In a Vatican City (CNA/EWTN) news release, May 30, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the urgency of evangelizing modern society, saying that Christians today face the task of reaching a world that grows increasingly apathetic to the message of the Gospel.
This was first brought to the attention of the Philippine bishops last February 2011 when he pointed out to them that Filipino culture faces the “subtle questions inherent to the secularism, materialism and consumerism of our times.” He warned the prelates about the tendency for the human person to create for himself “a false destiny and lose sight of the eternal joy for which he has been made” when he veers away from “dependence upon and completion in God.”
On both occasions the Pope zeroed in on the general indifference to the Christian faith, the growing apathy among people, and the increasing insensitivity of certain sectors of society to those faithful to the Church and its teachings. This can be readily seen in the current issues about reproductive health, divorce, gay/same sex marriage, tolerance of sexual promiscuity, and many other serious moral and ethical concerns hugging the daily media headlines. The Pope concluded that these are definite signs of the exclusion of God from people’s lives and from their consciences, an exclusion that results in a profound apathy.
Pope Benedict explained that “the term ‘new evangelization’ recalls the need of a new way of evangelizing, especially for those who live in a situation like today’s where the development of secularization has left deep marks on even traditionally Christian countries.” He believes that this evangelization thrust needs the same enthusiasm, courage and commitment today that motivated the apostles, the first disciples, and the early Church. It needs modern-day Christians who live out their faith, who do not only wear their faith on Sundays, but live a lifestyle of real credibility.
The Pope stressed how important it is to reach out to those ‘Christians-in-name-only’ and, through fresh evangelization techniques that speak to the people of modern society, bring them back into the fold of authentic Christianity by offering them the message of hope that is so needed in these trying times.