1 EVANGELII GAUDIUM (A summary prepared by Andrew Moore) Background: Evangelii Gaudium is an Apostolic Exhortation, not an encyclical. It came out of the Synod of Bishops held in October 2012 which discussed the theme: The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. The outline and structure of EG would have been begun by Pope Benedict and the drafts would have been prepared by officials who use very particular formulas, especially of language and content. Pope Francis would have inherited the drafts. There is no way he could have written this entire document, but it comes in his name and, therefore with his approval. It is, however, possible to see where he has put his mark.
2 There are places where he has had a clear input to the structure and content and there are other passages which, clearly, have been written by him alone, phrases which no junior, or even senior, official could have written. There are paragraphs which are empty of all formulas, paragraphs which are simple, direct and clear. There are sentences which are so simple, yet so profound. In the midst of all the waffling Vaticanese we need to find these nuggets for they will inform the momentum of this papacy, if not the future of the church itself. Phrases such as, The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect (47). No official could have written that just think of the implications it criticises the rigoristi, it opens up the debate on the question of communion for the remarried, and so much else. So let s get gold digging.
3 Introduction Evangelii Gaudium - The Joy of the Gospel The title is not just the traditional formula of the first two words of the latin text but the two words sum up the whole theme: joy and the gospel The Pope starts by introducing the theme of joy and in so doing highlights some of the aspects of the spiritual virtue of joy (which does not equate with happy-clappy). He invites everyone to a new, or renewed encounter with Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them. (para 3)
4 The Gospel constantly encourages and asks us to rejoice, to be joyful but There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. (6) Of course, joy is not the same at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty or suffering, but joy adapts and changes; it always endures. In a renewed encounter with God s love we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption and if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others? Sharing that love is evangelisation but An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! (9.)
5 The scope and limits of this Exhortation The Pope explains that in this Exhortation he is responding to the Synod and, having widely consulted, intends: to express my own concerns about this particular chapter of the Church s work of evangelization but will not explore many other questions which call for further reflection and study. because he does not believe that it is advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound decentralization. (16)
6 Based on Lumen Gentium I have decided to discuss the following questions : the reform of the Church in her missionary outreach; (Ch. 1) the temptations faced by pastoral workers; (Ch. 2) the Church, understood as the entire People of God which evangelizes; (Ch. 3) the homily and its preparation; (Ch. 3) the inclusion of the poor in society; (Ch. 4) peace and dialogue within society; (Ch. 4) the spiritual motivations for mission. (Ch. 5) (17) All of these themes help give shape to a definite style of evangelization which I ask you to adopt in every activity which you undertake. (Pope s Italics) In this way, we can take up, amid our daily efforts, the biblical exhortation: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say: Rejoice (Phil 4:4). (18)
7 The structure of Evangelii Gaudium may be divided thus: The Church The Church s Missionary Transformation (19 49) The World The World in Crisis - the World in which we live (50 109) The Gospel Proclamation, catechesis, kerygmatic mystagogy ( ) The Gospel in Action The Social Dimension ( ) Conclusion Openness to the Spirit and the example of Mary s response in the Magnificat ( ).
8 Chapter 1. The Church s Missionary Transformation [Is this the Church transforming others through its sense of mission, or the church, through its sense of mission, itself being transformed?] Evangelisation is a response to God s Word a word which is unpredictable in its power. The Church has to accept the unruly freedom of the word, which accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking. The Gospel joy which enlivens the community of disciples is a missionary, or evangelising joy. An evangelising community gets involved by word and deed in people s daily lives; it bridges distances, it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. is supportive, standing by people at every step of the way is filled with joy is itself evangelised (24) Evangelisers thus take on the smell of the sheep and the sheep are willing to hear their voice.
