File photo of Archbishop Rino Fisichella File photo of Archbishop Rino Fisichella  (ANSA)

Archbishop Fisichella: Gospel must be incarnated in digital culture

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, speaks a conference in Maynooth, Ireland, and urges Christians to bear credible witness online and in their in-person interactions.

By Devin Watkins

"The Church does not evangelize because she is faced with the great challenge of secularization, but because she must be obedient to the Lord's command to proclaim His Gospel to every creature.”

The Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, offered that consideration on Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Pontifical University, in Maynooth, Ireland.

The Archbishop was speaking at a conference entitled “Evangelization and Vocation”.

Cultural incarnation of the Gospel

Christianity, said Archbishop Fisichella, must be embodied and incarnated in history, and the Church therefore needs to “enter into culture and generate history.”

As the Church seeks to discover new paths of evangelization under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he added, Christians should transmit “what has been believed by everyone, everywhere” in all ambits of human activity.

“The digital culture,” said the Archbishop, represents a new form of culture which will “determine the coming centuries” and must be understood and embraced by the Church.

“The internet certainly represents an opportunity for dialogue, encounter and exchange among people, as well as access to information and knowledge,” he said, adding that the real question “is not how to use new technologies to evangelize, but how to become an evangelizing presence on the digital continent.”

Digital and personal encounter

At the same time, said the Italian-born Archbishop, evangelization cannot only be carried out through digital means, since this would result in generating a “weak and ineffective evangelization.”

The act of bearing witness must include an interpersonal exchange, he said, which flows from our personal encounter with the Lord and our vocation to mission.

“If the newness and originality of the revelation of Jesus Christ is thwarted, the very presence of the Church in the contemporary world becomes useless.”

Vocation to guide others to Christ

Archbishop Fisichella went on to reflect on the Christian vocation, which consists in the discovery of God’s call, rather than from our own initiative.

He urged the seminarians attending the conference in Maynooth to help accompany young people as they navigate this turbulent time in their lives.

Helping young people discover their vocation, he added, “requires the wisdom of one who knows they bear responsibility for conducting someone else toward freedom.”

The Archbishop noted that preaching is never a stale, static exercise, but rather a dynamic exchange between the Word of God and the life of the Church.

Christ’s love is not a utopia

In conclusion, the Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization recalled that the person who evangelizes must live in such a way as to be consistent with the Word they preach.

The life of the priest, said Archbishop Fisichella, shows that they lose nothing of their humanity when they choose to follow the call to priesthood.

Priests, he concluded, “must be a concrete sign that the love of Christ is not a utopia… but a reality that any person can experience when they seek to give their lives freely.”

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25 April 2023, 16:21