'We Must Find New Language to Communicate Gospel'


Archbishop Smith

Failure to communicate the Gospel in a way which 21st century society understands has resulted in a growing number of young people who don’t know what Christmas and Easter are all about, according to the Most Reverend Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark in London.

Speaking on Premier Christian Radio, ahead of this year’s World Youth Day in Rio at the end of this month, the Archbishop said the Catholic Church needed to be aware of the culture of our time – particularly where young people are concerned.

“We’ve got to find a new language,” he said. “Not in any way to give a false impression of the Gospel – we must keep to the Gospel truth – but to use language which is perhaps more easy for youngsters and, indeed, adults to understand.”

The Archbishop claimed that it was all too easy to absorb the culture of the day by the sort of values that are represented by TV soaps which, he said, don’t reflect the reality of society for many people.

But he referred to his experience of the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany where, he said, he saw youngsters full of joy, and described a conversation with the Cologne police.

“You must be glad when all this is over,” he suggested to an English-speaking officer. But he replied that he’d rather have World Youth Day every week than a football match.

“They were very impressed with the youngsters who were cheerful and full of joy,” said the Archbishop. “They said it really lifted their hearts; youngsters full of joy, singing. It’s a great time for youngsters.”

The Archbishop, who is an English prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, warned that, in Europe, we live in an extremely secular society.

“More aggressive liberal secularists want to suppress religion and tell us religious people you shouldn’t interfere in public life,” he said. “I always counter by saying I’m a citizen of this country, same as everybody else, and I’ve got every right to have my say how things should be ordered.

“I believe that as a Christian, the Christian message is there to help build that good, mature society – a society where the most vulnerable people are cared for. That’s the sign of a healthy society.”

Premier Christian Radio will broadcast live up-dates from Rio, daily at 4-30pm from July 22nd to 26th, all of which will be available at www.premier.org.uk/hearttoheart.

Premier interviews will include:-
• Five Catholic Worship Leaders – July 21 on ‘Sunday Breakfast’.
• Edwin Fawcett, Catholic Worship Leader – July 22 on ‘Premier Drive’.
• Fr Christopher Jamieson – July 23 on ‘Premier Worship’.
• Archbishop Peter Smith – July 25 on ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.


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