Sections 25 through 33 of Evangelii Gaudium will review Pope Francis’s thoughts on “Pastoral Activity and Conversion.”
25. I am aware that nowadays documents do not arouse the same interest as in the past and that they are quickly forgotten. Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that what I am trying to express here has a programmatic significance and important consequences. I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are. “Mere administration” can no longer be enough.[Aparecida 201] Throughout the world, let us be “permanently in a state of mission”.[Aparecida 551]
I love that first sentence quoted. Even among those who scan documents to proof-text for their favorite citations of support, wholesale knowledge of documents is indeed at a low. One recent commentator cited Pope John Paul’s voluminous output and suggested we had enough for a good long time–what need would we have of anything from his successors?
Evangelii Gaudium is a very long document. But it does propose an organized journey for improvement. That is the essence of what I read in Pope Francis: a dissatisfaction with the way things are and a desire to move forward, even a little bit.