which impels them to pass on toothers their experience of Jesus and the hope that inspires them. The Spiritgives them the ability to witness to Jesus with parresia (cf. Acts 2:29),extending their activity from Jerusalem to allJudea and Samariaand to the ends of the earth.
27. What the Church has lived from the verybeginning, she continues to live today. By re-proposing these truths, Pope PaulVI recalled their contemporary character: “The command to the Twelve to go outand proclaim the Good News is also valid for all Christians, though in adifferent way [...] The Church knows this. [...] Evangelizing is in fact thegrace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists inorder to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be thechannel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuateChrist's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and gloriousresurrection.” The Church exists in the world to continue Jesus’ evangelizingmission, knowing well that in doing so she continues to share in divine life,because she is compelled by the Spirit to proclaim the Gospel in the world andto experience again within herself the presence of the Risen Christ, who bringsher into communion with God the Father. Every action performed by the Church isnever closed in upon itself but is always an act of evangelization, and, assuch, an action that manifests the triune face of our God. The Acts of theApostles records those actions most intimately involved in the Church’s life:prayer, listening to the Word and the Apostles' teaching, a “lived” fraternalcharity and the breaking of the bread (cf. Acts 2:42-46). All acquire theirfull meaning when they become an act of witness, a source of attraction andconversion, and a preaching and proclamation of the Gospel, by the whole Churchand each baptized person.
THE GOSPEL, A GIFT FOR EVERY PERSON
28. The Gospel of God's love for us, the call to take part inthe life of the Father, through Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, is a gift meant foreveryone. We proclaim Jesus himself, who calls everyone to conversion for the Kingdom of God. To emphasize this fact, Jesus drewespecially near to those on the margins of society, giving them special favour,when he proclaimed the Gospel. At the beginning of his ministry, he proclaimedthat he was sent to preach the good news to the poor (cf. Lk 4:18). To thosedespised and dejected, Jesus declares: “Blessed are you poor” (Lk 6:20) and, bystanding with them, enables these individuals already to experience a sense offreedom (cf. Lk 5:30; 15:2). He eats with them, treats them as brothers andsisters and as friends (cf. Lk 7:34) and helps them to feel loved by God, thusrevealing his great compassion for sinners and those in need.
29. The freedom and salvation brought by the Kingdom of God touch every human person bothphysically and spiritually. Two actions are attached to Jesus’ work ofevangelization: healing and forgiving. Multiple miracles of healing clearlydemonstrate his great compassion in the face of human misery. They alsoindicate that, in the Kingdom, there will no longer be sickness and sufferingand that, from the outset, his mission is aimed at freeing people from sicknessand suffering (cf. Rev 21:4). Jesus' miracles of healing are also a sign of thesalvation of the spirit, namely liberation from sin. In performing acts ofhealing, he invites people to faith, conversion and a desire for forgiveness(cf. Lk 5:24). Received in faith, healing leads to salvation (cf. Lk 18:42).Deliverance from demonic possession, the ultimate evil and symbol of sin andrebellion against God, is a sign that “the Kingdom of God has come upon you”(Mt 12:28) and that the Gospel, a gift of salvation meant for every person,initiates us into a process of transformation and participation in the life ofGod, who renews us in the present moment.
30. “I have no silver or gold but I give youwhat I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6). LikeSt. Peter the Apostle, the Church also continues faithfully to proclaim theGospel for the good of each person. To the cripple who asks him for somethingon which to live, St. Peter responds by offering the gift of the Gospel whichheals him, thus opening the way to salvation. In this way, in the course oftime, in virtue of her work of evangelization, the Church gives flesh andvisibility to the prophecy in Revelation: “Behold I make all things new.” (Rev21:5), transforming humanity and history itself from within, so that the faithof Christ and the life of the Church might no longer be foreign to the societyin which both humanity and history exist, but can permeate and transform it.
31. Evangelization consists in proposing theGospel which transforms the human individual, his world and his personal story.The Church evangelizes when, in virtue of the power of the Gospel proclaimed(cf. Rm 1:16), she takes every human experience and gives it rebirth throughthe death and resurrection of Jesus (cf. Rm 6:4), immersing each one in thenewness of Baptism and life according to the Gospel and in the Son’srelationship to his Father, so as to feel the power of the Spirit. Thetransmission of the faith is the goal of evangelization which, according to thedivine plan, is to bring all people through Christ to the Father in the Spirit(cf. Eph 2:18). This experience of the newness of the Gospel transforms everyperson. Today, we can hold to this conviction with greater surety, becausehistory has left us extraordinary examples of courage, dedication, boldness,intuition and reason in the Church’s work of bringing the Gospel to everyperson, acts of holiness which are displayed in a variety of notable and significantways on every continent. Every particular Church can boast of persons ofoutstanding holiness, who have been able to give renewed power and energy tothe work of evangelization through their activities and, primarily, throughtheir witness. Their example of holiness also provides prophetic and clearindications in devising new ways to live out the task of evangelization. Theyhave repeatedly left us accounts in their writings, prayers, models and methodsof teaching, spiritual journeys, journeys of initiation into the faith, worksand educational institutions.32. While strongly referring to the power of theseexamples of holiness, some responses also mention the difficulties in makingthese experiences contemporary and transmissible. Sometimes, it seems thatthese historical works not only belong to a past age, but are almost confinedthere, because they lack the ability to communicate the evangelical characterof their witness in the present-day. The Synod is asked to discuss thesedifficulties and attempt to discover the underlying reasons why the activitiesand witness of various Church institutions lack credibility when they speak asbearers of the Gospel of God.
THE DUTY TO EVANGELIZE
33. Every person has the right to hear theGospel of God to humanity, which is Jesus Christ. Like the Samaritan woman atthe well, humanity today needs to hear the words of Jesus: “If you knew thegift of God” (Jn 4:10), because these words elicit the deep desire forsalvation which lies in everyone: “Lord, give me this water, that I may notthirst” (Jn 4:15). This right of every person to hear the Gospel is clearlystated by St. Paul.Tireless in his preaching, he looks upon his work of proclaiming the Gospel asa duty, because he understood its universal significance: “For if I preach theGospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me.Woe to me if I preach not the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). Every man and woman shouldbe able to say, like him, that “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Eph5:2). Furthermore, every man and women should be able to feel drawn into anintimate and transforming relationship which the proclamation of the Gospelcreates between us and Christ: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ wholives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son ofGod, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). To give others thepossibility of having a similar experience requires that someone be sent toproclaim it: “How are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? Andhow are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are theyto hear without a preacher?” (Rm 10:14 which repeats Is 52:1).
34. We can therefore understand how every one ofthe Church’s actions has an essential evangelizing character and must never beseparated from the duty to help others encounter Christ in faith, the primarygoal of evangelization. If as a Church, “we bring people only knowledge,ability or technical skill and tools, we bring them too little.” The originalreason for evangelization is the love of Christ which seeks to bring everyoneto eternal salvation. The one desire of genuine evangelizers is to give freelywhat they have freely received: “From the very origins of the Church thedisciples of Christ strove to convert men to faith in Christ as the Lord; not,however, by the use of coercion or of devices unworthy of the Gospel, but bythe power, above all, of the word of God.” 35.The mission of the Apostles and its continuation in the primitive Church remainthe basic model for evangelization at all times as a mission often marked bymartyrdom, which is witnessed not only at the beginning of the history ofChristianity but also in the last century, and even in our own times. Martyrdomgives credibility to those who bear witness; they do not seek power or gain,but give their very lives for Christ. They show the world the defenceless yetpowerful love for humanity, which is given to those who follow Christ to thepoint of totally surrendering their lives, as Jesus proclaimed: “If theypersecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20).
However, erroneous beliefs unfortunately existwhich limit the duty to proclaim the Good News. In fact, “there is today agrowing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lordunheard and ineffective (cf. Mt 28:19). Often it is maintained that any attemptto convince others on religious matters is a limitation of their freedom. Fromthis perspective, it would only be legitimate to present one’s own ideas and toinvite people to act according to their consciences, without aiming at theirconversion to Christ and to the Catholic faith. It is enough, so they say, tohelp people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion; it isenough to build communities which strive for justice, freedom, peace andsolidarity. Furthermore, some maintain that Christ should not be proclaimed tothose who do not know him, nor should joining the Church be promoted, since itwould also be possible to be saved without explicit knowledge of Christ andwithout formal incorporation in the Church.”
36. Although non-Christians can be saved throughthe grace which God bestows in ways known only to himself, the Church cannotoverlook the fact that each person seeks to know the true face of God and toenjoy today the friendship of Jesus Christ, God-with-us. Adhering fully toChrist, the Truth, and becoming a member of his Church does not diminish humanfreedom, but rather enhances it and leads it to fulfilment through a selflesslove and caring for the welfare of all people. What a priceless gift it is tolive in the universal embrace of God’s friends, which comes from communion withthe life-giving flesh and blood of his Son, to receive from him the certainty thatour sins are forgiven and to live in the love which is born of faith! TheChurch desires that everyone should partake of these riches, so that they mayhave the fullness of truth and the means of salvation “to obtain the gloriousliberty of the children of God” (Rm 8:21). The Church, who proclaims andtransmits the faith, imitates God himself who communicates with humanity bygiving his Son, who, in turn, pours out the Holy Spirit so that people can bereborn as children of God.
EVANGELIZATION AND CHURCH RENEWAL
37. The Church is an evangelizer, but she beginsby being evangelized herself. She is “the community of believers, the communityof hope lived and communicated, the community of brotherly love, and she needsto listen unceasingly to what she must believe, to her reasons for hoping, tothe new commandment of love. She is the People of God immersed in the world andoften tempted by idols, and she always needs to hear the proclamation of the‘mighty works of God’, which converted her to the Lord; she always needs to becalled together afresh by him and reunited. In brief, this means that she has aconstant need of being evangelized if she wishes to retain freshness, vigourand strength in order to proclaim the Gospel.” The Second Vatican Council has stronglytaken up the subject of the Church who is evangelized by constant conversionand renewal in order to evangelize the world with credibility. In this regard,the words of Pope Paul VI still have meaning today as he reaffirms the priorityof evangelization and reminds the faithful: “It would be useful if everyChristian and every evangelizer were to pray about the following thought: mencan gain salvation also in other ways, by God's mercy, even though we do notpreach the Gospel to them; but as for us, can we gain salvation if throughnegligence or fear or shame — what St. Paul called ‘blushing for the Gospel’—or as a result of false ideas we fail to preach it?” More than one response hasproposed that this subject be specifically treated during the synod’sdeliberations.38. Since her origin, the Church has had to deal with similardifficulties as well as the sinfulness of her members. The story of thedisciples of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35) is emblematic of the fact that knowledgeof Christ can fail. The two disciples from Emmaus speak of a dead man (cf. Lk24:21-24) and relate their disappointment and hopelessness. These disciplesdemonstrate the possibility for the Church in every age to be the bearer of amessage that does not give life, but stops short in the death of the Christ whois proclaimed, in the announcers themselves, and, consequently, in therecipients of the announcement also. St. Johnthe Evangelist’s account of the Apostles who were fishing (cf. Jn 21.1 to 14)describes a similar experience. Apart from Christ, the disciples’ efforts arefruitless. Just as for the disciples of Emmaus, only when the Risen Christmanifests himself to them does their trust and the joy of proclaiming return asthe fruits of the work of evangelization. Only in strongly attaching himself toChrist once again, is St. Peter, who had been called “fisher of men” (Lk 5:10),able to successfully cast the nets, trusting in the Lord’s words.
39. What is so painstakingly described in thebeginning of the Church has sometimes reoccurred in her history. On manyoccasions, a weakening of fervour in one’s relationship with Christ hasadversely affected the calibre of the life of faith and the experience ofparticipating in the Trinitarian life, which is bound to it. For this reason,we cannot forget that the proclamation of the Gospel is primarily a spiritualmatter. The need to transmit the faith, which is essentially an ecclesial,communal event and not singly or done alone, should not result from seekingeffective communication strategies or in choosing a certain group of recipients— for example, young people — but must look to who is entrusted with thisspiritual work. The Church must question herself in this matter. This allowsthe problem to be approached not in an extrinsic manner but from within,involving the entire life and being of the Church. Many particular Churchesrequest that the Synod determine whether the lack of effects in evangelizationtoday, as well as in catechesis in modern times, is primarily the result ofecclesial and spiritual factors. This concerns the Church’s ability to live asa real community, as a true brotherhood and as a Living Body and not simply ahuman establishment.
40. In knowing how to maintain the fundamentalspiritual character of evangelization, the Church can allow herself to beformed by the action of the Holy Spirit and be conformed to Christ Crucified,who reveals to the world the face of the love of God and communion with him. Inso doing, she can become more aware of her vocation as Ecclesia Mater bybegetting children for the Lord in transmitting the faith and teaching a lovewhich nurtures her children. At the same time, she fulfills her responsibilityto proclaim and bear witness to this Revelation of God and gather her people scatteredthroughout the world, thereby fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy which the ChurchFathers understood as addressed to her, “Enlarge the place of your tent, andlet the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; hold not back, lengthenyour cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the rightand to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will peoplethe desolate cities” (Is 54:2, 3 ).
