Transmission of Faith Handed Down by Apostles

In 06 Conclusion on 2012/06/05 at 11:11 AM

This is an excerpt from John Paul II address to the Canadian bishops in 1999.

” Perhaps there is nothing more urgent in your pastoral ministry, nothing for which you are more responsible before the Lord, than to ensure the transmission of the faith handed down to us by the Apostles.

6. To teach the faith and to evangelize is to speak an absolute and universal truth to the world; but it is our duty to speak in appropriate and meaningful ways which make people receptive to that truth. In considering what this entails, Paul VI specified four qualities, which he calls perspicuitas, lenitas, fiducia, prudentia – clarity, humanity, confidence and prudence (Ecclesiam suam, n. 81).
To speak with clarity means that we must explain comprehensibly the truth of Revelation and the Church’s teachings. We should not simply repeat but explain. In other words, we need a new apologetic, geared to the needs of today, which keeps in mind that our task is not just to win arguments but to win souls, to engage not in ideological bickering but to vindicate and promote the Gospel. Such an apologetic will need to find a common “grammar” with those who see things differently and do not share our assumptions, lest we end up speaking different languages even though we may be using the same tongue.

This new apologetic will also need to breathe a spirit of humanity, that compassionate humility which understands people’s anxieties and questions and which is not quick to presume in them ill will or bad faith. At the same time, it will not yield to a sentimental sense of the love and compassion of Christ sundered from the truth, but will insist instead that true love and compassion can make radical demands, precisely because they are inseparable from the truth which alone sets us free (cf. Jn 8: 32).

To speak with confidence will mean that, however much others may deny us any specific competence or reproach us for the failings of the Church’s members, we must never lose sight of the fact that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth for which all people long, no matter how distant, resistant or hostile they may seem.”



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