9 An ecclesial renewal which cannot be deferred I dream of a missionary option, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today s world rather than for her self-preservation. (27)
10 The Parish: The parish is not an outdated institution. Precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community. While certainly not the only institution which evangelizes, if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters
11 The parish: is the presence of the Church in a given territory, is an environment: for hearing God s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, for worship and celebration. is a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey in all its activities encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. All this presumes that the parish really is in contact with the homes and the lives of its people, and does not become a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of a chosen few. (28)
12 The Diocese under the leadership of a bishop is: the church incarnate in a particular place. called to missionary conversion ever more focussed, generous and fruitful. The Bishop must foster missionary communion in the diocesan church, by: sometimes going before his people, sometimes simply being with them and sometimes helping those who lag behind but also by allowing the flock to strike out on new paths (31)
13 The Papacy: Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization. The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church s life and her missionary outreach. (32)
14 Pastoral ministry in a missionary key: Abandons the complacency of We have always done it this way. Creatively rethinks goals, structures, style and method of evangelisation in our respective communities. (33) It is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed. It aims to reach everyone without exception or exclusion It concentrates on essentials and therefore: speaks more about grace than about law more about Christ than about the church more about God s love than about the Pope. (37) Will always have the fragrance of the Gospel. (39)
15 Now the Pope answers the question who is being transformed, those the church evangelises or the church itself? The Church is herself a missionary disciple; she needs to grow in her interpretation of the revealed word and in her understanding of truth. (40). today s vast and rapid cultural changes demand that we constantly seek ways of expressing unchanging truths in a language which brings out their abiding newness. The deposit of the faith is one thing... the way it is expressed is another. (41) We should not be afraid to re-examine customs, however beautiful and historical, which no longer serve as a means of communicating the Gospel. (43) The same is true of rules and precepts which are no longer useful for directing and shaping people s lives. (43)
16 The task of evangelization operates within the limits of language and of circumstances. It constantly seeks to communicate more effectively the truth of the Gospel in a specific context. A missionary heart is aware of these limits and makes itself weak with the weak (1 Cor 9:22). It never closes itself off, never retreats into its own security, never opts for rigidity and defensiveness. It realizes that it has to grow in its own understanding of the Gospel and in discerning the paths of the Spirit it always does what good it can, even if in the process, its shoes get soiled by the mud of the street. (45)
17 The Church must go forth with doors that are not just open but wide open and must not close others. The doors of the sacraments should not be closed for simply any reason. (47) This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself the door : baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.
18 Chapter 2 (Amid the Crisis of Communal Commitment) The World in Crisis (The World as it is) We need constantly to watch the signs of the times (51) Despite great advances, especially in healthcare, education and communications, there is a growing lack of respect, of inequality, of fear and desperation with a resultant fading of joy. (52) In analysing the world as it is, the Pope looks at the challenges posed by: i) The world economy and attitude to money ii) Cultural changes affecting Church and global society iii) Various temptations faced by those working within the faith (both individuals and the church as a whole).
19 i) The world economy and attitude to money We must say No to an economy of exclusion Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods, to be used and then discarded. Trickle-down theories have yet to prove themselves, meanwhile the excluded wait. A selfishness and globalisation of indifference has developed. The new idolatry of money has displaced the primacy of the person. A deified market rules rather than serves and is absolutised. Ethics (and God) are sidelined or rejected precisely because they make money and power relative. 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? (53) Money must serve, not rule! (58)
20 ii) Cultural changes affecting Church and global society In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward the immediate the visible the quick the superficial the provisional. (62) There is a growing individualism with new behavioural patterns. Urbanisation poses particular challenges. (71-75) There are growing threats to established understanding of marriage and family. (66-67) There is increased secularisation Yet also challenges from new religious movements and religious relativism
21 iii) Various temptations faced by those working within the faith (both individuals and the church as a whole). (This is addressed to all who work in and for the church.) Individualism, isolation and self-absorption and a tendency to compartmentalise In the face of media onslaughts: a sense of inferiority In the face of today s obsessions with results: there is no place for failure, criticism or disagreement, or the cross. All this can lead to a sterile pessimism, a defeatism and a spiritual desertification.
22 Further dangers of: Spiritual consumerism Spiritual worldliness (Gnosticism and ostentatious preoccupations with liturgy, doctrine or church prestige) The life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of the select few. (95) Spiritual exclusivity and jealousy Excessive clericalism (102)
23 The Church must respond to the challenges of: Lay formation (102) The legitimate rights of women (103, 104) Youth ministry (105, 106) [ministry to the youth / ministry by the youth] Critical encouragement of vocations (107)
24 Conclusion This is not a complete diagnosis but an invitation to engage with these challenges. In reading the signs of the times listen in dialogue to both the elderly and the young. The elderly have memory and wisdom The young represent new directions, new hope We must not cling to a nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving. (108) Challenges exist to be overcome! Let us be realists, but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope-filled commitment. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary vigour! (109)
25 Chapter 3 The Proclamation of the Gospel [Proclamation, catechesis, kerygmatic mystagogy] Evangelisation is the task of the Church (111) The Church is: A people advancing on its pilgrim way towards God. A mystery rooted in the Trinity. Yet existing concretely in history A people of pilgrims and evangelisers transcending any institutional expression. Being Church means: Being God s people Being God s leaven in the midst of humanity bringing hope and encouragement The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel. (114)
26 Many faces, many cultures ( ) (The Context of evangelisation) Cultural diversity is not a threat It is not essential to impose with the gospel, a specific culture form, however beautiful or ancient. We must not needlessly hallow our own culture. No single culture can exhaust the mystery of redemption in Christ. The Gospel needs to be inculturated Evangelising power of popular piety. Person to person evangelising bringing the love of Jesus to others (127).
