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Pope: Without power of Holy Spirit, evangelization is empty advertising

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To evangelize well, the faithful need to dialogue with God, let the Holy Spirit renew their hearts and lives, and then dialogue with today's world, Pope Francis said.

The Holy Spirit is "the protagonist of evangelization. Without the Holy Spirit we will only be advertising the church," he said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square March 22.

The church, too, always must be "evangelizing herself" or else "it remains a museum piece," he said.

The pope continued his series of talks about "the passion for evangelization: the apostolic zeal of the believer" by reflecting on St. Paul VI's apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi" (On Evangelization in the Modern World) and its emphasis on witnessing to Christ.

"You cannot evangelize without witness -- the witness of the personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word in which salvation is fulfilled," he said.

"Witness also includes professed faith, that is, convinced and manifest adherence to God the father, son and Holy Spirit, who created and redeemed us out of love," he said.

And, he said, it is a faith "that transforms us, that transforms our relationships, the criteria and the values that determine our choices. Witness, therefore, cannot be separated from consistency between what one believes and what one proclaims."

"A person is credible if there is harmony between what they believe and live, how they believe and live," the pope said. Anything else is hypocrisy.

"Every one of us is required to respond to three fundamental questions, posed in this way by St. Paul VI: 'Do you believe what you are proclaiming? Do you live what you believe? Do you preach what you live?'" the pope said.

"We cannot be satisfied with easy, pre-packaged answers," he said. "We are called upon to accept the risk, albeit destabilized, of the search, trusting fully in the action of the Holy Spirit who works in each one of us, driving us ever further: beyond our boundaries, beyond our barriers, beyond our limits, of any type."

St. Paul VI, he said, "teaches that the zeal for evangelization springs from holiness which springs from a heart filled with God. Nourished by prayer and, above all, by love for the Eucharist, evangelization in turn increases holiness in the people who carry it out."

"Without holiness, the word of the evangelizer 'will have difficulty in touching the heart of modern man' and 'risks being vain and sterile'" because it is just a string of empty words, he said, quoting St. Paul's exhortation.

Evangelization is addressed not only to others "but also ourselves, believers in Christ and active members of the people of God," Pope Francis said. "We have to convert every day, receive the word of God and change our life each day, this is how you evangelize the heart."

The Catholic Church, "which is the people of God immersed in the world," is often tempted by many idols, therefore, "she always needs to hear the proclamation of the mighty works of God," to pray and feel the power of the Holy Spirit, which changes people's hearts, he said.

"A church that evangelizes herself in order to evangelize is a church that, guided by the Holy Spirit, is required to walk a demanding path of conversion and renewal," he said.

This includes "the ability to change the ways of understanding and living its evangelizing presence in history, avoiding taking refuge in the protected zones of the logic of 'it has always been done this way' (which) are shelters that make the church fall ill," he said.

"The church must always go forward, it must continually grow," he added. "This way it stays young."

At the end of the audience, the pope underlined the sanctity of all human life. He greeted the faithful from Poland, which celebrates the Day for the Sanctity of Life March 25.

"As a sign of the need to protect human life from conception to its natural end, the Yes to Life Foundation is giving to Zambia the 'Voice of the Unborn' bell, which I blessed this morning," he said.

"May its sound carry the message that every life is sacred and inviolable," he added.


"Pope: We can't evangelize without the Spirit"

During his general audience March 22, Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit is necessary for evangelization.

Disney documentary features Pope Francis's talk with Gen Z on LGBTQ issues, abortion, and more (CNA)

The documentary, entitled “The Pope: Answers,” will air on Hulu on Wednesday of Holy Week (April 5).

Clarity emerges on Cardinal Tagle's role at the Vatican (Pillar)

In 2019, Pope Francis appointed Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. With the 2022 Curial reform, which went into effect in June, Pope Francis assumed the title of Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization.

It was assumed that Cardinal Tagle was now the Pro-Prefect of Dicastery’s Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches—yet the Vatican press office did not refer to him as such until this year.

Wisconsin bishop criticizes Germany's Synodal Way (Catholic Herald (Madison))

The Synodal Way’s “shocking conclusion is an absolute first in the history of the modern Church — a national conference of bishops essentially rejecting fundamental aspects of Church teaching and practice,” writes Bishop Donald Hying of Madison.

“No one has the authority to change Church teaching, as if the truth given is malleable and adaptive to changing cultural norms,” he continued. “When people express their dismay to me about the turbulence in the Church and the many conflicting opinions about doctrine and morality, I simply reaffirm that the Faith does not change. We have the Scriptures, the Tradition, and the Catechism.”

Pope Benedict ordered Archbishop Gänswein to destroy his personal correspondence (CNS)

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the late Pope’s personal secretary and executor of his will, says that he complied with the order.

“A pity? I thought so too,” he said, “but he gave this direction and there was no way out.”

Archbishop Gänswein also said that he was searching for three cousins of the late Pontiff; the cousins may be eligible for an inheritance.

Bishop Wilmer calls for 'significant changes in sexual morality in the Catholic Church' (Catholic World Report)

In December, it was rumored that Pope Francis would appoint Bishop Heiner Wilmer of Hildesheim (Germany) as Prefect for the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith. George Weigel writes that the appointment “remains a live option, according to Vatican sources.”

At the recent meeting of Germany’s Synodal Way, Bishop Wilmer voted in favor of documents that called for same-sex blessings, the ordination of transgendered persons, and the ordination of women to the diaconate. “It has become clear that we need significant changes in sexual morality in the Catholic Church,” he wrote in a March 13 letter to the faithful of his diocese.

Future Pope John Paul II wrote 'rule' for married couples (Our Sunday Visitor)

The founders of the Wojtyla Community & Institute have discovered a “rule” that Cardinal Karol Wojtyla wrote for married couples in 1968 or 1969; it is now available in an English translation.

Priest denies that Cardinal Zen is near death (South China Morning Post)

Cardinal Joseph Zen, 91, received hospital treatment in January for breathing problems but is not near death, according to a Hong Kong newspaper report.

“He can walk and is just like before he was admitted to hospital,” said Father Carlos Cheung, who (like Cardinal Zen) is a Salesian. “Some people were spreading rumors or fake news saying he is reaching the end of his life. That is absolutely not true.”

New Ways Ministry: US bishops' doctrinal note on transgender interventions 'harms people' (CWN)

New Ways Ministry has offered sharp criticism of the US bishops’ new Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body.

'Healed by the Eucharist': Minnesota ministry aims to bring Holy Communion to clerical abuse survivors (Pillar)

Paula Kaempffer, a clerical abuse survivor who serves as Outreach Coordinator for Restorative Justice and Abuse Prevention for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said that many abuse survivors “have expressed to me their hunger for Eucharist, except for who dispenses it. And they can’t go into a church and have a priest give them Communion. They just can’t. It’s just too much for them. There’s too much trauma there.”

The new ministry trains abuse survivors to be extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, so that they may administer Holy Communion to other abuse survivors in their homes.