Unexpected resistance to “The New Evangelization”

Once upon a time on a sunny Saturday afternoon during the New Springtime following the Second Vatican Council, a well-meaning Catholic man worked up the courage to invite his Methodist neighbor to join him for Holy Mass.

After Mass the following morning, while enjoying coffee and donuts in the multi-purpose room (sponsored by the Knights of Columbus), the Methodist talked about how at home he felt and how comfortable the entire “service” was for him.

The Catholic wasted little time in seizing the opportunity to suggest that perhaps his neighbor might wish to avail himself of the unity for which Our Lord prayed by converting to the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

The Methodist, unfazed, wiped a dollop of Bavarian cream from his chin and replied, “Thanks for the offer, friend, but as you know, I am validly baptized. In other words, I received the Holy Spirit just as you did in your baptism, and it’s the Spirit that brings us into intimate union with Christ, so that He is the principle of the Church’s unity. Clearly I am not lacking in unity!”

Disarmed but not discouraged, the new evangelist laid hold of the big guns, firing back, “Yes, but the Catholic Church is the solitary means of salvation established by Christ.”

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  1. Welcome back Doug.

    AS somebody that has Methodists and many protestants around for dinner I can definitely confirm that I have never encountered such a conversation as above! 😉
    For what it is worth? perhaps little here; I can confirm that in Britain (I see no reason why it is different in the Americas) Protestants are as willing to engage and discuss and pray with any Catholic as will endeavour to greet them. I have learnt much and continue to learn from many protestants and I do not think, feel or logically assume any superiority to any of them! Rather I am always humbled by their own graciousness towards me as I alas am aware that some ardent (yet profoundly ignorant or deliberately stupid Christians) Catholics still think that the mass of Protestantism is a heresy. It is a load of Rubbish! Nothing in life is as tolerant building or as wise and intellectually beneficial as expanding our frontiers beyond selfish superstition.

    The belief in The Holy Spirit and his Power and His graciousness and kindness to redeem even wretched sinners such as ourselves, when in reality Christians should be cast into eternal oblivion; is a matter of wonderment and outrageous Love. It is this Holy Spirit that leads us shockingly away from our comfort zones and towards greater sanctity and this Holy Spirit that swooped upon his Church at The Council of Vatican 2 as he does now upon his servant Pope Francis. It is this Holy Spirit that brings together Catholic and Protestant in tentative steps towards their Salvation. It is this same Holy Spirit that is often denied, ridiculed and spat upon by wicked self indulgent heretical Catholics that assume unto themselves places that they neither deserve nor shall obtain to.
    In calling for a New Evangelization, Pope Francis simply and quietly reminds the faithful (although many Catholics these days seem to be running amok and regard his statements as neither authoritive or for their own sanctification) that we must not be afraid and strive towards understanding, tolerance and wisdom.

    The Pope along with his true Church well understands that the road we are embarking on is fraught with difficulties and hiccups of monumental hardship. We shall never surmount these on our own nor shall we even attempt them if we do not open and embrace Gods Holy Spirit. To move towards the Vision of Our Lord Jesus Christ is not easy nor should it be smugly undertaken. It is however essential for our individual Salvation!
    This pilgrimage in life may not be accomplished by doubt, fear or coldness of heart and dead conscience. It will never be undertaken if all we can do is think ill of our brethren and regard ourselves sanctified by the sacraments. We shall be useless to grace if we imagine our superiority over that sinful group or that heretical following or that different perspective to our own.

    It is a misreading of unity to presume that all Christians are the same or that Unity means we share the same tools for Salvation because it does not mean that. Unity exists as it always has in differences but these variations must not cloud the ecumenical mind into presuppositions of Holier than Thou.

    The sad fact that in our world today Christians are often divided by historical hatreds and misunderstandings, the wilful self indulgences of sinful pride or envy. That such jealousies and sin can lead to violence and suffering of the innocent is something all followers of Christ must strive against, refuse to embrace and seek healing from.
    Roman Catholics have been given a place of honour and responsibility at the table of Our Lord and it is for this reason that Catholics should be glad that the Lord has allowed them to witness to his Redemption and its glory therein. We as Catholics understand that Our Church is Holy and True and we shall strive forward in that wisdom and knowledge. It means however that we are also to meet with others that have encountered Our Lord and his Grace (graciousness towards them as different but equally redemptive according to the Council) and we must not be afraid or fall back on those ancient tendencies of suspicion that divided us. Rather the Call is for us to march towards the Christian horizon of unity (understanding, tolerance, prayer etc) as that is the order of our Pontiff, the Council and the cry of Mother Church.

