Next synod theme: New evangelization

Pope Benedict XVI at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict announced today that he’s chosen “new evangelization” as the theme for the next world Synod of Bishops in 2012.

The pope said the topic reflects a need to re-evangelize in countries where Christian faith and practice have declined, and where people “have even moved away from the church.”

The pope made the announcement at the end of his homily at the closing Mass for the special Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which focused on the pastoral challenges of the region. He said that in this synod, too, bishops spoke of the “need to offer the Gospel anew to people who do not know it very well.”

“What was often evoked was the need for a new evangelization for the Middle East as well. This was quite a widespread theme, especially in the countries where Christianity has ancient roots,” he said.

The pope said he chose the next synod topic, “The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith,” after consulting with the world’s episcopate. He recently created the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, and has made re-evangelizing a main theme of his pontificate.

In his homily, the pope also touched on the sensitive subject of religious freedom in the Middle East, especially in predominantly Muslim societies:

Another contribution that Christians can bring to society is the promotion of an authentic freedom of religion and conscience, one of the fundamental human rights that each state should always respect. In numerous countries of the Middle East there exists freedom of belief, while the space given to the freedom to practice religion is often quite limited. Increasing this space of freedom becomes essential to guarantee to all the members of the various religious communities the true freedom to live and profess their faith. This topic could become the subject of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue whose urgency and usefulness was reiterated by the synodal fathers.

The pope made a plea for peace in the region, saying it was the best way to stop Christian emigration:

Conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for too long in the Middle East. Peace, which is a gift of God, is also the result of the efforts of men of goodwill, of the national and international institutions, in particular of the states most involved in the search for a solution to conflicts. We must never resign ourselves to the absence of peace. Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life of dignity for human beings and society. Peace is also the best remedy to avoid emigration from the Middle East.

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5 Responses to Next synod theme: New evangelization

  1. Jacqueline Hanna Youssef says:

    When I read this in the Bible :
    This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

    after that time,” declares the Lord.

    “I will put my law in their minds

    and write it on their hearts.

    I will be their God,

    and they will be my people.

    No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

    or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

    because they will all know me,

    from the least of them to the greatest,”

    declares the Lord.
    Jeremiah 33-34
    God knew how hard it was going to be to follow divided christians leaders

  2. Bob Gray says:

    2012 is a long way off. Luckily, this new evangelism has already started, but a lot of sister churches are way ahead of us. The Church that Jesus founded really needs to get with the program to complete God’s mission in time to fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy. I’m still trying to figure out how to do my part.

  3. Joy says:

    Jesus,Himself,is the fulfillment of the prophecy. My understanding of this is that this is after He returns.We will all be with Him and know Him intimately. We don’t have to DO anything to fulfill this but keep the two great commandments : to love God with our whole heart,soul,and being and our neighbor as ourself,then when He returns we “will be His People and He will be our God. “

  4. Carl says:

    It seems interesting this current pope is not paying attention to the development of the Catholic faith in the “global south”. He seems very attached to the idea that the revitalization of the Church will come from Europe. I think he is wrong. 60% of the Catholics under 35 in the US are Hispanics. What does that tell us?

  5. Jim Finfera says:


    You caught the essence of world peace when you stated those great commandments: to love God with our whole heart,soul,and being and our neighbor as ourself. Confucius understood this as well. He believe that all of us can be instruments of peace if we first and foremost become at peace with ourselves, then and only then bring peace to our immediate families, then our communities (social, worship, work, political, etc), then city, country, and eventually the world. Jesus teaches us that we can only be at peace with ourselves if we are at peace with God/Him who resides in each and every one of us. Yes, as our beloved pope advises us, each and everyone of us must strive to be people of goodwill. Yes! we are not perfect, and we do fail but we must try and try and try. By ourselves we can do nothing but with God and His graces we can do all things!!!!

    God bless you and all people of good will, especially our beloved pope!

    Jim 🙂

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