Cardinal Designate Timothy Dolan Addresses Pope and Cardinals During Day of Prayer and Reflection
The Archbishop of New York talked of the importance of the New Evanglization in the life of the Church
On Friday, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, delivered an address on the New Evangelization to the pre-Consistory meeting of the Holy Father and the College of Cardinals during their day of prayer and reflection. Extracts of the message are included in the article plus a link to the entire presentation.
The Announcement of the Gospel Today, Between missio ad gentes and the New Evangelization
Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan
Holy Father, Cardinal Sodano, my brothers in Christ:
Sia lodato Gesu Cristo!
It is as old as the final mandate of Jesus, "Go, teach all nations!," yet as fresh as God's Holy Word proclaimed at our own Mass this morning.
I speak of the sacred duty of evangelization. It is "ever ancient, ever new." The how of it, the when of it, the where of it, may change, but the charge remains constant, as does the message and inspiration, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow."
We gather in the caput mundi (Ed. - "Capital of the World"), evangelized by Peter and Paul themselves, in the city from where the successors of St. Peter "sent out" evangelizers to present the saving Person, message, and invitation that is at the heart of evangelization: throughout Europe, to the "new world" in the "era of discovery," to Africa and Asia in recent centuries.
We gather near the basilica where the evangelical fervor of the Church was expanded during the Second Vatican Council, and near the tomb of the Blessed Pontiff who made the New Evangelization a household word.
We gather grateful for the fraternal company of a pastor who has made the challenge of the new evangelization almost a daily message.
Yes, we gather as missionaries, as evangelizers.
We hail the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, especially found in Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, and Ad Gentes, that refines the Church's understanding of her evangelical duty, defining the entire Church as missionary, that all Christians, by reason of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist, are evangelizers.
Yes, the Council reaffirmed, especially in Ad Gentes, there are explicit missionaries, sent to lands and peoples who have never heard the very Name by which all are saved, but also that no Christian is exempt from the duty of witnessing to Jesus and offering His invitation to others in his own day-to-day life.
Blessed John Paul II developed this fresh understanding, speaking of evangelizing cultures, since the engagement between faith and culture supplanted the relationship between church and state dominant prior to the Council, and included in this task the re-evangelizing of cultures that had once been the very engine of gospel values. Thus, the missio is not only to New Guinea but to New York.
A towering challenge to both the missio ad gentes (Ed. - "mission to the people") and the New Evangelization today is what we call secularism. Listen to how our Pope describes it:
"Secularization, which presents itself in cultures by imposing a world and
humanity without reference to Transcendence, is invading every aspect of daily life and developing a mentality in which God is effectively absent, wholly or partially, from human life and awareness.
"This secularization is not only an external threat to believers, but has been manifest for some time in the heart of the Church herself. It profoundly distorts the Christian faith from within, and consequently, the lifestyle and daily behavior of believers.
"Furthermore, the prevalent hedonistic and consumeristic mindset fosters in the faithful and in Pastors a tendency to superficiality and selfishness that is harmful to ecclesial life." (Benedict XVI, Address to Pontifical Council for Culture, 8.III.2008)
This secularization calls for a creative strategy of evangelization, and I want to detail seven planks of this strategy.
1. . . This is my first point: we believe with the philosophers and poets of old, who never had the benefit of revelation, that even a person who brags about being secular and is dismissive of religion, has within an undeniable spark of interest in the beyond, and recognizes that humanity and creation is a dismal riddle without the concept of some kind of creator.
Yes, to borrow the report of the apostles to Jesus from last Sunday's gospel, "All the people are looking for you!"
They still are . . .
2. . . . and, my second ...
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