Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Evangelization

New Evangelization is the mission to bear witness to the Gospel of Christ with renewed fervor and to create and use new expressions and new methods in proclaiming the Good News.  New Evangelization sustains and does not change the salvific sufficiency of the Gospel, as “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
New expressions and methods in evangelization are necessary owing to these signs of the times: the globalization of information and communication and the ageing of the clergy and their steadily diminishing numbers in the older churches of Europe and North America.  With increasing access of masses of people to means of interactive communication, there is increasing discontent with one-way communication and authoritarian leadership in many parts of the world.  “Modern man is rebelling against paternalism in every sphere of life” (Theodore Wedel).
Old methods that involve unidirectional communication from top to bottom are giving way to methods that are interactive and dialogical.  New Evangelization is dialogical in its approach to other cultures, religions, and realms of expertise.  The dialogical way implies a humble Church, which recognizes its faults and imperfections and seeks the help of other cultures, religions, disciplines, and experts towards a better understanding of itself and the world. 
As one Vatican II document puts it: “Nowadays when things change so rapidly and thought patterns differ so widely, the Church needs to step up this exchange [with different cultures] by calling upon the help of people who are living in the world, who are expert in its organizations and its forms of training, and who understand its mentality, in the case of believers and nonbelievers alike” (Gaudium et Spes 44).
In dialogue with the natural and social sciences, the Church has developed a better understanding of the human condition.  In the process new expressions have been created by discerning believers and leaders among which is “integral evangelization.”  This new expression is a summary of a deep belief that the Gospel benefits the whole human person (body, mind and spirit), all human practices (political, economic, ecological, cultural, educational, and spiritual) and the whole of creation, “which waits in eager expectation for the sons [and daughters] of God to be revealed” (Romans 8:19).  Thus, every field of human activity, which affects ecological and social environments, is a field of evangelization, which bears the Gospel as leading source of visionary light. 
With integral evangelization, the Gospel is understood as a divine gift to the whole body of humankind with the whole of creation.  In the Philippines, integral evangelization requires a Church transformed into a “Church of the Poor,” a Church that is pro-poor for the sake of the common good and God’s Reign.  In such a renewed Church, “the Church will not only evangelize the poor…the poor in the Church will themselves become evangelizers.  Pastors will learn to be with, work with and learn from the poor.” (PCP II Document, 132)

Politics is a priority area of New Evangelization in the Philippines because, while politics can lead people to the common good, it has dehumanized many Filipinos by entrapping them in practices and procedures that violate or degrade human dignity.  Politics should protect and not degrade human dignity, which flows from God’s decision to create human beings, male and female, in the divine “image” as co-creators who also serve as guardians “over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:27-28).

Other examples of new expressions that will be helpful for the New Evangelization are “empowerment of the laity,” “empowerment of the poor,” and “inter-generational justice.”  More new expressions will emerge as new dialogical methods will be proposed, pursued, tried and tested.
New Evangelization carries the hope of creative fidelity to the Spirit of Christ and the promise of an abundant harvest of holiness and joy in the Church and justice and peace in the world.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Biofuels Law

Six years go, on 06 May 2007, the Biofuels Law (RA 9367) enacted by the 13th Congress started to take effect, as gasoline stations sold diesel with 1% coco biofuel blend.  After several years, it is about time to review the implementation of the Law, which was intended to lead to cleaner and cheaper fuel, climate change mitigation, the development of a bioethanol industry, the generation of jobs, and increased income for sugar farmers.

The review of the implementation of the Biofuels Law is a major task of the 16thCongress, which shall open in July this year.

One of the vocal supporters of the Biofuels bill in the 13th Congress was the first-term Iloilo City Congressman Raul T. Gonzalez Jr. Below are excerpts from the Journal of the House of Representatives during deliberations on the bill:

“[Rep. Gonzalez] said he has been an advocate of the government’s search for alternative sources of fuel since he took his oath as a new member of the 13thCongress.

“Rep. Gonzalez informed the Body that, in Brazil, which has a big industry for sugarcane and produces ethanol for local consumption as well as for export, the average price for ethanol is USD25/barrel. He also stressed that coco-diesel is an alternative fuel for the country and suggested that the bill include a timeline for the use of the same.

