Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Evangelisation

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".


Cosmos said...

Past generations had one huge advantage when evangelizing: the Church was united in its belief that the Gospel it preached was correct, absolutely necessary for every person's salvation, and only to be found in the Catholic Church.

At this point, we are a little shakey on revelation and inspiration, heaven and hell, salvation through other religions, and the uniqueness of the Catholic Church within the Christian world. I think we are kind of regrouping and trying to get some consensus on just what our message will be. This makes evangelism a lot more difficult.

The consensus at the moment seems to be something like: "Not to be judgmental or to degrade anything you are doing, and we are sorry about the way past Christians have acted, but--as Christians--we believe that Jesus will give new meaning to your life. Dare we say that he offers the best and fullest life? Moreover, his teaching is compatible with human reason and offers a very firm foundation for building a culture that upholds the dignity of each individual. Come and let's talk!"

PJ said...

As a young Catholic, I believe orthodoxy is the future. Having attended both Evangelium and Faith, I can say having true and sound Catholic teaching is what makes the Catholic Faith exiting for young people

Robert said...

Father sent you a couple of emails about the Sarum Use but got mail return notification. did you change your email address?. Used the one on your blog

Anonymous said...

Father Ray, I agree that example is important , it must match the words. Yet words are important. as St Paul says in letter to Romans "Faith comes from hearing".
Perhaps one of the important elements of the Year of faith and the New Evangelisation should be a renewal and recovery of sound Catechesis so that people may "give a reason for the faith that is in them".

Fr Ray Blake said...

No, it should have got through.

amator Dei said...

PJ may unwittingly be right in saying that orthodoxy is what makes Catholic faith exiting for young people. Nearly 2,000 years of Catholicism have led to the current situation in which so many people brought up in the Church are continually leaving it that the largest other denomination is now ex-Catholics. For evangelisation new or old to succeed perhaps we need to be even more radical than the movements and relearn that what Christ invites us to is not a religion or religious system, a set of orthodox beliefs and rituals, but a way of being, of living in union with God. If the Church really did help people to know in a real (not just religious) way the God who loves them with infinite love and compassion, why would anyone want to leave it?


Can I be blatantly honest. I have had an interest in this new evangelisation business but, I'm not sure anyone knows what it really is. I think that this may be because it is early days and this process will probably tale 200 years to get off the ground.

The best definition I can come up with is that the new evangelisation is about

'presenting the old evangelisation in a modern way but, without compromising on the teaching'.

If I am wrong will someone please tell me because I used to think I knew the answer, 'but who knows?'.

I wish someone would actually tell all of us in a clear concise way once and for all. I'm not sure if the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation knows what they are doing because I found it difficult to find anything specific apart from we have to use 'new methods'.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Ye, it is about "being", essentially witnessed by communities, although I speak about "religious communities", I think the essential community is the family.
Catholic teaching on the family is really radical today, in the past it was just "ordinary", today it is a radically different anthropology.

Richard said...

I have not heard of the Community of St John before.

A quick Google found a French group founded in 1975, but their Wikipedia page suggests that they have had a few problems recently (a re-organisation, their founder asked to stop teaching, the Archbishop of Paris removing them from running a school).

Does anyone know any more? Have I got the right group, and is the Wikipedia page accurate? Have they got over their problems?

bill bannon said...

Cosmos has hit on what strikes me also. When Paul and Peter preached to people in the streets, no one in the audience raised their hand and asked, " Errr...but your chief biblical scholar, Fr.Raymond Brown, says that Mary never even said the magnificat but Luke got it from palestinian Anawim and placed it in her do we know which words in each gospel were fudged or whether Jonah was really historical like Christ thought when He said Nineveh repented at the preaching of Noah."
Second problem is that 57% of Catholics polled in the Camden diocese of New Jersey in the US stated that they thought Christ sinned as a man. Do you want them preaching door to door?
Thirdly the Church of Peter and Paul and James and John had no baggage. We ring a door bell and we might be faced with very well read secularists who want to ask about why we stretched people on the strappado in Spain of the 16th century when Pope Nicholas I had condemned torture in the 9th century....and did we see the cable tv special on the Borgia Pope and his 6 or 7 children.
No thanks. I'm praying for conversions and sending through the mail Augustine's commentary on veiled
prophecies of Christ in the his neat observation that the proportions of the ark are the proportions of a man's body who also had a hole in His side as did the ark....and his incredible discovery ofthe Trinity hidden in 2 Kings 4. I'm not ringing doorbells until I see the Pope ring doorbells...and I've never seen that.

