Go out, engage the culture

By Bishop Thomas Zinkula

In my reading and listening, I often run across a really good article, podcast or whatever that I wish other people in the diocese, especially those who care about our Vision 20/20 initiative, would be able to read or hear. So I have decided to share summaries of some of them periodically in The Catholic Messenger.

Bishop Zinkula

The first one is a portion of a recent Bishop (Robert) Barron Word on Fire Show podcast entitled “The Ad Extra Strategy.” In the podcast he describes ad extra as looking toward what is on the outside, and ad intra as looking toward what is on the inside.

Pope Francis has an ad extra orientation. He talks about a Church that goes out from itself, a Church that goes out from the sacristy and into the streets.

Likewise, the Second Vatican Council was very much ad extra oriented. It was intended to be a missionary council. Pope St. John XXIII said that the Church needed to get out from behind its high walls, go out to the world, and bring the light (Christ) to the nations. The universal call to holiness, the missionary demand, the new evangelization — all of this comes out of Vatican II’s vision.

But that didn’t happen. Instead the Church turned much more inward and intensely debated issues largely of sexual ethics and ecclesial authority. Granted, these are very important issues, but it wasn’t the purpose of the Council for the Church to resolve its interior identity.

Consequently, the Church has barely begun to realize the ideals of Vatican II, one of them being the missionary outreach. Despite this major council’s intention, and despite all of the popes ever since it concluded who have emphasized the need and urgency of an ad extra mission, many people still focus on ad intra questions.

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Why? Perhaps because it is easier to do so. The ad extra move is tougher. Going out and really engaging the culture requires a shared effort. Together going out to meet the culture; together going out to announce Christ — that’s tougher.


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