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Bishop Robert Barron: When American Bishops Meet Pope Francis

But by far the dominant theme in our lengthy conversation, expressed both in the questions of the bishops and the substantive responses of the Pope, was evangelization. When one bishop made reference to Evangelii Gaudium, Francis’s seminal encyclical on the topic, the Pope wryly commented that that text was largely “plagiarized” from St. Paul VI’s 1975 encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi and the document that emerged from the meeting of the Latin American Bishops’ Conference at Aparacida in 2007.

All three statements are, in fact, landmarks of the New Evangelization, and all three operate out of the assumption that the Church is missionary by its very nature. When I had a chance to speak, I asked the Pope to elaborate on the theme of the via pulchritudinis (the way of beauty), which is central to Evangelii Gaudium.

He spoke of the recovery of beauty in the work of contemporary theologians and philosophers, and he urged us not to denigrate the beautiful as it is found in the popular culture—film, books, sports, etc.—which often appeal to the young more than some expressions of beauty in the high culture.

Source: Word on Fire

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