Archbishop Chaput: Catholics May Not Be Able to Support Either Republicans or Democrats

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput says that when it comes to voting, Catholics may not be able to support either the Republicans or the Democrats, now and in the coming years.

“The day may come when Catholics can support neither of the main American political parties or their candidates. Some think it’s already arrived,” Philadelphia’s archbishop wrote in a Nov. 6 essay for The Witherspoon Institute.

“Serious Catholics” who believe in the Church’s teaching on social and life issues “can’t settle comfortably in either political party,” he remarked.

But this is nothing new, Archbishop Chaput said, adding that Christians find their home and hope in heaven.

Saint Augustine, he recalled, “wrote the ‘City of God’ to remind us that we’re Christians first, worldly citizens second. We need to learn—sometimes painfully—to let our faith chasten our partisan appetites.”

The political tensions that Catholics are experiencing today flow from the cultural problems of individualism and a lack of virtue, he said. “In feeding the sovereignty of the individual, our public leaders fuel consumer self-absorption, moral confusion, and—ultimately, as mediating institutions like the family and churches wither—the power of the state.”

Archbishop Chaput concluded his column by calling on Catholics to live their faith, and so heal the culture. “In this Year of Faith, she (the Church) invites Catholics to a great new evangelization … our ambition must be to repair a culture of unbelief and to heal the inhuman politics that flows from it.”

“And if we can’t achieve that in concert with our fellow Christians, then we can at least live the Gospel more faithfully ourselves. It’s time, and long past time, to close the gap between our words and our actions; our preaching and our practice.”

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=6507#ixzz2BqcFXdNu

 

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Porta Fidei, The Door of Faith

These are excerpts from Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith) which was issued by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2011 calling for this Year of Faith. The emphases are mine.

Have a blessed Sunday.

 

The Door of Faith

During this time we will need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ, the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2): in him, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart finds fulfillment. The joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness in the face of an offence received and the victory of life over the emptiness of death: all this finds fulfillment in the mystery of his Incarnation, in his becoming man, in his sharing our human weakness so as to transform it by the power of his resurrection. In him who died and rose again for our salvation, the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light.

By faith, Mary accepted the Angel’s word and believed the message that she was to become the Mother of God in the obedience of her devotion (cf. Lk 1:38). Visiting Elizabeth, she raised her hymn of praise to the Most High for the marvels he worked in those who trust him (cf. Lk 1:46-55). With joy and trepidation she gave birth to her only son, keeping her virginity intact (cf. Lk 2:6-7). Trusting in Joseph, her husband, she took Jesus to Egypt to save him from Herod’s persecution (cf.Mt 2:13-15).

With the same faith, she followed the Lord in his preaching and remained with him all the way to Golgotha (cf. Jn 19:25-27).

By faith, Mary tasted the fruits of Jesus’ resurrection, and treasuring every memory in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19, 51), she passed them on to the Twelve assembled with her in the Upper Room to receive the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:1-4).

By faith, the Apostles left everything to follow their Master (cf. Mk 10:28). They believed the words with which he proclaimed the Kingdom of God present and fulfilled in his person (cf. Lk 11:20). They lived in communion of life with Jesus who instructed them with his teaching, leaving them a new rule of life, by which they would be recognized as his disciples after his death (cf. Jn 13:34-35).

By faith, they went out to the whole world, following the command to bring the Gospel to all creation (cf. Mk 16:15) and they fearlessly proclaimed to all the joy of the resurrection, of which they were faithful witnesses.

By faith, the disciples formed the first community, gathered around the teaching of the Apostles, in prayer, in celebration of the Eucharist, holding their possessions in common so as to meet the needs of the brethren (cf. Acts 2:42-47).

By faith, the martyrs gave their lives, bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel that had transformed them and made them capable of attaining to the greatest gift of love: the forgiveness of their persecutors.

By faith, men and women have consecrated their lives to Christ, leaving all things behind so as to live obedience, poverty and chastity with Gospel simplicity, concrete signs of waiting for the Lord who comes without delay.

By faith, countless Christians have promoted action for justice so as to put into practice the word of the Lord, who came to proclaim deliverance from oppression and a year of favour for all (cf. Lk 4:18-19).

By faith, across the centuries, men and women of all ages, whose names are written in the Book of Life (cf. Rev 7:9, 13:8), have confessed the beauty of following the Lord Jesus wherever they were called to bear witness to the fact that they were Christian: in the family, in the workplace, in public life, in the exercise of the charisms and ministries to which they were called.

By faith, we too live: by the living recognition of the Lord Jesus, present in our lives and in our history.

 

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Christian Persecution: We Must Fight Persecution With Knowledge, Prayer, Courage and Unity

Standing Against Christian Persecution

Joanna Bogle is an author, journalist, and broadcaster living in London. She served for some years as a London Borough councillor and has also worked as a research assistant for Members of Parliament. She writes for various newspapers and magazines in Britain, America, and Australia, including Britain’s Catholic Times, and America’s National Catholic Register.

She is, in short, well-informed and well-spoken; a person that serious people take seriously. She has her finger on the pulse of European Christianity, particularly in the UK. When she says that persecution of Christians is in our near future, the statement carries weight.

That makes her recent article A Frightening Chat With a French Colleague an important read for all of us. Ms Bogle and her French colleague agree that the legal and social discrimination against Christians in Western Europe are growing. They also agree that the situation will probably worsen in the future.

Her fear that many Christians will fall away when the trials come are, I believe, accurate. I agree with her conclusion that, if we are to stand, we will need “a real knowledge of the Faith, a sincere and deep prayer-life, courage, and unity” with other Christians.

We must start standing up for our faith and we must stand together while we do it. I also think that we should pray for ourselves and for one another that we will each have the courage to stand for Jesus today and in the future.

I can think of no better time for us to begin this than now, in the second week of the Year of Faith.

Her article says in part:

A frightening chat with a French colleague.

