Notification issued by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
(14 Dec 07 - RV) Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF),
US Cardinal William Joseph Levada, presented the document, entitled a Doctrinal
Note on some Aspects of Evangelization to journalists in the Vatican’s Press Office
Friday at Noon.
The Cardinal Prefect said the note is a result of conversations
with Bishops around the world, addressing some specific concerns which seem to undermine
the fulfilment of Christ’s missionary mandate.
He said “The anthropological
implications of evangelization address two key factors of human existence: freedom
and truth. Human dignity requires that the search for this truth respect human freedom
of conscience. It follows then that evangelization must never resort to “coercion
or tactics unworthy of the Gospel” . At the same time he pointed out, “Religious liberty
requires that evangelization not be impeded by restrictive measures”.
Levada continued : “For Christian evangelization, “the incorporation of new members
into the Church is not the expansion of a power-group, but rather entrance into the
network of friendship with Christ which connects heaven and earth, different continents
and ages.” In this sense, then, “the Church is the bearer of the presence of God
and thus the instrument of the true humanization of man and the world.” Cardinal Levada
summarised that when individual persons decide in conscience to enter the Catholic
Church, their decision should be respected without accusing the Catholic Church of
a negative form of proselytism.
Finally, Concluded the Cardinal Prefect, the
importance of Christian witness to holiness and charity is essential if evangelization
is to be credible.
Dominican Priest, Father Joseph Augustine Di Noia, is CDF
undersecretary, says that the document first began as a project under the then prefect
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in attempts to clarify one fundamental problem: “The fundamental
problem is a pluralistic theology of religion which essentially states that all religions
are equally valid in leading a person to salvation, so that the Church and Christ
cannot claim that Christianity has some special path to salvation, but that each path
is valid for people let’s say who are born into it culturally or socially . That
fundamental error was addressed by the document Dominus Iesus, but now the
missionary implications are being addressed in this document”