This Sunday, October 7, the long-awaited Synod on the New Evangelization kicks off in Rome. Bishops from around the world will gather to answers questions like:
- How can the Church re-propose the Gospel to a culture that has largely forgotten it?
- How can we inaugurate the “new ardor, new methods, and new expressions” that Pope John Paul II called for in the twentieth century?
- How can Catholics reclaim our missionary zeal, that fire for evangelization which burned in the earliest Christians?
The hundreds of bishops and priests will be accompanied by a handful of lay experts on evangelization, including Dr. Ralph Martin.
Ralph is the Director of Graduate Theology Programs in The New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He’s also the longtime host of EWTN’s television series, “The Choices We Face,” and a leader in the Catholic charismatic movement.
Ralph recently earned his S.T.D. (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome where his work centered on Vatican II and the New Evangelization. In December 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Ralph to a five-year term as a Consultor to the recently-created Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
All that to say, when it comes to the New Evangelization, Ralph is as close to an expert as you’ll get.
This past weekend Ralph was in Orlando, and he graciously met with me to discuss the New Evangelization, his two new books, and the upcoming Synod which he’ll leave for on Thursday.
Watch or download our interview below:
1:37 – What is the New Evangelization?
3:17 - Lumen Gentium, Hell, and the New Evangelization
6:41 – How to clarify the stakes of salvation
8:45 – What do you hope the Synod on Evangelization will accomplish?
10:37 - How can ordinary Catholics can live out the New Evangelization?
Q: How would you define the New Evangelization?
Well, let’s just start briefly with what evangelization is, because that’s the basis on which the New Evangelization builds. Evangelization in some ways means “everything the Church is doing,” but its core definition that John Paul II gives, for example, is “Christian conversion”—making a decision to follow Jesus Christ and be his disciple. So the core of it is conversion.
Now with the New Evangelization, you might ask, “what’s so new about it?” One of the things that’s new about it is who it’s directed to. It’s directed not just at people who have never heard the Gospel before, but now also to people who perhaps have grown up as Catholics, were maybe baptized as babies, but aren’t living as disciples of Christ and may not even have a clue what it means to be a Christian.
So the New Evangelization is primarily “new” in who it’s directed to.
Be sure to check out Ralph’s two newest books:
- The New Evangelization: What It Is and How It Affects the Life of Every Catholic (Our Sunday Visitor, eBook, 27 pages)
- Will Many Be Saved?: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization (Eerdmans, paperback, 336 pages)
What do you think about the New Evangelization?