Questions Answered | By Fr. Brian Mullady, OP | Homiletic & Pastoral Review
Question: I have heard much about the New Evangelization to which Pope John Paul II so eloquently called the Church. Can you explain what it is and why it differs from former evangelical efforts on the part of the Church?
Answer: The New Evangelization was a constant preoccupation of Pope John Paul II, and his concerns and recommendations are still necessary today. John Paul II recognized that the secularization of Europe and America, which began in the 19th century, had come to fruition with full force in the latter part of the 20th century. The two most important trends which began in the beginning of the 20th century, moral relativism and abdication of personal responsibility, were tragically becoming more and more prevalent even with ordinary Catholics in countries which had traditionally been considered bastions of Catholicism. As a result, every country, even those with Catholic cultures going back more than a millennium, could now be considered missionary territory. One did not have to go to the foreign missions any longer for the missionary experience. There were almost no social supports in the larger society for Catholic thought. Coupled with this, many recognized a great malaise in catechesis after the Second Vatican Council, which resulted in at least three generations of uncatechized adults who were officially baptized and communicants.
John Paul II was very specific in his solution to this problem. He named it the “New Evangelization.” First, he called for a rediscovery of the true doctrine concerning Christ and redemption. The New Evangelization must be centered on Jesus Christ. This includes a renewed understanding of the Church, the liturgy, and sacraments. Since Vatican II, Christ has been reduced to merely a moral teacher or political liberator—and this cannot stand. He must be considered to be the one and unique Redeemer and Mediator between God and man.
Since the New Evangelization is no longer just reserved to the foreign missions, Catholics must get used to the idea that cultures and countries, which were always considered safely or overwhelmingly Catholic, are now places where urgent and thorough education in the faith is vital. “Business as usual” does not suffice any longer.Continue reading at www.HPRweb.com.