The 2012 Synod of Bishop will focus on…

From CNS comes this news.  Woo hoo.

Next synod theme: New evangelization

October 24, 2010 by John Thavis

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict announced today that he’s chosen “new evangelization” as the theme for the next world Synod of Bishops in 2012.

The pope said the topic reflects a need to re-evangelize in countries where Christian faith and practice have declined, and where people “have even moved away from the church.”

The pope made the announcement at the end of his homily at the closing Mass for the special Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which focused on the pastoral challenges of the region. He said that in this synod, too, bishops spoke of the “need to offer the Gospel anew to people who do not know it very well.”

“What was often evoked was the need for a new evangelization for the Middle East as well. This was quite a widespread theme, especially in the countries where Christianity has ancient roots,” he said.

The pope said he chose the next synod topic, “The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith,” after consulting with the world’s episcopate. He recently created the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, and has made re-evangelizing a main theme of his pontificate.

In his homily, the pope also touched on the sensitive subject of religious freedom in the Middle East, especially in predominantly Muslim societies:

Another contribution that Christians can bring to society is the promotion of an authentic freedom of religion and conscience, one of the fundamental human rights that each state should always respect. In numerous countries of the Middle East there exists freedom of belief, while the space given to the freedom to practice religion is often quite limited. Increasing this space of freedom becomes essential to guarantee to all the members of the various religious communities the true freedom to live and profess their faith. This topic could become the subject of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue whose urgency and usefulness was reiterated by the synodal fathers.

The pope made a plea for peace in the region, saying it was the best way to stop Christian emigration:

Conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for too long in the Middle East. Peace, which is a gift of God, is also the result of the efforts of men of goodwill, of the national and international institutions, in particular of the states most involved in the search for a solution to conflicts. We must never resign ourselves to the absence of peace. Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life of dignity for human beings and society. Peace is also the best remedy to avoid emigration from the Middle East.

The Holy Father has for years been deeply concerned about the identity of Europe.

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  1. catholicmidwest says:

    a) predictable.
    b) good luck with that.

    We have a track record that isn’t so pretty of late. And we did it to ourselves, I might add. The church needs to finally clean up its act and get rid of its slackers (particularly the criminal ones), tasteless public appearance, and lackadaisical practices. Only when the church is willing to go out on a limb for what it truly teaches and practices, will it appear to be something worth taking some pain over, because that’s what becoming Catholic in Europe is, painful–socially & financially painful.

    As far as the US goes, where we consider religion to be a personal choice, religion is relegated to hobby status largely, so it’s less painful to switch or adopt. However, with that comes all the nonsense surrounding the church. Even people inside the workings of the church treat it like a series of choices or a hobby (even the ones who are paid!). Like it’s not really serious, you know? This is a problem for evangelization. People pop in and out of the church constantly. We lose as many out the back door as we take in the front. Ex-Catholic is the second largest denomination in the US, you know. So how do we fix that?

  2. catholicmidwest says:

    Somehow in the US, we have to get people to realize that religion is NOT an emotion, a whim, a lifestyle choice, a PTA meeting with prizes for showing up. I don’t know how you do that with the setup we currently have, which frankly mimics the political process. Additionally, many people think that religion is primarily & even only about morals (justice peace etc), and while morals are important to any religious system, they are not the most important feature of any genuine religious system. To wit, you can have a “moral” system of sorts without a religion. It’s called law. God as exhibited in the history of salvation history (through which morality is only an important thread because one of the properties of God is goodness) is the point of the Christian religion. For Americans this has to come to the forefront for people to understand why they must commit to a faith. They must come to understand this fully or it won’t stick and they’ll insist on making things up and popping in and out of the system like they do.

    Think of pagans vs. Christians, light vs dark, chance vs verity. We’re there again because we’ve come full circle because somehow it’s the dark ages again. We have to be able to say that *this time is just like any other, and religion is about God, a particular God, the only God, who is good vs the powers of evil who are bad*. NOTE that this is a contradiction of everything people in the current culture have ever heard. It’s a contradiction to what many of them really believe. We basically will probably have to convince the majority of them that everything they know is wrong. Period.

    PS this precludes all the internecine BS about which shape of head doily is the most holy, etc. We have bigger problems and we need to stop having catfights about this silly stuff. We’re wasting time we don’t have.

  3. TJerome says:

    The way “ecumenism” was presented following Vatican Council II, one had to be almost apologetic about wanting to evangelize and win converts. I think under Pope Benedict that counterproductive era may now be ending. Ecumenism is a waste of time when it means the Catholic Church must accommodate its doctrine, i.e. prohibition on women priests, in order to win over Anglicans, for example. If I were the Holy See I wouldn’t waste another breath on seeking “dialogue” with that crew. Better to spread the gospel and be open to assisting Christians of good will who are moving in the direction of the Catholic Church.

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    Any chance the post-synodal exhortation from the last Synod will be finished by the time the next Synod begins?

  5. amicus1962 says:

    Any attempt to evangelize fallen-away Catholics will ultimately fail if the foundation for evangelizing is shaky. By “foundation” I mean not only the faith, but the liturgy that expresses that faith. A good, reverent liturgy, free from the myriad of liturgical abuses and aberrations of the “spirit of Vatican II,” is an important tool in evangelizing. Lex orandi, lex credendi. What impression on a new comer will a Mass have where the songs are banal and secular, where liturgical dance turns the Mass into a show, where homilies avoid controversial subjects like hell, purgatory, abortion, where people receive Communion in the hand like children stick their hand out for candy, where the sanctuary is practially devoid of any expression of the faith, and where priests are more concerned about being liked than preaching the truth, for fear of getting into trouble with folks who may get turned off, report him to his bishop, and stop contributing to the church? The plan to reevangelize is a noble one, but we Catholics need to get our act together before we can become effective in evangelizing.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    I was overjoyed when I heard His Holiness announce this in his homily. The New Evangelization was begun by Venerable Pope John Paul the Great, and is being continued in wonderful ways by Pope Benedict XVI. The topic of good liturgy just might come up during the actual synod.

    Aren’t synods usually followed with an Apostolic Exhortation from the Pope? I have not heard anything about a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation following the synod on Sacred Scripture…

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