    • It’s good to be back! Our responsibility as Catholics is always to make the most of the virtues of faith, hope and charity by loving God and loving our neighbor – even a Protestant, atheist, pagan or agnostic neighbor – as ourselves. That is the very minimum God expects of his people. It is also critically important to understand that corporations, ideologies, various affiliated groups, religious denominations and political parties are not people, but organizations – and God makes no such demand on us, regarding these “artificially constituted” persons – especially when those entities are clearly anti-Christ, in word and or in deed. Unfortunately, the liberal prelates who have run the Catholic Church (some would say into the ground) for the last fifty years refuse to make any such distinction. In an effort to build up his political capital and garner favor with the world, our Pope evidently feels it necessary to resort to half-truths and misinformation, just like any other common politician – and it’s evidently working! The question that needs to be asked is, “To what end?” – The Catholic Church was founded, built and flourished according to the merits of the divine, objective truth and grace of Jesus Christ. Any attempt to promote the Catholic Church by subverting that truth – the sacred deposit of faith – is bound to turn out badly – since God doesn’t lie – not even in the slightest – and neither should we. The imprecise and misleading language our current pope has been using, based on the 2nd Vatican Council’s novel “tradition of rupture” may endear him to the world, but such actions do little or nothing to promote the real, authentic Kingdom of God – that wonderful, mysterious, universal “thing” which exists anywhere and anytime the Holy Spirit accepts an invitation to indwell a human soul. On the contrary, it will just make things worse for the Catholic Church and the world. After all – what need has the world of the Catholic Church, if there are numerous other ways for non-Catholics – even unbelievers and anti-Christs – to routinely obtain salvation? To sum things up: On a personal, one on one level – faith, hope and love – in the name of Jesus Christ – freely extended to every person, without exception – is the Catholic order of the day. But when it comes to artificially constituted entities and groups – many of which act in direct opposition to the Catholic Church and the Kingship of Jesus Christ – no such obligation exists. In fact, just the opposite is true. We know the devil routinely twists the truth to his own ends, since he was a liar from the beginning. The leaders of the Catholic Church should never resort to such tactics – for any reason – since to do so would be a great sin, a serious violation of the Cardinal Virtues named above, a scandalous, public repudiation of their Holy offices and blasphemy against the Holy Name of God. Unfortunately, during the past fifty years, all of this and more has come to pass – and it has even become the “norm”- all for the sake of “change”. No wonder that God has apparently given over many of those in the world today – clergy included – to the fruitless pursuit of the wicked desires of their hearts! The apostolic tradition of the Catholic Church is based on courage and the divine, objective truth of Jesus Christ – not on the profane and subjective whims of effeminate hucksters, dressed up as men of God, spouting meaningless and often false platitudes – in pursuit of worldly acclaim.


  2. Essays such as the one linked to, above, are reassuring to all who wish they had written them and of little use beyond that. As fiction, the anecdote is unbelievable.

    Repairing the damage of V-II will take far better tools than the likes of this screed.

    • In fairness, I would add that the one worthwhile takeaway is this: “…dialogue and the search for unity lead to dialogue and the search for unity.”

