People of the New Evangelization

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

On September 21, 2010, the Holy Father announced officially the creation of a new agency at the Vatican called The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. The term “New Evangelization” refers to the need to re-announce the Gospel in those parts of the world where, although the Church has been established for a long time, society has become secularized and people have drifted from the Faith. It is not a new message that the New Evangelization brings, but rather a new vigor, new methods, and new applications to the problems of today.

Indeed, widespread legal abortion is one of those problems. In his decree establishing this new Pontifical Council, Pope Benedict said that there are many factors in the modern world that have affected people’s faith, including,

“The expanding possibilities with regard to life and individual freedom, …. All of this has not been without consequences on the religious dimension of human life as well. … [T]here has been a troubling loss of the sense of the sacred, which has even called into question foundations once deemed unshakeable such as … a common understanding of basic human experiences: i.e., birth, death, life in a family, and reference to a natural moral law. Even though some consider these things a kind of liberation, there soon follows an awareness that an interior desert results whenever the human being, wishing to be the sole architect of his nature and destiny, finds himself deprived of that which is the very foundation of all things…. (Decree Ubicumque et Semper).”

Certainly this describes the Culture of Death. “Individual freedom” is distorted to the point where it becomes an enemy of life, and therefore of freedom. A “loss of the sense of the sacred” in regard to “birth, death, life in a family” includes all the confusion that a culture of abortion introduces into the joys and challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. The human being “wishing to be the sole architect of his nature and destiny” is a great description of the ultimate meaning of “pro-choice,” and, of course a disconnect from “a natural moral law” accounts for the widespread action of legislatures and courts that think they can make legal an act of violence.

Then the Pope goes on to say,

“[A]t the root of all evangelization lies not a human plan of expansion, but rather the desire to share the inestimable gift that God has wished to give us, making us sharers in his own life.”

Indeed, evangelization is all about the proclamation of life – a life which God gives first by creating us, and then offering us a share in His own divine nature. Evangelization, the announcement of the Gospel, is the announcement that the destiny of the human person is to sit with Christ on his throne (cf. Rev. 3:21). It is in that very proclamation that we find the obligation and privilege of defending the human person. Indeed, we the People of Life are the People of the New Evangelization!

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About the Author

National Director, Priests for Life Father Frank Pavone is a native New Yorker who was ordained in 1988 by Cardinal John O’Connor. He is a priest of the Amarillo Diocese in Texas and serves full-time in pro-life leadership with his bishop’s permission. In 1993 he became national director of Priests for Life. He is also the president of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the national pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels throughout the country preaching and teaching against abortion. He lived in Rome for two years while serving on the Pontifical Council for the Family, and recently was appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life. In 2005, he was present at the bedside of Terri Schiavo as she was dying and was an outspoken advocate for her life. He was invited by members of the Class of 2009 at Notre Dame to lead an alternate commencement ceremony for those students who refused to attend the ceremony in which President Obama was honored. Father Pavone has received the “Proudly Pro-life Award” by the National Right to Life Committee, and numerous other pro-life awards and honorary doctorates. Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade abortion decision, has described him as “the catalyst that brought me into the Catholic Church.”

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