The symbolic interaction perspective studies the day-to-day interaction of social movements, the meanings individuals attach to involvement in such movements, and the individual experience of social change. An interactionist studying social movements might address social movement norms and tactics as well as individual motivations. For example, social movements might be generated through a feeling of deprivation or discontent, but people might actually join social movements for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the cause.
They might want to feel important, or they know someone in the movement they want to support, or they just want to be a part of something. Have you ever been motivated to show up for a rally or sign a petition because your friends invited you? Would you have been as likely to get involved otherwise?
They might be more surprised when, as they sip their espressos, hundreds of young people start streaming into the picturesque square clutching pillows, and when someone gives a signal, they start pummelling each other in a massive free-for-all pillow fight. Spectators might lean forward, coffee forgotten, as feathers fly and more and more people join in.
All around the square, others hang out of their windows or stop on the street, transfixed, to watch. After several minutes, the spectacle is over. With cheers and the occasional high-five, the crowd disperses, leaving only destroyed pillows and clouds of fluff in its wake. This is a flash mob , a large group of people who gather together in a spontaneous activity that lasts a limited amount of time before returning to their regular routines.
Technology plays a big role in the creation of a flash mob: select people are texted or emailed, and the message spreads virally until a crowd has grown. So what leads people to want to flock somewhere for a massive pillow fight? Or for a choreographed dance? Or to freeze in place? Why is this appealing? In large part, it is as simple as the reason humans have bonded together around fires for storytelling, or danced together, or joined a community holiday celebration.
Humans seek connections and shared experiences. And a flash mob, pillows included, provides a way to make that happen. Flash mobs are examples of collective behaviour , non-institutionalized activity in which several people voluntarily engage. Other examples of collective behaviour can include anything from a group of commuters travelling home from work to the trend toward adopting the Justin Bieber hair flip.
In short, it can be any group behaviour that is not mandated or regulated by an institution. There are four primary forms of collective behaviour: the crowd, the mass, the public, and social movements. It takes a fairly large number of people in close proximity to form a crowd Lofland Turner and Killian identified four types of crowds. Conventional crowds are those who come together for a scheduled event, like a religious service or rock concert. Expressive crowds are people who join together to express emotion, often at funerals, weddings, or the like.
The final type, acting crowds , focus on a specific goal or action, such as a protest movement or riot. In addition to the different types of crowds, collective groups can also be identified in two other ways Lofland A mass is a relatively large and dispersed number of people with a common interest, whose members are largely unknown to one another and who are incapable of acting together in a concerted way to achieve objectives. A public , on the other hand, is an unorganized, relatively diffused group of people who share ideas on an issue, such as social conservatives.
While these two types of crowds are similar, they are not the same. To distinguish between them, remember that members of a mass share interests whereas members of a public share ideas. Early collective behaviour theories Blumer ; Le Bon focused on the irrationality of crowds. Le Bon saw the tendency for crowds to break into riots or anti-Semitic pogroms as a product of the properties of crowds themselves: anonymity, contagion, and suggestibility. On their own, each individual would not be capable of acting in this manner, but as anonymous members of a crowd they were easily swept up in dynamics that carried them away.
Eventually, those theorists who viewed crowds as uncontrolled groups of irrational people were supplanted by theorists who viewed the behaviour of some crowds as the rational behaviour of logical beings. Sociologists Ralph Turner and Lewis Killian built on earlier sociological ideas and developed what is known as emergent norm theory. They believe that the norms experienced by people in a crowd may be disparate and fluctuating.
They emphasize the importance of these norms in shaping crowd behaviour, especially those norms that shift quickly in response to changing external factors. Emergent norm theory asserts that, in this circumstance, people perceive and respond to the crowd situation with their particular individual set of norms, which may change as the crowd experience evolves. This focus on the individual component of interaction reflects a symbolic interactionist perspective. For Turner and Killian, the process begins when individuals suddenly find themselves in a new situation, or when an existing situation suddenly becomes strange or unfamiliar.
For example, think about human behaviour during Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans was decimated and people were trapped without supplies or a way to evacuate. Normally, individuals would not wade into a corner gas station and take canned goods without paying, but given that they were suddenly in a greatly changed situation, they established a norm that they felt was reasonable. Once individuals find themselves in a situation ungoverned by previously established norms, they interact in small groups to develop new guidelines on how to behave.
According to the emergent-norm perspective, crowds are not viewed as irrational, impulsive, uncontrolled groups. Instead, norms develop and are accepted as they fit the situation. While this theory offers insight into why norms develop, it leaves undefined the nature of norms, how they come to be accepted by the crowd, and how they spread through the crowd. Each condition adds to the likelihood that collective behaviour will occur. The first condition is structural conduciveness , which describes when people are aware of the problem and have the opportunity to gather, ideally in an open area.
The next condition is the growth and spread of a generalized belief , wherein a problem is clearly identified and attributed to a person or group. Fourth, precipitating factors spur collective behaviour; this is the emergence of a dramatic event. The fifth condition is mobilization for action , when leaders emerge to direct a crowd to action. The final condition relates to action by the agents of social control.
Called social control , it is the only way to end the collective behaviour episode Smelser In structure conduciveness awareness and opportunity , a group of students gathers on the campus quad. Structural strain emerges when they feel stress concerning their high tuition costs. A precipitation factor arises when campus security appears to disperse the crowd, using pepper spray to do so. When the student body president sits down and passively resists attempts to stop the protest, this represents mobilization of action.
Finally, when local police arrive and direct students back to their dorms, we have seen agents of social control in action. While value-added theory addresses the complexity of collective behaviour, it also assumes that such behaviour is inherently negative or disruptive. In contrast, collective behaviour can be non-disruptive, such as when people flood to a place where a leader or public figure has died to express condolences or leave tokens of remembrance.
People also forge momentary alliances with strangers in response to natural disasters. Unlike previous theories, this theory refocuses attention from collective behaviour to collective action. Remember that collective behaviour is a non-institutionalized gathering, whereas collective action is based on a shared interest. He identified several instances of convergent or collective behaviour, as shown on the chart below. As useful as this is for understanding the components of how crowds come together, many sociologists criticize its lack of attention on the large cultural context of the described behaviours, instead focusing on individual actions.
Social movements are purposeful, organized groups striving to work toward a common social goal. While most of us learned about social movements in history classes, we tend to take for granted the fundamental changes they caused —and we may be completely unfamiliar with the trend toward global social movement. Movements happen in our towns, in our nation, and around the world. No doubt you can think of others on all of these levels, especially since modern technology has allowed us a near-constant stream of information about the quest for social change around the world.
Not surprisingly, it has been home to a number of social movements and grassroots community organizations over time Silver Statistics show that 40 percent of Point Douglas children are not ready for school by age five and one in six are apprehended by child protection agencies. The National Energy Program of was one of the key catalysts for this movement because it was seen as a way of securing cheap oil and gas resources for central Canada at the expense of Alberta. However, the seeds of western alienation developed much earlier with the sense that Canadian federal politics was dominated by the interests of Quebec and Ontario.
Part of the program of the Western Canada Concept, aside from western independence, was to end non-European immigration to Canada and preserve Christian and European culture. The Reform Party was western based but did not seek western independence. A prominent national social movement in recent years is Idle No More.
Comparisons between Idle No More and the recent Occupy Movement emphasized the diffuse, grassroots natures of the movements and their non-hierarchical structures. It was more focused than the Occupy Movement in the sense that it developed in response to particular legislation Bill C , but as it grew it became both broader in its concerns and more radical in its demands for aboriginal sovereignty and self-determination.
It was also seen to have the same organizational problems as the Occupy movement in that the goals of the movement were left more or less open, the leadership remained decentralized, and no formal decision-making structures were established. Despite their successes in bringing forth change on controversial topics, social movements are not always about volatile politicized issues. For example, the global movement called Slow Food focuses on how we eat as means of addressing contemporary quality-of-life issues. The movement links community and environmental issues back to the question of what is on our plates and where it came from.
Founded in in response to the increasing existence of fast food in communities that used to treasure their culinary traditions, Slow Food works to raise awareness of food choices Slow Food With more than , members in 1, local chapters, Slow Food is a movement that crosses political, age, and regional lines.
We know that social movements can occur on the local, national, or even global stage. Are there other patterns or classifications that can help us understand them? Sociologist David Aberle addresses this question, developing categories that distinguish among social movements based on what they want to change and how much change they want. Reform movements seek to change something specific about the social structure.
Revolutionary movements seek to completely change every aspect of society. These would include Cuban 26th of July Movement under Fidel Castro , the s counterculture movement, as well as anarchist collectives. Organizations pushing these movements might include Alcoholics Anynymous, New Age, or Christian fundamentalist groups. Alternative movements are focused on self-improvement and limited, specific changes to individual beliefs and behaviour. Resistance movements seek to prevent or undo change to the social structure.
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The Ku Klux Klan and pro-life movements fall into this category. Later sociologists studied the life cycle of social movements—how they emerge, grow, and in some cases, die out. Blumer and Tilly outline a four-stage process. In the preliminary stage , people become aware of an issue and leaders emerge.
This is followed by the coalescence stage when people join together and organize in order to publicize the issue and raise awareness. In the institutionalization stage , the movement no longer requires grassroots volunteerism: it is an established organization, typically peopled with a paid staff. When people fall away, adopt a new movement, the movement successfully brings about the change it sought, or people no longer take the issue seriously, the movement falls into the decline stage.
Each social movement discussed earlier belongs in one of these four stages. Where would you put them on the list? Chances are you have been asked to tweet, friend, like, or donate online for a cause. Nowadays, woven throughout our social media activities, are social movements. After all, social movements start by activating people. Referring to the ideal type stages discussed above, you can see that social media has the potential to dramatically transform how people get involved. Look at the first stage, the preliminary stage : people become aware of an issue and leaders emerge.
Imagine how social media speeds up this step. Suddenly, a shrewd user of Twitter can alert thousands of followers about an emerging cause or an issue on his or her mind. Issue awareness can spread at the speed of a click, with thousands of people across the globe becoming informed at the same time. In a similar vein, those who are savvy and engaged with social media emerge as leaders. Suddenly, you do not need to be a powerful public speaker. You can build an audience through social media without ever meeting the people you are inspiring.
At the next stage, the coalescence stage , social media also is transformative. Coalescence is the point when people join together to publicize the issue and get organized. Using Twitter and other online tools, the campaign engaged volunteers who had typically not bothered with politics, and empowered those who were more active to generate still more activity.
In , when student protests erupted in Tehran, social media was considered so important to the organizing effort that the U. State Department actually asked Twitter to suspend scheduled maintenance so that a vital tool would not be disabled during the demonstrations. So what is the real impact of this technology on the world? Did Twitter bring down Mubarak in Egypt? In an article in New Yorker magazine, Gladwell tackles what he considers the myth that social media gets people more engaged. He points out that most of the tweets relating to the Iran protests were in English and sent from Western accounts instead of people on the ground.
Rather than increasing engagement, he contends that social media only increases participation; after all, the cost of participation is so much lower than the cost of engagement. The people who dropped out of the movement——who went home after the danger got too great——did not display any less ideological commitment. They lacked the strong-tie connection to other people who were staying.
People follow or friend people they have never met. While these online acquaintances are a source of information and inspiration, the lack of engaged personal contact limits the level of risk we will take on their behalf. Most theories of social movements are called collective action theories, indicating the purposeful nature of this form of collective behaviour. The following three theories are but a few of the many classic and modern theories developed by social scientists. Resource mobilization theory focuses on the purposive, organizational strategies that social movements need to engage in to successfully mobilize support, compete with other social movements and opponents, and present political claims and grievances to the state.
Framing theory focuses on the way social movements make appeals to potential supporters by framing or presenting their issues in a way that aligns with commonly held values, beliefs, and commonsense attitudes. Social movements will always be a part of society as long as there are aggrieved populations whose needs and interests are not being satisfied. However, grievances do not become social movements unless social movement actors are able to create viable organizations, mobilize resources, and attract large-scale followings. As people will always weigh their options and make rational choices about which movements to follow, social movements necessarily form under finite competitive conditions: competition for attention, financing, commitment, organizational skills, etc.
Not only will social movements compete for our attention with many other concerns—from the basic our jobs or our need to feed ourselves to the broad video games, sports, or television , but they also compete with each other. For any individual, it may be a simple matter to decide you want to spend your time and money on animal shelters and Conservative Party politics versus homeless shelters and the New Democratic Party.
The question is, however, which animal shelter or which Conservative candidate? Taken together, along with all other social movement organizations working on animals rights issues, these similar organizations constitute a social movement industry. Every social movement organization a single social movement group within the social movement sector is competing for your attention, your time, and your resources.
The chart in Figure Over the past several decades, sociologists have developed the concept of frames to explain how individuals identify and understand social events and which norms they should follow in any given situation Benford and Snow ; Goffman ; Snow et al. A frame is a way in which experience is organized conceptually. Imagine entering a restaurant. It probably does not occur to you to wear pajamas to a fine dining establishment, throw food at other patrons, or spit your drink onto the table.
However, eating food at a sleepover pizza party provides you with an entirely different behaviour template. It might be perfectly acceptable to eat in your pajamas, and maybe even throw popcorn at others or guzzle drinks from cans. Successful social movements use three kinds of frames Snow and Benford to further their goals. The first type, diagnostic framing , states the social movement problem in a clear, easily understood way. The anti-gay marriage movement is an example of diagnostic framing with its uncompromising insistence that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Any other concept of marriage is framed as sinful or immoral. Prognostic framing , the second type, offers a solution and states how it will be implemented. As you can see, there may be many competing prognostic frames even within social movements adhering to similar diagnostic frames. Finally, motivational framing is the call to action: what should you do once you agree with the diagnostic frame and believe in the prognostic frame? These frames are action-oriented.
