Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Pope Francis' document delivers wake-up call on evangelization"

"Evangelization, he says, is primarily about reality, not ideas: “Sometimes we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length. Yet Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others. He hopes that we will stop looking for those personal or communal niches which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune and instead enter into the reality of other people’s lives and know the power of tenderness. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated and we experience intensely what it is to be a people, to be part of a people.”
The document is called an “apostolic exhortation” and that’s what it does: it exhorts, it lays down principles and it points to new paths – in some cases, insists on new paths – but it does not offer a detailed program of action. The pope clearly wants the whole church involved in filling in the details, which should make the coming months and years very, very interesting.
John Thavis


Michael Haz said...

The Exhortation is 51,000 words long. It's a slog to read. I've started it, but need frequent breaks. It will take a few days to finish reading it.

Every few sentences I have to stop and ask "For whom is this written? Laity? Pastors? The Catholic faithful? All Christians?" It's not easy to tease out the meanings.

It is a worthwhile read, though. It's just not a Tom Clancy novel.

Michael Haz said...

I look forward to reading Fr. Martin Fox's take. And Paddy O's as well.

Lem said...

I look forward to reading Fr. Martin Fox's take. And Paddy O's as well.

You left out a most notorious catholic around these parts ;)

Just saying...

Paddy O said...

A quick glance has me liking it quite a bit...

Benedict XVI was an intellectual pope, spending his whole life in the realms of what is, and what is not, orthodoxy. Yet, he made a significant, historical, step. He let go of power, made space for another.

It seems that Francis is a wholly different kind of figure, not only from the last pope, but in a huge way the first really postmodern Pope, not in the relativistic or deconstructive way, the Continental European way. In a constructive way that points to something after modernity in which right beliefs are coupled with right heart and right actions (orthodoxy + orthopathy + orthodoxy). In this, he seems to be taking up the mantle of St. Peter as much as anyone I can remember.

It's 83 pages long and seems more of a statement for leaders and theologians, but one that is insisting on returning these to focus on the practical and engage with real people.

My other quick thought is that this isn't something that could be written by a theological liberal. It has a deeply conservative underlying theme, that of a real commitment to a living Christ who is the hope and truth for all.

Paddy O said...

66. The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born “of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life”

sakredkow said...

"...enter into the reality of other people’s lives and know the power of tenderness."

I really like this guy.