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The Needed Evangilzation

  /   Monday June 04, 2012  

I read with interest this article contrasting the “old” evangelization with the “new” evangelization of today. I’m pretty certain that the author, Joe Tremblay, isn’t referring to the new evangelization called for by Blessed Pope John Paul II. Rather, I think he is referring to the type of “evangelization” that can best be described in the Newsboys’ song Not Ashamed where we are “shrugging off sin / apologizing like we’re spreading some kind of disease.” Unfortunately, this is what takes place in many parishes.

This problem of evangelization he describes explains exactly why we need the late pontiff’s new evangelization. Many who have heard the Gospel, even some who regularly attend Mass, have lost the sense of its ultimate purpose – eternal life. The sense of sin is usually also lost. Some people in this boat may even believe that we really can’t know anything about God. Unfortunately, they seem to think they know that we can’t know anything and rarely bother to find out if God can be known.

I’ve experienced what Mr. Tremblay says about many church organizations having become mere social services. I volunteered one day at one Catholic organization’s shelter that made us sign a paper that we wouldn’t try to convert anyone. There’s a newspaper columnist whom I have seen regularly praising “religious” organizations who provide service to the poor but don’t try to preach. At a meeting of one charitable organization at a former parish, someone told us who we need to help people but should never expect their lifestyles to conform to “our way of thinking.”

I think the reason why we might not see some orthodox Catholics incorporate charity into their programs is that they orthodox are reacting against those who are trying to turn the Church into a social service organization. The unfortunate effect of this is that it is hard to find a group that can integrate the preaching of the Gospel with service to the poor. As Mr. Tremblay suggests, people in the Church are often doing one or the other.

So, this brings me back to the need for the evangelization of the baptized. I remember speaking out in an RCIA class when I was coming into the Church. I couldn’t understand why there were people who didn’t take God seriously because it was God we were talking about. We need to restore a true sense of God and the fact that what we do on this earth has implications for eternity. With this sense restored, we need to talk about what we shall do and how we shall live. This seems to be a major theme of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, and it’s a badly needed message.

Category: Catholic, Response



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