Let’s finish up Chapter One’s second subsection, “Pastoral activity and conversion.” Addressing the creep of tradition, the statement “But we’ve always done it this way,” Pope Francis makes an important suggestion.
33. Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way.” I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory. I encourage everyone to apply the guidelines found in this document generously and courageously, without inhibitions or fear. The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leadership of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment.
Evangelii Gaudium suggests a boldness, a communal re-think of efforts. It will not be enough for the diocesan or parish fanboy of the pope to sift through this document and come up with a Program. Two things the Holy Father seems to be saying:
- Laity and clergy work together, in a structure of discernment
- Bishops lead by tapping wisdom and helping to guide the larger community in what can be done.