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In The News


In The News


February 22 - New Evangelization: Priorities for the Next Pope

Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Not only will Pope Benedict XVI not be publishing his third encyclical on the theological virtues, the one on faith, but he leaves before issuing the postsynodal exhortation on the new evangelization. One of those participating in the forthcoming conclave is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C. He was the general relator at the synod last October and has just published a 90-page tract, titled “New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today,” (Our Sunday Visitor).

Describing the synod held a few months ago, Cardinal Wuerl chose three words: positive, unity and pastoral. The past few decades were a period of great upheaval he acknowledged: “But we are in a new moment in the life of the Church and are moving in the right direction,” he continued.

He commented that a characteristic of the synod was the unity among the bishops and that it was clear all of the bishops present shared a profound unity of faith and a common conviction of the need for the new evangelization.

The new evangelization starts through the Church, which is the instrument of Christ in the world of today, Cardinal Wuerl commented. It is through the sacraments of the Church that Christ’s redemptive work continues. “We believe that the sacraments are, as it were, arms of the Savior himself by which he extends his action throughout place and time to give life, to bless, to renew, to heal, and to multiply the bread of life.”

A further chapter addressed the theological tasks of the new evangelization. He identified what he called a number of “theological foundation stones.”

+ The anthropological foundation that identifies the origin of our human dignity.

+ The Christological foundation that explains who Christ is, his divinity and humanity and the reality of his death and resurrection.

+ The ecclesiological foundation which recognizes that Christ continues his redeeming work through the Church.

+ The soteriological foundation that enables us to see that Jesus’ kingdom is already here and to see our lives as part of the work of that construction of the kingdom of God.

As we wait to see who will be elected in the upcoming conclave it is certainly clear that for the next pope, just as for John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the new evangelization will continue to be a priority.

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