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Commentary

The Need for Evangelical Catholic ministry on campus

U.S. Catholic article featuring the EC: We’ve Got Spirit! Learning from evangelicals.

A nice description of being both evangelical and Catholic

Are you evangelical or are you Catholic? Both!.

John Allen’s Commentary on recent trends in the Catholic church

The Evangelical Catholic does not identify itself with the perspectives on this page. Descriptions of evangelization or “evangelical Catholics” in these articles may differ from our are definitions and articulations. By posting these links, we simply want to aid you in your search for insights on these topics. We may or may not agree with the articles linked on this page. We do, however, believe they have something to offer you as you grow in your call to Catholic evangelization.

The Triumph of Evangelical Catholicism,
John Allen, National Catholic Reporter.

2007’s Neglected Story: Benedict XVI and ‘Affirmative Orthodoxy’
John Allen, National Catholic Reporter.

In this article, John Allen describes the approach Pope Benedict XVI is taking in his teaching. We believe this sort of approach is very fruitful as a means of evangelization and catechesis.

Giving Another Name to Historical Change

Michael Havercamp
The Evangelical Catholic
March 18, 2008

John Allen’s recent article Giving a Name to Historical Change (March 14, 2008) sheds important light on the growing conversation surrounding “evangelical Catholicism.” Yet I share the apparent Dayton consensus in suggesting that the particular name given to describe the historical change under Allen’s consideration is a rather unfortunate and unfitting moniker.

What Allen describes when he uses the term “evangelical Catholicism” is a reassertion of traditional Catholic demarcations which serve to protect the Church from a dangerous slide into secular assimilation and the dictatorship of relativism. Both Portier and O’Brien, while not dismissing the presence of such a development in the Church today, apply the term “evangelical Catholicism” to an altogether different movement, one which I believe better appropriates the theological and etymological dimensions of the word “evangelical.” I wish to further underscore their portrait of this movement in that it honors the ecclesial vision for which organizations like ours have been laboring fruitfully for more than a decade.

While generally associated with the fairly recent and influential phenomenon of Protestant origin, the term “evangelical” finds its roots in ecclesial history long before the Reformation. Commonly used in the writings of the Early Church, the term “evangelical” denoted not a doctrinal narrowing of denominational distinctions, but rather the core and very nature of the gospel itself. During his lifetime St. Dominic was commonly referred to as vir evangelicus or “the evangelical man” because of his preaching and prophetic mission to the Church and the world. Modern usages of the word, though commonly restricted to the sphere of Protestantism, are ultimately rooted in this rich history.

What the students of both Portier and O’Brien reveal is an intuitive sense of this deeper evangelical vision that stands not at the margins but at the very center of Catholic identity. Transcending the dialectic caricatures of left and right, liberal and conservative, this deeper missional sense of evangelical Catholicism has room for both traditional Catholic piety and contemporary social engagement. Enveloped by the overarching mantle of the Church’s essential mission to “evangelize all peoples”(Evangelii nuntiandi, 14), evangelical Catholicism calls for solidarity with the poor and marginalized, an unwavering commitment to restore the lost to friendship with God, and compassionate engagement of the “joys and hopes, the grief and anguish” of the world (Gaudium et spes, 1).

Yet it equally calls Catholics to nourish these impulses toward evangelization and social reform through a deeply personal and communal life of prayer, Word, and Sacrament. Animated by a genuine encounter with the Lord, evangelical Catholics young and old, traditional and progressive, are called to be “contemplatives in action”, not merely champions for a purely ecclesial agenda, but luminaries for an entire world in desperate need of the light of the gospel. The words of the prophet Isaiah remind us, “It is too little, [God] says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”(Is 49:6).

This missional dimension of evangelical Catholicism serves as a corrective against the tendency toward ecclesial insularity, isolating the Church from the world it has been called to serve, restore, and save. Just as God’s deepest identity was revealed in the total self-gift of Jesus Christ to the world, the fundamental character of the Church is exhibited not in separating herself from culture but engaging culture for the sake of renewing it under the dawning reign of love in Christ.

Perhaps Neuhaus makes a valid point in suggesting the redundancy of the term “evangelical Catholicism”, assuming the richer meaning under the all-encompassing “Catholic” brand name. I too share his vision for a future day when the simple word “Catholic” will register the fuller, broader, more robust sense of the growing movement we like to call “evangelical Catholicism.”