Evangelii Gaudium – Proclaiming the Gospel in Today’s World
This 2013 Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis was his first major teaching document. It is a wide-ranging conversational document that covers many topics. He stresses the joy of the Gospel and the social dimension of evangelisation.
Chapter one says that, as an evangelising community, the whole church must get involved “by word and deed in people’s daily lives”. Considering the context for evangelisation, Chapter two offers a discerning reading of the signs of the times. These include: an economy of exclusion; the idolatry of money; a financial system that rules rather than serves; and inequality that spawns violence. Chapter three notes the collective or social nature of proclaiming the Gospel, and says that salvation is not a purely private, individual thing. Chapter 4 focuses on the social dimension of evangelisation. Pope Francis sets out the inseparable link between the Gospel and a commitment to justice, development and peace. He then focuses on two issues that strike him “as fundamental at this time in history” – the inclusion of the poor in society; and peace and social dialogue. Chapter five concludes the exhortation with a call to be spirit-filled evangelizers, reiterating that “mission is at once a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people.” It is a call to transform the world.