TIME FOR A NEW EVANGELIZATION
“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel tothe whole creation” (Mk 16:15)
41. The missionary mandate which the Churchreceived from the Risen Lord (cf. Mk 16:15) has assumed new forms and methodsover time, depending on the places and situations where it was realized andvarious moments in history. Even though proclaiming the Gospel in our day ismuch more complicated than in the past, the Church’s task is one and the sameas from the very beginning. Since the mission has not changed, it can berightly said that we can make our own, even today, the enthusiasm and couragewhich characterized the Apostles and early disciples. The Holy Spirit, whomoved them to throw open the doors of the Cenacle and sent them forth asevangelizers (cf. Acts 2: 1-4), is the same Spirit who guides the Church todayand prompts a renewed proclamation of hope to the people of our time.
42. The Second VaticanCouncil reminds us that “groups among which the Church dwells are oftenradically changed, for one reason or other, so that an entirely new set ofcircumstances may arise.” With far-reaching perception, the Council Fathers sawon the horizon the cultural change we readily witness today. This change, whichhas created an unexpected situation for believers, requires special attentionin proclaiming the Gospel, if we are to render an account of our faith in thepresent situation which, unlike in the past, has a variety of new and importantaspects.
43. The causes of the social changes which wehave witnessed in recent decades are complex, tracing their origins far back intime and radically affecting our perception of the world. The positive aspectsof these changes are visible to all and are seen as invaluable contributionswhich have permitted the development of human culture and increased knowledgein many fields. However, these changes have also caused many to take a criticallook at values and some fundamental aspects of daily life which deeply affectpeople's faith. In this regard, Pope Benedict XVI stated: “If on the one handhumanity has derived undeniable benefits from these changes, and the Church hasdrawn from them further incentives for bearing witness to the hope that iswithin her (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), on the other hand, there has been a troubling lossof the sense of the sacred, which has even called into question foundationsonce deemed unshakeable, such as faith in a provident creator God, therevelation of Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, and a common understanding ofbasic human experiences: i.e., birth, death, life in a family, and reference toa natural moral law. Even though some consider these things a kind ofliberation, there soon follows an awareness that an interior desert results,whenever the human being, wishing to be the sole architect of his nature anddestiny, finds himself deprived of that which is the very foundation of allthings.” 44. This criticalsituation in society — and also in the Christian life — demands a response. Atthis special moment in history, the Church needs to see how to muster greaterenergy in rendering an account for the hope we share (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). The term“new evangelization” calls for a new manner of proclaiming the Gospel,especially for those who live in the present-day situation which is affected bythe growing trend of secularization, taking place to a great extent incountries with a Christian tradition. With this in mind, the idea of a newevangelization has come to term in the Church and has been implemented in agreat variety of ways in an ongoing study up to now about its precise meaning.Initially, the new evangelization was primarily viewed as a necessity, then asa work of discernment and finally as an impetus for the Church in our times.
THE QUESTION OF A “NEW EVANGELIZATION”
45. What is the “new evangelization”? BlessedPope John Paul II, in his first discourse to the bishops of Latin America,sanctioned and defined the term which received great resonance in the Church:“The commemoration of this half of the millennium of evangelization willachieve its full meaning, if as bishops, with your priests and faithful, youaccept it as your commitment; a commitment, not of re-evangelization, butrather of a new evangelization; new in its ardour, methods and expression.”Some time later, at a different time, addressing the Church in Europe, the Pontiffmade a similar appeal, emphasizing “the urgent need for a ‘new evangelization’,in the awareness that ‘Europe today must not simply appeal to its formerChristian heritage: it needs to be able to decide about its future inconformity with the person and message of Jesus Christ’.”
46. In its initial stage, the new evangelizationresponds to a demand that the Church have the courage to rise to the occasionin order to take bold steps in revitalizing her spiritual and missionaryvocation. Christian communities, affected by the strong social and culturalchanges taking place, need once again to find the energy and means to groundthemselves solidly in the presence of the Risen Christ, who animates them fromwithin. They must allow themselves to be guided by his Spirit so that they cannewly experience the gift of communion with the Father which is theirs in JesusChrist, and, in turn, offer to others this same experience as the most preciousgift that can be possessed.
47. Responses to the Lineamenta were in accordwith the words of Pope John Paul II. In addressing the specific question —“what is the new evangelization?” — many overwhelmingly indicated that the newevangelization is precisely the Church’s ability to renew her communalexperience of faith and to proclaim it within the new situations which, inrecent decades, have arisen in cultures. The same phenomenon is taking place inboth the North and South and the East and West; in both countries with anage-old Christian tradition and countries which have been evangelized withinthe last few centuries. The coalescing of social and cultural factors —conventionally designated by the term “globalization” — has initiated a processwhich is weakening traditions and institutions and thereby rapidly eroding bothsocial and cultural ties as well as their ability to communicate values andprovide answers to perennial questions regarding life’s meaning and the truth.The result is a significant fragmentation of cultural unity and a culture’sinability to hold fast to the faith and live the values inspired by it.48. Theeffects of such a negative environment on experiencing the faith and on thevarious forms of ecclesial life are generally described in the same manner inall the responses, namely, a weakening of faith in Christian communities, adiminished regard for the authority of the magisterium, an individualisticapproach to belonging to the Church, a decline in religious practice and adisengagement in transmitting the faith to new generations. These effects, foundin almost every bishops’ conference response, indicate that the whole Churchcannot overlook this cultural climate.
49. In this regard, the new evangelization takesthe form of an appeal, a question which the Church raises about herself, sothat she might muster her spiritual energy and be determined in this newcultural setting to take a clear and active role by acknowledging whatever isgood in these new areas, while giving renewed vitality to her faith and herduty to evangelize. The adjective “new” refers to a cultural situation whichhas changed and the need for the Church, with renewed energy, determination,resourcefulness and newness, to look at the way she lives and transmits thefaith. The responses indicate that this appeal has been taken to heart in avariety of ways in many areas of the Church, but not without a certain concern.They seem to show that many Christian communities have not fully perceived thechallenge and the magnitude of the crisis generated by this culturalenvironment, even within the Church. In this regard, synodal discussion canassist in raising, in a timely, in-depth manner, an awareness of theseriousness of the challenges we are facing. Furthermore, the Synod can alsotake up the phenomenon of secularization, assessing both its positive andnegative influences on Christianity and the challenges it poses for theChristian faith.
50. Not all indications, however, are negative.Indeed, efforts taking place in many Churches towards renewal are a sign ofhope and a gift of the Holy Spirit. These Christian communities, most oftenreligious groups and ecclesial movements, and in some cases, theological andcultural institutions, demonstrate by their activities, the real possibility ofliving the Christian faith through the proclamation of the Gospel, even withinthis cultural setting. Among these experiences, the particular Churches note,with gratitude and concern, the many young people who contribute a certainnewness and enthusiasm to these groups. In acknowledging their many gifts,these same Churches are working to ensure that these gifts are extendedthroughout the Christian population, and attentively are following their dutyof nurturing this experience, from a relatively early age, and, at the sametime, highlighting both its strong points and its limitations.
THE SECTORS OF THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
51. The duty of the new evangelization compels the Church toexamine the way Christian communities both live and bear witness to the faithtoday. In doing so, the new evangelization now becomes discernment or theability to read and decipher the new sectors which have emerged in humanhistory in the last decade, so that, in turn, they might be turned into placesfor proclaiming the Gospel and experiencing the Church. Once again, themagisterium of Pope John Paul II has shown the way by first providing adescription of the sectors of the new evangelization, which were used incomposing the Lineamenta and were further discussed and substantiated in theresponses. These sectors include cultures, society, economics, civic life andreligion.
52. Given its importance, the cultural sectorwas seen as a priority. Broadly treated in the preceding paragraphs, thecultural sector was mentioned in many responses as the place where secularizingtrends are taking place at a rapid pace. Prevalent in a particular way in theWest, secularization is the result of certain social and philosophicalhappenings and movements, which have had a profound effect on its history andidentity. Secularization is wrongly perceived in our cultures today as a signof liberation and the capability of envisaging life in this world, and humanlife in general, without any reference to the transcendent. In recent years,secularization has not assumed the form of publically or directly speaking outagainst God, religion and Christianity, despite the fact that, in someinstances, it can oftentimes have an anti-Christian, anti-religious andanti-clerical tone, even in these times. Many responses indicate that therather subdued tone in secularization has allowed this cultural form to invadepeople's daily lives to the point that some have developed a mentality in whichGod is effectively absent, in whole or in part, and his very existencedependent on human consciousness.
53. This subdued tone, which givessecularization its charm and seductive character, has also enabled it to enterthe lives of Christians and Church communities, becoming not just an externalthreat to believers, but one inherent to everyday life. Traces of a secularunderstanding of life are seen in the habitual behavior of many Christians. The“death of God” proclaimed by many intellectuals in recent decades has given wayto an unproductive, hedonistic and consumer mentality, which leads to a highlysuperficial manner in facing life and responsibility. In this way, faith runsthe real risk of losing its fundamental elements. The influence ofsecularization in daily life makes it increasingly difficult to affirm theexistence of truth, which, realistically speaking, eliminates the question ofGod from a person’s examination of self. To respond to religious needs, personsrevert to individualistic forms of spirituality or forms of neo-paganism to thepoint of forcibly spreading a general climate of relativism.54. These dangers,however, must not overshadow the positive things which Christianity has learnedfrom secularization. The saeculum is where believers and non-believers interactand share in a common humanity. This human element is the natural point for faithto enter and, consequently, can become the privileged place for evangelization.In the fully human nature of Jesus of Nazareth dwells the fullness of the deity(cf. Col2:9). Purifying the human through the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth,Christians can create an encounter with people who exhibit a secularizedmentality but continue to question what is really and truly human. Encounteringthese people in search of truth can help Christians purify and develop theirfaith. The inner struggle of people in search of truth, though not yetpossessing the gift of faith, is a real incentive for us in our duty to liveand witness to the faith, so that the true face of God can be seen by everyperson. In this regard, the responses showed great interest in the initiativeof the “Courtyard of the Gentiles”.
55. The initial sector of culture is followed bythe social sector and the treatment of the phenomenon of the great migrationwhich is causing an increasing number of people to leave their country oforigin to live in urban settings, resulting in a meeting and mixing of culturesand contributing to the erosion of basic reference points to life, values andthe very bonds through which people build their identity and come to know themeaning of life. Joined to the spread of secularization, this process causes asituation of extreme cultural liquidity, which increasingly leaves less roomfor long-standing traditions, including religious ones. Linked to this sectoris the social phenomenon called “globalization”, a not-too-easily-understoodreality which requires an intense work of discernment by the Christian. Attimes, this phenomenon carries a negative connotation, when it is seen asinevitable and linked to the economy and production. However, it can also be viewedas a time of growth, in which humanity can learn to develop new forms ofsolidarity and new ways of sharing development for the good of all.
56. The responses to the Lineamenta refer to athird sector, associated with the subject of migration, which is becoming moreand more incisive in society: the economy. In great part a direct cause ofmigration, the economy is highlighted for the tensions and forms of violencerelated to it, and the inequality it causes within and among nations. Manyresponses, not simply those from developing countries, decried a clear anddecisive increase in the separation between the rich and the poor. Oninnumerable occasions, papal magisterium has denounced the growing imbalancebetween the North and South in the access to and distribution of resources, aswell as the damage done to creation. Today’s continuing economic crisis ischaracterized by the problem of the use of both human and natural resources.Particular Churches are invited to live the evangelical ideal of poverty andare expected to do still more in terms of awareness and concrete activity, evenif the media does not give sufficient coverage to them.
57. The fourth sector is civic life. From thetime of the Second Vatican Council to the present, the changes which haveoccurred in this sector can rightly be called momentous. The division of thewestern world into two blocks ended with the fall of the Communist ideology,leading to religious freedom and the possibility of reorganizing the Churchesof ancient origin. The emergence on the world stage of new economic, politicaland religious actors from the Islamic and Asian worlds has created an entirelynew and unknown situation, rich in potential, but fraught with dangers and newtemptations for dominion and power. Many responses have highlighted a varietyof urgent situations in this sector, namely, a commitment to peace; thedevelopment and liberation of peoples; better international regulation andinteraction of national governments; the search for possible areas oflistening, coexistence, dialogue and collaboration between different culturesand religions; the defence of human rights and peoples, especially minorities;the promotion of the most vulnerable; and the integrity of creation and acommitment to the future of our planet. Various particular Churches are engagedin dealing with these issues, which are being diligently pursued and fosteredin the daily life of our communities.58. The fifth sector is scientificresearch and technology. We live in an age that still marvels at the wonders ofthe continuing achievements which result from research in these fields. Eachday, we have the possibility of experiencing the benefits of these advances andare increasingly becoming dependent upon them. Inherent in the many positiveaspects is the danger of excessive expectations and manipulation. Today,science and technology run the risk of becoming the new idols of the present.In a digitalized and globalized world, science can easily become “our newreligion”. New forms of gnosis are arising which make technology a form ofwisdom where an almost magical approach to life leads to concepts of “knowing”and “meaning”, as witnessed in the rise of new cults, which exploit thereligious practices of healing, readily followed by people, and are structuredas religions promising prosperity and instant gratification.
THE NEW FRONTIER OF THE COMMUNICATIONS’ SECTOR
59. The Lineamenta responses also made note ofcommunications, the sixth sector, which provide great opportunities today and,at the same time, represent a major challenge for the Church. Initially,communications was a characteristic of the industrialized world only. However,in today’s globalized world, this sector also affects a vast number ofdeveloping countries. Every place on the globe, bar none, can be reached bycommunications, and is therefore subject to the influence of the electronic andmedia culture. These media are fast becoming the “forum” of civic life andsocial experience, which is sufficiently illustrated in the widespread use ofthe internet.