With so many similar diagnostic frames, some groups find it best to join together to maximize their impact. When social movements link their goals to the goals of other social movements and merge into a single group, a frame alignment process Snow et al. This frame alignment process involves four aspects: bridging, amplification, extension, and transformation. These organizations join together creating a new, stronger social movement organization.
Can you think of examples of different organizations with a similar goal that have banded together? In the amplification model, organizations seek to expand their core ideas to gain a wider, more universal appeal. By expanding their ideas to include a broader range, they can mobilize more people for their cause. For example, the Slow Food movement extends its arguments in support of local food to encompass reduced energy consumption and reduced pollution, plus reduced obesity from eating more healthfully, and other benefits. Transformation involves a complete revision of goals. Once a movement has succeeded, it risks losing relevance.
If it wants to remain active, the movement has to change with the transformation or risk becoming obsolete. In short, it is an evolution to the existing diagnostic or prognostic frames generally involving a total conversion of movement. Rather than being based on the grievances of particular groups striving to influence political outcomes or redistribute material resources, new social movements NSMs like the peace and disarmament, environmental, and feminist movements focus on goals of autonomy, identity, self-realization, and quality-of-life issues.
Moreover, the movements themselves are more flexible, diverse, shifting, and informal in participation and membership than the older social movements, often preferring to adopt nonhierarchical modes of organization and unconventional means of political engagement such as direct action. The dimensions of existence that were formally considered private e. However, as Melucci argues,. These are precisely the areas where individuals and groups lay claim to their autonomy, where they conduct their search for identity…and construct the meaning of what they are and what they do pp.
Collective behaviour and social movements are just two of the forces driving social change , which is the change in society created through social movements as well as external factors like environmental shifts or technological innovations. Essentially, any disruptive shift in the status quo, be it intentional or random, human-caused or natural, can lead to social change. Below are some of the likely causes. Changes to technology, social institutions, population, and the environment, alone or in some combination, create change.
We will focus on four agents of change recognized by social scientists: technology, social institutions, population, and the environment. Some would say that improving technology has made our lives easier. Imagine what your day would be like without the internet, the automobile, or electricity. In The World Is Flat , Thomas Friedman argues that technology is a driving force behind globalization, while the other forces of social change social institutions, population, environment play comparatively minor roles.
He suggests that we can view globalization as occurring in three distinct periods. First, globalization was driven by military expansion, powered by horsepower and windpower. The countries best able to take advantage of these power sources expanded the most, exerting control over the politics of the globe from the late 15th century to around the year The second shorter period, from approximately CE to CE, consisted of a globalizing economy. Steam and rail power were the guiding forces of social change and globalization in this period. Finally, Friedman brings us to the post-millennial era.
In this period of globalization, change is driven by technology, particularly the internet Friedman But also consider that technology can create change in the other three forces social scientists link to social change. Advances in medical technology allow otherwise infertile women to bear children, indirectly leading to an increase in population. Advances in agricultural technology have allowed us to genetically alter and patent food products, changing our environment in innumerable ways.
From the way we educate children in the classroom to the way we grow the food we eat, technology has impacted all aspects of modern life. Of course there are drawbacks. The increasing gap between the technological haves and have-nots——sometimes called the digital divide ——occurs both locally and globally. Further, there are added security risks: the loss of privacy, the risk of total system failure like the Y2K panic at the turn of the millennium , and the added vulnerability created by technological dependence.
Think about the technology that goes into keeping nuclear power plants running safely and securely. Each change in a single social institution leads to changes in all social institutions. For example, the industrialization of society meant that there was no longer a need for large families to produce enough manual labour to run a farm. Further, new job opportunities were in close proximity to urban centres where living space was at a premium. The result is that the average family size shrunk significantly.
This same shift toward industrial corporate entities also changed the way we view government involvement in the private sector, created the global economy, provided new political platforms, and even spurred new religions and new forms of religious worship like Scientology. It has also informed the way we educate our children: originally schools were set up to accommodate an agricultural calendar so children could be home to work the fields in the summer, and even today, teaching models are largely based on preparing students for industrial jobs, despite that being an outdated need.
As this example illustrates, a shift in one area, such as industrialization, means an interconnected impact across social institutions. Population composition is changing at every level of society. Births increase in one nation and decrease in another. Although non-Christians can be saved through the grace which God bestows in ways known only to himself,  the Church cannot overlook the fact that each person seeks to know the true face of God and to enjoy today the friendship of Jesus Christ, God-with-us. Adhering fully to Christ, the Truth, and becoming a member of his Church does not diminish human freedom, but rather enhances it and leads it to fulfilment through a selfless love and caring for the welfare of all people.
What a priceless gift it is to live in the universal embrace of God's friends, which comes from communion with the life-giving flesh and blood of his Son, to receive from him the certainty that our sins are forgiven and to live in the love which is born of faith! The Church desires that everyone should partake of these riches, so that they may have the fullness of truth and the means of salvation "to obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God" Rm The Church, who proclaims and transmits the faith, imitates God himself who communicates with humanity by giving his Son, who, in turn, pours out the Holy Spirit so that people can be reborn as children of God.
Evangelization and Church Renewal The Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself. She is "the community of believers, the community of hope lived and communicated, the community of brotherly love, and she needs to listen unceasingly to what she must believe, to her reasons for hoping, to the new commandment of love. She is the People of God immersed in the world and often tempted by idols, and she always needs to hear the proclamation of the 'mighty works of God', which converted her to the Lord; she always needs to be called together afresh by him and reunited.
In brief, this means that she has a constant need of being evangelized if she wishes to retain freshness, vigour and strength in order to proclaim the Gospel. Paul called 'blushing for the Gospel' — or as a result of false ideas we fail to preach it? Since her origin, the Church has had to deal with similar difficulties as well as the sinfulness of her members. The story of the disciples of Emmaus cf. Lk is emblematic of the fact that knowledge of Christ can fail. The two disciples from Emmaus speak of a dead man cf.
Lk and relate their disappointment and hopelessness. These disciples demonstrate the possibility for the Church in every age to be the bearer of a message that does not give life, but stops short in the death of the Christ who is proclaimed, in the announcers themselves, and, consequently, in the recipients of the announcement also.
John the Evangelist's account of the Apostles who were fishing cf. Jn Apart from Christ, the disciples' efforts are fruitless. Just as for the disciples of Emmaus, only when the Risen Christ manifests himself to them does their trust and the joy of proclaiming return as the fruits of the work of evangelization. Only in strongly attaching himself to Christ once again, is St. Peter, who had been called "fisher of men" Lk , able to successfully cast the nets, trusting in the Lord's words.
What is so painstakingly described in the beginning of the Church has sometimes reoccurred in her history. On many occasions, a weakening of fervour in one's relationship with Christ has adversely affected the calibre of the life of faith and the experience of participating in the Trinitarian life, which is bound to it.
For this reason, we cannot forget that the proclamation of the Gospel is primarily a spiritual matter. The need to transmit the faith, which is essentially an ecclesial, communal event and not singly or done alone, should not result from seeking effective communication strategies or in choosing a certain group of recipients — for example, young people — but must look to who is entrusted with this spiritual work. The Church must question herself in this matter. This allows the problem to be approached not in an extrinsic manner but from within, involving the entire life and being of the Church.
