Aparecida 15-18: Why The Bishops Write

The introduction closes with a few paragraphs that are exhortations, calling for joy and hope, noting how faith in Christ is the foundation for this document.

As a sign of renewing hope, the bishops cite Pope Benedict in paragraph 15, calling for an acceptance of Christ:

Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ! … If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. … Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. . . . Do not be afraid of Christ! … Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.

In paragraph 16, noting that many changes have occurred since the 1992 Conference in Santo Domingo, the bishops recall their desire “to give a new impetus to evangelization.” They cite a 2005 homily of Pope Benedict:

The Church which shares in the achievements and the hopes, the sufferings and the joys of her children, wishes to walk alongside them at this challenging time, so as to inspire them always with hope and comfort.

These words recall the first paragraph of Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes:

 The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.

In paragraph 17, they note the source of the joy connected with evangelization:

 Thus, our joy is based on the love of the Father in sharing the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ, who through the Holy Spirit brings us from death to life, from sadness to joy, from absurdity to the deep meaning of existence, from discouragement to the hope that does not deceive. This happiness is not a feeling artificially generated or a passing sentiment. The Father’s love has been revealed in Christ who has us invited us to enter into his kingdom. He has taught us to pray, saying, “Abba, Father” (Rm 8:15; cf. Mt 6:9).

I would suggest that this paragraph parallels the emphasis on the joy of evangelization found in the sermons, speeches, and writings of Pope Francis.

The final paragraph of the introduction, ¶ 18, is a reiteration of the Christian inspiration for this call for a new evangelization and for their analysis of the reality of Latin America and the Caribbean:

Knowing Jesus Christ by faith is our joy; following him is a grace, and passing on this treasure to others is a task entrusted to us by the Lord, in calling and choosing us. With eyes enlightened by the light of the risen Jesus Christ, we are able and intend to examine the world, history, and all our peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, and each and every one of their inhabitants.


An interesting note on sources: 12 of the 17 footnotes to the Introduction refer to writings or speeches of Pope Benedict XVI.

Here is the USCCB translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About John Donaghy

Permanent deacon, ordained in the Catholic diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras, in 2016. Missionary in Honduras since June 2007, living and working in the parish of Dulce Nombre de María.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization, Guest Writers, John Donaghy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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