Cardinal Pell of Sydney: The Church is capable of renewal

New Evangelisation central to Cardinal George Pell’s keynote speech at St Andrew’s Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Cardinal Pell also spoke candidly of the abuse problems within the Australian Church and the Church at large, calling it a ‘criminal moral cancer’ that needs to be ‘excised.’

Full report:

What is this “renewal?” I do not understand it. What does that even mean? The first contemporary calls for renewal happened in a time in which the Church was quite comfortable, that is, before the mid 1960s. I do not understand why the Church would call for a “renewal” when the Church was doing very well, much better than now, at that time. I am skeptical about all this and I cannot help it. Help me to understand.

Perhaps my historical perspective is off.

Cardinal Pell says this:

“Instead of lamenting the helps traditional Catholic life gave across the centuries in cities, towns and villages and somehow rejoicing in small numbers in our hostile world, we need to be working to rebuild our defences, to shore up Catholic identity and practice sociologically rather than insisting on the removal of those surviving props.”

Vatican II brought some unintentional fragmentation to our Church. We have to combine older more basic elements of our faith along with the good parts of Vatican II and go on from there. We have to renew our hope and faith in the Church and present that vision to a world that is truly inundated with secular and atheistic ideas.

Well, I would have to wholeheartedly agree with the Lord Cardinal there. Let us rebuild these defenses of ours, please. Let us shore up our identity and practice.

The Church is asking us to do something, but the Church is not explaining it. Vatican II is about as foreign to young Catholics as Nicaea. If the Church would like for us to put these things–whatever these things are–in action, the Church needs to explain it. What does Vatican II really mean? This line, this line, this line, and so on. What does it mean? It is fairly easy to understand the more didactic elements, but much of the documents are written in a very prosy style, almost like a semi-poetic novel.

I know not everyone will need such a technical explanation of such things as Conciliar documents, but some of us, including me, do. I would very much appreciate it if the Church would give approbation to some group or individual to do a comprehensive explanation.

Here is a good article from the National Catholic Register on Vatican II:

We,as the laity are expected to help with the “renewal” Cardinal Pell spoke of:
"How do we begin this transformation of the world? We have to begin with ourselves. First, we have to let our daily lives be consumed by Christ: our prayer, family life, work, recreation, friendships, parish life and political action. All areas of our life must be ordered to Christ. When this happens, we have taken the first steps toward renewal. We will have allowed our lives to be conformed to Christ and used by him as instruments to re-evangelize the world.

The New Evangelization seeks to restore to the faith those who have fallen away from Christ. These lost souls are living in a secular world that shapes the way they think and live. If we are to draw them back to Christ and the Church, we must show them how to live faithfully in the context of the modern world. This is why establishing a Catholic culture is so crucial for evangelization. It is a visible model of the Christian life to those in the world and also serves as a crucial support to those seeking to live out their faith."

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