By Carmen Elena Villa
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The president of the new Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization says that Europe will have to be the dicastery’s first priority, since that is the continent suffering the most aggressive process of dechristianization.
Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella said this today at a press conference to announce Benedict XVI’s “Ubicumque et Semper,” a decree issued “motu proprio,” which officially establishes the new council.
The Holy Father had already announced in June — at vespers for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul — that the council would be created. On June 30, Archbishop Fisichella was appointed its president.
The 58-year-old prelate says he’s still awaiting the appointment of his closest collaborators: a secretary and undersecretary.
But there’s already plenty of work to be done, the archbishop suggested, noting the goal of finding appropriate ways to proclaim the Gospel “to so many of the baptized who no longer understand the meaning of belonging to the Christian community.”
The council, he continued, will try to address the “subjectivism of our times,” which will imply some concrete steps such as harnessing means of communication to put them at the service of evangelization.
Another concrete task will be promoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which Archbishop Fisichella called “one of the most mature fruits of the conciliar directives.”
It gathers “the whole patrimony of the development of dogma” and represents “the most complete instrument to transmit the everlasting faith, given the constant changes and questions that the world poses to believers,” he said.
The archbishop said he expects soon to be in contact with presidents of episcopal conferences to identify and plan various initiatives.
And in that regard, he said he “must put Europe first,” since the continent is suffering a more aggressive process of de-Christianization, than say, Latin America.
He added that the new council must highlight and update “the various traditions and objectives that the Churches have, given the wealth of so many centuries of history.”
The new evangelization won’t be an abstract term, he affirmed, but filled with “theological and pastoral contents.”
And creating a new dicastery in the Roman Curia is not just a bureaucratic move, the prelate said in response to a question from the press. On the contrary, the archbishop urged trusting the Pope, whom he said he does not personally believe is a “man of the bureaucracy,” but rather “the man of proclamation, who with profound intelligence and learning has been able to create this entity to commit the Church concretely to service.”
The president said the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization will be dedicated to combating relativism, which the Holy Father has always denounced, and to diffuse “a correct anthropology” in the midst of a mentality marked “by the consequences of secularism,” which “tends to remove contemporary man from his fundamental relationship with God.”
Citing St. Gregory the Great, the prelate reflected: “The faithful leave us and abandon us and we remain silent.” This new dicastery is “the sign the Pope has given us that we won’t remain silent.”
He concluded: “Now this is the moment to take up our word and to be courageous because we are heralds of the Gospel.”
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of “Ubicumque et Semper”: www.zenit.org/article-30619?l=english