Saturday 28th November 2015

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Evangelii Gaudium . . . A Document To Savor And Return To

January 1, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


(Editor’s Note: The Most Rev. Philip Egan, bishop of Portsmouth, England, sent the following message to the priests and people of the Diocese of Portsmouth on the publication of Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. He called the exhortation a stimulus to put faith into action. The bishop’s message was dated December 9, 2013, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. ZENIT News Agency provided the text; all rights reserved.)

+    +    +

On November 24 this year, the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, in conclusion to the Year of Faith, Pope Francis published the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) that followed up the Synod of Bishops held in Rome in 2012 on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”
On behalf of the clergy and people of the Diocese of Portsmouth, I welcome this uplifting and courageous document and I wish publicly to thank the Holy Father for his deep and meaningful teaching. Because in this exhortation the Pope freely develops the discussions of the synod and adds so much of his own thought and reflection, I suggest that alongside Evangelii Gaudium, we also continue to study the 58 propositions the synod issued so that the significant contribution of the synod to Catholic thought and to the work of our diocese not be overlooked.
Evangelii Gaudium is a long document. Yet it is easy to follow, and its central message, about how a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in His Body the Church naturally drives us out joyfully to evangelize others, is direct.
It is a classic expression of Pope Francis’ thought, style, and preaching as seen in his daily homilies at Mass, his speeches and audiences. I encourage everyone in our diocese to read it and study it, perhaps a few paragraphs a day, over the coming months. It is a perfect accompaniment to the “Year of Faith in Action” that I recently announced for the diocese as a follow-up to the Year of Faith.
The exhortation has five chapters. In chapter one (nn. 19-41), the Holy Father begins with the Church and how we need to transpose everything into a missionary key, going beyond our comfort zones to take the Good News of Christ joyfully to the peripheries. He next discusses the crisis of community in the modern world (nn. 50-109), brought about in part by trickle-down economics and consumer culture, which generates individualism and indifference.
In chapter three (nn. 110-175), he explores certain aspects of evangelization, such as the need to inculturate the Gospel and the role of preaching. Chapter four (nn. 176-258) is about the social dimension of the Church’s mission, especially her preferential option for the poor — “I want a Church that is poor for the poor” (n. 198) — and the need to build peace, justice, and fraternity. The Holy Father concludes the exhortation with a brief chapter on the spirituality of being a missionary disciple (nn. 259-288).
There are three features of the exhortation I wish to draw attention to, before asking some specific questions about how the Holy Father’ message might apply to the Diocese of Portsmouth.
1) First, note the Holy Father’s trenchantly critical analysis of the current economic model of consumer capitalism (nn. 52-60). Money, he avers, has become an idol that no longer serves people but dominates and excludes, creating huge inequalities that marginalize many and lead some to violence. “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?…Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving?” (n. 53).
In this context, “some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”
Indeed, “we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase” but in the meantime, “all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us” (n. 54). The current socioeconomic system is “unjust at its root” (n. 59): it needs to be brought into dialogue with ethics and with God.
2) Clergy might note, secondly, the Holy Father’s extensive consideration of the homily and its preparation (nn. 135-159). In the liturgy, the homily should not dominate but lead people, like a mother speaking with her child, to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. The pastor must be close both to the word of God and to his people. His words should set people on fire (n. 142). The preacher needs to be personal (n. 149), linked with daily life (n. 154) and able to use clear images (n. 157) with simple language (n. 158). His message must always be positive and lead listeners to a personal encounter with Christ.
3) Thirdly, the Holy Father speaks time and again of the Church’s mission as one of preferential love for the poor (nn. 186-216). “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society.” Indeed, if we, “who are God’s means of hearing the poor, turn deaf ears to this plea, we oppose the Father’s will and his plan” (n. 187).
This planet belongs to everyone, not just a few; the “mere fact that some people are born in places with fewer resources or less development does not justify the fact that they are living with less dignity. It must be reiterated that the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others” (n. 190).
God’s heart “has a special place for the poor, so much so that he himself became poor” (2 Cor. 8:9). The Savior “was born in a manger, in the midst of animals, like children of poor families; he was presented at the Temple along with two turtledoves, the offering made by those who could not afford a lamb; he was raised in a home of ordinary workers and worked with his own hands to earn his bread” (n. 197).
This is why, Pope Francis adds, “I want a Church which is poor and for the poor” (n. 198). He mentions the “homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasing isolated and abandoned, . . . migrants . . . victims of various kinds of human trafficking, . . . unborn children,” the latter being the “most defenseless and innocent” of all (nn. 210, 211, and 216).
Evangelii Gaudium is challenging. At times the Holy Father adopts a style of “prophetic denunciation,” reminiscent of liberation theology, although without the undercurrent of Marxist ideology. It is a document to savor and return to, and a stimulus and call to put faith into action. In the Diocese of Portsmouth, as a follow-up from the Year of Faith, we have announced a “Year of Faith in Action” and during this Year we will be establishing our new diocesan agency, Caritas Portsmouth.
This is exactly in line with the Holy Father’s message. Consequently, I wish to urge the clergy and people of our parishes and pastoral areas to study this apostolic exhortation. Ask yourselves: Who are the poor in your neighborhood? What is the meaning of “poverty” in your local context? What strategies of assistance and support for those in need might you individually and communally put in place?
But there are three further questions the document raises for our Diocese of Portsmouth, that I would like to ask. First, our parish communities and pastoral areas. The parish, Pope Francis states, is a key locus of new evangelization. Over the coming Year of Faith in Action, I wish to ask you to give some thought as to how our parishes and pastoral areas can be transformed into truly evangelizing communities.
“The parish is . . . the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship, and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a center of constant missionary outreach” (n. 28).
As your bishop I ask you: How genuinely mission-oriented is your parish and your pastoral area?

