Ubicumque et semper: New Motu Proprio and new Vatican office

I am reading the new Motu Proprio by Benedict XVI entitled Ubicumque et semper, by which His Holiness established a new dicastery of the Roman Curia: “Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization”.

One might imagine that an English text could be useful at the time of its release.  English is a moderately important language these days I hear.  I understand that Spanish has produced a little interest as well.  But the MP is out in Latin, at least, and in Italian, read by Church insiders but not too many others.  Not many other who care, that is.  “Massimo the maintenance man” isn’t going to care about this document.

The MP outlines the new office’s objectives:

  • To deepen the theological and pastoral meaning of the new evangelization.
  • To promote and foster in close collaboration with bishops’ conferences, teaching of the Magisterium relative to the new evangelization.
  • To make known initiatives already under way in local churches and promote new initiatives, involving also resources of religious institutes and groups of the faithful and new lay communities;
  • To study and foster the use of modern means of communications as instruments for the new evangelization.
  • To promote the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

I am not sure how this all differs from what dicasteries, local churches and religious and lay movements are supposed to be doing now.  Is this new dicastery supposed to act as a goad?  Its head is, after all, Archbishop Rino Fisichella.

In any event, there is now another bureaucratic structure in the Vatican bureaucracy.   I wanted it to be called the Consilium pro Repropaganda Fidei.  Instead it is called Consilium de Nova Evanglizatione Promovenda.

We shall have to wait and see what effect this new office will have.

QUAERITUR: How will the new office use the internet?


Typo in the Latin:

Venerabilis Dei Servus Ioannes Paulus II hoc grave officium cardinem habuit lati sui Magisterii, sententia “novae evangelizationis”, quam ipse compluribus documentis penitus perpendit, complectens munus quod hodie Ecclesiae impendet, perculiarem in modum in regionibus religione christiana antiquitus institutis.

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  1. Paul says:

    1. Celebrate Mass reverently and according to the norms.
    2. Live a committed, Catholic life, in submission to the Church.
    3. Let your neighbors see 1 and 2.
    4. Bring your neighbors to 1, when they ask about it.

    My four step plan to evangelize the world. No new office needed.

  2. Andrew says:

    One might imagine that an English text could be useful at the time of its release.

    For once Latin takes precedence over English. A new beginning? Hope so. Utinam, utinam. Quid prodest documentum Anglice scriptum sacerdoti Hungaro, Lettono, Cypriaco?

  3. Bryan Boyle says:


    Quid internet?

  4. danphunter1 says:

    Is this the same Bishop Fisichella, who now heads this new dicastery, that approved of the abortion of a little child in Brazil?
    “In his original article, commissioned by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Fisichella implied that the abortion had been a life-saving act of mercy, reiterating the claims made by the pro-abortion Brazilian press that the child-mother’s life was in danger should the pregnancy be allowed to go to term.”
    I pray this is a different Bishop Fisichella.

  5. Prof. Basto says:


    It is the same Fisichella. He was replaced in the Pontifical Academy for Life but was now given the task of being the Pope’s New Evangelization “czar” heading this new dicastery.

  6. danphunter1 says:

    Prof Basto,
    If so, I wonder if this was a good appointment.

  7. Jordanes says:

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m probably not alone in seeing this new dicastery as a gentle way to get Fisichella out of the Pontifical Academy for Life after he had scandalously undermined the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life. It’s not readily apparent that there is really any need for a new dicastery devoted to fostering the New Evangelisation. If there is a need, however, Fisichella can probably keep the seat warm until an orthodox Catholic prelate is appointed to replace him. I’d have much preferred, of course, that Fisichella just be given the boot . . . but I understand this sort of thing is common Vatican practice.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    There are always those who think they know better than His Holiness the Pope.

  9. danphunter1 says:

    “There are always those who think they know better than His Holiness the Pope.”
    Correct, like those who believe that abortion can be an act of mercy.

  10. Andrew says:

    Another mishap in the first paragraph: Ecclesia … cum Spiritus Sanctus recepit … (?????)

  11. MikeM says:

    I don’t think the Vatican was ever as upset with Archbishop Fisichella as many conservative Catholics. I don’t think they understood Fisichella’s response to the Brazil situation to be a renunciation of Church teaching.

