Pope: Evangelization Is “Urgent and Necessary”

Affirms Missionary Nature of Church

VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The evangelizing mission of the Church remains “urgent and necessary,” Benedict XVI told members of the general assembly of the Pontifical Missionary Works.

The Pope received in audience members of the assembly Saturday, during which he reaffirmed that “the whole Church is missionary by nature” and that “mission regards all Christians.”

The Pontiff explained that the must be attentive to the demands of proclaiming with frankness and courage the truth that saves. “This apostolic commitment is a duty and an indefeasible right, the proper expression of religious liberty, that has its corresponding ethic-social and ethic-political dimensions.”

The Holy Father then invited every local Church to collaborate with other Churches, becoming the interpreter of a “mission of communion.”

“Against the seeds of disunity among men,” Benedict XVI said, “that everyday experience shows to be so rooted in humanity because of sin, the local Church opposes the generative force of the unity of the Body of Christ.”

“Mission is a duty about which one must say ‘Woe to me if I do not evangelize’ (1 Corinthians 9:16),” the Pope added, citing the words of the Apostle Paul, who personally experienced that “redemption and mission are acts of love,” because “those who proclaim the Gospel participate in the charity of Christ.”

“It is love that must move us to proclaim to all men with frankness and courage the truth that saves,” he explained. “A love that must radiate everywhere and reach the heart of every man. Indeed, men await Christ.”

During the assembly, which began Thursday, the 115 national directors will listen to reports from the general secretaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, the Mission Society of Holy Childhood and the Missionary Union.

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