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Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World) is an apostolic exhortation issued on 8 December 1975 by Pope Paul VI on the theme of Catholic evangelization. Evangelii Nuntiandi is Latin and derives its name from the first words of the text: Evangelii nuntiandistudium nostrae aetatis hominibus. ("The effort to proclaim the Gospel to the men of our time.") The exhortation affirms the role of every Christian (not only ordained ministers, priests, and deacons, or religious, or professional church staff) in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The exhortation has an introduction followed by seven sections. The introduction articulates evangelization as the Church's primary service. The first section highlights the connection between Christ the evangelizer and his Church which imitates his example. In the second section, Paul VI and the Synod of Bishops propose a definition of evangelization in contrast to all of the other possible conceptions of the term. The third section explains the content of evangelization. The fourth describes the methods of evangelization. The fifth denotes the beneficiaries of evangelization while the sixth section clarifies who the workers in evangelization are. The seventh, and last, section considers the Spirit of evangelization.
The Exhortation was written following the work of a synod (7 September 1974 to 26 October 1980) called by the Pope shortly after the Second Vatican Council. Paul VI convened the synod to define what Catholics mean by "evangelization." The term, although ancient, was and is ambiguous for many. Evangelii Nuntiandi gave, to the Catholic Church, theological principles to guide members in understanding what is meant by the word "evangelization" as well as how it applies to the average Roman Catholic. In doingso, the document emphasized that the modern world emphasized images more than words. As such, the world needs to see witnesses of a new possible way of living in order to be introduced to the Good News/Gospel.
This apostolic exhortation inspired the teaching of Pope John Paul II. In 1975, the future pope was then known as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, Archbishop of Kraków, as well as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Cardinal Wojtyla acted as the Synod's General Rapporteur and participated extensively in the original drafting of Evangelii Nuntiandi. The New Evangelization of the Catholic Church, described by Pope John Paul II, calls each person to deepen one's faith in God, believe in the Gospel’s message, and proclaim the Good News. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize others. It is focused on re-proposing the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith. According to a 2008 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate study, only 23% of U.S. Catholics regularly attend Mass once a week, while 77% self-identify as proud to be Catholic. The New Evangelization invites each Catholic to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. It strives to give all Catholics the strength to make a change in each one's own life as a new life in Christ via the gifts of faith, hope, love.
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