Pope Benedict talks about “New Evangelization”

From CNA:

Pope believes secularized nations can become Christian again

Vatican City, Oct 15, 2011 / 03:24 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Today Pope Benedict XVI told over 8,000 Catholics involved in the “new evangelization” that he has every confidence they can return their respective nations to Jesus Christ. [Hmmm… I think I am involved in the “New Evangelization” in someway.  Many bloggers are.  Lot’s of notice about this event in advance, wasn’t there?]

“Seeing all of you and knowing the hard work that everyone of you places at the service of the mission, I am convinced that the new evangelists will multiply more and more to create the true transformation which the world of today needs,” the Pope said Oct. 15. in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall.

The Pope was addressing a conference entitled “New Evangelizers for the New Evangelization – The Word of God grows and spreads,” organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization[Ah yes, the office that didn’t have a computer when it was opened.]

Noting that the title of the conference was drawn from a phrase often used in the Acts of the Apostles, the biblical account of the early Catholic Church, the Pope suggested that modern society still yearns for God, just as it did 2,000 years ago.

“Modern man is often confused and cannot find answers to the many questions which trouble his mind in reference to the meaning of life,” said the Pope.  [But Holy Father! But Holy Father! Where O Where could they find some of those answers?  Where could they find others across the globe and engage them in solidarity while seeking those answers?]

And yet, he observed, man “cannot avoid these questions which touch on the very meaning of self and of reality.” Consequently, modern man often despairs and simply withdraws from “the search for the essential meaning of life,” settling instead for “things which give him fleeting happiness, a moment’s satisfaction, but which soon leave him unhappy and unsatisfied.”

It was with such people in mind, that Pope Benedict said he created the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization last year. The council is charged with spearheading the re-evangelization of traditionally Christian countries that have been particularly affected by secularization in recent decades.

As he spoke to the thousands of evangelists from around the world, the Pope gave them three reasons for hope in their mission.

He first reminded them that “the power of the Word does not depend primarily on our action” but on God. Secondly, he said that even in the modern world “there continues to be the good soil” into which the word of God will fall and produce “good fruit.” And lastly, he counseled the missionaries that despite “indifference, misunderstanding,” and “persecution,” there are still many people willing to “courageously open their hearts and minds to accept the invitation of Christ,” and become missionaries themselves[Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

Those gathered in the audience hall heard testimony from those involved in various new movements, schools of catechesis and evangelizing projects.

“I felt it very important to be here today as a witness for our young people working in the new evangelization,” said 29-year-old Patrick Muldoon from Dublin, Ireland. He was at the Vatican gathering with 19 others from the Emmanuel School of Mission, a Rome-based project that prepares young people to be Catholic missionaries.

“We’ve all left jobs and studies to come to Rome for one year to spend that year for God and we really feel that in our own lives we can be great witnesses to other young people,” said Patrick.

Standing next to him was 22-year-old Haydi Koussa from Cairo, Egypt.  She felt the meeting was “a great opportunity to learn new ways of carrying out evangelization, particularly in my home country.”

“The new evangelization is there,” Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England remarked to CNA. He is also a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

“It’s there in groups of young people who are already gathering together to witness to the faith with a new strength and a new courage,” the archbishop said, adding that this is particularly important “in those places where our young people can be influential – such as their places of work and study.”

Before imparting his blessing on the crowd, Pope Benedict asked them to continue to “be signs of hope, able to look to the future with the certainty that comes from the Lord Jesus, who has conquered death and gave us eternal life.” He entrusted them to the protection of the Virgin Mary, “star of the new evangelization.”

Apparently the New Evangelization hasn’t yet engaged the New Media.

Given the recent rioting in Rome, could here be a few opportunities locally to give their message a try?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Social media is perhaps the only way to engage in New Evangelization, since traditional media is clearly censoring the gospel. [Along with personal contact: 1 Peter 3:15.] Like the Arab springtime, perhaps there will be a future European/North American springtime where regular people will become aware of their own existence. Economic instability will help to wake up a slumbering majority, and rising persecution in Europe and N.A. will wake up Christians and help separate the wheat from the tares.

  2. Glen M says:

    This is wonderful our Holy Father is bringing people from around the world together in effort to spark the new evangelization. I can’t help but wonder which language they’ll celebrate the Ordinary Form in. New media can help attract those outside the Church and support those within who naturally resist modern errors.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Wow, I did not know about this conference. I consider myself a sort of missionary, as are we not all called to spread the Gospel? As to how to do this, it depends on one’s state in life, one’s vocation. As to the use of the media, whether, television, radio, or cell phone apps, we should take advantage of all.

    However, there is nothing as effective as face to face, personal encounters for the spreading of love, which is the call of all of us Christians. The call to charity is the call to evangelization. What I have found, is that in this new generation of American youth, for the first time, a documented generation of introverts, like myself, one must ask how evangelization can be done on that one to one basis in an increasingly hostile world. This morning at Mass, the Franciscan priest said that to be a Catholic means we will be criticized and persecuted. Yes, he said that. He said the Church has seen the last few days of anarchy all before in Her long history. So, the conclusion, is to evangelize, to be a real Catholic, in and out of season. What a great sermon it was!

  4. I saw the tail end of the Angelus on EWTN this morning when I woke up. St.Peter’s Square and even outside the Square was full to the gills with happy, peaceful Catholics! I guess after all the rioting, people really wanted to come see and pray with Papa.

  5. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,

    Much as I enjoy reading your commentaries on a whole range of topics, and have pointed others to this site, I fail to understand why you seem to be of the belief that the “new media” are a necessary part of the new evangelization. [Really? Okay. Keep thinking about it.] Can they be used? Probably. Are they an essential part of it? I can’t see that they are. Can these new media be used for evil? Of course they can, as can many things which might otherwise be morally neutral. Will they be used for less evil if the Church finds a presence in the virtual world? I confess to being less than hopeful on this point. [Until the global economy collapses and the internet goes bust, we should use all our tools. The Lord used the technology of a boat on the end of a line to be able to address more people along the shore. That was the first example of on-line ministry, in fact. So, keep thinking about it.]

  6. Hidden One says:

    @Daniel Arsenault

    I cannot believe that the time of face-to-face, person-to-person evangelization is at an end. Two Easters ago, a good friend of mine – one of the Benedictine generation – was received into the Church. Social media played no role in that conversion, except insofar as the green-scapular carrying convert-to-be used Facebook a little bit to interact with real life friends.

    I’d like to note that, although underrepresented online – and therefore in blog posts and comment boxes – by definition, a fair number of youth barely use or just do not at all use any form of social networking. This is, of course, also true of all of the other age groups, but as a young person living and evangelizing among young people, I can speak most easily about my generation. Evangelization by social networking, to my generation, is like youth groups and suchlike to earlier ones: rely exclusively on it, and you will never engage with many souls crying out for the Gospel. Sure, use social networking. The Pope says to, do it. It can work. I myself am a convert to the Catholic Church because of a Catholic’s personal blog. But don’t rely on social networking. Never rely on it.

  7. Fr. Z:

    CGZ hasn’t defined his terms, so it’s hard to get to what he’s saying. He doesn’t accept that the ‘new media’ are a necessary part of the new evangelization. Okay, well, “necessary”? Maybe not. But then, neither are printed Bibles, or gold chalices, or church buildings. Ancient Christianity got along without any of these things. On the other hand, the Church has never, to my knowledge, come upon a tool (books, electric lights, radio, tv, ipods) and failed to use them in her mission, effectively. Best, edp.

    ps: Of course, irony of posting a complaint about the use of the “new media” in an on-line combox is OBVIOUS! Cheers, edp.

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