I’m going to focus these posts on what I think are the major themes of The Joy of the Gospel, and many of those cut across the document, but it still might be helpful to know how it’s organized. This is a wide-ranging work; I’ve read my share of papal encyclicals, which tend to be the most common major writings by a pope, and they tend to be pretty topical – on the family, on the economy, on politics, on a doctrinal matter. This, however, covers a lot more ground.
It lays out like this:
Introduction (which is about 20 paragraphs in itself)
Chapter I, which is really focused on how spreading the good news about God’s love should be the central mission of the Church
Chapter 2, which talks about the challenges to doing this, both problems in the world and problems within the Church that make it hard to focus on spreading the good news
Chapter 3, which is about the role every Catholic plays in spreading the Gospel. It includes a lot on sermons or homilies and teaching within the Church
Chapter 4, which talks at length about the social dimensions of evangelization. Basically, Francis argues that you can’t effectively share the news that God loves them without working to make this world more loving, too. He focuses on the two big social problems he identifies, the treatment of the poor and the need for peace.
Chapter 5, which concludes the document with a rah-rah note about the spirit that Christians need to evangelize and ends with an ode to Mary. In case you didn’t know it was Catholic.
The secular press pulled from Chapter 2, and maybe a little from Chapter 4. They missed a lot.
Leave a Reply