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Sheep That Go Astray
Zenit News ^ | APRIL 11, 2008 | Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

Posted on 04/11/2008 11:46:40 AM PDT by annalex

ZE08041105 - 2008-04-11
Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-22266?l=english

Sheep That Go Astray


Gospel Commentary for 4th Sunday of Easter

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, APRIL 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- This is Good Shepherd Sunday, but this time we are not going to focus our attention on the Good Shepherd, but on his antagonist.

Who is the person who is defined as the “thief,” the “stranger”? Jesus is thinking in the first place of the false prophets and the pseudo-messiahs of his time who posed as emissaries of God and liberators of the people, but who in reality did nothing but send the people to die for them. Today these “strangers” who do not enter in through the gate, but who sneak into the sheepfold, who “steal” the sheep and “kill” them, are fanatic visionaries, or astute profiteers, who speculate on the good faith and naivety of the people. I am referring to the founders and leaders of the religious sects that are springing up around the world.

When we speak of sects, we must be careful not to put everything on the same level. Protestant evangelicals and Pentecostals, for example, apart from isolated groups, are not sects. For years the Catholic Church has maintained an official dialogue with them, something that it would never do with sects.

The true sects can be recognized by certain characteristics. First of all, in regard to their creed, they do not share essential points with the Christian faith, such as the divinity of Christ and the Trinity; or rather they mix foreign and incompatible elements with Christian doctrines -- re-incarnation, for example. In regard to methods, they are literally “sheep stealers” in the sense that they try to take the faithful away from their Church of origin, to make them followers of their sect.

They are also often aggressive and polemical. They invariably spend more time accusing and criticizing the Church, Mary and, in general, everything Catholic, rather than proposing their own positive ideas. They are the antipodes of the Gospel of Jesus, which is love, sweetness, respect for the freedom of others. Gospel love is absent from the sects.

Jesus has given us a sure criterion for recognizing them: “Beware,” he said, “of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but who underneath are rapacious wolves. By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:16). And the most common fruits of sects are divided families, fanaticism, and apocalyptic expectations of the end of the world, which are regularly contradicted by the facts.

There is another kind of religious sect, born outside the Christian world, generally imported from the East. Unlike those we have been talking about, they are not aggressive. Indeed, they present themselves “in the clothing of lambs,” preaching love for all, for nature, the quest for the deep self. They are often syncretistic ensembles, that is, they weave together elements from various religions, as is the case with the New Age.

The great spiritual damage that is caused to those who allow themselves to be convinced by these new messiahs is that they lose Jesus Christ, and with him that “life in abundance” that he came to bring. Some of these sects are also dangerous for mental health and public order. The recurrent cases of subjugation and group suicides show us where the fanaticism of some sect leaders can carry people.

When we speak about sects we must also say a “mea culpa.” People often end up in sects in search of the human warmth and support of a community that they did not find in their parish.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]


* * *

Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday are Acts 2:14a, 36-41; 1 Peter 2:20b-25; John 10:1-10.


© Innovative Media, Inc.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism
KEYWORDS: catholic

1 posted on 04/11/2008 11:46:40 AM PDT by annalex
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To: 353FMG; AlaskaErik; Always Right; Antoninus; ArrogantBustard; CTK YKC; dan1123; DogwoodSouth; ...
50 Days of Easter 2008 Celebration ping, dedicated to converts to the Catholic faith. If you want to be on the list but are not on it already, or if you are on it but do not want to be, let me know either publicly or privately.

Happy Easter. Christ is risen!

This is not properly a conversion story. This homily fits, however, with our recent topics of Christian unity.

Alex.


Previously posted conversion stories:

Anti-Catholicism, Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part I: Darkness
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part II: Doubts
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part III: Tradition and Church
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part IV: Crucifix and Altar
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part V: The Catholics and the Pope
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part VI: The Biblical Reality
His Open Arms Welcomed Me
Catholic Conversion Stories & Resources
My Personal Conversion Story
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church
Catholics Come Home
My Journey of Faith
LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM
"What is Truth?" An Examination of Sola Scriptura
"Have you not read?" The Authority behind Biblical Interpretation
The Crisis of Authority in the Reformation
Our Journey Home
Our Lady’s Gentle Call to Peace
A story of conversion at the Lamb of God Shrine
Who is Mary of Nazareth?
Mary and the Problem of Christian Unity

2 posted on 04/11/2008 11:49:46 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
Please take me off your ping list. I should never have been on it as I am vehemently anti-Catholic.
3 posted on 04/11/2008 11:56:55 AM PDT by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Democrats spent that time trying to destroy it.)
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To: AlaskaErik

You are taken off and prayed for.

