Evangelical Catholicism

The Evangelical Catholic Institute in Wisconsin invited me to their annual conference last week.

Their mission is: The EC’s vision is that the Catholic Church be experienced as a vibrant, evangelical movement. We work towards the renewal of individuals, campus ministries, and parishes through an emphasis on interior conversion, devotion to the Scriptures, formation in the habits of discipleship, intense Christian community, and a commitment to evangelization.

Started as a mission to Catholic students at University of Wisconsin in Madison, they now produce excellent materials for small group work and training in evangelization. They had about 500 young Catholics from around the country, gathered to receive training and encouragement in spreading the gospel.

I asked one of their leaders how ‘Evangelical Catholicism’ was different from any other sort of Catholicism. He said, “Basically it’s not different. The documents of the church are totally clear that the essence of Catholicism is to spread the gospel throughout the world. The problem is that so many ordinary Catholics have yet to get the message. We’re not doing anything un-Catholic or eccentric–it’s just our job to get us doing what the church calls us to do.”

Three cheers! and following my own theme of ‘More Christianity’ I’d say that not only do we need more ‘Evangelical Catholicism’ but we need more of the other sorts as well. The Catholic faith has many apostolates, many emphases and many form of mission. The more they all prosper, the more the church thrives.

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  • The page on their website, “what is an evangelical Catholic” tells a rather different, and disturbing, story.

  • Why do you find it disturbing? because it is too positive towards non-Catholics?

  • No, because it’s not, in any way, Catholic.

  • The Catholic Culturesite review for them states the problem.

  • Anonymous

    Their five distinctives are as follows: * a strong emphasis upon interior conversion, * a rediscovery and renewed devotion to the Scriptures, * a dedication to fostering strong habits of discipleship, in particular, personal prayer, * intense Christian community, * a joyful commitment to the work of evangelization. Those are all great, but could be ripped right off a Protestant mission statement. How about a sixth distinctive in which they seek to achieve the first five while maintaining fidelity to the Church? The presence of Fr. Bacik & Dr. Portier would seem to prevent such an addition. Too bad.

  • Now now, folks, let’s try to see what’s positive about EC and give them the benefit of the doubt and try very hard not to appoint ourselves the head of the CDF.At the conference I just attended the keynote by the director of the Institute was firmly grounded in the writings of the council, the encyclicals of JP2 and the writings of B16.

  • Jennifer

    anon asks: How about a sixth distinctive in which they seek to achieve the first five while maintaining fidelity to the Church?***From the website Fr. linked in his post, follow the “what is an evangelical catholic?” link on the sidebar of the main page:”The Evangelical Catholic is a Catholic Christian committed to living an evangelical life and doing evangelical ministry within and as an obedient son or daughter of the Catholic Church.”It was a little buried, but there it was.

  • Anonymous

    Jennifer,Good find….but if it is buried, it is not a “distinctive.”Father,I’m not sure how Mr. Smith pointing out the connection with two dissenters is appointing himself head of the CDF. His concern seems both prudent and warranted. Aren’t you at all concerned. If not, why not?

  • They DO maintain fidelithy with Church teaching. Or, can anyone (jeff?) point out one teaching of theirs that is NOT faithful to the teaching of the Church?I just made a Cursillo weekend this past weekend.It was wonderful. It’s faithful evangelical Catholicism at work, definitely.The EC seem like wonderful folks too!W

  • I am not familiar with the two ‘dissenters’ in question, and don’t want to pass judgment without knowing more about them, or on second or third hand reports.There is also a distasteful problem going on here called ‘guilt by association’. If a person works with someone who is the critic doesn’t approve of that person must be tainted too.The fundamentalists liked this trick: Billy Graham talks to Catholics so Billy Graham must bad, and Harry Smith likes Billy Graham, so Harry Smith must be a baddy too. It’s a cheap trick folks, and we can do better than that.

  • If you can’t see what the problem is, I’d suggest discussing it with your bishop before getting involved with dissidents.

  • Anonymous

    OK…last post on this. Billy Graham worked with Catholics, for example, to achieve a set of particulars goals. Everyone knew what everyone else believed and taught. So, there should have been no problem. The same is true today when Catholics work with Jews or Muslims in support of family friendly state or federal legislation.However, if a Catholic organization uses Catholic speakers who dissent from Church teaching, it breeds confusion and worse. If The Evangelical Catholic didn’t know about the two speakers’ dissent, that is sloppy but excusable. If they knew and promoted the speakers anyway, I don’t believe they are to be trusted.I’ll go away now.

  • If EC knowingly supports people who openly and formally dissent from church teaching, bad move.You all missed my point about Billy Graham. It was just an example about ‘guilt by association.’ It’s not fair to accuse an organization of holding (or even being aware of) the views of a person who turns out to be a dissenter. It is unfair to accuse that organization if you do not have all the facts. You don’t know, for example, if they did this in ignorance, if they have now disassociated themselves from the person in question and what their real position is. It is definnitely unfair to do this at the third degree of association.I know it is almost a cliche, but it is also from Our Lord himself: ‘Judge not.’ As Catholics these sorts of personal judgements are un-necessary. Leave it to the bishops and the CDF, and try to be as open and positive and giving organizations and people the benefit of the doubt–because isn’t that how you would prefer people to treat you?

  • I’m sorry, Dwight, but you don’t get someone like Bacik ( He’s from Toledo ) without knowing fulwell what you’re getting. They don’t seem to care about fidelity.

  • My point is simply this: I don’t know the two dissenters in question, and am unwilling to condemn people by hearsay. Even if the two dissenters are as terrible as they are made out, it is unfair to condemn EC for working with them if we do not have all the facts, and it is certainly unfair to condemn anyone who work with EC.Critics may know the dissenters and know that you can’t give them the benefit of the doubt, but they can give EC the benefit of the doubt and they can certainly give people who work with EC the benefit of the doubt.

  • A comment from “Anonymous” dismisses the five distinctives of EC because they could have come from any Protestant mission. But they could also have come from the documents of any religious order.Protestants define themselves, in part, by not being Catholics, but the same is not true for Catholics. We do not need to define our understand ourselves as not being Protestant; we need simply to live the fulness of Catholic faith and life. And in the search for the fulness, no one group within the Church will embody or emphasize all that is genuinely Catholic….that would be impossible. So, what is distinctive about EC? The five things they list are their distinctives, and those are no small things….precisely because they are missing from so much of Catholic life today. In sum, don’t bust EC for what they aren’t; praise them for what they are.Finally, I don’t know a thing about either of these two accused dissidents, and I don’t know why or how they were associated with the work of EC. But charity demands that they we give EC the benefit of the doubt, and until complicity in rejecting a doctrine that must be held is demonstrated of EC (and not just the dissidents), it would be a gross injustice to condemn EC for that which we do not know with moral certitude to be true.

