In an opening preamble to the main text, Francis sets out the scope of the exhortation, characterizing evangelizing as both a joy and delight, as well as a tool for the transmission of faith. However, he also notes that the scope of this text is not exhaustive: some important topics have been excluded, as requiring further study and reflection.

Notably absent from the topics covered, is the entire field of human sexuality, probably because it will be receiving extensive such study and reflection in the year leading up to, and during, the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family, late in 2014.

The sub-headings in this preamble, together with their paragraph numbers,  are:

I. A joy ever new, a joy which is shared [2-8]

II. The delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing [9-13]

Eternal newness [11-13]

III. The new evangelization for the transmission of the faith [14-18]

The scope and limits of this Exhortation [16-18]

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How to be happy, Catholic and gay

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