    I question the wisdom of having an outside bishop provide commentary for Rome about a diocesan bishop’s decision in the first place, but Cardinal Bertone apparently wanted the response printed.

    Unfortunately, I think there was a general consensus that Fisichella was rebelling against the Church’s pro-life stance (which he should have expected since, unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to have much of a discussion about the abortion issue.)

    I think Fisichella’s mindset is better suited for this new dicastery than it was for the presidency of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The Pontifical academy needs someone with a warrior mentality at the forefront. The Congregation for the New Evangelization would do better with a whole different personality style in charge.

    Also, I think this dicastery is definitely necessary. Someone has to pull together everything the Church has to offer to make a concerted re-evangelization effort.

  12. spesalvi23 says:

    I have NO idea what the nit-picking, bitching and moaning is all about!

    As a European (German) I can tell you: we NEED this dicastery very, very, very badly!!!
    You have NO idea how much the Catholic Faith, in fact, ANY Christian form of Religion, has been pushed into the private sphere in Europe.

    Sorry… but the situation is very grave and will not be solved by showing your neighbours how to be a good Catholic.
    We need real initiatives and we need people who will tell our lukewarm Bishops how to get it done!!
    Until our episcopate has been fully re-newed, nothing in terms of evangelisation will be done by our National bishops Conferences! The German Conference had started a ‘dialoge initiative’, wanting to invlove the laity more into Church matters… now what does THAT tell you!?

    The situation is grave and we are desperate and we need Rome to get involved!!

  13. danphunter1 says:

    “Someone has to pull together everything the Church has to offer to make a concerted re-evangelization effort.”
    Thats what bishops and pastors are for.

  14. spesalvi23 says:

    They’re not doing it!! Our Bishops are more concerned about public relations and their good standing in the media. They are NOT doing it!!
    There have been great appointments which give hope for the future, but the majority is still clinging to their own comfortable ways of ignoring Rome and posing as business administrators, instead of proclaiming the true faith – bitter pill as it may be.
    The Pope is aware of this, since he’s been fighting EU Bishops conferences since he first came to Rome.
    We’re beyond the stage of local Priests and the occasional orthodox Bishop coming to the rescue!

  15. anna 6 says:

    Scroll to the bottom of the page for an English version of the document:

  16. anna 6 says:

    Teresa Benedetta is an excellent source for immediate translations of anything having to do with Pope Benedict. She should work for the Vatican!!

  17. Bornacatholic says:

    Phew. Finally. Another bureaucratic structure has been added to the never-sufficient Ecclesiastical scaffolding.

    This portends great strides in, ah,you know, more bureaucracy and Commissions and reports and stuff.

    Unfortunately, the first letters of the new Dicastery, PCP, stands for “Angel Dust.”

  18. Bornacatholic says:

    How can The Catholic Church fight the enemy of the formerly Christian West if he is not identified?

    One has to start somewhere. Here is one place to start.


    The Church has enemies that must be identified and The Church must warn its members.

    There is a unity amongst protestants, jews, and heretics allied in their opposition to Holy Mother Church and the entire modern project of ecumenism has papered-over this reality.

    Ibn Warraq neatly summarises the modern approach:

    But when presented with actual opportunities to “interweave America’s Muslim population into the mainstream society,” Rauf and most of his fellow Muslims decline. Nearly ten years ago, I was the guest of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI) of Rome. PISAI is dedicated to interfaith dialogue between Christians and Muslims. But as the director at the time said to me, “There is no real dialogue, since Muslims never reciprocate the goodwill gestures made by the Christians. The result is we sit down together, and the Christians say what a wonderful religion Islam is, and the Muslims say what a wonderful religion Islam is.” Rauf was invited to give a sermon in a church and did so, but he never reciprocated by inviting a Christian to give a sermon in a mosque. This, for Rauf and his ilk, would be unthinkable.

    As an amateur crank, I’d like The Church to ditch the tepid feminism that seems to me to constitute the modern approach to objective, in not actual, enemies.


    Man-up. This is war

  19. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Is the placement of Fischella at the head of CNEP to be attributed to “Holy Mother Church”? If so, there ought to be a unity amongst all pro-life Protestants, Jews, Moslems, heretics, heathens, atheists – and of course Catholics – in calling on “Her” to repent from entrusting Evangelization to someone who seems willfully incapable of even promoting natural law – but I do not know that “Holy Mother Church” can be faulted for this: but can any argument be brought against its faultiness?