We last met, very agreeably, in 2010 during the Pope’s visit to Britain which he was covering for a French Catholic newspaper. Late at night, after that glorious vigil in Hyde Park, we gathered at the house of friends, over glasses of wine and bowls of soup and slices of buttered toast, with lots of talk and a sense of rejoicing as the Papal visit was going so well and writing a memorable chapter in British history.

Today, still much talk and still a rejoicing in our shared faith and all that it means…but a gloomy sense of foreboding. Back in 2010, we knew full well that things were getting bad for Christians generally – that was why it was so good and necessary that the Pope’s visit lifted all our hearts and encouraged us – and now, two years on, things are measurably worse. Jean was in London to report on anti-Christian discrimination in Britain (problems over wearing a cross at work, nurses told they must take part in abortions, and the whole same-sex “marriage” horror, and so on). I had no good news to tell him, and he had none to tell me.

In France, as in Britain, the drive for same-sex “marriage” is going fiercely forward. Evangelicals and Catholics are united in opposition but face lethargy, confusion (“Surely if two people love each other, it doesn’t matter what sex they are…” etc), ignorance (“I can’t see there’ll be any problems!”) and prejudice. People who, ten years ago, would not have accepted that marriage could mean anything other than the union of a man and a woman now feel obliged to say that they think same-sex unions are really quite normal and right. It is harder and harder to achieve an open discussion as many people feel intimidated: a teacher, a social worker, a public official, can face sudden unemployment and possibly social disgrace for saying something deemed to be unacceptable and incorrect on this issue.
The conversation turned, as it so often does these days, to the future persecution of the Church. Nothing meriting the word “persecution” at the moment, we agreed, but young Catholics in their twenties assume it will arrive in their lifetime. It’s as if the New Movements and things like World Youth Day are boosting and helping them, urging them to get trained and ready and spiritually alert for tough times to come.
It will not be fun for any of us – those who talk eagerly about “a bit of suffering doing us good” or imagine fighting gloriously for noble traditions under a splendid banner may well be the first to succumb to pressure to abandon the Church…tough times call for real faith and love, and not for grand-standing. The need is for a real knowledge of the Faith, a sincere and deep prayer-life, courage, and unity.(Read more here.)

Miracle Story: Sometimes You Don’t Have to Ask, Redux

I published a post a few weeks ago telling the story of a young girl who saw a vision of Jesus while she was trapped in a sex-trafficking brothel in India.

The post said in part:

… taken as she was walking to school when she was around 7 and put in a brothel. She suffered terrible things which I will not go into here. She was confined in a tiny room and forced to have sex with many men each day. Her life was mostly that room and her tormentors. She had never heard of Jesus Christ in her young life.

She was alone in the room at one point, and she said that she saw a spot of glowing light in front of her. Then, she saw a man in the light who told her “I am Jesus and I will take care of you.” She did not know who this Jesus was, but she did understand that she was in the presence of God. In the face of every objective criteria to the contrary she believed Him when He said “I will take care of you.” Through a series of incredible events, she ended up here in Oklahoma, free from her captors, and living a new life.

When she talks about this experience, her face glows. Her life, even more than her words, are a testimony to the redemptive power of God’s love. She is going to school, and plans to be a missionary to the trafficked girls in her native India. (Read more here.)

Several readers told me that Jesus is coming to Muslims in visions all over the world. I did a small bit of on-line searching and found numerous links to stories of Muslims who have been converted by a personal visit from Our Lord.

I think many of these stories are true. When a person who says that Jesus has come to him or her, converts and then is willing to face prison, torture and death rather than recant, I accept that at the very least, they believe what they are saying is true.

People will lie for attention, for money, for a competitive or social advantage. Some people even lie for recreation. People will certainly lie to avoid torture and death. But very few people will stand up to imprisonment, torture and death to defend one of their lies. This willingness to die for Christ has been one of His strongest witnesses for 2,000 years.

I’m going to chose one article out of the many I found, primarily because I found it in an August 24 issue of Christianity Today, which is a reliable publication. The article says in part:

… Tom Doyle has spent the last 11 years working as a missionary in the Middle East. He was initially skeptical about reports that God was speaking to Muslims in supernatural ways.

But his mindset changed when his friend told him: “God showed me that my theology does not determine his action.”

He’s made dozens of trips out to the region as director of e3 Partners’ work there, and heard many stories from Muslims about how they came to faith as a result of seeing Jesus in a dreams or vision…

…In one amazing story, a Muslim kidnaps a Christian in Cairo, one of the most dangerous places in the world to spread the Gospel, and takes him at gunpoint to an abandoned warehouse. Inside, he meets a group of 10 imams, who tell him they have been having dreams about Jesus and ask him to teach them about the Bible.

Dreams and visions have become common among Muslims in the Middle East who have embraced the Christian faith. Doyle says the dreams open the door for Muslims to hear about Jesus in countries where spreading the Gospel is forbidden.

While the West associates Islam with terrorism, Doyle believes the majority of Muslims are peace-loving.

“I believe Islamic terrorism is Satan’s attempt to keep the Gospel message away from Muslims,” he writes.

But Tom knows that even Satan can’t stop the Gospel from spreading.

“More Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus today than ever before,” Doyle writes. “In fact, we believe more Muslims have become followers of Jesus in the last ten years than in the last 14 centuries of Islam.” (Read the rest here.)

The article runs parallel to discussions about the New Evangelization which took place at the Synod in Rome this past week. I am a strong supporter of the New Evangelization. These miracles serve to remind us that all evangelization of any era must begin with prayer and hearts that are yielded to the Holy Spirit.

God is not just the object of our desire. He is also the source of our strength and the guide for our actions. We have been timid for a long time about evangelizing anybody, particularly in areas of the world where such work is greeted with violence. I think it’s interesting that these places are the precise ones where Jesus is taking things into His own hands and beginning the work for us.

In this Year of Faith we would do well to remember that nothing we do is of or for ourselves. We the instruments of His grace in this fallen world, and the doorway to that grace is prayer and a humble heart.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Full Text of Wednesday Synod Interventions

I thought you might like to read the Interventions from last Wednesday’s Synod.

