Sunday, October 20, 2013

Proseltyzing at County Council?

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Recently at a city council meeting Council member Harry Haas read from the Book of Isiah. Here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jOoIi2KI5k&list=PL90E5031C095E9683





Mr. Haas meant well but may not have understood how offensive this might have been to others. Reading from the Bible was arrogant. It was arrogant because he assumed that other in the room held the Bible to be the high holy book that Haas held it to to be. One man walked out.

The best evangelizing is the witness of one's life. We are attracted by actions and not words.

I am a Christian and am writing (ever so slowly) a Christian book. Even so, I am like most people and still have doubts. There is no "perfect faith." As the Pope says below: "Proseltyzing is solemn nonsense." Our faith needs to be mirrored in others and be lived and breathed in our lives. It cannot be lectured to us.





Evangelize, Don't Proselytize - And There's a Difference

People can't be coerced into the faith, they must be loved. That is what Pope Francis is saying, and that is what his predecessors said.

03.10.2013
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Fr Dwight Longenecker
Jeffrey Bruno

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In this week’s interview with atheist newspaper publisher Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis commented that “proselytization is solemn nonsense.” Christians who have converted to the Catholic faith, missionaries, and those involved in apostolates that work helping people to convert to Catholicism were offended. When Pope Francis said “proselytization is solemn nonsense” and re-assured Eugenio Scalfari that he did not intend to convert him, they heard the Pope saying that evangelization was a waste of time and that converting people to Catholicism was “nonsense.”

Pope Francis does not have the theologian’s precision that characterized Pope Benedict XVI nor the philosopher’s clarity of thought and expression that marked Bl. Pope John Paul II. He is a pastoral Pope, interested in people and passionate about meeting them on their own terms, wherever they are. Unfortunately, Pope Francis seems more concerned with the individual contact and warm personal style than he does with clarity of teaching. 

To understand Pope Francis’s words, we should first understand what he means by “proselytization.” To proselytize is to attempt to convert someone to your religion. This simple definition is clear enough, but the word also carries a connotation of using coercion of some sort. To use guilt, emotional blackmail, or psychological pressure to get a person to accept a religion is both immoral and ineffective. Even if they convert, they have done so under pressure, and thus it is not a true conversion.

To understand the Catholic approach to evangelization, it is worth considering Pope Benedict XVI’s teachings on a visit to Brazil in 2007. Addressing the Latin American Bishops, the Pope said, “To you who represent the Church in Latin America, today I symbolically entrust my encyclical Deus Caritas Est, in which I sought to point out to everyone the essence of the Christian message.”  Pope Benedict then explained that the Church “does not engage in proselytism.  Instead, she grows by ‘attraction,’ … just as Christ draws all to himself by the power of his love.”