Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Proselytizing

Warning Catholics about
proselytizing is like warning
Baptists about dancing.
The Bear always gets to thinking when he hears people warn against things that don't exist. Such warnings are a way to shape behavior and perceptions, or signal the virtue of the one warning. It's a form of agitprop. For example, after every Muslim terrorist attack, we are lectured ad nauseam about "backlash," as if rednecks singing Onward Christian Soldiers rounded up thousands of Muslims every time one of them set off a bomb, then forced them to watch Beth Moore videos until they convert or die.

Pope Francis has warned us repeatedly about the evils of proselytizing. The Bear asks: where is this proselytizing going on?

Is it common in Argentina for Catholics to go out into the cities two-by-two Mormon style and strong arm Evangelicals into the Church? Because the Bear can tell you spreading the Gospel is not something Catholics do where he lives. Catholics do fish fries. Maybe some bingo. Catholics don't proselytize. You will see Bigfoot before you will see Catholics going door-to-door to spread the word. It has been bred out of our DNA.

So what's really going on?

The Pope is not talking to Catholics. He's sending Protestants a submissive message. It is the equivalent of a dog rolling over and showing its belly. We are no threat to you. You don't have to worry about us trying to convert you, because we're just not into that solemn nonsense.

Why would the Pope want to do this? One reason might be to get Protestants to reconsider stealing his sheep. Evangelicals and Pentecostals are making a serious dent in the Church in South America through hard sell proselytizing. American Protestants consider South America mission territory. They literally send missionaries to save the poor godless Catholics.

Maybe he figures the Church has the most to gain in a "unity in diversity" message where everybody stays put.

This is sheer speculation, of course. He has always had a strongly ecumenical urge. But despite his personal friendships with televangelists and Pentecostal preachers, no self-respecting Protestant is going to pay all that much attention to the Whore of Babylon.

What it does demonstrate is that Pope Francis has ecumenical dreams that we can scarcely imagine. Dreams that call into question his theology of the Church and raise the shadow of Indifferentism.

17 comments:

  1. Nice try Bear, but this comment from a very bright commenter at Fr. Longinecker's site kinda shoots down your theory....

    Augustine Dan13 • 4 days ago

    "It must be mentioned that Palmer said on video to Kenneth Copeland that Card. Bergoglio gave him permission to proselytize to catholics in his diocese. That's then a bridge to a precipice. So much for a pontifex (bridge builder)..."

    ....that's an unspeakable dereliction; especially when Catholics are told not to 'proselytize' protestants. It just gets more and more bizarre....further down the rabbit hole we fall.

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  2. Do we have a source that Bishop Tony was actually trying to get people out of the Church, or was he "charismatichizing" them? Was Bishop Tony not working with a Catholic priest buddy? More to the point, the Bear's rhetorical skills might include proposing a weak argument first to make the second argument seem stronger and the author fair-minded. I honestly don't think the Pope of Rome believes it makes any difference where you go to Church. He'll be gone soon enough, and let's hope the Cardinals take their duties more seriously next time.

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  3. " I honestly don't think the Pope of Rome believes it makes any difference where you go to Church."

    aaaaand that really is the bottom line, isn't it?

    "charismatichizing"....I am SO stealing that! :)


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  4. I wonder whether Pope Francis cares whether you go to Church at all, given his interviews with Scalfari and his close friendship with Rabbi Skorka.

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  5. I suspect the Pope holds Catholics to the old standards, and, of course, even if he didn't, the Church's precepts haven't changed. Lumen Gentium has expansive, forgiving language for everybody -- until you come to Catholics. I think the rationale is that since we know better, we are held to a higher standard. Of course, now, that seems a little superior-sounding. Who are we to set higher standards for Catholics, implying that Protestants are just too dim-witted to find their way into the true Church? If anything, at least some Protestants, say Pentecostals, are smarter than Catholics! All that hand-waving and speaking in tongues, now THAT's a service! Catholics, with their folded hands and pious expressions, make Pope Francis vomit! They look like holy cards!