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is the Official Summary and Full Texts of Wednesday afternoon’s Interventions at the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith.
* * *
SIXTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION (WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17 2012 – AFTERNOON)
- RELATIO POST DISCEPTATIONEM
- AUDITIO AUDITORUM (III)
Today, Wednesday, October 17 2012, at 4:30 p.m, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the prayer Pro felici Synodi exitu, the Sixteenth General Congregation began for the reading of theRelatio post disceptationem (Report after the Discussion).
President delegate on duty H. Em. Card. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO).
Some auditors also intervened.
A period for free discussion followed.
At this General Congregation, which ended at 7:00 pm with the prayer of Angelus Domini 254 Fathers were present.
RELATIO POST DISCEPTATIONEM
The General Relator, H. Em. Card. Donald William WUERL, Archbishop of Washington (USA), intervened for the reading of the Relatio post disceptationem (Report after the Discussion).
In his second report, at the conclusion of the general discussion of the Synodal theme in the Hall, the General Relator summarized the different interventions heard in these days in the General Congregations and offered several guidelines for orientation to facilitate the works of the working groups.
Full text is published below.
Holy Father
Synod Fathers
Brothers and Sisters in the Lord
“You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

The Synod on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith began with the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy in Saint Peter’s Square. Our Holy Father offered us guidance with the reminder that one of the ideas that came forth from the Second Vatican Council and that has such an important emphasis in the New Evangelization is the understanding of the universal call to holiness and how every Christian is by definition a protagonist in the work of evangelization. “One of the important ideas of the renewed impulse that the Second Vatican Council gave to evangelization is that of the universal call to holiness, which in itself concerns all Christians (cf. Lumen Gentium, 39-42).”

The saints are evangelizers who bring the Word of God into the world through the witness of their lives. Two examples of this efficacious work of inculturation of the Gospel are St. John of Avila and Saint Hildegard of Bingen, who were declared Doctors of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI at the beginning of this synod.

As we began our deliberations in this aula, once again our Holy Father offered us words of inspiration. In his meditation during the opening prayer, Pope Benedict reminded us that confessio is the first of the two great pillars of evangelization. We must know and proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ. But the second of these pillars is caritas – love. It is only when we have the word inseparably lived in love that we achieve the evangelization so hoped for in this synod. “Faith has a content: God communicates himself, but this ‘I’ of God really reveals itself in the figure of Jesus and is interpreted in the ‘confession’ that speaks to us of his virginal conception at the Nativity, the Passion, the Cross, the Resurrection” (Meditation, October 8, 2012).
Also in the October 11th celebration at which the beginning of the Year of Faith was proclaimed and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Council was recognized, the Holy Father indicated another important direction for our work. He said: “During the Council there was an emotional tension as we faced the common task of making the truth and beauty of the faith shine out in our time, without sacrificing it to the demands of the present or leaving it tied to the past: the eternal presence of God resounds in the faith, transcending time, yet it can only be welcomed by us in our own unrepeatable today” (Homily, October 11, 2012).

For the past several weeks, we have listened attentively to the reflections on what the New Evangelization means and how the Church might best address concerns that have led to this call by our Holy Father for a New Evangelization. Thoughtful interventions on the part of the synod fathers, as well as the auditores, fraternal delegates and special guests, have enriched our sessions. The ng1033 Ordo Synodi Episcoporum states that it is the task of the Relator Generalto produce a relatio post disceptationem that summarizes as best as possible the discussions so that the next step of the process can continue.
These following reflections are intended in some way to help the discussion in the language groups (circoli minori) as they prepare propositions to offer to the Holy Father at the conclusion of our work. With these observations I also include a number of points for development.

In this relatio, I will summarize some of the observations presented under the following headings:
1. The Nature of the New Evangelization;
2. The Context of the Church’s Ministry Today;
3. Pastoral Responses to the Circumstances of Our Day; and4. Agents / Participants of the New Evangelization.
1. The Nature of the New Evangelization

In the synodal discussions there emerged very clearly the understanding that the foundation of the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith is above all the work of the most Holy Trinity in history. God the Father sends his Son who brings with himself the authentic Good News of who we are in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Church is involved in this movement of Divine Self-revelation which begins with the Blessed Virgin Mary under the action of the Holy Spirit receiving in her womb the Word of God who became flesh in her to be able to be given to the whole world. It is the Word made flesh who offers his words of everlasting life to those who place their faith in him. After his death and Resurrection, Jesus sent the Church, his Spouse and new Body, into the world to continue his evangelizing mission.

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20).
Jesus has freed us from the power of sin and saved us from death. The Church receives from her Lord not only the tremendous grace he has won for her, but also the commission to share and make known his victory. We are summoned to transmit faithfully the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. The Church’s primary mission is evangelization.
In his opening reflection, our Holy Father reminded us that the Church has taken the word “evangelium” and interpreted it in a new and life-giving manner so that our proclamation of it is a share in the prophetic ministry of the apostles – of the Church.
In the same reflection, our Holy Father underlined the primacy of God in evangelization. It is God who speaks and acts in history. We, by means of the fire of the Holy Spirit, are called to work humbly with God through our profession of faith and love through which the Word of God passes through us to touch others.

The Church never tires of announcing the gift she has received from the Lord. The Second Vatican Council has reminded us that evangelization is at the very heart of the Church. In Lumen Gentium, the fundamental text and nucleus of the Council’s reflection on the life of the Church, the Council fathers emphasized “the Church has received this solemn mandate of Christ to proclaim the saving truth from the apostles and to carry it out to the very ends of the earth” (17).

The duty to announce the saving truth is not just the responsibility of clergy and religious. On the contrary, this synod highlighted the important role of every disciple of Christ in the mission of spreading the faith. The discussion accentuated the crucial and vital participation of every Catholic, especially through the eager dedication and gifts of the lay faithful to the mission of evangelization.

Question 1. Through baptism, all Christians are given a personal calling which gives them the dignity of being evangelizers. How can the Church foster greater consciousness among all the baptized of their missionary and evangelizing responsibility?