Many particular Churches request that the Synod determine whether the lack of effects in evangelization today, as well as in catechesis in modern times, is primarily the result of ecclesial and spiritual factors. This concerns the Church's ability to live as a real community, as a true brotherhood and as a Living Body and not simply a human establishment. In knowing how to maintain the fundamental spiritual character of evangelization, the Church can allow herself to be formed by the action of the Holy Spirit and be conformed to Christ Crucified, who reveals to the world the face of the love of God and communion with him.
In so doing, she can become more aware of her vocation as Ecclesia Mater by begetting children for the Lord in transmitting the faith and teaching a love which nurtures her children. At the same time, she fulfills her responsibility to proclaim and bear witness to this Revelation of God and gather her people scattered throughout the world, thereby fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy which the Church Fathers understood as addressed to her, "Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; hold not back, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities" Is , 3. The missionary mandate which the Church received from the Risen Lord cf. Mk has assumed new forms and methods over time, depending on the places and situations where it was realized and various moments in history. Even though proclaiming the Gospel in our day is much more complicated than in the past, the Church's task is one and the same as from the very beginning. Since the mission has not changed, it can be rightly said that we can make our own, even today, the enthusiasm and courage which characterized the Apostles and early disciples.
The Holy Spirit, who moved them to throw open the doors of the Cenacle and sent them forth as evangelizers cf.
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Acts 2: , is the same Spirit who guides the Church today and prompts a renewed proclamation of hope to the people of our time. The Second Vatican Council reminds us that "groups among which the Church dwells are often radically changed, for one reason or other, so that an entirely new set of circumstances may arise. This change, which has created an unexpected situation for believers, requires special attention in proclaiming the Gospel, if we are to render an account of our faith in the present situation which, unlike in the past, has a variety of new and important aspects.
The causes of the social changes which we have witnessed in recent decades are complex, tracing their origins far back in time and radically affecting our perception of the world. The positive aspects of these changes are visible to all and are seen as invaluable contributions which have permitted the development of human culture and increased knowledge in many fields. However, these changes have also caused many to take a critical look at values and some fundamental aspects of daily life which deeply affect people's faith.
In this regard, Pope Benedict XVI stated: "If on the one hand humanity has derived undeniable benefits from these changes, and the Church has drawn from them further incentives for bearing witness to the hope that is within her cf. Even though some consider these things a kind of liberation, there soon follows an awareness that an interior desert results, whenever the human being, wishing to be the sole architect of his nature and destiny, finds himself deprived of that which is the very foundation of all things.
This critical situation in society — and also in the Christian life — demands a response. At this special moment in history, the Church needs to see how to muster greater energy in rendering an account for the hope we share cf. The term "new evangelization" calls for a new manner of proclaiming the Gospel, especially for those who live in the present-day situation which is affected by the growing trend of secularization, taking place to a great extent in countries with a Christian tradition.
With this in mind, the idea of a new evangelization has come to term in the Church and has been implemented in a great variety of ways in an ongoing study up to now about its precise meaning. Initially, the new evangelization was primarily viewed as a necessity, then as a work of discernment and finally as an impetus for the Church in our times. The Question of a "New Evangelization" What is the "new evangelization? In its initial stage, the new evangelization responds to a demand that the Church have the courage to rise to the occasion in order to take bold steps in revitalizing her spiritual and missionary vocation.
Christian communities, affected by the strong social and cultural changes taking place, need once again to find the energy and means to ground themselves solidly in the presence of the Risen Christ, who animates them from within. They must allow themselves to be guided by his Spirit so that they can newly experience the gift of communion with the Father which is theirs in Jesus Christ, and, in turn, offer to others this same experience as the most precious gift that can be possessed.
In addressing the specific question — "what is the new evangelization? The same phenomenon is taking place in both the North and South and the East and West; in both countries with an age-old Christian tradition and countries which have been evangelized within the last few centuries. The result is a significant fragmentation of cultural unity and a culture's inability to hold fast to the faith and live the values inspired by it.
The effects of such a negative environment on experiencing the faith and on the various forms of ecclesial life are generally described in the same manner in all the responses, namely, a weakening of faith in Christian communities, a diminished regard for the authority of the magisterium, an individualistic approach to belonging to the Church, a decline in religious practice and a disengagement in transmitting the faith to new generations.
These effects, found in almost every bishops' conference response, indicate that the whole Church cannot overlook this cultural climate. In this regard, the new evangelization takes the form of an appeal, a question which the Church raises about herself, so that she might muster her spiritual energy and be determined in this new cultural setting to take a clear and active role by acknowledging whatever is good in these new areas, while giving renewed vitality to her faith and her duty to evangelize.
The adjective "new" refers to a cultural situation which has changed and the need for the Church, with renewed energy, determination, resourcefulness and newness, to look at the way she lives and transmits the faith. The responses indicate that this appeal has been taken to heart in a variety of ways in many areas of the Church, but not without a certain concern. They seem to show that many Christian communities have not fully perceived the challenge and the magnitude of the crisis generated by this cultural environment, even within the Church.
In this regard, synodal discussion can assist in raising, in a timely, in-depth manner, an awareness of the seriousness of the challenges we are facing. Furthermore, the Synod can also take up the phenomenon of secularization, assessing both its positive  and negative influences on Christianity and the challenges it poses for the Christian faith. Not all indications, however, are negative.
Indeed, efforts taking place in many Churches towards renewal are a sign of hope and a gift of the Holy Spirit. These Christian communities, most often religious groups and ecclesial movements, and in some cases, theological and cultural institutions, demonstrate by their activities, the real possibility of living the Christian faith through the proclamation of the Gospel, even within this cultural setting. Among these experiences, the particular Churches note, with gratitude and concern, the many young people who contribute a certain newness and enthusiasm to these groups.
In acknowledging their many gifts, these same Churches are working to ensure that these gifts are extended throughout the Christian population, and attentively are following their duty of nurturing this experience, from a relatively early age, and, at the same time, highlighting both its strong points and its limitations.
T he Sectors of the New Evangelization. The duty of the new evangelization compels the Church to examine the way Christian communities both live and bear witness to the faith today.
In doing so, the new evangelization now becomes discernment or the ability to read and decipher the new sectors which have emerged in human history in the last decade, so that, in turn, they might be turned into places for proclaiming the Gospel and experiencing the Church. Once again, the magisterium of Pope John Paul II has shown the way by first providing a description of the sectors of the new evangelization,  which were used in composing the Lineamenta and were further discussed and substantiated in the responses.
These sectors include cultures, society, economics, civic life and religion. Given its importance, the cultural sector was seen as a priority. Broadly treated in the preceding paragraphs, the cultural sector was mentioned in many responses as the place where secularizing trends are taking place at a rapid pace. Prevalent in a particular way in the West, secularization is the result of certain social and philosophical happenings and movements, which have had a profound effect on its history and identity.
