A Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation?

I’ve been reading reports about the establishment of a Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation in the near future, under te leadership of Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who now heads the Pontifical Academy for Life. It is said to take over some of the responsibility from the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and concern itself with evangelisation in areas where the Catholic faith is in decline, most specifically Europe and North America.

It’s not confirmed by any source in the Vatican, of course, but it is believable and interesting. Whereas the Church in Africa and Italy is flourishing, in western countries she is in a crisis. To create a specific Council, which is a department within the Vatican, for the purpose of re-evangelising those areas makes sense. After all, the entire situation is totally different from other continents, and up till now the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples had to balance their responsibilities in both these areas.

The term ‘New Evangelisation’ dates from the early years of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, and it has been something that Pope Benedict XVI has concerned himself with as well. Creating a Pontifical Council is not something he ahs done before, but perhaps it can be seen as yet another step in the pope’s slow but steady overhaul of certain aspects of the Vatican and the Church.

I’m curious to see how this’ll take shape.

Bishop Slattery’s homily on suffering and obedience

One of the most difficult questions that we are posed on a regular basis is. “If God loves us so much, why is there so much suffering in the world?” Especially when the person asking it is someone who has experienced serious suffering him-  or herself, it is virtually impossible to give a satisfactory answer. Not because there isn’t one, but because from a suffering human perspective it is almost impossible to take a step back and consider suffering objectively. At moments like that, faith truly becomes a matter of ‘faith in’, of trust in God.

On Saturday, Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa addressed this very topic in a homily in Washington, a homily picked up by a number of blogs and heralded as a great piece of work. Bishop Slattery shines a light on suffering as the ultimate way in which Christ makes Himself present in our lives. Suffering strips away a lot, our comforts and sometimes our humanity, but in Christ it becomes nothing more (or less) than Christ revealed. From this, the bishop continues on to some good points about obedience, points worth prayerfully reflecting upon.

Father Z has a transcript with his usual emphases. He also offers an audio recording.

I also have the homily available in Dutch here.

A recommended read (or listen)!