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8) and as such, he makes “all things new” (Rev 21:5). This Good News involves the many moments of evangelization. One is the mission ad gentes, that is, the announcement of the Gospel to those who have never heard of Jesus Christ. Another moment in evangelization is the ongoing catechesis and growth in the faith that is a normal part of Christian development. Then there is also the New Evangelization which involves the pastoral outreach to those who have heard of Christ and began once to practice the faith but for one reason or another discontinued.

Question 2. One urgent activity, usually part of parish life, involves the initial proclamation of the faith and its gradual development. How can the Christian community become more aware of the importance of this catechetical and educational activity?

2. The context of the Church’s ministry today
In the beginning of our efforts we were greatly aided by the reflections from bishops representing five continents who spoke to us of challenges and at the same time of the communion of the Church. All of the interventions expressed aspects of the actual situation making reference to continental synodal documents and apostolic exhortations offered by both Blessed John Paul II and our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
Even as they were diverse in particulars, all of the continents manifested a need for the New Evangelization insofar as their own cultures are affected by the process of secularization, even though it is displayed differently in diverse geographic areas.
Signs of the New Evangelization in Africa, America, Asia, Oceania and Europe include the small Christian communities in a variety of forms that have become living centers of evangelization. Revitalized parishes continued to be the focal point of Church renewal. The action of the laity is an essential and fruitful development. Some also highlighted the mega-trend of globalization and its effects, especially on the young. At the same time, all emphasized that at the heart of the New Evangelization is Jesus.

One particularly delicate situation emerged in the interventions regarding the Middle East. We were reminded of the importance of the presence of Christians in that area and that those Catholics have great gratitude for the recent exhortation, Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, and particularly for the visit for our Holy Father to Lebanon that was a greatly appreciated testimony to the Church in that part of the world dominated now by Muslim influence. There was a clear effort to promote interreligious dialogue as an instrument of peace. There was also recognition of the difficulties that Christian communities face.

The presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams and the fraternal delegates, demonstrated the strong ecumenical commitment of the Catholic Church. This was also noted by a number of synod fathers.
Question 3. Many interventions made clear that there is a consensus that this is a moment of reappraisal of the ministry of the Church in a way that recognizes the new situation in which the Church exercises her perennial ministry of bringing the Gospel of Christ to the world. What have been some fruitful experiences of this activity?
Many fathers spoke of the secularism and indifference to religion that are a part of the culture in many parts of the world. Therefore the Church needs to face the challenges of a world that looks elsewhere for its inspiration.

Many interventions noted the great ignorance of the faith – even of the most basic elements of the faith – that is prevalent throughout even those countries that have a long Christian history.

Question 4. In view of the diminished knowledge of the content of the faith and the lack of appreciation for the Gospel message, what new steps have been taken to promote clear, engaging and complete teaching, particularly to the young?

Globalization also presents unique challenges. The emigration and immigration of large numbers of people have caused dislocation of them from the cultural, social and religious context of their faith. Many religious and human values have been overshadowed by secularism.

Much of culture today presents a vision that weakens the social fabric of society. Some fathers offered examples of local violence and others of a diminished religious freedom. All of this is a challenge the Church faces in many parts of the world. Many fathers spoke of the importance of the means of social communications, particularly new electronic media, as the Church attempts to carry out her ministry of proclaiming the Good News. Some pointed out that it is not enough simply to present Christianity and Christian values on the internet or in religious films. It is necessary to enter into the language of the new media. The Church needs to learn the art of communication from the actual practice of modern social communication.

Question 5. The synod highlighted the seriousness of the challenges facing the Church today that hinder the transmission of the faith, among them an absence of the transcendent in a secularized culture. What are some of the challenges of secularization and what are some potential and existing remedies?

3. Pastoral Responses to the Circumstances of Our Day
There is a need to reinforce the idea of ecclesial communion, a bonding with God and therefore among ourselves as Church. We heard of the need to address the sacraments, particularly the Sacraments of Initiation, the Sacrament of Penance, and above all the focus on the Eucharist.

The overriding need of this age is a spiritual renewal that is the task of the Church to proclaim and effect. Spiritual renewal is the most important element of the New Evangelization insofar as it involves the renewal of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and a catechesis that fosters our spiritual growth.

Question 6. The proclamation of the Gospel is primarily a spiritual matter rooted in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the Church. How can the Church better create spaces and moments for an encounter with Christ, and better foster a spiritual renewal, conversion and faith formation among all the baptized?

Our personal commitment does not rest on our own individual resolve alone. The First Letter of Saint Peter reminds us, “You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pt 1:23).

The Holy Spirit enlivens our commitment as we seek to rediscover the truths expressed in the creed. The Spirit strengthens us as we entrust ourselves to the life of grace and virtue promised in the sacraments. The Spirit bolsters our confidence as we open the deepest places of our hearts so that his gifts might strengthen us to live our faith. The New Evangelization should overflow into the very society in which we live. Culture is the field of the New Evangelization. Culture refers to the daily ethos, the various networks of understanding and meaning that give rise to the many, everyday connections between the person, community and society. Culture forms the vital link that relates the person to the community and the community to society.

Along these lines the opportunity to promote the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” was highlighted as a great contribution to the evangelization of culture.

Still others reminded the synod that care of the sick and those who suffer participates in the very essence of evangelization. The sick, those who have disabilities and those with special needs are also able to be agents of evangelization.

One of the repeated themes is the need to highlight the role of the Church as the very presence of Christ in the world today. The Church is not extraneous to the plan of Christ for salvation. A number of bishops spoke of the need to reinforce the role of the Magisterium of the Church when dealing with all of those who are engaged in teaching the faith, whether at the level of theological speculation or teaching at the elementary, secondary or university levels, and in all the expressions of catechesis.

Question 7. The Christian life is characterized by the transformation of the whole person in response to the call to holiness. How can the Church assist all the baptized to live the Christian faith and serve as a witness to the transforming power of God in our history?

Among the pastoral responses that received considerable mention were the works of social justice and the works of charity as an identifying part of the life and ministry of the Church. The ability of the Church to carry out her many works of love, whether in the area of social justice, service, health care or education were seen as part of her identity and a sign for others to recognize the presence of God working in our world.

