Pope Francis’ highly anticipated Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel, was released today by the Holy See. The first Exhortation of the Holy Father’s pontificate, Evangelii Gaudium “develops the theme of the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world.
In a press conference held today at the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, presented the Exhortation. Also present at the conference was Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, told journalists that the Pope’s exhortation was originally translated in Spanish and, subsequently, translated in all other languages. The Holy Father began writing in August and based ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ on the suggestions made by Synod Fathers after last years Synod of Bishops on ‘The New Evangelization for the Transmission of Faith.’
During the press conference, Archbishop Fisichella noted Pope Francis’ call to seize with enthusiasm “a new phase in the journey of evangelization.”
“Pope Francis offers this document to the Church as a map and guide to her pastoral mission in the near future,” he said. It is an invitation to recover a prophetic and positive vision of reality without ignoring the current challenges.”
Two major themes articulate the Holy Father’s call for a missionary action of the Church: addressing the cultural challenges of individual Churches and a common denominator so that all evangelizers may follow a common methodology.
One of the notable aspects of the Apostolic Exhortation is the language it is written in. A language, Archbishop Celli noted that “is the simple, familiar and direct language which has been the hallmark of the style that has emerged in the months of his pontificate.”
Commenting on this aspect, Archbishop Fisichella said through this method of writing, Pope Francis wished to show that it is not only about the contents of faith, but rather “the language we use to express faith.”
In article 41, Pope Francis stated that in listening to completely orthodox language, the faithful at times may interpret it in a matter that is not authentic to the Gospel of Jesus.
“With the holy intent of communicating the truth about God and humanity, we sometimes give them a false god or human ideal which is not really Christian,” the Pope writes. “In this way, we hold fast to a formulation while failing to convey its substance.”
Regarding those words of the Holy Father, Archbishop Celli said: “These are courageous words by Pope Francis because he speaks of an interior conversion.
Other themes that Pope Francis expands on are the challenges of the contemporary world, overcoming temptations that undermine the New Evangelization, the development of the evangelization, as well as the social dimension and spirit of the New Evangelization.
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On the NET:
For the full text of Evangelii Gaudium, go to:http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html
On ZENIT’s web page:
For the official summary of Evangelii Gaudium, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/synopsis-of-the-apostolic-exhortation-evangelii-gaudium