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Cardinal Marx questions 'the new evangelization'

March 05, 2015

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich—the president of the German bishops’ conference, and a member of the Council of Cardinals—has expressed misgivings about the term “the new evangelization.”

In an interview with the French Jesuit journal Etudes, Cardinal Marx says that the phrase “new evangelization,” which was made popular by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, suggests a “restoration” of Catholic influence. He said that some people who use the term “think that most of Christianity’s history is behind us and what lies ahead is an uncertain and distressing future.”

“It could be mistaken for a model for a spiritual reconquest, as if the aim was to regain lost ground,” the German cardinal said. “It is not, however, about restoring or repeating what existed in the past, but rather, a new start, a new approach, a new situation.”

Also in his interview with Etudes, Cardinal Marx said that the Synod of Bishops should continue to discuss possible changes in Church discipline regarding marriage and divorce. He said “the Church develops without renouncing its beliefs but throughout its history, Church dogma has unfolded further and it has been elaborated on further.”


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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Mar. 08, 2015 10:14 PM ET USA

    What a straw man argument -- No one is talking about of restoration of the Holy Roman Emperor or giving bishops temporal power as if that were even conceivable at this point. The goal of the New Evangelization is the proclamation of the Gospel and the conversion of sinners. If Cardinal Marx has another goal in mind, let him state it plainly.

  • Posted by: alirob86799 - Mar. 07, 2015 8:12 PM ET USA

    Were you confused? "a new start, a new approach, a new situation.” He is spot on!The only reason Catholic have thought about evangelizing is because they have been told to do so,its their responsibility as baptized Christians, besides its easy and fun to do with a little knowledge and humility to engage fallen-away Catholics.The media can be an awakening to the other sheep but to be really effective it must be person to person. Jesus went town to town, door to door.

  • Posted by: mclom - Mar. 06, 2015 7:02 PM ET USA

    Church dogma may be 'changeable', but are Christ's own teachings? I dislike double speak and there seems to be a huge amount of it coming out of the mouths of too many Church leaders these days. To paraphrase Our Lord: "Yes should be yes, and no should be no."

  • Posted by: Jason C. - Mar. 05, 2015 5:24 PM ET USA

    "'...[B]ut rather, a new start, a new approach, a new situation.'” Not really. The task before Marx and his brethren is the same as that faced by St. Boniface: a Germany full of non-Catholics. But, then again, this time around the non-Catholics will have already rejected what you're selling. Viel Gluck!