Question 8. Testimony to Christ’s charity, through works of justice, peace and development, is part of the New Evangelization. How can the Church’s rich social doctrine better proclaim and bear witness to the faith?

Many synod fathers called for a new Pentecost. They spoke of seeing the action of the Church today, enlivened by the Holy Spirit, as a reflection of the energy in the early Church when the apostles set out to bring the first disciples to the Lord. Many of the fathers spoke of the similarity between those early days of the Church and our moment in time today. In this context, it was suggested that there be a formal consecration of the world to the Holy Spirit.

Parishes throughout the Church are the recognized place where for the most part the life of the Church unfolds. Many times the significance of parishes in the unfolding of the New Evangelization was highlighted since this is the “locus” of so much of the experience of people with the Church.

At the same time, the need was affirmed to emphasize the importance of small faith communities as foundational to the work of the Church today in effecting a new Pentecost.

Several synod fathers drew attention to small communities and made the point that they should not become detached from the larger parish family. Each pastor has to be able to work with all of the people entrusted to his care and not be limited to one small part of it.

Question 9. Parishes and small Christian communities occupy a key place in the New Evangelization. How can the parish and these small faith communities better foster and coordinate pastoral initiatives for the New Evangelization? How can the customary pastoral practices in the day-to-day life of these Christian communities be moments in the New Evangelization?

We heard of education into the faith as the starting point for renewal or reinforcement of the New Evangelization, the reintroducing of the world to Jesus Christ. Some fathers highlighted the educational element, especially of the young, as constitutive of the New Evangelization and how we will be able to move into the future bringing people back to the experience of Christ. Synod fathers pointed to the need to find practical and concrete ways to provide young people the proper education in the faith. It is particularly apparent that these moments include instruction of children and adolescents.

Question 10. Since the release of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, great progress has been made in catechetical renewal. How can the Church devise a program of catechesis which is both basic, complete and inspiring in the search for truth, goodness and beauty? The youth are the future of the Church. How can the Church better educate and catechize the youth to the greatness of a relationship with Jesus Christ through the Church, challenging them to commit their lives more fully to Him?

In this perspective, there were those who spoke of putting a renewed emphasis on the minister of catechesis. Catechists can be of great help in the New Evangelization and particularly in the context of families as they communicate the faith to their children.
Question 11. Catechists play a crucial role in the transmission of the faith. Is now the time to give the catechist an instituted, stable ministry within the Church? How can the Church better assist catechists in their important ministry?

Synod fathers spoke of the need to reclaim the Catholic kerygmatic tradition in order to speak the Word of God boldly, in season and out of season, to reclaim the prophetic voice of the Church, to discern the signs of the times that call for the New Evangelization and to engage in proclaiming and living a Catholic response to these signs of the times.

In the same light, a number of synod fathers highlighted the importance of popular piety as an expression by the people of God of their faith.

There was considerable consensus around the value of pilgrimages, especially to Marian shrines. This phenomenon offers a great possibility for evangelization.

Finally, the New Evangelization was recognized as not just a program for the moment but a way of looking at the future of the Church and seeing all of us engaged in inviting, first ourselves to a renewal of the faith and then all those around us into the joyful acceptance of life in the Risen Christ.

4. The Agents / Participants in the New Evangelization
Attention was given to the role of the family. It represents the instrument by which the faith is passed on, even in the most difficult situations. Encouragement has to be given to family life and particularly today when it is suffering so much under the pressures of the new secular vision of reality.

Question 12. As the domestic Church, the family is indispensable not only to the transmission of the faith, but also to the formation of the human person. How can the Church better support and guide the family in its crucial ministry to proclaim the Gospel and take a more active role in the transmission of the faith and human values?
The synod also spoke about the fundamental role of women in the life of the Church and the place of the mother of the family in the transmission of faith.

Systemic and coherent pastoral outreach requires the ongoing permanent formation of priests in the understanding of the joyful proclamation of the Gospel to an age that has little formation into the mystery of Christ.

Those who are preparing for priesthood have to be formed in an understanding of the uniqueness of their ministry and its relationship to evangelization. They also need to be formed in a recognition that they will be dedicating their lives to the service of the Church as celibate priests.

Question 13. The priest occupies a unique place in evangelization and the transmission of the faith. How can the Church foster a renewed missionary imperative to the ministry of priests?

The Church has been blessed by the ministry and witness of women and men in the consecrated life who continue to bring Christ’s love to the world through a great variety of activities. Consecrated life is itself a sign that points out to others the truth of the Gospel.

Many highlighted the role of the laity in the work of the New Evangelization. At every level, whether in the professional areas of education, law, politics, business or in all of the areas of engagement of lay people, it is the task of the individual Catholic to invite people back to the practice of the faith. This is done in word but also and primarily in deed, action and our way of living.

Question 14. The laity are indispensable to the New Evangelization. How can the Church more fully integrate the laity in the organization of the local Church, so that both laymen and laywomen are involved with priests in the evangelization of the community?
A certain number of interventions also highlighted the phenomenon of migration, which is so widespread in our time. It often happens that Catholics arrive in a new environment and are no longer active in their faith. Welcoming and embracing them in the community can be a form of New Evangelization.

The emphasis of Mary, Mother of the Church and of the New Evangelization as a model and patron for our efforts was highlighted a number of times. Above all, her faith prompts us to respond in the same way. It was because of her faith that the Word of God entered into our world. In imitation of Mary, we can bring about through our faith and witness to the life of the Spirit, a change in the world in which we live.

