Extracts from the First Twenty Propositions Presented to the Holy Father by Last October's Synod on the New Evangelisation
1) THE NATURE OF THE NEW EVANGELISATION
Proposition 4: The Holy Trinity, Source of the New Evangelisation
The Church and her evangelising mission have their origin and source in the Most Holy Trinity ... The New Evangelisation recognises the primacy of God's grace.
Proposition 5: The New Evangelisation and Inculturation
The New Evangelisation is a time of awakening, of new encouragement and new witness that Jesus Christ is the centre of our faith and daily life. It calls every member of the Church
• to renew their faith;
• to make an actual effort to share it;
• to recognise, certainly, a growing awareness of people to the changing circumstances of life today;
• to value what is positive in every culture, while at the same time purifying it from elements that are contrary to the full realisation of the person according to the design of God revealed in Christ.
Proposition 6: Proclamation of the Gospel
... the Church ... must be missionary (cf Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14; CCC, 851) ... [involving] the proclamation of his life and of the paschal mystery of his passion, death, resurrection and glorification [to those who] have become vain in their reasonings and ... [those] living and dying in this world without God, [who] are exposed to final despair.
Proposition 7: New Evangelisation as a Permanent Missionary Dimension of the Church
It is proposed that the Church proclaim the permanent worldwide missionary dimension of her mission ... to
• evangelise those who do not know Jesus Christ;
• [to support] the continuing growth in faith that is the ordinary life of the Church;
• to [reach out to] those who have become distant from the Church.
Proposition 8: Witnessing in a Secularised World
As Christians we cannot remain indifferent to the process of secularisation. ... our present age, manifests aspects [that are] more difficult than in the past...
Proposition 9: New Evangelisation and Initial Proclamation
We consider it necessary that there be a Pastoral Plan of Initial Proclamation, teaching a living encounter with Jesus Christ. This pastoral document would provide the first elements for the catechetical process, enabling its insertion into the lives of the parish communities.
Proposition 10: Right to Proclaim and to Hear the Gospel
... it is an inalienable right for each person, whatever one's religion or lack of religion, to be able to know Jesus Christ and the Gospel. This proclamation, given with integrity, must be offered with a total respect for each person, without any form of proselytising.
Proposition 11: New Evangelisation and the Prayerful Reading of Sacred Scripture
...the divine word [should] "be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity" (Verbum Domini, 1).
Proposition 12: Documents of Vatican II
The Synod Fathers recognise the teaching of Vatican II as a vital instrument for transmitting the faith in the context of the New Evangelisation. ... Pope Benedict XVI, who has indicated the hermeneutical principle of reform within continuity ... "wherever this interpretation guided the implementation of the Council, new life developed and new fruit ripened" (Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, 22 December 2005). In this way it will be possible to respond to the need for renewal required by the modern world and, at the same time, faithfully preserve the identity of the Church's nature and mission.
2) THE CONTEXT OF THE CHURCH'S MINISTRY TODAY
Proposition 13: Challenges of our Time
Popular religiosity is important but not sufficient.
Proposition 14: The New Evangelisation and Reconciliation
The Church must exercise her ministry of reconciliation in a calm and resolute way....
Proposition 15: New Evangelisation and Human Rights
Every opportunity must be taken in various local situations and associations to articulate, uphold and guard, both in theory and in practice, those rights flowing from an adequate understanding of the human person as set forth in the natural law.
Proposition 16: Religious Liberty
The Synod Fathers propose a renewed commitment to and wider diffusion of the teachings of Dignitatis Humanae.
Proposition 17: Preambles of Faith and Theology of Credibility
[Today there are] new paradigms of thought and life. It is of paramount importance, for a New Evangelisation, to underline the role of the Preambles of Faith. ... The notions of "Natural Law" and "human nature" are capable of rational demonstrations, both at the academic and at the popular levels. Such an intellectual development... [can] open a way to recognise the existence of a God the Creator and the message of Jesus Christ the Redeemer. The Synodal Fathers ask theologians to develop a new apologetics of Christian thought...
Proposition 18: New Evangelisation and the Means of Social Communication
It is necessary that convinced Christians be formed, prepared and made capable ... to use well the languages and the instruments of today ... [especially to] share testimonies of life.
Proposition 19: New Evangelisation and Human Development
Today it is not possible to think of the New Evangelisation without the proclamation of full freedom from everything that oppresses the human person, ie sin and its consequences. Without a serious commitment for life and justice and the change of the situations that generate poverty and exclusion (cf Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 36) there can be no progress.
Proposition 20: The New Evangelisation and the Way of Beauty
In the New Evangelisation, there should be particular attention paid to the way of beauty: Christ, the "Good Shepherd" (cf Jn 10:11) is the Truth in person, the beautiful revelation in sign ... Beauty attracts us to love, through which God reveals to us his face in which we believe. In this light artists feel themselves both spoken to and privileged communicators of the New Evangelisation. In the formation of seminarians, education in beauty should not be neglected, nor education in the sacred arts, as we are reminded in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium, 129).