As a general comment, this is an ecumentical ping list that invites anti-Catholics, and contains some Freepers that, I think, fit the label.


4 posted on 04/11/2008 12:00:25 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Gamecock; Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD; Quix
When we speak of sects, we must be careful not to put everything on the same level. Protestant evangelicals and Pentecostals, for example, apart from isolated groups, are not sects. For years the Catholic Church has maintained an official dialogue with them, something that it would never do with sects.

How ironic (and refreshing) for Father Raniero Cantalamessa to say this. A year ago, on one of my threads, a Catholic poster had this to say in contrast:

"In the Catholic apologetics business, you all look alike to me. So, don't expect a Catholic to sort your distinctions out, especially when you collectively and in unified front busy yourselves with what the Catholics think and do."
Anti-Catholicism: A Phony Issue
article summation here
5 posted on 04/11/2008 12:02:19 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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To: AlaskaErik
I should never have been on it as I am vehemently anti-Catholic.

There's a long list of people who've made that same request.

6 posted on 04/11/2008 12:03:25 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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To: Alex Murphy; Gamecock; Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD; Quix
Why, I stand by what I posted and also know that by and large Evengelicals and Pentecostals are not sects:

I do quite a bit of Protestant-on-Catholic dialog. The battle tends to be all on Catholic turf: why Mary, why Pope, why the Saints, why confession, etc. In the Catholic apologetics business, you all look alike to me. So, don't expect a Catholic to sort your distinctions out, especially when you collectively and in unified front busy yourselves with what the Catholics think and do.

(Annalex, linked above)

They are also often aggressive and polemical. They invariably spend more time accusing and criticizing the Church, Mary and, in general, everything Catholic, rather than proposing their own positive ideas. They are the antipodes of the Gospel of Jesus, which is love, sweetness, respect for the freedom of others. Gospel love is absent from the sects.

(Fr. Cantalamessa above)

As you can see, one way to eradicate sectant tendencies in Protestantism is to get busy in your own Protestant world rather than slandering the Church.

7 posted on 04/11/2008 12:14:23 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Alex Murphy; AlaskaErik

I honored every request I received promptly. Many Freepers have asked to be added and removed since I seeded the list from the responders on several earlier threads. In your case, Alex, I did so as soon as you made your request unequivocal.


8 posted on 04/11/2008 12:17:08 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

For the record, I’ve been enjoying your pings as of late. As for the article, it’s quite interesting. I never knew there to be such a hard stand in the Church against those that didn’t accept the divinity of Christ. It’s a pleasant surprise, don’t get me wrong.


9 posted on 04/11/2008 1:20:03 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: AlaskaErik

I will invite some Muslims to pray for you as well.


10 posted on 04/11/2008 1:20:22 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: FourtySeven

Thank you.

To my mind, predestination of the reprobates — the Calvinist thesis — is as bad as any christological heresy as it distorts the very essence of God. Good thing I am not a pope.


11 posted on 04/11/2008 1:45:48 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

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To: annalex
Please put me on your ping list.

It's amazing how many people have time to spend finding articles that they can find fault with rather than be appreciative of someone like you who offers it to them. I have thought that you must be very kind, I am of a less kind nature and figure that if they're looking for a place to vent they can darn well spend their time searching for it.

You invite them to look and see even though you know they will probably nitpick it to shreds and hoot and holler and high five each other about it.

In any case annalex,keep up the good work!! You never know when those with "eyes wide shut" will open and see and understand.

16 posted on 04/11/2008 4:57:54 PM PDT by saradippity
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To: saradippity

What an endorsement! Thank you so much.

True ecumenism is sure to irritate people, so negative attitude doesn’t discourage me. Still, it is nice to know that my posts are appreciated.


17 posted on 04/11/2008 5:08:04 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: steve86
I will invite some Muslims to pray for you as well.

I certainly don't need any of them praying for me. Besides, they're more like to be preying than praying.

18 posted on 04/11/2008 8:18:51 PM PDT by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Democrats spent that time trying to destroy it.)
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To: AlaskaErik
I am vehemently anti-Catholic.

For every one who says it, a dozen or so deny it.

19 posted on 04/11/2008 9:19:28 PM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: annalex

Good Shepherd Sunday bump.


20 posted on 04/11/2008 9:54:35 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Petronski
For every one who says it, a dozen or so deny it.

I have no trouble admitting it since I had it shoved down my throat at an early age.

21 posted on 04/12/2008 12:24:41 AM PDT by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Democrats spent that time trying to destroy it.)
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