  20. Tom in NY says:

    Cf. Art #2 et #3: Congratatio “ad intra” sed non “ad extra” operabit? Congragatio simul qui in spelunca Platonis “Republicae” habitabant operabit? Commissio difficilis erit.
    Ut “realitas saecularizationis” gratia et sapientia Dei solveatur oremus.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  21. Tom in NY says:

    Congregatio “novae evangelizationis” inimicam antiquam superbiam videt. Superbia cogitandae salutis sine aut Deo aut Ecclesia est. Clavis Congratationi erit.
    Ad astra per aspera!

  22. paulbailes says:

    If the Church wants people to take it (and its message) seriously, then the Church has to start taking itself seriously again.

    That means:
    – primarily, stop pretending that we need to be ashamed of anything that happened before Vatican II (the HF’s espousal of “continuity” would be a lot more believable were he to offer the TLM publicly, regularly and frequently)
    – and it follows from that, stop making life tough for people who reject the Vatican II revolution in belief and liturgy.

    The self-loathing that seems to be so prevalent in the Church is surely at the seat of our current problems.

    God bless

  23. Neal says:

    You say “this sort of thing” is common practice in the Vatican. Can you provide an example or two? A prince of the Church defending the practice of therapeutic abortion is, well, horrifying.

  24. catholicmidwest says:

    Paulbailes, you said, “If the Church wants people to take it (and its message) seriously, then the Church has to start taking itself seriously again.”

    You are entirely correct. I don’t know what the point of this dicastery might be if the rest of the church doesn’t follow through well enough to make it superfluous.

  25. May this be the “moment” for the new “ecclesial movements”, new communities, new forms of consecrated life to enliven and bring forth great fruits of holiness and the “new evangelization”.
    I know that many traditionalist groups “hate” this term…but my opinion, “Get over it!”.
    We have a lot of work to do in the West; going back to the 1940’s ain’t gonna help…at all.
    May the genuine fruits of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of God, our Heavenly Father, through the founders of genuine new movements, communities, and communities of consecrated life, flourish and be given every grace and blessing. The EF is a prominent place in all of this…for some, it make take some time and formation…but, please, all of you who love tradition and the Catholic Faith, please, do not “extinguish” the Holy Spirit just because it don’t look like the USA in the 1940’s…please!

  26. Jordanes says:

    Neal, I can think of one example right off the top of my head: Bernard Cardinal Law, whose grievious omissions and commissions regarding how he responded to homosexual molestation of teens and children by priests led to his removal as Archbishop of Boston. But he wasn’t demoted or ceremoniously stripped of his episcopal dignity — instead, he was given an unimportant post in Rome.

    Another example is the infamous Archbishop Bugnini, whom Pope Paul VI removed and sent off into exile as nuncio in Iran.

    The Fisichella case smells just like that sort of Vaticanesque removing a problem prelate by giving him another post where he will be permitted to save face while occupying a relatively unimportant post where he can be expected to do little, or at least less, damage to the Church and her faithful.

  27. Bornacatholic says:

    The Fisichella case smells just like that sort of Vaticanesque removing a problem prelate by giving him another post where he will be permitted to save face…

    And so what if that saving-of-face becomes a virtual scar on the face of The Body of Christ; that is no big deal.

    The New Evangelisation includes expecting us to Bear the Cross of trying to explain away these indefensible face-saving political machinations in our interactions with our separated brethren.


  28. Teresa Benedicta’s translation makes it clear that this motu has two parts:

    1. Definition and explanation of stuff that everybody in the Church has to do, to evangelize and reconvert those in need of it.

    2. Action to create the new office.

    3. Definition of what the new office is supposed to do.

    You know, I think from the “To make known and to sustain initiatives linked to new evangelization that are already under way… and to promote the realization of new initiatives, actively involving the resources present in… associations of lay faithful and in new communities….” that they’re supposed to help out St. Blog’s and make sure people know about this sort of stuff, and to use St. Blog’s to promote stuff the Church is trying to get out there. (Among other things.)

    Which is not a bad idea, honestly. I don’t think that ad hoc lay efforts necessarily need to be coordinated — decentralization is strong — but it would be nice to be able to get help or for pastors and educators to know more about what resources are out there for their use.