Pablo the Mexican said...

Mr. Bannon,

Have you ever heard of the Millenary Holy Cross of Huatulco?

Two thousand years ago St. Thomas. Apostle went to a land and appeared as a bearded white man carrying a most magnificent cross, and preached of one that is Savior of the World.

He planted a wooden cross that was attacked later in 1587 by the pirate Thomas Cavendish.

He tried burning it, chopping it down, and had a rope tied to it and his ship. No damage.

That cross is still there to this day as testimony to Christ Jesus, the savior of us all, if we but lift him up in our hearts.

That country is Mexico, where St. Thomas visited, and humanists have bastardized the story to what it is now commonly known.

Truth is something recognized by the heart, never by the mind.

Surrender to the Truth, the Way, and the Life, and the blind shall see.


bill bannon said...

preaching of Jonah...not...preaching of Noah.

bill bannon said...

You wrote: " Truth is something recognized by the heart, never by the mind."

If that were true, the Bible would be about two pages long. The one in my living room is 1250 pages. And there would be no need of encyclicals on complex subjects. I think if you yourself evangelize but run into people who are very well read, you've got some splainin' to do.

Pablo the Mexican said...

"...encyclicals on complex subjects. I think if you yourself evangelize but run into people who are very well read, you've got some splainin' to do...'

Nuestra Senora Santa Maria de Guadalupe puts words in my mouth.

What I know of the Faith was gained through a generic inculcation given me by Padres, Nuns, Religious, and a good Godmother. that were Holy, and Pious; Good Sheppard's.

The Holy Fathers have had to write encyclicals to keep the intelligent people out of trouble or from trouble making.

Before the Engkish printing press Bible in the 1600's, how do you think people learned the Faith?

for 1500 years people did not have missals.

How did they attend Mass without one?

Salt of the earth Padres, like Padre Blake tended their sheep, and prepared them for life, as well as for death.

They did not feed their sheep error.

If you think you know something, find a man of simple Faith.

You might learn something.

May God our Lord in His infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us His abundant grace, that we may know His most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother look down in mercy upon England, thy dowry, and upon us who greatly hope and trust in thee.

Viva Cristo Rey!


bill bannon said...

"generic inculcation" tells me you are an intelligent man longing for a simpler time and place and identity. Good luck with that. I know the feeling.

Pablo the Mexican said...

Living in a state of grace is something we should all try to accomplish.

We take a walk in the Garden of Heaven when we say our Holy Rosary.

We are at Calvary in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

We are with our Divine Master toiling in His vineyard when we stop doing what is important to us, and help the Widows, Orphans, and the poor.

Our lives become Evangelization.

When we do these things, our time becomes that of the Kingdom of Christ, and we do not question our identity, because we are who God wants us to be.

Do not be disappointed when God reveals to you who you should be.

It is always a far cry from what we imagine.

That also happens to be Satan's lamentation.


bill bannon said...

I'm afraid Satan is delighted with your hubristic condescension. You presume your readers are not helping orphans, widows and the poor. Bad guess. I've been doing so for 35 years because I pledged it that long ago as to orphans. Talk normal as a first step. I was once in a Benedictine monastery as a guest and another layman arrived but with his own Monk's cowl and he would stop on the pathways when people were present and face heaven, lift up his arms and smile for a full minute toward the sky. A saint would not have been posing in the cowl of vowed people. He was mentally ill most likely....or in the sin of singularity which is dealt with here by Aquinas in the Summa T.:
" The fifth degree of humility is "to do nothing but to what one is exhorted by the common rule of the monastery," to which is opposed "singularity," whereby a man wishes to seem more holy than others."
Avoid any unusual behaviour whose purpose is to elevate your identity into the's a level of pride according to St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

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