Secularization is wrongly perceived in our cultures today as a sign of liberation and the capability of envisaging life in this world, and human life in general, without any reference to the transcendent. In recent years, secularization has not assumed the form of publically or directly speaking out against God, religion and Christianity, despite the fact that, in some instances, it can oftentimes have an anti-Christian, anti-religious and anti-clerical tone, even in these times. Many responses indicate that the rather subdued tone in secularization has allowed this cultural form to invade people's daily lives to the point that some have developed a mentality in which God is effectively absent, in whole or in part, and his very existence dependent on human consciousness.
This subdued tone, which gives secularization its charm and seductive character, has also enabled it to enter the lives of Christians and Church communities, becoming not just an external threat to believers, but one inherent to everyday life. Traces of a secular understanding of life are seen in the habitual behavior of many Christians. The "death of God" proclaimed by many intellectuals in recent decades has given way to an unproductive, hedonistic and consumer mentality, which leads to a highly superficial manner in facing life and responsibility.
In this way, faith runs the real risk of losing its fundamental elements. The influence of secularization in daily life makes it increasingly difficult to affirm the existence of truth, which, realistically speaking, eliminates the question of God from a person's examination of self. To respond to religious needs, persons revert to individualistic forms of spirituality or forms of neo-paganism to the point of forcibly spreading a general climate of relativism.
These dangers, however, must not overshadow the positive things which Christianity has learned from secularization. The saeculum is where believers and non-believers interact and share in a common humanity. This human element is the natural point for faith to enter and, consequently, can become the privileged place for evangelization. In the fully human nature of Jesus of Nazareth dwells the fullness of the deity cf.
Col Purifying the human through the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth, Christians can create an encounter with people who exhibit a secularized mentality but continue to question what is really and truly human. Encountering these people in search of truth can help Christians purify and develop their faith. The inner struggle of people in search of truth, though not yet possessing the gift of faith, is a real incentive for us in our duty to live and witness to the faith, so that the true face of God can be seen by every person.
In this regard, the responses showed great interest in the initiative of the "Courtyard of the Gentiles". The initial sector of culture is followed by the social sector and the treatment of the phenomenon of the great migration which is causing an increasing number of people to leave their country of origin to live in urban settings, resulting in a meeting and mixing of cultures and contributing to the erosion of basic reference points to life, values and the very bonds through which people build their identity and come to know the meaning of life. Joined to the spread of secularization, this process causes a situation of extreme cultural liquidity, which increasingly leaves less room for long-standing traditions, including religious ones.
Linked to this sector is the social phenomenon called "globalization", a not-too-easily-understood reality which requires an intense work of discernment by the Christian. At times, this phenomenon carries a negative connotation, when it is seen as inevitable and linked to the economy and production. However, it can also be viewed as a time of growth, in which humanity can learn to develop new forms of solidarity and new ways of sharing development for the good of all.
The responses to the Lineamenta refer to a third sector, associated with the subject of migration, which is becoming more and more incisive in society: the economy. In great part a direct cause of migration, the economy is highlighted for the tensions and forms of violence related to it, and the inequality it causes within and among nations. Many responses, not simply those from developing countries, decried a clear and decisive increase in the separation between the rich and the poor. On innumerable occasions, papal magisterium has denounced the growing imbalance between the North and South in the access to and distribution of resources, as well as the damage done to creation.
Today's continuing economic crisis is characterized by the problem of the use of both human and natural resources. Particular Churches are invited to live the evangelical ideal of poverty and are expected to do still more in terms of awareness and concrete activity, even if the media does not give sufficient coverage to them.
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The fourth sector is civic life. From the time of the Second Vatican Council to the present, the changes which have occurred in this sector can rightly be called momentous. The division of the western world into two blocks ended with the fall of the Communist ideology, leading to religious freedom and the possibility of reorganizing the Churches of ancient origin.
The emergence on the world stage of new economic, political and religious actors from the Islamic and Asian worlds has created an entirely new and unknown situation, rich in potential, but fraught with dangers and new temptations for dominion and power. Many responses have highlighted a variety of urgent situations in this sector, namely, a commitment to peace; the development and liberation of peoples; better international regulation and interaction of national governments; the search for possible areas of listening, coexistence, dialogue and collaboration between different cultures and religions; the defence of human rights and peoples, especially minorities; the promotion of the most vulnerable; and the integrity of creation and a commitment to the future of our planet.
Various particular Churches are engaged in dealing with these issues, which are being diligently pursued and fostered in the daily life of our communities. The fifth sector is scientific research and technology. We live in an age that still marvels at the wonders of the continuing achievements which result from research in these fields. Each day, we have the possibility of experiencing the benefits of these advances and are increasingly becoming dependent upon them.
Inherent in the many positive aspects is the danger of excessive expectations and manipulation. Today, science and technology run the risk of becoming the new idols of the present. In a digitalized and globalized world, science can easily become "our new religion". New forms of gnosis are arising which make technology a form of wisdom where an almost magical approach to life leads to concepts of "knowing" and "meaning", as witnessed in the rise of new cults, which exploit the religious practices of healing, readily followed by people, and are structured as religions promising prosperity and instant gratification.
The New Frontier of the Communications' Sector. The Lineamenta responses also made note of communications , the sixth sector, which provide great opportunities today and, at the same time, represent a major challenge for the Church. Initially, communications was a characteristic of the industrialized world only. However, in today's globalized world, this sector also affects a vast number of developing countries. Every place on the globe, bar none, can be reached by communications, and is therefore subject to the influence of the electronic and media culture.
These media are fast becoming the "forum" of civic life and social experience, which is sufficiently illustrated in the widespread use of the internet. The responses refer to the generally-held belief that, today, the new digital technologies have given rise to an entirely new social space where the connections created have the potential of influencing society and culture. The media process, resulting from these technologies, is having an impact on people's lives and is changing reality itself by incisively entering into people's experiences and widening human potential.
Our perception of self, others and the world are influenced by them. Communication technologies and the space created by them must therefore be viewed positively, without prejudice, as a resource which requires a discerning eye and a wise and responsible employment. The Church is engaged in these areas created by the media and has, from the very beginning, utilized these means as a useful way to proclaim the Gospel.
Today, in addition to the more traditional means of communication, especially the printed word and radio, which, according to the responses, have moderately increased in recent years, new media are increasingly becoming a major factor in the Church's ministry of evangelization, making interaction possible at various levels: local, national, continental and global. The potential for using both old and new media is clear, as is the need to take advantage of this newly created social space and introduce the vocabulary and forms of the Christian tradition.
An attentive and shared discernment process is needed not only to better assess the possibilities of their use in proclaiming the Gospel, but also to understand properly the risks and dangers involved. Indeed, the spread of the culture created by communications undoubtedly brings many benefits.
