EG 30: Particular Churches

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis, in this section of Evangelii Gaudium, offers encouragement, affirmation, and challenges to “particular Churches.” What are these? Mainly dioceses united under the bishop.

30. Each particular Church, as a portion of the Catholic Church under the leadership of its bishop, is likewise called to missionary conversion. It is the primary subject of evangelization,[Cf. Propositio 41] since it is the concrete manifestation of the one Church in one specific place, and in it “the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative”.[Christus Dominus 11] It is the Church incarnate in a certain place, equipped with all the means of salvation bestowed by Christ, but with local features. Its joy in communicating Jesus Christ is expressed both by a concern to preach him to areas in greater need and in constantly going forth to the outskirts of its own territory or towards new sociocultural settings.[Cf. BENEDICT XVI, Address for the Fortieth Anniversary of the Decree Ad Gentes (11 March 2006)] Wherever the need for the light and the life of the Risen Christ is greatest, it will want to be there.[Cf. Propositio 42] To make this missionary impulse ever more focused, generous and fruitful, I encourage each particular Church to undertake a resolute process of discernment, purification and reform.

Those “outskirts” or “new sociocultural settings” are cited in Pope Benedict in a speech given recalling the fortieth anniversary of the Vatican II document on the mission apostolate.

“Outskirts” are not difficult to figure out. If a diocese emphasizes urban, then the rural. If a diocese emphasizes Catholic education, then students and their families not in parishes or schools. If a see city is on one corner or edge, then the opposite geographic side of the territory.

And those new “settings” might well be young adults, workplaces, colleges, and other places in which we Catholics have not traditionally stuck our noses.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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