Archbishop Nikola Eterovic
VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church's "new evangelization" is an effort to present the Gospel in a way that makes sense and gives hope to modern men and women, says Archbishop Nikola Eterovic.
Eterovic, the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, said the October 2012 general Synod of Bishops will focus on the new evangelization and dozens of questions involved with it.
Eterovic said the most immediate aim of new evangelization is to help people who already are baptized, but do not practise the faith, rediscover the joy of believing and actively living their faith.
It also includes reminding them and all Christians of the obligation of witnessing the Gospel and proclaiming it to others.
Christian witness must be both private and public, said the archbishop.
Eterovic presented the lineamenta or outline for pre-synod discussion at a Vatican news conference March 4.
The outline defines "new evangelization" as "the courage to forge new paths in responding to the changing circumstances and conditions facing the Church in her call to proclaim and live the Gospel today."
The outline is a reflection on various aspects about the new evangelization.
It includes dozens of questions for bishops' conferences to answer by Nov. 1 so their responses can be used as a basis for the synod's working document.
The document said bringing people back to Christ will be impossible unless there are efforts to evangelize increasingly secular cultures and increasingly diverse societies.
As well, the media, the economy, politics, science and the Church itself must be evangelized, it said.
By calling for a "new evangelization," the Church is not criticizing the way the faith was initially transmitted, the document said.
Rather it is recognizing that it needs to find new ways of proclaiming the Gospel that respond to the needs of people who live in modern societies.
Often in such societies, anything involving God or faith is considered naive or too private for polite conversation, it said.
The document also said new evangelization is essential where the media tend to preach instant gratification.
In other situations, population shifts have meant the disappearance of "Catholic countries." In still others, science and technology have become so advanced that science is the god people go to when they're hurting or confused.
Catholics, it said, "must know how to speak in ways that are intelligible to our times and proclaim, inside these areas, the reasons for our hope, which bolsters our witness."
The document emphasized the importance of giving the baptized a solid education in the basics of the faith and in helping nourish their faith with the Eucharist and the Bible, especially through good preaching at Masses.