Cardinal John’s Newsletter 22 August 2019

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Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou

“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41). That quote is one of the most quoted phrases of Pope Saint Paul VI, who went on to say- “It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelise the world, (also EN 41). That was published in 1975.
Some of the questions we ask today as we try to articulate a Gospel that is meaningful and relevant for modern New Zealand are “What can we do? How do we proclaim the Gospel today? How do we reach out to a secular and plural world?”

The answer of Pope St Paul VI was “be witnesses.”
The answer of Pope Francis today is “mercy.”

Pope Francis is reminding us today that the patience to listen and to serve is more important than preaching. He says: “Do you want to convince someone to be a Catholic? No! No! No! You are to meet him/her. They are your brother or sister! That is enough And you are to help him/her; everything else will be done by Jesus. The Holy Spirit does this.”

Sometimes it may be that we try too hard in the Church and ask too much of ourselves, trying to find an answer when silence, respect and compassion are all that is needed. I remember copying out some words of the then Archbishop Tagle of Manila at the Synod on New Evangelisation in 2010. He said: “For the Church to be a place where people meet God, it needs to learn three things from the example of Jesus; humility, respect for others, and silence…..The Church must discover the power of silence….Confronted with the sorrows, doubts and uncertainties of people, she cannot pretend to give easy solutions. In Jesus, silence becomes that way of attentive listening, compassion and prayer. It is the way to truth.”

• How do we live as witnesses today?
• Are we a people of mercy today?
• Do we have the courage to live in silence today?
• Are we following the example of Jesus: humility, respect for others, and silence?

Remember too: “Jesus wants evangelisers who proclaim the Good News not only with word, but above all by a life transfigured by God’s presence.” (EG 259)

With every blessing
Naku noa

The full newsletter can be viewed here.