Appendix: On What the New Evangelization Is
While I have withstood the temptation to fill or clutter this letter with footnotes, it might be helpful, nonetheless, to offer here some remarks about the nature of the New Evangelization, to ensure, as the Initiative unfolds, we have some clear “coordinates” about the way forward.
Pope Francis’s Description of the New Evangelization in The Joy of the Gospel (nn. 14-15):
The XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops gathered from 7-28 October 2012 to discuss the theme: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. The Synod reaffirmed the New Evangelization is a summons addressed to all and is carried out in three principal settings.
I. In first place, we can mention the area of ordinary pastoral ministry, [aiming] … to inflame the hearts of the faithful who regularly take part in community worship and gather on the Lord’s day to be nourished by his word and by the bread of eternal life. In this category we can also include those members of faithful who preserve a deep and sincere faith, expressing it in different ways, but seldom taking part in worship.
II. A second area is that of the baptized whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism, who lack a meaningful relationship to the Church and no longer experience the consolation born of faith. The Church, in her maternal concern, tries to help them experience a conversion which will restore the joy of faith to their hearts and inspire a commitment to the Gospel.
III. Lastly, we cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of them are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone.
Pope Francis’s Identification of the Six Essential Qualities of Evangelizers (The Joy of the Gospel):
- They know how to balance prayer and work (n. 262).
- They have had a personal encounter with Jesus (n.264).
- They have an enthusiasm for the mission rooted in their conviction that people are looking for the Good News (n. 265).
- They have a “spiritual taste” for being close to people’s lives, and they find in this taste a great joy (n. 268).
- They have that hope which is rooted in the interior conviction that God can bring good fruit even from what seems to us to be failures (nn. 275, 277, 279).
- Their compassion for others leads them to offer prayers of intercession for them (n. 281-283).