Monday, September 16, 2013

Matthew Fox, Letters to Pope Francis: On the "New" Evangelization

More excerpts from Matthew Fox's book Letters to Pope Francis: in an important letter in the book, Fox discusses the "new" evangelization that was so strongly promoted by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and encourages Francis to look closely at what the term "evangelize" actually means, as he himself promotes the church's mission of proclaiming the good news of the gospel to the world: 

You see, it is not enough that people "evangelize" in the name of the Church. Simply put, what are we preaching as the "good news" today? And this is where the rise of christofascism in Christianity is truly scary, for instead of preaching a balance of male and female, and justice for women, and justice toward the earth and her creatures, and the need for economic and social justice, many so-called Christians today, under the guise of falsely named "lay movements" such as Opus Dei, Communion and Liberation, the Legion of Christ, and Focolare are preaching something else. They are not preaching these gospel values at all. In no way are they returning to our Christian sources for renewal. I look in vain in the groups' writings for any hint of justice. They don't have a clue about the oldest spiritual tradition in the Bible (and beyond it), that of Creation Spirituality. Instead, they are preaching a "theology" of authoritarianism that can only be summarized as "obey the pope." Indeed they are not preaching theology at all, but a kind of authoritarianism covered over with pious sentimentalisms. And sentimentalism, as a fine scholar demonstrated years ago, is a kind of "rancid political consciousness"--one that covers up injustice and refuses to face it. Or, as Carl Jung put it, behind the sentimental facade there always lurks violence. The SS captains of the concentration camps often tortured and murdered people during the day then returned to their families in the evening when they would play Bach or Beethoven on their pianos and cry (pp. 78-9).  . . .  
It is not enough to talk about "evangelization." The content of evangelization is crucial After all, most of the advertising industry today is built on "evangelization," i.e., promises that buying one's product will offer salvation or healing or beauty or power. The content of true evangelization today needs to be--as it was in Francis' revolution--the Gospel values themselves, values of joy and of letting go, of creativity and responsibility, of compassion and justice.  . . . All evangelization is not equal. Preach the Gospel. Not neo-fascist propaganda (pp. 80, 83).

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