Cdl. Burke on Catholic education and the new evangelization

Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and ecclesiastical advisor to The Cardinal Newman Society, recently spoke about the importance of “all forms of Catholic education” to the new evangelization, according to Zenit.

Cardinal Burke delivered his remarks while speaking at the International Pro-Life Conference in Rome on May 3.

He said:

The degree of secularization to which Pope Paul VI referred with concern in 1975 only continues to increase exponentially, also due to a grave impoverishment or even lack of adequate catechesis in the Church during the past four decades.

Pope John Paul II addressed the increasing gravity of this situation with steadfast vigor. The pontificate of Pope John Paul II, in fact, may be rightly described as a tireless call to recognize the Church’s challenge to be faithful to her divinely given mission in a completely secularized society and to respond to the challenge by means of a new evangelization. A new evangelization consists in teaching the faith through preaching, catechesis and all forms of Catholic education, in celebrating the faith in the Sacraments and in prayer and devotion which are their extension, and in living the faith by the practice of the virtues – all as if for the first time, that is, with the engagement and energy of the first disciples and of the first missionaries to our native place.
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People love to leave out that whole catechesis part of the new evangelization.  Like teaching Catholics what the Church actually teaches should be avoided when participating in evangelization.  Quite the opposite.


  1. The dynamic of separating Evangelization and Catechesis is one of the biggest detriments to the Faith Formation of all those in the pews, regardless of age, and it is a guilt shared by those on all sides. The Church's teaching on the reality of Catechesis being a necessary aspect of Evangelization is very clear, though often left un-embraced by those responsible for either/both Evangelization or/and Catechesis.

    Those who wish to evangelize without Catechesis are doomed to make one's Faith walk entirely a series of emotional experiences or service projects, and leave those "evangelized" ill-equipped to confront modernist and hedonist secular philosophies on the one hand nor equipped to face relativistic or fundamentalist theologies on the other.

    On the flip side though, we often see those who catechize without evangelizing, even if they are presenting the Faith in an orthodox manner, as doing nothing but turning the Faith into an impersonal philosophy and speculation, leaving people vulnerable to "personal encounters (and subsequently "personal relationship") with the Lord" offered by our evangelical brethren or leaving them cold and distant with no ability to connect the Faith to the "grey" in their own lives or the wider world.

    We have to reclaim the reality that these two go hand-in-hand. Those that are screaming "New Evangelization" from the rooftops need to explicitly make the connection to the role Catechesis plays in the process, and all the tools the Church equips us with to Evangelize and be Evangelized (namely the Good, the True, and the Beautiful) need to be integrated into our Catechesis to make it rich, life-long, and a true tool for equipping the saints.


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