Among them are: a greater access to information; more opportunities for knowledge and dialogue; new forms of solidarity; and the ability to foster an increasingly global culture which leads to a shared heritage of values and the better development of thought and human activity. This potential, however, does not eliminate the dangers inherent in the excessive diffusion of such a culture. Their effects are already being manifested in a deeply, self-centred attentiveness to individual needs only, and an exaltation of emotion in relationships and social ties, thus leading to a diminution and loss of the objective value of deeply human experiences, such as meditation and silence.
It equally is leading to an excess in holding to one's individual thinking and a gradual reduction of ethics and civic life to appearance only. These dangers might eventually result in a so-called culture which is short-lived, immediately gratifying and based on mere appearance or a society incapable of looking to either the past or the future.
In such a situation, Christians must be bold in entering these "new areopaghi", learning to evaluate them in light of the Gospel and finding the instruments and methods to ensure that, even in these places, the educational patrimony and the wisdom guarded by Christian Tradition is heard today. Changes in the Religious Sector. By necessity, the changes treated up to this point influence the way people express their sense of religion. The Lineamenta responses recommended adding religion as a seventh sector, thereby providing the means to more thoroughly understand, in many different cultures, the return of a religious sense and the need for various forms of spirituality, especially among the young.
Even though the present process of secularization is leading to a weakened sense of the spiritual in many persons and an emptiness of heart, many regions of the world are showing signs of a significant religious revival. This phenomenon has an impact on the Catholic Church herself in providing resources and opportunities for evangelization which were not present a few decades ago. The responses to the Lineamenta gave particular attention to this growing phenomenon, acknowledging both its complex character and undoubtedly positive aspects.
In fact, the situation provides the opportunity to restore an element which is part of the human identity, namely religion, thereby going beyond the limitations and impoverishment of an idea of a person viewed only from a horizontal perspective. This phenomenon fosters religious experience and re-establishes its centrality in people's minds, in history, and in the meaning of life itself and the search for truth.
Many responses, however, have voiced a concern about the naive and emotional character of this return to a sense of religion. Instead of being a gradual and complex development in a person's search for truth, the return to religion, in many cases, has not been a very liberating experience. Consequently, the positive aspects of rediscovering God and the sacred are viewed as impoverished and obscured by a fundamentalism which frequently manipulates religion to justify acts of violence and, in extreme but fortunately limited cases, even terrorism.
According to the responses, this is the framework for treating the pressing problem of the proliferation of new religious groups which can be likened to sects. In this regard, they repeatedly cite the contention in the Lineamenta that these groups exercise an emotional and psychological dominance and promote a religion promising prosperity and success in life.
At the same time, some responses state that the situation needs to be carefully watched so that Christian communities will not allow themselves to be influenced by these new forms of religious experience and give in to the temptation to imitate their aggressive, proselytizing methods, instead of following the Christian approach to proclaiming the Gospel. On the other hand, the responses insist that Christian communities need to approach proclaiming the Gospel and providing pastoral care in the faith in such a way that the presence of these religious groups could serve as a means for these Christian communities to become more zealous and prepared to work towards giving individuals a sense of meaning in their lives.
This situation gives even greater meaning to the Church's encounters and dialogue with the great religious traditions which have grown over the decades and continue to intensify. These encounters are a promising opportunity to better perceive the complexity of the vocabulary and forms of the element of religion in humanity as seen in other religious experiences.
Such encounters and dialogue also allow Catholics better to understand the ways in which the Christian faith expresses the religious nature of the human soul. At the same time, they enrich the religious heritage of humanity with the unique character of the Christian faith. Christians Within These Sectors. The responses understood the sectors for what they are: signs of actual change which were seen as the context for the development of our religious experiences.
Precisely for this reason, the changes in these sectors need to be taken up and purified, through a process of discernment, in their encountering and experiencing the Christian faith. Examining these sectors permits a critical reading of the way of life, the thinking and the discourses which they espouse and can serve as a self-examination which Christians are called upon to do, to see if the manner of life and the pastoral activity of Christian communities are, in fact, suited to the task and avoiding inactivity by attentively considering the future.
Many particular Churches expect the Synod to be an opportune time to continue this discernment. Various responses to the Lineamenta have attempted to identify the reasons for the decline in Christian practice by many of the Church's faithful, a true "silent apostasy", which would leave the Church in a position of not being able to respond adequately and convincingly to the challenges described in these sectors. In this regard, they recount a weakening in the faith of believers, a lack of personal involvement and experience in the transmission of the faith and insufficient spiritual guidance for the faithful in the process of their formative, intellectual and professional training.
Many lament the excessive bureaucratic character of ecclesiastical structures, perceived as far removed from the average person and his everyday concerns, which causes a reduction in the dynamism of ecclesial communities, the loss of enthusiasm at its roots and a decline in missionary zeal. Some responses complained of the excessively formal character of liturgical celebrations, an almost routine celebration of rituals and the lack of a deep spiritual experience, which turn people away instead of attracting them.
Despite the counter-witness of some of the Church's members unfaithfulness in one's vocation, scandals, little sensitivity to the problems of everyday people and the world today , we are not to underestimate the " mysterium iniquitatis " 2 Thess , the war which the Dragon waged on the rest of the offspring of the Woman, on "those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus" Rev An objective evaluation of the situation must always consider the mystery of human freedom, a gift from God, which a person is free to use, even in a mistaken way, to rebel against God and to turn his back on the Church.
The new evangelization should seek to orientate every man and woman's human freedom towards God, who is the source of truth, goodness and beauty. Renewal in faith should help people overcome the previously mentioned obstacles to an authentic Christian life which is patterned according to the will of God, as expressed in the commandment to love God and neighbor cf. In addition to mentioning some negative aspects, the responses to the Lineamenta also highlighted how the Christian experience has undoubtedly benefited from the emergence of these sectors.
For example, many responses speak of the positive effects of the continuing migration process in the meeting and exchange of gifts among the particular Churches and in the ability to draw energy and vitality from the Christian faith of immigrant communities. Through contact with non-Christians, Christian communities have been able to learn that mission is no longer a North-South or East-West movement. Therefore, we need to go beyond the present geographic confines; mission, today, extends to all five continents.
We must recognize that even in traditionally Christian countries, there are sectors and areas foreign to the faith, because in them people have never encountered the faith and not simply as a result of drifting from the Church. Going beyond continental borders means having the energy to raise the question of God in every step of the process of encountering, interchanging and reconstructing social relations which are taking place everywhere. The Synod could be a place for a fruitful exchange of these experiences.
The economic sector, with its changes, has also been seen as a favourable place in witnessing to our faith. Many responses described the efforts of many Christian communities on behalf of the poor, an activity which can boast of ancient origins and a fruitfulness which is still very promising.
In today's serious, widespread economic crisis, many responses have mentioned an increase in charitable activity by Christian communities through the establishment of additional institutions dedicated to supporting the poor, and programmes within particular Churches to develop a greater awareness of charitable work. Many responses wanted the works of charity to be given greater prominence as an instrument of the new evangelization. The dedication and solidarity of many Christian communities towards the poor, the charitable works in which they are engaged and the simplicity of their life-style in a world which places great emphasis on buying and having, are a particularly beneficial means in proclaiming the Gospel and witnessing to our faith.
The religious sector had particular resonance in the Church. The responses to the Lineamenta first mentioned ecumenical dialogue , repeatedly emphasizing how these various changes have fostered the development of major ecumenical endeavours. Realistically speaking, they also recounted difficult times and tense moments which are being addressed with patience and determination. The new situations taking place within the various sectors, where we as Christians are called to live out our faith and proclaim the Gospel, have revealed the necessity for a real unity among Christians, which is not to be seen merely as cordial relations or cooperation in some joint-project, but rather as the desire to let ourselves be transformed by the Spirit, so that we may increasingly be conformed to the image of Christ.
This unity is essentially spiritual in nature and must be prayed for, even before it is actually realized. If this ecumenical aspect is to be a part of the conversion and renewal of the Church's members, which is called for by the current crisis, efforts must continue to be made, in a convincing way, to see all Christians as united in showing the world the prophetic and transforming power of the Gospel message. This is an imposing task which can only be met in a communal effort, guided by the Spirit of the Risen Christ, who left us a mandate in his prayer: "That they may all be one" Jn Secondly, the religious sector concerns interreligious dialogue, which, in a variety of ways, is a necessity today throughout the world.
Interreligious dialogue has already had some positive results. The countries of an ancient Christian tradition see in the expanding presence of the great religions, particularly Islam, an incentive to develop new forms of involvement, visibility and proposing the Christian faith. Generally speaking, interreligious dialogue and discussion with the great religions of the East can be an opportunity for our Christian communities to deepen their understanding of our faith, in virtue of the questions that such a discussion raise in us, questions about the course of human history and God's presence in it.
Interreligious dialogue also provides an occasion to refine the instruments of dialogue and the places of collaboration in developing peace in an increasingly human society. The responses describe a very different situation in those places where the Church is in the minority.
In those cases where Churches are free to profess their faith and live their religion, minority status is seen as an opportunity to give Christianity greater visibility, to seek avenues of involvement in the world and to work to bring about change. However, where persecution is part of the minority status, evangelization is more closely aligned to what Jesus experienced in his being faithful, even to the cross. Such a situation reveals the bond existing between evangelization and the cross. These Churches bear witness to this close association as a gift to the entire Church, a fact which these Churches should not overlook themselves.
These Churches rightly serve as a reminder that evangelization cannot be measured in quantitative terms of success. The renewal to which we are called is greatly assisted by the Eastern Catholic Churches and those Christian communities which, either in the past or in the present, are hidden, marginalized, persecuted and experiencing intolerance of an ethnic, ideological or religious nature. Their faith-witness, perseverance, resiliency, enduring hope and the intuitive character of certain pastoral practices are a gift to be shared with those Christian communities which, having had a glorious past, are now showing signs of weariness and a dispersion of energy.
Churches unaccustomed to practicing the faith in a minority situation can certainly benefit from hearing experiences which can instill the necessary courage required in the work of a new evangelization. Even more spiritual benefits can come from welcoming those who are forced to leave their homelands because of persecution and who bear in their spirit the untold richness of the signs of martyrdom which they have personally experienced. Mission ad gentes , Pastoral Care and a New Evangelization.
Discernment for a new evangelization clearly acknowledges the profound change which is presently taking place in the Church's evangelizing mission. At present, these terms seem overly simplified and referring to outdated situations; they fail to provide useful models for Christian communities today. Pope John Paul II observed: "The boundaries between pastoral care of the faithful, new evangelization and specific missionary activity are not clearly definable, and it is unthinkable to create barriers between them or to put them into watertight compartments.
Hence missionary activity ad intra is a credible sign and a stimulus for missionary activity ad extra , and vice versa. Despite varying emphasis and factors related to cultures and history, the responses to the Lineamenta well understood the different nature of the new evangelization. They see it not as simply replacing older forms of pastoral activity the first evangelization, pastoral care with newer forms, but rather as initiating a process of renewal in the Church's fundamental mission.
Questioning herself on how to evangelize today, the Church does not exclude examining herself and the quality of evangelization in her communities. The new evangelization is the duty of everyone in the Church individuals, communities, parishes, dioceses, bishops' conferences, movements, groups and other ecclesial realities as well as religious and consecrated persons to examine the Church's life and pastoral activity by closely considering, according to the Gospel, the calibre of one's life of faith and the ability to be actively involved in proclaiming the Gospel.
According to the various responses, this examination resulted in three basic requirements: 1 the ability to discern or a capacity to place oneself within the present circumstances, unwavering in the conviction that, within this context, the Gospel can still be proclaimed and the Christian faith lived; 2 the ability to live forms of fundamental and authentic adhesion to the Christian faith, whose simple character can already serve as a witness to the transforming power of God in our history; and 3 a clear and visible bond with the Church, capable of making her missionary and apostolic character perceptible.
These requirements are submitted to the consideration of the Synod Assembly in the hope that, through its deliberations, the Church might receive assistance in following the path of conversion called for by the new evangelization. Many particular Churches, at the time they received the text of the Lineamenta , were already engaged in examining and re-planning their pastoral programmes based on these requirements.
Some used the term "missionary renewal" to describe their work; others "a pastoral programme of conversion". All were in strong agreement that the heart of the new evangelization is the Church's renewed commitment to her missionary mandate, given by the Lord Jesus Christ, who willed her and sent her into the world, so that she might be guided by the Holy Spirit in bearing witness to the salvation she has received and in proclaiming the face of God the Father, who took the initial step in this work of salvation. Pa rish Transformation and the New Evangelization Many responses describe a Church strongly engaged in the work of transformation by being present among people and within society.
The younger Churches are working to enliven parishes which are oftentimes extensive, animating them internally through a programme, depending on geographic and ecclesial contexts, called "Basic Christian Communities" or "Small Christian Communities". Their stated purpose is to foster a Christian life which is better capable of sustaining the faith of their members and illuminating, through their witness, various areas of society, particularly in large, sprawling cities.
The older, more-established Churches are reviewing their parish programmes which are being administered with increased difficulty as a result of a decrease in the number of the clergy and a decline in Christian practice. They are seeking to avoid the danger that their work become merely bureaucratic and administrative and lead to undesired effects, namely that particular Churches, already too busy with operational problems, might, in the end, become exclusively concerned with themselves. In this regard, many responses refer to the idea of a "pastoral unity" as a means of combining a parish renewal programme with a cooperative endeavour among other parishes, so as to create a more community-minded particular Church.
The new evangelization is a call to the Church to rediscover her missionary origins. According to many responses, the new evangelization can devote work in this area to leading Christian communities to be less concentrated on themselves inwardly in the midst of the changes already taking place and more engaged in proclaiming the faith to others. In this regard, much is expected from parishes that are seen as an entryway, open to everyone in every place on the globe, to the Christian faith and an experience of the Church. In addition to their being the place for ordinary pastoral life, liturgical celebrations, the dispensation of the sacraments, catechesis and the catechumenate, parishes have the responsibility to become real centres for propagating and bearing witness to the Christian experience and places for attentively listening to people and ascertaining their needs.
