Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone spoke of behalf of Pope Benedict to the Plenary Assembly of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE). The Pope asked bishops of Europe to "identify new ways of evangelization with missionary audacity," and he particularly stressed the need that young people have of the Gospel.
In a statement from the meeting, the European bishop identified evangelization as “the manifestation of the Church’s life and vitality. It should not be understood simply as a pastoral activity, but as the manifestation of its very nature and mission." They identified the "new evangelization" as not just for fallen-away Christians, but for everyone. "It seeks to proclaim Christ, true God and true man, crucified to bear every human grief, raised from the dead that we might have life," they stated. "Through their baptism, all believers are called to take part in the new evangelization: families; young people who are generally the most open to being missionaries; but also parishes, the movements, and new communities.” (You can read more from the Zenit article)
Meanwhile, a Presbyterian elder and writer for the daily Kansas City Star’s Faith Matters blog, Bill Tammeus recently advocated that we evolve our thinking from church as not a "place where" but a "people who."
The line oft-accredited to Saint Francis of Assisi is “preach the Gospel at all times… if necessary use words.” When we are using words we are most often using words within a place where WE feel comfortable.
If all believers are called to take part in the new evangelization…to being missionaries, then the church is to be a people who.
Kenda Dean suggests that we all suffer from ascension deficit disorder… that the ending of the gospels is a little too special effects-y for us and, therefore, we have a tendency to act as the the future that God has promised is Jesus Christ comes off a little too fairy-tale-ish. If we suffer from being able to deal with faith, Jesus, Resurrection, and Ascension as truth, our ability to hope is diminished.
And, if that is the case, we find ourselves, as church in the mode of putting up with stuff, I’m just getting by addressing the limits (or the lid) We should not find ourselves looking towards the skies awaiting the Reign of God.
If we do, we find everything in faith just a little beyond our reach – holiness, sainthood, Pentecost, and a missionary audacity to respond beyond a "place where" but a " to a call to an evangelization that aspires for us to be a “people who" seeks to make disciples of all the nations.
Benedict XVI is asking European bishops to be audacious in thinking of new ways to spread the Gospel message. "Places of catechesis and Catholic schools must also be and become ever more places of evangelization. (…) There is also question of seeking new ways to evangelize, such as, for example, new technology, the Internet, and social networking sites. But all this is only possible if, following the example of the Christians of the Acts of the Apostles, we open ourselves up in a new way to the Holy Spirit: ‘There will be no new evangelization without a new Pentecost!’"
Make space in your imagination for a new Pentecost in our Church – or, in the vernacular of a generation or two previous to today’s youth – it’s time to blow the roof off of this joint