As we begin our work now in determining the propositions that will guide the efforts of this synod in presenting to the Holy Father a frame of reference for his reflection, it seems appropriate therefore to list a number of points among many possible themes:
1. The gratuitous intervention into our existence of God’s love expressed in various ways, but finally and fully in his Word made flesh – Jesus Christ;
2. The gift of the Holy Spirit that enlightens our minds and strengthens our hearts to accept God’s Word and live it;
3. Christ is the subject of our faith and the personal encounter with him invites us to become disciples;
4. We encounter Christ in and through his Church which is his new Body;
5. Christ and his Gospel are at the heart of the Church’s proclamation;
6. All the faithful, laity, religious, and clergy are called to be open to a new Pentecost in their lives;
7. Passing on the content of the faith, the creed, is the task of everyone, but especially in families, in parishes and small communities.
8. The parish is the place where most experience the life of the Church;
9. Some themes of the New Evangelization include the family, marriage, faith formation, religious freedom, care for the poor and the role of the laity; and
10. Mention should be made of practical expressions of the evangelizing work of the Church that seem to be successful.

Conclusion
The growth of the seed takes time. The intentional and deliberate action of diligent and consistent outreach to inactive Catholics on a personal level will plant new seeds as we renew our efforts to proclaim God’s Word and repropose it to those who are now distant from the Church.

The Sower entrusts the seeds to us. We already know our difficulties, the tensions, our restlessness, our faults and our human weakness. Nonetheless, he calls us and places the seeds in our hands and entrusts them to our stewardship. The seed is the beginning of fruitfulness. Planting the seed calls us to live the Word of God and share it with joy.
May Mary, Star of the New Evangelization and example for every disciples, missionary and evangelizer, intercede for us that the work of this synod may result in abundant fruit for the glory of God and the salvation of all men and women.
Thank you.

[00228-02.05] [NNNNN] [Original text: English]

AUDITIO AUDITORUM (III)
The following Auditors intervened:
- Rev. Sister Maria Antonieta BRUSCATO, F.S.P., Superior General of the Society of the Daughters of St. Paul (BRAZIL)
- Mr. Francisco José GÓMEZ ARGÜELLO WIRTZ, Co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way (SPAIN)
- Rev. Zoltán KUNSZABÓ, Permanent Deacon of the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest (HUNGARY)
- Dr. Michel ROY, Secretary General of “Caritas Internationalis” (ITALY)
- Mrs. Lydia JIMÉNEZ GONZÁLEZ, Director General of the “Cruzadas de Santa María” Secular Institute (SPAIN)
- Dr. Florence DE LEYRITZ, Member of Alpha France Association (FRANCE) and Dr. Marc DE LEYRITZ, President of Alpha France Association (FRANCE)
- Prof. Franco MIANO, President of Italian Catholic Action (ITALY)
The summaries of the interventions are published below:
- Rev. Sister Maria Antonieta BRUSCATO, F.S.P., Superior General of the Society of the Daughters of St. Paul (BRAZIL)

In my intervention I refer to numbers 59 and 62 of the Instrumentum laboris, which I find answers the challenges facing the Church today by the media and digital culture, “the forum of civic life and social experience” (IL 59) and a space for an evangelization, from which to widely spread the Good News of the Gospel.
I praise and bless God for the growing ecclesial sensitivity towards the communication known as new civilization (Ecclesia in Africa, 71), the first aeropagus of modern times (Redemptoris missio, 37), a true and proper culture: that is to say a way of existing, of being in the world.

Paul VI knew this well, from the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi he stated: “The Church would feel guilty before the Lord if she did not utilize these powerful means that human skill is daily rendering more perfect. It is through them that she proclaims ‘from the housetops’” (no. 45).

The enlightened interventions by the last Pontiffs, especially on the occasion of the World Day for Social Communication, have moved and supported the local Churches and other ecclesial organizations to use professionally the various instruments of communication and today’s new media for the proclamation of the message of salvation.
No. 62 of the Instrumentum laboris indicates some of the dangers of the digital culture which however do not cloud the potential of this new communication, able to offer greater possibilities of knowledge, of exchange, of solidarity. The questions call with great for those in the Church that are bold enough “in entering these ‘new aeropaghi’”: how to be effective communicators of the Mystery of God who is communion, witnesses of the love of God who is hope?

In distant 1926, Blessed Giacomo Alberione, the founder of the Pauline Family, wrote: “The world needs a new, long and profound evangelization… Proportionate instruments are needed, and souls lit by faith”.

And this is the big challenge that we must also answer today.
[00317-02.02] [UD037] [Original text: Italian]
- Mr. Francisco José GÓMEZ ARGÜELLO WIRTZ, Co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way (SPAIN)
The Letter to the Hebrews states, “Since all the children share the same human nature, he too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could set aside him who held the power of death, namely the devil, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death”.

Do we really believe that men, for fear of death, are held in the slavery of the devil all their lives? If we do, then this Synod should say with St Paul: “Caritas Christi urget nos. For the love of Christ overwhelms us when we consider that if one man died for all, then all have died; his purpose in dying for all humanity was that those who live should live not any more for themselves, but for him who died and was raised to life”.

St Paul says that God wanted to save the world through the foolishness of the kerygma, which announces this news.

Faith comes from listening and today we find ourselves in a secularized society that has closed its ears.

If we want to evangelize, we need to give the signs that open the ears of contemporary man. But how can a Christian community reach this stature of loving faith in the dimension of the Cross and perfect unity? Here we find the need for the post-baptismal catechumenate to make faith grow.
[00311-02.02] [UD031] [Original text: Italian]

- Rev. Zoltán KUNSZABÓ, Permanent Deacon of the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest (HUNGARY)
This intervention is based on twenty years of mission experience in Budapest, Hungary and central Europe. The lives of hundreds of people, often entire families have changed thanks to the following principals. This key is a very simple one: to hold fast and believe the spiritual law of evangelization, which the Church, explaining to us Holy Scripture reveals. These are also referring to Instrumentum Laboris points 131 to 141 on the first proclamation of the Gospel and in point 28 on the content of the Gospel.
Because of the Conciliar and post-conciliar documents the entire process of transmitting the faith is clear before us. It begins with a proclamation, which is the Kerygma, that is to say the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including a call to conversion and repentance. Then a process of catechesis, based on the faith born of the first hearing of the Good News. It is very important that we clearly see this process and we follow this order.
It is also very important for New evangelization to be clear about the content of the basic Gospel. We must make it clear that this is a salvific message today just as much as long ago. Sin tears men from God just as much today as it did in the time of the Apostles. If we preach the Gospel faithfully, we will also see that this leads to the sacramental life, people will want to be cleansed by the water of baptism, to be reconciled through the sacrament of repentance, and to commune with Christ through the Holy Eucharist.

