come. Let them not, then, hide this hope in the depths of their hearts, but even in theprogram of their secular life let them express it by a continual conversion and by wrestlingagainst the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness. . . . Thisevangelization, that is, this announcing of Christ by a living testimony as well as by thespoken word, takes on a specific quality and a special force in that it is carried out in theordinary surroundings of the world.
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The contemporary world is marked bya rift between the Gospel and culture, by a secularized vision of salvation that tends toreduce even Christianity to “merely human wisdom, a pseudo- science of well-being.” TheChurch is aware that she must take “a giant step forward in her evangelization effort, andenter into a new stage of history in her missionary dynamism.” The Church's social doctrineis situated within this pastoral vision: “The
, which the modern worldurgently needs, ... must include among its essential elements a proclamation of the Church'ssocial doctrine.”5.
Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars
The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman saw in the conversion of St. Paul a model for his own entrance into the Church. He held that St. Paul’s conversion, while dramatic, was “noradical change of religious principle.” He simply recognized that Christ was the promisedMessiah. The zeal that characterized his life as a Pharisee remained until he won themartyr’s crown. So it was with Newman. His Anglican doctrine eventually led his to theChurch and the process of conversion prepared him to be one of the most influentialpreachers and evangelizers of the 19
century. “Who has not felt a fear lest he be wanderingfrom the true doctrine of Christ? Let him cherish and obey the holy light of conscience withinhim, as Saul did; let him carefully study the Scriptures, as Saul did not; and the God who hadeven mercy on the persecutor of His saints will assuredly shed His grace upon him and bringhim in to the truth as it is in Jesus.”
On February 17, 1945, Israel Zolli, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, and his wife received thesacrament of baptism. Upon being received into the Church, Zolli was interviewed andasked, "Then you believe that the Messiah has come?" "Yes, positively," replied Zolli. "I havebelieved it many years. And now I am so firmly convinced of the truth of it that I can face thewhole world and defend my faith with the certainty and solidity of the mountains." Theinterview continued, "But why didn’t you join one of the Protestant denominations, which arealso Christian?" He answered, "Because protesting is not attesting. I do not intend toembarrass anyone by asking: ‘Why wait 1,500 years to protest?’ The Catholic Church wasrecognized by the whole Christian world as the true Church of God for 15 consecutivecenturies. No man can halt at the end of those 1,500 years and say that the Catholic Churchis not the Church of Christ without embarrassing himself seriously. I can accept only thatChurch which was preached to all creatures by my own forefathers, the Twelve who, like me,issued from the Synagogue.” For the full account of his conversion and famous interview, seehttp://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2002/0212clas.asp.6.
Quotations from Pope Benedict XVI