“He pointed out that the country could eventually earn foreign currency by exporting biofuels produced from its many sugarcane plantations, to such countries as China and Japan, whose demand for biofuels cannot be satisfied by Brazil. This will contribute to improving our balance of trade.”

Friday, April 26, 2013

R a i n

Yesterday, it suddenly rained so hard in the afternoon that there were puddles everywhere in Barangay Tumana, Marikina City.  It was unusual in the middle of a hot summer.

Below is a poem about rain composed by my 8-year old daughter, Sophie Grace:

R a i n

Is rain hated by people?
It always wets the weary seagull.
But when I look at the rain
It waters the garden of shame.
And on hot dry days
when I get very itchy
I call to the rain
so I don't get weary.

Now I think the rain is nice.
It waters the crops and the old dry rice.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Uneven Trustworthiness of Key Sectors

The Church is perceived to be the most trustworthy institution in the Philippines, while Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are perceived to be the least trustworthy.  These are some of the findings shared during the launch of the 2012 Philippine Trust Index (PTI) at the Ateneo Professional Schools Auditorium on 27 February 2013.
The 2012 PTI is the fruit of the partnership between the Ateneo Graduate School of Business and EON, the Stakeholder Relations Firm.  The 2012 PTI is the result of two nationwide surveys, a General (Gen) Public survey and an Informed (Inf) Public survey. 
The Gen Public survey involved 1,200 respondents, 18 years old and above from all socio-economic classes (A to E).  The Inf Public survey involved 600 respondents, 25 years old and above from classes A to C who have at least 2 years of college education and who are significant media consumers.  Both surveys were conducted through face-to-face interviews in November and December 2012.
The PTI used a 5-level scale:  Very Much Trust (Napakalaking Tiwala), Fairly Much Trust (Medyo Malaking Tiwala), Neither Trust nor Distrust (Hindi Tiyak), Fairly Little Trust (Medyo Maliit na Tiwala), and Very Little Trust (Napakaliit na Tiwala).

In the PTI Gen survey, if one looks at the results of the Very Much Trust level only, here is what appears in descending order:  Church (68 %), Academe (45), Media (32), Government (15), NGOs (12), Business (9).
If one uses Very Much Trust plus Fairly Much Trust in the PTI Gen survey, the last two places change:  Church (92 %), Academe (85), Media (77), Govt (58), Business (55), NGOs (52).

In the PTI Informed Public survey (very much + fairly much), Business (60 %) and Govt (58.5) are nearly equal in their trustworthiness ratings, with Business barely higher.  NGOs (54.5) unfortunately again constitute the sector perceived to be the least trustworthy.

Stronger linkages with the Academe (especially universities) may help raise the trustworthiness of NGOs, Business and Government.  For example, a university can help an NGO in evaluating objectively the impact of the NGO’s work, especially its poverty reduction impact.  Based on the evaluation, the Academe can help the NGO come up with a better strategy or more effective programs to help those in need.

In the case of Business, the Academe can help it evaluate the impact of its policies and practices on its internal stakeholders, its personnel.  The Academe can help Business in its Research and Development of new or innovative products and services.  The stronger partnership ought to be mutually beneficial, and thus the Academe, for example, can benefit from access to more resources from Business in order to support academic research and to upgrade educational standards and methods.

In the case of the Church, perceived to be the most trustworthy institution, a stronger linkage with NGOs, Business and Government can be helpful for the less trustworthy sectors yet it is more problematic and risky than linkage with the Academe.  

Based on one of the top answers respondents gave to the question on what qualities are important for the trustworthiness of the Church, a significant source of its trustworthiness is its perceived autonomy or independence from the less trustworthy sectors especially Government.

Based on the qualities that respondents identified as important for the trustworthiness of the Church, its very high rating suggests that respondents perceive priests as quite good in providing spiritual guidance, modeling holiness, and practicing restraint in political involvement.

More members of class AB identified restraint in political involvement (40 %), as a trustworthiness criterion for the Church, compared to providing spiritual guidance (24 %) and modeling holiness (25).  In contrast, only 9 % of farmers and fisherfolk among the respondents identified restraint in political involvement as a criterion.  Clergy restraint in political involvement is a trustworthiness criterion especially for the urban elite.
The Church’s very high trust rating can be considered an encouraging sign for Philippine Church leaders (but if it leads to complacency or arrogance, such high rating will likely be unsustainable).
We may compare the PTI with the Edelman Global Trust Index or Barometer.  Edelman, an international public relations firm that has been conducting an international survey on trust since 2001, uses a 9-point scale in which 9 means “trust a great deal,” 1 means no trust at all, and 5 means neither trust nor distrust.  Edelman prioritizes the Informed Public, and limits its survey to 4 institutions (Business, Govt, Media, NGOs).

