The concept of Evangelism (spreading the faith by word of mouth) has a difficult relationship with Roman Catholicism (in the
That is not the Christian calling and Pope Benedict XVI, echoing the call of his predecessor John Paul the Great, emphasizes the need and importance of evangelization. Speaking to the Third Missionary Congress he proclaimed that “the most important service we can give our brothers and sisters is the clear and humble proclamation of Jesus Christ, who came to this world that we might have life and have it in abundance.”
Obviously this evangelization can take many forms. But, Benedict points out that the most important requirement of any Catholic is the proclamation of the Truth. Service to others is still a requirement (one only needs to read the Epistle of St. James), but it must be in conjunction with evangelization.
Before we Catholics rush out to evangelize the non-Catholic/non-Christian world, we must first look to our own house. News reports repeatedly indicate the sad truth that many Catholics consciously deny basic tenets of their own faith or suffer from a supreme ignorance of it. Sometimes they are called “Disaffected Catholics” or “Recovering Catholics”. If our own Church is filled with so many who are lost or astray, they should be our first focus for evangelization. We should reach out first to those who already have connections to the Church by dialoguing and teaching them in such a way to bring them into the Church fully and actively.
There are 1.1 billion Roman Catholics in the world, yet many are Culturally Catholic or completely lapsed. We should find strength in our Catholic Faith and proclaim it fully. Perhaps our first focus should be the re-evangelization of the many Catholics who have lapsed or fallen away, then we can take the message to the world.