Manifesto for a Slow Evangelization

Authored by Stratford Caldecott in Issue #34.1 of The Sower

In this article, Léonie and Stratford Caldecott share their convictions about evangelization, drawn from many years of experience in Catholic cultural and faith renewal.

In Italy and other places there is a Slow Food movement, and there are designated “Slow Cities”. You can read on Wikipedia about Slow Fashion, Slow Money, Slow Parenting, and even a World Institute of Slowness. The Slow Movement believes that quality of life and thus real wealth comes from slowness, care, and contemplation, rather than non-stop activity and frenetic speed. We believe in Slow Evangelization.

Newman’s Spring

2012 was the 160th anniversary of John Henry Newman’s prophetic sermon, “The Second Spring”, marking a turning point in the history of Christianity in these islands – the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the beginnings of a Catholic revival that went on to produce Christopher Dawson, G.K. Chesterton, and a whole host of poets, novelists, and apologists, many of them published by Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward.

It is worth recalling that when Newman gave the Second Spring sermon at St Mary’s College in Birmingham, he was still only 51 years old, and a relatively recent Catholic. It was only two weeks after the ending of the humiliating Achilli trial, which had brought to the surface much anti-Catholic feeling around the country. The newly reconstituted Synod of Bishops was meeting for the first time, in a neo-Gothic seminary designed by Augustus Welby Pugin. Newman used his platform at the geographical centre of England and at the dawn of a new historical epoch to prophesy a resurgence of Catholic culture – one that would affect not just intellectuals but the whole population, through the building of churches and schools and the re-entry of Roman Catholics into the political, economic, and social life of the nation. “O Mary, my hope, O Mother undefiled, fulfill to us the promise of this Spring.”

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This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

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