16 October 2013

New Evangelization = Old Evangelization

From a talk given by Archbishop Chaput

Some years ago Alasdair MacIntyre wrote that the “new dark ages [are] already upon us”–a darkness brought on not by religion, but by the vanity, moral confusion and failure of the Enlightenment. The key difference between the sixth century and our own, said McIntyre, is that this time “[the] barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this [fact] that constitutes part of our predicament.”

You don't have to look too far or all that closely to see that our postmodern cultural landscape is functionally neo-pagan, that is, nihilistic in a way that real Old School Pagans like Plato and Aristotle would find repulsive. 

Quite apart from the mistakes and sins of her own leaders, the Church in Europe in the years since the Enlightenment has faced constant pressure from revolutionary violence, intellectual contempt, ideological atheism, idolatry of the nation state, two disastrous world wars, and mass genocides. And Catholic attempts to hold on to the Church’s privileges have often made conflicts worse.

Today a new and even more effective atheism–the practical atheism of an advanced but morally empty liberal consumer culture–is pushing the Church to society’s margins. This, on a European continent that owes much of its identity and history to the Christian faith. And we can see some of the same trends now in Canada and the United States.

I wonder how many Catholics in the pews are functional atheists. . .not confessed atheists, of course, but that sort of Catholic for whom being Catholic makes no difference whatsoever in their daily lives. 

. . .We need to understand the language and master the tools of the modern world. Through them, with God’s help, we can do a better job of bringing Jesus Christ to our people, and our people to Jesus Christ.

But the main instrument of the new evangelization is the same as the old evangelization. It’s you and me. There’s no way around those words: Repent and believe in the gospel. The world will change only when you change, when we change, because hearts are won by personal witness. And we can’t share what we don’t have.

Read the whole thing. . .well worth your time and effort!
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  1. Regular Reader12:06 PM

    Hi Father - not exactly on this topic, but you have written before about not Ouija boards, etc. This time of year, "ghost hunts" have been popular in my area, for example at old prisons. http://www.mrps.org/ghost-hunts
    Do you see this as pretty much the same thing, and something to avoid? Thanks.

    1. Yes. Definitely. First, there's no such thing as ghosts. . .if by "ghosts" we mean a "disembodied human soul." Second, anything that might look like a ghost isn't a ghost. . .it's probably something much worse.