The Urban Areas

2) Secondly, our cities and urban areas. The Holy Father discusses the challenges of modern urban culture and the city as the particular goal of new evangelization (nn. 71-75). We “need to look at cities with a contemplative gaze, a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their homes, in their streets and squares” (n. 71).
For new “cultures are constantly being born in these vast new expanses where Christians are no longer the customary interpreters or generators of meaning. Instead, they themselves take from these cultures new languages, symbols, messages, and paradigms which propose new approaches to life, approaches often in contrast with the Gospel of Jesus” (n. 73).
The challenge is how to find “innovative spaces and possibilities for prayer and communion which are more attractive and meaningful for city dwellers” (n. 74).
So let us think of the cities and urban areas of our Diocese of Portsmouth. They tend to follow the motorway corridors: the M3, M4, M27, etc. Think, for instance, of Oxford, Reading, Ascot and Windsor, Aldershot, Basingstoke, Winchester, Eastleigh and Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth. Then there are the islands, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Isles, which are fairly densely populated.
How should we “interpret” these dispersed urban areas? That is, how might the Lord be calling us specifically to evangelize them? What are the needs? What new “ways-in” might there be?
At the moment, I am conducting a consultation about grouping our pastoral areas into six or seven larger regions or deaneries in order to enable better strategic thinking for the new evangelization. But as your bishop I ask you: How might you, your parish community, your pastoral area, become a better evangelizer of the urban cultures of our dispersed centers?

Conversation With The Lord

3) And thirdly, ourselves. Pope Francis here and elsewhere calls for our churches to be open. The “Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door” (n. 47).
Moreover, “without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the Word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out.
“The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer, and to my great joy groups devoted to prayer and intercession, the prayerful reading of God’s word and the perpetual adoration of the Eucharist are growing at every level of ecclesial life” (n. 262).
How good it is, the Holy Father opines, “to stand before a crucifix, or on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament, and simply to be in his presence! How much good it does us when he once more touches our lives and impels us to share his new life!” (n. 264).
For the “primary reason for evangelizing is the love of Jesus which we have received, the experience of salvation which urges us to ever greater love of him.” In the Diocese of Portsmouth, I once again urge everyone: Keep your church open! Visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! Adore Him and come away renewed, sharing your love and happiness with others!
But as your bishop I ask you: When and how are you yourself going to find time to do this, to be in the Presence of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist? Pope Francis concludes Evangelii Gaudium by turning to Mary.
He notes that whenever we look to her, “we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. In Her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly in order to feel important themselves. . . . She is the woman of prayer and work in Nazareth, and She is also Our Lady of Help, who sets out from Her town ‘with haste’ (Luke 1:39) to be of service to others. This interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others, is what makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization” (n. 288).
At the end of this message, let us commend ourselves and all the clergy and people of our diocese to the powerful intercession of Mary Immaculate our patron. Mary is the Star of New Evangelization and if you look at my episcopal “coat of arms” you will see that Star shining brightly in the sky over the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Here is part of the Holy Father’s prayer, which I ask you now to pray: “O Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, help us to bear radiant witness to communion and service, to ardent and generous faith, and to justice and love of the poor, so that the joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth, illuminating even the fringes of our world.” Amen.
In Corde Iesu.

+    +    +

(© Innovative Media Inc.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Pope at UN in Africa: We Have a Choice: Either Improve or Destroy the Environment

Says It Will Be ‘Catastrophic’ If Individual Interests Prevail Over the Common Good in Paris Meeting, and Information Is Manipulated to Protect ‘Plans and Projects’ Kenya, November 26, 2015 ( Staff Reporter Here is a Vatican translation of the address…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell bets against the odds: insists Pope Francis will strongly reaffirm Catholic tradition

ROME, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Contradicting the statements of some of the pope’s closest advisors, the Vatican’s financial chief Cardinal George Pell has declared that Pope Francis will re-assert and “clarify” longstanding Church teaching and discipline that prohibits Communion…Continue Reading

‘Bleeding host’ under investigation by SL Catholic diocese

(KUTV) The Salt Lake Catholic Diocese has started an investigation into what is being described as a ‘bleeding host’ at a local parish, St. Francis Xavier in Kearns. Images of the host, given to 2News, showed circles of deep red,…Continue Reading

How did heterodox prelates try to change doctrine at synod?

In this address delivered at the Catholic Voice conference Faith of Our Fathers, Matthew McCusker of Voice of the Family discusses three key elements of the “progressive” strategy deployed at the Ordinary Synod: arguing for changes in the Church’s language,…Continue Reading

Bishop Defends Against ‘Vicious’ Bill Donohue Attack

by Church Militant • • November 24, 2015 65 Comments Bishop Rene Henry Gracida is criticizing the Catholic League The bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas is defending against what he calls the “vicious attack” by Catholic League’s…Continue Reading

Pope Francis to German Bishops: Your Church is a mess! Fix it and … GO TO CONFESSION!

The German bishops are making their ad limina visit. Every few years diocesan bishops have to go to Rome to meet with offices of the Roman Curia and, usually, the Pope. Pope Francis gave an address to the German bishops…Continue Reading

Germany’s bishops discuss decentralizing the Church in meeting with Pope Francis

ROME, November 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The German bishops, sixty-seven of them, recently visited Rome together for their obligatory Ad Limina visit with the pope from November 16-20. This Ad Limina visit, which is obligatory for all bishops of the…Continue Reading

In Australia, Catholic Bishops Face Court Action, Huge Fines Over Traditional Views on Marriage

Australians have always viewed America’s litigious culture with suspicion. Our “no worries mate” approach to life means we tend not to rush off to court at the drop of a hat. So last week when a state government commissioner ruled…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl’s Embassy Row Penthouse

Walking through the posh neighborhood of Embassy Row in October, I stumbled across a scoop: that Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl lives in a penthouse atop a mansion priced north of $40 million. That Embassy Row mansion is the Our…Continue Reading

Australia investigating archbishop for distributing pamphlet defending true marriage

TASMANIA, Australia, November 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — An Australian Catholic archbishop is facing legal action after recently distributing a pamphlet to local Catholic school children that supported Catholic teaching on marriage being between a man and woman. “Dear Friends, I…Continue Reading

A ‘most powerful woman’ – National Geographic’s major hat tip to the Virgin Mary

Washington D.C., Nov 10, 2015 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Our Lady. Blessed Mother. Virgin Mary. Queen of Peace. Theotokos. Handmaid of the Lord. Mother Mary. These are just some of the titles used to describe the young woman to…Continue Reading

At Al Smith Dinner, Former Mayor Bloomberg Honors Vets

Speaking at the Al Smith Dinner on the eve of Veterans Day, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took time from his humorous political remarks to remind guests “there are a lot of places around the world where…Continue Reading


Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Gives Youth Choice: Do You Want to Overcome Challenges or Be Overcome by Them?

Throwing Aside Script, Pope Francis Asks Kenya’s Young People If They’ll Allow Difficulties Destroy or Use Them As Opportunities Nairobi, November 27, 2015 ( Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has asked Kenya’s young people how they will respond to the challenges they face, including those of bad tribalism, corruption, and desperation, and challenged them to get out of vicious cycles. Speaking to tens of thousands gathered in Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium, this morning, the Pope listened…Continue Reading

The Catholic Origins of Thanksgiving

Did you know that Thanksgiving is a Catholic holiday? True, it’s not on the Church calendar. And it is celebrated only in America, whereas Church holidays are universal. Our national holiday is certainly an event that has taken on a life of its own, with an established tradition involving turkey and mashed potatoes, football, shopping, and a four-day weekend—which is fascinating since none of those things have anything to do with the original event that…Continue Reading

