Heretic Pope Betrays Church!

Pope Francis on not proselytizing: “The Church does not engage in proselytism. Instead, she grows by ‘attraction’: just as Christ ‘draws all to himself’ by the power of his love, culminating in the sacrifice of the Cross, so the Church fulfills her mission to the extent that, in union with Christ, she accomplishes every one of her works in spiritual and practical imitation of the love of her Lord.”

Oh.  Wait.  That was Benedict.  Never mind.

  • chrysalis fx

    Don’t shock the Francis-haters by pointing out the similarities. They were too busy staring at Benedict XVI’s red shoes they couldn’t hear what he was really saying. Now they’re still mourning their loss that they refuse to observe what this Pope is really doing.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      They were too busy staring at Benedict XVI’s red shoes they couldn’t hear what he was really saying.

      There’s a line between teasing people who mindlessly hate Francis and deliberately being a jerk to people who disagree with you. This is that line.

      • chrysalis fx

        And I suppose you haven’t just crossed that line with me, upon deliberately misinterpreting my words? As you have admitted yourself, I was teasing the first party you described, those who mindlessly hate Francis, there is no reason to take that as broad-brushing.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          The shot about Benedict’s shoes is uncalled for, and it serves to promote the idea that Francis is a repudiation of Benedict.

          But by all means, tu quoque away.

          • Guest

            Namecalling people on the internet for being of a different opinion is definitely uncalled for, too. I would have probably not replied to you at all if you weren’t way out of the line, or at least would have acted differently, maybe found fault within my own wording. Because I wasn’t even thinking in the lines that you were accusing me of. Either way a source tells me that there are certain ways of talking that are accepted or otherwise found enraging in the Catholic blogosphere, which I definitely couldn’t have known about, being a very recent convert. Which is why I’m going to move away from this discussion as there was no real reason behind it, I’m guessing you must be a veteran Catholic and were more annoyed by my wording itself. Because I do not see you defending the Francis haters that I was mocking in my own, inexperienced-Catholic ways. With that said, I think I will be praying for you now (I mean that sincerely), especially because you called me a jerk which I think was uncalled for, and for myself for being a snarky commenter. Ave atque vale.

          • chrysalis fx

            Namecalling people on the internet for being of a different opinion is
            definitely uncalled for, too. I would have probably not replied to you
            at all if you weren’t way out of the line, or at least would have acted
            differently, maybe found fault within my own wording. Because I wasn’t
            even thinking in the lines that you were accusing me of. Either way a
            source tells me that there are certain ways of talking that are accepted
            or otherwise found enraging in the Catholic blogosphere, which I
            definitely could not have known about, being a very recent convert. Which
            is why I’m going to move away from this discussion as there was no real
            reason behind it, I’m guessing you must be a veteran Catholic and were
            more annoyed by my wording itself. Because I do not see you defending
            the Francis-Haters that I was mocking in my own, “Inexperienced-Catholic”
            ways. With that said, I think I will be praying for you now (I mean that
            sincerely), especially because you called me a jerk which I think was
            uncalled for, and for myself for being a snarky commenter. Ave atque
            vale.

            • Andy, Bad Person

              I apologize for misunderstanding your words. There is quite a bit of subtext in conversations like this, and I should be more careful to try not to assume that subtext is there when it is not. Peace.

    • Dillon T. McCameron

      As a relation to a Benedict-hater who never seemed to mention much beyond “thousand dollar red shoes” and “pedophile cover up,” I think it’s a fair assessment that some people were too caught up in trappings to ever listen to the man.

      ‘re a fan of Francis, though. Praise be to God.

      • chezami

        I think the world of both of them.

  • Debra

    It would probably help if the average American actual understood the vocabulary being used. So we aren’t going I be organizing a door to door conversion campaign. This doesn’t mean we shut down RCIA programs.

    • capaxdei

      I don’t think either Pope was arguing against a door-to-door campaign to bring people to Christ and Christ to people.

    • vox borealis

      What’s the problem with a door-to-door conversion campaign? Isn’t that a little like what the apostles did in Acts? Is it wrong to go door to door and hand out bibles or pamphlets, or at least attempt to engage in conversation? It may not be the most effective method these days, but I certainly wouldn’t view such efforts as “proselytizing” (assuming the the “P” word is only used in a negative sense). Thus, when the JWs come to my door, I am not offended. They are trying to bring people to God, albeit their flawed understanding of God and the Church he founded, but I don’t feel threatened or cajoled or forced.

      Anyway, this just highlights the problem I have with this entire proselytize v. evangelize discussion (as noted in another comment here). *We* have been browbeaten and intimidated and cajoled into accepted extremely narrow parameters for acceptable evangelization; we have been coerced into accepting an ever-widening definition of proselytism (and an ever-more negative understanding of the word), to the point where ANY effort whatsoever to introduce Christ to others, no matter how innocuous—handing out pamphlets, going door to door to ask people questions, leaving bibles in hotel rooms—is seen as a negative act that goes against true evangelization.

      • chezami

        There’s no problem with a door to door campaign. What the Church rejects is proselytism (coercion) not evangelism. Knock yourself out. What are you planning to do?