Parishes are places where a person receives instruction on searching for the truth, where faith is nourished and strengthened and where the Christian message and God's plan for humanity and the world is communicated. They are the prime communities for experiencing the joy that comes from being not only gathered together by the Spirit but prepared to live one's proper vocation as a missionary. In this regard, the Church has many resources at her service. The responses agree that the first resource is the great number of baptized lay people who are engaged in and decisively continue their voluntary service of building up the parish community.
Many responses refer to the flowering of the vocation of the laity as one of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council and list other resources, namely, communities of consecrated life; various ecclesial groups and movements which, through their fervour, their energy and, above all, their faith, give a strong impetus to renewal in ecclesial settings; and the many devotional shrine-centres, which, in particular Churches, serve to call people to the faith. In recounting these obvious hope-filled signs, the responses to the Lineamenta indicate that the path taken is a slow but effective work of reforming our manner of "being Church" among people and avoiding the pitfalls of sectarianism and a "civil religion", all the while retaining the form of a missionary Church.
In other words, the Church must not lose her image of being a Church near to people and their families. Even where the Church is in the minority or the victim of discrimination, she must not lose her prerogative of remaining close to people in their everyday lives and, in that very place, announcing the life-giving message of the Gospel.
Pope John Paul II stated that the new evangelization means to remake the Christian fabric of human society and the fabric of the Christian communities. It means assisting the Church to continue to be present "in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters,"  so as to animate their lives and direct them to the Kingdom that is to come. Separate consideration is given to the question of the lack of priests. All the responses voiced concern about the insufficient number of priests, which negatively affects a calm, effective exercise of the manner of "being Church".
Some responses made a detailed analysis of the problem, treating this crisis alongside that of marriage and Christian families. Many mentioned the need to envision a more integrated organization of the local Church, involving lay people along with priests in the animation of the community. These responses mentioned that synod discussion could bring clarity to the matter and result in prospects for the future. Almost all the responses call for the whole Church to engage in a strong pastoral programme on behalf of priestly vocations, which begins in prayer and calls upon all priests and clerical religious to live in such a way as to bear witness to the attractiveness of their vocation and to seek ways of speaking to young people.
The same applies to vocations to the consecrated life, especially those for women. In view of the new evangelization, some responses also stressed the importance of an adequate formation programme not only in seminaries and novitiates but also in academic institutions. A Definition and Its Meaning The convocation of the Synod and the subsequent establishment of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization provide still another step in refining the meaning of the term "new evangelization".
Addressing the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI specified its content: "Making my own the concerns of my venerable Predecessors, I consider it opportune to offer appropriate responses so that the entire Church, allowing herself to be regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, may present herself to the contemporary world with a missionary impulse in order to promote the new evangelization.
Above all, this pertains to Churches of ancient origin. In a wider sense, it is used to describe ordinary pastoral work, while the phrase 'new evangelization' designates pastoral outreach to those who no longer practice the Christian faith. Consequently, these texts indicate the geographic area for the new evangelization, though not exclusively, as primarily the Christian West and identify the persons to whom it is directed, namely, the baptized in our communities who are experiencing a new existential and cultural situation, which, in fact, has imperilled their faith and their witness.
The new evangelization consists in viewing real-life situations, areas of living and pastoral activity in such a way as to allow these people to leave the "interior desert", an image used by Pope Benedict XVI to represent the current human condition which is caught in a world that has virtually eliminated from view any question of God. The specific task of the new evangelization is having the courage to raise again the question of God in these places and situations and to restore a high quality and motivation to the faith in many of our Churches of ancient origins. This definition, however, serves as an example and is not intended to be exclusive.
In other words, the West is one of many places of the new evangelization and is not the only place for its activity. The definition allows us to understand the extensive work of the new evangelization, which cannot be reduced simply to updating certain pastoral practices, but, instead, demands the development of a very serious, thorough examination and understanding of the root causes of the situation in the Christian West.
The urgent nature of the new evangelization, therefore, is not limited to the above situation only. Pope Benedict XVI stated: "In Africa too, situations demanding a new presentation of the Gospel, 'new in its ardour, methods and expression', are not rare. Guided by the Spirit of the risen Lord, they are called to live the Good News as individuals, in their families and in society, and to proclaim it with fresh zeal to persons near and far, using the new methods that divine Providence has placed at our disposal for its spread.
The new evangelization is also the name given to a spiritual reawakening and the reanimation of a process of conversion which the Church asks of herself, all her communities and all the baptized. Consequently, this reality is not the concern of well-defined regions only, but the means to explain everywhere the teaching of the Apostles and put those teachings into practice in our day. Through the new evangelization, the Church seeks to insert the very original and specific character of her teachings into today's world and everyday discussion.
She wants to be the place where God can be experienced even now, and where, under the guidance of the Spirit of the Risen Christ, we allow ourselves to be transformed by the gift of faith. The Gospel is always a new proclamation of salvation, accomplished by Jesus Christ, to make every human life share in the mystery of God and his life of love, thereby opening human life to a future of hope, which is inspiring and trustworthy. Emphasizing the Church's call to undertake a new evangelization at this moment in history means intensifying the Church's missionary activity so as to respond fully to the Lord's mandate.
No area in the Church is outside the parameters of this programme; nor should anyone feel exempt. The Churches of a long Christian tradition, above all, have to deal with the practical problem that many have abandoned the faith. To a lesser extent, the same problem also exists in younger Churches, especially in large cities and some heavily influenced areas of society and cultures.
The great social and cultural challenges presently being created by rapidly expanding urban centres, especially in developing countries, are certainly fertile ground for the new evangelization. Consequently, the new evangelization also concerns the younger Churches. Their work of inculturation demands continual examination so that the Gospel, which purifies and elevates culture, can be introduced into cultural settings and, in a particular way, open them to its newness. Generally speaking, all Christian communities need a new evangelization simply by being engaged in a pastoral ministry which seems increasingly difficult to exercise and which is in danger of becoming a routine matter, and thus little able to communicate its original intent.
And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved" Acts , As stated in the topic for the synod, the purpose of the new evangelization is the transmission of the faith. The Second Vatican Council recalls the complex nature of this process which fully involves the Christian faith and life of the Church in an experience of God's revelation: "In his gracious goodness, God has seen to it that what he had revealed for the salvation of all nations would abide perpetually in its full integrity and be handed on to all generations.
Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers cf. Acts , so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. The Acts of the Apostles illustrates that a person cannot convey what is not believed or lived. The Gospel cannot be transmitted in a life which is not modelled after the Gospel or a life which does not find its meaning, truth and future based on the Gospel.
Like the Apostles, we, even today, have access to a life of communion with the Father, in Jesus Christ, through his Spirit who transforms us and equips us to not only transmit the faith which we live but also elicit a response in those whom the Spirit has already prepared with his presence and action cf. A fruitful proclamation of the Word of the Gospel calls for profound communion among God's children which is a distinguishing sign accompanying proclamation, as St.
John the Apostle recalls: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.