Here are the overall ratings from its 2013 study, which covers 20 nations:  NGOs (63 %), Business (58), Media (57), Govt (48).  For Edelman, 50-60 % is still neutral rather than clear trust.

If we adapt the Edelman standards for the Informed Public, one can say that, in the Philippines, the perception of trustworthiness of key sectors is uneven:  very high for Church (89 %), high for Academe (83) and Media (76), and neutral for Business (60), Govt (58.5) and NGOs (54.5).

If we look at the ratings of Malaysia and Indonesia in the 2013 Edelman, the Philippines is like Malaysia as regards the ratings received by (Mal) Government (60 %) and Business (63), and as regards the similarity of the gap between Govt and Business.  

But we are like Indonesia as regards the ratings received by (Ind) NGOs (51 %) and Media (77).  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the overall trustworthiness ratings of Indonesia (62 %) and Malaysia (64) would make them our neighbors, if the PTI average (62 %) for Phl Media, Business, Govt and NGOs were included in the 2013 Edelman Global Trust Index.

As regards the “advanced democracies” in the Edelman Trust Index, why is Canada (62 %) the only one with an overall clear trustworthiness rating, while the U.S. (59), the Netherlands (59), Germany (55), France (54), Sweden (54), the U.K. (53), and Australia (50) received neutral ratings?  Why are the one-party states of China (80 %) and Singapore (76) the top two nations in the Edelman Index with Government in China (81 %) and in Singapore (82) perceived to be the most trustworthy by their citizens?

Why is Government in most of the advanced democracies perceived to be either neutral or untrustworthy, rather than trustworthy (exceptions are the moderate ratings received by Government in the Netherlands and Sweden)?

In the Edelman Study, the dominant reasons for less trust in Government are, first, corruption or fraud, and second, incompetence or poor performance.  Similarly with the PTI, corruption reduction is the primary trustworthiness criterion for Government, while other criteria are poverty reduction, job creation, and fulfillment of campaign promises.  The neutral rating of Government in the Philippines means it has to work harder and smarter in reducing corruption and poverty and in creating jobs.

Going back to the advanced democracies, why is Government generally perceived to be either neutral or untrustworthy?  One reason, which is connected to the issue of competence, is articulated by Russell Hardin, a professor of politics at New York University:  A contemporary government’s “tasks may be so diverse and so complex that it must typically often fail in them, so that citizens continue to find it incompetent and, therefore lack confidence in it” (Hardin, 2006).

The other reason, for Hardin, is the tradition of Liberal Distrust or Skepticism in Government.  According to classical liberal thinkers like John Locke (1632-1704), David Hume (1711-1776), and Adam Smith (1723-1790), Government is necessary for public order, yet it is prone to abuse of power owing to its monopoly powers over the armed forces and many sectors in life.

There is no evidence that the influence of the tradition of liberal skepticism toward Government contributed to its neutral rating in the Philippines.  Of course, there is the folk wisdom about avoidance of excessive trust, which the prolific Filipino historian, Gregorio Zaide (1907-1986), articulated as: “Ang labis na pagtitiwala ay nagbubunga ng kamatayan [excessive trust leads to death].”
Going back to NGOs in Indonesia and the Philippines, why are they perceived to be less trustworthy and their ratings lower than a 20-nation average, where NGOs got highest marks since 2008?  Are there doubts about their helpfulness (benevolence and/or competence) towards those in need?  I believe these questions are worth pursuing for further research.

Why is business in Indonesia perceived to be more trustworthy than in the Philippines?  Does Indonesian business treat better its internal stakeholders (e.g. thru fairer compensation) and offer better value-for-money goods and services?

