Most Rev. Father Gotthard ROSNER
(General Superior of Missionaries of Africa)

Evangelisation contains different facets: announcing the word of God, inculturation, involvement of the Church in justice and peace, dialogue and involvement in social communications. In other word, evangelisation takes place wherever Christians work together with other people of good will to realise the plan of God.

The plan of God can be seen in Genesis 1 and 2 where in a symbolic or pictorial way it is defined as the order and harmony which must exist between God, people and nature.

In the Gospels Jesus expresses the plan of God by using the term "reign of God". Wherever the will of God is done, there God's reign is realised. Whenever somebody brings life, liberty, happiness to people, there is evangelisation.

One of the ways of bringing life and liberty to others is dialogue. Dialogue not just in words, but by being with others, especially with the poor and those who suffer. Dialogue is encounter.

Dialogue is realised when we admire and discover other cultures and religions, when we recognise the dignity of every human being and treat everyone with respect. We must try to discover the truth found in other religions and get rid of the idea that the Catholic Church alone possesses the truth.

Real dialogue might also challenge our ways of doing. We might have to rethink our structures, build less Churches and big institutions, but be with people in their hardships and suffering.

It is true that the encounter with Islam has become difficult. A rising wave of "fundamentalism" sweeps over many countries. There is a trend in Islam which puts religion higher than the human person.

That is why a real dialogue as described above is more necessary than ever. We must respect our Muslim brothers; we must try to understand their political and spiritual perspectives. We must read and study their writings in order to present the Christian faith to them in a language they understand. Courses on Islam should be on the curriculum in the training of Church leaders.

Dialogue with the African Traditional Religion is for Africa even more important, because they are not alien to the African Church, but rather belong to its nature.

Every culture will have to change, when getting in contact with the Gospel, but our ways of thinking and expressing the Gospel also will change. Culture will become faith, and faith culture.

Original text: English



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