Albacete on Evangelization

Jim had a post a while back on evangelization, quoting Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete:

… Some insist on the need to promote or recapture Christian doctrinal orthodoxy, that is, the need to emphasize and teach the intellectual convictions that properly proclaim the Christian faith. For others, what matters is promoting and defending Christian morality as an ethical orientation (“liberal” or “conservative”), a system of “moral values” to guide our behavior. From this perspective, the relationship between the Christian faith and contemporary culture is seen as a culture war to be won, or a cultural contribution to be made by looking for a common point of departure for dialogue. Both “tactics” are in fact useless. …

Instead, we must place our hope not on cultural proposals but on the event of Christ, on something that has already happened. Evangelization is to give witness to the fact–to the verifiable fact–that this event can and does still happen today because it has happened to us as something unforeseen, something amazing that surprises us, something that is not the result of our efforts or our particular ethical and spiritual predispositions. It is this that gives rise to concern, because an event is something that touches the heart, that changes us, that gives us a new vision of life’s possibilities.

… To believe that one becomes a Christian through the proper philosophy, theology, spirituality, morality, or cultural project, is a presumption; it is to see our efforts as the cause of our belonging to Christ. Instead, we become Christians because the Incarnation happened in history, because the Paschal Mystery happened, because Pentecost happened, and because those events continue to happen in the world today. They happen now because they happened then and because the Church exists in the world as the life of a communion of persons created by these events, and making them present today through the sacraments. They happen because Christ has risen from the dead and can be encountered today with exactly the same results experienced by Andrew, James, John, Peter, Mary Magdalen, the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, Zaccheus, and the criminal at the cross next to His. Something happened to them. It was an event. The key to the Christian life, the point of departure, is not an intellectual or cultural proposal. It is this event. This is what creates the concern which post-Christian man has so tragically lost.