Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith is online here. The Synod takes place in October.
I have to admit that I have been a little confused about the nature of the "newness" of the "New Evangelisation", old evangelisation seems to be doing what we have always done, at least for the last generation and it is pretty apparent it just hasn't worked. Society has lost faith, the Christianity has been side lined, the Church herself has been secularised and the clarity of her message, which is the person of Jesus Christ, has been obscured.
In many ways it is not unrelated to the old Ratzingerian bone, the nature of participatio actuoso, how to get people to actually engage with Christ on a deep level. The Christian vocation as Pope Benedict repeated tells children and young people is to "become saints", or as he tells everyone, it is "to seek the face of Christ", to live in communion with the Blessed Trinity, in short he is talking about theosis.
The "newness" certainly seems to use new technology to teach and to share faith and to confront current issues within today's society like the rise of organised atheism but it is also about being open to new movements that radically challenge us in our complacency.
Fr Tim tells us that the Nuncio is attending both the Evangelium and Faith Conference Conferences this summer, as he says a few people might suggest we need more bishops like the Mark Davies, that is important but so is His Excellency's highlighting these two events which should be significant in the "New Evangelisation" of our country. There are lots of good things just under the horizon, most are to do with new communities. I hear one British bishop is keen on getting some of those of young American Dominican nuns into his diocese, the Community of St John is discerning whether to make a foundation in the Britain. The prejudice against traditional communities is dying down, so many of them are radical, I suspect they will have an effect in our country. It is interesting that those windswept quiet men of the North are making their presence increasingly felt.
I am becoming convinced that in a society overwhelmed with and untrusting of words we need to turn to St Francis who said, "Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel, and if you must, [really, really must] use words". As important as "right teaching", orthodoxy, is, converts are made by being challenged by being invited into "right living", orthopraxis, seeing the faith properly lived out. Just as Europe was converted by a few radically holy men and women in the dark ages, so at the heart of the New Evangelism will be our new communities. Orthodoxy is often so confusing, orthopraxy might appear hard but it has its own beauty and attraction, and ultimately leads to happiness and beatitude. "How good it is when brothers dwell in unity".
Posted by Fr Ray Blake