Tuesday 29th July 2014

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

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

January 1, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By MOST REV. PHILIP EGAN

(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?

Evangelizing
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:

FEARING OBAMA UNILATERAL AMNESTY THREATS, TEA PARTY JAMS CONGRESS’S PHONE LINES

The phone lines are jammed. The American people have risen up in response to a rallying cry from Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), overloading the phone lines on Capitol Hill to pressure their members of Congress to…Continue Reading

Pope acknowledges Catholic complicity in persecution of Italian Pentecostals

Pope Francis has fulfilled a request of the Italian evangelical community by recognising the complicity of some Catholics in the fascist-era persecution of Italian Pentecostals and evangelicals. “Among those who persecuted and denounced the Pentecostals, almost as if they were…Continue Reading

The Church Needs To Stop Taking Government Money

by ELISE HILTON on FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014 Phil Lawler at CatholicCulture.org voices what should be obvious: that by taking federal money and grants, the Catholic Church has put herself in a very awkward place. Money from the government always comes with strings attached,…Continue Reading

U.S. Considering Refugee Status for Hondurans

By FRANCES ROBLES and MICHAEL D. SHEARJULY 24, 2014 Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making…Continue Reading

Marco Rubio To Take On Abortion and Gay Marriage in Catholic U Speech

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) plans to take on social and cultural issues in the latest installment of his policy speeches outlining a new conservative agenda. “Senator Rubio will discuss the values needed for economic success in the 21st century: values like…Continue Reading

USCCB Chairmen Respond To ‘Unprecedented and Extreme’ Executive Order

The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be…Continue Reading

Dallas-Fort Worth Catholic leaders appeal for legal help in border crisis

Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell (center) and Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson on Monday asked for volunteers to assist with a “humanitarian crisis.” By DIANNE SOLÍS Staff Writer dsolís@dallasnews.com Published: 21 July 2014 10:32 PM Updated: 22 July 2014 12:21 AM Dallas Catholic…Continue Reading

Iraq Catholic leader says Islamic State worse than Genghis Khan

By Dominic Evans and Raheem Salman BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The head of Iraq’s largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who…Continue Reading

CHRISTIAN HOLOCAUST UNDERWAY IN IRAQ, USA AND WORLD LOOK ON

When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in 2003, there were at least 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Over the last ten years, significantly in the last few months with the emergence of ISIS, that figure has dropped to about 400,000. In a…Continue Reading

Vancouver Catholic Schools Adopt Transgender Policy

James Keller, The Canadian Press Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:20PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, July 17, 2014 7:24AM EDT VANCOUVER — Catholic schools in Vancouver have adopted a policy that could allow transgender students to use the pronouns, uniforms…Continue Reading

New Catholic Bishops Say Civil Disobedience OK If For Common Good

Newly appointed auxiliary bishops, two Catholic clergymen suggest Occupy Central could be just, while third weighs in on reform report St Two auxiliary bishops newly appointed by the Vatican have spoken out about the Occupy Central campaign, saying the church supports…Continue Reading

Skeptics And The Claims Of The Catholic Church Seventeen Reasons Scoffers Ought To Rethink Catholicism, If They Really Thought About It

July 11, 2014 05:09 EST By Thomas M. Doran In today’s world, isn’t it crazy to appeal to scoffers to consider Catholicism? Why would a rational modern man or woman in the 21st century be attracted to what the world and…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 subscribe 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

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope Has Casual Q&A With Priests Of Caserta

501

2014-07-28 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with the priests of the Diocese of Caserta on his visit there on Saturday afternoon. The Pope engaged in a question-and-answer period with the priests in the Palatina della Reggia di Caserta Chapel. The Vatican Radio translation of this exchange is offered below. Pope Francis: I prepared a speech but I will…Continue Reading

What If Democracy Is A Fraud?

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO What if you were allowed to vote only because it didn’t make a difference? What if no matter how you voted the elites always got their way? What if the concept of one person/one vote was just a fiction created by the government to induce your compliance? What if democracy as…Continue Reading

The Day Of The Hawk

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie was premeditated mass murder. Qadhafi was taking revenge for Reagan’s raid on Tripoli in 1986. The downing of KAL 007, flying from Anchorage to Seoul, was mass murder in the second degree. Seeing an aircraft intrude into Russian air space, Soviet officers brutally…Continue Reading

Will John Roberts Decide A “State” Is Not A “State”?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The Supreme Court may soon need to decide whether the federal government can be considered a “state” in our federal republic in the same sense that Iowa, Wyoming, and Wisconsin are states. On the face of it, this question may seem absurd. In fact, given any level of reflection, it is…Continue Reading

Assisted Suicide In England… Life And Death Under Debate

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. Flynn is a columnist for ZENIT News Agency, which provided this commentary. All rights reserved.) +    +    + A bill to legalize assisted suicide has been introduced into Britain’s House of Lords by Lord Falconer, previously lord chancellor under Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair, and it is…Continue Reading

Anglican Women Bishops — An Obstacle To Unity?

By FR. DWIGHT LONGENECKER (Editor’s Note: Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England. He studied theology at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge, and a country parson on the Isle…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . Iraqi Christian Witness In Face Of Genocide Inspires

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “O Lord, my God, in thee have I put my trust; save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me. Lest at any time he seize upon my soul like a lion, while there is no one to redeem me, nor to save” (Psalm 7). The words of the psalm express the perennial…Continue Reading

Is The Rosary A Prayer Of “Vain Repetitions”?

By RAYMOND de SOUZA, KM Part 4 The Pharisee and the publican — improvised prayer and repetitive prayer: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and began to pray thus within himself: ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men,…Continue Reading

The Characteristics Of Faith

By DON FIER Faith, or the obedience of faith, was characterized in last week’s installment on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) as man’s most fitting and proper response to God’s self-revelation. Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, concisely defines this assent to all God has revealed as “the free submission to God’s Word because its truth is guaranteed by…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Jesus says that we are to learn from Him, He who is meek and humble of heart. But Jesus was not always meek and humble of heart. He talked back to the Scribes and Pharisees, He drove the moneychangers out of the Temple, He talked back to the Sanhedrin, He wasn’t bashful about claiming to be the Son of…Continue Reading

Jesus Walks Through Trials With Us

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:1-3 Romans 8:35, 37-39 Matt. 14:13-21 In the second reading today St. Paul asks the question of what can separate us from the love of Christ. He then gives a few examples of what people might think will separate us from God; anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness,…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes… St. Alphonsus Liguori

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 After establishing the house at Villa degli Schiavi, Alphonsus stayed there, conducting many of his missions from this site. For the previous five years he had become widely known for his missions and sermons, bringing many Catholics back to the Catholic faith. While Alphonsus is well known as a moral theologian and for his writings,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Alphonsus Liguori

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, having read the works of St. Alphonsus Liguori, took him as a mentor. It is not surprising, then, that Fr. Hardon taught his students, “If you are not encountering the cross, you are not doing God’s work.” Such were the lives of saints such as St. Teresa of Avila, St.…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading