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Evangelization is every Christian's work, Pope reminds bishops

September 20, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI exhorted bishops to foster a “stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization” in a September 20 address to prelates participating in a conference organized by the Congregation for Bishops.

The “new evangelization” is a call for all Christians to bear witness to the Gospel, the Pope said. Asking the bishops to take the lead in that effort, he said:

Evangelization is not the work of a small number of specialists but of the entire People of God under the guidance of their pastors. Each member of the faithful, with and within ecclesial communion, must feel the responsibility to announce and bear witness to the Gospel.

In order to be effective in evangelization, the Pope continued, the faithful must be well versed in the faith. He asked the bishops to “ensure that everyone, in keeping with their age and condition, be presented with the central contents of the faith, systematically and completely, in order to respond to the questions raised by our technological and globalized world.” The Pontiff especially recommended the Catechism of the Catholic Church as means of providing that reliable education.

Pope Benedict suggested that Blessed John XXIII could be regarded as the first Pontiff to call for a “new evangelization” of the world. He recalled how in opening the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII spoke of “this certain and unchanging doctrine, which must be faithfully respected, to be developed and presented in a way that responds to the necessities of our time.”


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