        • vox borealis

          OK, so proselytism = coercion = bad, other efforts to convert not coercive = good? Then how exactly does that square with the Benedict quote in your post? Or for that matter with Francis’ somewhat confusing exchange with Scalfari (“Scalfari: my friends think you want to convert me.”Francis: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense.”)

          And for your info, I do plenty of evangelizing..or maybe it’s proselytizing..though I don’t go door to door because, as I intimated above, I don’t think it’s an effective method in the current environment. In any case, I was responding to Debra, who seemed to understand door-to-door efforts as proselytism and therefore “bad.” But of course you knew that.

  • TC

    People go off the deep end with their criticisms of Francis, but when you put his comments in context – i.e. telling an atheist plainly that he has no interest in converting him to Christ – they take on a different connotation.

    • Adolfo

      Perhaps the Holy Father recognizes that we don’t convert anybody, it is Christ who does the converting. So when he says he has no interest in converting the man, he’s speaking the truth because he has no desire to make a disciple of Pope Francis.

  • kirthigdon

    I guess I don’t understand the vocabulary being used. Proselytize is defined as trying to persuade or convert someone to a religion, cause or opinion. This happens all the time, from relatively casual conversation to organized advertising. I don’t know how many times I have heard homilies on the need for Christians themselves to be constantly undergoing conversion. It’s obvious that the Catholic Church from its founder Jesus Christ to his current vicar Francis proselytizes. But somehow the word itself is considered dirty. Why?
    Kirt Higdon

    • Andy

      To proselytize has been now defined as “forcing” if you will you will your views on others, Francis is asking us to live our faith in a gladsome way and attract people – to evangelize.

      • Dave G.

        Then perhaps whoever is saying such a thing should clarify what is meant – the Modern understanding of proselytizing.

        • Andy

          Reading Francis and Benedict is where I found this -

          • Dave G.

            Sounds good. Then we shouldn’t say the Pope is saying don’t proselytize, as I’ve heard some suggest. Clearly that’s not the case. Apparently he’s saying don’t do what people now think it means.

            • Andy

              That is my take – he isn’t saying don’t try and bring people to the faith – he is suggesting a different tactic based on how words are now defined.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      I think another important aspect of proselytization is the assumption that motives are self-directed. A proselytizer is less concerned with the person he addresses than with gaining converts to his church, party, position, etc, sometimes for political or financial gain, but very often also out of a subtler desire for the psychological confirmation of one’s own position that comes with popularity.

      Any argument, witness, or apologetic that is not directed primarily towards the good of the other is not true witness to the gospel of Christ.

      • kirthigdon

        You may be right, Jon, but it is wrong to make assumptions about people’s motives. Only God can know these for sure and most human motives are mixed anyway – or maybe I should say at least mine are and I’m making an assumption about the rest of you. I’d say praise and support the good people do and work on purifying my own motives. An excellent book for this, though heavy reading, is Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Transformation in Christ.
        Kirt Higdon

  • wlinden

    “Proselytize”, like “cult”, is one of those funny words which by DEFINITION can only apply to Them. We share, you shove your beliefs down everyone’s throat, They proselytize.

    • Dave G.

      Yep. I always thought it a bit odd that people told Christians (and usually only Christians) that it was wrong to try to convert others – since it was sort of trying to convert Christians to a single understanding of what religion really is all about.

    • HornOrSilk

      No, lots of Catholic proselytize. Sad to say, I think Voris often gets to that level in his engagement with non-Catholics. Catholicism seeks to take what is good and incorporate it and baptize it, and indeed, use that good to help lead someone from the good they have to the fullness of the Good. Proselytizing seems to look only to reject, and so often offers unjust representation of the others (like I said above, Jack Chick).

      • Chesire11

        I think that evangelization at its best demonstrates the resonance between the truth of the Gospel, and the nature of man, it is a conversion by which a person becomes more fully who they are, or were created to be. Proselytization, on the other hand, imposes the faith as an externality alien to the heart of the person. It encourages outward conversion that, even if sincerely heartfelt, is a misguided effort to make the self into something OTHER than the self.

        Evangelization awakens something true within ourselves to reach beyond ourselves as we are now toward something greater; proselytization introduces something foreign to the self, and focuses upon remaking the self into something else. One is an invitation, while the other is an appointment.

        • HornOrSilk

          Right, in full agreement with that; no attempt to engage, only destruct with proselytizing.

  • Stu

    I like how Pope Benedict clarified exactly what he meant by “not proselytizing.” It was clear and helped given that the word is not used often and can be misunderstood. Very pastoral of him.

    • vox borealis

      Actually, Stu, while we usually agree, I don’t see how Benedict clearly defined what proselytism was. he only said the Church doesn’t do it. To be honest, I’ve been greatly baffled by this whole evangelization v. proselytism discussion. If I hand someone a bible, or even if I preach on the street corner…you know, like the apostles did…with the intention of getting people to open their hearts to Chirst…to convert…am I proselytizing? And is that wrong? What about setting up an aopoletics website? What about when we pray for the conversion of Jews and atheists on Good Friday (‘cuz we still do). Is that proselytizing?

