George Weigel, the American Catholic layman and distinguished scholar, will be known to many readers of The Sower for his biography of Blessed John Paul II, Witness to Hope. He recently published a book entitled, Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church.[i] The book states the case for authentic reform in the Catholic Church by a return to the Faith that underpinned and informed the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council, but which has sometimes been misinterpreted and misapplied in the life of the Church during the past fifty years. Those who wish to understand and to offer the Faith in every aspect of Catholic education will find that this book has many useful things to say about the ways in which the followers of Christ can continue to bear witness to the Gospel in this Year of Faith and in the years to come.
In my youth there were two kinds of Christians, broadly speaking. There were Catholics on the one hand and Evangelicals on the other. As Catholics and Protestants, respectively, they rarely met. Times have changed. The responsibility that all Christians have (or should have) for obeying the Evangelical Imperative of the Great Commission at the end of Matthew’s Gospel was either taken for granted or delegated to the more zealous individuals, who belonged to one or other of the ever growing number of Protestant churches. The Evangelical Imperative, however, remains at the heart of Catholic discipleship. In this new book, Weigel reminds Catholics of something they may have been seduced into forgetting, namely, that they have always been expected to be evangelicals, too. Since the Second Vatican Council, Catholics have been consistently encouraged to believe that evangelisation requires them to equip themselves for the task with an adequate catechetical formation. As an essential part of this necessary preparatory effort, The Sower has provided an unique service over the years for teachers at every level of authentic Catholic catechesis, education and mission. The Year of Faith in 2013 gives special impetus to the task.