The pope cannot change fundamental Catholic Church doctrine – so why does he go out of his way to make it look and sound like he’s going to?

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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.

The New Evangelization is a lot like New Coke – an abject failure due to a flawed premise, along with bad taste.

You see, it is the very ethos of the “New Evangelization” to view the non-Catholic world, not so much as that which stands in need of conversion (i.e., through the lens of the Church’s mission as it was given by Jesus Christ), but as a marketplace for religious interaction wherein, according to Pope John Paul II, “dialogue is not simply an exchange of ideas; in some way it is always an exchange of gifts.” (Ut Unum Sint 28)

In light of this particular vision, we must admit that the “New Evangelization,” although the Apostles and Martyrs wouldn’t recognize it as particularly “evangelical,” is properly named inasmuch as it is indeed rather new.

Once again, let us turn to Pope John Paul II, the man who coined the phrase “New Evangelization” in the first place:

Entrusting myself fully to the Spirit of truth, therefore, I am entering into the rich inheritance of the recent pontificates. This inheritance has struck deep roots in the awareness of the Church in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously, thanks to the Second Vatican Council, which John XXIII convened and opened and which was later successfully concluded and perseveringly put into effect by Paul VI, whose activity I was myself able to watch from close at hand. (The inaugural Encyclical of the Pontificate of John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis 3)

Yes, an awareness that is utterly new and quite unknown to the Catholic Church indeed!

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Ecumenism gone wild: Former Catholic explains “How Catholic Bishops Led Me to Islam.”

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It’s like they put that phony “signing guy” from Nelson Mandela’s funeral
in charge of writing official Catholic Church documents.
A huge scandal, all around!

I was born to devout Catholic parents and attended a Catholic school taught by devout priests and nuns.

We learned thoroughly our religious knowledge by means of the question and answer method called “catechism”. It consisted of 499 questions to which we memorized the 499 well-thought-out answers, word for word.

Our catechism dealt with all aspects of faith, morality and prayer. We attended Mass every Sunday and on seven other special yearly holidays.

Every day at home we prayed the Rosary, a meditation on the 15 most important events in the life of Jesus and his mother, Mary. We dearly loved our parents, our teachers, and our religion. We had a happy childhood.

When I was a teenager, there was a meeting of all the Catholic bishops of the world, about 2500 of them, in Rome. After the meeting, they published a book which said, among other things…

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Editor’s note: This is just one of the many reasons that Muslims all around the world scoff at Catholic “New Evangelization” efforts. The referenced document “Nostre Aetate” was released on October 28, 1965 by Pope Pail VI. Like most Vatican II documents, it is poorly written, and it makes certain gratuitous, erroneous and even dangerous assumptions about a number of ethnic and religious groups.

In the case of Muslims, the writers of  Nostre Aetate assume that the pagan moon god of the Muslims is the one, true God that Christians worship, when the preponderance of the evidence clearly shows the opposite to be true.

The scariest part of all this is the fact that Pope Paul VI apparently intended Nostre Aetate to be an infallible statement of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. If that’s true, the only thing any sensible person can ask is “which Catholic Church might that be – the old one or the new one – since the real Catholic Church would never – ever – publish poor quality documents of this nature?

This is precisely the kind of nonsense you get when the liberals take over. It’s like they put that phony “signing guy” from Nelson Mandela’s funeral in charge of writing official Catholic Church documents.

A huge scandal, all around!

How can the Church think and act in a missionary way when she does not believe any more in her own identity and mission?

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During the past fifty years nothing has been more harmful to the safeguarding and the transmission of the Faith than this escalating ecumenism which is nothing other than the religious “dictatorship of relativism.”(Cardinal Ratzinger) This evil has changed the way in which the Church sees Herself.

She no longer comprehends herself as the Mystical Body of Christ, as the sole Bride of the Lamb that was slain, as the unique way of salvation. It is exactly this ecumenism which transformed the missionary Church into one ecumenical community of dialogue amongst others.

Against this background of ecumenism, it is a tragi-comedy in the making to summon the Church to joy in the Gospel and to attempt her into change her into a missionary Church.

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Do they call it the “New Evangelization” because the post-Vatican II church is really a new and much different church?

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Monsignor Charles Pope obviously doesn’t think so:

Of course some wonder at the title “new” in the New Evangelization. On the one hand it is new in the sense that we are having now to reach back to once Christian cultures and people and repropose the gospel. The is a “new” (and unfortunate) development that is in a way harder than opening new “virginal” territory for the Kingdom.

The ancient Western world was as a virgin awaiting her husband. But the modern West is more an angry divorcee. And this requires new approaches rooted in healing past hurts and overcoming a kind of spiritual boredom and sloth that has overtaken the modern West.

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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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Father Robert Barron: Six tips for the new evangelization.

NUMBER 4) Tell the great story of salvation history. Father Barron emphasized the importance of the entire story. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. The story begins with creation, then the fall and the formation of people after God’s own heart. It is a story of “temple, covenant, law and prophecy.” It climaxes with the coming of Christ.

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New series coming from Fr. Robert Barron: Catholicism the New Evangelization.

