.- The newly-released outline for 2012's Synod on the New Evangelization speaks of the Church's need to rediscover its “original enthusiasm” – by emphasizing society's need for God, and the possibility of a personal encounter with Christ.
On March 4, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, presented Pope Benedict XVI with a preparatory document for next year's synod. During the meeting, which will take place from Oct. 7-28, 2012, bishops and other participants from around the world will discuss the late Pope John Paul II's vision of proposing the Christian faith in new ways.
One goal of the new evangelization, according to the synod's new guidelines, is to revive an enthusiasm for the Christian faith among historically Catholic populations.
“The new evangelization,” the drafters wrote, “should aim to revive the original enthusiasm in Christians, a new mission that should involve all members of God's community.”
“The Gospel,” they explained, “is to be understood not as a book or a doctrine, but rather as a person: Jesus Christ, the definitive Word of God, who made himself a man.”
Archbishop Eterovic noted that the outline for the synod also draws an important distinction between two types of contemporary missionary activity.
On the one hand, there is the “regular activity of the Church,” intended for “those who do not yet know Jesus Christ.” But this mission, he explained, differs from “the new evangelization – which is directed toward those who have moved away from the Church, those who have been baptized but not sufficiently evangelized.”
In order to draw these people back, synod organizers believe that the Church must come to grips with a number of challenges posed to the Christian faith by today's “social and cultural context.”
In the document presented to the Pope, they listed a number of these challenges which will be discussed at the 2012 synod – including the secularization of society, the changing global economy, developments in science and technology, and the realm of politics.
The upcoming synod's work is closely connected with Pope Benedict XVI's recent creation of a Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, which will develop ways of re-proposing the Christian faith in places where it has been weakened.
In the October 2010 letter that established the new council, Pope Benedict said he hopes “that the entire Church, allowing herself to be regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, may present herself to the contemporary world with a missionary impulse in order to promote the new evangelization.”