60. The responses refer to the generally-heldbelief that, today, the new digital technologies have given rise to an entirelynew social space where the connections created have the potential ofinfluencing society and culture. The media process, resulting from thesetechnologies, is having an impact on people’s lives and is changing realityitself by incisively entering into people’s experiences and widening humanpotential. Our perception of self, others and the world are influenced by them.Communication technologies and the space created by them must therefore beviewed positively, without prejudice, as a resource which requires a discerningeye and a wise and responsible employment.61. The Church is engaged in theseareas created by the media and has, from the very beginning, utilized thesemeans as a useful way to proclaim the Gospel. Today, in addition to the moretraditional means of communication, especially the printed word and radio,which, according to the responses, have moderately increased in recent years,new media are increasingly becoming a major factor in the Church’s ministry ofevangelization, making interaction possible at various levels: local, national,continental and global. The potential for using both old and new media isclear, as is the need to take advantage of this newly created social space andintroduce the vocabulary and forms of the Christian tradition. An attentive andshared discernment process is needed not only to better assess the possibilitiesof their use in proclaiming the Gospel, but also to understand properly therisks and dangers involved.
62. Indeed, the spread of the culture created bycommunications undoubtedly brings many benefits. Among them are: a greateraccess to information; more opportunities for knowledge and dialogue; new formsof solidarity; and the ability to foster an increasingly global culture whichleads to a shared heritage of values and the better development of thought andhuman activity. This potential, however, does not eliminate the dangersinherent in the excessive diffusion of such a culture. Their effects arealready being manifested in a deeply, self-centred attentiveness to individualneeds only, and an exaltation of emotion in relationships and social ties, thusleading to a diminution and loss of the objective value of deeply humanexperiences, such as meditation and silence. It equally is leading to an excessin holding to one’s individual thinking and a gradual reduction of ethics andcivic life to appearance only. These dangers might eventually result in aso-called culture which is short-lived, immediately gratifying and based onmere appearance or a society incapable of looking to either the past or thefuture. In such a situation, Christians must be bold in entering these “newareopaghi”, learning to evaluate them in light of the Gospel and finding theinstruments and methods to ensure that, even in these places, the educationalpatrimony and the wisdom guarded by Christian Tradition is heard today.
CHANGES IN THE RELIGIOUS SECTOR
63. By necessity, the changes treated up to thispoint influence the way people express their sense of religion. The Lineamentaresponses recommended adding religion as a seventh sector, thereby providingthe means to more throughly understand, in many different cultures, the returnof a religious sense and the need for various forms of spirituality, especiallyamong the young. Even though the present process of secularization is leadingto a weakened sense of the spiritual in many persons and an emptiness of heart,many regions of the world are showing signs of a significant religious revival.This phenomenon has an impact on the Catholic Church herself in providingresources and opportunities for evangelization which were not present a fewdecades ago.64. The responses to the Lineamenta gave particular attention tothis growing phenomenon, acknowledging both its complex character andundoubtedly positive aspects. In fact, the situation provides the opportunityto restore an element which is part of the human identity, namely religion,thereby going beyond the limitations and impoverishment of an idea of a personviewed only from a horizontal perspective. This phenomenon fosters religiousexperience and re-establishes its centrality in people’s minds, in history, andin the meaning of life itself and the search for truth.
65. Many responses, however, have voiced aconcern about the naive and emotional character of this return to a sense ofreligion. Instead of being a gradual and complex development in a person’ssearch for truth, the return to religion, in many cases, has not been a veryliberating experience. Consequently, the positive aspects of rediscovering Godand the sacred are viewed as impoverished and obscured by a fundamentalismwhich frequently manipulates religion to justify acts of violence and, inextreme but fortunately limited cases, even terrorism.
66. According to the responses, this is theframework for treating the pressing problem of the proliferation of newreligious groups which can be likened to sects. In this regard, they repeatedlycite the contention in the Lineamenta that these groups exercise an emotionaland psychological dominance and promote a religion promising prosperity andsuccess in life. At the same time, some responses state that the situationneeds to be carefully watched so that Christian communities will not allowthemselves to be influenced by these new forms of religious experience and givein to the temptation to imitate their aggressive, proselytizing methods,instead of following the Christian approach to proclaiming the Gospel. On theother hand, the responses insist that Christian communities need to approachproclaiming the Gospel and providing pastoral care in the faith in such a waythat the presence of these religious groups could serve as a means for theseChristian communities to become more zealous and prepared to work towardsgiving individuals a sense of meaning in their lives. 67. This situation gives even greatermeaning to the Church’s encounters and dialogue with the great religioustraditions which have grown over the decades and continue to intensify. Theseencounters are a promising opportunity to better perceive the complexity of thevocabulary and forms of the element of religion in humanity as seen in otherreligious experiences. Such encounters and dialogue also allow Catholics betterto understand the ways in which the Christian faith expresses the religiousnature of the human soul. At the same time, they enrich the religious heritageof humanity with the unique character of the Christian faith.
CHRISTIANS WITHIN THESE SECTORS
68. The responses understood the sectors forwhat they are: signs of actual change which were seen as the context for thedevelopment of our religious experiences. Precisely for this reason, thechanges in these sectors need to be taken up and purified, through a process ofdiscernment, in their encountering and experiencing the Christian faith.Examining these sectors permits a critical reading of the way of life, thethinking and the discourses which they espouse and can serve as aself-examination which Christians are called upon to do, to see if the mannerof life and the pastoral activity of Christian communities are, in fact, suitedto the task and avoiding inactivity by attentively considering the future. Manyparticular Churches expect the Synod to be an opportune time to continue thisdiscernment.
69. Various responses to the Lineamenta haveattempted to identify the reasons for the decline in Christian practice by manyof the Church’s faithful, a true “silent apostasy”, which would leave theChurch in a position of not being able to respond adequately and convincinglyto the challenges described in these sectors. In this regard, they recount aweakening in the faith of believers, a lack of personal involvement andexperience in the transmission of the faith and insufficient spiritual guidancefor the faithful in the process of their formative, intellectual andprofessional training. Many lament the excessive bureaucratic character ofecclesiastical structures, perceived as far removed from the average person andhis everyday concerns, which causes a reduction in the dynamism of ecclesialcommunities, the loss of enthusiasm at its roots and a decline in missionaryzeal. Some responses complained of the excessively formal character ofliturgical celebrations, an almost routine celebration of rituals and the lackof a deep spiritual experience, which turn people away instead of attractingthem. Despite the counter-witness of some of the Church’s members(unfaithfulness in one’s vocation, scandals, little sensitivity to the problemsof everyday people and the world today), we are not to underestimate the“mysterium iniquitatis” (2 Thess 2:7), the war which the Dragon waged on therest of the offspring of the Woman, on “those who keep the commandments of Godand bear testimony to Jesus” (Rev 12:17). An objective evaluation of thesituation must always consider the mystery of human freedom, a gift from God,which a person is free to use, even in a mistaken way, to rebel against God andto turn his back on the Church. The new evangelization should seek to orientateevery man and woman’s human freedom towards God, who is the source of truth,goodness and beauty. Renewal in faith should help people overcome thepreviously mentioned obstacles to an authentic Christian life which ispatterned according to the will of God, as expressed in the commandment to loveGod and neighbor (cf. Mk 12:33).
70. In addition to mentioning some negativeaspects, the responses to the Lineamenta also highlighted how the Christianexperience has undoubtedly benefited from the emergence of these sectors. Forexample, many responses speak of the positive effects of the continuingmigration process in the meeting and exchange of gifts among the particularChurches and in the ability to draw energy and vitality from the Christianfaith of immigrant communities. Through contact with non-Christians, Christiancommunities have been able to learn that mission is no longer a North-South orEast-West movement. Therefore, we need to go beyond the present geographicconfines; mission, today, extends to all five continents. We must recognizethat even in traditionally Christian countries, there are sectors and areasforeign to the faith, because in them people have never encountered the faithand not simply as a result of drifting from the Church. Going beyondcontinental borders means having the energy to raise the question of God inevery step of the process of encountering, interchanging and reconstructingsocial relations which are taking place everywhere. The Synod could be a placefor a fruitful exchange of these experiences.
71. The economic sector, with its changes, hasalso been seen as a favourable place in witnessing to our faith. Many responsesdescribed the efforts of many Christian communities on behalf of the poor, anactivity which can boast of ancient origins and a fruitfulness which is stillvery promising. In today’s serious, widespread economic crisis, many responseshave mentioned an increase in charitable activity by Christian communitiesthrough the establishment of additional institutions dedicated to supportingthe poor, and programmes within particular Churches to develop a greaterawareness of charitable work. Many responses wanted the works of charity to begiven greater prominence as an instrument of the new evangelization. Thededication and solidarity of many Christian communities towards the poor, thecharitable works in which they are engaged and the simplicity of theirlife-style in a world which places great emphasis on buying and having, are aparticularly beneficial means in proclaiming the Gospel and witnessing to ourfaith.72. The religious sector had particular resonance in the Church. Theresponses to the Lineamenta first mentioned ecumenical dialogue, repeatedlyemphasizing how these various changes have fostered the development of majorecumenical endeavours. Realistically speaking, they also recounted difficulttimes and tense moments which are being addressed with patience anddetermination. The new situations taking place within the various sectors,where we as Christians are called to live out our faith and proclaim theGospel, have revealed the necessity for a real unity among Christians, which isnot to be seen merely as cordial relations or cooperation in somejoint-project, but rather as the desire to let ourselves be transformed by theSpirit, so that we may increasingly be conformed to the image of Christ. Thisunity is essentially spiritual in nature and must be prayed for, even before itis actually realized. If this ecumenical aspect is to be a part of theconversion and renewal of the Church’s members, which is called for by the currentcrisis, efforts must continue to be made, in a convincing way, to see allChristians as united in showing the world the prophetic and transforming powerof the Gospel message. This is an imposing task which can only be met in acommunal effort, guided by the Spirit of the Risen Christ, who left us amandate in his prayer: “That they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).
73. Secondly, the religious sector concernsinterreligious dialogue, which, in a variety of ways, is a necessity todaythroughout the world. Interreligious dialogue has already had some positiveresults. The countries of an ancient Christian tradition see in the expandingpresence of the great religions, particularly Islam, an incentive to developnew forms of involvement, visibility and proposing the Christian faith.Generally speaking, interreligious dialogue and discussion with the greatreligions of the East can be an opportunity for our Christian communities todeepen their understanding of our faith, in virtue of the questions that such adiscussion raise in us, questions about the course of human history and God’spresence in it. Interreligious dialogue also provides an occasion to refine theinstruments of dialogue and the places of collaboration in developing peace inan increasingly human society.
74. The responses describe a very differentsituation in those places where the Church is in the minority. In those caseswhere Churches are free to profess their faith and live their religion,minority status is seen as an opportunity to give Christianity greatervisibility, to seek avenues of involvement in the world and to work to bringabout change. However, where persecution is part of the minority status,evangelization is more closely aligned to what Jesus experienced in his beingfaithful, even to the cross. Such a situation reveals the bond existing betweenevangelization and the cross. These Churches bear witness to this closeassociation as a gift to the entire Church, a fact which these Churches shouldnot overlook themselves. These Churches rightly serve as a reminder thatevangelization cannot be measured in quantitative terms of success.
75. The renewal to which we are called isgreatly assisted by the Eastern Catholic Churchesand those Christian communities which, either in the past or in the present,are hidden, marginalized, persecuted and experiencing intolerance of an ethnic,ideological or religious nature. Their faith-witness, perseverance, resiliency,enduring hope and the intuitive character of certain pastoral practices are agift to be shared with those Christian communities which, having had a gloriouspast, are now showing signs of weariness and a dispersion of energy. Churchesunaccustomed to practicing the faith in a minority situation can certainlybenefit from hearing experiences which can instill the necessary couragerequired in the work of a new evangelization. Even more spiritual benefits cancome from welcoming those who are forced to leave their homelands because ofpersecution and who bear in their spirit the untold richness of the signs ofmartyrdom which they have personally experienced.
MISSION AD GENTES, PASTORAL CARE AND A NEW EVANGELIZATION
76. Discernment for a new evangelization clearly acknowledgesthe profound change which is presently taking place in the Church’sevangelizing mission. Traditional, established concepts — formally denoted bythe terms “countries of ancient Christianity” and “mission lands” — are nolonger suitable. At present, these terms seem overly simplified and referringto outdated situations; they fail to provide useful models for Christiancommunities today. Pope John Paul II observed: “The boundaries between pastoralcare of the faithful, new evangelization and specific missionary activity arenot clearly definable, and it is unthinkable to create barriers between them orto put them into watertight compartments. [...] The Churches in traditionallyChristian countries, for example, involved as they are in the challenging taskof new evangelization, are coming to understand more clearly that they cannotbe missionaries to non-Christians in other countries and continents, unlessthey are seriously concerned about the non-Christians at home. Hence missionaryactivity ad intra is a credible sign and a stimulus for missionary activity adextra, and vice versa.”
77. Despite varying emphasis and factors relatedto cultures and history, the responses to the Lineamenta well understood thedifferent nature of the new evangelization. They see it not as simply replacingolder forms of pastoral activity (the first evangelization, pastoral care) withnewer forms, but rather as initiating a process of renewal in the Church'sfundamental mission. Questioning herself on how to evangelize today, the Churchdoes not exclude examining herself and the quality of evangelization in hercommunities. The new evangelization is the duty of everyone in the Church(individuals, communities, parishes, dioceses, bishops' conferences, movements,groups and other ecclesial realities as well as religious and consecratedpersons) to examine the Church’s life and pastoral activity by closelyconsidering, according to the Gospel, the calibre of one’s life of faith andthe ability to be actively involved in proclaiming the Gospel.