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    Replies
    1. "Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required" is certainly Biblical - but I'm not convinced that it also means "Everyone to whom little is given, of him will nothing be required".

      I'm trying not to resent having had so much given to me (primarily conversion to the Church), but it is a temptation.

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    2. Elizabeth, LG got that part right. We do get it all through the Church, and everybody else doesn't even get scraps from the table. We could live a hundred lifetimes and never exhaust the riches of the Church, riches that are not limited to our little slice of time. Yes, our little slice isn't the best one. God knows why, Bears don't. If someone threatened to Bruno him if he didn't come up with an answer, the Bear would say that an element of God's magnificence he wishes expressed through human experience involves challenging Catholics in this very way. We respond by our holy stubbornness, our patience, our being feisty, and our trust, right when there seems to be few people to trust.

      I wouldn't trade being Catholic for anything. I love my Church and I will fight for her with the few, pitiful weapons I have at hand.

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  6. Most of the time, I'm not even sure there's a consistent pattern of thought behind the pope's admonitions. He seems to be fond of saying things that please his audience, and what's more pleasing to modern sensibilities than to hear that you're all good, no matter how you are or where you are?

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    Replies
    1. Ah, let me contradict myself. There may be a coherent thought pattern behind it all. This article at Unam Sanctam Catholicam is, to my mind, the most definitive treatment I have yet seen of the proselytism/evangelization/attraction trilemma we've been puzzling over here and elsewhere.

      The author traces the definition of "proselytism" from its original (and still dictionary) definition, through a subtle pejorative alteration about a century ago, Paul VI's focus on "dialogue" in Ecclesiam Suam, John Paul II's emphasis on the primacy of religious freedom, the influence of Rahner's "anonymous Christians" and fundamental option theory on Catholic missionaries, Benedict XVI's puzzling opposition of proselytism to "attraction", Cardinal Kasper's dismissal of the mission to the Jewish people, and finally to Pope Francis. The upshot is that our present Holy Father's statements are a mere further development of a long-term process. Take this excerpt from Ecclesiam Suam, for instance:

      This type of relationship indicates a proposal of courteous esteem, of understanding and of goodness on the part of the one who inaugurates the dialogue; it excludes the a priori condemnation, the offensive and time-worn polemic and emptiness of useless conversation. If this approach does not aim at effecting the immediate conversion of the interlocutor, inasmuch as it respects both his dignity and his freedom, nevertheless it does aim at helping him, and tries to dispose him for a fuller sharing of sentiments and convictions...The dialogue of salvation was not proportioned to the merits of those toward whom it was directed, nor to the results which it would achieve or fail to achieve: "Those who are healthy need no physician;" so also our own dialogue ought to be without limits or ulterior motives.

      That could almost be Francis, right there.

      It's a longish read, but I urge you to have a look. It really does help pull it all together, and explain how this decades-long obfuscation of a once-clear word has all "come together in a trainwreck of theology", as the author concludes.

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    2. I fear that a perfectly good word has been demonized by the ecumenists while leaving nothing in its place, apart from vague doublespeak about "New Evangelization" and "attraction." I am certain that Pope Francis does not believe in ANY conversation engaged in for the PURPOSE of bringing someone into the Catholic Church. I am equally certain that Pope Francis does NOT believe that it is NECESSARY to be inside of the Catholic Church for salvation.

      The implication of such soft heresy saps the will of the Church and undermines her very existence, except as a richer, better organized style of Christianity with a the perception of a more tawdry history.

      The worst part is that he is sly, and does not risk trying to reformulate any Church teachings. He puts the practice cart in front of the theological horse. He knows he (and probably his successors, given his age) can change the Church forever without a single encyclical or council. All he has to do is engage enough Protestants and Jews and whoever else as equals. (Of course, they are equal as persons, but they are not equals in terms of the truth possessed, or the security of salvation.)

