The New Evangelization
WHAT IS THE NEW EVANGELIZATION?
The Church calls for a new evangelization and tells us that “to spread her social doctrine pertains to the Church’s evangelization mission and is an essential part of the Christian message”. (Pope St. John Paul II, 5)
Indeed: “the Church’s social teaching is itself a valid instrument of evangelization.” (Pope St. John Paul II, 54)
THE GREAT CHALLENGE
“True social justice, furthermore, can only be possible in a perspective of genuine solidarity that commits people to live and work always for others. Thus, to achieve this in practice in the context of the contemporary world is the great challenge of Christian people”. (Pope Benedict XVI)
The Church teaches that it is our role – ordained, religious and lay – to work towards developing strong, committed Catholic lay men and women, rich in faith and theologically prepared with the tenets of Catholic social teaching to be present in public life to explain and implement it in our world.
“Every Christian is called to practice this charity in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields”. (Pope Benedict XVI, 7)
EVANGELIZATION AND CHARITY?
“To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity.” (Pope Benedict XVI, 1)
“In the face of suffering or violence, poverty or hunger, corruption or abuse of power, a Christian can never remain silent. The saving message of the Gospel needs to be proclaimed loud and clear, so that the light of Christ can shine into the darkness of people’s lives.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
“the Church’s social teaching is itself a valid instrument of evangelization.” (Pope St. John Paul II, 54)
It is towards this end that Pope St. John Paul II established CAPP — “to promote and defend the knowledge and the practice of the Church’s social doctrine.” (Message to the Members of the “Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice” Foundation, July 5, 2003).
Indeed, by assisting American bishops in forming the consciences of lay Catholics, CAPP is helping avoid the “serious pastoral problems created by a growing failure to understand the Church’s binding obligation to remind the faithful of their duty in conscience to act in accordance with her authoritative teaching.” (Pope St. John Paul II, 3)
Pope St. John Paul II went on to suggest the need for “a comprehensive catechesis of the lay apostolate” to help US Catholics understand our public duties.
Catholic social teaching is built on three foundational principles - Human Dignity, Solidarity and Subsidiarity. Human Dignity, embodied in a correct understanding of the human person, is the greatest. The others flow from it. Good governments and good economic systems find ways of fostering the three principles.
This means a correct understanding of the human person and of each person’s unique value. All Catholic social teaching flows from this: the inherent dignity of every person that comes from being made in God’s image.
Solidarity is not “a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of others. It is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good”. (Pope St. John Paul II, 38) Love of God and love of neighbor are, in fact, linked and form one, single commandment.
Subsidiarity “is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry. So, too, it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and a disturbance of right order to transfer to the larger and higher collectivity functions which can be performed and provided for by the lesser and subordinate bodies”. (Pope Pius XI)
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, Inc (CAPP-USA) is the United States affiliate of Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice at the Vatican. | Sitemap