St. Peter and St. John at the Beautiful Gate
by Doug Lawrence
Vatican II has already fundamentally changed Catholic Church doctrine, so those who claim the Pope cannot or will not do so are being somewhat disingenuous. Our present pope is the biggest “cheerleader” for Vatican II that the world has ever seen.
A “New Evangelization” is necessary in part, because in the wake of Vatican II, the people who ran (and still run) the Catholic Church led many of the faithful (and most of the known world) into ignorance, confusion and apostasy.
Top Church management is not much better enlightened today, so it’s necessary to question precisely what the “New Evangelizers” are asking faithful Catholics to do, that they haven’t been doing all along.
If they’re asking us to spread a “new” gospel that’s based on “freebies alone” (that’s what it sounds like) then we have a big problem, since the secular governments of the world have learned to inflate their tax rolls and and leverage their currencies in ways that allow them to finance massive wealth transfer/social programs which dwarf anything in that regard that individual Catholics (or Catholic parishes, or national bishops councils, or the Vatican) might be able to offer.
So, in a contest based solely on temporal goodies and give-aways, the New Catholic Evangelization is not only bound to fail – it will fail miserably! The sad record of The Catholic Campaign for Human Development and other high-profile Catholic Charities already provides ample evidence of this. When the Church takes government money, supposedly in order to accomplish charitable things, it invariably becomes subject to that very same secular government and the result is almost always something much less than truly charitable – and also something much, much less than authentically Catholic.
True charity, as it’s faithfully described in the authentic Gospels, is freely sharing the grace and love of God with others – not just by providing a modicum of necessary PHYSICAL GOODS – but also – and principally – making freely available those SPIRITUAL GOODS which ONLY the Catholic Church is capable of providing in UNLIMITED, SUPERNATURAL ABUNDANCE.
Now Peter and John went up into the temple at the ninth hour of prayer. And a certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb was carried: whom they laid every day at the gate of the temple, which is called Beautiful, that he might ask alms of them that went into the temple. He, when he had seen Peter and John, about to go into the temple, asked to receive an alms. But Peter with John, fastening his eyes upon him, said:
Look upon us. But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them. But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk. And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him up: and forthwith his feet and soles received strength. And he leaping up, stood and walked and went in with them into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God.
And all the people saw him walking and praising God. And they knew him, that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him. And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran to them, to the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.
But Peter seeing, made answer to the people: Ye men of Israel, why wonder you at this? Or why look you upon us, as if by our strength or power we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released. But you denied the Holy One and the Just: and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. But the author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead: of which we are witnesses. And in the faith of his name, this man, whom you have seen and known, hath his name strengthened. And the faith which is by him hath given this perfect soundness in the sight of you all.
And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance: as did also your rulers. But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. That when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send him who hath been preached unto you, Jesus Christ. Whom heaven indeed must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, from the beginning of the world. For Moses said: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him you shall hear according to all things whatsoever he shall speak to you. And it shall be, that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people. And all the prophets, from Samuel and afterwards, who have spoken, have told of these days.
You are the children of the prophets and of the testament which God made to our fathers, saying to Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed. To you first, God, raising up his Son, hath sent him to bless you: that every one may convert himself from his wickedness. (Acts 3:1-26)
We Catholics have no need of any other model or paradigm. Hence, our reliance on the “Great Commission of Jesus Christ” which explicitly charges Catholics with the duty of continuously, clearly, charitably and unambiguously preaching the divine truth of the authentic Gospels to everyone, without exception – day in and day out – all around the world – as we pray without ceasing!
And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matthew 28:16-20)
The post-Vatican II Catholic Church leadership has already reasoned, preached and politically negotiated their way around these explicit commands of Jesus Christ, cleverly inferring that some people have no need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his Holy Catholic Church. Now, as part of this “New Evangelization” they want us to do the same. That’s certainly new and novel, but it’s also material heresy – and that’s not something that any Catholic should be preaching!
Pope Francis’ attempt at projecting an image of a kinder, gentler, “big tent” modern Catholic Church is something that would be laudable if such had not already been the case since the very beginning, courtesy of its’ divine founder and finisher, Jesus Christ.
If things have gone off the track in recent times, the hierarchy might consider going back to and once again learning to rely on what God has already provided, that which the Catholic Church has always possessed in unlimited, supernatural abundance and which – in every age except perhaps, this present, wicked one – has always proved to be sufficient.