27 The Homily ( ) The touchstone of pastor s closeness and ability to communicate with his people. Both laity and pastors suffer: the laity for having to listen and the clergy for having to preach this is sad. The homily has a Eucharistic context taking forward the dialogue between God and his people. The homily is not a form of entertainment, nor is it a lecture or speech. The Lord, not the minister is the centre of attention. The preacher is an intermediary in the dialogue between people and God. In the homily they want someone to serve as an instrument and to express their feelings in such a way that afterwards, each one may choose how he or she will continue the conversation. (143)
28 The preacher has to contemplate the word, but he also has to contemplate his people. He needs to discover what the faithful need to hear. We should never respond to questions that nobody asks. (155) the faithful expect much from preaching and will greatly benefit from it, provided that it is simple, clear, direct and well-adapted. Pope Paul VI. A good homily is positive, not so much concerned with pointing out what shouldn t be done but with suggesting what we can do better. (159) The Church does not evangelise unless she constantly lets herself be envangelised. (174).
29 Summary: 165 The centrality of the kerygma calls for stressing those elements which are most needed today: it has to express God s saving love which precedes any moral and religious obligation on our part; it should not impose the truth but appeal to freedom; it should be marked by joy, encouragement, liveliness and a harmonious balance which will not reduce preaching to a few doctrines which are at times more philosophical than evangelical. All this demands on the part of the evangelizer (or evangelising community) certain attitudes which foster: openness to the message approachability readiness for dialogue patience a warmth and welcome which is non-judgmental.
30 Chapter 4 The Gospel in Action The Social Dimension of Evangelisation To evangelise is to make the kingdom of God present on our world (176) At the very heart of the Gospel is life in community and engagement with others. (177) The Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. Nor is our response an accumulation of small gestures to those in need. (180) An authentic faith involves a deep desire to change the world, to leave it a better place than we found it. (183) Neither the Pope nor the Church has a monopoly on interpretation of social realities or solutions to problems. (184). Rather, we concentrate on two issues: 1) Inclusion of the poor 2) peace and social dialogue. (185)
31 1) Inclusion of the poor For the Church, the option for the poor is primarily a theological category (God shows the poor his first mercy). The Church must be poor for the poor and we must let ourselves be evangelised by them. (198) The poor must have spiritual care (199) and. none of us are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice. (200)
32 The Economy ( ) The structural causes of poverty must be tackled. The absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation must be rejected. All economic policies should be shaped by dignity of each person and the pursuit of the common good. Business is a noble vocation if it challenged by a greater meaning in life. Economy is the art of achieving a fitting management for our common home (the world as a whole).
33 Any Church community, if it thinks it can comfortably go its own way without creative concern and effective cooperation in helping the poor to live with dignity and reaching out to everyone, will also risk breaking down, however much it may talk about social issues or criticize governments. It will easily drift into a spiritual worldliness camouflaged by religious practices, unproductive meetings and empty talk. (207)
34 Concern for the vulnerable ( ) There are new forms of poverty and vulnerability. The homeless The addicted Refugees Indigenous people The elderly Victims of human trafficking The unborn The natural world
35 2) Peace and Social Dialogue ( ) Peace is not pacification or the absence of violence. Progress in building peace depends on four principles or pillars: 1) Time Time leads to patience and the acceptance of the tension between fullness and limitation. Time is not the same as space space is about results and containment; time is about process and expansion. (c.f.tares and the wheat Matt.13:24-30) 2) Unity overcomes conflict. We must face conflict not be imprisoned by it. Unity is not compromise, syncretism or absorption of the other but a resolution on a higher plane: namely, Christ is our peace. Christ s peace harmonises diversity and overcomes every conflict by creating a new and promising synthesis. 3) Realities are greater than ideas. Ideas disconnected from realities can lead to isms and the manipulation of truth The Word was made Flesh and lived amongst us 4) The whole is greater than the part. There is a creative tension between global and local. Think not of a sphere, but of a polyhedron.
36 Effective evangelisation requires dialogue Dialogue with states ( ) Dialogue with society, cultures and sciences ( ) Dialogue with other believers ( )
37 Chapter 5 Spirit-Filled Evangelisers. I offer here some thoughts about the spirit of the new evangelisation. (261) A spirit-filled evangelisation is one guided by the Holy Spirit. We implore him to come to renew the Church and impel her to go forth boldly and evangelize all peoples. Spirit-filled evangelisers are evangelisers who pray and work the Church needs the deep breath of prayer. (262) Every age has its difficulties and temptations. Things are not more difficult today, just different. If we understand that, we can learn from those who have gone before the saints. (262)
38 The saints: Had a personal encounter with the love of Jesus, ever renewed, ever present. They were impelled to share this. ( ) Yet they also had the sense of being a people God s people Mission is therefore a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people. (268) In this mission: Jesus is himself the model for evangelisation: accessible, sensitive, not fearful in touching the suffering of others, a bringer of hope and joy, not criticism and condemnation. ( ) Sometimes our work may seem fruitless but mission is not like a business transaction or an investment, or even a humanitarian activity. Fruitfulness comes from the Spirit who moves where he wills. Mary, the pre-eminent saint, gives us an example to follow ( ) (c.f. the Magnificat) My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.