Pope: Convert the unbelievers

Praise be to God for this. Do you all realize how powerful it woudl be if just 5% of the one billion Catholics of the world started actively working to evangelize non-Christians?

Good Works not Enough

Roman Catholic missionaries should aim to convert people and not restrict themselves to humanitarian good works, the Vatican said on December 14.

A 19-page document, which was personally approved by Pope Benedict XVI, draws on the controversial Vatican declaration he issued in 2000 that asserted Catholics alone have "the fullness of the means of salvation." The document aims to correct a "growing confusion" among theologians who argue that "it is enough to build communities which strive for justice, freedom, peace, and solidarity."

The document comes as the Catholic Church faces increased competition from Pentecostals and evangelicals, particularly in third-world countries, and charges of improper "sheep stealing" from Orthodox churches, especially in Russia.

"[T]here has a been a cooling of missionary spirit in recent years," said Archbishop Angelo Amato, undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's top doctrinal office.

[...]

The statement rejects conversion by force or by means "which do not safeguard the freedom and dignity of the human person." It also stresses that evangelization among non-Catholic Christians should be undertaken with "true respect" for their traditions.

Comments

Rob said…
-how powerful it woudl be if just 5% of the one billion Catholics of the world started actively working to evangelize non-Christians-

It would be a disaster. They would do it wrong.

I don't say this out of anti-catholicism. I am Catholic.

I think this statement reflects a modernist Christian view of evangelization, which has no place in Christian Tradition or Scripture. (People don't do "door-to-door" in scripture, though many are under the opposite impression.) Evangelization should be left to the experts, which doesn't necessarily mean clergy-only. However, the biggest factor in Christian disunity is caused by the idea that one can pick up a Bible, read for a bit, amd proclaim oneself moved by the Holy Spirit to preach to the unbeliever.

The primary job of a Christian is to sanctify himself. Only some are caled to evangelize others. In scripture, most people stay put. ONly the apostles and their emissarries go spreading the gospel. When others do it, problems rise up and we see Paul dealing with all this same sort of nonsense two thousand years ago.

Sorry, Abu Daoud, for the harsh response. But I really don't like people coming to my door and intruding. It's unChristian.
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Rob,

I agree that there is a specific office in the church of an evangelist, as St Paul mentions in Ephesians. Now since you and I agree on this point, let me ask you in your local Catholic community who has been trained and mobilized for this work? (I agree with you that evangelists may be clergy or lay.)

Secondly, I am not talking about door to door evangelism, though I do know of Catholics who do that. I am talking about being ready and willing and prepared to, as Paul tells us, "give a reason for our faith."

It is the responsibility of every Christian, no exceptions, to share the love of Christ and Gospel with all. Especially people we know through work, family, neighborhood, school, or what have you. In the end, the Gospel is good news. It is good news about hope, comfort, salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Sharing that kind of good news is not something that is only limited to a small number of Christians.
Rob said…
-let me ask you in your local Catholic community who has been trained and mobilized for this work?-

LOL! Touche!

I wish our priests had been trained and mobilized ! :) Realy, at this point, the only person who I would trust with this work is the traditionalist priest who drives several hundred miles each weekend in our state to give Latin masses.

Actually,the next door parish has quite a few people to do this, though I am not sure how "good" they are.

-It is the responsibility of every Christian, no exceptions, to share the love of Christ-

You are very right. My apologies.
JohnG. said…
Rob, Abu Daoud

Please read the (long) and following story (sorry it’s long, but probably worth) :

In my catholic parish, as in many catholic parishes, we were living an haemorrhage of faithful in two generation : the older believers are dying, and .... no new believers except few.

A new and young priest came in the parish. But without we do anything for that, two people (a married couple) asked for baptism for uncertain reasons. So a woman of good will took them and started to try to explain them the ABC of faith. They wanted to go on this way : toward Jesus.

Challenge : how do we lead someone to the faith....(ABC and further...). So, the woman of good will began to search for diocesan‘s intructions helped by the priest too. That’s a big job involving knowledge (it invited the woman to go further in her own faith too : she discovered many interesting thing), time, love (our priest - perhaps due to the global state of the parish and his own lake of time- asked the woman to have a privilege link with the married couple. And that’s a big affair, believe me).

But the story still had unexpected developments. Of course, the married couple asked for their little boy to be baptised in the Church. But most of all, another couple came to the Church : one wasn’t baptised; the other needed confirmation. And now a woman and her child (about 9 years old) are beginning to come to the Church too and asked for baptism! And I have been told that during the Noel’s holidays, one man asked to one of our community : “How do I do to become Christian?”

That’s a little revolution... We were not prepared. So the woman of good will is trying to creat a group of other people of good will, volunteers to deepen their faith and explain the ABC to the new followers, to take time (it’s a very time-eating job, you know : most of the new people coming from very low backgrounds) with them.

To summarise the problem :
- You must have people of good will, faithful to the Christ, listening to the Church teaching and ready to learn a lot .
- Able to “waste” many time to spiritual, social, psychological, and friendly hours with the new beginners.
- Able to grasp the “first” expectation of the beginners (not always clear; often strange) and to lead them to an higher expectation : the Christ.
- Able to create a little group, a dynamic movement.
- Etc....

But the problem is of course behind the BIG Hope we are living today ! We are living something new that we were not prepared to. We do what we can; and we trust in God's help.

I confess we did not create that providential movement; I confess I have nothing to do directly with this fantastic story (I wrote it because I know well the woman of good will), and I confess I don’t know how all of this will turn.

But I know we were two or three praying for a renewal in our parish since dozen of years. And I can just trust in God’s grace.

I ask you prayers; and tell this story to encourage you : don't desperate !

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