  • Jeron

    Fr. Longenecker makes a good point about not rushing to judgment. I’m not charismatic or an evangelical; I personally prefer monasticism. BUT … I have been turned on by witnessing homililies given by charismatic priests who are clearly on fire with love for Christ and His work. There are many charisms within the Church and each should be valued as long as it remains faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium. If we get used to how we practice the faith so much so that we live with blinders on & turn our noses up at something that asks us to step outside of our comfort zone, then are we perhaps keeping Christ from working in our lives as powerfully as He would like? I’m guilty of this. Just a thought.

  • A person is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies.This would apply to ‘dissidents’ if they deny parts of the Catholic faith, but it also applies to people who would uncharitably condemn individuals or institutions because their style or message is not to their liking. Jeron’s comment that he is not a charismatic, but has gained from the ministry of good charismatics is an example of the kind of open hearted affirmation I am endorsing.

  • “It’s not, in any way, Catholic” – except that the Catholic Culture site lists their resources as “good” and their usability as “normal”. In fact, they list their Fidelity as “Cautionary” – the middle of a three point scale. Cautionary means “minor or inadvertant lapses in orthodoxy” and, at the extreme, “represents all so-called Catholic viewpoints equally.”Their review then contains two troubling critiques. One they take the phrase “relational, not ideological” to be a firm denial of the ideological. The phrasing could just as equally be to say that they are merely focused on the relationship aspect rather than the ideological. They then back this up by claiming that another paragraph doesn’t directly contradict their possible misinterpretation.Their second “problem” is that they could be Protestant. All the examples listed are highly encouraged by the Church, with the possible exception of evangelization (which is highlighted later in the review). I can see “devotion to Scripture” being somewhat argumentative in this debate. A Protestant would understand that as a Sola Scriptura definition. But a Catholic understanding would mean honoring the Magisterium’s role. By saying “devotion to Scripture, but only if the Church agrees with it” you are defining it as a negative, adding an exclusion – which has no place in a mission statement (and individual study of the scriptures is directly spelled out in Providentissimus Deus). As to the Evangelism aspect – should this mean we dump the Legion of Mary? Should we not be called to spread the message of Christ? I believe the Catechism states otherwise.Most troubling to me in the comments on this post, are the “We must define ourselves as NOT THEM.” An interesting point in light of Vatican II’s instruction to find Christ in all things. These Protestants also believe in the Resurrection, should we not? These Protestants also believe in the Trinity, should we not? They’ve read the same books we have (at least in light of the New Testament), one would argue that they actually understood some of it. By the very title of the group, one could, and should, hestitantly assume their Catholic beliefs – preserving judgement until something does disagree, rather than trying to find something in an unholy witch hunt (that may be a tad harsh on my part, just trying to make a point).(Sorry, Father, this is longer than I’d thought)As to these dissenters. There is no doubt that their cited views are contrary to the Catholic church. Does EC support those views? Again, we must search but not condemn. By using this same “these sinners spoke at a rally” argument, should we disassociate ourselves with Bishop Wuerl because he gave communion to Rep Pelosi? Should we distance ourselves from Pope Benedict because he failed to excommunicate liberation theologist Father Sobrino?

  • Hey all, I got the heads-up that the EC was being discussed here so I thought I’d pop in for a sec and share a few quick thoughts on Catholic Culture’s work.First, I find it fascinating that people care more what Catholic Culture thinks than leaders in our Catholic Church such as Cardinal Avery Dulles, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, and Bishop Robert Morlino, who are on the Evangelical Catholic advisory board.I also find it interesting that Catholic Culture has set itself up as an arbiter of what is Catholic, what is not, what is Catholic enough, what is not Catholic enough, etc. Perhaps we have a new arm of the magesterium of the Church?Also, I would like to thank Fr. Longenecker and Fr. Jay Scott Newman for their critique of the “guilt by association” approach that can creep into and may I say “infect” what is (what I hope is), at its root, a beautiful desire to somehow “protect” the Church from those who apparently desire to bring it down or do it harm as well as to protect people from confusion. But in my more frustrated moments I find in myself a less charitable response that wants to set them up as the strawman whose mission is to protect uneducated Catholic masses from being hoodwinked by covert “Protestant” organizations like the Evangelical Catholic.Bear with me just a little here as I point out one example of how this “guilt by association” as used by Catholic Culture is a serious problem. Portier (one of the two “accused” who are actually not affiliated with us in anyway–but who were simply guest speakers one year) is the EDITOR of a book on the intellectual life in the Catholic Church in America. He’s a scholar. (I believe a sociologist.) In a section of the book there was a survey of dissenters in the Church, such as Fr. Charles Curran. This is scholarship. Academic work. He did not write an endorsement; nor was he advocating any position. Two years ago, Cardinal Dulles graciously shared the platform with Fr. Bacik (the other “accused” who has over twenty years in campus ministry experience and simply shared on ways he has helped Catholic college students grow in their faith.) Dulles, whose orthodoxy I don’t believe is in question by anyone, has written about our “movement” (for lack of a better word at this nascent stage), fully endorsing it. In fact, going so far as to say that being evangelical, in the way we promote it, is constitutive to being Catholic. Dulles came again this year, despite deteriorating health, to be with us and to share his scholarly insights on models of evangelization. Perhaps he is unaware of Catholic Culture’s prounouncement regarding our organization… (Yeah, there I’m being cheeky again. Sorry….)Anyway, I write this with love and benevolence (and only just a little frustration :)) Thanks for reading.God bless, Sandy Kruse of The Evangelical Catholic