78. According to the various responses, thisexamination resulted in three basic requirements: 1) the ability to discern ora capacity to place oneself within the present circumstances, unwavering in theconviction that, within this context, the Gospel can still be proclaimed andthe Christian faith lived; 2) the ability to live forms of fundamental andauthentic adhesion to the Christian faith, whose simple character can alreadyserve as a witness to the transforming power of God in our history; and 3) aclear and visible bond with the Church, capable of making her missionary andapostolic character perceptible. These requirements are submitted to theconsideration of the Synod Assembly in the hope that, through itsdeliberations, the Church might receive assistance in following the path of conversioncalled for by the new evangelization.79. Many particular Churches, at the timethey received the text of the Lineamenta, were already engaged in examining andre-planning their pastoral programmes based on these requirements. Some usedthe term “missionary renewal” to describe their work; others “a pastoralprogramme of conversion”. All were in strong agreement that the heart of thenew evangelization is the Church’s renewed commitment to her missionarymandate, given by the Lord Jesus Christ, who willed her and sent her into theworld, so that she might be guided by the Holy Spirit in bearing witness to thesalvation she has received and in proclaiming the face of God the Father, whotook the initial step in this work of salvation.
PARISH TRANSFORMATION AND THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
80. Many responses describe a Church stronglyengaged in the work of transformation by being present among people and withinsociety. The younger Churches are working to enliven parishes which areoftentimes extensive, animating them internally through a programme, dependingon geographic and ecclesial contexts, called “Basic Christian Communities” or“Small Christian Communities”. Their stated purpose is to foster a Christianlife which is better capable of sustaining the faith of their members andilluminating, through their witness, various areas of society, particularly inlarge, sprawling cities. The older, more-established Churches are reviewingtheir parish programmes which are being administered with increased difficultyas a result of a decrease in the number of the clergy and a decline inChristian practice. They are seeking to avoid the danger that their work becomemerely bureaucratic and administrative and lead to undesired effects, namelythat particular Churches, already too busy with operational problems, might, inthe end, become exclusively concerned with themselves. In this regard, manyresponses refer to the idea of a “pastoral unity” as a means of combining aparish renewal programme with a cooperative endeavour among other parishes, soas to create a more community-minded particular Church.
81. The new evangelization is a call to theChurch to rediscover her missionary origins. According to many responses, thenew evangelization can devote work in this area to leading Christiancommunities to be less concentrated on themselves inwardly in the midst of thechanges already taking place and more engaged in proclaiming the faith toothers. In this regard, much is expected from parishes that are seen as anentryway, open to everyone in every place on the globe, to the Christian faithand an experience of the Church. In addition to their being the place forordinary pastoral life, liturgical celebrations, the dispensation of thesacraments, catechesis and the catechumenate, parishes have the responsibilityto become real centres for propagating and bearing witness to the Christianexperience and places for attentively listening to people and ascertainingtheir needs. Parishes are places where a person receives instruction onsearching for the truth, where faith is nourished and strengthened and wherethe Christian message and God’s plan for humanity and the world iscommunicated. They are the prime communities for experiencing the joy thatcomes from being not only gathered together by the Spirit but prepared to liveone’s proper vocation as a missionary.82. In this regard, the Church has manyresources at her service. The responses agree that the first resource is thegreat number of baptized lay people who are engaged in and decisively continuetheir voluntary service of building up the parish community. Many responsesrefer to the flowering of the vocation of the laity as one of the fruits of theSecond Vatican Council and list other resources, namely, communities ofconsecrated life; various ecclesial groups and movements which, through theirfervour, their energy and, above all, their faith, give a strong impetus torenewal in ecclesial settings; and the many devotional shrine-centres, which,in particular Churches, serve to call people to the faith.
83. In recounting these obvious hope-filledsigns, the responses to the Lineamenta indicate that the path taken is a slowbut effective work of reforming our manner of “being Church” among people andavoiding the pitfalls of sectarianism and a “civil religion”, all the whileretaining the form of a missionary Church. In other words, the Church must notlose her image of being a Church near to people and their families. Even wherethe Church is in the minority or the victim of discrimination, she must notlose her prerogative of remaining close to people in their everyday lives and,in that very place, announcing the life-giving message of the Gospel. Pope JohnPaul II stated that the new evangelization means to remake the Christian fabricof human society and the fabric of the Christian communities. It meansassisting the Church to continue to be present “in the midst of the homes ofher sons and daughters,” so as to animate their lives and direct them to theKingdom that is to come.
84. Separate consideration is given to thequestion of the lack of priests. All the responses voiced concern about theinsufficient number of priests, which negatively affects a calm, effectiveexercise of the manner of “being Church”. Some responses made a detailedanalysis of the problem, treating this crisis alongside that of marriage andChristian families. Many mentioned the need to envision a more integratedorganization of the local Church, involving lay people along with priests inthe animation of the community. These responses mentioned that synod discussioncould bring clarity to the matter and result in prospects for the future.Almost all the responses call for the whole Church to engage in a strongpastoral programme on behalf of priestly vocations, which begins in prayer andcalls upon all priests and clerical religious to live in such a way as to bearwitness to the attractiveness of their vocation and to seek ways of speaking toyoung people. The same applies to vocations to the consecrated life, especiallythose for women.In view of the new evangelization, some responses also stressedthe importance of an adequate formation programme not only in seminaries andnovitiates but also in academic institutions.
A DEFINITION AND ITS MEANING
85. The convocation of the Synod and thesubsequent establishment of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the NewEvangelization provide still another step in refining the meaning of the term“new evangelization”. Addressing the Pontifical Council for the NewEvangelization, Pope Benedict XVI specified its content: “Making my own theconcerns of my venerable Predecessors, I consider it opportune to offerappropriate responses so that the entire Church, allowing herself to beregenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, may present herself to thecontemporary world with a missionary impulse in order to promote the newevangelization. Above all, this pertains to Churches of ancient origin. [...]And yet it is not difficult to see that what all the Churches living intraditionally Christian territories need is a renewed missionary impulse, anexpression of a new, generous openness to the gift of grace.” Meanwhile, in thewake of Redemptoris missio, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith furtherclarified the meaning of the concept of the new evangelization by proposing adefinition: “In its precise sense, evangelization is the missio ad gentesdirected to those who do not know Christ. In a wider sense, it is used todescribe ordinary pastoral work, while the phrase ‘new evangelization’designates pastoral outreach to those who no longer practice the Christianfaith.” This definition was later taken up in the Post-Synodal ApostolicExhortation Africae munus.
86. Consequently, these texts indicate thegeographic area for the new evangelization, though not exclusively, asprimarily the Christian West and identify the persons to whom it is directed,namely, the baptized in our communities who are experiencing a new existentialand cultural situation, which, in fact, has imperilled their faith and theirwitness. The new evangelization consists in viewing real-life situations, areasof living and pastoral activity in such a way as to allow these people to leavethe “interior desert”, an image used by Pope Benedict XVI to represent thecurrent human condition which is caught in a world that has virtuallyeliminated from view any question of God. The specific task of the newevangelization is having the courage to raise again the question of God in theseplaces and situations and to restore a high quality and motivation to the faithin many of our Churches of ancient origins.
87. This definition, however, serves as anexample and is not intended to be exclusive. In other words, the West is one ofmany places of the new evangelization and is not the only place for itsactivity. The definition allows us to understand the extensive work of the newevangelization, which cannot be reduced simply to updating certain pastoralpractices, but, instead, demands the development of a very serious, thoroughexamination and understanding of the root causes of the situation in theChristian West. The urgent natureof the new evangelization, therefore, is not limited to the above situationonly. Pope Benedict XVI stated: “In Africatoo, situations demanding a new presentation of the Gospel, ‘new in its ardour,methods and expression’, are not rare. [...] The new evangelization is anurgent task for Christians in Africa becausethey too need to reawaken their enthusiasm for being members of the Church.Guided by the Spirit of the risen Lord, they are called to live the Good Newsas individuals, in their families and in society, and to proclaim it with freshzeal to persons near and far, using the new methods that divine Providence has placed atour disposal for its spread.” These same words are to be applied by Christiansto particular situations in America,Asia, Europe and Oceania, continents where theChurch has long been active in promoting the new evangelization.
88. The new evangelization is also the namegiven to a spiritual reawakening and the reanimation of a process of conversionwhich the Church asks of herself, all her communities and all the baptized.Consequently, this reality is not the concern of well-defined regions only, butthe means to explain everywhere the teaching of the Apostles and put thoseteachings into practice in our day. Through the new evangelization, the Churchseeks to insert the very original and specific character of her teachings into today’sworld and everyday discussion. She wants to be the place where God can beexperienced even now, and where, under the guidance of the Spirit of the RisenChrist, we allow ourselves to be transformed by the gift of faith. The Gospelis always a new proclamation of salvation, accomplished by Jesus Christ, tomake every human life share in the mystery of God and his life of love, therebyopening human life to a future of hope, which is inspiring and trustworthy.Emphasizing the Church’s call to undertake a new evangelization at this momentin history means intensifying the Church’s missionary activity so as to respondfully to the Lord's mandate.
89. No area in the Church is outside theparameters of this programme; nor should anyone feel exempt. The Churches of along Christian tradition, above all, have to deal with the practical problemthat many have abandoned the faith. To a lesser extent, the same problem alsoexists in younger Churches, especially in large cities and some heavilyinfluenced areas of society and cultures. The great social and culturalchallenges presently being created by rapidly expanding urban centres,especially in developing countries, are certainly fertile ground for the newevangelization. Consequently, the new evangelization also concerns the youngerChurches. Their work of inculturation demands continual examination so that theGospel, which purifies and elevates culture, can be introduced into culturalsettings and, in a particular way, open them to its newness. Generally speaking,all Christian communities need a new evangelization simply by being engaged ina pastoral ministry which seems increasingly difficult to exercise and which isin danger of becoming a routine matter, and thus little able to communicate itsoriginal intent.
TRANSMITTING THE FAITH
“And they devoted themselves to the Apostles'teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
] And day by day, attending the temple togetherand¼[ breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts andpraising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord
added to their number day by day those who werebeing saved” (Acts 2:42, 46-47).
90. As stated in the topic for the synod, the purpose of thenew evangelization is the transmission of the faith. The Second Vatican Councilrecalls the complex nature of this process which fully involves the Christianfaith and life of the Church in an experience of God's revelation: “In hisgracious goodness, God has seen to it that what he had revealed for thesalvation of all nations would abide perpetually in its full integrity and behanded on to all generations.” “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form onesacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast tothis deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain alwayssteadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breakingof the bread and in prayers (cf. Acts 2:42), so that holding to, practicing andprofessing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops andfaithful a single common effort.”
91. The Acts of the Apostles illustrates that aperson cannot convey what is not believed or lived. The Gospel cannot betransmitted in a life which is not modelled after the Gospel or a life whichdoes not find its meaning, truth and future based on the Gospel. Like theApostles, we, even today, have access to a life of communion with the Father,in Jesus Christ, through his Spirit who transforms us and equips us to not onlytransmit the faith which we live but also elicit a response in those whom theSpirit has already prepared with his presence and action (cf. Acts 16:14). Afruitful proclamation of the Word of the Gospel calls for profound communionamong God's children which is a distinguishing sign accompanying proclamation,as St. John theApostle recalls: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men willknow that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”(Jn 13:34,35).
92. Announcing and proclaiming is not the taskof any one person or a select few, but rather a gift given to every person whoanswers the call to faith. Transmitting the faith is not the work of oneindividual only, but instead, is the responsibility of every Christian and thewhole Church, who in this very activity continually rediscovers her identity asa People gathered together by the Spirit to live Christ’s presence among us anddiscover the true face of God, who is Father.The transmission of the faith is afundamental act of the Church, which leads Christian communities to articulate,in a strict sense, the basic works of the life of faith, namely, charity,witness, proclamation, celebration, listening and sharing. Evangelization mustbe perceived as the process by which the Church, moved by the Spirit, proclaimsand spreads the Gospel throughout the world. Compelled by love, evangelizationpermeates and transforms the whole temporal order, assuming and renewingcultures. Evangelization openly proclaims the Gospel and is a call toconversion. Through catechesis and the Sacraments of Initiation, evangelizationguides those who have turned to Jesus Christ, or those who have returned to theroad of discipleship, incorporating the former and reinstating the latter intothe Christian community. Evangelization constantly nourishes the gift ofcommunion among the faithful through the teaching of the faith, the celebrationof the sacraments and the works of charity. Evangelization is a constantstimulus to mission, which sends forth all Christ’s disciples to every part ofthe globe to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed. Through the discernmentwhich is necessary in the new evangelization, the Church is discovering thatthe process of transmitting the faith needs to be re-awakened in manycommunities.
THE PRIMACY OF FAITH
93. In proclaiming The Year of the Faith, PopeBenedict XVI recalled a similar initiative by Paul VI in 1967 and restated thereasoning which was given at that time, namely, to provide a solemn moment forthe whole Church to profess the one faith, a profession which was to be“individual and collective, free, conscious, inward and outward, humble andfrank.” Fully aware of the serious difficulties of the time, especiallyregarding professing the true tenets of the faith and its correctinterpretation, Pope Paul VI saw this initiative as a way of prompting aprofound interior and missionary renewal within the Church.
