Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Evangelization

I've been reading much in the Catholic news about Benedict and his call for a new evangelization as if it is something new. Some will connect it back to John Paul II, but the call for a new evangelization is older than some realize. Those who are familiar with Vatican II understand this. Here is a paragraph from a paper I wrote at Notre Dame about Evangelical Catholicism. I wrote:
. . . the evangelical Catholic movement began when Pope John XXIII prayed for a “New Pentecost” (novo Pentecustes) in his apostolic constitution Humanae Salutis that ushered in the start of Vatican II (§23). For Pope John XXIII to call for a new Pentecost is to call for a church in the modern age that is as convicted in their faith as deeply as the apostles were on the day of Pentecost and the years following. Moreover, there cannot be a new Pentecost without there also being a new evangelization – something Pope Paul VI understood when he expressed the desire the Synod Fathers had for a “new period of evangelization” (§2 Evangelii Nuntiandi). The new evangelization was also a theme present in the ministry and writing of Pope John Paul II.
I found it fascinating that the Pope who opened Vatican II called for a new Pentecost and the Pope who closed Vatican II expressed the desire for a new evangelization.

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