It is important to recognize a principle Pope Paul VI grasped forty-six years ago, and that his second successor verified:
People today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers,(Cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 41) in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories.
For those tempted to become apologists, catechists, catechumenate directors, religious educators, or even pastors, recognize one simple fact: people are watching. People not only watch when they see individuals live and work and play in neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. They also observe Christians in various media, both the forms they operate as well as when they are the objects of media scrutiny.
If the testimony of two sainted popes isn’t enough, consider the witness of a very effective and fruitful age:
The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission: Christ, whose mission we continue, is the “witness” par excellence (Rv 1:5; 3:14) and the model of all Christian witness. The Holy Spirit accompanies the Church along her way and associates her with the witness he gives to Christ (cf. Jn 15:26-27).
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