(Vatican Radio) “We have a lot in common”, says Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore USA. While recognising the different realities facing the Churches north and south of the Mexican border, the chair of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty says the one great challenge that unites them is the challenge of re-evangelising the continent. How? He points to the roadmap laid out in the post-Synodal exhortation Ecclesia in America.
Speaking to Emer McCarthy on the sidelines of the International Conference underway at the Vatican, as the 250 delegates trekked under a bright winter sun from the Synod Hall to the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe high in the Vatican Gardens to recite the Rosary, Abp. Lori noted: “First of all I think its important for us to recognise the common Christian identity of the continent of America, and for that we only have to turn to our Lady of Guadalupe. That I think is an enormous recovery that has to be made by the Church in America and by the collaboration of not only of bishops but also of priests and the laity”. Listen:
“Secondly with the advent of such rapid communications, trade, with the common problems that we are facing such as the drug trafficking there is a great need for us to work together. And as I observe the United States of America and as I see that all of the growth in population is coming from immigration it is almost self-evident that we have to work together, that we have to forge, strengthen those bonds of communion and solidarity so that we can unite in re-evangelising the whole continent”.
Early Tuesday morning the issue of Catholic identity in the Americas was addressed. Speakers, noted that Latin nations are not immune to the rising tide of secularism. They also stated that in order to strengthen the Catholic identity in wider society, the dichotomy between the Churches social teaching and active solidarity, of organisations associated with the Church, needs to be overcome.
In fact, in Monday’s small group working sessions, the issue of Catholic education was frequently raised, the general consensus being that in the Americas the New Evangelization must start from the re-evangelisation of American societies.
This, they concluded, can only be brought about by the active participation of a well-formed Catholic laity, capable of presenting the benefits Christian anthropology within their particular cultural context.
“It’s important for bishops and priests to give our people the tools they need to go forth and evangelize the world, to build this civilization of love” concludes, Abp. Lori. “So often I think there are missed opportunities when preaching becomes rather general, when in fact our families our professional men and women our children are facing so many challenges in our culture”.