Catholic World News

Pope to establish new Council for New Evangelization?

April 26, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI will soon establish a new Vatican office, the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization, according to the respected Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli. The Italian reporter writes in Il Giornale that the new dicastery will be headed by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the current president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The Vatican has made no announcement about such a new office. However Andrea Tornielli has made a series of accurate predictions about Vatican plans during this pontificate.

If the Giornale report is correct, the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization would be commissioned to spur new efforts at spreading the Gospel in Europe and North America: the regions where Christianity was once dominant, but has been damaged by strong secularizing trends. The new office would be distinct from the Congregation for Evangelization-- also known as Propaganda Fide-- which is responsible for the growth of the Church in mission territories, mostly in the global South.

By placing Archbishop Fisichella in charge of the new effort, the Pope could ease a heated conflict within the Pontifical Academy for Life. Several members of the Academy have called for the Fisichella's removal, citing his involvement last year in a dispute over a Brazilian prelate's handling of a controversial abortion case involving a young girl. Some members of the Pontifical Academy for Life said that the group was "being led by an eccelesiastic who does not understand what absolute respect for innocent human lives entails." Critics of Archbishop Fisichella charged that he had become a divisive force within the group. The archbishop did not soothe the critics when he refused to answer their charges, telling a reporter: "Too much space already has been given to them."

Prior to his rough tenure at the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Fisichella had been a respected figure in Rome, known for both his academic background (as rector of the Pontifical Lateran University) and his political acumen (as chaplain to the Italian parliament).

In his report predicting the creation of the new Vatican office, Tornielli says that the Pope has decided to back the initiative recommended by Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Patriarch of Venice.

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  • Posted by: PhilipJPSmith5522 - Apr. 27, 2010 4:07 AM ET USA

    Great news! "If the Lord does not build a house, in vain do its builders labour" the secularists are standing in crumbling ruins on foundations of sand. Let's pray that by God's grace this new initiative will bring their works tumbling down and renew the faith of the people of God.

  • Posted by: ILM - Apr. 26, 2010 4:55 PM ET USA

    What is partial respect for respect for innocent human life like?