73. New cultures are constantly being born in these vast new expanses where Christians are no longer the customary interpreters or generators of meaning. Instead, they themselves take from these cultures new languages, symbols, messages and paradigms which propose new approaches to life, approaches often in contrast with the Gospel of Jesus.
Often opposed to the Gospel, but not necessarily. Sometimes, it is the failures of Christianity that obliges the poor and the young to look elsewhere for inspiration. When Christians are content to live in the gated communities, behind doors of privilege, they obviously cannot be at the boundaries of human culture. They cannot extend their reach into the margins. Except in ways that are morally rejected by others. And then, unfortunately, Christianity becomes a target for new cultures.
A completely new culture has come to life and continues to grow in the cities. The Synod noted that today the changes taking place in these great spaces and the culture which they create are a privileged locus of the new evangelization.[Cf. Propositio 25] This challenges us to imagine innovative spaces and possibilities for prayer and communion which are more attractive and meaningful for city dwellers.
Mass mobs may be one expression of this needed imagination. We will need others.
People outside cities and their suburbs do not escape the cultural shifts of the past decades:
Through the influence of the media, rural areas are being affected by the same cultural changes, which are significantly altering their way of life as well.
Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is available online.