Loading
May 18, 2012
Evangelization and the post-Christian world
By Joe Tremblay *

By Joe Tremblay *

Official preacher of the Pontifical Household, Fr. Cantalamessa once made reference to the growing concern that we live in a post-Christian world. He said that if the New Evangelization is to have the same success as the Original Evangelization of the Apostles and Church Fathers, we have to consider their “methods and means” which brought about a Christian civilization. “Such means,” he said, “were fundamentally the announcement ‘in Spirit and power’ of the Paschal mystery of Christ dead and risen, united to the testimony of life.”

The pre-Christian world bears much similarity to the post-Christian world we live in today. However, I would have to add that our challenges as twenty-first Christians are more formidable. Catholic historian, Hilaire Belloc, tells us why:

“The Old Paganism had a strong sense of the supernatural. This sense was often turned to the wrong objects and always to insufficient objects, but it was keen and unfailing; all the poetry of the Old Paganism, even where it despairs, has this sense … The New Paganism delights in superficiality, and conceives that it is rid of the evil as well as the good in what it believes to have been superstitions and illusions … Men do not live long without gods; but when the gods of the New Paganism come they will not be merely insufficient, as were the gods of Greece, nor merely false; they will be evil … ”

In the ancient world the early Christians knew what they were being saved from. Pagan immorality was constantly on display in the Roman Empire. Slavery was a well established institution; human sacrifices had been a ritual in every continent; not just abortion, but infanticide was a socially accepted practice; blood sports- that is, gladiator games -required human fatalities in order for the masses to be entertained; women were second class citizens, having no rights over their fathers or husbands; and the birthrate dropped precipitously because children were seen as a liability rather than a blessing. And if that weren't enough, the third century was beset with political turmoil. In fact, there were 31 Roman Emperors during that same century with only 6 having died a natural death. This was fallen humanity before the Gospel took root.

With that said, the New Evangelization, if it is to rise to the challenge of the New Paganism and bear similar fruits of the Apostles and Church Fathers (the “Old” Evangelization), it would do well, as Fr. Cantalamessa indicated, to use their “methods and means.” But such “means and methods” cannot be reduced to preaching and teaching only. The early Christians had different pastoral practices and disciplines; certain attitudes towards their own Faith and other religions that are markedly different from today’s Christians.

Next week: Evangelization: Differences between the new and the old (part II)

Joe Tremblay writes for Sky View, a current event and topic-driven Catholic blog. He was a contributor to The Edmund Burke Institute, and a frequent guest on Relevant Radio’s, The Drew Mariani Show. Joe is also married with five children. The views and opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily reflective of any organizations he works for.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
23

Liturgical Calendar

November 23, 2014

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 25:31-46

Gospel
Date
11/23/14
11/22/14
11/21/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 34: 11-12, 15-17
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 15: 20-26, 28
Gospel:: Mt 25: 31-46

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/23/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: