Recently, at the invitation of Vatican officials, our Priests for Life team prepared some input for next year’s Synod of Bishops on the topic of the New Evangelization.
Every few years, representatives of bishops’ conferences from around the world gather for several weeks of deliberations in Rome concerning one or another aspect of the Church’s work. In order to guide their deliberations, a working document is prepared, and the input of the entire Church is sought.
The topic of the “New Evangelization” is one about which Blessed John Paul II spoke often. It refers to a new fervor in proclaiming the unchanging gospel, especially in places where, the gospel having once been proclaimed and accepted, there are powerful forces of secularization that cause people to forget God.
In forgetting the Creator, moreover, as the Second Vatican Council taught, the creature becomes unintelligible. As Pope Benedict pointed out recently in creating a new office at the Vatican for promoting the New Evangelization,
“… [T]here has been a troubling loss of the sense of the sacred, which has even called into question foundations once deemed unshakeable such as … a common understanding of basic human experiences: i.e., birth, death, life in a family, and reference to a natural moral law.” (Decree Ubicumque et Semper, Sept. 21, 2010).
By far the most destructive and offensive manifestation of this obscuring of the meaning of birth, life, and death is abortion. Therefore our Priests for Life team compiled reflections on how the pro-life mission of the Church intersects with the New Evangelization.
One of the contributors to these reflections was my friend, Rev. John Ensor, and he pointed out that Satan has always used child-killing to try to slow or stop the advance of the Gospel of Christ.
The attempt is seen in Egypt (see Exodus 1), when mass child-killing is used to try to snuff out the life and work of Moses.
Then, as God’s people live in the Promised Land, Satan allures them into mingling with the surrounding nations in practices of idolatry, including the sacrifice of their sons and daughters to demons in the fire (see Psalm 106:37-38). This practice leads to the exile.
History moves on to the Incarnation, and the life of Jesus is targeted in the mass child-killing ordered by Herod.
Finally, in our day, abortion kills countless future disciples and evangelists. As Rev. 12:17 indicates, the war against Christ and his Church is symbolized in the attempt to kill a child, and the triumph of the Gospel is seen in the victory of life.
The Word of God is clear: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11); “Seek justice, rescue the oppressed” (Isaiah 1:17). The entire Church is under obedience to this Divine command to stop the killing. We can hardly be credible in proclaiming that the destiny of the human person is to be on the throne with Christ (Rev. 3:21) if we ignore those persons thrown in the garbage.