  • Anonymous

    I know that I promised no more posts, but I can’t help myself. Here are my thoughts (and it is rather long):Since I posted under “Anonymous”, let me first identify myself. My name is Doug Cline. I posted under “Anonymous” because I am too lazy to establish a blogger account that would permit me to post under either my name or my screen name, which is usually “therecusant.” I am a convert from non-denominational Evangelicalism. My family members (including my wife) are either Evangelical or worship within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. My father is an elder and my mother and two sisters are charismatic. I am grateful for my upbringing and value all my Protestant family and friends’ witness to Christ during my formative years. I am far from anti-Protestant, which I think has been implied by some of the posts.Second, despite the accusation, I do not suggest we define ourselves by “what we are not.” In fact, my suggestion was for EC to more positively affirm what they are in their distinctives (Catholics faithful to the Magisterium of the Church). Given the confusion that can arise when Catholics adopt the term “evangelical,” I think that is neither an unfair nor uncharitable suggestion. Furthermore, I do not believe that I dismissed EC’s five distinctives. I actually said they were “good.” I did, however, mean to suggest that the distinctives are, by themselves, incomplete…which is exactly the claim I would make about Protestantism. Good…but incomplete.Third, a charge of assigning “guilt by association” has been levied. If I did so, it was unintentional. I agree that such a practice is unwise. However, “suspicion by association” is, to my mind, self-evidently true. The old adage “Birds of a feather, flock together” is not quite a truism, but it does express common sense that seems obvious to me. A negative association does not require judgment of someone, but it does require prudent investigation. A board member of FutureChurch or Voice of the (un)Faithful is suspect, until further inquiry. A board member of Priests for Life or Catholic Answers is not. Similar examples are legion, whether in matters of faith, politics, economics, or my children’s friends. We frequently trust people based on an “endorsement” by others whom we already trust. This dynamic of association, whether positive and negative, seems axiomatic.Fourth, with respect to EC, I sincerely hope that they are everything good that Father Longenecker and Ms. Kruse claim them to be. I completely support their stated mission, though I would like to see a more explicit emphasis on their website of pursuing their goals “from the heart of the Church.” That, however, is a rather minor quibble and may demonstrate a convert’s bias.The dismissal of Father Bacik’s participation as unproblematic, however, gives me pause, at least as to the discernment of CE. A simple Google search of Father Bacik, about whom I knew nothing, reveals a comic cliché of a liberal priest. To wit, • He was a columnist for the notoriously heterdox National Catholic Reporter for seven years (See “suspicion by association”).• Father Richard P. McBrien, that paragon of orthodoxy, praises Fr. Bacik as “one of North America’s finest, most insightful theologians, with a remarkable capacity for clear writing and effective teaching.” (See “suspicion by association).• He has written for the theologically left-of-center Commonweal (See “suspicion by association”).The foregoing are no where near dispositive. However, they are a bit of a red flag. If you dig further based on the suspicions raised by Fr. Bacik’s associations, you find that• He supports women’s ordination.• He supports the decriminalization of abortion.I don’t have access to the articles on Fr. Bacik’s CV. The titles, however, don’t look promising. As far as the parish that he pastors, it seems to be a poster child for all that is theologically liberal. Please check out Corpus Christi University Parish for a wince-inducing smorgasbord of all that is wrong with the Church in America (don’t miss the labyrinth around the altar or that dynamite tabernacle…they will leave you speechless).I would like to honestly wish EC and Ms. Kruse God’s blessing in their work. I am certainly impressed by their Board of Directors, which speaks well of their trustworthiness (“trust by association” is a corollary to “suspicion by association”). I am far less impressed with their selection of Fr. Bacik to speak at their function. He may be an expert on campus ministry, but what I have learned this afternoon disqualifies him, in my opinion, as a trustworthy speaker. I must note that one bad speaker should not undermine the good that EC is apparently doing. However, Ms. Kruse’s refusal to acknowledge that a reasonable person could be concerned with Fr. Bacik leaves me truly confused.Finally, let me also comment on the implied charge of a fear of things that “seem Protestant.” On that, I am, in some ways, guilty as charged. Both Vatican II and JPII taught us that we Catholics can, and should, learn much from our separated brethren. I certainly agree. However, a Protestantization of the Catholic Church is a problem in many quarters. • Most American Catholic churches built post-Vatican II “look Protestant” and actually reflect a Protestant theology of sacred space and worship. • The widespread denial of the Real Presence in the Eucharist and the need to be forgiven sins through the sacrament of confession reflect Protestant theology.• The marginalization of Our Lady reflects a Protestant understanding of her role and importance. • The so-called primacy of the individual conscience over and against the teaching of the Church, especially in matters moral, is yet another scourge of modern Catholicism that is “Protestant.” The foregoing list could certainly be doubled or tripled. So, while I am all for appropriating the good of a Protestant community for the betterment of the Catholic faithful, it must be done while affirming (actually embracing) the historic teaching and practice of the Catholic Church in its totality. To do any less is…”Protestant.”P.S. Despite my disagreements with Fathers Longenecker and Newman on this issue, I love your blogs and check in with both daily. Keep up the good work.

  • I attended the Evangelical Catholic Institute in Madison last weekend, and what I discovered was a group of committed Catholic laity who love the Lord, are deeply committed to the Church, and desire to share their faith and their relationship with Jesus with others in the most effective way possible. We celebrated Mass together, had opportunities for eucharistic adoration, began general sessions with songs of praise, and had opportunities to learn from priests and laity who are engaged in the new evangelization called for by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I left the conference excited to see Catholics who have experienced what Pope Benedict described in his inaugural homily, “There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.”

  • I am a Roman Catholic, not an Evangelical Protestant. I’m very sorry to see all this.

  • Some Christians think of the Reformation like a nasty divorce: You get the kids; I get the dogs. You get the house; I get the car. You get the Scriptures; we get the sacraments.Once this mentality has taken hold in the Catholic imagination, reading the Bible is something the Protestants do and evangelical is an adjective that can modify only the noun Protestant.But it is the Catholic Church which teaches us that ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. And is the Catholic Church which offers the adjective evangelical as a way of applying the Gospel to every part of Christian life.An Evangelical Catholic (as opposed to a cultural, cafeteria, or casual Catholic) is one who understands that Baptism makes every Catholic a herald of the Gospel with the duty and privilege of bearing witness to the Lord Jesus. For more than 25 years, John Paul the Great called the entire Church to the work he described as the New Evangelization…..announcing the timeless Gospel as though for the first time to a world that once received but then forgot the Word of God. Being an Evangelical Catholic is nothing other than accepting the work of the New Evangelization and doing our part to fultill the Great Commission. Please do not allow false dichotomies to rob you of your own patrimony. Evangelical does not mean Protestant; it means of and for and by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. That is exciting stuff, and it is great to be an Evangelical Catholic.

  • Anonymous

    Fr. Newman,Catholicism is not simply a dumping ground for everything contained in Protestantism. Roman Catholicism has its own history and traditions, many of which are inconsistent with Protestantism, fundamentalism, and Evangelicalism. It is disingenous of you to set forth a thesis that everything in the Evangelical and fundamentalist communities is part of the Roman Catholic “heritage.” It’s just a way of importing alien elements into the Roman Catholic Church, something Pope Benedict is beginning to correct with his Apostolic Exhortation and in other measures he is going to take.Susan

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps Fr. Newman will chime in to address Susan’s critique himself, but allow me to say one thing. Susan, your worry is definitely founded, and you speak truth, but in this case misapplied and irrelevant to what Fr. Newman said. He is in no way saying that “Catholicism is a dumping ground for everything contained in Protestantism.” His point, which we all must grant, is that the term ‘evangelical’ (read not as a denomination or protestant movement, but as the word truly signifies – ‘of the gospel’) truly is authentically Catholic, and we ought not leave it out of our understanding of Catholicism. Our current and recent popes are calling us to embrace this identity of evangelization. In a sense I see it as ‘recapturing’ evangelization and identifying it not just as something protestants do, or something we can learn from them about (which we can), but which as a rich history right at the center of our church, as Susan pointed out.As a side note I’ll say that I think the issue is indeed made complex because of the baggage that surrounds the term ‘evangelical’ – which is clearly part of the reason for much of the miscommunication within this blog discussion. Whether someone uses the term ‘evangelical’ do describe himself/herself is secondary to the real issue upon which we must agree, which Fr. Newman just testified to – that in its truest sense to be ‘evangelical’ as a Catholic is to “understand that Baptism makes every Catholic a herald of the Gospel with the duty and privilege of bearing witness to the Lord Jesus.” Amen to that. Whether or not we ever all agree on how we should use the adjective ‘evangelical’,we can certainly agree on the Catholic understanding of the truth behind it as the Church is calling us to. -Jim

  • Anonymous

    Jim,Surely, we don’t need to import the word “evangelical.” Catholic missionization has been going on since the Resurrection and it wasn’t referred to as “evangelical.” The word is tained by its association with fundamentalists and Evangelical Protestants, who are as likely to pray for an RV as they are for their eternal salvation. Of course, there is the word euangelion, which is at the origins of Catholic history, but using “evangelical” at this point makes no sense and is too much of a bow to those who still practically refer to use (cf. Wayne Dobson, Pat Robertson, et al.) as the whore of Babylon.All of this is based on a misinterpretation of Henri de Lubac (himself not as precise as he might have been), that everything “authentically human” is also “authentically Catholic.” His phrase is now 60 years old and is retro and out of date. Benedict XVI has been pulling away from that notion, de Lubac admirer though he might be. Susan

  • Anonymous

    Jim,To continue:The whole notion of “retrieving” the tradition has been abused by Evangelical converts to Catholicism, who do not wish to make a full, unambiguous conversion to the Catholic Church. In the earliest days of the Church, there were all sorts of manifestations: charismatic movements, Jewish-Christian movements, prophecy, etc. However, we are part of the Latin, Roman Catholic Church. It is disingenuous to say that we need or should “retrieve” all of these elements, especially when the current impetus for a lot of this is Evangelical Protestantism. This is clearly the case with “charismatic” Catholics. And calling everything “evangelical” Catholicism is nonsense. It’s mixing two things that are discrete. There are very distinct differences between Roman Catholicism and fundamentalist and Evangelical Christianity and not just theological differences, either. And if we make the way easier for Evangelical converts by permitting them to retain their old prayer habits, old ways of looking at divine matters, if we relativize the Church in order to make it seem as though they are still in one of their old, free churches, if we raise the status of the laity to make it appear as though the divinely-ordered hierarchy (cf. 1 Clement) can be pushed off to the side, then Evangelical converts are not making a full, authentic conversion.Susan

  • Susan,I suggest you go deep and deeper into history. Evangel, evangelize, evangelical, evangelization…these are all terms, based on Holy Scripture, from the earliest years of the Catholic Church’s existence. What I suggested above is that we should not allow Protestants to take a dear word away from us because they use themselves to mean a different thing. Paul VI opened the modern story of Evangelical Catholicism with his masterful document “Evangelii Nuntiadi”, and John Paul the Great preached it constantly for nearly 27 years. There is nothing at all alien to the Catholic Church about evangelization; in fact, the Church’s very nature is to be evangelical, and every Catholic should be proud to be an Evangelical Catholic. Have a look at the website of St. Mary’s Church in Greenville for a fuller explanation of all this. You can find it at http://www.stmarysgvl.org

  • Susan,Perhaps you should also go back to the first encyclical of John Paul the Great, Redemptor Hominis. Takign his lead from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, John Paul explores many of the questions that are raised in this thread.I also gently suggest that you have made a universal Church a bit narrower than universal in your comments above. The men and women who were once evangelical Protestants and are now Catholics (yes, Evangelical Catholics) are among the most truly and deeply Catholic folk I know. Read Lumen Gentium and Unitatis Redentigratio of Vatican II to see the solemn teaching of the Catholic Church on key questions here.

  • Wow people. As an ex-protestant ex-evangelical, I understand all this anti-evangelicalism, when the word is applied to a narrow protestant anti-catholic sensibility. The word need not carry all that baggage. Literally, it means, pertaining to the Evangel, the gospel message. Evangelical means someone who believes and preaches the Gospel. If that evangellical is a Catholic who preaches the Gospel and chooses to remain 100% faithful to the teaching of the church and call himself “evangelical”, what right do we have to assume is a dissenter, merely over a question of you not liking the term.I still get uneasy about using the term, because I think people might misunderstand (and I think some here have misunderstood). But I hate to give in to those who take a silly view of a whole organization, merely because they used a word you don’t like. Let’s criticize EC’s Doctrine, here, if any criticism is to be had, or let’s not whinge. Haven’t heard anything that indicates EC teaches anything that is out of step with the Magisterium of the church. The second there is, I’ll slide sideways over far enough that it’s clear I line up behind B16 and not behind anybody else, if that’s called for. But let’s not be hasty, either. Warren

  • Anonymous

    Fr. Newman,With all due respect, I am not taking a narrow view of the Church than is warranted. I am taking a full view of the history and traditions of Roman Catholic Christianity. I don’t see the need to import fundamentalist and Evangelical Protestants traditions into Roman Catholicism. And, of course, there may be several converts from Evangelicalism who understand Roman Catholicism, but there are many who do not and who leave, subsequently or return to their former ecclesial bodies. By the way, I’ve read the documents you suggest and many more. Please don’t assume that because I disagree with you that I am untutored or ignorant. You’re only offering your own opinion, as I am.May I also say that John Paul II was relatively indiscriminate in his own use of terms. He styled himself as an “evangelizer,” but that is really only the beginning of the process. The harder task is catechesis. And it’s not a matter of inculturation, but, as Pope Benedict says, interculturality, of recognizing that the Roman Catholic Church itself has a history, tradition, and culture of its own, which must be respected by the neophyte, not adjusted according to their own prior religious tradition.Susan

  • Anonymous

    Fr. Newman,There is no need for Roman Catholics to use the term “evangelical” with respect to their own missionization. And there is no need to act like fundamentalists or evangelical Christians. We have 2,000 years of history and tradition to draw upon and can draw from that. The Roman Catholic Church does not need to abase itself before those who wish to enter. Being Catholic is a privilege, not a right. And those who wish to become Catholics should truly convert, become “Catholic,” not evangelical-Catholic, or Lutheran-Catholic, etc., and orient themselves to the Catholic ethos.Susan

  • Dear Susan, Thank you for your comments on this blog.It may be that your experience of Catholicism is deep, but not broad. Perhaps we poor converts bring breadth even if we cannot hope to attain the depths that you have by the privilege of being a cradle Catholic.True Catholicism is ‘evangelical’ in its expression right across the Catholic Church. Many of the youth movements, the new ecclesial movements and the new movements in the developing world exhibit all the signs of ‘evangelical Catholicism’. This is not something Fr Newman or the people at EC invented. Neither is it solely a phenomenon that we poor converts have brought into the Church. It is something we found was here waiting for us.

  • Maggie

    So where does all this leave those of us who prefer “Panis Angelicis” to “I Am the Bread of Life”–non-evangelical catholics? Is there going to be an us and them–Balkanized Catholics? hyphenated Catholics? Are the elderly who have worshiped faithfully through all the years of turmoil and dissent, watching their children lured away by praise music and evangelical, emotional fervor, are they “non-evanglical”? Are Haugen and Haas going to sneak in the back door to Mass just when most people are tiring of their banality and superficiality. Susan’s faith seems to me the deeper. I applaud her posts, and I am a convert from Methodism, Non-denominational Baptists, Epsicopalianism, High Anglicanism, and finally Catholicism–twice. The first time through charismatic, evangelical feelings that did not withstand the subtle attack of collegiate atheism. I’m back now, after 20 years, on a firmer footing. Just think, all of this could have been avoided if the first warning post could have be answered with, “Thanks, Jeff, I’ll keep my eyes open,” instead of what read like an abrasive “Why do you find it disturbing? (after all, they invited me, didn’t they?)” There are all levels of conversion, it is true. However, perhaps they should spend a few months or years in the desert, learning what the Catholic life, the sacramental life is all about; what redemptive suffering is and what part it plays in the faith as opposed to the health and wealth gospel; and what has kept those elderly people at Mass through the ugliness of the revolution, before they go standing on the street corner with a brass band. It is the humility of the disciple who sits at the feet of Holy Mother Church that will eventually make the best witness to and preacher of the faith. Someday they may actually have to use words.

  • Maggie, the Evangelical Catholics I know aren’t trying to ban traditional music or liturgy, and we don’t equate Evangelical Catholicism with praise and worship music and shallow emotionalism. Indeed we love traditional worship and fine music.Evangelical Catholicism is much bigger than that, but I can understand the tendency to see it those terms, and that is where I agree with some other commentators that the term ‘evangelical’ is ambiguous. Neither is it fair to assume that Evangelical Catholics have not been through desert experiences that have helped to purify and deepen their spirituality.Surely you’re not saying that everyone who like ‘Panis Angelicus’ necessarily has a deeper Christian faith than someone who happens to like ‘I am the Bread of Life’?

  • Anonymous

    Fr. Lonegenecker,You are very condescending. My “experience” of Catholicism is both deep and broad. I am faithful to the teachings of the Church. I resent the notion that converts are going to “revolutionize” my Catholic life by pointing out aspects that I have missed because of my insularity. Let me tell you what the real story is: converts, improperly catecheized and given to think that “Catholic” means “anything goes,” do not achieve a true, authentic conversion, but retain their Protestant identities IN FULL and only make the most basic of nods to Catholic ecclesiology, the Petrine doctrine, the hierarchy, the place and function of hte laity in the Church, etc. They retain the notion of “adiaphora,” which is basically everything they don’t want to deal with or that makes them “uncomfortable,” like the Virgin Mary or the Rosary. They are, essentially, cafeteria Catholics, but without the knowledge of Catholicism or the Catholic ethos.Susan

  • Anonymous

    Fr. Longenecker,Basically, unless Protestant converts are willing to make themselves into Catholics, without any reservation or this treacly notion of “evangelism,” which the Church (WE call it missionization), then they haven’t yet achieved full, authentic conversion.YOU might consider that Benedict XVI is much less apt to endorse the free-wheeling style of John Paul II and to inculcate a fully Catholic identity into Church members, without apologies or abasement to fundamentalists or evangelical Christians. He is much more aligned with those who wish to stress the tradition and history of the Church than to create a tertium quid, which is neither evangelical nor Catholic.Susan

  • Susan,It’s difficult not to infer that you have an ax to grind against Protestant converts to Catholicism encroaching on Catholic “turf.” Many such converts are “fully” converted, deeply committed to 2000 years of history and tradition. Many are much more so than their cradle Catholic brethren—precisely due to the lack of catechesis you mention.Let’s not get hung up on nomenclature here. “Evangelical Catholicism” is not an attempt to “Protestant-ize” the Church. It is an acknowledgement that Catholicism IS a missionary faith and that all persons (lay and clergy) have the privilege and responsibility of sharing the gospel (the fullness of which is only in Holy Mother Church) with all around them. In this sense, St. Francis, St. Josemaria, Blessed Theresa and many others would all be considered “evangelical.” Maggie,I don’t believe Fr. Dwight’s initial question was abrasive. I have some small sense of his writing style, and believe it was an appropriate question, respectfully posed.Peace to all,Frank

  • Folks, I didn’t mean to be abrasive or condescending. Sorry if it came across that way!

  • Anonymous

    Father, that’s OK…it’s not your fault. It must be all that time you spent in England (joking, joking…).

  • It really does appear that the biggest problem here is the word “Evangelical” rather than the actual concept behind it. I have not been able to find in any of the previous posts or websites any indication that this “movement” is an attempt to change the culture of Catholicism as a whole. It is not an attempt to intrude on any Catholic’s faith that doesn’t want to be challenged by it. People here have taken every negative of Evangelical Protestantism and applied them to this group (anti-clergy, in-your-face preaching, etc.) and ignored their positive practices (internal conversion, Biblical Studies, etc.).Susan, you have shared your concern about hyphenation. I’ll agree with you in the context of your words (or at least from the perspective I believe you are phrasing them). We should not create a pseudo-Catholicism, a Catholicism + Something (or a Catholicism – Something). But I do not believe that this is the purpose of the group. You talk about converts never fully converting to Catholicism – yet, from my experience, every single Protestant convert has been more involved, more learned, more devoted to the Church’s teachings, the Magisterium, our Blessed Lady. Without exception. Mainly because of the Protestant attempt to make everyone personally accountable to their faith. It is the Cradle Catholics that are most un-catechized… usually due to the incredibly poor state of CCD and lack of adult education classes (unless you’re retired and can make the Wednesday noon classes or some such nonsense). It is the Cradle Catholic that is more likely to tune out during the sermon – because in Protestant churches, the sermon is the focus of the service. They MUST listen and take notes. And the convert is usually more in tune with the Eucharistic Sacrifice – because they have studied it with a critical eye. They learn the “why” rather than the “how”.Look at the converts that have posted here (myself included… though I’m really a “revert”). They are all extremely loyal to the Holy See. They want desperately to retain the “Holy”, the “Other”, of the faith.You mention the elderly in your services. From my experience, the elderly are incredibly devout for “the right purposes” (meaning they understand it – and are not just fiercly loyal to lower-case tradition). Possibly because they’ve seen it longer, possibly because they can actually make the poorly planned education classes, most likely because they learned their Catholicism in a stricter environment that forced you to understand it.This isn’t a watered down version. It is an enriched version of Catholicism that refuses to let you sit on your backside during Mass. You take your faith with you and entwine it around every aspect of your life. The Protestant Evangelicals, horribly misguided in their theology, have attained that much, much better than the Catholic Church – whether or not we want to recognize that. (To all: ) Take a step out of your groups of friends that are all involved in the Church – and look at the majority of parishoners. You’ll find that half or more of most churches only pay lip service on Sundays. That number is drastically higher in Evangelical circles.And a quick response to Maggie: I don’t see Fr’s “why do you find it disturbing” comment abrasive. He was asking “Why” because of the extremely vague “they’re bad” post from Jeff. I see Jeff’s posts as arrogant because he continually dodged any further explanation. “They’re bad” “Why?” “Because of what some people said.” “But why? Here’s what I read…” “well. You should ask your Bishop.” “I don’t understand what you mean.” “I’m RC, this makes me sad.”- Bill

  • Reading this thread with sadness, one cannot help but think of the older brother of the Prodigal Son.Our Father’s House has many mansions, brethren, and we should rejoice that He seeks to fill them with souls of every description and disposition!We belong to a universal Church, and that means, in part, that it will be filled up with people dramatically different from ourselves. This should neither suprise nor disappoint us, and once we pass over the temptation of the older brother, then we can rejoice at all our brethren gathered fully into the Father’s house.

  • Correction: “That number is drastically higher…” Meaning the number of involved “Christians” rather than the number of “Lip Service” Christians…D’oh!

  • Anonymous

    Fr. Newman,Stop being so supercilious. And the Prodigal Son parable is misplaced. Of course, there are many mansions, but there is only one Catholic Church with its own history, culture, and tradition, in addition to its doctrine (Cf. Pope Benedict’s definition of “interculturality”). Not every Protestant concept or tradition has to be accommodated when a Protestant wishes to become Catholic. It’s not simply one big stew of beliefs. And you can be “sad” all you want, but your efforts to make Roman Catholicism one meaningless hodgepodge are not going to prevail.And yeah, Bill, converts are always better than cradle Catholics. Talk about stereotyping. That’s part of the nonsense that I wish would go away. And you’re wrong about “every, single” Protestant being so fully accountable. Many of them, especially Evangelicals, leave the Church after conversion, simply because they no longer get the down-home folksy fellowship sessions they got in their former ecclesial bodies. You sound like some of your Evangelical brethren. Too bad you don’t understand Romoan Catholicism.Susan

  • Anonymous

    It’s also becoming very apparent that the “many mansions” are regarded by some of you are only a convenient way to gloss over real differences among Christian denominations and not make Protestant converts “fully accountable” for their conversion to Catholicism. Well, that only gets them in the door, but it doesn’t ensure their salvation. And it deprives them of the true, Catholic heritage, which is more than the sum of its parts and which is not a conglomerate of various Protestant-inspired sects. You might reread Dominus Iesus and the Pope’s recent Apostolic Exhortation. Susan

  • Not every Protestant concept or tradition has to be accommodated when a Protestant wishes to become Catholic.Of course it doesn’t. No one said otherwise.your efforts to make Roman Catholicism one meaningless hodgepodge are not going to prevail.Now that’s supercilious. You’ve already implied that you’re a better Catholic than two orthodox priests.And yeah, Bill, converts are always better than cradle Catholics.Again, Susan, I would suggest that you read what people have actually written. Bill appropriately qualified his statement with “in my experience.” He was not making global statements.

  • Susan -I said “from my perspective, every single…” Please quote me correctly. I was not make broad generalizations here.And please, if you were offended by Longenecker’s classification of your faith, do not belittle mine by making the same statements. You do not know me or my faith but what you have inferred from my words.The Code of Canon Law continually makes regards for “the norm”. It is not a list of harsh rules like “you must genuflect only with the right knee, a retain this position for a minimum of 2 seconds with the head tipped to a very specific angle…” From what I’ve inferred from your words – this is your defintion of Roman Catholicism. (Yes, I’m exaggerating – I do not think that this is what you believe, but merely pointing out what can be inferred.)With due respect (and I mean this non-confrontationally), I do not understand your “many rooms” comment. Where in this discussion is the claim made that a different theology is taught? From what I’ve seen, the discussion is about (or intended) the reaction to Honest Faithful Magisterial Teaching. There are many different personalities – as such, there are many different ways that people physically respond to God. Is a quiet and reserved person “better” because of their perceived solemnity? Is an emotional person blasphemous because they cry out to God? These are Reactions to God but neither involve a differing theology. We should not dictate a pharisaical response to His Mercy.I’m surprised at the growing anger in this thread. All because, perhaps, some people want to worship God with the personality given them rather than a clone of the “correct actions.”

  • Anonymous

    Bill,Your remark about “correct actions” tells me a lot. As Pope Benedict has reiterated many times, our worship is given to God, not something we do for ourselves. Therefore, there are “correct actions,” and one’s individual “personality” is not determinative here. In fact, it is the last element that is relevant. When we worship, we are joining the perpetual worship of the Heavenly Jerusalem. It is a privilege. As such, it must be done properly, not with a bunch of evangelical hand-clapping and shouted invocations to the spirit. You’ve joined the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Bill, not a Pentecostal sect. There is a difference.And once the Pope issues the indult for the traditional Latin Mass, the accent and focus on dignity and tradition will only be augmented as the traditional Latin Mass influences the Novus ordo and as the new English translation is published.Susan

  • Could I recommend my most recent post on ‘joy’?It might provide some light relief for those following this thread 🙂

  • Thank you, Susan. Your response also offers quite a bit of insight. I did not suggest altering the Mass or our participation within it (though your interpretation should be presented to those other rites recognized by the Roman Catholic Church). Nor has this group required a change to the Mass. They are interested in every other period of time of the believer, rather than only an hour on Sundays (or per day, whichever). For some of us, God is 24/7.I must admit, however, I find it very entertaining to hear people rail against any increased ritual role of the laity (which is not the purpose of EC) by, it should be pointed out, laity. Perhaps either priest on this forum, the US Council of Bishops (who approved the Novus Ordo translation) or the Pontiff himself (who was at Vatican II and approved the move away from the Tridentine Rite) should stop and listen to these emboldened laymen claiming that the laity should have no role.

  • Anonymous

    Bill,I am not only interested in my religion for one hour a week. My faith also takes 24/7 of my time. It’s typical of the Protestantized Catholics of the US or those involved in the “lay groups” that they dismiss those of us who are concerned with a more orthodox view of the Mass than simply a gathering of people of like mind.One thing that characterized the diversity of rites in the ancient Church was the concept of God as the actor and humanity as the recipient, something that is lacking notably in many Novus ordo and Protestantized variations on the current Mass. And, yes, I recognize the existence of other rites in the Latin Church, e.g., those Uniate rites. They, too, are characterized by the distinction I just made.Your remark that “for some of us, God is 24/7” is the attitude many cradle Catholics find objectionable in Protetant converts. Besides being ludicrous on its face, you yourself have now dismissed an entire group of faithful “practicing” Catholics, who want a decent Mass and adherence to the doctrine and Magisterium of the Church. Why don’t you try it? Many people think EC is heterodox and Protestant.Susan

  • Anonymous

    Also, Bill, since you seem to equate talking about Jesus with communion with God, I should tell you that by nature Catholicism is more contemplative than the Protestant sects, with the contemplation flowing into acts of charity, missionization, etc. (cf. Augustine, the Victorines, etc.)Susan

  • Maggie

    Fr. Longenecker, My apologies for judging your opening question (I could have said “salvo”–just kidding) “abrasive”. That is the definite shortcoming of electronic transmission. Interpretation depends more on the mood of the reader than on the intentions of the writer. I see that the thread has morphed into liturgy and worship. Fr. Paul Scalia gave a very instructive talk to the Arlington, VA, Catechetical Resource Group at their 2007 Spring Conference titled “Pope Benedict XVI and Liturgical Reform, in which he addresses just these issues. His talk does not concern specific liturgical abuses, but rather what worship and liturgy are in themselves. He gives several examples from Scripture, particularly from the O.T., in which the people ignored the revealed worship that was God’s gift to His people for liturgies of their own making–with disastrous results, Jeptha’s daughter being one, the worship of the Golden Calf being an other. We are in great danger of making similar mistakes ourselves in our time. By the way, a CD of this talk is available from the producer: http://www.tallguyav@earthlink.net. It is very instructive, and many people might be surprised to discover that Mass is not about them or the congregation, but about God. I think Susan was there. She seems to have a good grasp on his message that liturgy is something revealed and given to us. It is not ours to make up as we go along or to twist and bend to our own tastes–either by priests who take liberties and introduce novelties or by the people in the pews imitating priestly gestures without knowing why the priest makes them. (There is nothing like being punched in the stomach when your eyes are closed so that someone can grab your hands from either side during the Our Father.)

  • Maggie, I think most of us on this thread agree about the need for God-centered liturgy, lament liberal happy clappy abuses etc.

  • Anonymous

    I was there as well and here’s what I saw and heard. Unfortunately, I heard the primary speaker say on a number of occassions during his 4 talks. And I wrote these down…becasue they shocked me. “we are not about doctine!” “We do not need to talk about doctine.” “I’m not going to share the Catechism w/ you, i’m going to share my life.” “Don’t worry I’m not going to hit you over the head w/ my catechism.” On top of that, Adoration was merely an afterthought. It was from 7:00-8:30am, and it was mentioned in the same breath as breakfast one time. Other than that there was no mention of the sacraments or church teaching, by any employee of the EC. Fr. Longernecker’s breakout, was the best one that I went to. It was the only one that covered the truth. Both, of the men that worked for the EC…are former evangelical’s, which is fine. I love the bible, it is my passion. But, we are not sola scriptura, and to present it that way is not being faithful to the magisterium. There is no question that it was presented that way.

  • Jennifer

    “the concept of God as the actor and humanity as the recipient”Susan, This past fall I heard our bishop say mass at the statewide charismatic conference. He made a passing comment to that audience about the forthcoming widening the use of the Latin Mass, and the whole congregation cheered. You could not have found a group of people who were happier to get this news.I think you have hit on exactly why this was.

  • I’ve never seen such condescending drivel. Why use a buzzword that’s automatically going to offend people? The word Evangelical has serious connotations these days. If you are faithful to the Church, which I’m very much starting to doubt, why not just jettison the word instead of being so in-your-face?

  • Anonymous

    Blessed in their own minds are the self-righteous, for they know absolutely everything.Jeffrey, if you allow the other side of any disagreement to define the terms, you lose. Think of the difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion. Protestants did not invent the word evangelical, and there is simply no reason to concede to their sole use an important word from the Bible with an ancient Catholic pedigree. If the word disturbs you, then get over it and learn your own heritage. But nothing can justify your outrageous slander that the Catholics who use this word are not faithful to the Church. That is calumny (There’s an old fashioned Catholic word you should like.), and you should examine your conscience.

  • Jennifer

    “The word Evangelical has serious connotations these days.”I always think of the late holy father’s exhortation to the New Evangelization. What’s wrong with that?

  • Anonymous

    All you crypto-Protestants automatically use the notion of “retrieving our heritage” to justify anything Protestant or evangelical element you with to incorporate into the Church. The Roman Catholic Church already has a vocabulary for “evangelization;” it’s called MISSIONIZATION (cf. the documents of Vatican II). Protestant, fundaamentalist, and evangelical elements ARE NOT part of our tradition. Stop skewing the argument with that old shibboleth “retrieving our tradition.” First you have to learn our tradition. How about that?

  • Anonymous

    Late to the discussion but just wanted to clarify something for those who come upon late as I didi. I have a wonderful searchable cd (by the Daughters of St. Paul) of all the documents of the Vatican Council II and all papal and magisterial documents up to the late 90’s. It does a word or phrase search in all 161 documents in 60 seconds flat.So I thought in light of the discussion above, that I’d search for two words: “evangelical” and “missionization” Results:the word “evangelical” is used 482 times – including 14 times in Lumen Gentium alone.Missionization? Zero. Not a single use of the word in any counciliar or papal document.So I’m afraid that I don’t know how anonymous gathered the impression that missionization was a word used by the Council.

  • My Catholic Brothers and Sisters, My wife and I are the Executive Directors of the Evangelical Catholic. This thread might be losing its tread (it might be about time), but I wanted to offer a couple comments in the quest for further understanding.”Evangelical” is a rich Catholic word with messy connotations. This post is a clear testament to that fact.Both Cardinal Dulles and Cardinal George have said that not only CAN Catholics be evangelical – but that they MUST be. Paul VI marked the 10th anniversary of VII by calling for the “evangelical liberation” of the world. The word is firmly established not only in Tradition, but in the modern teachings of the magisterium.I don’t believe that anyone should apologize for emphasizing the personal encounter with Jesus over the doctrines about Jesus. The Holy Mass doesn’t primarily preach doctrines – it witnesses to the saving presence of Jesus. In this presence is life-giving truth (and subsequent, crucial doctrines). But The Evangelical Catholic’s ministry focuses on the sanctifying, life-giving person of Jesus. We do not disparage ministries called to emphasize doctrine and catechesis. We certainly treasure the Catechism. We sincerely appreciate ministries that are finding beautiful, effective ways of teaching the Church’s doctrines.I deeply appreciate Fr. Newman and others’ exhortation that we open to the universal nature of the Church. To those claiming our Holy Father as their advocate in winnowing the pseudo-Catholics from the flock, the burden of proof is theirs. And they must do better than offer examples of his actions as head of the CDF. They must reckon with his shocking actions as Pope on September 24, 2005, when he graciously accepted Hans Kuhn’s request to meet with him. On that day, they engaged in a friendly dialog, expressing appreciation for each other’s work where they could agree, and agreed to disagree on many other issues. It is reported that before the Holy Father commented publicly on the meeting, he sent the news release to Kuhn for approval.This reveals something about the Holy Father’s approach to dissenters and the universality of the Church. I do not see in this story, the visceral attacks that I have read in certain posts on this site. I do not see a fear of guilt by association. Instead, I see a Vicar of Christ bent over, writing something in the sand for all of us to read.To be evangelical cuts through the divisive, tired dichotomies of our Church. It cuts to the heart of the Good News in Christ, to which and out of which the doctrines of our Holy Church flow. I think Pope Benedict met with Kuhn because he thought they could find common ground on the evangelium. Upon this, they could begin their dialog toward reconciliation. It was a message, I believe, to the Church, that we should stop ostracizing and begin being “ministers of reconciliation” toward our fellow-Catholics and toward the world.-Jason J. SimonCo-Executive DirectorThe Evangelical Catholic

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Simon,You didn’t receive “visceral” attacks. People simply disagreed with you and your approach. That’s the trouble with you extra-ecclesial organizations: everything is an “attack.” Well, guess what? Emphasizing the “personal encounter” with Jesus, without connecting it to the Church and to the doctrines associated with our knowledge of Jesus Christ is PROTESTANT. The “ministries” that emphasize the doctrines about Jesus are: the Magisterium, Pope Benedict, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, et al. As Pope Benedict said on the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus: “Christ is never without His Church.” Read the NT, read the Fathers: their testimony is about the relationship of the Body of Christ (the Church) with Jesus Christ. You’re only presenting an attenuated, Protestant, “pro me” theology and it’s not Catholic.

  • I also believe the Holy Father has made it clear that Catholic schools and universities should not offer pro-abortion politicians honors and platforms for speaking even if their topic of address is not abortion. This is to avoid the appearance of endorsing a dissenter. I think a truly Catholic institute would be mindful of the same sort of policy. Even if a speaker is not addressing his area of open dissent, the fact that he very publicly rejected the authority of the Magisterium in one area makes him unsuitable to speak as a Catholic teacher in another.

  • Anonymous

    Catholic Mom, You are wasting your breath. The point has been made several times, with specific examples of dissent, and neither Fr. Longenecker, Fr. Newman, the founders of CE, nor any of their supporters have yet even responded to the critique.

  • Dear Anonymous and Catholic Mom,Neither I nor my friend and colleague Father Longenecker have offered a defense of dissent, and we have not offered one because we both hold that no Catholic, least of all a priest, is free to reject a doctrine of the faith that must be held either de fide credenda or de fide tenenda. At the same time, however, we hold (because all Catholics must hold) that rash judgment is unjust; it is also a real danger for those who comment on events and persons without firsthand, direct, and personal knowledge.Perhaps a quick review of the Cathecism would be helpful:2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:–of rash judgment who, even tacitly assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;–of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;–of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way.The director of the Evangelical Catholic has offered a clear explanation of their work and an unambiguous affirmation of their commitment to all that the Church teaches to be true. If they once allowed persons who dissent from Catholic doctrine on this or that question to speak at a conference organized by EC, that does not make the program itself an organ of dissent. I once allowed Gerry Matatics to speak at my parish after he had become a sede vacantist schismatic but before I knew that this was the case. My mistake did not make me a sede vacantist schismatic; it made me more cautious about those whom I permit to speak at my parish. We are obliged by charity to give the benefit of the doubt to the good people of the EC, and the confidence in their orthodoxy and good work expressed by respected churchmen from many places is evidence enough that to continue condemning them for the mistakes of others is clearly rash judgment. So, please, be cautious and be charitable or be silent.

  • Dear Fr. Newman et all.It can be difficult to vet every person and program thoroughly. I too have gotten surprised even after I’ve made a strenuous good faith effort to vet things in light of Church teaching. Like you, it has made me more cautious.The folks at EC are not some spiritual juggernaut. They were an small, all volunteer outfit until 6 months ago when they hired their first staff person. They are tiny and relatively inexperienced in the many theological political currents in the Catholic world because they’ve worked in a single town and diocese. The two speakers in question are not exactly house-hold names. I’d certainly never heard of them nor apparently has anyone who commented on this. It is entirely possible for a small group not be able to easily discover the complete public history snd beliefs of every speaker, especially if they were recommended by someone you trust. What should speak strongly for EC’s orthodoxy are speakers like Cardinal Dulles and Archbishop Timothy Dolan, neither of whom would lend their time and name to a group that was dissident. That, and the fact that EC is housed in the diocesan offices because one of EC staff is partly supported by the diocese. Bishop Morlino is not exactly known for his theological fuzziness. He has clearly made a positive judgement about their orthodoxy – and he has both the responsibility to judge and the opportunity to know and evaluate them personally.

  • Unfortunately, Sherry, the hermeneutic of suspicion is used not only in contemporary biblical scholarship, but also by many Catholics in their judgment of a bishop’s conduct, no matter what a particular bishop has done to establish his bona fides. This is somewhat understandable in light of recent history, but it is not excusable, as the CCC citations provided by Fr. Newman indicate: when in doubt, we are to assume the best.

  • It’s amazing to me that someone can wax eloquent on how the Catholic Church has 2000 years of history and then ignore all but the last 400 years minus the last 40. In other words there is more to Catholic tradition than those acts, rubrics, music and prayers established at Trent and followed until Vatican II.EC seems pretty solidly Catholic to me. The Holy Father himself has remarked on the importance of rationality. Petrine doctrine, the importance of Mary, Real Presence, all have nothing to do with N.O. or Tridentine, Chant or modern music forms. You don’t like the N.O? Fine, I expect you wouldn’t like Anglican Rite either. That’s okay too. Prior to Trent there were several licit orders of the Liturgy (indeed as there were afterwards.) I expect that the Holy Father will soon make it possible for the Tridentine order of the Mass to be more widely used. And tightening up the N.O. No reason they can’t co-exists.As for bad speakers, my parish had the misfortune to schedule a liberal sister, who came recommended by the diocese (which I believe later withdrew her authorization to speak at diocesan churches) who’s talk had both our youth minister and catechetical leader up in arms (and calling the diocese. When she had the audacity to read her more ecologically proper version of the creed we practically had a riot. You sometimes just don’t check out a speaker enough if they somehow get a good endorsement from some one you think you can trust. My point being that EC’s board sounds fairly orthodox. I suspect they won;t ask those two speakers back.

  • Kat

    As a convert, I started RCIA with the adults when I was 14, and was recieved at the age of 16 in 1995 and went through a lot of oposition from my family. To see the infighting and snide comments that I see here, among our Catholic family is increadably sad. I have waded through most of the 70 some comments here on this issue. Jeffrey, Susan and a couple others are practically ready to raise the stake and light the pyre of each other or of the EC. Shall someone call Torquemada?I enjoy a good rendition of Panis Angelicus as much as a good rendition of Our God is an Awesome God and I have heard both at the same Mass. “Evangelical” Catholicism as presented on thier website is faithful to Church teaching, has not to my knowlaged been censured by the Church, if they promoted issues dangerous to the faith they would have been censured by now. Perhaps, the issue here isn’t a style of worship or a way of proceding in faith, perhaps it is just that this style just doesnt appeal to you and you think it bad or wrong because of it. Nothing on thier website is against Catholic teaching or incompatable with the Catholic Church. If you dont like the EC movement, that is fine but to brush it aside and deem it heretical is out of line.