VATICAN CITY, 26 November 2013 (VIS) – “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus”; thus begins the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, by which Pope Francis develops the theme of the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world, drawn from, among other sources, the contribution of the work of the Synod held in the Vatican from 7 to 28 October 2012 on the theme “The new evangelisation for the transmission of the faith”. The text, which the Holy Father consigned to a group of thirty-six faithful following the closing Mass of the Year of Faith last Sunday is the first official document of his pontificate, since the Encyclical “Lumen fidei” was written in collaboration with his predecessor, Benedict XVI. “I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come”, he continues. It is a heartfelt appeal to all baptised persons to bring Christ’s love to others, “permanently in a state of mission”, conquering “the great danger in today’s world”, that of an individualist “desolation and anguish”.
The Pope invites the reader to “recover the original freshness of the Gospel”, finding “new avenues” and “new paths of creativity”, without enclosing Jesus in our “dull categories”. There is a need for a “pastoral and missionary conversion, which cannot leave things as they presently are” and a “renewal” of ecclesiastical structures to enable them to become “more mission-oriented”. The Pontiff also considers “a conversion of the papacy”, to help make this ministry “more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelisation”. The hope that the Episcopal Conferences might contribute to “the concrete realisation of the collegial spirit”, he states, “has not been fully realized”. A “sound decentralisation” is necessary. In this renewal, the Church should not be afraid to re-examine “certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some of which have deep historical roots”.
Reflections on the Joy of the Gospel – Abp Jospeh Marino Apostolic Nunc