Totally Unofficial Translation 4: “Evangelii Gaudium”

Another literal translation. As before, I’ve bolded phrases that seem to have a significantly different meaning or emphasis from the official translation. The italics come from the original.

III. The new evangelization for the transmission of the faith.

14. In listening to the Spirit Who helps us recognize the signs of the times as a community, I celebrated the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” There, it was remembered that the new evangelization calls everyone together and fundamentally accomplishes things in three fields. (10)

In the first place, let us mention the ordinary pastoral ministry field, “animated by the Spirit’s fire to set alight the hearts of the faithful who regularly frequent the community, and who meet together on the Lord’s Day to nourish themselves on His Word and the eternal Bread of Life.” (11) In this field are included those faithful who keep an intense and sincere Catholic faith, expressing it in diverse manners, but who don’t participate in worship frequently. This pastoral ministry orients itself toward believers’ growth in such a way that they may respond better to the love of God, every time and for all their lives.

In the second place, let us remember the field of “baptized persons who do not live Baptism’s duties.” (12) They do not have a warm feeling of belonging to the Church, and now do not experience the consolation of the faith. The Church, like an ever-attentive mother, pledges herself that they should live a conversion that returns to them the joy of the faith, and the desire to get involved with the Gospel.

Finally, let us emphasize again that evangelization is essentially connected with the proclamation of the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ, or who always have rejected Him. Many of them search for God, moved by nostalgia for His Face — secretly, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. They all have the right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty of announcing it without excluding anybody — not as one who imposes a new obligation, but as one who shares a joy, who signals a beautiful horizon, who offers a desirable banquet. The Church does not grow through proselytism, but “through attraction.” (13)

15. John Paul II invited us to recognize that “it is necessary to keep alive a solicitude for announcement” to those who are estranged from Christ, “because this is the primordial task of the Church.” (14) Missionary activity “even to this very day represents the major challenge for the Church” (15) and “the missionary cause must be the premiere cause.” (16) What would happen if we should take those words seriously?

We would simply recognize that the missionary going-out is the paradigm of all the Church’s work. On these lines, the Latin-American bishops have affirmed that now “we cannot ourselves stay tranquil in a passive waiting in our churches” (17) and that what is lacking is to walk “from a pastoral ministry of mere conservation, to a pastoral ministry that is decidedly missionary.” (18) This task continues on being the fount of greater joys for the Church: “There will be more rejoicing in Heaven for only one sinner who converts than over ninety-nine just men who do not need to convert.” (Lk. 15:7)

The proposal and limits of this Exhortation

16. I accepted with pleasure the Synod Fathers’ request to redact this Exhortation. (19) In making it, I harvest the wealth of the Synod’s labors. I have also consulted diverse persons, and beyond that, I try to express the worries that move me in this particular moment of the Church’s evangelizing work. There are innumerable themes related to evangelization in the current world which we could develop here. But I have renounced dealing lingeringly with those multiple questions that must be an object of study and careful digging into. Nor do I believe that it is from the papal magisterium one must await a definite or complete word about all the questions which affect the Church and the world. It isn’t useful that the Pope should replace local episcopates in the discernment of all the quandaries which pose themselves in their territories. In this sense, I perceive the need to advance a healthy ‘decentralization.’

17. Here I have opted to propose some lines which could encourage and direct a new evangelizing phase, full of fervor and dynamism, in the whole Church. Inside that framework, and based on the doctrine of the Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” I have decided (among other themes) largely to linger on the following questions:

a) The reform of the Church in the missionary going-out.
b) The temptations of pastoral agents.
c) The Church understood as the totality of the people of God Who Evangelizes.
d) The homily and its preparation.
e) The social inclusion of the poor.
f) Peace and social dialogue.
g) Spiritual motivations for the missionary task.

18. I expanded upon those themes with a branching out that perhaps could appear excessive to you all. But it was not done with the intention of offering a treatise; but only to share the important practical impact of these subjects on the Church’s present work. They all help to outline a fixed evangelizing style which I invite you all to assume in any activity whatsoever that one carries out. And so, in this manner let us welcome in the midst of our daily duty the Word of God’s exhortation: “Rejoice in the Lord, all of you. I repeat to you, “All of you, rejoice!”” (Phil. 4:4)

Footnotes:

Cf. Propositio 7.

[11] BENEDICT XVI, Homily at Mass for the Conclusion of the Synod of Bishops (28 October 2012): AAS 104 (2102), 890.

[12] Ibid.

[13] BENEDICT XVI, Homily at Mass for the Opening of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops (13 May 2007), Aparecida, Brazil: AAS 99 (2007), 437.

[14] Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris Missio (7 December 1990), 34: AAS 83 (1991), 280.

[15] Ibid., 40: AAS 83 (1991), 287.

[16] Ibid., 86: AAS 83 (1991), 333.

[17] FIFTH GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN BISHOPS, Aparecida Document, 29 June 2007, 548.

[18] Ibid., 370.

[19] Cf. Propositio 1.

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