Monday, April 26, 2010

Any greater indication

I found this interesting:
Pope Benedict XVI is about to release a letter announcing the creation of a new Vatican dicastery called the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. The new department will be aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity.

Andrea Tornielli, the Vatican correspondent for the daily Il Giornale who is usually well-informed on new appointments at the Vatican, wrote today that “Benedict does not cease to surprise: in the upcoming week the creation of a new dicastery of the Roman Curia dedicated to the evangelization of the West will be announced, and be presided over by Archbishop Rino Fisichella.”

The new dicastery is aimed at evangelizing “countries where the Gospel has been announced centuries ago, but where its presence in their peoples' daily life seems to be lost. Europe, the United States and Latin America would be the areas of influence of the new structure,” Il Giornale says.

According to Tornielli, the new dicastery would be “the most important novelty of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, a Pope that, according to the expectations, was supposed to slim down the Roman Curia.”

Hmm. Countries where, to quote the excerpt with a little added emphasis, "...the Gospel has been announced centuries ago, but where its presence in their peoples' daily life seems to be lost."

Including the United States. Not to mention Europe and Latin America.

If there is any greater indication of the failure of the bishops of the present age to present the truth of Christianity as an alternative to the despair, sinful carnality, unthinking consumption and ceaseless demand for mindless entertainment of questionable value as the pinnacles of human existence which characterizes these regions of the world than the creation of this dicastery, I simply can't imagine what it would be.

1 comment:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Some years ago, I heard a radio talk show by some evangelical Protestants who spoke earnestly of their mission to Ireland, where, to hear them tell it, people were unaware of Jesus as their Lord and Savior. (At least, not under the trademarked brand name these misguided missionaries espoused). I have seldom heard evangelization presented in such an ignorant and navel-contemplating manner, but there are some Americans who half-way believe that Jesus lived and died in Texas or Alabama, and taught the Sermon on the Mount in English.

I anticipate that the dicastery discussed here would have one important feature going for it: unlike many past centuries of church history, the Roman Catholic church itself will appear in counter-cultural form, not as agent of the state, nor overlord of the king, but completely independent of dominant culture and government administration. It may do well by that, and may do good as well.

On the other hand, if this mission arrives under the mantle that western civilization is somehow obligated to acknowledged the Gospel, or any specific institutional manifestation of the Gospel, because it is "your heritage," rather than because it is true, much will be lost.

Any "alternative to the despair, sinful carnality, unthinking consumption and ceaseless demand for mindless entertainment of questionable value as the pinnacles of human existence" would be welcome -- although I hope it can be done without the enforcement mechanisms of heavy-handed authority, or by insisting that there is only one correct ritual for public worship.