Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world, Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel,” has many points that are relevant to the work of Marriage: Unique for a Reason. This series will explore some of these themes and apply Pope Francis’s words to the culture of marriage and family in the United States.
Why does it seem so hard to transmit the Gospel in today’s world? Pope Francis writes about the many challenges of modern culture: relativism, secularism, materialism, indifference. In particular, he writes about how people accept the Church in some ways (her service to the poor) while rejecting her in other ways (many of her teachings). “…[W]e find it difficult to make people see that when we raise other questions less palatable to public opinion, we are doing so out of fidelity to precisely the same convictions about human dignity and the common good” (no. 65). For example, the Gospel that sends us out to feed the poor is the very same Gospel that calls us to chastity.
Pope Francis explicitly writes about the importance of the family here: “The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis,” which is “particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another” (no. 66). He laments modern cultures’ loss of the true nature of love, instead reducing it to “mere emotional satisfaction” (no. 66).
The family as the most basic cell of society transmits culture as well as the Christian faith. Pope Francis points out that “an evangelized culture, for all its limits, has many more resources than the mere sum of total believers” because it “contains values of faith and solidarity” and “possesses a particular wisdom” (no. 68). Countries of a Catholic tradition already have, in a sense, more to work with, and thus simply need revitalization, reminding and purification. Countries of other religious backgrounds or those deeply secularized need people of faith to “spark” new processes of evangelization and help form new cultural movements (no. 69).
How can your family be part of evangelizing the culture? One example is a group of families who began organizing contra dance and ceili nights for their children and teens. In a culture where the normal idea of middle or high school dances is rap and techno, these families are teaching their children and adolescents dances that have form and set etiquette. Perhaps one day they will be in the position to ask for such a dance to be held at their local school, in place of another type. Please share your own ideas!
Thank you for reading the fourth post of our Evangelii Gaudium – Marriage and Family blog post series. We hope you enjoyed it. Please stay updated through our blog and social media sites for future blog post! Click on the image below to be directed to all published articles within the Evangelii Gaudium blog series.