Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella's Intervention at the Synod of Bishops

«Proclaiming the Gospel is Equated with Changing Ones Life «

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2012 ( The following is the text of the intervention of Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, Prseident of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, at the Synod of Bishops on Tuesday.

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The New Evangelization presents itself as a pastoral project which will engage the Church for the next generations. It is urgent that before “doing”, the foundation of our “being” Christian is rediscovered so that the New Evangelization is not experienced as an addition in a moment of crisis, but as a continuous mission of the Church. One must combine the need for unity, to go beyond fragmentation, with the richness of ecclesial and cultural traditions.

Unity of a pastoral project, is not equated with uniformity of fulfillment; rather, it indicates the need for a common language and contributing symbols which make evident the journey of the whole Church more than the originality of a particular experience. We must be motivated because in a time of epochal transition such as ours, marked by a general crisis, we are asked today to live in an extraordinary way our ordinary ecclesial life.

We must present the newness that Jesus Christ and the Church represent in the lives of individuals. Today’s man, instead, no longer perceives the absence of God as a lack in his life. Ignorance of the fundamental concepts of the faith are united with a kind of unprecedented self-centeredness. How can the news of Jesus Christ be expressed in a world permeated solely with scientific culture, modeled on the superficiality of ephemeral concepts, insensitive to the proposal of the Church?

Proclaiming the Gospel is equated with changing one’s life; but today’s man seems tied to this kind of life of which he is in control because he decides when, how and who should be born and die. Perhaps our communities no longer show the characteristics which allow us to be recognized as carriers of a good news that transforms. They appear tired, repetitive of obsolete formulas that do not communicate the joy of encountering Christ, uncertain of the path to follow.

We are wrapped up in ourselves, we demonstrate a self-sufficiency that prevents us from drawing near to one another as a living and fruitful community that generates vocations, having so greatly bureaucratized the life of faith and the sacraments. In a word, we no longer know whether being baptized is equivalent to being evangelizers. Incapable of being proclaimers of the Gospel, unsure of the certainty of the truth that saves, and cautious in speaking because we are oppressed by control of language, we have lost credibility and we risk rendering vain the Pentecost.

In this moment, we do not need nostalgia for times of the past nor utopia for chasing after dreams; rather, what is needed is a clear analysis which does not hide the difficulties or even the great enthusiasm of the many experiences that in these years have allowed for the implementation of the New Evangelization.

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