GDC 26: Failure to Witness

The last of three sections treating the current situation of Christians:

26. There is also a certain number of baptized Christians who, desiring to promote dialogue with various cultures and other religious confessions, or on account of a certain reticence on their part to live in contemporary society as believers, fail to give explicit and courageous witness in their lives to the faith of Jesus Christ. These concrete situations of the Christian faith call urgently on the sower to develop a new evangelization,(49) especially in those Churches of long-standing Christian tradition where secularism has made greater inroads. In this new context of evangelization, missionary proclamation and catechesis, especially of the young and of adults, is an evident priority.

Note: (49) Christifedeles Laici 34b; 33d

Apparently the urgency was not quite so grave; this reference to a “new evangelization” dates to John Paul II and 1988.

I’m not totally convinced the problem is defined in half by people in religious or cultural dialogue. For some believers, their identification as a believer is second to family (I can personally attest it is easier to take an unpopular stand in the workplace when I had no family to support). It might be that a believer’s chosen career involves swallowing whole a secular ideology or philosophy of life. Politicians, because they are celebrities, are high-profile examples. It’s not that people like Nancy Pelosi or Newt Gingrich are bad Catholics, but they are viewed in context of their secular environment first. Is it the best possible choice for them? I don’t have the experience to respond, but I do note the public questions on both sides of the matter.

It is rather easier for me to live my faith publicly in the world. Like many politicians, for example, my employment defines a large part of who I am. But when I was a grad student, living a public witness was somewhat more difficult.

At any rate, John Paul II called for a new evangelization in 1988. The GDC endorsed this in 1997. Why are we only hearing about it now? Any thoughts on that?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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