“The new evangelization is the business of all Catholics”

Source: FSSPX News

Benedict XVI opened the Convention of the Diocese of Rome which was held June 13-16, 2011, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on the topic of “The joy of handing on the faith in the Church of Rome”.  This convention marked the end of the pastoral year of the Diocese of Rome and assembled the ecclesial authorities of the diocese, priests, and religious as well as many lay teachers and parents.  Speaking alongside Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar of Rome, Benedict XVI called for a greater “commitment to a new season of evangelization, a task that is not reserved to some but is for all the members of the Church”.

The pope initially recalled that “faith does not preserve itself in the world, and it is not automatically transmitted to man’s heart.  The faith must always be proclaimed, and this proclamation, in order to be effective, must proceed from a heart that believes, hopes, loves and adores Christ, and that also believes in the power of the Holy Spirit! … The response of faith takes place when man discovers, through the grace of God, that believing means finding the true life, the life of fullness.”

Many persons who “have not yet encountered the Lord deserve very special pastoral care, which consists of showing the beauty and the reasonable character of the faith, and bringing the light of God to the people of our time, with courage, conviction and joy.”  Benedict XVI thus alluded to adults who have not received baptism or who have drifted away from the faith and the Church.  “If people forget God, it is also because the person of Jesus is often reduced to a wise man and His divinity is thereby diminished or else denied.”

The pope spoke warmly to the many lay people who were participating in the Convention of the Diocese of Rome:  “Dear parents, the Church, as an attentive mother, intends to support you in your fundamental duty.”  And he recalled that the Christian community assists in the formation of children and young people.  Without a shared commitment by believers, “the word of faith is in danger of remaining mute,” he warned, “unless it finds a community that puts it into practice, thus making it alive and attractive as an experience of the reality of the true life.”

As he had emphasized one year earlier in announcing the creation of a Pontifical Council dedicated to the new evangelization, the pope recalled that the proclamation of the Gospel should resound once more in traditionally Christian regions.  Benedict XVI deemed it “important that catechists teach and witness to the faith of the Church and not their own interpretation”.  He concluded with a reminder of the need to teach silence and meditation also:  “I hope that the catechesis in the Roman parishes educates students to pray.”  And he emphasized that “the heritage that Rome preserves is an additional way to bring people to the faith.”  Benedict XVI issued a challenge:  “I invite everyone to take this path of beauty into account in catechesis, a path which leads to Him who is, according to St. Augustine, the beauty ancient and ever new.”  (Sources: apic/imedia/VIS/vatican.va – DICI no. 237 dated June 25, 2011)