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The Pope

For a summary of the main points of Evangelii Nuntiandi:

“A New Evangelisation has begun!”
Pope John Paul II, Nowo Huta, Poland, June 9th, 1979.

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The Second Vatican Council didn’t need to say much about evangelisation: it was entirely about it!

'The Second Vatican Council sought to renew the Church's life and activity in the light of the needs of the contemporary world. The Council emphasized the Church's "missionary nature", basing it in a dynamic way on the Trinitarian mission itself. The missionary thrust therefore belongs to the very nature of the Christian life, and is also the inspiration behind ecumenism: "that they may all be one...so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (Jn 17:21).' Redemptoris Missio 2

jumping girlsThe “Great Leap Forward” was Evangelii Nuntiandi by Pope Paul VI (1975), with its rich and complex vision of Catholic evangelisation:

“Evangelising is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelise.” (no. 14)

“Any partial and fragmentary definition which attempts to render the reality of evangelisation in all its richness, complexity and dynamism does so only at the risk of impoverishing it and even of distorting it.” (no. 17)

“The Church evangelises when she seeks to convert, solely though the divine power of the message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieux which are theirs.” (no. 18)

“In the long run, is there any other way of handing on the Gospel than by transmitting to another person one’s personal experience of faith?” (no. 46)

Pope John Paul II has spoken and written extensively on evangelisation. The main documents are Redemptoris Missio, Novo Millennio Ineunte, and Ecclesia in Europa:

Evangelisation “is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world which ahs experienced marvellous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself… God is opening before the Church the horizons of a humanity more fully prepared for the sowing of the Gospel. I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelisation…” (Redemptoris Missio 2-3)

“Many Europeans today think they know what Christianity is, yet they really do not know it at all. Often they are lacking in knowledge of the most basic elements and notions of the faith. Many of the baptised live as if Christ did not exist: the gestures and signs of faith are repeated, especially in devotional practices, but they fail to correspond to a real acceptance of the content of the faith and fidelity to the person of Jesus…. Europe calls out for credible evangelisers, whose lives, in communion with the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, radiate the beauty of the Gospel.” (Ecclesia in Europa 47, 49)