Pope Francis and the Aparacida document

Recently, I wrote up the talk by my friend Fr. James Mallon, a priest in the Halifax Archdiocese, as he addressed Catholic school trustees and educators on new evangelization.

Here’s an excerpt:

Father Mallon pointed to how Pope Francis described himself in a recent interview with Jesuit magazines, noting when he was asked ‘Who is Jorge Maria Bergoglio?’ he replied, “I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.”

The pope stressed the first proclamation—“Jesus Christ has saved you,” Father Mallon said. Kerygma is the Greek word for proclamation. When someone had gained a victory in battle, they would send a messenger ahead, galloping on a horse to bring the good news.

The Pope as Cardinal Bergoglio was the chief author of the Aparacida document put out by the Latin American bishops in 2007 on new evangelization, which uses the words “missionary disciples 121 times” said Father Mallon. The document stressed conversion to Christ; conversion to Christ’s Church; and the conversion of others.

While more than 40 per cent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, Catholics are leaving the Church by the hundreds of thousands, Father Mallon said. “The biggest exodus is to evangelical and Pentecostal churches.”

The document’s authors did “exit interview,” Father Mallon said, to find out why Catholics were leaving.

They discovered most had left because they found a religious experience; they found a better community life; better Biblical and doctrinal formation; and a better missionary community, the sense the entire group was involved in missions, he said.

In other words, “they never had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ” in the Catholic Church but in other churches, Father Mallon said. “They did not hear a kerygmatic message” that led to an intense personal encounter.”

Part of the problem is the church stresses catechism and sacraments, he said. Instead, talk first about the kerygma and conversion, then talk about the sacraments, he said. Lead children to the living Jesus, an encounter with the living Jesus, not a dead Jesus of history.

The Pope told the Jesuit magazine not to put moral issues like abortion, homosexuality and contraception ahead of the proclamation of the Good News. “There are other kinds of moral issues that are also a threat to deeper Catholic identity,” he said, adding social justice is also a moral issue that can obscure the “main thing” which is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

You can find the Aparacida document here:

In our pastoral experience, often sincere people who leave our church do not do so because of what “non-Catholic” groups believe, but fundamentally for what they live; not for doctrinal but for vivential reasons; not for strictly dogmatic, but for pastoral reasons; not for theological problems, but to methodological problems of our Church. They hope to find answers to their concerns. They are seeking, albeit with serious dangers, answers to some aspirations that perhaps they have not found in the Church, as ought to be the case.
In our church we should enhance work along four lines:
a) Religious experience. In our Church we must offer all our faithful “a personal encounter with Jesus Christ,” a profound and intense religious experience, a kerygmatic proclamation and the personal witness of the evangelizers that leads to a personal conversion and to a thorough change of life.
b) Community life. Our faithful are seeking Christian communities where they are accepted fraternally and feel valued, visible, and included in the Church. Our faithful must really feel that they are members of an ecclesial community and stewards of its development.

And so on.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Pope Francis and the Aparacida document

  1. Btw, to my theological Catholic friends and readers, let me recommend the classic book on the biblical “kerygma”, by the Brit., C.H. Dodd: The Apostolic Preaching, And Its Developments, (first edition 1936). Some copies, as mine (1949), have an appendix on Eschatology And History. (My copy, is signed by Dodd! Aye, I got mine in a bookshop in England years ago.) It also has a chart in the back of the book, on The Apostolic Preaching and The Kerygma. A must read for theolog’s and teachers!

    * Btw, one cannot really neatly separate doctrine/dogmatic and theological-pastoral aspects! It is here btw too that some of our EO or Orthodox Brethren can be helpful.

  2. P.K.T.P. says:

    This is all nonsense. Bring back the Traditional Faith and throw out this Protestant-looking substitute and the Church will be growing again, as she was even between 1945 and 1965, when the mainstream heretical Protestant sects were in free-fall. As Kenneth C. Jones has shown in his “Index of Leading Catholic Indicators”, the massive decline in church attendance, vocations and all the other leading indicators (no. of Catholic schools, recourse to Sacraments, &c.), the decline began in about 1965 and was steep for the first decade after that year and then shallower after that–but has remained to the present. The key factor in the end, by the way, is not the number of Catholics in the world but the percentage of the world that is Catholic. Is this growing or declining? Until the turn of the century, despite the massive fall in leading indicators in the West, it was still growing (owing to increases in the developing world). Since 2001, except for one anomalous year, it has been every year declining. I don’t remember the exact figure but I believe that it had reached something like 18.3 and has fallen ever since, in very small increments This is bad news for evangelisation but has been good news for the Muslims in Africa and Southern Asia and for atheism and agnosticism in the West, as well as for the cheap evangelistic sects.