      The irony is that if extra ecclesiam nulla salus could somehow be officially revoked (I have no idea how that would be possible) then I would be fine with it, again, were it done legitimately. As a convert, none of my relatives were in the Church, so it is not a happy doctrine for me. But Pope Francis is either incapable or unwilling of doing the theological heavy lifting that Pope Benedict could do. So he skulks around plotting with friends like Tony Palmer and Kenneth Copeland. That is not the mark of a trustworthy man.

      Dr. Ralph Martin addressed the problem of Universalism (and, by extension, Indifferentism) in his wonderful book Will Many Be Saved. He predicted that without a conviction that people outside of the Church are at risk for Hell's fire, evangelization would wither away.

      So on with the endless "dialogue." When the Bear hears the word "dialogue," he reaches for his revolver. Witnessing does not involve an ulterior motive. It is flat-out, up-front you-really-need-to-be-in-the-Church. It is goal-directed. It respects his dignity and intelligence enough to want to save his soul. The only thing that comes out of dialogue are limp-wristed dabblers issuing news releases no one cares about touting their own "tolerance" and "compassion," and "respect." You can read that kind of puke over at the USCCB's website.

      Thanks. You made me rant.

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    3. Murray, that was a good link, thanks. No surprises there. It closed with a good quote from Pascendi, which warns of the methods of Modernists. This is why I remain unimpressed when ultramontanist apologists go all dreamy-eyed when Pope Francis says the word "devil" in a homily.

      "In their writings and addresses they seem not unfrequently to advocate doctrines which are contrary one to the other, so that one would be disposed to regard their attitude as double and doubtful. But this is done deliberately and advisedly...Thus in their books one finds some things which might well be approved by a Catholic, but on turning over the page one is confronted by other things which might well have been dictated by a rationalist."

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    4. I'm glad you liked it. What I found most illuminating about the article was learning that this isn't just a "Francis thing". Sure, he brings it up again and again, in so many varied contexts as to make it impossible to mistake his meaning (except for the wilfully blind), but fundamentally, he's not doing anything that wasn't already in the works for a century or so. To put it another way, Francis is the fulfilment of Ecclesiam Suam: all the gushing references to dialogue--"each starting from his own identity"--plainly meant to lead nowhere in particular; the assurances to various non-Catholics that they're perfectly fine where they are; the implication in Evangelii Gaudium that the Old Covenant still has salvific effect; the antinomian advice to Argentinian housewives ... None of this is new to Francis--though the concentrated dose certainly is without papal precedent!

      But that leads to some unsettling conclusions. Don't get me wrong: I dearly love Benedict XVI, and his Regensburg Address was one of the final kicks that brought me into the Church. But what comes through loud and clear in the USC article is that all the conciliar popes from Paul VI onwards are implicated in vacating the Church's Great Commission, Benedict no less than his peers.

      That's a problem for me, because on the one hand, Francis's critics counterpose him against Benedict's supposedly unimpeachable orthodoxy, while on the other, Francis's defenders point to Benedict as proof that Francis really isn't doing anything new. And I'm beginning to think the latter camp has the better of the argument, but not in the way they think. Compared to Francis, sure, Benedict was a beacon of clarity and orthodoxy. But compared to Pius X? Or Pius V? The Conciliar rot goes very deep indeed, and our nightmare won't come to an end until a future pope finally provides the definitive interpretation of that "pastoral council".

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    5. Thank you for the link and the kind words. Another link on how Francis is just walking the trajectory of Ratzinger:

      http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2014/05/ecumenism-is-churchs-bad-dream.html

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  7. Perhaps the silver lining of the Franciscan Interlude in the Catholic story is that he is dragging everything out and rubbing our noses in it. There is something to be said for drawing the battle lines. Look who we've found to be trustworthy and true, and who is confused or self-interested. You're right. This is a fight we need to have. Lets just keep it in the Church.

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  8. This is far worse then ecumenism. Francis is the Biblical False Prophet who is setting up the one world paganized religion in preparation for the Antichrist. Just wait until after the October Synod.

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