City (AsiaNews) - In a world of widespread nihilism, secularisation, "unproductive,
hedonistic and consumer mentality, which leads to a highly superficial manner
in facing life and responsibility," we see the elimination of "the question of
God from a person's examination of self. To respond to religious needs, persons
revert to individualistic forms of spirituality or forms of neo-paganism to the
point of forcibly spreading a general climate of relativism."
this background, the Church feels the need to present again in a manner appropriate
for the times, the unchangeable Good News. 'The New Evangelization for the Transmission
of Christian Faith' will be at the centre of the 13th Ordinary General
Assembly of the Synod of Bishops scheduled for 7-28 October in the Vatican. Its
working paper, the Instrumentum laboris,
was presented today.
document is a summary of the responses to the questions in the Lineamenta published on 2 February 2011,
which were submitted by the 13 synods of bishops from the Eastern Catholic
Churches sui iuris, 114 Episcopal
conferences, and 24 departments of the Roman Curia and the Union of Superiors
Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, described the picture that
emerges. Mgr Fortunato Frezza, under-secretary of the same department, said
that the image that emerges is one in which the Church that is asking questions
about the current situation. Hence, the "New
evangelisation is an expression of the internal dynamism of Christianity, which
wishes to make men and women of good will know the 'depth of the riches and
wisdom and knowledge' (Rm, 11:33) of
the mystery of God revealed in Jesus Christ; it is not a weary response to the
crisis of faith and the challenges facing the Church in the modern world." In fact,
"Many of the responses stressed the importance of the means of communication, especially
media and digital culture in spreading the Good News."
is articulated in four chapters: 1) Jesus Christ, the Gospel of God for man, 2)
the time of the new evangelisation, 3) the transmission of faith, and 4) the renewal
of pastoral activities. The starting point is the fact that evangelisation is
not a choice for the Church but "a duty". The Church "exists in order
Yet, the proclamation
of the Gospel, always the same, faces new "social circumstances", Mgr Eterovic
noted, for the Church is called to provide adequate responses to transmit the
hope it carries. "New challenges to evangelisation in the
contemporary world are described in various different scenarios, whether cultural
(secularisation), migration, economic, political scientific and technological."
document highlights "the phenomenon of the great migration," which causes "a meeting
and mixing of cultures." It also focuses on political and economic issues, like
"the inequality it causes within and among nations."
emergence on the world stage of new economic, political and religious actors
from the Islamic and Asian worlds has created an entirely new and unknown
situation, rich in potential, but fraught with dangers and new temptations for
dominion and power."
this regard," the document says, "they recount a weakening in the faith of
believers, a lack of personal involvement and experience in the transmission of
the faith and insufficient spiritual guidance for the faithful in the process
of their formative, intellectual and professional training. Many lament the
excessive bureaucratic character of ecclesiastical structures, perceived as far
removed from the average person and his everyday concerns." [. . .] "Some
responses complained of the excessively formal character of liturgical celebrations,
an almost routine celebration of rituals [. . .] Despite the counter-witness of
some of the Church's members (unfaithfulness in one's vocation, scandals,
little sensitivity to the problems of everyday people and the world today."
background, we must distinguish between new evangelisation from evangelisation
in its wider sense. "The Church's constant action must be renewed and made more
dynamic even our times. Emphasis must be place also placed on the importance of
missionary activity ad gentes, the
duty to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him. The same
is true for the new evangelisation for those who are not sufficiently
evangelised and those who left the Church and religious life."
proclaiming and handing on the faith" is "incumbent on every Christian," Instrumentum laboris says. The latter must reawaken his
identity;" especially if they lead a consecrated or contemplative life in
groups and movements. Everyone must "render an account for one's faith" to
anyone who asks.
broad commitment, parishes must play a special role. In Mgr Eterovic's words, the
parish "must become a centre of missionary irradiation and bear witness to the
Christian experience in order to welcome people with spiritual and material
needs. It is the responsibility of all the members of the People of God to make
that happen, especially if they are priests."
to concrete suggestions in matters like sacramental and youth training, "if
the Church is to evangelize, she needs to not only renew her programmes, but
also increase the calibre of her testimony." As Paul VI correctly pointed out, "Modern
man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen
to teachers, it is because they are witnesses."