2011-08-02 L’Osservatore RomanoFrom October 7 to 28, 2012, in Rome, the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place. Convoked by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, on the theme of The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops published the Lineamenta, at the beginning of this year; a true vademecum on the new evangelization and a very useful and in-depth elaboration. As is known, the idea is not new: the entire pontificate of Blessed John Paul II was characterized by the leit-motiv of the new evangelization. Pope John Paul II did not fail to explain to us what he intended when he placed the adjective “new” in front of the traditional term, “evangelization”: new in ardor, new in methods, new in expressions. For an appropriate and faithful understanding of the contents of the Lineamenta, one needs to have an adequate key for reading the text. The expression, “new evangelization,” in fact, has become so common – even abused – that we run the risk of distorting its sense, or worse, reducing it to an insignificant slogan. The heart of the question of the new evangelization, writes the Cardinal, is the centrality of God in our lives. Even ecclesial movements and new communities are called to reconsider their vocation and mission in this perspective, which means serious reflection on their own identities. Undoubtedly, new ecclesial realities have demonstrated a unique capacity to liberate an unsuspected missionary interest in many, especially lay men and women, which even they did not know they possessed. Understanding this premise is absolutely necessary for the theme of the new evangelization, in order to not exploit the charismatic elements that the Holy Spirit brings out in today’s Church. Too often, we expect from them, nice “recipes” that are ready for the new evangelization, methodologies…instead, we should ask them to be ever-more collaborators of the Holy Spirit to generate true Christians. The call for a new evangelization, in fact, asks for a new way of being Christian, a new way of being Church, where the “new” is the Gospel model which is seen in the Acts of the Apostles, the strength of the Spirit which renews the entire Christian community.
by Stanislaw Rylko