      Now we can all agree that no one should (or even can) be forced to convert by the sword. We shouldn’t brow beat or cajole, etc. Yet in the contemporary western context any effort, however small, to encourage conversion is considered “proselytism and therefore bad. I reject this formulation; I think it is buying into a rhetoric that is inherently at odds with the Church’s mission to evangelize. And so I am troubled by papal statements against “proselytizing” whether by Francis or Benedict or anyone else, at least until very clear, practical are identified between proselytizing and evangelization.

      • HornOrSilk

        I don’t think it really is a problem. Evangelism relies upon truth and demonstrating the truth in one’s own life. Proselytizing is really engaging the other in an unworthy fashion, using strawmen and doing injustice to their beliefs to try to get someone to reject their faith. Think, for example, of Chick tracts. That’s not evangelism, that is proselytizing.

      • Stu

        I think he did indeed explain by showing contrast but I understand your point. Proselytizing has indeed taken on a meaning of conversion by coercion. So in a military setting for instance, for say a Commanding Officer to use his position to promote conversion is frowned upon. However, for the same individual to engage an individual in leading him to Christ is something different.

        Indeed, it could be a fine line and Francis’ remarks did cause confusion among many which should not be dismissed by others as simply “Francis hate.” As a pastor, you need to be able to explain things and be clear in giving a message. As someone routinely says hear, “If they ain’t learning, you ain’t teaching.”

  • kirthigdon

    The dictionary definitions which I’ve seen on line do not include the use of coercion or force in defining proselytizing. Nor are any Catholics I’m aware of out there now trying to convert people at sword point or gunpoint. Such coercive conversion was very rare in the history of the Church although there were a few rogue instances of it. If this is what proselytizing is referring to it’s a straw man. I’ve participated in door-to-door campaigns myself as well as other public outreach. Pope Francis has already gained quite a reputation for active public outreach himself. I’ll continue to follow his example and if anything increase my practice of it.
    Kirt Higdon

    • kenofken

      There’s a lot of coercive proselytizing that goes on even if it’s not as dramatic as sword or gun point. It happens when people abuse their position of authority or trust to “encourage” others to convert. It happens in a lot of workplaces, schools, military academies etc. Places which have captive audiences who don’t feel the freedom to say no or walk away the way you or I could if a random stranger approached us. I don’t know all of what the Pope meant to encompass in his terminology, but coercion is not so rare as to be a straw man.

      • kirthigdon

        Were coercion as common as you say, I think there would be some statistics on it. After all, it would be illegal to use coercion in the workplace, public schools, military academies and no doubt there would be many plaintiffs attorneys eager to take such cases. In private religious schools, one would expect an atmosphere conducive to conversion, but no one is obliged to attend such schools. In the handful of cases I’ve heard of involving public schools or military academies, the charges of coercion have been aimed at Evangelicals or Muslims or Hindus. I’ve yet to hear of a single complaint aimed against Catholics.
        Kirt Higdon

        • W. Randolph Steele

          NOT in “at will” states It’s pretty hard and expensive to make your case.

      • Donna

        Wow. Are you saying this happens in the U.S.? Are you saying it happens now? I’m 53 years old and I’ve never seen, heard or experienced any of this. Can you give some concrete examples?

        • W. Randolph Steele

          I have. My brother was a salesman at lighting company in our city that turned out to be owned by a fundamentalist Christian. While he was not asked by his religious preference when he was hired., he noticed a lot of religious radio programs being played in the office AND a lunch time bible study group. At first, he paid no attention. Then, after about 6 months, he was “invited” several times to attend and politely refusing, he noticed, that despite outstanding sales results, his performance reviews suddenly became VERY negative. Then, he was called in to a private meeting and asked why he didn’t attend, he told them that he was a Catholic and din’t share their interpretation of the bible. There were knowing looks and then he was he allowed to leave. His next review was even worse, so he took the hint ans resigned. It turned out that this company had been evading state tax laws and he contacted me because I was an administrative law judge at our stated Dept of Revenue. I passed the info to my boss and six months later, after he had safely secured another job, our auditors made a surprise visit. I left the agency a year later and the investigation was still going on. I’m told the compnay was later fined several hundred thousand dollars.
          and,oh by the way, why did I leave the agency, because in part, i experienced the same, not so subtle pressure. My agency had a lot of hold over employees from a conservative administration and I was constantly bugged about my faith ( I even over heard one coworker calling Catholcis “idol worshipers”) and to attended luncheon bible studies, revivals’ etc. This stuff in the break room prominently displayed in employee cubicles. Finally, I started displaying a lot of Catholic pictures etc and they left me alone. later, when job with a local judge that paid roughly the same, with similiar benefits came open , I applied and was hired. So yeah, it happens.
          .

  • ivan_the_mad

    Oft-quoted in KofC councils: “As Catholics, we propose, we don’t impose”.

  • Jessica Crenshaw

    Too funny.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

    TROLLOLOLOLOLOLOL


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