Pope Benedict establishes Council for New Evangelization

Pope Benedict establishes Council for New Evangelization

In September, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI established a new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. He issued a “motu proprio” entitled “Ubicumque et semper” (Always and everywhere it is the duty of the Church to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ); it may be found here

Here we find embodied and perpetuated the legacy of Pope John Paul II and the Church in the Modern World. With all of the benefits of progress and the advance of modern technology, knowledge, and social order, there “has been a troubling loss of the sense of the sacred, which has even called into question foundations once deemed unshakeable such as faith in a provident creator God, the revelation of Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, and a common understanding of basic human experiences: i.e., birth, death, life in a family, and reference to a natural moral law.”

There follows from this loss of faith, “an interior desert” as human beings seek to become “the sole architect of his nature and destiny.”

Hence, the Second Vatican Council explored the relationship between the Church and the modern world so as to find “adequate ways to help the people of our time to hear the living and eternal Word of the Lord.”

Following the lead of Pope Paul VI and his call for evangelization of the modern world, “the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II made this urgent task a central point of his far-reaching Magisterial teaching, referring to it as the ‘new evangelization.’” And he saw that the task was actually two-fold — evangelization of the world in all of its sectors, but also, the first task, the “re-evangelization” of the faithful who are now become deracinated and secularized, and further alienated from God, rashly and self-confidently “spurning the warm hand of God,” as Solzhenitsyn put it. The Church must be renewed by the Holy Spirit. We must “make a determined quest” for the warm hand of God. Pope Benedict explains it this way, using John Paul’s formulation:

Although this task directly concerns the Church’s way of relating ad extra, it nevertheless presupposes first of all a constant interior renewal, a continuous passing, so to speak, from evangelized to evangelizing. It is enough to recall what was affirmed in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici: “Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering 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 of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. .  .  .  .This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life’s very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism.   .  .  .  Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations” (n. 34).

We seek to remake the Christian fabric and continue to pass from “evangelized to evangelizing.” We should take this motto from Ephesians 4:23-24 for the Pope John Paul II Forum for the Church in the Modern World:

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind: And put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth.

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