To restate some points:  Stronger linkages/partnerships with the Academe may help raise the trustworthiness of NGOs, Business and Government in the Philippines.  Clergy restraint in political involvement is an issue more for the urban elite.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Unconscious in the Self

The exercise of leadership, whether in governance, business, or religious institutions, is complex and risky because of the complexity of the following: the context, the self of the leader, and the relationship of leaders and followers (Karel San Juan, 2009).
A major aspect of the complexity of the self is the influence of unconscious desires, which though integral to the personality of every human agent, will rarely bear direct influence on the person’s behavior in everyday routines.  Unconscious desires may directly influence behavior in critical situations, which are circumstances or “situations that threaten or destroy the certitudes of institutionalized routines” (Anthony Giddens, Constitution of Society).
Unconscious desires constitute much, but not all, of the unacknowledged conditions of interaction, including the everyday routine.  These desires are fundamentally infantile organic wants.  Through the socialization process initiated by the parents or guardians, most infants learn to relate these wants to the expectations of others and thereby learn to “manage” these wants.  Giddens writes:

“Given that the modes of management of organic wants represent the first, and in an important sense the most all-embracing accommodation which the child makes to the world, it seems legitimate to suppose that a “basic security system” – that is, a primitive level of management of tensions rooted in organic needs – remains central to later personality development; and given that these processes occur first before the child acquires the linguistic skills necessary to monitor its learning consciously…
“they lie ‘below’ the threshold of those aspects of conduct that, learned later and in conjunction with the reflexive monitoring of such learning, are easily verbalized – thus ‘made conscious’ – by the older child or adult.” (Giddens, New Rules)
In a critical situation, the unconscious of a leader or a major participant can contribute directly to the production of unintended consequences of action.  An example is the case of somebody who is depressed because of the loss of a beloved person either by death or estrangement.  If the depression becomes protracted, the agent or leader can become more withdrawn or more demanding in his/her dealings with others (Giddens, Studies in Social and Political Theory). 
Further withdrawal or increased hostility represents an indirect and disorientated appeal for attention, love or forgiveness; this ambivalent behavior, however, can produce an effect that the depressed agent or leader does not really want: followers, relatives, acquaintances, or the estranged beloved might avoid the depressed person increasingly.  A continuing deterioration of their interaction increases the possibility of suicidal behavior on the part of the depressed.

The ambivalent behavior of the depressed agent is sustained by ambivalent memory-flashes about the beloved.  Facts and fancies of instances of having been snubbed, neglected, or offended by the beloved are recalled, which bring hostile feelings, which then are repressed.  These repressed feelings evoke the deep foreboding that one has actually been abandoned by the absent beloved.
The depressed agent carries a self-absorbing sense of guilt which twists the hostile feelings about the beloved into a pervading hostility to the self.  This shadowy hostility is self-punitive, punitive toward others, or both.  Thus, the agent becomes withdrawn, and can become hostile even toward friends.

The foreboding that one has been abandoned is influenced directly by infantile memory-flashes of those instances when the infant sensed that the nurturing object was absent.  In those moments, the infant feared that the absence was permanent and that the nurturer or guardian had abandoned it.

Good socialization or child-rearing accustoms an infant not only to the temporary absences of a guardian but also to the deferments of some organic pleasures to later moments.  The well-socialized child has learned that, first, a period of absence does not necessarily mean abandonment, and second, a deferment of pleasure can anticipate or bring more satisfaction.
Every well-socialized person, however, still retains unconscious, and thus non-reflexive and non-discursive, infantile pleasures and fears in the deepest recesses of the personality.  In a critical situation, these unacknowledged pleasures and fears can condition directly the action of a person.

Another example of how unconscious conditions can contribute to the production of unintended consequences is the case of an infantry company whose esprit de corps revolves on their devotion to the captain or commander.  In a critical situation like a battle, a strong-willed and admired captain can keep a company united and co-operative no matter how bad the battle is becoming.

In the minds of many of these infantrymen, the figure of their captain is colored by childhood feelings about their fathers or guardians.  Encouraged by emotive flashes of the charmed and contented dependence of childhood, they can immediately submit to the difficult tactical decisions of their captain.  Yet the more fervent their devotion to the captain, the stronger is the possibility that his sudden death in battle will trigger infantile panic and even desertion among his infantrymen.

