Category: Evangelization

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The Ship of Peter

In Gianni Valente’s recent book-length interview with Pope Francis, the Holy Father explained the Church’s mission: that per Our Lord’s command, we’re a moving church, always reaching out into the peripheries. He stated, “The Church is either on the move or she is not Church. Either she evangelizes or she is not Church. If the Church is not on the move, she decays, she becomes something else.” This is in essence what the Church is....

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A missionary Church: where everyone’s wounds are healed

Pope Francis recently sat down with journalist Gianni Valente of Fides (the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) for a lengthy interview on some of his favorite topics, including evangelization, what it means to be a missionary, and witnessing to the Gospel. It was published on November 5 in Italian as a book entitled, Without Him, We Can Do Nothing: a Conversation About Being Missionaries in Today’s World. Hopefully an English...

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Do Something Truly Radical: Get Off the Internet

Connection. Connection was the pretext under which millions and millions of millennials such as myself flocked to the Internet in the 1990s. But as we have become more connected, we are becoming ever more distant IRL (in real life). This has had lasting impacts on the Church and efforts at evangelization.   The West is nearing peak virtuality. Some of our closest friendships may be with people we’ve never even met. Some are friends, perhaps exclusively,...

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As the “Inside Synod” nears the finish line

In his opening address to the Synod of Bishops on October 7, 2019, Pope Francis warned about “two synods”–the idea that while a synod of bishops takes place in the Synod Hall (Aula del Sinodo), a “synod of the media” takes place concurrently. This second, unofficial synod is the public, often vitriolic, ideology-fueled discussion that takes place in the public square, on social media, and in publications and blogs (including this one). This media synod...

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Catholics Are Irrelevant

I wonder if Catholics realize how irrelevant we have become. Actually, it’s worse than that. I wonder if Catholics realize how irrelevant we have made the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While the sowers of the Gospel all locked inside the walls of an insular Church, the devil is ravaging the fertile soil that could have borne fruit. The countryside is being choked by thorns and and we seem content to argue with each other about...

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Shepherds of the Young

Among the many issues that critics of Pope Francis took with Christus vivit, the apostolic exhortation that emerged from last year’s Youth Synod, a number focused on how the exhortation treated the fact that many teenagers and young adults have serious qualms about Church teachings and practices. Pope Francis and the Synod participants clearly realized that the more politically controversial aspects of Catholic belief present serious obstacles to communion for young people not predisposed to...

Lights and Shadows

Lights and Shadows in Church History

The Rise of Historical Absolutism The New York Times recently profiled Susanna Ceccardi, the new right-wing populist mayor of a previously left-wing town in central Italy, as part of a series on the rise of populist politics in Europe. Much of Ceccardi’s political playbook—scapegoating of immigrants, anti-establishment rhetoric, a genuine concern for people facing precarious work situations, and so forth—is well-known to anybody following the news today. However, one aspect of it, Ceccardi’s rhetorical focus...

Jesus and Mary Walk Into a Bar

Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your...

Revisiting Orwell in the Era of Intra-Catholic Culture Wars

In 1945, George Orwell, who was born on this day in 1903, wrote a long essay called Politics and the English Language in which he warned of a growing modern tendency to use English vocabulary to specifically political ends—avoiding evocative language to disguise defenses of immoral practices, using long-winded and needlessly abstract words and phrases to lend poorly-considered ideas an air of being well-considered, and using jargon that can only be understood within the context...

Going to the Peripheries

When Silence, Martin Scorsese’s epic film adaptation of the 1960s Japanese historical novel of the same title, hit theaters in late 2016, I was a master’s student at a mainline Protestant school of theology attached to a prominent private university. I was also in the process of entering the Catholic Church. I have a longstanding interest in Japan, my bachelor’s degree is in Japanese literature, and I was making a point of studying East Asian...