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Vatican newspaper: Hopkins, Péguy exemplars of new evangelization

July 11, 2012

The famed Catholic poets Gerard Manley Hopkins and Charles Péguy can serve as “exemplars” in the new evangelization, Father Robert Imbelli writes in L’Osservatore Romano.

Drawing upon Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, Father Imbelli , who teaches theology at Boston College, notes that the upcoming meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization will seek “to devise new tools and new expressions to ensure that the word of faith, which has begotten the true life of God in us, be heard more and be better understood.”

For this task, Taylor

sees the need for a fresh, more creative language capable of communicating the Gospel. A language that is more affective and poetic than the prevailing prose of a one-dimensional technology. A language that taps the aesthetic dimension of experience, whether through music, art or literature.

Taylor cites, as examples of the ability to craft a more integral and evocative language, two great Catholic poets: the English priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the French layman, Charles Péguy. Hopkins rekindled a sacramental sense of a world “charged with the grandeur of God.” Péguy conveyed poetically a living sense of the communion of all the saints, uniting earth with heaven.

These exemplars can provide inspiration for the Synod’s challenge to appropriate the Gospel anew and to spur the renewal of a Christ-centered imagination, capable of guiding and sustaining Christians in the multi-faceted labors of the new evangelization.


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