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Catholic evangelization can renew by focusing more on serving people

Published: 22nd November 2021 Last updated: 23rd November 2021

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How can the Catholic Church evangelize at a time when secularization is increasing in the West? In his inaugural address on Friday, November 26, Professor of Practical Theology Jan Loffeld of the Tilburg Catholic School of Theology makes a plea for a new path, in which the church focuses more on the needs of the people.

It was Pope Francis himself who asked for the blessing of the people when he took office, showing that the church was opening up to the people. But evangelization is also a priority in the pope's thinking, although the church no longer plays the dominant role in which it coincides with faith and culture and thus brought general communion. The church used to spread the belief of the God of moral superiority, of political influence, and of the claim to power over every human being. That old Constantinian church form of God no longer exists, argues Loffeld.

People as victims of crises 
He believes that evangelization should not oppose secularization. The church can also be of service and listen to the people who suffer from global neoliberal economic systems, climatic crises and digitalization. And who, moreover, practice individual forms of faith.

He therefore argues for handling the concept of anatheism - the openness to the desire
to come to know God again as the 'holy mystery', after the loss of its social significance, as a new form of evangelizing activity.

Since March 2019 Jan Loffeld (1975 in Kleve, Germany)  has been Professor of Practical Theology and Head of Department of Practical Theology and Religious Studies at the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology. He studied theology in Münster and Rome and was ordained a priest in 2003. After several years of pastoral ministry and completing his doctorate at the University of Erfurt in 2010, he became head chaplain and assistant professor of Dogmatics at the University of Münster. In 2017 he was appointed Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Catholic University of Applied Sciences Mainz and in 2018 he was awarded the Habilitation at the University of Erfurt.

More information
Prof. Dr. Jan Loffeld will deliver his inaugural address on Friday, November 26, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. in the auditorium. The speech is titled: 'Getting to know God after God'. Due to corona measures, the number of visitors is limited. The ceremony can be followed via the live stream . You can also contact science editor Tineke Bennema, via persvoorlichters@tilburguniversity.edu and tel. 013-4668998.