Pope Mass in Kenya: Stand firm in faith

(Vatican Radio) On the first full day of his visit to Kenya, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Nairobi University. During his homily, which he gave on a specially constructed alter on the campus grounds, the Pope stressed the importance of the family noting that, “Kenyan society has long been blessed with strong family life, a deep respect for the wisdom of the elderly and love for children. The health of any society depends on the…Continue Reading

Pope Francis en route to Kenya


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has departed from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport amid tight security and is scheduled to arrive in Kenya on Wednesday afternoon at the beginning of his six-day Apostolic Visit to three African Nations. Linda Bordoni is in Nairobi awaiting the Pope and sent us this report: Day one of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Kenya begins at five pm Nairobi time on Wednesday when he touches down at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport…Continue Reading

Pope’s Q-and-A on the Challenges of Education

“To rethink the works of mercy, the 14 works of mercy; to rethink how to do them, but in education” Rome, November 23, 2015 ( Staff Reporter On Saturday, the Holy Father received in audience participants in the World Congress “Education Today and Tomorrow: A Passion that Is Renewed” (Rome, November 18-21, 2015), organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education (of the Institutes of Studies) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Gravissimum Educationis (Declaration of…Continue Reading

The End Of Obamaworld

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In denouncing Republicans as “scared of widows and orphans,” and castigating those who prefer Christian refugees to Muslims coming to America, Barack Obama has come off as petulant and unpresidential. Clearly, he is upset. And with good reason. He grossly, transparently underestimated the ability of ISIS, the “JV” team, to strike…Continue Reading

The Fictional Islamic State

By JUDE DOUGHERTY There is reason to believe that the so-called “Islamic State” is a fictional being rather than a reality. A state has borders, a central government, and a bureaucratic structure. None of this has been claimed for ISIS, although some have spoken of ISIS as a proto-state. What we have in fact is…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “How To Organize A Pro-Family Group”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For the complete guide to organizing an effective pro-family group, e-mail him at + + + Our problem: Many people are concerned about the homosexual special rights agenda, and are amazed at…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke . . . Marriage Catechesis Should Be Priority For Catholic Schools

By ADAM CASSANDRA (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted from the November 16 Catholic Education Daily, an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. All rights reserved.) + + + Sound catechesis on marriage is “a great, great responsibility” for Catholic schools and colleges, Raymond Cardinal Burke told a representative of The Cardinal Newman Society…Continue Reading

Drug Smugglers Flow Across Our Border, Syrian Christians Don’t

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + Whom should Americans see as worthier candidates for entering our country? Syrian Christians fleeing persecution — and possible beheading by the Islamic State — or smugglers moving drugs across our…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I know the word “friend” appears many times in the Bible, but sometimes it is capitalized. For example, at daily Mass today there was a reading from 1st Maccabees which said that King Antiochus, who was about to die, “called in all his Friends” to tell them of his tribulations, and he chose Philip, “one of his Friends,” to…Continue Reading

The New Jerusalem

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Baruch 5:1-9 Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6 In the Gospel reading today we hear about the preaching of St. John the Baptist. However, unlike what we read in the other Gospels, St. Luke does not record the Baptist as saying that he is the voice in the desert calling…Continue Reading

Irish Priest In Kenya . . . Describes What The Pope Will Find

By KATHLEEN NAAB (Editor’s Note: Fr. Conor Donnelly is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, a medical graduate from University College Dublin, and has a doctorate in theology from the University of Navarre. He has lived for 10 years in Manila, 12 in Singapore, and has been in Nairobi for ten years. (In the November 17 interview below…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Defenseless Europe A Lesson For Defending Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK While recently on retreat in New York, you might say I celebrated the Church’s year of consecrated life as I prayed daily Mass for the sisters who kindly hosted me. I invited them to kneel at the Communion rail to receive our Lord as I do at every Mass at my home parish. They all…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… “Sola Scriptura” — The End

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Here is a simple question for those people who believe in sola Scriptura: If every Christian had the ability — a God-given ability, of course — to interpret Scripture on his own, why is it that there are so many contradictory doctrines held by those who espouse it? Bible interpretation is not an easy thing…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Maria Virgo

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raphael Kalinowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many terms we use in our language which are clichés. We hear people say that somebody “kicked the bucket,” meaning that he has died, or “I’ll send you to outer Mongolia,” meaning that they will ship you so far away no one will find you. Fr. Kalinowski not only went to a place just north…Continue Reading