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Author Topic: Shaking the sand, Perils of Evangelizing in our Age  (Read 392 times)

Spence

      I have noted that the Catholic seems to be watched critically when in debates or question periods with non Catholics.
The non Catholic seems to be held to higher esteem by the judges in the debate, and he carries much weight in protests on the method or quality of delivery the Catholic individual makes. Complaints by him call for the most severe handling, and one finds there are few gradients of punitive measures applied to him. The remedy applied is usually complete removal of himself. Now outcast, he is lost for failing, and the 'three strikes' of past decades no longer exists. It seems there can be no excuse for inexperience, as these debaters must be fully qualified, articulate, and well learned, the citation cop ready to force Obstat verification on every reference. The moderators see him has 'our man' on the front lines. He must come into the debate has a fully fledged expert to advance the ecumenical cause.

      I have been trying to make a connect between the demands to 'get out there' the ecumenism put upon us, and Christ's instructions to 'shake our sandals'. I am waiting for examples to show us just exactly what are the interactions of today that qualify for shaking sandals in the ecumenical framework. Even modern day hypotheticals would help. Moving on, and instructed to emulate Christ, we first call to memory from scripture Christ's every reaction, and we are careful to ensure the current case is the same context as back then. Doubly cautious, we read the footnotes for official added opinions. We can see that Christ is a human Christ, and can become irritated as well on occasion. We get no points from the judges by reserving our use of terms that clearly fit in the context. The much milder response is always seen has not trying enough, or not cautious enough, and the conclusion is the inevitable label 'uncharitable'. Placing in perspective the human character of Christ as they define it through the picture they wish us to emulate, we see a much milder and reserved Christ than scripture portrays.  I'll leave it to others to determine if this is a positive thing for our Faith today. 

     The Catholic tells himself that if I use this scriptural response, it would truly fit. Perhaps the term 'whited sepulchres' can be watered down, and so we draw it out to make it clearer but polite/politically correct. The debater now just getting it, he is taken aback that he has just been corrected, and it is now an affront all the same, and is brought up as a case against him. The judges, always ready to coddle these who clearly in this modern day of global information are not categorically invincibly ignorant, has the Church has witness to the prosecution in the Catholic's trial. The truth is that even our Fathers, even now imbued with the grace of their respective charisms, started has non experts, and they were allowed to move on and develop.
 
     The 'do not judge' command has everyone cowed in the corner lest the 'uncharitable' police come around. But I have yet to place it in the context of cases that call for admonishment. Here we find ourselves walking a fine line. Another thing also is rarely do we receive a scolding for being judgemental with someone actually showing us an example of how it could have been better handled. It should be a rule that all accusations of such be followed up with an example he had in mind as to how it should have been done.       

     Today's evangelical world has the Catholic fending off critiques from fellow Catholics, and apologizing for things that don't need them, and not getting the delivery in the just the right tone that the observer would have liked.

     The conclusion, if ecumenism is to work, can only mean just having everyone have their way. At least you make a friend.  :hmmm:
 
     So I'm interested in your thoughts on this.     

formerbuddhist

To my understanding an authentic ecumenism is where we each try to learn as much as we can about other people's religions and practices, first by fully living and understanding our own, then by reading, discussing and building friendships with others that are different. When I say " learn about others religions" I don't just mean to read polemical refutations but to read stuff about other religions by those who actually live them. We can't really evangelize or build friendships if we don't seek to truly understand where others are coming from.

If anything this sincere desire to understand the other was a positive fruit of Vatican II, but the dangers are grave for those who are not secure in their own Christian Faith. Tread carefully.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon

Panum

My understanding of ecumenism from the Catholic perspective is founded on principles conveyed in the gospel as well as through writings by various popes.  For a period of my life I was involved in various ecumenical activities, meaning that I associated with and prayed with people from non-Catholic Christian churches.  This was in 2 contexts. One being the Pro-life movement and the other in an organization of churches. 

The first principle you must have, or understand, is a though grounding in both scripture and authentic Catholic teaching.  You can't defend or share your faith if you are ignorant of it.

The second principle is that you must know the person of Jesus Christ.  This does not mean you know about Him. You must know Him. Meaning there needs to be a relationship with the person who won our salvation. This takes on various characteristics. Praying and listening. Working to become truly charitable. Being open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Spending time in Eucharistic Adoration, etc.

Catholic ecumenism means having true charity for those souls who do not fully know Christ or His church.  It does not mean beating up protestants with scripture of doctrine unless there is a realization to do this with humility under the prompting of the Holy spirit.