    Jones’s most unexpected finding was not the decline from 1965, as this was obvious to anyone who cared to be honest with the facts. (No question that the reforms after the Council and even during it were an unmitigated disaster, including the liturgical translation into the vernacular in late 1964 and the reforms of 1965 [dropping the Prayers at the Foot], 1967 [numerous devastating changes in Tres Abhinc Annos], 1968 [adding the Prayer of General Intercession], 1969 [adding the innovative Eucharistic prayers]) His most surprising finding was that the Church in the West was ‘growing’ from 1945 to 1965, albeit at only a slow rate. It was surprising because, at this time, the mainstream Protestant sects (Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, &c.) were in steep decline. The propaganda from journalism has convinced people that the Catholic Church was also suffering decline at this time, thereby justifying the attempts at reform. In fact, this generally-held belief is false. Again, while the growth of the Church from 1945 to 1965 was slow, it was also fairly steady; it was not in decline at all.

    A shocking finding of Jones was that the decline appears to have begin in most Western countries in 1965 and 1966,and this corresponds with evidence from other sources. For example, one prominent priest of a large parish in Montreal found that, as he put it, My church was packed to the doors at the beginning of 1966 but almost empty by the end of that same year. What happened in 1965 and 1966 to begin this precipitous decline? In much of the English-speaking world, the Mass appeared entirely in the vernacular on the First Sunday of Advent of 1964 (29th November of that year), before the disastrous Vatican II–the worst Council in the Church’s history–had even closed. On Saturday 28th November, the Mass was entirely in Latin. The very next day, it was entirely in the vernacular and instantly gone was the sense of mystery and reverence. There was no transition in the process in most parishes: it was Latin one day and English the next, causing shock and confusion among the faithful. The Priest was no longer talking to God on our behalf. Now he was talking to us. Many of us apparently just walked out. The truth is that it was not the New Mass or even the late 1960s reforms which started the revolt but the change in language from Latin to the vernacular. It is also a wound on the face of Vatican II that the decline began just as it was being closed. But their fruits ye shall know them.


  3. Pingback: Pope Francis and the Aparacida document | Catholic Canada

  4. TACit no more says:

    It’s Jorge MARIO Bergoglio, not Maria. Second time today I’ve seen this incorrect and I think the first was on a Fr. Z, post actually. The current Pope was not named for the Blessed Virgin.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      TACit no more,

      You wrote: It’s Jorge MARIO Bergoglio, not Maria.

      You are correct.

      You wrote: The current Pope was not named for the Blessed Virgin.

      Probably not, though “Mario” and “Maria” actually are the same name, respectively in its masculine and feminine variants. This pair, in Spanish, is analogous to pairs of names such Norman-Norma, Michael-Michelle, John-Joanne, Eric-Erica, Stephan-Stephanie, Victor-Victoria, and Robert-Roberta in English.


      • TACit no more says:

        I’m not sure why it was necessary to propose something so obvious, although I’m not entirely convinced for this case. If you’re correct about the pairing, why is it not Ma-RI-o with accent on second syllable, like Ma-RI-a as we do say and is written in fact with an accent on the ‘i’ in Spanish (the language in which Bergoglio’s first two names are always given, though I suppose he could have baptized ‘Giorgio Mario’), rather than MA-ri-o as it is actually pronounced? Men are in fact sometimes given ‘Maria’ as a second name in Spanish culture. If the masculine version of this name doesn’t call to mind the name of the Blessed Virgin, should we trust it is meant to invoke her? Was it just due to some quirk of Italian pronunciation that -io and -ia are accented differently?
        At least you recognize that some journalists are getting the Pope’s name incorrect – the first time I fixed this was some months ago telling Matthew Sherry at Chiesa that he had mis-spelled it in a translation for the lead article there. (If one mentally pronounces the name instead of just transcribing it is really impossible to get it wrong.)

      • TACit no more says:

        All right, I have gone ahead and done the ‘research’ for you, and it turns out that Mario and Maria are not in fact variants of the same name (though I would agree that many in your list above are variants). Mary is derived from the Hebrew Mariam or Miriam. Mario, however, seems to be derived from Roman naming in honor of the god Mars: “The name Mario originates as an old Roman surname from the Latin “Marius.” Theories suggest the name stems from “Mars,” the Roman mythological God of War, from the Latin “mas” meaning “manly,” or from the Greek “malakoz” meaning “soft” or “tender.” The name has become associated with the Virgin Mary by acting as a masculinized form of “Maria.” ” (from Wiki-names).
        So Mario is a mere homophone, not a masculine variant on the originally Hebrew name of the Blessed Virgin but instead a male name derived from classical antiquity. The contortions through which the meaning of Mario has latterly been deemed to recall qualities of the BVM appear to be just that, contortions, not reflecting a derivation. Bergoglio’s first name is the Christian name his parents bestowed, recalling St. George, patron of England (perhaps not an unusual cultural choice given the influence of England in Argentina’s economy and culture around the time they settled there).

      • Awe, good old “Britannia” again! … The British Empire! 😉

  5. Lisa says:

    And thus you have missed the whole point- that he proclamation of the Gospel is what has the POWER to change lives, not make people religious..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s