94. Pope Benedict XVI shares this perspective ininsisting that The Year of Faith is an occasion to ensure that the essentialelements of the faith, professed by all believers over the centuries, arere-stated and examined, always in a new manner, so as to bear witness to thefaith in a coherent way in an entirely different historical situation from thepast. The danger exists that the faith, which establishes a life of communionwith God and serves as a doorway into his Church, might not be properlyunderstood in its deepest sense, or not actually taken up and lived byChristians as a means of transforming lives through the great gift of divinesonship and fellowship in the Church.95. The responses to the Lineamenta referto such a danger and point out with regret that many communities lack aninstruction programme geared to the growth and development of a mature faith.Despite the efforts made in recent decades, several responses indicate thatthis work of formation is in its initial stages. The principal obstacles to thetransmission of the faith are the same everywhere and arise from within theChurch and the Christian life, namely, a faith which is lived in a private andpassive manner; a person’s not feeling the need to be instructed in the faith;and a separation of faith from life. The responses also mention obstacles fromoutside the Christian life, especially from culture, that make it difficult andperilous to live and transmit the faith: consumerism and hedonism, culturalnihilism; and a closure on transcendence which extinguishes any need forsalvation. The Synod could provide the occasion to reflect on the aboveassessment so as to assist Christian communities find the proper remedies forthese problems.
96. At the same time, the responses refer topromising signs of renewal in the faith and a return to giving due primacy tothe faith through awareness and formation programmes in particular Churches andthe good example of communities of the consecrated life and ecclesial groupsand movements.
An increase in the quality of life of theChristian community itself and the development of its members is one of theprimary benefits of this transformation. Considering one’s faith as aGod-experience and the centre of one’s life is seen by many particular Churchesas a goal of the celebration of the Synod on the new evangelization fortransforming people’s everyday lives.
THE CHURCH TRANSMITS THE FAITH WHICH SHE HERSELFLIVES
97. The best place to transmit the faith is a communitynourished and transformed by the liturgical life and prayer. An intrinsicrelationship exists between faith and the liturgy: lex orandi, lex credendi.“Without the liturgy and the sacraments, the profession of faith would lackefficacy, because it would lack the grace which supports Christian witness.”“The liturgy, ‘through which the work of our redemption is accomplished,’ mostof all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding meanswhereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, themystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.”
In this regard, the responses to the Lineamentarecount the many initiatives undertaken to help Christian communities live theprofound nature of the liturgy. The liturgy and a life of prayer transform aChristian community from a simple gathering of people into a community whichcelebrates and transmits the Trinitarian faith in God the Father, Son and HolySpirit.The two previous ordinary general assemblies, which treated theEucharist and the Word of God in the life of the Church, were seen to providegreat assistance in fruitfully continuing the reception and development ofliturgical reform initiated at the Second Vatican Council through theirhighlighting the centrality of the mystery of the Eucharist and the Word of Godin the life of the Church.
Within this framework, several responses mentionthe importance of lectio divina (personal and communal) which is seen as thenatural setting for evangelization. Prayer provides ample opportunity to listento the Word of God, thereby bringing the life of faith and prayer to itsinexhaustible source. God speaks, calls , questions, guides, enlightens andjudges. If “faith comes from what is heard” (Rm 10:17), listening to the Wordof God is for both the individual believer and the Church a simple but powerfulmeans of evangelization and renewal in the grace of God.
98. The responses refer to the success ofChristian communities in rediscovering the profound value of the liturgy, whichis, at one and the same time, divine worship, the proclamation of the Gospeland love in action.Many responses gave particular attention to the Sacrament ofReconciliation, which has almost disappeared from the lives of many Christians,and focussed on the very positive experiences when the Sacrament is celebratedat special moments, e.g., World Youth Day and pilgrimages to shrines. However,even these moments of celebration have been unable to positively affect theoverall practice of sacramental reconciliation.
99. The responses to the Lineamenta alsoreflected on the subject of prayer, stressing, on the one hand, some positiveelements, namely: a certain diffusion of the celebration of the Liturgy of theHours (by Christian communities and also persons individually); a rediscoveryof Eucharistic adoration as a source of personal prayer; an increase in thenumber of groups for listening and prayer on the Word of God; and thespontaneous formation of Marian, charismatic and devotional groups. On theother hand, some responses emphasized the complex character between thecelebration of the Christian faith and various forms of popular piety. Whilerecognizing some mutual benefits, they also noted the danger of syncretism anda degradation of the faith.
THE PEDAGOGY OF THE FAITH
100. Faithful to the Lord, from the verybeginning of her history, the Church has taken the truth in the biblicalaccounts and has experienced it in ritual, reunited it in a synthesis as a ruleof faith, which is The Symbol of Faith, translated it into a guide for livingand lives it in a filial relationship with God. This has been summed up by PopeBenedict XVI in his letter proclaiming The Year of Faith. While quoting fromthe Apostolic Constitution promulgating The Catechism of the Catholic Church, henotes that for the faith to be transmitted, it must be “professed, celebrated,lived and prayed.” Thus, startingfrom the fundamental elements taken from Sacred Scripture, ecclesial traditionhas created a pedagogy for transmitting the faith, which is developed accordingto the four major divisions of the Roman Catechism: the Creed, the sacraments,the commandments and the Lord's Prayer. On one side are the mysteries of faithin God, One-in-Three, as they are professed (The Symbol of the Faith) and celebrated(sacraments); and on the other, human life in conformity with that faith (afaith which becomes operative through love) which is realized in a Christianway of life (the Decalogue) and filial prayer (Our Father). Today, these fourgeneral headings serve as the general format for The Catechism of the CatholicChurch.
101. The Catechism of the Catholic Church wasgiven to the Church by Pope John Paul II for a dual purpose, namely, to setforth the basic tenets of the faith and, at the same time, to indicate thepedagogy for its transmission. Its goal is to stir faith to life in the heartof every believer, in its entirety, which is both proposing the truth andadhering to it. Faith is essentially a gift from God which promptsself-abandonment to the Lord Jesus. In this way, adhesion to the content offaith becomes a state of mind, a decision to follow Jesus and to conform one'slife to his, a conformity which permits us to enter into the profoundpedagogical structure of the faith. St. Paul well describes the experience, in the followingmanner: “For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesseswith his lips and so is saved” (Rm 10:10). “In fact, there exists a profoundunity between the act by which we believe and the content to which we give ourassent. [...] knowing the content to be believed is not sufficient unless theheart, [...] is opened by grace that allows the eyes to see below the surfaceand to understand that what has been proclaimed is the word of God.”
By attentively considering the format and deepmeaning of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, on the twentieth anniversaryof its publication, the synodal assembly can discover the great efforts theChurch has made in recent decades in catechetical renewal. The responses to theLineamenta describe the great strides in the process of assessing and planningwhich was done to improve catechesis and programmes of faith formation. Theseprogrammes include editing texts and initiatives for forming catechists to notonly use the new instruments available today but also come to a fullunderstanding of the multi-sided nature of their mission.102. Reports in thisarea are generally positive and refer to the serious efforts which are beingmade by various bodies in the Church (the synods of bishops of the EasternCatholic Churches sui iuris, the episcopal conferences, diocesan or eparchialcentres, parish communities, individual catechists, and theological andpastoral institutes) to realize and develop in all of her members a faith whichis better understood and shared. Furthermore, the responses demonstrate thatthe Church has at her disposal the necessary means to transmit the faith. Acritical assessment of these means and their use is facilitated by thepublication of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which also provides the Eastern Catholic Churchesand episcopal conferences a point of reference in giving unity and clarity tothe Church's catechetical activity.
103. The responses also include an evaluation ofall the initiatives which have been undertaken for rendering an account of ourfaith today. Despite the efforts, however, many obstacles still remain in thetransmission of faith, especially the very rapid changes in cultures, whichhave become more incisive on the Christian faith, and the many fronts open tothe development of knowledge and technology. The responses insist thatcatechesis be looked upon more as a part of sacramental preparation in itsvarious stages and not simply ongoing instruction in the faith of Christians.
104. The secularization of culture has alsoshown that the various methods of catechesis show signs of vitality but are notalways allowed to reach full development in transmitting the faith. The synod'sdeliberations could therefore continue the task begun at the Synod onCatechesis, namely, to devise a way of transmitting the faith today which isbased on the fundamental law of catechesis, that is, the principle offaithfulness to God and the person, done out of love. The Synod could discusshow to devise a programme of catechesis which is both basic and complete andable to transmit fully the core elements of the faith, and, at the same time,knows how to speak to people today, in their cultures, while listening to theirquestions and inspiring their search for truth, goodness and beauty.
THE PERSONS INVOLVED IN THE TRANSMISSION OF THEFAITH
105. The transmission of the faith involves the whole Churchwhich is manifested in the particular Churches, eparchies and dioceses, wherethe proclamation, transmission and lived experience of the Gospel are realized.Moreover, these particular Churches, in addition to being agents in thetransmission of the faith, are also the fruit of this action of proclaiming theGospel and transmitting the faith, as we recall in the experience of theprimitive Christian community (cf. Acts 2:42-47). The Spirit gathers believersinto communities where they live their faith in a fervent manner, nourishthemselves by listening to the word of the Apostles and by celebrating theEucharist and spend their lives in proclaiming the Kingdom of God.The Second Vatican Council relied on these words to describe the basis ofidentity for every Christian community, when it stated that “this Church ofChrist is truly present in all legitimate local congregations of the faithfulwhich, united with their pastors, are themselves called Churches in the NewTestament. For in their locality, these are the new People called by God, inthe Holy Spirit and in much fullness (cf. 1 Thess 1:5). In them the faithfulare gathered together by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and the mysteryof the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, so that by the flesh and blood of theLord's body all the brethren might be joined together.”
106. This passage from the Council is beingconcretely fulfilled and can oftentimes describe the real-life situation of ourChurches through their transmitting the faith and proclaiming the Gospel ingeneral. The responses emphasized the fact that, in recent decades, the numberof Christians who have spontaneously and freely undertaken this task has beentruly noteworthy and has characterized the life of communities as a true giftof the Spirit. Pastoral activity in the transmission of the faith has permittedthe Church to enter different, local, social settings, and from within, displaythe richness and variety of her ministries, which bring life to everydayexistence. In this way, the Church has been able to understand, in a new way,the whole idea of the participation of the various persons in the Christiancommunity (priests, parents, religious, catechists), in union with the bishop,each exercising a proper task and responsibility.
107. As previously stated, the proclamation ofthe Gospel and the transmission of faith can become a positive impetus infacing the changes which are being closely monitored by parish communities. Theresponses ask that a central position in the new evangelization be given to theparish, community of communities, not simply as a place for religious servicesto be celebrated but as a gathering place for families, Bible groups andrenewed lay involvement, where a true sense of the Church is experiencedthrough a most authentically lived celebration of the sacraments and theirmeaning. The synod fathers should examine the vocation of the parish as a pointof reference and coordination for a wide range of Church realities and pastoralinitiatives.
108. In addition to the irreplaceable role ofthe Christian community as a whole, the task of transmitting the faith andteaching persons how to live the Christian life involves a variety ofChristians. The responses primarily make an appeal to catechists. Theyacknowledge the gift of faith received by many Christians who, freely andbeginning with their own faith, have made a unique and irreplaceablecontribution in the proclamation of the Gospel and the transmission of thefaith, especially in Churches which have been evangelized in the lastcenturies. According to some responses, the new evangelization calls for a greaterinvolvement of catechists and, likewise, a greater commitment by the Church ontheir behalf. Catechists are immediate witnesses and irreplaceableevangelizers, who represent the basic strength of Christian communities. TheChurch needs to reflect more deeply on their task and provide them with morestable living conditions and greater training and visibility in their service.With this in mind, the Synod Assembly, while taking into consideration theresults of the studies already undertaken in recent decades, can raise thepossibility of giving the catechist an instituted, stable ministry within theChurch. At this great moment of renewal in proclaiming and transmitting thefaith, a decision to that effect would be seen as a very strong support and resourcein the new evangelization called for in the Church. 109. Various responses highlight theimportant role and dedication of deacons and many women who are involved incatechesis. In other responses, these positive findings are followed by ones ofconcern. In recent years, due to a declining number of priests and their beingforced to minister to more than one Christian community, the practice ofdelegating to lay people their work of catechising is becoming increasinglywidespread. The responses want the Synod to help people better understand thepresent changes in how a priest is called upon to live out his priestlyidentity today. In this way, the Synod can give some direction to these changesand safeguard what is specifically and uniquely related to the ministry of thepriest in the field of evangelization and the transmission of faith. Generallyspeaking, synod discussion could assist Christian communities to give a renewedmissionary sense to the ministry of priests, deacons and catechists, who are presentlyworking among them.
THE FAMILY, THE MODEL-PLACE FOR EVANGELIZATION
110. In treating the persons involved in thetransmission of the faith, the responses devote considerable attention to thefamily. The Christian message on marriage and family is considered a great giftwhich makes the family the model-place for witnessing to faith, because of itsprophetic capacity in living the core values of the Christian experience. Thosevalues include: the dignity and complementary nature of man and woman, createdin the image of God (cf. Gn 1:27); openness to life; sharing and communion;dedication to the most vulnerable; and a focus on formation and trust in God asthe source of love, the basis for family unity. Many particular Churches callfor and are engaged in the pastoral care of the family, precisely in view ofits missionary calling and witnessing to the faith.