  3. Doug,
    I remain confused as to what or wherein the last fifty years of Catholic understanding has become either misleading or produced by effeminate hucksters?
    Whilst we can clearly agree over the virtues towards our neighbours be they whatever I am bewildered by the notion that we may have a duty to correct organisations that are perhaps by implication Anti-Christ or how that sits on the last fifty years of Church history?
    There are I agree many wicked clergy that appear to have been present for some time in the Church. I suspect a lot longer than fifty years! Bad clergy are nothing new. The leadership of bad clergy by wicked Bishops, Catholic or otherwise is sadly nothing new either. It is a nonsense to conclude that such irreligious counterfeits are a result of Vatican 2 or any other disputed Council. The presence of sin be it from Ant-Christ or from misunderstanding clerics is part of our human condition. We remain sinful.
    My argument against the opponents of Vatican 2 is primarily against those such as Lefebvre that presumed their disobedience to their father Bishop the Pope is tolerated. Firstly all Catholics must be obedient as a primary act, that is regardless of other virtuous states within the Church. That requires all clerics to listen, adhere and follow in obedience all issues from the Church. This fact must override any individual consideration to the contrary and any counter argument to obedience is to be rejected.
    The Faithful for their part must attempt to their own inclination within the faith to follow as best they can. In this manner the claims of a council, its Pope and Magisterium are to be believed and followed in obedience to the Faith. Whatever personal troubles or difficulties an individual may hold are irrelevant before their obedience to Christ in the Church and in the proclamation of the faith.
    To this extent, the Pope gives complete trust to the faithful to follow his wishes faithfully and within the direction he sets out for his pontificate. It is neither effeminate nor unclear as to his directives and in the last fifty years these have been stated and restated within the context of the Vatican Two Council.
    As Catholics it is up to us to reflect constantly on what the faith means for us; but this must be tampered by both individual and collective rationale. For example the pursuit of dialogue with Protestants no matter what they believe as Churches or as individuals is a duty placed upon all Catholics by Mother Church. Our personal opinion of this confinement is irrelevant because we follow Christ according to the Teaching of the Church and our own informed conscience. We do not have the false luxury of deciding that Church thought should have gone astray because we are upset by what we imagine has or will occur within the Church or the world.
    Henceforth, Catholics are obedient to the Teaching and direction presented by the Pope, whomever he may be. Whilst it is true that in past centuries some popes have been ill advised or even anti-pope it is not for the laity to construct what or whom is invalid or wrong thereby.
    Finally what the devil does or does not do is seen in the light of the Church teaching on such. One thing he certainly does is attack the authorities of the Church, the Pope and bishops that he especially hates whilst causing distress to the faithful that oblige his reign of DARKness by falling away from the Light of Gods Spirit. The devil is undoubtedly present in the world as he has always been (even since the time of Our Lord when of course he was in even more evidence) but he attacks the faithful by suggesting that the Pope is lying and compromising rather than truthful and understandingly tolerant. The devil always attacks the Pope and the Second Vatican Council in suggesting that it spawned his agents rather than allowing Catholics to appreciate that it was and is God that was present and is present in the teaching and light of the Council and its Church.

    the only anecdote seems to be in the head of the reader?
    And I think dialogue is always good but it is never for us mere mortals to know what good or otherwise such essays may action. The point of a blog such as Doug’s is to go beyond the statement and reach out to whomever it will.
    It is best to admire only or logically offer a critique only. The rest we leave to He whom guides us all.

    BTW “. . . the likes of this screed”?
    Thought I should mention that as a typing matter? 🙂

    • The imprecise language used in the various documents of Vatican II gave license to all sorts of abuses and misinterpretations, while the new, post-Vatican II “pastoral” approach to things gave heretics and charlatans free reign to claim whatever they want about God and/or the Catholic faith. By comparison, divine revealed truth and/or Catholic dogma are neither imprecise or difficult to understand. All of the documents from all of the Church Councils (except for Vatican II) are absolutely clear as to what they state – and what they do not. By comparison, the documents of Vatican II are so vague and full of inconsistencies as to permit almost anything – women priests, homosexual clergy, married clergy, easy divorce, etc., etc., etc… not to mention the actual demolition of many churches, church institutions and traditional Catholic practices. As for the Pope – almost nothing he says at his various press conferences is infallible – especially when he deliberately fails to speak the whole truth or gives an impression of something which is not true. Catholics have 2,000 years of authentic, infallible Magisterial teachings on which to base their discernment and prudential judgment. Knowing God’s truth, it’s a simple matter for anyone to detect a lie or misstatement – deliberate or otherwise – no matter the source. Whether such things are intentional or not is up to God to judge – but true Catholics never stand for lies and are under no obligation to become apologists for liars – no matter who they might be. We Catholics owe allegiance and obedience to the pope and the Pope owes the very same to God. When the system fails, Canon 212 gives the laity the right – even the obligation – to respectfully bring such things to the attention of our clergy. Unfortunately, probably less than 5% of Catholics know this or understand how that obligation applies. In short – what today passes for authentic Roman Catholicism is a lukewarm, modernized, liberalized version of Christianity that is much closer to Martin Luther’s vision for the Church than that of Jesus Christ. The last several popes – as well as all Catholics, in general – have been responsible for tolerating and promoting that sad state of things. One of those things has been the increasing number of homosexuals and perverts in the church hierarchy – teaching in the primary schools, in the universities, in the seminaries – filling out the ranks of the various religious orders and occupying the diocesan chancelleries – all working together to change, soften or suppress the constant teaching of the church on that critical matter. Hence, the reference to “effeminate hucksters”.


