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.”
Tornielli says that the idea of such a dicastery was first proposed to Pope John Paul II by Msgr. Luigi Giussani, the late founder of the Italian-born movement Comunione e Liberazione (Community and Liberation), but the idea did not move ahead.
In response to the question of how the idea resurfaced, Tornielli says, according to “authoritative sources,” the proposal of the dicastery comes from the Patriarch of Venice, Italy Cardinal Angelo Scola.
During his tenure as Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Scola promoted intense reflection on the loss of Christian identity in Europe. The Patriarch of Venice was also a member of Communion and Liberation, and in his current position has shown significant concern for the de-Christianization of Europe and the Western world.
Fisichella, the currently embattled head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, succeeded Angelo Scola as Rector of the Lateran University and as such, shared the same concerns of his predecessor.