111. At the same time, the Church acknowledgesthe family’s responsibility in the formation and transmission of the Christianfaith from the very beginning of human life. The close bond between the Churchand the family arise from the assistance which the Church seeks to give to thefamily and that which she expects from the family. Oftentimes, families aresubjected to great stress due to the hectic pace of life, the uncertainty ofwork, increasing instability and fatigue in the education of children which isbecoming more difficult. Aware of these difficulties, the family needs thesupport which comes from feeling a part of a community and being accepted andlistened to. The family likewise needs to be bolstered not only by theproclamation of the Gospel but also by guidance in its work of education. Thecommonly shared goal is to give the family an increasingly active role in theprocess of the transmission of the faith.112. The responses relate thedifficulties and needs facing many families today, including Christianfamilies, namely, the need for support which is increasingly evident in themany situations of pain and failure in faith- formation, especially inchildren. Various responses speak of organizing groups of families (locally orbased on shared experiences and the ecclesial movements), inspired by theChristian faith, which have allowed many couples better to cope with thedifficulties they are encountering. In so doing, they also render a cleartestimony to the Christian faith.
113. According to many responses, these groupsof families are one of the fruits produced in Christian communities by theproclamation of the faith. In this regard, the responses express an optimismconcerning: the resilient nature of many Christian communities, even those inpassing, precarious situations; the faithfulness with which they communallycelebrate the faith; and the availability, however limited, of their resourcesto relieve the poor and to bear witness to the Gospel in a simple manner eachday.
CALLED TO EVANGELIZE
114. The responses look to the consecrated life as a gift tobe received with gratitude. In the transmission of the faith and the proclamationof the Gospel, they speak of the important contributions of the great religiousorders and the many forms of consecrated life — especially the mendicant ordersand apostolic and secular institutes — in their continuing prophetic andevangelizing charisms, despite internal difficulties and moments of renewal intheir way of life. From the vantage point of faith, their presence, even ifhidden from sight, is seen as a source of many spiritual blessings in themissionary mandate which the Church is presently called to fulfill. Many localChurches recognize the importance of this prophetic witness to the Gospel as adynamic source of energy in the life of faith of entire Christian communitiesand a great number of the baptized.
Many responses voiced their hope that theconsecrated life will continue to make an essential contribution to the newevangelization, especially in education, healthcare and pastoral activity,primarily among the poor and those most in need of spiritual and materialassistance.
While treating this subject of the newevangelization, the responses also wanted to acknowledge the invaluable supportcoming from the contemplative life, especially monasteries. History has proventhat the relation of monasticism and contemplation to evangelization is strongand the bearer of many fruits. The contemplative life is the core of theChurch’s existence which keeps alive the essence of the Gospel, the primacy ofthe faith and the celebration of the liturgy and gives a meaning to silence andall the other activities undertaken for the glory of God.115. Within the lastdecade, another gift of Divine Providence to the Church is the flowering ofgroups and movements, oftentimes in an spontaneous, spirit-filled manner,dedicated primarily to proclaiming the Gospel. In considering these groups andmovements, various responses recounted characteristics of a way of life whichare essential to communities and individual Christians, if they are to renderan account for their faith. These characteristics are related to the calibre ofthe so-called “new evangelizers”, namely: the ability to live out and givereasons for their choice of life and the values they espouse; a desire toprofess their faith in a public manner, without fear or false modesty; activelyseeking moments of lived communion through prayer and fraternal sharing; aninstinctive preference for the poor and the downtrodden; and a zeal in the workof forming succeeding generations.
116. The responses’ strong emphasis on charismsas an important resource in the new evangelization deserves further discussionat the Synod for a better understanding of the various aspects of the subject,not only ascertaining where these resources exist, but also asking how theiractivities can be integrated in the life of the missionary Church. The synodfathers are called upon to discuss the relationship between charism andinstitution, between charismatic gifts and hierarchical gifts , in the concretesituations of dioceses and their missionary endeavours. This could lead toeliminating the obstacles denounced in some responses which neglect the fullintegration of the charisms in support of the new evangelization. Variousresponses also request the treatment of the “coessentiality” of these gifts ofthe Spirit, in the life and mission of the Church, in light of the newevangelization. This reflection could then result in more incisive pastoralmeans which better value the resources provided by the various charisms.
117. In treating the emergence of these newexperiences and forms of evangelization, the responses also refer to the greatmovements, institutions and associations for evangelization, such as CatholicAction, which have arisen in the course of the history of Christianity. Theirworks clearly show the radical nature of the Gospel animating these types ofexperiences and their prophetic vocation to proclaim the Gospel. The admirableand joyous character of their life inspires vocations, a gift to the Church.Several responses relate that some older forms of consecrated life and thesenew movements have begun a mutual exchange of gifts.
GIVING AN ACCOUNT FOR ONE’S FAITH
118. Present-day situations demand that the taskof proclaiming and handing on the faith, incumbent on every Christian, berendered more visible and operative. Several responses state that the Church’smost compelling responsibility today is to re-awaken in all the baptized theirbaptismal identity so that each can be a true witness of the Gospel and renderan account for one’s faith. All the faithful, in virtue of their participationin the common priesthood and the prophetic office of Christ, have an importantrole in this task of the Church. The lay faithful, in particular, are calledupon to show how the Christian faith is a valid response to the pressingproblems of life in every age and culture, problems which necessarily affectevery person, even the agnostic and unbeliever. This will be possible only byovercoming the separation of the Gospel from life and reconstructing, in theeveryday activities of the home, work and society, the unity of a life whichfinds its inspiration in the Gospel and, in the same Gospel, the strength torealize it fully. 119. EveryChristian needs to feel the call to engage in this task, which comes from one’sbaptismal identity. Every Christian must seek to be guided by the Holy Spirit,who provides the strength and means to respond to it, each according to one’sproper vocation. These times, in which choosing the faith and following Christis not easy and is little understood by the world — if not outrightly resistedand opposed — make it more compelling for communities and individual Christiansto be courageous witnesses of the Gospel. The reasons underlying such actionscome from St. Peter the Apostle, when he asks us to give an account and respondto anyone who asks us the reason for the hope which is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15).The Spirit indicates for our Christian communities the path to be followed, ifthey are to bring about a new season of witnessing to our faith and new formsof response (apo-logia) to anyone who asks the logos, the reason for our faith.These circumstances provide an occasion to renew ourselves, to make the hopeand salvation given us by Jesus Christ more effectively present in the world inwhich we live. This demands learning a new manner of responding — “withgentleness and respect, with a clear conscience” (1 Pt 3:16). This task invitesus to live life with the gentle power which comes from our identity as childrenof God, from our union with Christ in the Spirit, and from the newness whichthis union has created in us, and with the determination of someone who knowsthat the goal of all living is an encounter with God the Father in his Kingdom.
120. This manner of response must be complete,involving not only a state of mind but personal deeds and public testimony aswell as the internal life of our communities and their missionary zeal. Thiswill not only add greater credibility to the Church’s work in education andselfless dedication to the poor but also strengthen the ability of everyChristian to engage in the conversation taking place in all areas of living andin the workplace, so as to communicate the gift of Christian hope. This mannerof response has to be characterized by zeal, trust and frankness (parresia) asseen in the preaching of the Apostles (cf. Acts 4:31; 9:27-28). The world mustwitness this manner of response, based on the logic of our faith, in not onlythe Church as a whole but the life of every Christian. This manner ofresponding personally involves each of us, as Pope Paul VI recalls: “side byside with the collective proclamation of the Gospel, the other form oftransmission, the person-to-person one, remains valid and important. [...] Itmust not happen that the pressing need to proclaim the Good News to themultitudes should cause us to forget this form of proclamation whereby anindividual's personal conscience is reached and touched by an entirely uniqueword that he receives from someone else.”
121. From this perspective, The Year of Faith’sinvitation to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the Only Saviourof the World, is a beneficial opportunity — not to be left unheeded — for eachbaptized person and entire Christian communities to be the branch which,bearing fruit, is pruned so that “it may bear more fruit” (Jn 15:2), and ableto enrich the world and people’s lives with the gifts of a new life formed bythe radical newness of the Resurrection. In freely submitting oneself to theHoly Spirit, a person’s thoughts, affections, mentality and conduct aregradually purified and transformed in a way which is never fully completed inthis earthly life. This “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6) now becomes thenew standard for understanding and action, changing every aspect of a person’slife (cf. Eph 4:20-29) and bearing new fruits.
THE FRUITS OF THE FAITH
122. The fruits of this transformation, made possible by thelife of faith and generated within the Church as a sign of the life-givingpower of the Gospel, are formed in response to the challenges of our time. Inthis regard, the responses refer to the following fruits: families which are atrue sign of love, sharing and a hope which is open to life; communitiesequipped with a true ecumenical spirit; the courage to support initiatives forsocial justice and solidarity; and the joy of giving one’s life to thepriesthood or the consecrated life. In the new evangelization, the Churchtransmits her faith in all these areas and manifests the Spirit who guides andtransforms history.
123. Just as faith is manifested in love; solove without faith would simply be philanthropy. For the Christian, faith andlove are essential to each other; one supports the other. Many responsesemphasized the witness-value of many Christians who devote their lives in loveto those who are lonely, marginalized or rejected, precisely because the faceof Christ is reflected in these people. Faith allows us to see the face of theRisen Lord in all those who ask for our love: “as you did it to one of theleast of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Faith enables us torecognize Christ in others. Christ’s own love compels us to offer him help,every time Christ makes himself our neighbour on the road of life.
124. Sustained by faith, we look upon our dutyto the world with a spirit of hope, awaiting “new heavens and a new earth inwhich righteousness dwells” (2 Pt 3:13). This same responsibility to evangelizecalls us, as Pope Paul VI stated, “to affect and, as it were upset, through thepower of the Gospel, humanity’s criteria of judgment, determining values,points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models oflife, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation.”Many responses call for the re-motivation of all those who are baptized so thateach can respond with greater dedication to the specific task of evangelizing,through applying the social doctrine of the Church and living the faith in theworld by seeking the true good of everyone, by respecting and promoting thedignity of every person, even to the point — especially in the case of the layfaithful — of becoming actively involved in society and civic life.In the newevangelization, the love shown to those in spiritual and material need, whichis expressed in works of fellowship, solidarity and assistance, speaks louderthan words.
125. A renewed commitment to ecumenism isanother fruit resulting from the Church’s allowing herself to be transformed bythe Gospel of Jesus and his presence. The Second Vatican Council recounts thatthe divisions among Christians are a counter-witness: “Such division openlycontradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holycause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.” Overcoming these divisions isundeniably a part of a fully credible following of Christ. What unitesChristians is much stronger than what divides them. Consequently, we need toencourage each other in seeking to be faithful in witnessing to the Gospel andto learn to grow in unity. In this regard, many particular Churches mentionedthat ecumenism is definitely one of the fruits to be expected from the newevangelization, since both of these activities are intended to foster communionin the visible body of the Church, for the salvation of all.
126. Many responses expect that the newevangelization will also be directed towards people’s attitude towards thetruth. Various areas of contemporary culture display a certain intolerancetowards anything claimed to be the truth. Today, the modern idea is thatfreedom means absolute autonomy from truth, which finds relativism to be theonly way of thinking suitable for living in cultural and religious diversity.In this regard, many responses recommend that our communities and individualChristians — precisely in the name of the truth which sets us free (cf. Jn8:32) — know how to guide people to the truth, to peace and to the defence ofthe dignity of every person, and work against every form of violence and denialof rights. 127. This approach cansurely be tested in interreligious dialogue, which must necessarily treat thesubject of the truth, a quality inherent to any religious experience. Thesearch for God clearly involves, in a supreme way, the freedom of theindividual. This search, however, is truly free when it is open to the truthwhich does not impose itself by force but by the power of its own truth. TheSecond Vatican Council states: “Truth, however, is to be sought in a mannerproper to the dignity of the human person and his social nature. The inquiry isto be free, carried on with the aid of teaching or instruction, communicationand dialogue, in the course of which people explain to one another the truththey have discovered, or think they have discovered, in order thus to assistone another in the quest for truth. Moreover, as the truth is discovered, it isby a personal assent that people are to adhere to it.” The Synod could serve asan occasion to treat the topic of evangelization and the transmission of thefaith from the vantage point of the dual principle of truth-freedom.
128. Finally, discerning the fruits of the newevangelization will also involve the courage to denounce the infidelities andscandals in Christian communities which appear as a sign and consequence of aspiritual decline in the task of proclamation. Courage is necessary toacknowledge faults, while continuing to witness to Jesus Christ and the ongoingneed to be saved. According to the St. Paul, in considering our weaknesses, we can come tosee the power of Christ which saves us (cf. 2 Cor 12:9, Rm 7:14ff). Thepractice of penance as conversion leads to purification and reparation of theconsequences of our mistakes, trusting that the hope which has been given us“does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our heartsthrough the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”(Rm 5:5). Such an approach isa result of the transmission of the faith and proclamation of the Gospel, whichnever fails to renew Christians and their communities, in the first place, asthey witness to the Christian faith in the world.
