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Pope Francis’ document delivers wake-up call on evangelization

Over the last eight months, Pope Francis has revealed his fresh vision of the church’s role in bits and pieces – a homily here, a press conference there and an occasional conversation related by a third party. In a document released today titled “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), the pope offers a much more complete look at his approach to the church’s primary mission of evangelization in the modern world. It is a remarkable and radical document, one that ranges widely and challenges complacency at every level. It critiques the over-centralization of church bureaucracy, poor preaching and excessive emphasis on doctrine, while encouraging pastoral creativity and openness, even calli

At Ohio Dominican University in Columbus this week

I’ll be speaking at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus this Tuesday at 7 p.m. The topic is “Decoding the Vatican,” and that’s what I find myself doing in most of the talks I’ve been giving lately. Despite a new pope who communicates pretty directly, I find that the Vatican still needs decoding. I also find that what’s on most people’s minds is whether Pope Francis can possibly succeed in the reforms he’s undertaken, and whether his inspiring words will be followed by changes in structures and attitudes and ways of doing things in the church. There is a great deal of interest in the Vatican right now, and it’s great to see big audiences with lots of questions.

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