Rorate Caeli

New Evangelization? Living Tradition? It's all a matter of holiness

New Evangelization: passing on holiness (Nov. 4, 2012)

We are all called to be holy. It is what gives meaning to our life on earth. But how can we reach holiness? By being true children of the Church. Because, in God's plan, the Church of Christ is the only path of sanctification and salvation for all men. The infinite holiness of our divine Redeemer is passed on to us only by his Church. This is why the Church of Christ is essentially holy, in the sense that the holiness of Christ is passed on to us by her. She is the near source of holiness for all men, as she also is of their unity, which cannot take place if not in Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the members of this new mankind that He came to assemble in his Church.

What is the holiness of the Church of Christ? The Catechism of Saint Pius X thus answers this question of capital relevance: "The true church is called Holy because holy is her Invisible Head, Jesus Christ; holy are many of her members; holy are her faith, her laws, her Sacraments; and outside of her there is not and cannot be true holiness." The holiness of the Church comes therefore entirely from her divine Founder. The Church is thus holy by her supernatural source, by the role that Our Lord granted her at her foundation, by the divine treasure of the means of sanctification that he left her, and by the fruits of holiness that only she generates and can generate on earth.

It is by the holiness of her members, Dom Guéranger says, that the Church proves that she possesses the ever-living truth within herself. And he most rightly says that this stirring truth that is holiness is "tradition in its highest expression". To faithfully pass on to the Christian generations the holy doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ, his holy laws, his sacraments, and above all, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is to pass on to them the infallible means of sanctification, the absolute principles of holiness - but this tradition is not fully fruitful unless it is a living one, that is, unless it propagates holiness. In order for them to be able to pass on holiness to other men, with the means of sanctification, the ministers of Jesus Christ have first the sacred duty of being themselves holy. All apostolate must consist in a communication of holiness. The first evangelization was first accomplished by the example of apostles who followed Jesus; it was, in fact, the example of their life that assured the truth of their preaching. It was because Saint Paul said in all truth, "to me, to live is Christ," that he could exhort the Philippians to follow him [Phil. i, 21] - "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ." [I Cor iv, 16] We realize that all over the world the Catholic faith is in crisis, to the point that a new evangelization is absolutely necessary. In order for it to be efficacious, this new evangelization, as the first one - that of apostolic times - must be able to prove its authenticity by the holiness, first, of priests, then of the parents who have the mission of passing on the faith to their children, and also of all Christians who will be Christians in name only if they do not take seriously the passing on of all the riches of holiness that the Church gave to them, with the faith they received in their Baptism.

Fr. J.-Réal Bleau

[Latin Community of Saint Paul, Archdiocese of Montreal, Quebec - in French. Image source: Chapel of St. Bernard (FSSP), Saint-Étienne, France.]


Red said...

Whenever I hear "new", regarding the Church, I quiver. Why does it have to be new? Why not just evangelize?

In order for it to be efficacious, this new evangelization, as the first one - that of apostolic times - must be able to prove is authenticity by

So the "new" evangelization has to be like the "old" one? That's my point - let's just evangelize.

Anonymous said...

This article is food for thought. To be holy is to respond always to the will of God and to look after our neighbour's good. How often just be looking at ourselves only we depart from doing what would be holy and for the good of our neighbour.
Julia fo Arc

David said...

Red, I over here in the peanut gallery understand the "new evangelization" as just being a renewal of the old or a fresh form of the timeless evagelization work of the Church. That's all. It's not thus a distinct thing.

Roguejim said...

Fr. Z has suggested we invite lapsed Catholics back to Mass. I asked how I am to do this when my pastor has brought his poodle into Mass, has delivered his sermon from atop a step ladder donned in ski wear, makes jokes at various points in the Mass, when extraordinary ministerettes dispense Holy Communion while the pastor or other priests sit in the pew watching. Of course, these abuses do not occur at every Mass, but the potential is always there. Do I warn lapsed Catholics beforehand what they may witness at my parish? Do I not tell them until the liturgical aberration occurs, then make apologies? Fr. Z would not post my questions...I'm really looking for answers though. Pax Christi.

New Catholic said...

Just take them to a Traditional Mass.

Texana said...

Yes, NC, the Tridentine Mass is a balm to our souls! Please know we are still praying for your mother.

New Catholic said...

Thank you very much, Texana. That is very much appreciated!

Roguejim said...

New Catholic said...

Just take them to a Traditional Mass.
05 November, 2012 19:56

If it were only that easy. TLMs do not exist in southern Oregon, nor is there a committed group of traditionally minded Catholics to force the issue.

Mirari said...

I agree Roguejim. The whole point of why the New Evangelization is necessary is the lack of liturgical discipline and doctrinal orthodoxy that has spread everywhere like a cancer. I would be embarassed to invite anyone to most parishes I've been to. The only parishes in Toronto that I would invite anyone to,without any caveats, are the ones that offer the Latin Mass.

Holy Fathet, we want to invite people back home but the house needs to be cleaned up first. Otherwise a New New Evangelization will be necessary in order to bring back lapsed Catholics who left the faith, returned, and found that liturgy was still banal and doctrine as heterodox and confusing as when they left the first time!

Hidden One said...

Roguejim, I recall seeing questions along the lines of yours at WDPTRS (in fact, I posted one) that were allowed to stand in a comment thread some time back. If I recall correctly, Fr.Z didn't have a solution. Nor do I, all things considered. I am, however, aware of a convert to the Faith who definitively decided to become a Catholic before ever going to Mass.

Ora et Labora said...

I didn't know where to post this but I thought I would share it with everyone at Rorate.

Remember the 5 of November? well this is the Anti-Catholicism we have today:

Well, that's one way of staying warm: Torchbearers light up Lewes in anti-papist parade on the coldest Guy Fawkes Night in 14 years