The highlight of my mission work was the Budapest City Mission in 2007. When answering the call of His Eminence Cardinal Peter Erdö, the entire archdiocese, joined in unprecedented unity to declare and share the Good News. The Kerygmatic preaching, and the invitation to join the community of love that is the Church, has since changed many lives, especially among the poor, the homeless and marginalized people and many of the youth.

[00197-02.03] [UD014] [Original text: English]
- Dr. Michel ROY, Secretary General of “Caritas Internationalis” (ITALY)
The practice of charity is a constitutional element of the nature of the Church and her mission of evangelization, and all in the Church are involved.
The new evangelization must show that the diakonia of the faith and the diakonia of charity are not separate and independent, but it is a question of one single diakonia with two aspects. Even more: the motor of the mission, the bearer of the vision should always be the diakonia of charity.

Because of this, charity must be the structural element of the self-same nature of the Church if she wishes to be evangelizing. It is worthwhile for the Synod to give her the place due to her in the reflection on new evangelization and for her to be encouraged and reinforced in her evangelizing dynamism.

Charity lived in the Spirit not only makes us missionaries, but evangelizes us as well. And today, we joyfully recognize that there are many, every day more and more, workers of charity, volunteers and employed, who make of their work in the social-charitable action of the Church the explicit field of their involvement in evangelization. We would like for them to have a place among the topics dealt with, on the manner in which Christian faith should be transmitted today.

We acknowledge that the practice of charity is one of the signs of credibility of the Church. We can often see, in our Caritas, brothers and sisters who come to us from indifference, agnosticism and unbelieving, through the socio-charitable service, discovering what the joy of believing and placing one’s life in the same phase with Jesus Christ within the Church truly means. We would like for the evangelizing characteristic which they bear within themselves to be recognized in a great number of actions that are carried out in the service of charity and the way of exercising them.
This does not mean that we do not recognize the need, at the same time, to deal with the evangelizing dimension of charity and formation in this domain, so that we may know how to make this service raise questions on the reasons and meaning of what we do, inviting to conversion and easing the proclamation of Jesus and His Gospel. In the same way we must cultivate the spirituality that can give consistency to the evangelizing characteristic of charity. The Synod could provide a good service to the new evangelization if it would give us positive orientations on the attention to be brought on formation and spirituality in the charitable action, which allows the revival in her of her evangelizing force.

The fundamental question in new evangelization is not only in knowing how to proclaim the Gospel, but in asking ourselves if the Gospel we proclaim is a good news for the poor, and if we, as Church, can make this Gospel credible. The service of charity must be the motor of the mission and its sign of credibility.
[00233-02.02] [UD020] [Original text: French]

- Mrs. Lydia JIMÉNEZ GONZÁLEZ, Director General of the “Cruzadas de Santa María” Secular Institute (SPAIN)
The Instrumentum laboris (nos. 147-149) calls us to do the work of evangelization, education in the current difficult situation of the “educational emergency”. In this sense, how do we have to be Catholic educators, what should Catholic school be like? I would like to indicate some ways:
1. – Maintaining Catholic identity of our schools.
2. – Establishing in our schools serious and integral program of faith formation.
3. – Creative fidelity to the founding charisma.
4. – Practice of virtues through a serious program of education of the will.
5. – Affective Educational Program. Encourage the practice of charity.
6. – Personalized attention.We have seen, with sorrow , how many students in our Catholic schools, rigorously educated in the study, have become social leaders who are enemies of the faith and the Church. That our schools are not centers of very “educated” but “unbelieving baptized.” And we have also seen with joy, how in colleges, universities, where the identity is maintained and the education of the faith is carried out, vocations emerge from its own Congregation for all conditions of Christian life. The Bishops are asked to pay special attention to the Catholic-owned centers in their dioceses. Ensure that they do not disappear and maintain their clear Catholic identity as an effective contribution to the formation of new credible evangelizers.

[00306-02.03] [UD027] [Original text: Spanish]
- Dr. Florence DE LEYRITZ, Member of Alpha France Association (FRANCE) and Dr. Marc DE LEYRITZ, President of Alpha France Association (FRANCE)
The Alpha Board is an instrument of kerygmatic announcement in the service of parishes and chaplaincies created 30 years ago and proposed in 160 countries, in 110 languages. Close to 20 million individuals followed it, many of whom had vivifying encounters with Christ. What lessons can be drawn from this experience for pastoral conversion?

Three great processes structuralize evangelization: 1. A first evangelization lived as a time of initial conversion allowing for the personal encounter with Christ; 2. The formation of disciples favoring the apprenticeship of Christian life; 3. The development of leaders through the recognition of the missionary potential of the laity and their deployment within the Church and in society.

Few pastors effectively know how to articulate these three processes which are detailed in Evangelii Nuntiandi, Chap. 2: This transformation leads to not believing in the sympathy, the sympathy to conversion, the conversion to the life of the disciple, and the life of the disciple to the mission.

For New Evangelization not to be diminished to a mere slogan, and for the communities to be the fertile terrain where disciples-missionaries may grow, priests must develop the ability to lead the pastoral with an organized and systematic approach. It is key to articulate these processes amongst themselves in a pastoral continuum that links the first proclamation to the development of missionary disciples, on the basis of their spiritual gifts, that could make the Kingdom of God radiate around the Christian community.

The New Evangelization requires new pastoral competencies. The Munus Regendi is brought up here. We have conceived for the profit of priests and bishops formations of pastoral government. Experience shows us that we can conceive the Church like a community apprenticeship where one must find again to place oneself in the listening of the Word of God to grow in faith, to form as disciples and practice a pastoral government that is profoundly evangelical.

