Monday, July 28, 2014

Pope: "The worst thing you can do Is religious proselytizing"

Update: Here is a story about the meeting with Pentacostals that raises the question that must be eventually answered: just what does Pope Francis believe the Church is? The Bear has an idea by now, but he doesn't dare state it.

According to a summary of an interview given to an Argentinian newspaper, Pope Francis stressed "attraction" over proselytizing, which he called "paralyzing."

Query -- If Catholics simply try to make themselves "attractive" by apologizing to and validating every other faith, do we risk affirming people in their error? Does "being attractive" result in movement from non-Catholic faiths into the Church? What is so bad about a positive and urgent expression of welcome with the goal to save souls by actually bringing them into the Church? One might think some people do not believe it is all that important to salvation to be inside the Church.

The Pope spoke on a variety of topics, including immigration. He held up Sweden as a good example.

Here's the aftermath of a riot in Sweden, where 14% of the population is foreign born. Sweden's third-largest city, Malmo, is dominated by Muslim immigrants, and police have admitted they have no control over what happens there. Sweden is Europe's poster child for the disastrous effects of mass immigration. Other than the European nation that has gone furthest in replacing its native population with Muslims, what success does the Pope see in Sweden of all places?

In other news, the Pope Monday apologized to Pentecostals for the Catholic Church's persecution of them.

Cardinal Sandri spoke about the genocide by Muslims of Christians in ISIS controlled territory, saying that no religion can kill in the name of God.


  1. "raises the question that must be eventually answered: just what does Pope Francis believe the Church is? The Bear has an idea by now, but he doesn't dare state it."

    Other bloggers are struggling with this same question:


    1. I hope more influential sources than a disreputable old Bear provide some guidance to floundering Catholics. Surely we can be honest while (doing a better job of) respecting the office (than the Bear). We need some adult supervision on this topic.

    2. Oh, and welcome, Terry. Thanks for the links. They're great!

  2. Somewhat amusingly, the Holy Father seems to be engaging in a systematic effort to cut the ground from under his own supporters' feet. When the first Scalfari interview came out with "proselytism is solemn [or downright] nonsense", the professionals hastened to explain that Pope Francis was using the p-word in a specific technical sense; that is, using coercive or overbearing means to win converts. Since then, the Holy Father has on several occasions gone out of his way to make clear that no, that's not what he means. As far as I can tell, the pope uses "proselytism" to describe all efforts to win conversions through persuasion, exhortation, admonition or rational argumentation--you know, those methods used by (among many others) St. Augustine, the Scholastics, St. Francis Xavier, the North American Martyrs, or the Martyrs of Japan.

    Instead, we are instructed to convert by "attraction", presumably by living out our Catholic faith in such a way that non-Catholics will spontaneously convert just to be like us--although we should also keep in mind the pope's earlier admonition not to look too much like holy cards!

    Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with attraction, and doubtless many people have found their way to the Church through exemplary Catholic witness. But I didn't know any Catholics before I set foot in Mass for the first time, so I wasn't in any position to be attracted, and I'm not sure it would have worked on me anyway. Instead, I was thoroughly argued out of atheism and into the first glimmerings of faith, mostly by reading non-Catholic Christians on the internet. In other words, I am living proof that proselytism works!

    1. I thought the same thing. The Catholic Church has been a "thinking man's religion." It has never feared evidence, and if it didn't invent logic, it sure found it in the mud, cleaned it up and put it to good use for hundreds of years. Cardinal Newman it was, I believe, who said something to the effect that "to know history is to be Catholic."

      Are we getting in our South American Pope more than (hopefully) most of the Cardinals bargained for? Is there a fundamental difference between the historical-apodictic European approach to the Church we are used to, and Pope Francis' feeling-experiential view of the Church? He has to know what he's doing. By now no one can credibly argue either misquoting or accident. At least the personal phone calls have stopped, as far as we know.

      I honestly believe that Pope Francis, while he might be pleased you came into the Church, would rather you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, expressed through service to the poor, however that works out in your life. If as a Catholic, great. If as an Evangelical, no problem. The (invisible Church of believers) is big enough to encompass both.

      This is all very nice, except it is Protestant, not Catholic. We're all so used to wondering if this or that prelate is "liberal" or "conservative," we don't recognize a Protestant cuckoo's egg in the nest.


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