Pope Paul VI was elected in 1963 and continued the Second Vatican Council after the death of Pope John XXIII. During his papacy, he wrote several encyclicals, including Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life)
, Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples)
, and Mysterium Fidei
(The Mystery of Faith
, on the Eucharist).
Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World)
is an apostolic exhortation considered to be the “magna carta” on Catholic evangelization and remains relevant and timely. As Julianne Stanz explains in Developing Disciples of Christ
The exhortation affirms the role of every Christian in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is divided into seven sections, with an introduction. Evangelii Nuntiandi defines Catholic evangelization (which is very helpful), the content of evangelization, and the beneficiaries or audiences of evangelization.
Pope Paul VI declared clearly in Evangelii Nuntiandi that the Church “exists in order to evangelize.” (14) Some inspiration from that document includes:
Here lies the test of truth, the touchstone of evangelization: it is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn. (24)
Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. (41)
Let us therefore preserve our fervor of spirit. Let us preserve the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow. May it mean for us—as it did for John the Baptist, for Peter and Paul, for the other apostles and for a multitude of splendid evangelizers all through the Church’s history—an interior enthusiasm that nobody and nothing can quench. May it be the great joy of our consecrated lives. And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the Good News not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ, and who are willing to risk their lives so that the kingdom may be proclaimed and the Church established in the midst of the world. (80)
Another apostolic exhortation, Marialis Cultus
, focuses on devotion to Mary. In that, Paul VI reminds us:
Mary is not only an example for the whole Church in the exercise of divine worship but is also, clearly, a teacher of the spiritual life for individual Christians. The faithful at a very early date began to look to Mary and to imitate her in making their lives an act of worship of God and making their worship a commitment of their lives. (21)
Paul VI served as pope until his death in 1978. He was beatified in 2014 and will be canonized in October of 2018.
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By Vatican City (picture oficial of pope) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons