Pope Continues Presenting the Inhabitants of Fortress Katolicus…

Pope Continues Presenting the Inhabitants of Fortress Katolicus… October 29, 2013

with the problem of his being an enormously attractive evangelical witness to those outside Fortress Katolicus. This time it’s an Episcopalian. I can almost hear the collective “Ewww!” from the Perfecti inside the Fortress.

I’m old enough to remember a time when it was a good thing, not a catastrophe, that non-Catholics were attracted to the Catholic faith. Somehow, however, we have arrived in a weird hour when those who regard themselves as the most pure and sterling representative of the faith now see evangelism as a danger and the pope as a menace. And no small part of their gripe is that he, like his predecessors, rejects proselytism even as he practices evangelism. Apparent the critics prefer proselytism–because it’s more effective at alienating people or something. Weird.

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  • Who are these ‘inhabitants of Fortress Katolicus’ who are upset that non-Catholics may be attractive to the faith, full stop? Their worry – right or wrong – is typically that people are being given the message that you can be pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage, pro-contraception, pro-women-priests and that you’ll fit right in with the Catholic Church.

    I think these critics are entirely incorrect. The Pope is not putting out that message whatsoever, and the people who are tend to be the actively dishonest (see NARAL) in their creative interpretations of the Pope’s message. I don’t see any real dishonesty in the article you cited – maybe someone will be paranoid and suggest the mere statement of interest by an Episcopalian is damning enough.

    The weird thing is, while the Pope is trying to set an example as a man who will engage in respectful dialogue with those who deeply disagree with the Church, apparently the signal received by many Catholics is ‘We should mock and belittle the people who disagree with us!’ Do you think the Pope’s attitude is reserved exclusively for atheists and abortionists?

    • meunke

      I think this misses the point of many.

      I have no beef with the Holy Father. What he’s doing is basically what Benedict did, or tried to do, before him.

      Which is my actual point. I am continuously hearing from people things like “Oh! This pope actually says we should care about the poor!” Or “Francis is actually trying to reach out to people!” (the implied second part being “Unlike that has-been guy we had before who didn’t care about the poor and didn’t try to reach out to others.”) Of course, when confronted with the actual writings or facts about Benedict on these topics, they become dismissive.

      I think the things that our Holy Father is doing are great! But I just wish that so many didn’t combine their fist pump with a barely concealed middle finger to the previous pontiff. And no, I’m not pointing fingers at people here.

  • Dave G.

    Wait, is there someone complaining about this? There were no comments. Is there some website taking issue with what this fellow said?

  • Dan C

    “Put simply, the new head of the Roman Catholic Church is blowing everyone’s minds. He is saying and doing things that seem like fresh water in the midst of a desert. He is speaking and acting with compassion, honesty and generosity of spirit. His wisdom is grounded in love. My guess is that Pope Francis is going to bring a lot of people back to Rome.”

    Why would recycling the Benedict’s words be mind-blowing or alienating? It would be that Benedict was roundly ignored and mis-represented. His biggest supporters (only conservatives, mind you-liberals ignorantly wrote him off years before) dared to present only his pious vague comments. In many ways, he had developed the evangelical posture for the New Evangelism maybe 50 years ago. Francis probably was listening and reading.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Rev. Devaul certainly has the whole charity thing down. I doubt I would be so gracious in considering the possibility of Catholics prefixing “ex-” to their denomination due to the influence of another church’s bishop.

    We are indeed all in this together. I think of the story that Tolkien was disappointed that Lewis never swam the Tiber. While Lewis was in imperfect communion with the Catholic Church, he was in a far more perfected communion than when he started! If Francis’ words nudge somebody even slightly to a more perfect communion with the Church, even if it fails to achieve a perfect communion, surely it is then a victory for God.

    • Dan C

      On a side topic, I like the stricter dividing line between those in the Church and those out of the Church. Why? Because we tend to find our affinities personally for those we like to be part of the invisible Church (I claim that Evangelicals are amongst this group who are secretly considered part of the invisible Church by a certain tribal element of American Catholicism). As such, the dividing line is still strict, but just a personal (often tribal) idiosyncrasy.

      My opinion: Not in the Church, fine. But its better inside. I do hold strict categories. I think people can be “ex-Catholic” having renounced their affiliation with the Church. I think people can be good and saved and may struggle to follow Christ and not be in the Church (like Lewis). I think that Benedict probably agreed on this latter point considering his approval of “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.”

      • It gets a bit tricky for those who leave to Orthodoxy, wouldn’t you say?

        • Dan C

          In this same CDF response, I recall the question of Orthodoxy recognizes these individuals in apostolic succession, so they are in the Church, if imperfectly.

          • So, somebody is really ticked at the Church and goes Orthodox. Do you go along with his description of ex-Catholic or start talking about how he hasn’t really left, perhaps provoking further moves away from Rome?


            • Dan C

              Not Roman Catholic? Hmmmm…such a challenging taxonomical question.

      • Chesire11

        Once confirmed, their souls are indelibly sealed with the Holy Spirit. A person can be a non-practicing Catholic, or a lapsed Catholic, but not an ex-Catholic. We’re like a spiritual Cosa Nostra.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Thank you for making me aware of that document, Dan C.

  • SurgeDomine

    This article sounds baseless triumphalis. The New Evangelisation the old fashion way has been tried and proven for centuries post Vatican II “evangelism” has get to prove everything in shrinking Catholic Church.

    • Dan C

      What centuries? Are we to talk about the incredible success of the European efforts on the Indian sub-continent? About the abolition and then re-establishment of ancient liturgies (for those traditional-minded folks, there is more than just Latin)?

      Are we to discuss the success of the imprint of colonialism on most evangelical efforts?

      This comment seems to ignore that the downslide faced by the Western Church was a post-war phenomenon (which makes sense) and not a Vatican 2 phenomenon.

    • jaybird1951

      Considered on a global basis, the Catholic Church is definitely not shrinking. It has been growing by 16-18 million each year and now exceeds 1.2 billion. I believe that Catholic growth accounts for 20% or so of the entire world population growth p.a. compared to its 17% share of the total. The surging church of Africa grows by 5-6 million a year and the churches of Asia by another 3-4 million.

    • chezami

      The Church as grown 7000% in the past century. What do you means “shrinking”?

  • Stu

    I don’t put much stock in this article (and no, I don’t mind people outside of the Church seeing positive things in the Pope). There is nothing of substance in the Reverend’s words. “Breath of fresh air” is about as meaningful as “hope and change.” They are just platitudes. Bottom line from the Reverend was this:

    “Someone asked me recently if he makes me want to be Roman Catholic.


    People become Catholic because of substance.

    • Dan C

      Often people become Catholic because of marriage.

      • Stu

        People leave the Church over marriage as well. I don’t think that really speak to really converting.

        • Dan C

          I would be wary of defining “really converting” vs. “Converting.”

          It’s a level of judgement one should be wary of.

          For instance, the level of catechesis provided the throngs baptized by Francis Xavier in India? Yet they were converts.

          • Stu

            I won’t define it. But I will say that if you join the Church just to get married, then that isn’t a good reason.

            • Dan C

              Who is to say that is not a good reason? I know plenty of folks who joined as a consequence of marriage and now are clearly embracing the faith strongly.

              Sometimes one needs to get acquainted .

              I think you are distinguishing conversion to Catholicism to full embrace of discipleship and that may differ from Catholic to Catholic. Again, I have a “keep my eyes on my own paper” rule about that too.

              • Stu

                It’s not a good reason. It might, by the Grace of God, lead to a conversion but it’s not a reason to become Catholic. You become Catholic because you believe the Church has the Truth.

                • chezami

                  That is one out of millions of reasons people become Catholic, and often by no means the dominant reason.

                  • Stu

                    People do things for all manner of reasons. Doesn’t make them good reasons. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

  • steve5656546346

    Another absurd strawman ridicule of other members of the mystical body of Christ who are orthodox believers as well.

    • chezami

      No. An accurate characterization of dozens of conversations I’ve had with Catholics who fret because the Wrong People like Francis.

      • The seduction of good people to the other side is a common theme in our time. On surface it looks remarkably like Jesus sitting down to eat with tax collectors et al. The difference is that our modern tale ends up with the sinners swallowing up the good man and not the good man bringing the sinners to light.

        Identify and highlight how to spot the difference between those two scenarios and I believe the problem you are complaining about goes away.

  • $16977560

    Oh, the irony. The New Evangelism. As opposed to the New Inquisition.


    • James H, London

      Um, David?

      That was a *Movie*. It didn’t – really – happen!

      • $16977560

        Um, James?

        Do you by any chance, think I don’t-know-that? Did you assume I was ignorant of the difference between fiction and reality? Did you feel called to minister to my apparent lack?

        Do you in any way perceive what I was saying by referencing Sister Act?

        I shall make it explicit.

        A seedy, sinning lounge singer goes to hide out in a convent. She is a rather blatant sinner. The experience transforms both her and the convent. Along the way, she shows the nuns a better way to do their job than they had been doing. They show her that a life of total selfishness is empty. The convent begins to minister to the neighborhood in many ways, not the least of which is helping to
        bring celebration to the celebration of the Mass, and, oh my, people start coming back to church.

        This is what Pope Francis, Cardinal Dolan, and Father Robert Barron are saying (in three-part harmony).

        Some people feel threatened by this. Pope Francis is telling people to get out of the safe, cozy bunker and minister to the hurting. That is dangerous. You might get dirty. You can’t pretend to be holier-than-thou while doing it. Because “you might slip” is no reason not to be doing it.

        Not one of them is telling people to change doctrine, mostly just change an attitude of self-righteousness and start being little Christs (the meaning of Christian, after all) to the world. Begin to minister to the least of these. Starting in your own home, your own family, your own friends, your own neighborhood, your own town.

        The New Inquisition to which I referred, is composed of all those who just can’t stop complaining about the Pope not acting like they think he ought to act, and saying what they think he ought to say.
        The evidently feel it to be their duty to inform all who will listen
        just what they think. What they think is not very good. At the mildest, it lacks charity. At the worst, it smacks of willful disobedience to the magisterium.

        I regret the length of my explanation, but somehow it just seemed necessary. I trust you are now sufficiently edified.

        P.S. I know it didn’t-really-happen!

  • Pavel Chichikov

    St. Paul knew how to evangelize. He’s a good model, but a tough act to follow.

    I like the Arab saying: God says “Take what you want – but then pay.”

  • Matt Talbot

    It seems that for many on the American right, their problem with the Pope is not so much any particular thing he is saying, but more with (for lack of a better descriptor) the “story” he is telling.

    While I think it is not correct to say that either JPII or Benedict XVI were “Conservative” in the American political sense of the word, they were more easily described as at least an ally in the “culture war” posited by Pat Buchanan in the early 1990s.

    The American right habitually tells a particular story, a particular way, when they argue for their agenda. Benedict could frequently be said to be telling that story, or at least not contradicting it, when he spoke on issues that intersected with the agenda of Culture Warriors of the right.

    Francis has not only not told the particular story the particular way the right wants it told, he has actually been tossing sand into the gears (to mix metaphors) and telling a different story. Nothing he has said calls for retreat from church teaching on any issues (abortion, gay marriage and so on) about which the Culture Warriors and the Catholic Church agree; he is just not embedding those teachings in a story that the American Right wants told.

    • It would be nice if there were footnotes. I had to dig fairly deep to make the Aparecida document’s despoliation of the poor comment make any sense whatsoever. For those who are less diligent and perhaps less patient, it’s understandable that they don’t see it through and figure out that they’re not going liberation theology there. At least I think they’re not going liberation theology.

      See the problem now?

      • Matt Talbot

        If the Pope is misinterpreted, then he can clarify his position.

        But here’s the thing: what I get from your comment is that he’s not telling the particular story you want told, in the way you want him to tell it. He has not endorsed Liberation Theology, he’s just not making it a priority to make utterly and absolutely sure that nothing he says can be construed as in any way endorsing anything said by liberation theologians.

        What if, rather than coming at things from the “Identify and Crack Down On Error” model, the Church as an institution identified what liberation theology gets right, the injustices it rightly opposes, and then shows a way to address those injustices such that the way of addressing them is in better accord with the Magisterium?

        Francis is, above all, a pastoral Pope.

        • Stu

          Which Popes, in recent memory, were not “pastoral”?

          • Matt Talbot


            • Stu

              So what makes a Pope, “pastoral”?

              • Chesire11

                I think it’s a question of the particular missions of the post conciliar popes. Blessed John Paul II, and Benedict XVI were left with a mess of confusion, and dissent in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.

                The Church had lost its direction amid a welter of felt banners, guitar masses, and the mistaken notion that Vatican II represented a modernization” of doctrine, and a rejection of tradition. In that context, the Church needed authoritative interpretation of what the Council actually meant and said, hence the Magisterial pontificates of Francis’ immediate predecessors. Both JPII and B16 were pastoral, but the crucial work to be achieved was the correction of creeping, modernist heterodoxies that had seeped into the Church.

                It is a testament to the magnificent job they did in correcting the course of the barque of St. Peter that Francis is able to focus his pontificate on the pastoral work of the New Evangelization. Thanks to JPII, and B16, we weathered the storm, now Francis is free to launch the counter-attack half a century in the making.

              • Matt Talbot

                To rephrase from my above comment: What if, rather than coming at things from the “Identify and Crack Down
                On Error” model, the Church as an institution did more to identify what its opponents get right, including identifying which injustices they rightly oppose, and then shows a
                way to address those injustices that is
                in accord with the Magisterium?

                The right seems to want the Church to Exert Authority as its primary way of interacting with the world. There are other, more productive ways of coming at things.

                Jesus said some pretty blunt things to the Pharisees, but just as often He could be remarkably sensitive and tender. Think of the woman caught in adultery, for example, or (especially) the woman at the well.

                • Stu

                  I think most simply want some balance. Justice and charity.

                  • Matt Talbot

                    And that I can agree with.

        • Of course a Pope can clarify his position. That’s par for the course. Saying so utterly misses the point.

          Instead of addressing what despoliation of the poor means, you’re flying cover and attacking my attempt to achieve clarity on a point that would bring things into focus for a lot of people. Some of the most confused, I suspect, are Pope Francis’ current cheerleaders.

          Do you know what despoliation of the poor means? Do you care, other than as an utterance useful as a field of battle to whack at the idea that words should have meaning?

          I do not want the poor to be despoiled. But this is a territory that the communist enemies of the Church have staked out as home ground and to fight them on that ground, the term needs to be defined, and defined well. I have a certain amount of faith that in his heart, Pope Francis has a sane definition of the term that does not support the communists’ definition, but the traditional Church’s. If he’s ever explained it, I’ve yet to see that explanation, thus the desire for a footnote.

          My critique of Francis is not that he is wrong. It is that he is in a hurry and doesn’t actually show “a way to address those injustices such that the way of addressing them is in better accord with the Magisterium”. He hints at a path that might include such a way.

          • Matt Talbot

            this is a territory that the communist enemies of the Church have
            staked out as home ground and to fight them on that ground, the term
            needs to be defined, and defined well

            Why do enemies need always and everywhere to be defined and defeated? While there are deeply depraved individuals and organizations where that particular approach might be called for (certain central European governments in the middle of the last century come to mind) why not approach disagreements in a way that maximizes the chance that your opponents will be converted, resulting in reconciliation rather than the victory/defeat dichotomy?

            Isn’t it better to hope and work for reconciliation?

            Brief aside regarding communism: it is an ideology that is effectively extinct as a revolutionary force in the world (except for vestiges like North Korea and…well, where else exactly? Places like China and Vietnam are nominally “communist” countries, but haven’t actually fit any meaningful definition of that term for years.) Why is it so important to devote significant energy to oppose a system that has all but died out since the end of the Cold War?

            But again, that is beside the point. Your problem seems to be that Francis’ enemies are not your enemies, and his approach to dealing with them is not your approach to dealing with them. You want confrontation and the exertion of authority; he wants to start a conversation and seeks to engage with them in a more pastoral way.

            • I’m trying to be charitable. Apologies in advance if I don’t quite pull it off. When I say a term must be defined, you reply in a non sequitur asking “Why do enemies need always and everywhere to be defined” which simply isn’t what I’m talking about. A great deal of interesting distraction follows. I’ll answer that separately because there is material worth engaging there, but not at the cost of losing the point.

              The point remains, an important part of the aparecida document is being left unexamined in any serious way. I think that I’ve got a handle on what the term means and my interpretation is one that would calm a lot of the nervous nellies in the conservative camp down. But I’m working in such a vacuum that confidence in the interpretation is too tentative to do much good. I hate working in a vacuum.

              So either care enough to come to grips with the underlying term or go away. All the rest is picking a fight. But that’s something for my other reply.

            • You bring up communism, a recognized enemy of the Church because of its explicit hostility to God, its mistaken vision of human nature including a profoundly wrongheaded idea of the plasticity of same, and its repeated choice of ideology over man expressed through massive prison camps that form as a consequence of reality not fitting with what the ideology says it should be. The list of problems here is not exhaustive.

              Reconciliation is open to anyone, including communists, but reconciliation has to include steps toward renouncing evil. Reconciliation can never be formed on the basis of the Church giving up on the truth and reconciling based on a shared evil. What sort of reconciliation are you talking about? It seems an odd thing as implicit in your stance is a fundamental accusation that the communists are lying about wanting to destroy the Church.

              Caring for the poor, treating them as dignified individuals with rights no less important than the richest and most prominent is a basis for reconciliation with people who have been taken in and think that communism cares for the poor.

              You are simply mistaken regarding the status and nature of communism. From maoist guerrillas in India to the keepers of the laogai in China to Cuba, and N. Korea, communism is a movement that remains in practice both in revolutionary force and as governing philosophy. It is profoundly wounded but Marx’s polylogism means the wounds are not fatal, especially if you ignore the thing and give it time to create another round of rationalizations to support the next attempt at revolution.

              • Matt Talbot

                I’m no defender of communism, TMLutas. I have no argument with your critiques of it.

                That said, I don’t share your assessment of the danger it poses. The counter to their every claim is: “Look at Russia and Eastern Europe. Do you want what they had?”

                The answer to that question will continue to be an overwhelming majority of prospective communists saying “no,” until the last communist ceases gumming his creamed spinach in the Vladimir I. Lenin memorial rest home.

                • Polylogism and the other bastard children of communism are the major threat at present. The labor theory of value directs about a trillion dollars of medical spending in the US (look up RBRVS sometime and get ready to facepalm) and the errors have been shaving a bit of lifespan off of us all for decades. That’s before we get into the present brouhaha over Obama’s signature initiative. Polylogism makes your look at Russia/Eastern Europe tactic (I know, I use them regularly) less effective than you might think.

                  We are nearing the end of the age of westphalianism and the post westphalian age will have meme borders more than nice neat physical borders you can put a man on a wall to guard. There’s a cold civil war brewing in the US and in the last few months accusations of treason have started being flung about. Last I checked 40k people signed a petition to have the GOP Congressional leadership arrested for sedition. I just rechecked. To give you a feel for the momentum, in the past week they picked up another 15k.

                  On the other side, President Obama remains America’s greatest small arms salesman, though the ammunition people seem to have finally caught up on demand.

                  The signs beyond the US’ borders are no less discouraging but this is a blog comment not an analytical rant. Those I save for Wikistrat.

                  • HornOrSilk

                    Polylogism – give me a break, von Mises claims… seriously… all these ideologies which look at the other and make up labels like this all hide their own internal core by projection, nothing else. And that is what you are doing right now. Stop. Think for a change.

                    Every system of thought, even communism, even capitalism, even those promoted by von Mises, has a lot of good in them. To go wholesale against any system and label it as pure evil to be eradicated not only demonstrates Gnostic dualisim, but it also ends up rejecting the good which is used and abused by these systems. The Catholic way has always been: here is what you have good, here we agree, let’s work together with these, and as you do, find the fullness of truth which is neglected in your system. The anti-Catholic Gnostic is, “This is evil. There is nothing good. Go away or completely change.” Francis follows the Catholic imperative, not the American Gnostic ideology.

                    • Your point about the inadequacy of all ideology is well taken and nothing particularly new for me. It doesn’t cover your other assertions though.

                      Other than simply not taking communists seriously when they talk about proletarian logic as something distinct from bourgeois logic, how does one explain that multiplicity without resort to polylogism? I refuse to entertain the concept that the communists have been playing a multi-decade joke with that. Give me a break indeed.

                      The sun still rises in the east even when a communist says so. Saying that the sun rises in the east is not a merit of communism. Of communism’s original concepts, I struggle to find things that are good. The good in communism seems to be all in the parts that they’ve taken from preceding systems.

                      I would wish that you would not stuff words in my mouth. I’m perfectly happy to live in a world with communists in it so long as they do not wish to kill me or mine. The utopian communists who organized experiments in communal living in the 1800s and let people leave and the experiment end when it failed are foolish but not particularly worrisome. They died out for the most part because scientific communism actually learned from its experiments and ended when it turned out the idea simply doesn’t work. The residue we have left is something different.

                      The major strains of communism in the 20th century to present all harbor coercion and violence at their heart and I think that we, as a world, can utterly do without that.

                      The imperviousness to past evidence that a particular trial won’t work and the violence habit are major problems that dominate the net effects of the system. Do you agree?

                    • HornOrSilk

                      The thing is, logic is a human construct, and this is not something merely found with the communists. It’s why different forms of mathematics also exist, as we have learned to engage other forms of logic beyond the simple, but good construct we began with. We see even in Christianity the destruction of many forms of human logic as the truth transcends what logic can provide, which is why we have all kinds of paradoxes with Christianity. This mean there is human constructs which we use to map out reality, and then we can say there is a transcendent theo-logic, that of God himself, which, like God, is incomprehensible. This is why the von Mises criticism ultimately ends up destructive of Christianity because his logical monism destroys the true theo-logic of God.

                      What is funny and sad is you talk about coercion and force, but the capitalist enterprise you support with von Mises does the same thing. The destruction of so many lives in the world is all around us. The Church has spoken out against both extremes, and has pointed out the death which capitalism and the von Mises of the world also brings. Force is used via economic power. “I have the loot, and with it, use it to buy up the rest while I cut off any would be competition.” That’s force all around. Sorry to say, you really need to step out of this ideological focus.

                      When “that’s communist” becomes a catchword to stop any attempt for human improvement, something is wrong. The same would be if someone used “that’s capitalist” for the same reason. Neither system is complete in and of itself and there are elements of both needed, depending upon the situation and area.

                    • So your response basically is that polylogism is real, and not a problem.


                      No more need to talk about logic with you. At all.

                      Despoliation of the poor in putatively liberal regimes in Latin America mentioned in the aparecida document is a case in point of the difficulty I’m having with this Pope. When actually looking for the bad that is happening, I ask for specifics and what I find is universally failures in the extension of capitalism to all corners of local society. Property isn’t registered or, more commonly, is misregistered and thus the poor’s possessions are not protected by the system. That seems to be the heart of the complaint. There isn’t a capitalist around that wouldn’t go along with the complaint of improper or insufficient property registration. Proper registration is a major feature of capitalism. Destroying property registration systems is a major and recurring feature of communism.

                      If the worse prospects the poor in Latin America have of having their possessions protected by the law is *not* what the conference meant in the aparecida document that the Pope is fond of then I really wish I could get a pointer as to what they did mean.

                    • Ronald King

                      I am glad you pointed out this document which I have just started to read.

                      “A Catholic faith reduced to mere baggage, to a collection of rules and prohibitions, to fragmented devotional practices, to selective and partial adherence to the truths of the faith, to occasional participation in some sacraments, to the repetition of doctrinal principles, to bland or nervous moralizing, that does not convert the life of the baptized would not withstand the trials of time. Our greatest danger is

                      ‘the gray pragmatism of the daily life of the church in which everything apparently continues normally, but in reality the faith is being consumed and falling into meanness.’ “

                    • That is a great quote and I fully agree.

  • Elmwood

    I’m relieved to know that our Holy Father is welcome in his Episcopalian church in Orange County, CA. I’m sure it’s on the top of his list.

  • rachel

    what is the difference between evangelism and proselitization? i thought they were synonyms,

    • capaxdei

      ‘On Wednesday morning, 8 May, at Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis spoke of the attitude of an evangelizer: someone open to all, ready to listen to everyone, without exception.

      ‘The example given by the Pope was from the Apostle Paul in the Areopagus (Acts 17:15-22, 18-1) proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ among the worshipers of idols. It is the way in which he did this, said the Pope, that is so important: “He did not say: Idolaters! You will go to hell…” No, he “tried to reach their hearts”; he did not condemn from the outset but sought dialogue. “Paul is a Pope, a builder of bridges. He did not want to become a builder of walls”. Building bridges to proclaim the Gospel, “this was the Paul’s outlook in Athens: build a bridge to their hearts, and then take a step further and proclaim Jesus Christ”. Paul followed the attitude of Jesus, who spoke to everyone, “he heard the Samaritan woman… ate with the Pharisees, with sinners, with publicans, with doctors of the law. Jesus listened to everyone and when he said word of condemnation, it was at the end, when there was nothing left to do”. But Paul, too, was “aware that he must evangelize, not proselytize”. The Church “does not grow by proselytizing, as Benedict XVI has told us, but grows by attracting people, by its witness, and by its preaching”. Ultimately, “Paul acted because he was sure, sure of Jesus Christ. He had no doubt of his Lord”.


    • capaxdei


      ‘Concerning “proselytism,” it should be pointed out that the understanding of the word has changed considerably in recent years in some circles. In the Bible the word proselyte was devoid of negative connotations. The term referred to someone apart from Israel who, by belief in Yahweh and acceptance of the law, became a member of the Jewish community. It carried the positive meaning of being a convert to Judaism (Ex 12:48-49). Christianity took over this positive and unobjectionable meaning to describe a person who converted from paganism. Until the twentieth century, mission work and proselytism were largely synonymous and without objectionable connotations (B 32, 33). It is only in the twentieth century that the term has come to be applied to winning members from each (B 33), as an illicit form of evangelism (P 90). At least, in some Evangelical circles proselytism is not a pejorative term; in Catholic and most ecumenical circles it is. The attempt to “win members from each other” (B 33) by unworthy means is negative and pejorative proselytism. Members of our communions have been guilty of proselytism in this negative sense. It should be avoided.”


  • Katalina

    I known that blogs like these like to paint the problem as with Purists but its more complicated than that. The truth of the matter is there is more than one non Catholic who is complaining about this new style of his and one evangelical said he needs to go back and read his Bible. So you see it is not just the SSPX or the so called traditionalist. Two well known Catholic Blogger’s have been questioning Francis to the extent that Cardinal Burke and another Cardinal had to leave the room. These two blogger’s are simply asking some hard questions no one else wants to answer. It is either to called the person names like we see here or to actually fire them and this also happened recently. Sooner or later the hard questions will need to be faced up to and asked. Not ignored or glossed over or covered up with trivial things.

    • chezami

      Yes, it is true that there are Puritan Evangelicals who agree with Puritan Catholics in their discomfort over the Wrong People being attracted to the Pope. But that merely means that a lot of Catholics think a lot more like Evangelicals than they think like Catholics. I repeat: the pope has done nothing wrong or heterodox. Those who think it is their job to defend the Faith from the pope are thinking like Protestants, not Catholics.

  • Elizabeth

    Spot on Mark, you’re right. For those of you who are part of the Perfecti I’m sorry that this sinner joined the church six years ago and ruined everything… If I’d have known it was just a club for the perfect I’d never have joined. Everything seems to be going to hell in a handcart now with Papa Francis attracting even more sinners. Perhaps if you set up your own little clique of the perfect ones you’d be happier, just don’t call it Catholic.