I can relate an account of an encounter: A co-worker saw me reading the bible at work. He inquired as to the persuasion of faith I held and when I responded "Catholic", he asked me to help him defend his Catholic faith to several church of Christ people who were assailing him.  So I went to their "bible study".  These misguided folks proceeded to assail me on several points they felt wrong with catholic teaching, misusing scriptures. Being this wasn't my first go around, I was patient and let them continually interrupt me whenever I tried to defend our faith. After a time, I held up my hand and asked a simple question; "What is the first commandment?" When they answered correctly, I responded. "you are correct, the first commandment is the greatest commandment and scripture states that we must love each other as our self.  Now every time I try to say anything you interrupt me rudely, passing judgments, acting in a superior way. So I have a question for you, If you can't even obey the first commandment then why should we, or how can we, talk about any of our differences about doctrine?" Needless to say the conversation was over. I got glares from one man for weeks, but the other man later came and apologized for his bad behavior, stating that he was thinking of leaving his church.

I use this tactic to attempt to establish a starting point for dialogue.  Division in the body of Christ is the work of the devil.  Practicing and incorporating the chief virtues in dialogue is essential. I try to remember to pray for those I enter into debate with.  After all, it is their soul that is impoverished, and therefore mine, as I do not have their company fully in my own walk of faith. 

When you "prove" an aspect of our dogma to someone living in separation from the body of Christ, and they reject it. Then it is perhaps time to move on. Our job is to authentically live and teach our faith, not force someone to accept it. You can always pray for them and perhaps offer up reparation for them.

There was a time when I used to say "I don't care how someone gets to heaven" meaning that some might through our faith and some through perhaps a protestant denomination.  One day while in prayer this is what I heard in my head. "I don't want to ever hear that stupid statement come out of your mouth again" I asked the Lord why. He said, "supposing your make it to heaven, and your reward is a magnificent palace, would you be satisfied with your protestant brother who made it there, living in a dog house on your lawn with "Fido" misspelled over the door?"  I took this chastisement seriously. It is not at all charitable to leave any in darkness and ignorance.

One way to help with all this; Pray and ask our Lord Jesus to give you a portion of His burning thirst for souls.  This charisma of charity is life changing and defines how to approach ecumenism properly.

Spence

Thank you for relating your inspiring account.

"This wasn't my first go around".

Did you always get the method right, and/or were you always skilled in debates.?  I personally have never seen in human endeavors where perfection was had immediately. This I think presumes patience and tolerance. We need to back our Catholics in this time. 

'You can't defend or share your faith if you are ignorant of it'.

At that precise moment? I sometimes forget where I saw something and need to research. In this case I usually state that I will get back to him/her. I have a vast source of references , and some I have read many times, and even then I forget where, but thank God I never forget that I have.   :blush:   The Deposit of Faith is immense, so I prefer to know before hand of a debate so that I can come prepared. ... and of course we need to take the advice of scripture and seek clergy for enlightenment.   

"Catholic ecumenism means having true charity for those souls who do not fully know Christ or His church.  It does not mean beating up protestants with scripture of doctrine unless there is a realization to do this with humility under the prompting of the Holy spirit."

Ref Mat 23:33  for example:     

Perhaps I should extend my clarification.  In Christ's teaching we note that his methods vary. At times we might find ourselves in the peaceful settings such as beside a well where Christ asks for water, or in an intimate conversation with Nicodemus, and so it goes. But we can make assumptions about our Lord's methods, the Person who is the Evangelist of evangelists, and in every method he chooses, it is the absolute perfect approach and response for the situation that presents itself. We also learn what is held in reserve and what isn't.

In this scripture example the Pharisees deserves a metaphor. It is meant has a charity to jar them to reason.  Even these strong words are for the purpose of saving someone. This is still a charity and not forced. (Catholic moderators fall into this trap).

A little logic can be included. So we can deduce from this lesson that in the 2000 years of evangelization where a similar situation presented itself, all pertinent facts remaining equal, that the correct situation calls for the exact same response. Either that, or we need to persuade ourselves that no such incidences of the degree presented in scripture ever occured. We can also assume that the Church would not critique the evangelist for using metaphors,even ones that are 'colorful'.   

I went on to state in so many words, that many today, who would not consider the extreme, use milder methods, yet are critiqued for their use. They are rejected from forums for being too harsh, even when they alter the response to the third person. They are banned for using tact by using the third person, even when they had the option for stronger words. If he says "a person puts himself into position for judgement for capital punishment if he commits habitual mortal sin", then a retort from a protestant of "fire and brimstone" follows with a request to ban him. Here the potential convert has just directed Catholic policy and it obliges.   

    But I suspect a sinister social phenomena that may be a culprit in reconciling this problem. I think Mimetic Desire(Rene Girard) puts a wedge in the proper judicial handling of it's teachers in these cases by the Church. It's a desire for amiability over conversion. 'don't lose them at all costs', which helps no one..       
 
