All Christian formation must begin with an emphasis on God's saving love before proclaiming moral obligations and doctrines, the Pope stated. Evangelization must be alluring, using the "way of beauty" and showing the attractiveness of the moral life.
In addition, there is a need for patience, as well as "respectful and compassionate listening" as a key component of evangelization, he explained.
"The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions, but without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability … our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others, and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and their readiness to grow."
In addition, Pope Francis pointed to a "profound connection between evangelization and human advancement," saying that the "Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God" but rather that it includes clear social content.
He emphasized that religion cannot be "restricted to the private sphere," but is concerned with society, since "all Christians … are called to show concern for the building of a better world."
The Pontiff highlighted the preferential option for the poor, which "is primarily a theological category rather than a cultural, sociological, political or philosophical one," and is a reflection of mercy.
Rather than any ideology, the "authentic option for the poor" is based on love of the poor person precisely as a person, he said, adding that "this is why I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us. Not only do they share in the sensus fidei, but in their difficulties they know the suffering Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them."
The Bishop of Rome called everyone to have this closeness to the poor, shown through concrete action. No one is exempt because they have to give their attention elsewhere, he said.
"I fear that these words too may give rise to commentary or discussion with no real practical effect," he lamented.
The Pope examined economic policies, saying welfare projects are "merely temporary responses," and that we should "reject the absolute autonomy of markets."
"The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies," he stressed.
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The Roman Pontiff advocated a "better distribution of income," while being "far from proposing an irresponsible populism." He recalled both the universal destination of goods and that "the private ownership of goods is justified by the need to protect and increase them, so that they can better serve the common good."
"(F)or this reason, solidarity must be lived as the decision to restore to the poor what belongs to them."
Pope Francis also mentioned a need to care especially for the human dignity of migrants, trafficked persons and the unborn. He emphasized that the Church's teaching on abortion "is not something subject to alleged reforms … it is not 'progressive' to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life," while at the same time acknowledging that more needs to be done to accompany women in crisis pregnancies.
As it pursues human development and the common good, the Church must dialogue with states and cultures, proposing the fundamental values of human life, and the harmony between faith and reason, he said.
Religious liberty is important, he added, and society should not reduce religions "to the quiet obscurity of the individual's conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism."
Pope Francis concluded his exhortation with a call to be missionaries, motivated by love. He turned to the Blessed Mother, noting that her "interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others, is what makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization."