Old School Evangelism for People Panicking about Francis…

…opening the Church to the riff raff–from reader Kevin Tierney:

For those who worry about the enemies of the faith liking Francis, I think we ‘defenders’ should just pipe down and let the master of catechesis speak:

“Possibly too you have come on another pretext. It is possible that a man is wishing to pay court to a woman, and came hither on that account. The remark applies in like manner to women also in their turn. A slave also perhaps wishes to please his master, and a friend his friend. I accept this bait for the hook, and welcome you, though you came with an evil purpose, yet as one to be saved by a good hope. Perhaps you knew not whither you were coming, nor in what kind of net you are taken. You have come within the Church’s nets : be taken alive, flee not: for Jesus is angling for you, not in order to kill, but by killing to make alive: for you must die and rise again. For you have heard the Apostle say, Dead indeed unto sin, but living unto righteousness . Die to your sins, and live to righteousness, live from this very day.”

That of course comes from St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechecical Lectures.  He knew a thing or two about spreading the Gospel.

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  • P.F. Hawkins

    I have yet to hear Pope Francis preach about dying to one’s sins half as effectively as he has about welcoming the poor. He seems to have neglected that part, unlike St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

    • capaxdei

      It’s true that Pope Francis rarely (never?) says, “Die to your sins.” But that’s not the same as not preaching about dying to your sins.

      Preaching about welcoming the poor is preaching about dying to one’s sins against the poor.

      Preaching against a self-referential Church is preaching against the sin of pride.

      Preaching about situation the rules in the context of divine mercy is preaching against the sin of idolatry.

      If you don’t commit the sins the Pope preaches against, give thanks to God. And if the Holy Spirit has given you a prophetic word against sinners, by all means preach it.

      But if the word you have to speak is petty or sniping, it does not come from God.

      • Ours is such a nakedly didactic and utilitarian age that it’s rendering us insensate. The sort of preaching you describe goes unrecognized for what it is, and will continue to, unless Francis should announce at the start of his homily, “THIS IS A HOMILY ABOUT DYING TO YOUR SINS. I AM PREACHING TODAY ABOUT THE SIN OF [X].”, then repeats this again at the end of the homily (and maybe once in the middle as well, just to be safe).

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          He’d better put it on a billboard too, or, dare I say, banners.

          • In Latin…but in a ’70s typeface on felt banners. That ought to confuse people real good.

    • Chesire11

      Odd that six month into his pontificate, His Holiness hasn’t yet covered every aspect of the faith.

    • So telling people to strip themselves of wordly affections and to get to confession frequently isn’t about dying to sin?

      Responses like this are why I’m half tempted to burn my trad card, drop the mic, and go play video games instead.

      • P.F. Hawkins

        You’re right, they are about dying to sin. Which is why I said “half as effectively”. I did not say that he avoided the issue entirely.

        • That isn’t how it came out, but hey, internet can be tough to convey what one means. But glad to know what you were trying to convey.

          So here’s a question. How many times must he cover it? In what way must he cover it so that it meets the approval of Mr. P.F. Hawkins that he is doing it effectively?

          Isn’t this all a lil subjective?

          • P.F. Hawkins

            I couldn’t possibly attach a number to it. He does not need my approval, only God’s. And yes, it is somewhat subjective.

            • Then if it is subjective, and a number can’t be attached, should we really be saying that Francis is “neglecting” a part?

              • P.F. Hawkins

                I see no harm in saying that it seems that way to me.

  • brnicolosi

    As for me and my household, we are panicking over, you know, youth unemployment.

    • chezami

      Some of us with children who are being absolutely crushed economically take the pope’s words rather more to heart. I’m watching a generation of kids coming up who have cheerless prospects for being able to raise a family in the midst of centrifugal economic forces that are tearing families to pieces and guaranteeing a rich harvest for abortionists.

    • The fact that it does not affect your particular family does not mean it is not a real problem.

      • Kathleen M. Ritter

        I interpreted brnicolosi’s comment differently; i.e., that youth unemployment is an actual, real problem affecting an entire generation — something to actually lose sleep over — as opposed to the Francis-panic that is going on.

    • Chesire11

      Our young, poorly catechized and living in a world of self-indulgence, and the immediate potency of material temptations are at great spiritual risk. When they suffer unemployment, their attention becomes more, not less, fixed upon material concerns and spiritual questions are overlooked or dismissed. In a spiritual vacuum, the anxiety of financial failure tempts them into a cycle of indulgence, and despair.

      Yes, it is a very REAL and ever more widespread danger. The enemy works in different ways in different times, determined by what tools we allow, but it is always toward the ruin of souls.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Yup. I remember when I was younger a priest trying to explain to me something or other, maybe about grace, maybe about evil, I’m not sure now. But I do remember what he said: “It is a mark of the power of God that He can produce good even from evil circumstances”.

    Grace is a swarm of nanites that will find even the smallest hole.

  • Good to see that some people really missed the point.

    So some sinners are praising the Holy Father with an agenda contrary to the faith. Did any of us come to Christ with absolute purity? So take it as an opportunity to spread the Gospel their way. Who knows what might happen.

    When did it become the tradition of our Fathers to abandon evangelization?

  • Saturday night, 27 December, 1969, I invited my girlfriend’s Christian sister to come with me to a party where some of us would be using LSD – hoping to open up to her in her tiny, closed Christian world something of the great world of drugs.

    At 5AM the following morning I gave my life to the Lord Jesus.

    Young atheists can’t be too careful.