(Source: CD/Fides)

To announce the Gospel today, the language best understood by humanity is that of charity, not of the great theological explanations. For this reason, the Vincentian religious have a particular role, that linked to their charism: St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac (founder of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul) were “a powerful sign of this language”.

This is what Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said, addressing the Vincentians, in a recent visit to the Congregation of the Mission. Accepting the invitation of the Superior General, Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, the Cardinal met the members of the General Curia in Rome on June 17.

Speaking with the religious, the cardinal underlined three specific and important tasks still today: to be inspirers of charity towards other people; to engage in charity that “forms a community”; and to continue the service of promoting active charity in the formation of the clergy (thinking of the ministerial service as an act of charity).

Referring to the “new evangelization”, the Prefect of Propaganda Fide remarked on a sort of ambiguity around this expression (used for the first time by John Paul II), as in some it arouses enthusiasm and in others surprise, given that “evangelization is always new: if anything, it is up to us to rediscover its perennial novelty”.

“The current challenge lies in discerning how we can present the Gospel, which is always the same, in a changing world”, Cardinal Tagle said.

One aspect that emerged from the debate was that of an excessive intellectual, if not academic, emphasis on theological formation throughout the history of the Church, while the intellectual aspect should be only one aspect of a more integral formation.

Even that of discipleship is an essential aspect: it must be rediscovered urgently if we want to prevent theological formation from falling into ideologisms, as has often happened, the cardinal stressed.

The last question touched during the meeting was related to the care of the common home, with reference to the encyclical Laudato si’.

The cardinal reported the words of Pope Francis, for whom the encyclical is not an ecological document, but a document of the social doctrine of the Church.

There is still an inadequate interest in these matters, even among priests and bishops, Cardinal Tagle denounced.

He added that while there are similarities with the campaigns of ecological movements, there is also a considerable difference: where Christians speak of “protection and safeguard of Creation” and of a work of God, for ecological movements it is simply a matter of “nature” or environment.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.