Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Of course, we know that our friends in the "conservative" Catholic movement in the US just love this whole "new evangelisation" thing. It was one of the most successful of JPII's many buzzy neologisms. The trouble with these is that, in keeping with modern trends of thought, they resist precise definition.

I don't think that Cardinal Ratzinger's definition below is very precise, but it is meaningful, in a broad sense, particularly with a mind to our ongoing discussion of living in The Real and rejecting Fantasy:
To evangelize means ...to teach the art of living. At the beginning of his public life Jesus says: I have come to evangelize the poor (Luke 4:18); this means: I have the response to your fundamental question; I will show you the path of life, the path toward happiness—rather: I am that path.

The deepest poverty is the inability of joy, the tediousness of a life considered absurd and contradictory. This poverty is widespread today, in very different forms in the materially rich as well as the poor countries. The inability of joy presupposes and produces the inability to love, produces jealousy, avarice — all defects that devastate the life of individuals and of the world.

This is why we are in need of a new evangelization; if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science. This art can only be communicated by [one] who has life, he who is the Gospel personified.

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