BY: KELLY SCHAFFER
Scott Hahn was awarded the Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization on May 15, 2012.
Hahn, who holds a doctorate in biblical theology from Marquette University, is a world-renowned author, speaker and scholar, as well as professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
“Through his work at Franciscan University, his scholarly research and publications, his popular writing and countless speaking engagements, Dr. Scott Hahn has done the very thing the Fathers of Vatican II called upon Catholic scholars to do,” said the Rev. Terence Henry, president of Franciscan when he presented the award.
This position will help Hahn to spread the word of the New Evangelization and the Word of God he specializes in studying.
The New Evangelization for the Transmission of Christian Faith is a relatively new approach to evangelization in the Roman Catholic Church that aims at the conversion and education of people and countries who are already Catholic, but may not understand their faith fully or appreciate the true joy that comes with the Church.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, attempted to explain the reason why New Evangelization is necessary; “we can see a progressive process of de-Christianization and a loss of the essential human values, which is worrisome. . .this is why we are searching for, along with permanent and uninterrupted and never to be interrupted evangelization, a new evangelization, capable of being heard by that world that does not find access to ‘classic’ evangelization.” Ratzinger also noted that, “Everyone needs the Gospel; the Gospel is destined to all and not only to a specific circle and this is why we are obliged to look for new ways of bringing the Gospel to all.”
Hahn says in a video posted by his institute, the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, that when the Americas were first colonized, the most Catholic countries of the time were Spain, Italy and France. Now, after over 500 years, Brazil comes in first place, Mexico comes in second, and the United States comes in third for the countries who have the most Catholics in the world. Spain, Italy and France’s Catholic populations have dwindled, and are in need of New Evangelization by the Catholic Church.
The New Evangelization is not focused solely in Europe. According to the Vatican’s website, it is meant to target all countries in the Christian West. The website notes that the task of this new push to evangelize is “having the courage to raise again the question of God in these places and situations and to restore a high quality and motivation to the faith in many of our Churches of ancient origins.”