Sunday, June 02, 2013

"Pope Francis Calls All Catholics to Evangelize"

"Pope Francis Calls All Catholics to Evangelize" is a web article recently published by Crisis Magazine reviewing some comments made by the Pope. While the Pope's comments say one thing, the article from Crisis Magazine moves the Pope's comments in a different direction. Skim through the Crisis Magazine article with this question in mind: what exactly are potential converts being "evangelized" to?

One doesn't need to go far into the article for the answer to this question:
"While it is certainly true that all roads lead to Rome, there is something to be said for all those other roads leading out from Rome. In other words, before we set out on the road to Rome, shouldn’t there be something already in place, in Rome, the gravitational pull of which first radiates out to the world? Only then may it draw the distant and weary traveler back home to Rome."
And also:
"Rome is the Inn at the world’s end. And we do not love her, as Chesterton wisely reminded us, because she is great. It is rather because she is loved that she is great. Ah, but in order to be loved she must first be lovely, and thus in her loveliness she goes out in search of other people to love. This is why her immediate impulse must always be to build bridges, not walls. First she goes out in search of the lost sheep, putting down bridges so as to reach them; only later does she throw up walls to surround and protect them from wolves."
The article goes on to cite Mathew 28:19-20 as being in harmony with converting people to "Rome" and wonders why Roman Catholics "seem so strangely, stubbornly resistant to the idea, the injunction actually, to go out and spread the Good News." And also, "Thus to evangelize is not just a task undertaken from time to time; or even most of the time. It is, to put it simply, the Church’s defining identity; it is what she exists for." But an equivocation occurs off and on throughout the article that evangelism is "testifying to Jesus Christ." But ultimately, the evangelism of the article is to join the Roman church. The author cites Pope Francis stating, “Those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and Apostolic zeal.”

The article goes on to mention the apostle Paul:
"How very unlike the Apostle Paul, who could not even bring himself to boast about his own preaching since to do so was nothing more than an exigency inscribed in the gospels themselves. “Woe to me if I do not evangelize” (1 Cor 9:16)."
Yet, when one reads Paul, one does not find him preaching that one must join the Roman church. Even in 1 Cor. 9:16, Paul's zeal in evangelism is "so that by all possible means I might save some." This is where Rome's push for their version of evangelism breaks down, because for the most part, when they're calling a wayward Protestant or an Eastern Orthodox person back to Rome, they aren't saving them.  The Catholic Catechism states:
However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."
Since the Roman church thinks they're the dispensers of grace, whatever truth about Jesus Christ that any non-Romanist has is being mediated through... the Roman church. The Catechism states:
"Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth" are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church.
Now frankly, this smacks of arrogance. Isn't a Roman "evangelist" ultimately speaking down to you when they attempt to evangelize you? They have 100% of the truth, you have whatever has been filtered out through the Roman church, and have it in some sort of inferior way. You may have "the written Word of God" but you don't have it in its fullness. You may have "the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity" but it's only a half-life, or perhaps worse depending on how far away you are from Rome's current understanding of things. The "interior gifts of the Holy Spirit"... would you have more of the Holy Spirit if you join Rome? Show me any verse in the Bible that validates these statements from the Catechism.

Such articles like this recent offering from Crisis Magazine are good reminders that Rome's defenders often mean something very different when they speak of evangelism. Such an article is also a perfect example as to why I stand so strongly against Roman Catholic apologetics.  Their primary goal is conversion to a church hierarchy, not Jesus Christ.  


MarieP said...

Wow..."Rome is the Inn at the world’s end." I can imagine the Judaizers saying that about Jerusalem!

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

I think the answer is much simpler than that: converting pagans or atheists to Christ & prozelitizing other Christians to your own ideology are two different things.

James Swan said...

Marie: great point!

LVKA, exactly which question are you answering?