Skip to comments.Do not be afraid [of evangelization] Catholic Caucus
Posted on 08/26/2007 4:15:55 PM PDT by Salvation
Carl E. Olson
A few years ago, I was talking with a close relative, a fundamentalist Protestant, about why I became Catholic. Puzzled and not satisfied with my various explanations, he asked, "Did you become Catholic so you could teach Catholics the Gospel?"
The implication seemed to be that since he thought I was still a "true Christian," I must have never really become Catholic, and so my foray into the Church of Rome must be part of a well-intentioned attempt to evangelize the lost souls residing there.
This was both frustrating and amusing to me. Frustrating because he wouldn't take seriously the reasons I gave for coming home to Rome, and amusing because not only is the fullness of the Gospel found in the Catholic Church, it can be argued that the greatest evangelist of the 20th century was a Catholic: Pope John Paul II.
However, in fairness to my relative, many Catholics either do not know the Gospel very well or, if they do, are often reluctant to share it with others.
More than a few Catholics might be surprised to know that Pope John Paul, in his wonderful apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici (On the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful), wrote that "the entire mission of the Church, then, is concentrated and manifested in evangelization," and, "The lay faithful, precisely because they are members of the Church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the Gospel" (No. 33).The sacraments prepare us.
One of the sad ironies of the past 40 years is that the Second Vatican Council emphasized the importance of evangelization by the laity, but has often been ignored or simply not explained.
There is a certain historical precedence for this evangelistic apathy, and it forms the background to many of the writings of the prophets, including Isaiah, from which comes today's first reading. "I come to gather nations of every language," God declares, a statement that has deep roots in the Pentateuch, especially in the narratives and pronouncements dealing with the covenants with Abraham and Moses.
Throughout the Old Testament, God proclaimed that Israel was meant to be the first among many nations, like a firstborn son. And one of Israel's great responsibilities was to proclaim the truth about God to other peoples. In the words of the psalmist, sung today: "Go out to all the world and tell the Good News." Yet, Israel often failed to tell other nations the Good News.
The parallels to Church history and to our own times are easily seen. On one hand, this isn't surprising considering that human nature has not changed since the time of Moses and the prophets. But we do have the benefit of hindsight, of being able to see the patterns of human nature and to examine ourselves in the light of history and, more importantly, in the light of the Word of God.
The importance of evangelization cannot be overemphasized because the love of God for the souls of every man, woman and child cannot be overstated. As the Gospel reading makes so evident, the stakes are very high. "Strive to enter though the narrow gate," Jesus taught, "for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough."
Each person will make his or her own decision for or against Christ. But those who fail to proclaim Christ -- in word and deed -- when the opportunity presents itself also make a serious decision. The Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes (The Church in the Modern World) warned: "The Christian who neglects his temporal duties ... jeopardizes his eternal salvation" (No. 43). So, don't be afraid to declare the Good News -- even among fellow Catholics.
Carl E. Olson is editor of IgnatiusInsight.com.
Sorry, all, but I can only be here from time to time now. I am pretty busy at work.
The sins are not necessarily “deadly” in the narrow sense but can be. They include:
1- apologetical gluttony
2-reducing the Faith to apologetics and apologetics to arguments (mea culpa)
3-confusing the Faith with our arguments for it (mea culpa)
4-contentiousness (mea maxima culpa)
5-friendly fire (mea culpa)
6-trying to “win” (mea maxima culpa)
7-pride (mea maxima culpa)
I suggest you read this book. There are many on this board who are exemplary apologists and I have watched them in admiration for a long time. There may be some like me who got the smell of blood and just wanted to “win.”
My confessor recommended this book in and indirect manner. He is right; it is eye-opening.
We are Christians, FRiends. It is sad to see people fighting who do believe in Jesus Christ when there are many who are atheists or agnostics who could care less and are in grave peril for their souls. If we collectively had discussions for them, who knows what harvest the Spirit would yield.
The crux of this book is simple. If you want to be an apologist, realize that GOD, the Holy Spirit, does ALL the heavy lifting but expects us to do the work. The list of books recommended by the author for a serious apologist was really daunting! And I am speaking about many books that people such as my old pal “Dawg” has read and continues to read. They are not just theology books; they are books on the Protestant faith and its theology and encyclicals and books by the saints.
It is just a suggestion, but it would raise the level of apologetics discourse a great deal. In one manner, it would do so by teaching us to avoid many of the “baits” that are left to bring out the worst in us and by recognizing true friends who get whacked in friendly fire! The baits are not necessarily by people; Satan uses any means he can.
...he doesn’t have a sign that says “I’m not Catholic.
First, some in the Church are trying to have us do that sing of peace nonsense and holding hands during the Our Father. Now, they want me to go around asking people if they’re saved. Sorry, not happenin’.
Yes, good plan.
In those circumstances, you gotta come up with something!
Oh, I totally agree, my FRiend. God bless.
You are correct, of course, Salvation. Thank you for reminding me to be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes, I just feel so grumpy and resentful because of all of the changes that have occurred in the church. I truly miss (to the point of tears right now) the Church of my childhood and youth.
Thank you for your kind words and your blessings.
Perhaps they need to hang out on FR for a week or frequent this website:
I think Frank is saying — “Read the book!”
I can see that we still need to read this book! LOL!
**Sometimes, I just feel so grumpy and resentful because of all of the changes that have occurred in the church. I truly miss (to the point of tears right now) the Church of my childhood and youth.**
Is there going to be an Extraordinary Rite Tridentine Latin Mass in your area? It will take you back to your roots!
Frank, you once posted a link that pointed out where the TLM was going to be available, but I did not save the link. Could you help out Bigg Red here in locating a TLM close to him? Thanks in advance, buddy.
PS. I promise to save the site this time. LOl!
My answer to almost all of them would have to be "mea maxima culpa"
You and me both! I think all this talk and hope (and dashed hopes) about the motu proprio is really stirring up the memories for me!
Of your point of reference, but worth posting!
**”mea maxima culpa”**
It’s coming — even in English:
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous fault.
Every other language (except English) has it!
Is the Gloria going back to its full form? I hate that truncated version!
Once again thank you for the link...
See the link for TLM Masses here:
Now it's not like we can carry on any lengthy 'religious' conversations in that fishbowl where we work. So I gave great thought to his question and tried to figure out the most down to earth and simplistic approach, short of handing him the CCC. I decided to keep it simple. I gave him the following graphic:
followed by the Nicene Creed (upon which the CCC is written). In the office, he has witnessed my 'christian' behavior and pretty much figured out that I am the only one who has shown him 'christian' respect. Not sure where this is going but I plan to watch The Journey Home tonight (So. Baptist convert) and order this book.
Here is a link to the program.
Whenever I see the words "new people for parish leadership", red flags go up and so do my shackles. Good luck!
Where in FL are you? I know two outstanding Maronite Catholic parishes down there that are rapidly filling up with Roman Catholics. One of the pastors told me that he often sees them crying during the Mass. I just kept shaking my head in understanding; I did that for an entire year. Tears of utter joy!
...stirring up the memories for me!
I think you have a great point there.