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Next Synod meeting will plot strategies for 'new evangelization'

Catholic World News - March 04, 2011

The “new evangelization” will be the focus of attention at the 13th ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops, meeting in Rome in October 2012.

Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, said that the new evangelization “ought to rekindle the original fire in Christians – a new missionary consciousness that involves all the members of God’s people.”

At a March 4 press conference at the Vatican, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic presented the lineamenta, the preparatory document that will form the basis for the Synod discussions.

The lineamenta, a 3-chapter document, outlines the general themes for the Synod’s considerations. This document will be sent to all the world’s episcopal conferences, and to the synods of the Eastern Catholic churches, to solicit comments and suggestions. On the basis of those suggestions a new document will be prepared: the instrumentum laboris, which will be the working document on which the Synod’s deliberations are based.

The preface to the lineamenta explains the difference between evangelization, which is a constant duty of the Church, and the “new evangelization,” which is an effort designed to reach “those who have moved away from the Church, those who have been baptized but not sufficiently evangelized.”

The “new evangelization” is a term that was introduced into regular usage at the Vatican by Pope John Paul II, and taken up enthusiastically by Pope Benedict XVI. Last year Pope Benedict created a new structure within the Roman Curia, the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, to further the work. Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the first president of the new body, has said that the effort will be aimed primarily at Europe and North America, concentrating on the societies where Christianity was once dominant but has seen a dramatic drop in influence in recent decades.

The lineamenta for the Synod, however, sees the new evangelization as a worldwide effort, enlisting active Catholics to help bring their neighbors back into active involvement with the Church. The conclusion of the document says that "the new evangelization should aim to revive in the original enthusiasm in Christians, a new mission that should involve all members of God's Community.”

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