We often hear in Church circles today the phrase, “The New Evangelization,” but what does it mean? The term first gained prominence in Pope Paul VI’s apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, wherein he states, “The conditions of the society in which we live oblige all of us . . . to revise methods, to seek by every means to study how we can bring the Christian message to modern man.” And so here we have “The New Evangelization” in a nutshell. Because modern man has perhaps already heard the message of Jesus Christ in one fashion or another, however diluted, he must be newly evangelized through the use of methods which will reach him where he is at and awaken his soul. To put the focus of The New Evangelization primarily on putatively effective instruments is, however, misguided. Conversion begins in the heart and reaches out as Gospel only insofar as it carries the form of Christ’s love. No utilitarian means, however lofty the goal, can pass as Christ’s way of witnessing and loving in the world. The following select links are therefore an attempt to convey the paradoxical requirement of The New Evangelization to (1) bring the Christian message in all of its beauty and richness to a world thirsting for meaning and redemption, and (2) do so through strategic means which reach modern man in his present condition.
Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi; John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio; John Paul II on the New Evangelization; Benedict XVI on the New Evangelization; New Evangelization in the Americas; Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium