Each year, Pope Benedict gathers his former students together with him for a summer retreat that analyzes a specific topic. This year the topic was the New Evangelization as the Pope prepares for the Bishop's Synod on the New Evangelization in 2012. And along with this topic, the Pope made an interesting apology.

But, before we discuss the apology, let's review. The New Evangelization is the re-introduction of the Gospel to persons and cultures who were once Christian, but who have fallen away from an active living of the faith. For more on the New Evangelization, see our previous article.

Referencing a passage from Jeremiah and the theme of the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict prayed, "In this time of God’s absence when the earth of souls is arid and people do not yet know where the living water comes from, let us ask the Lord to show himself to us. Let us ask him to show those who are seeking the living water elsewhere..."

Then, Pope Benedict, who was surely still reflecting on World Youth Day, added, "Let us ask him, especially for young people, that the thirst for him may come to life within in them and that they may know where to seek the response."

Finally, the apology, "And let us, who have been acquainted with him since the days of our youth, ask forgiveness because we bring so little of the light of his face to others, and emanate so feebly the certainty that 'he is, he is present and he is the great and complete reality that we are all awaiting'".

The apology is striking. It is easy to make evangelization a extra-curriculur activity in the Catholic Church and have the attitude that "some are involved in Knights of Columbus, some help out with the Church festival, and some evangelize." In the end, evangelization is not an option; it is a requirement of our Baptism and Confirmation.

Failing to do so should cause all of us to repent.

For the full speech, click here.

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