   Thanks for your thoughts.

Spence

To my understanding an authentic ecumenism is where we each try to learn as much as we can about other people's religions and practices, first by fully living and understanding our own, then by reading, discussing and building friendships with others that are different. When I say " learn about others religions" I don't just mean to read polemical refutations but to read stuff about other religions by those who actually live them. We can't really evangelize or build friendships if we don't seek to truly understand where others are coming from.

If anything this sincere desire to understand the other was a positive fruit of Vatican II, but the dangers are grave for those who are not secure in their own Christian Faith. Tread carefully.

Thanks for the response.

I can oblige this recommendation to a certain extent, but not for the reason you state. I should know what the subject believes from a spiritual base,  has this is where I would start in my conversion. An announcement that the subject represents so-and so religion is irrelevant. I am speaking to what the real soul believes, not what his religion believes(which varies in doctrine depending who you speak to). This is because I am prepared to fill in what is lacking and mend what is partially true so that it conforms to the Catholic faith.  For instance if the subject told me that he believed in angels, and he had trouble but liked a certain Catholic teaching, then that would be helpful. But to approach the meeting from a mutual standpoint then I could not because a non Catholic religion is prone to earthly opinion and sources. The Catholic religion is not at par with any other religion , it IS the only sanctioned religion.   

       Q/A 443: Radio Replies

      Protestantism was not holy in its original founders, cannot preserve Christian teaching intact, and dare not insist upon truly Christian moral principles. Even its leaders excuse and approve laxity in practice, tolerating divorce and re-marriage, birth-control, contempt of Scripture, indifference in religion, and rationalism and humanitarianism in place of faith and charity. And you term this renunciation of Christ's principles tolerance! Tolerance may spare evil individuals, but it never says that evil conduct is justified. As for Mahometanism, you know as little about that as you do about the Catholic Church. The Koran allows divorce, polygamy, the right of husbands to thrash their wives, the right to murder unbelievers, the sanction of impurity provided a man washes his hands in clean sand, and much other evil doctrine absolutely condemned by the Catholic Church, and indeed by every right conscience.        

   



       


Panum

There is a point in your topic I find myself engaged with in the way of much pondering, some angst, and deep concerns.  I am alarmed by the view held by many both consciously and perhaps unconsciously, that is hostile toward any fatherly authority.  I think there is a widespread degradation of manhood and the idea that it is good for men to stand for something noble or virtuous.  This is correctly labeled as the emasculation of manhood and fatherhood. While it is true that all should be humble, humility is not an abdication of any aspect of properly exercised fatherly authority. Humility: know yourself no more, nor less than who God created you to be. What I find troublesome is the prevalent attitude that attempts to make you less, and should you stand up and take a position given to men by God as fathers, people rebel and attack, often with character assassinations.  So I view this as an attack on the family by way of trying to destroy God ordained order and His authority given to fathers in particular.  I also think this is being "back doored" into the church.  Priests are sons of fathers after all. So with the protestant reformation, a foment caused by rejection of authority,  this issue is at the heart of every discussion with those who have left the church or were born into rebellion.

For crying out loud, scripture is full of examples of God's authority structure. The church is organized in this way (hierarchical) Everywhere you look in scripture there are comportment's acknowledging God's authority structure. John 10:18 "I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."  So even the choice to lay ones life down for others is a God ordained authoritative action, not something crammed down your throat by others.

It is true that Christ gave himself up for us.  We are called to give ourselves up for others. Yet the substance of original sin is rebellion against God and a choice to be self willed. What is needed for our redemption is to choose to un-rebel and choose Christ as King. This is a submission to His authority and acceptance of the grace of charity from the one who IS charity.

I am dumbfounded hearing people say "well that's not really what that scripture means" Ignoring the fact that there are many other scriptures stating the same principle in other words. Ignoring the fact that God established an authoritative structure for society to follow. I see this as an ongoing "rediscovery of original sin" I am always reminded of the scripture that says "like a dog returns to it's vomit"

So yes it is a minefield when one try's to represent God with any kind of reasoned approach especially if you make any reference to authority.  But this is at the heart of rebellion and the pivot point of our redemption.  One tactic is to simply ask this question "by whose authority do you speak"  The usual grade school response is "I believe in the bible" So the next question is "Where in the bible does it say the bible is the proper authority" and "who wrote the bible"  The interesting heart of the authority of the church to govern is in understanding how Hebrew Kingdoms were structured. (the knowledge of the principle of the "keys to the kingdom" issue)

So to sum up. God IS Love. God is also authoritative. These are not competing ideas. They are established for our good. We are born into rebellion, sanctified by baptism, and must choose to obey Gods commandants, including respecting how He chooses to run is Kingdom, and respecting and obeying those to whom he gives authority.


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