Reflexive agency has boundaries: the unconscious and the unacknowledged conditions and the unintended consequences of action and interaction.  Leaders and their followers do make history, but especially in critical situations, the influence of the unconscious becomes strong and less indirect.  In such situations, what may appear already to be the most logical option may not likely be the option most existentially attractive to the leader(s).  To accept the existence of the unconscious implies that, in critical situations, observers and analysts have to be wary of overconfidence in the human capacity for critical reason and rational action.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Shared Mission in Prophetic, Kingly & Priestly Service

In the field of Catholic education, there is great necessity and opportunity to deepen the sense of shared mission especially among the lay, religious, and clerical educators.  For their “shared mission” as “builders of communion,” all educators in Catholic schools ought to undergo “shared formation” (Congregation for Catholic Education [2007]).

In shared formation, “the lay faithful themselves can and should help priests and religious in the course of their spiritual and pastoral journey” (Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful 61).  “Communion and mutuality in the Church are never one-way streets” (CICLSAL [2002],“Starting Afresh from Christ,” 31). 

Wise pastors and religious seek and welcome relevant feedback from lay persons as regards the outcomes of pastoral programs, the quality of the preaching and worship activities, and the personal conduct of pastoral agents.

The formation of the laity is a requirement for the work of evangelization by both the younger and older churches:
“The Gospel cannot become deeply rooted in the mentality, life and work of a people without the active presence of lay people.  Thus, from the foundation of a church very special care must be taken to form a mature Christian laity.” (Church’s Missionary Activity 21)

The catechetical and theological formation of the laity strengthens the prophetic ministry of the whole Church and helps the laity to proclaim in word and deed the Gospel in day-to-day life and in particular contexts.  Lay persons as catechists, Catholic school teachers, married theologians, and faith-inspired politicians and public servants have many opportunities to exercise their prophetic ministry.

Church leaders can strengthen the prophetic ministry of the laity in the following ways:
1. Support the theological education of lay people.
2. Include lay (single and married) theologians in seminaries (especially to teach sexual ethics, the sacrament of matrimony, Church history, Scripture).
3. Discover and develop gifted lay preachers in parishes and communities.

In countries of the Two-Thirds World, where many families of the lay faithful experience hunger and deprivation of basic needs from time to time, the prophetic ministry of the poor has to be recognized and developed.  The poor have to be empowered to tell their stories and to retell them from a faith perspective.  As the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines put it in 1991:

“The ‘Church of the Poor’ will also mean that the Church will not only evangelize the poor, but that the poor in the Church will themselves become evangelizers.  Pastors will learn to be with, work with and learn from the poor.  A ‘Church of the Poor’ will not only render preferential service to the poor but will practice preferential reliance on the poor in the work of evangelization.”  (PCP II, 132)

The pervasiveness and persistence of dehumanizing poverty and unnecessary violence in our contemporary world makes it imperative for the whole Church, and for every believer, to exercise better the kingly ministry by paying attention to the wisdom and folly, the fairness and unfairness, of the formulation and implementation of policies of the State and the Church.  

A major branch of the kingly ministry is the ministry of social action whose guiding principles include justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

Church leaders can strengthen the kingly ministry of the laity in the following ways:
1. Intensify education on the Catholic Social Teachings especially on the rights and responsibilities of lay people in the worlds of politics and economics.
2. Ensure that the Parish Pastoral Council is fully functional in terms of personnel, resources,and responsibilities.
3. Open the membership of policy-making councils and boards (of trustees) of Catholic schools, hospitals and institutions to competent laity.
4. Make the Ministry of Financial Management in parishes and ecclesial communities fully functional, transparent and accountable especially when it comes to budgeting and resource mobilization.

Despite the grief and anguish of many people, especially the poor and the sick, throughout history down to our times, the faithful and merciful presence of the Spirit of Christ animates the priestly ministry of the whole Church of which every member constitutes “a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).  

God’s people offer a sacrifice of praise day and night in liturgies and prayers and in the upliftment of hearts and minds to the Lord in the midst of day-to-day activities and struggles.

In the royal priesthood, there is basic equality in dignity of all the members, whether they happen to be ordained or not.  “The ordination of one should not become the subordination of another” (Peter Neuner).  The ordained priesthood and the common priesthood are meant to enhance their communion and to preserve both their distinction and their equal dignity.

One way Church leaders can strengthen the priesthood of the majority faithful is by inviting and involving them, especially those with musical and artistic talents, in the making of creative worship activities like children’s liturgies.

