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Making evangelization concrete

· The Pope opens the work of the 13th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops ·

At Mass on Sunday St John of Avila and St Hildegard of Bingen proclaimed Doctors of the Church

Confessio and caritas are pillars of evangelization. The path of the new evangelization must run along these lines. Benedict XVI stressed this in his reflection given extemporaneously at the recitation of the Hour of Terce with the Synod Fathers meeting on Monday morning, 8 October, when the work of the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the the Synod of Bishops began. The Fathers have come to the Vatican to reflect on the theme: “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith”.

Thus the Pope, after having stating yesterday at the celebration of the inaugural Mass that “the Church exists to evangelize” and focusing on the meaning and essence of mission, this morning he gave direction to the action of Christians, who are called to spread the Gospel in the world. The Gospel is nothing other than the word of God or “God who speaks to human beings”; he makes himself present to redeem and save us. And through the Gospel God, even today, shows himself to be alive; he “breaks the great silence” and “opens the doors of exile”.

The Christian must allow God to penetrate his senses, nourishing contact with him through prayer, “thinking in an intelligent way” about one's faith and acting together with God to pass it on to the world. Benedict XVI then repeated an often expressed concept: without God nothing makes sense in the Church because “we cannot make the Church”; she does not start with our actions, only “God can create his Church”, we can “only cooperate” with his action. But in fulfilling this mission, the Christian “must not be luke warm”, said the Pope, underlining that the elected means for human action in communion with God are confession and charity.

The confession to which Benedict XVI referred is that which carries within it the concept of martyrology, in the sense that it expresses the willingness to bear witness even up to the sacrifice of life. And it is this that the Pope says “guarantees our credibility”. Charity meanwhile is an expression of the fire of love with which the Christian kindles in others. “Only by lighting the flame of charity”, the Pope explained, “can evangelization become concrete”.

After the Pope's meditation the work of the First General Congregation began. Two hundred-fifty six Synod Fathers were present and were guided by President, Cardinal John Tong Hon, Archbishop of Hong Kong, who gave a brief introductory speech. Following the report by the Secretary General, Archbishop Nikola Eterović, Relator General Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, gave a report before the discussion.

At Sunday's celebration the Pope proclaimed St John of Avila and St Hildegard of Bingen Doctors of the Church.

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Nov. 19, 2019

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