Here is where Pope John Paul II identified the need for a “new evangelization.” It’s probably a phenomenon the ancients considered in individuals, the situation of apostasy, where a believer renounces the faith. It was a shameful thing, denying Jesus in the face of persecution when so many died as martyrs.
That situation of blood martyrdom is not often the case for leaving the faith behind. Indeed, some people would say the Church left them. However it may be defined, here’s the brief paragraph setting the principle in motion:
Thirdly, there is an intermediate situation, particularly in countries with ancient Christian roots, and occasionally in the younger Churches as well, where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel. In this case what is needed is a “new evangelization” or a “re-evangelization.”
Christians do well to take good care with this. There are people who have left the Church behind to live that life “removed from Christ and his Gospel.” Some still have the appearance of being in union with the Church. And some have left because they’ve been actively chased out. And some no longer identify as Christian because the witness contrary to Gospel values has been overwhelming.
We will address this “new evangelization” in more detail in posts to come.
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