“When the lay faithful discover and live more and more their vocation and mission in the Church and in the world, the ordained will likewise discover the meaning of their own vocation and mission.Such a discovery on the part of both the clergy and the laity who were called not to compete but to complement each other will result in a deeper realization of the ministry and spirituality of all the baptized.” (PCP II, 417)

The Church is a mystery of communion and shared mission to make the open communion of the Holy Trinity more visible and tangible throughout the earth.  It is timely, first, to deepen understanding of the shared mission of all the disciples, both the majority and the minority faithful; second, to improve their co-responsibility and co-operation; third, to empower the laity especially through theological and professional formation.

The laity are secular because they are called to contribute to the sanctification of the world often in implicit ways especially in multireligious, multicultural, or pluralistic contexts.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shared Mission

Fifty years since Vatican II (1962-65), it is timely, first, to deepen understanding of the shared mission of all the Lord’s disciples, both the majority (lay) faithful and the minority (religious and clerical) faithful; second, to improve their co-responsibility and co-operation; third, to empower the laity especially through theological and professional formation.

In chapter 2, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church or Lumen Gentium (LG) affirms that there is basically one vocation and one mission for all the disciples, whether lay, consecrated, or ordained. 
By virtue of the sacrament of baptism, every disciple has both the right and responsibility to exercise the threefold ministry of prophet (proclaimer), priest (sanctifier) and king (policy-maker) within the Church and wider society.  Thus, the laity “in their own way share the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ and to the best of their ability carry on the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” (LG 31). 
“Each of the faithful [has] the right and duty of exercising charisms in the Church and in the world for the good of humanity and the development of the Church, of exercising them in the freedom of the Holy Spirit who ‘breathes where It wills’ (John 3:8), and at the same time in communion with one’s brothers and sisters in Christ, and with one’s pastors especially” (Apostolate of the Laity 3).
“The lay faithful are not second class members [of the Church].  They share with all the baptized an equal Christian dignity.” (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines [PCP II], 405)  It is not their primary mission to be junior partners or participants in the apostolate of the minority faithful, the ordained and the consecrated members.
Co-responsibility among the majority and minority faithful are necessary for the work of integral evangelization in which the whole Gospel is offered to whole persons with their religious, cultural, political and economic aspects.  Both the clergy and the religious worldwide cannot offer enough energy and expertise to evangelize all the vast fields of economics, politics, and cultures.
The whole Church needs competent and committed laity (and even competent and benevolent non-believers) to engage with the world:

“Nowadays when things change so rapidly and thought patterns differ so widely, the Church needs to step up this exchange [with different cultures] by calling upon the help of people who are living in the world, who are expert in its organizations and its forms of training, and who understand its mentality, in the case of believers and nonbelievers alike” (Church in the Modern World 44).
Engagement with the world is what the laity do in their day-to-day lives.  Thus, the laity have a “secular character,” as “they are engaged in each and every work and business of the earth and in the ordinary circumstances of social and family life” (LG 31). 
The laity are secular, not because their activities are outside of or in opposition to the action of the Holy Spirit.  “The secular character of the laity does not make them ‘worldly’ or keep them from the sacred activities of the mission of the Church” (Aurelie Hagstrom).  They are secular because much of their day-to-day practices and affairs are outside of the control or administration of the hierarchy. 
More importantly, the laity are secular because they are “immediately and most numerously seen as the presence of the Church in the world” (PCP II, 423), and they are called to “contribute to the sanctification of the world, as from within like leaven” (LG 31), especially in multireligious, multicultural, or pluralistic contexts.  In such contexts, the explicit proclamation of the faith has to be done wisely and during opportune times so that faith expressions would not be like “pearls (thrown) to pigs” (Matthew 7:6) which might provoke unnecessary scorn or violence.
Integral evangelization entails the active participation and co-leadership of lay persons, as their “field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complicated world of politics, economics…the world of culture, the sciences and the arts, international life and the mass media.  It also includes… human love, the family, the education of children and adolescents, professional work and suffering.” (Evangelization in the Modern World 70)

The active participation of the majority faithful becomes more urgent owing to these signs of the times: the ageing of the clergy and their steadily diminishing numbers in the older churches of Europe and North America, the globalization of information and, with increasing access of masses of people to means of interactive communication, increasing discontent with one-way communication, authoritarianism, and elitism globally.