The highly anticipated The Joy of the Gospel was written to answer a number of evangelization-related questions, including:

  • How to foster conversion in the Church in order to make her people more faithful and effective in communicating God’s love to others?
  • Why is the place of missions in the modern world? What are the obstacles believers’ own lives sometimes place in the way of others’ coming to faith?
  • What are the questions people have about faith?
  • What attitudes make it hard for people to be receptive to the Christian message? How does Jesus answer the most fundamental questions of human existence?
  • Is there a difference between evangelizing and proselytizing, between proposing faith and imposing it.

An apostolic exhortation is simply a teaching document on a particular theme to encourage and challenge people. It is meant to inspire Catholics to action rather than define Church doctrine. Also, popes usually issue them in response to a synod of bishops, which is a gathering of Church leaders focused on particular theme.

The exhortation appeared on November 26, 2013 and can be downloaded by clicking here.