Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Evangelization In Korea

Pope John Paul II used the term "new evangelization" during his trip to Poland in 1979, and we have been hearing it often since then. The Desk Columnist of the Catholic Times makes a short  study of its history.

In 1983 the bishops of Latin America at their general meeting considered this new idea, calling it re-evangelization. The Pope, in his encyclical Redemptoris Missio (On the permanent validity of the Church's missionary mandate) and Christifideles Laici (the post-synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope John Paul on the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and the world, emphasized this new evangelization. Many synods throughout the world, in preparation for the Jubilee of 2000, concerned themselves with this new approach to ministry.

Next year the Bishops Synod in Rome will have as its theme, "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith." This synod will be the 13th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will guide the pastoral initiatives and programs for the future.

The various bishops, religious superiors, Vatican officials and experts will  submit their suggestions and their answers to questions in preparation for the meeting.

Last year, because of the problem in parts of the world where secularism poses a serious crisis in the people's sense of what it means to be Christian and to belong to the Church, Pope Benedict  created a pontifical council for the new evangelization to find ways "to re-propose the perennial truth of the Gospel... have decided to create a new organism, in the form of a pontifical council, with the principal task of promoting a renewed evangelization in the countries where the first proclamation of faith has already resounded and where there are churches of ancient foundation present, but which are living through a progressive secularization of society and a kind of eclipse of the sense of God." The challenge, he said, is to find ways to help people rediscover the value of faith.

The Church of Korea--various bishops, religious superiors, Vatican officials and experts--are preparing for next year's synod by doing their homework and answering questions from Rome during a two-day workshop; these efforts will continue. The columnist feels that the preparation will be a great help in determining how prepared the Catholic Church in Korea is for the 21st century. How is the Church to witness to the different areas of our society?

The Catholics in Korea now number over 10 percent  but the quality of our evangelization and our maturity as Christians are matters of concern. The columnist hopes that the preparation for the synod next year will help  bring Korean Catholicism to another level of spirituality.

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