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Faced with decades of rising secularism, the Church must invest in families and in strengthening other forms of community to transmit the faith, Pope Francis said on Friday. Source: CNS.

“The big issue before us is to understand how to overcome the rupture that has been established in the transmission of faith,” the Pope told members of the Dicastery for Evangelisation’s section for new evangelisation on Friday. “To that end there is an urgent need to recover an effective relationship with families and formation centres.” 

Developing faith in Christ “requires a meaningful experience lived in the family and in the Christian community as a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ in order to be transmitted”, he wrote in his message to members of the dicastery during their plenary assembly. “Without this real and existential encounter, one will always be subject to the temptation to make faith a theory and not a testimony of life.”

In his message, the Pope wrote that the secularism of recent decades “has created enormous difficulties” for the Church, “from the loss of a sense of belonging to the Christian community to the indifference regarding the faith and its contents”. 

As a result, he wrote, it is time for the Church to “understand what effective response we are called to give to young generations so that they may recover the meaning of life”.

He noted that the lure of personal autonomy, “promoted as one of the pretences of secularism, cannot be thought of as independence from God because it is God himself who grants the personal freedom to act.”

Pope Francis urged members of the dicastery to develop a “spirituality of mercy” as the foundation of their work in evangelisation. People are more receptive to evangelisation when done with a “style of mercy”, he wrote. By communicating mercy, he added, “the heart opens more readily to conversion”. 


Family, community, are key to overcoming secularism, Pope says (By Justin McLellan, CNS