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Pontifical Council for New Evangelization inaugurated

October 12, 2010

With the October 12 promulgation of a motu proprio entitled Ubicumque et Semper, Pope Benedict XVI has established a Pontifical Council for New Evangelization.

The new Vatican office is charged with coordinating plans to renew the vigor of the faith in regions where it was once dominant, but has lost ground to the forces of secularization—notably Europe and North America.

In Ubicumque et Semper, Pope Benedict observes that the “phenomenon of abandonment of the faith” has “become progressively more evident in societies and cultures that were, for centuries, impregnated with the Gospel.” The results are evident, he writes, in the “loss of the sense of the sacred” and the consequent loss of “the shared understating of man's fundamental experiences like birth, death and family life, and the reference to natural moral law.”

The Pontiff credits his predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, with recognizing the need for a “new evangelization” in the lands that were once collectively known as Christendom. In some of these societies, Pope Benedict says, the faith “still shows signs of possessing vitality and profound roots among entire peoples.” Other places, however, “appear almost completely de-Christianized.”

The first president of the new Pontifical Council, Archbishop Salvatore (“Rino”) Fisichella, told a press conference in Rome that the challenge for the Church is to “find adequate ways to renew her announcement to many baptized people who no longer understand what it means to belong to the Christian community, and are victims of the subjectivism of our times with its closure in an individualism that often lacks public and social responsibility.”

Although he pointed out to reporters that his office was only just beginning its work that day, and he could not offer a detailed plan for action, Archbishop Fisichella did say that one important theme would be promotion of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which he described as “one of the most mature fruits to emerge from the directives of Vatican Council II.”


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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Defender - Oct. 13, 2010 1:52 PM ET USA

    Let's start with our Catholic schools, CCD programs, bishops who are so PC that they ignore the Magisterium, priests and bishops who give scandal....

  • Posted by: rfwilliams2938 - Oct. 13, 2010 9:04 AM ET USA

    The Church desperately needs to focus on evangelizing the West. As a baby-boomer I grew up in the 60s and went to a Catholic grade school where I memorized rote catechism. I attended Mass weekly where scripture readings were rarely explained in context or connected to each other and sugar-coated antidotes were doled out instead. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I was evangelized. And this happened through a protestant (shudder) radio program that presented the Gospel passionately and intelligently. Please don’t take offense, I’m not Catholic bashing, just pointing out the obvious. I’m still Catholic and my wife and I teach CCD where in addition to teaching, we try to convince them of the rich and wonderful truth of our Catholic faith.