On 12 Oct 10, Vatican Radio reported that Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter which created a new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. The letter entitled, “Always and Everywhere,” established a Vatican office dedicated to address “preaching the gospel to Europe and other traditionally Christian regions where the faith is in crisis.”
The Vatican Radio article quoted Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the President of the Vatican Office, as saying, “The Gospel is not a myth, but the living witness of an historical event that changed the face of history.” Archbishop Fisichella continued, “The new evangelization first and foremost make known the historical person of Jesus, and his teachings as they have been faithfully transmitted by the original community, teachings that find in the Gospels and in the writings of the New Testament their normative expression.”
According to a 12 Oct 10 report by the Catholic News Agency, Pope Benedict XVI “created the new Vatican office to address the growing problem of secularization and the 'eclipse of God' in the nations of Europe and the West.” According to the report, Pope Benedict expressed concerns over consumerism and materialism, along with secular efforts to de-Christianize society.
The report also quoted a letter Pope Benedict sent to the world’s bishops in March 2009, which stated, “the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and of the Successor of Peter at the present time” is "to lead men and women to God."
As Pope Benedict made the new Vatican office official, bishops such as Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput were also expressing concern as to the assaults upon Christianity. According to a Catholic On Line report, published 26 Aug 10, Archbishop Chaput “called for Catholics in America and Europe to oppose the rise of a 'state-encouraged atheism' which reduces religion to 'an individual lifestyle accessory' incapable of influencing the world.
The report related that Archbishop Chaput made the remarks while addressing the first session of the 15th symposium for the Canon Law Association of Slovakia. The report related, “Citing legislation and court decisions in America and Europe, the archbishop detailed an ongoing shift in western societies, from a non-sectarian public policy of broad religious tolerance, to an overtly anti-religious form of government which attacks religion in the name of tolerance.”
On 25 Aug 10, Life Site News published excerpts from Archbishop Chaput's address. Archbishop Chaput stated, “Today's secularizers have learned from the past. They are more adroit in their bigotry; more elegant in their public relations; more intelligent in their work to exclude the Church and individual believers from influencing the moral life of society. Over the next several decades, Christianity will become a faith that can speak in the public square less and less freely.”
Archbishop Chaput went on to say, “In the United States, a nation that is still 80 percent Christian with a high degree of religious practice, government agencies now increasingly seek to dictate how Church ministries should operate, and to force them into practices that would destroy their Catholic identity. Efforts have been made to discourage or criminalize the expression of certain Catholic beliefs as 'hate speech.' Our courts and legislatures now routinely take actions that undermine marriage and family life, and seek to scrub our public life of Christian symbolism and signs of influence.”
In the conclusion of Archbishop Chaput's address post by the Archdiocese of Denver, Archbishop Chaput stated, “Let us preach Jesus Christ with all the energy of our lives. And let us support each other -- whatever the cost -- so that when we make our accounting to the Lord, we will be numbered among the faithful and courageous, and not the cowardly or the evasive, or those who compromised until there was nothing left of their convictions; or those who were silent when they should have spoken the right word at the right time. Thank you. And God bless all of you.”
Cited Articles and Posts
Vatican Radio (12 Oct 10)
Catholic News Agency (12 Oct 10)
Catholic On Line (26 Aug 10)
Life Site News (25 Aug 10)
Archdiocese of Denver (24 Aug 10)