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Evangelii nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World) is an apostolic exhortation issued on 8 December 1975 by Pope Paul VI on the theme of Catholic evangelization. The title, taken from the opening words of the original Latin text, means "in proclaiming the Gospel". It affirms the role of every Christian, not only ordained ministers, priests, and deacons, or religious, or professional church staff, in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul VI convened a synod to meet in September 1974 to define what Catholics mean by "evangelization." The exhortation, which appeared in late 1975, reflects the work of that synod. The term, although ancient, was and is ambiguous for many. Evangelii nuntiandi gave theological principles to guide members in understanding what is meant by the word evangelization and how it applies to the average Roman Catholic. In doing so, the document emphasized that the modern world emphasized images more than words. As such, the world needs to see witnesses of a new possible way of living in order to be introduced to the Good News/Gospel.
At the time of the synod, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the Archbishop of Kraków and future Pope John Paul II, was consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He acted as the synod's general rapporteur or recording secretary and participated extensively in the original drafting of Evangelii nuntiandi.
The exhortation has an introduction followed by seven sections. The introduction articulates evangelization as the Church's primary service. The first section highlights the connection between Christ the evangelizer and his Church which imitates his example. In the second section, Paul VI and the Synod of Bishops propose a definition of evangelization in contrast to all of the other possible conceptions of the term. The third section explains the content of evangelization. The fourth describes the methods of evangelization. The fifth denotes the beneficiaries of evangelization while the sixth section clarifies who the workers in evangelization are. The seventh, and last, section considers the Spirit of evangelization.
- Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.
- The Church is the depositary of the Good News to be proclaimed. The promises of the New Alliance in Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Lord and the apostles, the Word of life, the sources of grace and of God's loving kindness, the path of salvation - all these things have been entrusted to her. It is the content of the Gospel, and therefore of evangelization, that she preserves as a precious living heritage, not in order to keep it hidden but to communicate it.
Relation to the New Evangelization
Evangelii Nuntiandi is cited often as a source for the New Evangelization of the Catholic Church which was described by Pope John Paul II as a call for each person to deepen one's faith in God, believe in the Gospel’s message, and proclaim the Good News. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize others. It is focused on re-proposing the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith. According to a 2008 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate study, only 23% of U.S. Catholics regularly attend Mass once a week, while 77% self-identify as proud to be Catholic. The New Evangelization invites each Catholic to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. It strives to give all Catholics the strength to make a change in each one's own life as a new life in Christ via the gifts of faith, hope, love.
- Summi Pontificis, Pauli VI. "Evangelii Nuntiandi". The Vatican-The Holy See. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- His Holiness, Paul VI. "EVANGELII NUNTIANDI--APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION". The Vatican--The Holy See. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- Moreira Neves, Lucas Cardinal. "EVANGELII NUNTIANDI: PAUL VI'S PASTORAL TESTAMENT TO THE CHURCH". Eternal Word Television Network. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- Moreira Neves, Lucas Cardinal (17 January 2001). "EVANGELII NUNTIANDI: PAUL VI'S PASTORAL TESTAMENT TO THE CHURCH". L'Osservatore Romano (Weekly Edition in English).
- EN §14
- EN §15
- Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). "Sacraments Today: Belief and Practice Among US Catholics". Georgetown University. Retrieved 10 February 2013.