  29. Oh, and even further down the page, Teresa Benedicta translates an essay written by Fisichella for L’Osservatore Romano, basically explaining his take on the motu proprio (concepts and commands both) and what his view of the new office is.

  30. MikeM says:

    I think that appointing someone to an honorary position where they will lack any significant authority and will be mostly out of the public eye (as they did with Card. Law) and creating a new dicastery are two very different things.

  31. Jordanes says:

    True, MikeM. But Fisichella obviously could not be permitted to continue in his old post. That a new, perhaps irrelevant job was created for him might indicate that it would have created more trouble to shuffle him off to a less important job. Fisichella’s tenure in this new dicastery may not be of long duration, though, and if there was already talk of creating such a dicastery, giving the job initially to Fisichella might have been a convenient way of getting him out of the Pontifical Academy for Life, where his scandal and heretical lapse had provoked its members to publicly demand his removal. So he was removed, and then was left hanging in limbo until the controversy had subsided a little, and then finally a new post was created for him: through a Latin motu proprio unaccompanied by translations into other important languages such as English, German, and French (imagine that, the Latin text comes out first, before the English text), and with no fanfare or huge press conference or anything. Seems an awful lot like Fisichella was kicked from his old post and a new post was created to give him a soft place to land.

  32. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear Nazareth Priest. Who said anything about returning to the 1940s? And why the gratuitous insult directed at us for, presumably, wanting to extinguish the Holy Ghost?

    It is the Trads (Thanks to the working of The Holy Ghost) who have kept the Faith alive as heads of the Domestic Church and it is in Traditionalist circles where the Catholic Institutional memories are as alive today as they were in the 1940s; as alive today as they were in the 1840s; as alive today as they were in the 1740s; etc etc etc

    There exist not a few of us who have fully maintained the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority while heretical Bishops have been allowed to trample out the vintage where the Grapes of Truth are stored and yet it is we you describe as hateful.

    Much of what I react to is what I consider to be a Tautology. I mean, Bishops already have the Duty to Teach, Rule, and Sanctify and The Holy Ghost and The Catholic Church has always been there to assist them and I have never even heard of a traditionalist who desired The Holy Ghost refrain from assisting the Bishop to Teach, Rule, and Sanctify in their orthopraxic activities.

    I also consider it a Tautology that Popes know what The Catholic Church needs better than a Crank born in Vermont but we cranks, according to Canon Law, do have a right to speak.

    One last thing. I don’t know of a single Traditionalist who was alive in the 1940s who would have thought it a good idea to tear-out the most beautiful and treasured room in their ancestral homes and replace it with linoleum and several Pin Ball Machines but I do know of a lot of Bishops alive in the 1940s who ended-up tearing-out High Altars, Communion Rails, Ambos, Reredos, etc from Holy Sanctuaries in our communal ancestral homes – our Churches.

  33. paulbailes says:

    “Nazareth Priest”‘s essential mistake seems to be to have drunk the Kool-Aid and swallowed the view that pre-V-II Catholicism is an artifact of 1940s society. Whereas of course it was 1940s society (or rather, what was good in it, compared to nowadays) that was the artifact (of the Church). NP’s inverted thinking is of course exactly how V-II started; and if that should be the sort of thinking that also informs the “New Evangelisation”, then it’s going nowhere.

  34. The new Council was in the works long before Fisichella made his remarks about the Brazilian abortion case – and he had been tapped to take charge of it. Being President of a Council is much more important than being president of an Academy (Hence the fact that Presidents of Councils are often Cardinals, yet they have even let a layperson – egads, even a laywoman! – be a President of an Academy).

    Fisichella was not advocating for abortion in his article – he was calling for “mercy” in the case (which is what we often call a “hard” case, involving a sexually abused 9 year old girl whose life was in danger if she gave birth to the twins she was carrying – that is, it was the “dream abortion case” liberals bring up during elections), and questioned the utility of automatic excommunications.

    The article was not good (I disagreed with his reasoning, at least, so it was not good in the way that anything I disagree with is not good), Fisichella was not very clear (a common “Italian” disease in Church articles) and it caused a lot of tension at the Academy for Life. But if you think this is some sort of demotion, or that Fisichella has not been given a task the Holy Father thinks is important (and has full confidence in Fisichella to carry out), then you are mistaken.

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