Recently, a symposium was held to discuss the relevance of Pope Francis' exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel) in the Korean Church. The president of the Bishops Conference mentioned the need to first understand the documents issued by the Latin American Episcopal Council, in Medellin in 1968, and in Puebla in 1979. These two documents have influenced much of Latin American Catholicism, he said, and it's instructive to remember that Pope Francis was part of this world before coming pope. Consequently, if we are to fully understand "Joy of the Gospel," he said we must understand what was discussed in Medellin, and eleven years later in Puebla.
The bishop said in the first address of the symposium, "The Social Dimension of Evangelization," that pastoral workers have the right to express their opinions on the problems of society. Moreover, if the poor are to be integrated into society, we must begin solving the problem by having a better understanding of why the present societal structures are preventing this from happening. When the dignity and the common good are threatened, the Church should not keep silent, he said.
The second speaker, a Jesuit priest, mentioned that the Church, in the words of Pope Francis, is like a field hospital after battle. Evangelization is not just a slogan but a way of following Jesus and putting our roots into our culture to improve it. These two aspects: following Jesus and evangelization, are part of the Christian life that have to work together. Christians have to be actively present where this is happening; the reformation of Church structures is not only a goal, but comes from the renewal that is fostered by evangelization itself.
Another participant said that there are two problems that must be faced. First, how are we to integrate the weak into society; second, how to dialog for peace. As Christians we need to hear and respond to the petitions of the weak if we are to achieve economic justice and be in solidarity with them. Peace requires that we promote human dignity and the common good, and work for an integrated development and justice among all people. He added that this requires renewal of the Church, the pastoral work, and the way we do evangelization. We can longer delay this transformation, he said.
Another speaker considered the notion that our proclamation of the word has to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This will be manifested, he said, in the work of those who are praying, by those who are being directed by the love of Jesus while immersed in the world, by those who are moved by their faith life and by those who are out in the front lines, inspired in their work by their mission to evangelize--and always inspired and led by the example of Mary, giving Christ to the world.