[00309-02.02] [UD029] [Original text: French]
- Prof. Franco MIANO, President of Italian Catholic Action (ITALY)
The laity is called to participate in the entire mission of the Church, “they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” (LG, 31). The Council message thus places the lay vocation in a particularly meaningful light that expresses a lively feeling of co-responsibility in the local Church and in the Universal Church. The discovery-rediscovery of this vocation, of the profound feeling of lay participation in the whole mission of the Church, appears to be one of the fundamental tasks which new evangelization is facing.

New evangelization requires new abilities of relation and relationships, individuals who know how to tell, with their life, the marvels of God, needs ties to a good, beautiful, true life. Here then, the intrinsically community dimension of the life of the Church, which has its foundation in the great gift of communion, today, asks to be evermore valued, with the goal of a renewed announcement of the Gospel to men and to women of our time. Even in the consciousness of the plurality of itineraries which are so rich in our ecclesial life, we again think about the parish, the place where we find our houses, where our families live, where the first relationships are built.

In the life of the parish, and even before at the service of the diocese, Catholic Action may represent a privileged place where the proper dynamics of relations in an ecclesial way are activated, where each one learns to understand that the great gift of faith and all the gifts received have a community destination. The vocation proper to Catholic Action, according to the indications of Vatican Council II, is in placing itself at the service of the whole, in being associated diocesan laity, in being able to be the concrete laboratory for new evangelization in the reality of the particular churches, around the Bishop, giving perspective and activation to the pastoral orientations. We offer our availability to the pastors of our particular Churches on behalf of the many lay faithful who await demanding formative proposals, intense personal relationships which being an association helps to cultivate, committing ourselves to walk the path of holiness, following the many saints and blesseds to become witnesses and apostles in the contexts of life: youths, adults, children, families, teachers, students, professionals, workers… all involved and protagonists, all responsible in evangelization and in the new evangelization to favor in the individuals we meet daily a new encounter with the Lord.
[00312-02.02] [UD032] [Original text: Italian]

First Day of the Year of Faith and I’ve Swiped My Mother’s Wheel Chair

Today is the first day of the Year of Faith.

I began this auspicious year by swiping my 87-year-old mother’s wheel chair.

It all started when I ran out of Diet Coke. I was eating lunch. I drained my glass of Diet Coke. So, I picked up the empty Coke can and a bag of chips I wanted to put away and a glass I wanted to fill with more ice and a couple of other things I can’t remember now. I planned to get another can of Coke and come back to finish my lunch.

I stepped out onto the perilous carpet of my house. And my foot slid. I turned one ankle, tried to right myself, turned the other ankle and went down. Hard. I went down hard.

Chips were everywhere. It looked like a chip snowfall. But my major problem was my left foot. The top of it was all dented in and looking weird … and it hurt. It hurt enough that for the first time I kind of understood those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials.

I crawled — literally — to the refrigerator, opened the freezer door (we have a side-by-side fridge) and pulled out some of those freezer dealies you put in your lunch bag to keep your food cold. I put those on the foot and the pain moved back a bit.

Then, I called my husband. “I broke my foot,” I said. “You’ve got to come home and drive me to the hospital.”

And that is how I came to swipe my mother’s wheel chair.

I have two broken bones in my foot that are split and moved all over from where they should be. The hospital put me in a sort of cast and scheduled me for surgery for next Monday. Then they sent me home with pain pills and a dire warning not to stand on, bang or even jar my foot for fear of moving the bones further out of place and making my injuries worse.

Neato.

I’m sleeping on the sofa (Two-story house; can’t get upstairs) and paddling around with my mother’s wheelchair. It’s not all that bad, unless I move the foot the wrong way, which I’ve learned NOT to do. Me and the ice pack? We’re best buds.

So what does this have to do with the Year of Faith?

Just this: I went to a Catholic hospital built by nuns in the last century to provide health care for anyone who needed it. This hospital has the distinction of not turning people away because they can’t pay for care. I’ve counseled women who were abortion-minded, and part of the reason was a fear of the costs of the medical care involved in having the baby. This hospital provided them with free care.

I remember a few years ago, doing an intake for a woman who had come in, wanting free medical care for her pregnancy. This woman had a rough past and was a confirmed, out-spoken, Catholic hater. The whole time I was filling out the forms and setting her up for free medical care from a Catholic hospital, she was railing at me about the Church. She threw off insults with every breath.

I didn’t rail back at her. I just filled out the forms and sent her along to have her baby with the care and love of a Church that she despises.

I’m talking about my Church; the Catholic Church. The Church that has built hospitals, schools, runs charities and helps people all over the world. In my work as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, I help a lot of desperate people. Oftentimes, the government has no agency or program that can help them. They just fall through the cracks. These are often the most needy people I see.

My first call when that happens is to the Catholic Church, to one of the many programs, agencies, charities the Church runs for people like these.

If I need shelter for a homeless woman, the Church will take her in. If I need to find medical care for the working poor, the Church is there. If some destitute soul needs free legal help, the Church can help. Counseling? Go to the Church.

That, my friends, is faith with legs. (No pun intended.)  It is faith that talks louder than words, that means more than good wishes. Look around you. Look at the universities, hospitals, charities; all built by the hands of Catholics, living their faith.

This is the first day of the Year of Faith. I got a good lesson in living faith yesterday by way of excellent medical care that was given to me by people who also took the time to explain, be gentle and go the extra mile to make things easier for me.

For that I thank them and the many generations of Catholics who went before them and made these things possible.

I am sitting here in my living room, propped up like the Lady of the Manor on my recliner with my ice packs, my laptop, ipad, cell phone, Kindle, pain pills and a thermos of ice water.  I have a remote on the chair arm and a big screen tv awaits my signal to start entertaining me. If you’ve gotta have a broken foot, this is how to do it.

I’m also relaxed. I know I have good doctors. But more importantly, I know that I am, as always, in God’s hands. There’s nothing to fear when you’re on the Jesus, Joseph and Mary team. Whatever happens, be it good or bad, I am safe in His plan.

Make the most of this Year of Faith, my friends. Grow in grace.


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