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Key points of Evangelii Gaudium, the Pope's first Apostolic Exhortation

2013-11-26

Through this apostolic exhortation, Pope Francis had publicly laid out what he wants to focus on during his pontificate.  He challenges all Catholics to share the message of the Gospel with joy and mercy.  To preach by example, the Pope says the Papacy should undergo a conversion, that's more faithful to the "meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization.” 

These are some of the key points of  the document titled 'The Joy of the Gospel,' which the Pope says, must have 'important consequences.' 

1. ACTION
The Pope isn't concerned about changing Church Doctrine, but rather in changing the way Christianity is presented to the world. He says talking about God, "isn't about imposing beliefs, but rather about sharing the joy of faith.”

2. PROXIMITY 
The humanity of the Catholic Church is one of the points he highlights, including showing 'mercy to the sinner.'  He also calls for 'seeking the happiness of others 'just as their heavenly Father does.' He invites Catholics evangelize on an individual and personal basis. 

3. DON'T TURN A BLIND EYE
In his writings, the Pope calls on Christians to not turn a blind eye, before social injustice. He specifically calls out the 'economy of exclusion and inequality.' The 'tyranny' of markets and the culture of idolizing money. He also addresses modern day slavery like forced prostitution and child labor, including begging. 

4. WOMEN
The priestly ordination of women is not an option, but the Pope writes that women should be given more concrete roles in the Church. He also adds that being a priest is a role of service and "not of dignity or holiness.” When it comes to defending life, the Pope says the Church will not change its stance on abortion, explaining that eliminating life is 'not progressive.' But he also questions whether the Church has done enough to help single pregnant women. 

The document is for all Catholics, not just for Church superiors. The Pope also says that Jesus Christ breaks through the 'boring' categories we often try to limit Him to.

It's a document where the Pope urges Catholics to show the joy of faith. But with faith, he says, comes the responsibility of sharing it. 


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