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A Good Evangelizer Must Be United to God

Cardinal Ouellet Offers Reflections at Plenary Assembly of the European Bishops

By Anita Bourdin

ROME, OCT. 2, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The quality of the evangelizers depends on the quality of the evangelizer's union with God, says Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

The cardinal said this on the third day of the Plenary Assembly of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE), which was held at Saint Gallen, Switzerland, from September 27-30.

From a press meeting on Saturday, Sept. 29, which was attended by ZENIT, the following are some of the questions and answers.

--Q: In your homily you spoke of a Europe touched by a crisis of hope. What role can this Continent play in recovering values not only for Europe but also for the world? Does Europe still have a role to play? If so, which one?

--Cardinal Ouellet: Europe is the bearer of Christian civilization, the matrix of it: it will always have the responsibility of continuing to witness the roots of its identity, as a continent configured by the gift of Christ and of the Church. And in this regard, the presence and effort of the Church at this time is to help European countries to not lose the awareness of Europe's universal mission as bearer of this message of the Gospel and of the wisdom it has contributed on the dignity of the person and human rights. It seems to me that it has a mission and awareness that must be maintained. That is why the Church also tries to help politicians and those who make economic decisions for the future. To help them from her perspective of faith to support the effort for the common good and for Europe's universal mission.

--Q: As prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, what is your first concern in regard to Europe?

--Cardinal Ouellet: It's urgent to educate. When the sense of family is lost, when there are ethical debates on the nature of marriage, one wonders how parents and schools transmit the Christian heritage to the new generations; it's a profound concern. Because underneath the economic and financial crisis, there is a crisis of the vision of man, as this Assembly has stressed. The Church tries to attract attention to what is at stake.

If the image of man himself, created in the image of God, which is the basis of Christian education, is lost, then we no longer have models, and this implies or supposes grave consequences for young people: ideals, references, models of person are lacking.

It's a great worry and that is why my Congregation is concerned with helping the Church to choose men of faith who have a clear vision of biblical anthropology, which the Church must proclaim and propose to today's world.

Europe at present is a place of great battle over the concept of man, of anthropology. And it is hoped that Christian anthropology, which has developed in the European context, will also be maintained in this battle, especially on ethical issues. And thus, the other continents will be able to continue to receive from Europe what they have always received from it.

--Q: Is the New Evangelization an answer of the Church to this European crisis? In what sense?

--Cardinal Ouellet: Certainly. In his message the Holy Father stressed the proximity of this assembly with the Synod on the New Evangelization. We need to root the ethical debates on the foundation, namely, on Christ.

When there is talk of New Evangelization, there is talk in principle of an encounter, of an encounter with Christ, of personal experience of Christ. If this experience is no longer alive, then all questions become complicated, because it is really the foundation and it is above all, I believe, what the Synod will accentuate: the proclamation of the apostolic kerigma as a foundation which is often taken as acquired, but to which one must return as a timely word to be pronounced again and actualized to see its coherence; also with all I said earlier about anthropology and ethical issues.

I think the Synod on the New Evangelization will gather us around the source of the personal encounter and also, I would say, not only because of the concern for the faith of those who have estranged themselves, but because of the concern for our own faith - for our own faith --, because it can also be more or less alive.

The quality of the evangelizer depends on the quality of his union with God. I hope that this forthcoming Synod will be an intense time of Pentecost, namely, an effusion of the Holy Spirit who is the only one who can revive in us the audacity, purity, profundity of the faith and the courage for its proclamation.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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