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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 11 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Second General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops began at 4.30 p.m. today in the Synod Hall. During this session reports were presented from each of the five continents.

  The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and there were 163 Synod Fathers present.


VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Third General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops began at 9 a.m. today in the Synod Hall in the presence of the Pope and 165 Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon.



VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the newly-founded Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, explained the contents of "Ubicumque et semper", the Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" by which Benedict XVI establishes the new dicastery.

  "The theme of new evangelisation has been the subject of deep reflection by Church Magisterium over recent decades", said Archbishop Fisichella. "It is immediately clear that this goal represents a challenge to the entire Church, which must ... find adequate ways to renew her announcement to many baptised people who no longer understand what it means to belong to the Christian community, and are victims of the subjectivism of our times with its closure in an individualism that often lacks public and social responsibility. The 'Motu Proprio' directly identifies those Churches of ancient tradition which ... require a renewed missionary spirit, one capable of helping them make a forward leap to meet the new requirements which the current historical situation imposes".

  "As 'Ubicumque et semper' makes clear, new evangelisation is not a mere formula, identical in all circumstances", the archbishop explained. "Rather, it obliges us to develop well-founded ideas capable of acting as support to a corresponding pastoral activity. Moreover it must be capable of carefully verifying the various traditions and goals that the Churches possess by virtue of the treasure of their centuries-long history: a plurality of forms that does not undermine unity".

  Nor must new evangelisation sound like "an abstract formula", the president of the new dicastery continued his remarks. "We must", he said, "fill it with theological and pastoral content, and we will do so with the strong support of the Magisterium of recent decades", also bearing in mind "the many initiatives which, over the course of recent years, have been enacted by individual bishops in their particular Churches, epsicopal conferences and groups of believers".

  Among the tasks entrusted to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation is that of promoting the use of the Catechism of the Universal Church. "The Catechism is indeed", the prelate noted, "one of the most mature fruits to emerge from the directives of Vatican Council II. It is an organic compilation of the entire heritage of the development of dogma and is the most complete instrument to transmit the unchanging faith in the face of the constant changes and questions the world poses to believers".

  Thus the new dicastery will use "all the inventions that progress in communications technology has created, making them positive instruments at the service of new evangelisation", Archbishop Fisichella concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Given below are extracts of "Ubicumque et semper", the Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" by which Benedict XVI establishes the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

  "The Church has the duty to announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ always and everywhere. ... Over history this mission has assumed new forms and methods, depending on place, situation and historical moment. In our own time, one of its most singular characteristics has been that of having to measure itself against the phenomenon of abandonment of the faith, which has become progressively more evident in societies and cultures that were, for centuries, impregnated with the Gospel.

  "The social transformations we have seen over recent decades have complex causes, the roots of which are distant in time and have profoundly modified our perception of the world. ... If, on the one hand, humanity has seen undeniable benefits from these transformations and the Church received further stimuli to give reasons for the hope she carries, on the other, we have seen a worrying loss of the sense of the sacred, even going so far as to call into discussion apparently unquestionable foundations, such as faith in the God of creation and providence; the revelation of Jesus Christ our only Saviour, the shared understating of man's fundamental experiences like birth, death and family life, and the reference to natural moral law".

  "Among the central themes examined by Vatican Council II was the question of relations between the Church and the modern world. In the wake of this conciliar teaching, my predecessors dedicated further reflection to the need to find adequate forms to allow our contemporaries to still hear the Lord's living and eternal Word".

  "Venerable Servant of God John Paul II made this demanding undertaking one of the pivotal points of his vast Magisterium, summarising the task awaiting the Church today in the concept of 'new evangelisation' (which he systematically developed in numerous occasions), especially in regions of age-old Christianity".

  "Thus, in my turn, sharing the concern of my venerated predecessors, I feel it appropriate to offer an adequate response so that the entire Church, allowing herself to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, may present herself to the modern world with a missionary vigour capable of promoting a new evangelisation".

  "In Churches of ancient foundation, ... although the phenomenon of secularisation continues its course, Christian practice still shows signs of possessing vitality and profound roots among entire peoples. ... We also know, unfortunately, of areas which appear almost completely de-Christianised, areas in which the light of faith is entrusted to the witness of small communities. These lands, which need a renewed first announcement of the Gospel, seem particularly unreceptive to many aspects of the Christian message".

  "At the root of all evangelisation there is no human project of expansion, but the desire to share the priceless gift that God wished to give us, sharing His life with us".
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