  4. “BTW ‘. . . the likes of this screed’?
    Thought I should mention that as a typing matter?”

    Sorry, I don’t get your point. Maybe it’s a British English vs. American English matter?

    • Maybe! 😛

  5. Doug
    Well that’s a reply aint it? 🙂
    So where does one start?

    Lets start with the councils. The suggestion that “only” Vatican 2 has caused concern or dispute or fury is incorrect. All Councils of the Church have always caused debate and some of it has been furious at that. Vatican 1 for example was debated and some claimed discredited because it lacked full Bishop authority and did not rest on a world wide version of Catholic truths. Nevertheless it was implemented and perhaps its major achievement was the acceptance of Papal infallibility.
    As you know however the Pope is only Infallible on Faith and morals in Dogma when given to the Faithful and in some observances such as in the Papal crown and under the dome of St Peters etc. In fact such statements on dogma are extremely RARE. Two in the last two hundred years! Furthermore the Church does not issue any statement lightly even from the Council.
    Vatican two was the single largest gathering of Bishops in Church History to date, as the longest and most engaged it was hotly debated both within and since. It did not allow for anything such as homosexual clergy, married priests or the destruction of local Churches etc. In some respects (those these are only a few and must not be overestimated worldwide) the acceptance by eager clergy or laity has been over zealous and Popes such as Benedict 16 recognised that its implementation in some places or at some times have not been in accordance with its wishes. That is in essence a human failing and we are unwise to pin it to the Council as if it were medal of errors. These remain our errors and our own weaknesses have ensured a misunderstanding of what the Council was or is about.

    The reason that Popes have since the Council (and before it in many cases such as John 23 or even Pius 12) urged the faithful to greater participation rather than docile agreement is because they understand that Christ wishes for growing action from the laity in the faith.
    We must however be prudent and try to accept Papal announcements or requests to the faithful or the world within a sense of the wider world. Both modern and available to a huge world wide audience the Pontiffs especially since Leo 13 have engaged with technology and spoken to a world wide audience. (indeed it is impossible to imagine or think of any Pontiff in history quite as seen or as dominantly authoritive as (st)John Paul 2) Both Concordia and Truth remain central to their announcements and it is somewhat peculiar to imagine how these have become liberal, lukewarm, effeminate exclamations?

    The claim that the hierarchy has somehow become bogged down with homosexuals ready to corrupt Christian youth or the Church in general is bizarre! There are probably homosexuals in the Hierarchy (there always have been and indeed if we examine the Lives of Some recent Saints such as Pio we will encounter very corrupt Bishops back in the 1920s!) today but that is not our concern. It would be our concern if they lead lives of open contradiction to Church Law.
    One of the nonsenses addressed against the Reformation Church was that Popes such as Alexander 4th led wicked immoral lives and they were therefore invalid in their office. Such people encouraged the full Reformation against the papacy and Church. However the Catholic Church does not declare them anti-pope because they were in religion men of catholic tradition. there is no passing judgement on their souls as the Church understands they were in Religion faithful to its dogmas and office. Point being that when we judge our present popes to be weak we behave no better than the protestants that with some correctness had accused the Roman Bishops of outright corruption. Yet today the Popes walking in the light of the Council and Vatican 2s directives are neither corrupt nor irreligious. Indeed they are saintly and move in the full light of Gods Loving Spirit.

    That brings me back to my argument above about obedience! Catholics have a moral duty to point out error where it lies although Prudence must always affect our right to show error in others. We must never fall into the devils snare of pointing out the splinter in our neighbours eye without awareness of the plank in our own. For this reason, the Modern Church tries to tamper severity or threats of morale indignation with a sense of kindliness and charity towards differences. If this implies effeminate action than I am at a loss to wonder how because as far as I can view it the Church is correct in its chosen direction. It is insanity to imply that the Council has in any way in itself delivered the Catholic Church into a spiral of liberal self destruction that has ruined our Faith?
    Therefore, I can not agree with you that our pope Francis has in any way whatever disobeyed tradition or Scripture or the truth contained within Mother Church. I choose to believe that pope Francis has always held the Faithful in great loving kindness and chooses to use Vatican 2 and its Spirit as a marker that leads the faithful into sanctity and redemptive joy. As a Catholic and a Christian I think the New Evangelisation is compatible with the observations of a world wide Church and its directives.

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