REVIVIFYING PASTORAL ACTIVITY
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observeall that I have commanded you (Mt 28:19, 20)
129. The command to make disciples of allnations and baptize them gave origin, at different times in the history of theChurch and pastoral practice, to the will to transmit the faith and thenecessity of proclaiming the Gospel in human terms, which are grounded inculture and present within them. This principle is clearly expressed by theSecond Vatican Council: “From the beginning of her history, she [the Church] haslearned to express the message of Christ with the help of the ideas andterminology of various philosophers, and has tried to clarify it with theirwisdom, too. Her purpose has been to adapt the Gospel to the grasp of all aswell as to the needs of the learned, insofar as such was appropriate. Indeedthis accommodated preaching of the revealed word ought to remain the law of allevangelization. [...] With the help of the Holy Spirit, it is the task of theentire People of God, especially pastors and theologians, to hear, distinguishand interpret the many voices of our age, and to judge them in the light of thedivine word, so that revealed truth can always be more deeply penetrated,better understood and set forth to greater advantage.”
130. An increasingly clear understanding of theforms of transmission of the faith, together with the emerging social andcultural changes which are posing challenges to Christianity today, haveprompted the Church to begin a general process of reflection and reassessmentof her pastoral programmes, particularly those devoted to initiation into thefaith, instruction and the proclamation of the message of Christianity. Infact, “since the Church has a visible and social structure as a sign of herunity in Christ, she can and ought to be enriched by the development of humansocial life, not that there is any lack in the constitution given her byChrist, but that she can understand it more penetratingly, express it better,and adjust it more successfully to our times.” Quoting the words of Paul VI inEvangelii nuntiandi, Pope Benedict XVI states that “‘evangelization would notbe complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospeland of man's concrete life, both personal and social.’ [...] Testimony toChrist's charity, through works of justice, peace and development, is part andparcel of evangelization, because Jesus Christ, who loves us, is concerned withthe whole person. These important teachings form the basis for the missionaryaspect of the Church's social doctrine, which is an essential element ofevangelization. The Church's social doctrine proclaims and bears witness tofaith. It is an instrument and an indispensable setting for formation infaith.” These are issues to be explored in the new evangelization, which is“especially concerned with the Church’s service to reconciliation, justice andpeace.”
CHRISTIAN INITIATION, AN EVANGELIZING PROCESS
131. The Lineamenta stated that the way theChurch will know how to oversee the ongoing renewal of her baptismal practiceswill depend on the features Christianity will have in the world in the future,especially in the West, and the ability of the Christian faith to speak totoday's culture. The responses speak of a Church very much involved in thisexamination, which has arrived at certainty on some issues but on others stilldisplays signs of a work yet to be completed and a plan not throughly treated.
132. The first certainty deals with thecustomary form of entrance into the Christian life, namely, infant baptismwhich normally takes place at a reasonably short time after birth. Mostresponses based their findings on existing situations and others on a consciouschoice to study the matter. The younger Churches view the practice of infantbaptism as an indication of the high level of inculturation of Christianity intheir lands. Others, on the contrary, voice a deep concern at the choice bysome baptized parents to postpone the baptism of their child for variousreasons, the most frequent of which concerns the free choice of the child oncehe reaches adulthood.133. A second certainty is the rather common practicetoday of adults and adolescents requesting Baptism. Even though the number ofthose in this category is significantly fewer than that for infant Baptism, thesituation is seen as a gift enabling Christian communities to understand thedeep meaning of Baptism. The course of preparation, the pre-baptismalscrutinies and the celebration of the Sacrament are moments which nourish thefaith of both the catechumen and the community.
134. Moreover, it seems certain that thestructure of the catechumenate, with reference Ordo Initiationis ChristianaeAdultorum, is an apt means for renewing the manner in which children areinitiated into the faith. In recent decades, all particular Churches haveworked to give this process of initiation and instruction a character whichbetter displays its witness and ecclesial aspects. A greater consciousness inthe celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism is expected to lead to a betterparticipation of the baptized later in their Christian life. Efforts were madeto give greater form to the process of Christian initiation, seeking to linkthe sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) and more actively engage parentsand godparents. In fact, many particular Churches have instituted a certainkind of “post-baptismal catechumenate” to renew practices of adherence to thefaith and overcome the separation of liturgy and life, so that the Church mightreally be a mother who raises her children in the faith. 135. Many responses see the newevangelization as an appeal to consolidate past efforts and reforms introducedto strengthen the faith of catechumens and their families, above all, as wellas the community which supports and guides them. Pastoral programmes forBaptism are one of the priorities of the new evangelization.
136. The responses speak of two pointsconcerning the process of Christian initiation: the great variety ofexperiences and the harmony in this diversity. Generally speaking, admission toFirst Communion takes place in elementary school, preceded by a course ofpreparation, which can also have experiences of mystagogy and guidance in lateryears. Greater variety is seen in pastoral practice concerning the Sacrament ofConfirmation which is administered at very different times in life. Differencesin practice are even seen from diocese to diocese.
Drawing on the experience of the Synod on theEucharist, namely, that the various practices are more pastoral than dogmatic,those involved do not express any desire for reform in this matter. On thecontrary, they insist that the current situation displays a richness which isuseful to maintain.In this regard, the differences in practice between the Eastern Catholic Churchesand the Latin Church are not considered so important as to warrant discussion.
137. The Synod is expected to treat the abovematter thoroughly. The synod fathers are asked not only to provide a certainorientation to this variety of practices so as to avoid a dispersion ofenergies, but to do what was requested by the Synod on the Eucharist, namely,to examine “the effectiveness of current approaches to Christian initiation, sothat the faithful can be helped both to mature through the formation receivedin our communities and to give their lives an authentically Eucharisticorientation, so that they can offer a reason for the hope within them in a waysuited to our times (cf. 1 Pt 3:15).” From a theological point of view, we mustbetter understand the sequence of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, whichculminates in the Eucharist, and reflect on models to be translated into deeplymeaningful pastoral practices.
THE DEMANDS OF INITIAL PROCLAMATION
138. On several occasions, the responsesexpressed the need to help local Christian communities, beginning withparishes, to adopt a more missionary presence within society. The recurringappeal is that our communities, in proclaiming the Gospel, might better knowhow to attract people’s attention today and interpret their questioning andsearch for happiness. In a society which has done away with many references toand talk about God, our institutions need to adopt a bold and even “apologetic”approach and seek ways of publically affirming their faith, fearlessly and witha clear sense of pastoral urgency.139. This situation provides the occasion toinitially proclaim the Gospel. The Lineamenta referred to initial proclamationas a means of making an explicit proposal, even better than other forms ofproclamation, of the basic contents of the faith. The initial proclamation ofthe Gospel is primarily directed to those who still do not know Jesus Christ,to unbelievers and those who, in fact, live in religious indifference. Thisproclamation is a call to conversion and must be integrated into other forms ofproclamation and initiation into the faith. While these latter forms are gearedto guiding and developing a faith which is already present, the goal of initialproclamation is a conversion which then remains a constant part of the life ofa Christian.
140. The distinction between these differentforms of proclamation is not always easy to make nor need it be adhered to in astrict sense. Instead, this distinction simply points to two aspects of asingle pastoral action. Initial proclamation compels Christian communities tobe attentive to the faith of persons both within and outside the community. Itstask is to reanimate the faith or enkindle it so as to keep the community andeach baptized person constantly involved and faithful in proclaiming and givingpublic testimony to the faith they both profess.141. Initial proclamationtherefore requires a form of action, places, initiatives and events whichpermit the Christian faith to be proclaimed within society itself. In thisregard, the responses indicate that general forms of initial proclamation arenot lacking. Diverse episcopal conferences have organized national ecclesialevents. Along the same line, many responses praise international events, likeWorld Youth Day, as real forms of initial proclamation on a global scale. Eventhe Pope's apostolic journeys are considered in the same perspective as well asthe ceremonies of beatification or canonization of a son or daughter of aparticular Church.
142. In contrast, many responses voice a concernon the scarcity of initial proclamation taking place everyday in neighbourhoodsand the workplace. Therefore, many share the idea that work needs to be done toraise the awareness of the parish community to this urgent missionary activity.On the basis of the responses, the Synod can provide further information forcomparison and reflection. Several responses mention that initial proclamationcan already be inserted into the customary pastoral practices in the day-to-daylife of Christian communities, such as preaching, the celebration of theSacrament of Reconciliation and popular piety with its many devotions.
143. As regards preaching, the Sunday homily,above all, as well as the many extraordinary forms of preaching (parishmissions, novenas and homilies at funerals, baptisms, weddings and festivals)are excellent occasions for initial proclamation. For this reason, the previousordinary general assembly asked that homilies be carefully prepared and dueattention be given to the core elements of the message to be transmitted, theiressential Christological character and the use of a language which will inspirelisteners and stir the assembly to conversion. 144. The Sacrament of Reconciliationhas its fundamental meaning in providing an actual experience of the mercifulface of God the Father, which brings about conversion and growth in both theindividual penitent and the community which celebrates this Sacrament.Implementing what is in the ritual, in a simple and habitual manner, will besufficient to ensure that this Sacrament fosters evangelization and instills asense of sin. In other words, its celebration should begin with theproclamation of a biblical passage which can assist in the act of examiningone’s conscience and discerning how far one is from following the Gospel andthe will of God. In this way, what was recounted in the Acts of the Apostleswould be repeated today, with the proclamation of the Word leading torepentance for the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 2:14- 47).
145. Finally, popular piety with its devotion tothe saints and Mary, in particular, as well as sacred places (shrines) withtheir opportunities for penance and spirituality, is increasingly being seen asa very timely and original means of initial proclamation. Pilgrimages anddevotions can also provide the occasion to introduce a person to a realfaith-experience and to respond to the great existential questions which touchupon conversion in one’s life. A shared experience of faith opens a person to aworld and life of new horizons. Working to well-preserve the richness ofChristian prayer in these places of conversion is undoubtedly a challenge forthe new evangelization.
With regard to devotion to Mary, the new evangelizationmust simply enact the teaching of the Second Vatican Council: “This most HolySynod deliberately teaches this Catholic doctrine and at the same timeadmonishes all the sons and daughters of the Church that the cult, especiallythe liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and thepractices and exercises of piety, recommended by the magisterium of the Churchtoward her in the course of centuries. [...] Let the faithful remember moreoverthat true devotion consists neither in sterile nor transitory affection, nor ina certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led toknow the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial lovetoward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues.” 146. The responses list otherpractices which deserve to be considered during synod discussion as a means forthe initial proclamation of the Gospel. Firstly, reference is made to popularmissions, organized in the past on a regular basis in parishes, as a means ofspiritually awakening the local Christian population. Several responses raisethe subject of reviving the practice, giving it a new, contemporary form andintegrating popular missions in the community’s practices of listening to andproclaiming the Word of God, a widespread occurrence in Christian communitiestoday. Likewise, all pastoral activity in preparing couples for the Sacramentof Matrimony is also considered a golden opportunity for the initialproclamation of the Gospel. These programmes are not considered as simply apreparation for this special Sacrament but can increasingly become true andproper ways to reacquire and grow in the Christian faith. Finally, theresponses also ask that the initial proclamation of the Gospel include the careand attention given by the Christian community to those in moments of sufferingand illness.
TRANSMITTING THE FAITH, EDUCATING THE PERSON
147. The proposed link between education and initiation intothe faith, mentioned in the Lineamenta, greatly resonated in the Church. Ifevangelization is to be true to itself, it cannot take place apart fromeducation; it is directly related to it. The Second Vatican Council teachesthat the encounter with Christ is the true light of the mystery of humanexistence. In this regard, the Church possesses a tradition of educationalresources, studies, research, institutions and people — consecrated andnon-consecrated persons, belonging to religious orders, congregations andinstitutes — who provide a significant presence in schools and education.
148. Taking into consideration the greatdifferences, due to geography, in societies and the history of Catholicism ineach nation, all agree that the Church has expended great energy in the fieldof education, a work which continues today. Catholic schools and universitiesare present in practically every particular Church. In this regard, theresponses provide detailed information on the work undertaken in education andthe fruits which this work has produced in the past as well as what is takingplace today. The past and present development of some nations is a directresult of the Church’s efforts in education.149. Today, the work of educationis taking place in a cultural context where every kind of educational activityis becoming more difficult and critical to the point that the Pope Benedict XVIhas spoken of an “educational emergency.” With this expression, the Holy Fatherintends to allude to the special urgency to pass on to future generations thebasic values of life and moral conduct. Consequently, many places areincreasingly demanding a genuine form of education as well as truly qualifiedteachers. Such requests are commonly raised by parents who are concerned aboutthe future of their children, by teachers who are sadly experiencing thedeteriorating situation in schools and by society itself which sees the veryfoundations of harmonious living threatened.
150. Similarly, the Church's duty in educatingpeople in the faith, discipleship and witnessing to the Gospel can be seen as acontributing factor in permitting society to emerge from the weight of thiscrisis in education. When speaking of education, the responses describe aChurch who has much to contribute and who has a concept of education she hasmanaged to spread throughout the world, namely, that the person and hisformation are primary and that she desires to provide a genuine education thatis open to the truth, including the encounter with God and a faith-experience.
151. Furthermore, some responses praise the valueand emphasis of the educational endeavours of the Church as a way of providingan anthropological and metaphysical basis to today’s challenges to education.The basis of the “educational emergency” at present may in fact be a result ofthe imposition of an anthropology marked by individualism and a dual relativismwhich reduces reality to something to be manipulated and limits Christianrevelation to merely an historical process devoid of its supernatural content. 152. Pope Benedict XVI describes theseroots in the following manner: “One essential root I think consists in a falseconcept of man's autonomy: man should develop on his own, without interferencefrom others, who could assist his self-development but should not enter intothis development. [...] I see the other root of the educational emergency inscepticism and relativism or, in simpler, clearer words, the exclusion of thetwo sources that orient the human journey. The first source would be natureaccording to Revelation.[...] It is fundamental to recover a true concept ofNature as the Creation of God that speaks to us; the Creator, through the bookof Creation speaks to us and shows us the true values. And thus findingRevelation: recognizing that the book of Creation, in which God gives us thefundamental orientation, is deciphered in Revelation.”
FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE
153. The same bond between faith and educationalso exists between faith and knowledge. The Lineamenta described thisrelationship by using Pope Benedict XVI’s expression of the “ecology of thehuman person”. While pointing out the consequences of a crisis which couldthreaten the fabric of society as a whole, Pope Benedict XVI described apossible way out of a similar danger by developing a human ecology, which,understood in its proper sense, is a way to understand the world and thedevelopment of science that takes into account all the needs of a person,including openness to the truth and the original relationship with God beforethe Fall.
154. The Christian faith assists intelligence tounderstand the profound balance governing the various aspects of existence andhistory. This work of faith is not done in a generic sense or from the outside,but by sharing with reason a thirst for both knowing and seeking and thendirects reason towards the good of humanity and the cosmos. The Christian faithprovides assistance in understanding the intense content of fundamental humanexperiences. Many responses referred to this age-old task of Catholicism — thatof critical appraisal and orientation — by listing institutions, researchcentres and universities, resulting from the intuition and charism of certainpeople and the concern for education in some particular Churches, which havemade this critical consciousness one of their main objectives.155. However,some responses voice concern that the public forum of research and thedevelopment of knowledge in various cultures is not easily entered. In fact,some note that Christian reason must make an effort to find those with whom toengage in conversation in the authoritative and decisive areas of worldresearch, especially in the areas of technology and economic development.Consequently, the Church should see this situation as a challenge and a focalarea for the new evangelization.
156. In continuity with the Church’s Traditionand in the wake of Blessed Pope John Paul II's Encyclical Letter Fides etratio, Pope Benedict XVI has often stressed the complementarity of faith andreason. Faith widens the horizons of reason and reason preserves faith from thedanger of drifting aimlessly or manipulating religion. Always attentive to theintellectual content of education exemplified in her many universities andinstitutes of higher learning, the Church is involved in campus ministry tofoster a dialogue with learned people in the various fields of knowledge.Christian people of learning are entrusted with the particular task of bearingwitness, in their activities and especially in their lives, to the fact thatreason and faith are the two wings with which a person approaches God, and thatChristian faith and the sciences, properly understood, can mutually enrich eachother for the good of humanity. The only limit to scientific progress is inpreserving the dignity of the human person created in God’s image, who mustalways be actively involved in scientific research and technology and never bea mere object of study.
157. Some responses refer to the subjects of artand beauty as places for the transmission of the faith and, therefore, are tobe addressed in this chapter dedicated to the relationship between faith andknowledge. Many possible reasons are given to support this request, especiallythose coming from the Eastern Catholic Churches who have a strong tradition inthis area. They have been able to maintain a very close relation between faithand beauty. In these traditions, the relation between faith and beauty is notsimply a matter of aesthetics, but is rather seen as a fundamental resource inbearing witness to the faith and developing a knowledge which is truly a“holistic” service to a person’s every human need.The knowledge coming frombeauty, as in the liturgy, is able to take on a visible reality in itsoriginally-intended role as a manifestation of the universal communion to whichhumanity and every person is called by God. Therefore, human knowledge needsagain to be wedded to divine knowledge, in other words, human knowledge is toadopt the same outlook which God the Father has towards creation and, throughthe Holy Spirit and the Son, to see God the Father in creation.
This fundamental role of beauty urgently needsto be restored in Christianity. In this regard, the new evangelization has animportant role to play. The Church recognizes that human beings cannot existwithout beauty. For Christians, beauty is found within the Paschal Mystery, inthe transparency of the reality of Christ.
THE BASIS FOR AN EVANGELIZING PASTORAL PROGRAMME
158. The Lineamenta concluded the chapterdevoted to analysing pastoral practice by adopting the basic insights of PaulVI, namely, if the Church is to evangelize, she needs to not only renew herprogrammes, but also increase the calibre of her testimony. The work ofevangelization is not so much an organized plan or strategy, as it is,fundamentally, a spiritual matter. “Modern man listens more willingly towitnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is becausethey are witnesses. [...] It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by herlife that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words, by her livingwitness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus, by her witness of poverty anddetachment, and by her witness of freedom in the face of the powers of thisworld, in short, the witness of sanctity.” Many particular Churches have recognizedthemselves in this passage and have understood the necessity of havingwitnesses who can evangelize primarily through their lives and example. Theyare certain that, in the final analysis, the key element in the work of the newevangelization is for every Christian to answer the call to holiness. Onlythose who have been evangelized themselves, and are being evangelized, canevangelize. In other words, only those who are capable of being spirituallyrenewed by encountering Jesus Christ and living a life of communion with him.Christian witness is an interaction of words and deeds and is the fundamentalelement in every act of evangelization, because it creates the relation betweenproclamation and freedom: “We become witnesses when, through our actions, wordsand way of being, Another makes himself present. Witness could be described asthe means by which the truth of God's love comes to men and women in history,inviting them to accept freely this radical newness. Through witness, God layshimself open, one might say, to the risk of human freedom.”
THE CENTRALITY OF VOCATIONS
159. The next synodal assembly is expected toclearly state the centrality of the question of a personal vocational callingin the Church today and the hope that the treatment of the topic of the newevangelization will lead to a greater consciousness among all the baptized oftheir missionary and evangelizing responsibility. If witnesses are to becredible in the various sectors of the new evangelization, they must know howto speak in terms which are understandable today and, in this way, proclaimwithin these sectors, the reasons for the hope which gives them life. Theentire process of preparation and the response to the synod’s work is expectedto re-motivate Christians and increase their enthusiasm and dedication in thework in which they are already engaged in proclaiming and transmitting thefaith. At the same time, it is to be a moment of support and encouragement forfamilies and the role they play. More specifically, the Synod Assembly shouldgive particular attention to the priestly ministry and the consecrated life inthe hope that one of the fruits of the Synod in the Church might be newvocations to the priesthood and a renewal of her commitment to a clear and decisiveprogramme on behalf of pastoral vocations. 160.In this regard, many responses indicated that one of the most obvious signs ofweakening in the Christian experience might be the decline in vocations, whichconcerns both the decreasing number of vocations of special consecration in theministerial priesthood and consecrated life and the abandonment by some oftheir vocations. The same is true in the widespread unfaithfulness of those whomake a particular commitment in life, for example, marriage. The responsesexpect the Synod to discuss this matter, which is closely related to the newevangelization, not so much to confirm that the crisis exists and not only tore-enforce pastoral programmes on behalf of vocations, which has already beendone, but rather, in a deeper sense, to foster a mentality in which life itselfis looked upon as a vocation.
161. The transmission of faith needs to considerhelping people conceive within themselves a vital relationship with the God whocalls them. In this regard, Pope Benedict XVI stated: “In stressing faith’sintrinsic summons to an ever deeper relationship with Christ, the word of Godin our midst, the Synod also emphasized that this word calls each one of uspersonally, revealing that life itself is a vocation from God. In other words,the more we grow in our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, the more werealize that he is calling us to holiness in and through the definitive choicesby which we respond to his love in our lives, taking up tasks and ministrieswhich help to build up the Church. This is why the Synod frequently encouragedall Christians to grow in their relationship with the word of God, not onlybecause of their Baptism, but also in accordance with their call to variousstates in life.” One of the signs of the effectiveness of the newevangelization will be a rediscovery of life itself as a vocation and anincrease in the personal call to a radical following of Jesus Christ.
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit
has come upon you” (Acts 1:8)
162. With his coming among us, Jesus Christcommunicated to us the divine life which transforms the face of the earth,making all things new (cf. Rev 21:5). All of us are involved in his revelationnot simply as the recipients of salvation but also as his heralds andwitnesses. Through the outpouring of the Spirit of the Risen Christ our livescan be an effective means of spreading the Gospel throughout the world, therebyreliving the experience of the primitive Christian community, which saw thespread of the Word through preaching and testimony (cf. Acts 6:7). 163. Chronologically, the firstevangelization began on the day of Pentecost when the Apostles, who weregathered together in prayer with the Mother of Christ, received the Holy Spirit(cf. Acts 1:14, 2:1-3). Mary, who in the words of the Archangelis “full of grace” (Lk 1:28), is present during apostolic evangelization and atevery moment when the successors of the Apostles are moved to proclaim theGospel.
164. The new evangelization does not mean a “newGospel”, because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever”(Heb 13:8). The new evangelization means an adequate response to the signs ofthe times, to the needs of individuals and people of today and to the newsectors with their cultures through which we express our identity and themeaning of our lives. Consequently, the new evangelization means fostering aculture deeply grounded in the Gospel and discovering the “new man” (Eph 4:24),which is within us as a result of the Spirit who has been given us by JesusChrist and the Father. May the celebration of the next Ordinary GeneralAssembly of the Synod of Bishops be for the Church like a new Upper Room, wherethe successors of the Apostles, gathered in prayer with the Mother of Christ,who has been invoked as the “Star of the New Evangelization”, prepare the pathof the new evangelization.
165. We again take up the words of Pope JohnPaul II, who tirelessly worked for the new evangelization. The new evangelizationmeans to “rekindle in ourselves the impetus of the beginnings and allowourselves to be filled with the ardour of the apostolic preaching whichfollowed Pentecost. We must revive in ourselves the burning conviction of Paul,who cried out: ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel’ (1 Cor 9:16) Thispassion will not fail to stir in the Church a new sense of mission, whichcannot be left to a group of ‘specialists’ but must involve the responsibilityof all the members of the People of God. Those who have come into genuinecontact with Christ cannot keep him for themselves, they must proclaim him. Anew apostolic outreach is needed, which will be lived as the everydaycommitment of Christian communities and groups.”
JESUS CHRIST, THE GOSPEL ENGENDERING HOPE166. Inthese times, people are yearning for a principle in life that inspires hope, ahope which will permit them to look to the future with eyes filled with faithand not the tears of despair. As a Church, we have this principle and source ofhope — Jesus Christ, who was crucified and is risen, living among us throughhis Spirit, who allows us to experience God. Nevertheless, we oftentimes seemto be unable to make this hope concrete, or “make it our own”, or make it alife-giving word for ourselves and the people we encounter today, or make itthe basis for life in the Church and our pastoral activity.
In this regard, we have a clear watchword forthe present and future of pastoral activity: the new evangelization, that is, anew proclamation of the message of Jesus which brings joy and liberation. Thiswatchword nourishes the hope for which we yearn, namely, the Church, born toevangelize, discovers in contemplation the deep source of energy forproclaiming the Gospel.
“We had courage in our God to declare to you theGospel of God in the face of great opposition” (1 Thess 2:2). The newevangelization compels us to witness to the faith which oftentimes is likeengaging in a battle or a conflict. The new evangelization increasinglystrengthens our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, since only he is thesurety for the future and the guarantor of a true and lasting love.
THE JOY OF EVANGELIZING
167. The new evangelization means giving the reason for ourfaith, communicating the Logos of hope to a world which seeks salvation. Peopleneed hope so they can really live the present moment. For this reason, theChurch is essentially missionary and offers a Revelation of the face of God inJesus Christ, who assumed a human face and loved us to the end. The words ofeternal life, which have been given to us in our encountering Jesus Christ, aredestined for everyone and each individual. Every person in our time, whether heis aware of it or not, needs to hear this proclamation.
168. The absence of this awareness is the causeof loneliness and despair. Among the obstacles to a new evangelization is thelack of joy and hope which these situations create and spread among peopletoday. Oftentimes, this lack of joy and hope is so strong as to wear thin thevery fabric of our Christian communities. The new evangelization is proposed inthese places as a remedy to bring joy and courage to life and become animperative invigorating our faith, as called for by Pope Benedict XVI: “Intenton gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commitsevery one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord inthe world. What the world is in particular need of today is the crediblewitness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, andcapable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and fortrue life, life without end.”
169. Therefore, we approach the newevangelization with enthusiasm. We learn the delightful and comforting joy ofevangelizing, even when it seems the proclamation of the Gospel might be asowing in tears (cf. Ps. 126:6). May the world, which seeks answers to thegreat questions of the meaning of life and truth, experience, with renewedunexpectedness, the joy of meeting witnesses of the Gospel who, through thesimple and credible character of their lives, demonstrate the transformingpower of the Christian faith. In this regard, Pope Paul VI said: “May it[evangelization] be the great joy of our consecrated lives. And may the worldof our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope,be enabled to receive the Good News not from evangelizers who are dejected,discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose livesglow with fervour, who have first received the joy of Christ, and who arewilling to risk their lives so that the kingdom may be proclaimed and theChurch established in the midst of the world.” “Do not be afraid!”: these wordsof the Lord (cf. Mt 14:27) and the Angel (cf. Mt 28:5) sustain the faith ofthose who proclaim the faith and are their source of strength and enthusiasm.May their words also sustain and nurture everyone on their journey towards anencounter with God. May the words, “Do not be afraid!”, be the words of the newevangelization, by which the Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, proclaims “tothe ends of the earth”(Acts 1:8) Jesus Christ, the Gospel of God, so that everyonemight have faith.
Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization