34. If we attempt to put all things in a missionary key, this will also affect the way we communicate the message. In today’s world of instant communication and occasionally biased media coverage, the message we preach runs a greater risk of being distorted or reduced to some of its secondary aspects. In this way certain issues which are part of the Church’s moral teaching are taken out of the context which gives them their meaning. The biggest problem is when the message we preach then seems identified with those secondary aspects which, important as they are, do not in and of themselves convey the heart of Christ’s message. We need to be realistic and not assume that our audience understands the full background to what we are saying, or is capable of relating what we say to the very heart of the Gospel which gives it meaning, beauty and attractiveness.
Posts such as these take a long time to complete. For one, I am a bit perplexed at the immediate reactions from both sides of the American political spectrum. On the left, it’s amazing to watch as they embrace very specific pieces of Evangelii Gaudium — namely paragraph 54 — while ignoring both paragraph 53 which puts the discussion on “trickle-down theories” in context while ignoring some of the strongest and unequivocal pro-life language in paragraph 214.
Additionally, there is some terrific language in this apostolic exhortation that describes how Catholic parishes need to resume their centrality in Catholic life. Once upon a time, the Church had a missionary spirit, Francis explains. Today, there is no greater need than for the Church to recapture this missionary zeal. This includes a decentralization of charity — perhaps the strongest words ever issued by a pope against the so-called Vatican Bank (more appropriately titled the Institutes for the Works of Religion) and against organizations such as Caritas International and Catholic Relief Services, under intense scrutiny by the Vatican and here in the United States for doing some pretty un-Catholic things with purportedly Catholic donations. Continue reading