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“When they (Hispanic Catholics) come to Canada or the U.S., they help to restore or save a Christian culture … they must bring and keep their religious identity, and enrich us with their faith.”

Vatican City, Dec 12, 2012 / 04:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The message of Our Lady of Guadalupe promotes a culture of life and is at the center of the New Evangelization of the Americas, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet at a conference in Rome.

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Editor’s note: It appears that Jesus sent his mother to Mexico in the 16th century, in order to shore up the dwindling faith of the 21st century North and South American Catholic Church.

What to do when the “Good News” is regarded by much of the world as “old news”?

The Synod on the New Evangelization ended on Saturday in Rome. Something like 260 bishops (and 400 total participants) assembled from every continent. Their deliberations occasionally rose to real insight and eloquence. The pope himself seemed pleased – which should count for a lot in anyone’s book.

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A church that mouths everything Rome wants to hear .. but in practice operates quite differently?

Who wants to join a church like that? And moreover .. the very fact that a NEW evangelization effort is needed pretty much tells you all you need to know about the old one. It has been an epic failure.

And why? Because the main job of the Church .. to make saints .. has been abandoned or so reduced as to be rendered marginal at best.

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Cardinal Schönborn and his hopes for the New Evangelization

“From the very beginning of his ministry, the Pope has stressed that Christian faith, Christian life is not first of all a series of doctrines, not first of all as a series of rules, but a deepening friendship with Jesus. He (the Pope) is convinced that without faith you cannot understand Christian morals. Without faith you cannot understand Christian life. And therefore, I think the big challenge is really to deepen our faith. Call it new evangelization, call it mission – I think it has very much to do with conversion,” the cardinal explained.

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Acute problems with the Catholic Church in Ireland aren’t much different than those in the USA.

Onetime Vatican official, now Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin recently delivered the following address:

The challenge of faith in Ireland can only be addressed by radical efforts of new evangelization. That new evangelization must however have its own Irish characteristics. The renewal of the Irish Church must be led from within the Irish Church. It must begin immediately. There is little time to waste.

Many people are disillusioned by the Church. It is very hard to underestimate how much the scandals regarding the sexual abuse of children and the manner in which it was dealt with by Church authorities has wounded the Church in Ireland. I am struck by the effect that these scandals had on young people who find it hard to reconcile what happened within the Church with the Christian message. The fact that thousands of children were abused within the Church of Jesus Christ in Ireland is a scar that the Church will bear within it for generations to come. There is no way in which what happened to be consigned out of the way into the archives. The lessons of what happened and how it happened are a vital key to our looking forward to and building the future with hope.

Inevitably the effect of these scandals on some has been an anger on the part of many and by some a complete rejection of the Church and even in some places it has resulted in appeals to remove the Catholic Church presence in society.

In other cases there are appeals for a sort of de-institutionalisation of the Church. There are those who would wish an Irish Church separate from Rome. There are those who would speak rightly of a strengthening of the role of lay people in the Irish Church, but really want a Church in which Office and Order would be radically emptied of their theological meaning. There are others who want reform, by reform by going back to the past. Renewal is required, but that renewal first of all requires conversion on the part of all and not just outward changes in structures.

Church authorities must learn to listen; but that listening is not to be equiperated simply with sounding-out public opinion. It requires above all listening intently and in common to the word of God and proclaiming that word and living it….

For too long the Church appeared in a role of moralisation and people failed to transmit the real depth of the Christian message which is about Jesus as a person who in his life and teaching reveals to us who God is. God is a God of love with whom we can in Jesus enter into a personal relationship, which then brings richness to the way we live of our lives.

On a deeper level, however, there is a certain ambiguity as to what “being Catholic” means in contemporary Irish society. There are multiple expressions of the claim: “I am still a Catholic, but…” Many people who no longer regularly practice will still come to Church on special occasions and on the great feasts and maintain some personal contact with the Church. In some cases people live out a sort of cultural Catholicism; in other cases what is called Catholicism is really a type of civil religion, a social spirituality without dogma, with blurred reference to a Jesus of one’s own creation.

Again, without becoming elitist, the Catholic Church in Ireland must be concerned about the lack of knowledge of basic elements of the Christian faith and of the nature of the Church among Catholics. This is a situation which should be a cause of concern as it can only increase from one generation to the next….

The Irish Church is extraordinarily weak in its knowledge and use of the scriptures. In other cases there remain among those who have drifted from Church life vestiges of faith and of affection for the Church. The importance of these signs should not be underestimated. But such vestiges will never flourish again without a genuine programme of new evangelization.

I can see that priests in Dublin have gone through a troubling period and at times they felt lack of support but they have never abandoned hope. There is a genuine enthusiasm for renewal and among priests, diocesan and religious. The results are already being seen. Attendance at Sunday Mass may be falling but enthusiasm is not missing….

Who are my successors in taking up today the challenge which I undertook as a future priest? Where will we find the leaders of the future Catholic Church in Ireland? There will be fewer priests and the place of the priest in society will be different. Those priests will have to be men of a strong and outreaching faith. They must understand their priestly role founded on their bond with the Eucharist around which the Church is constructed. They will have to be able to listen to but also talk to and with the community of believers which they serve. They must be able to break the bread of the Word of God.

The future of the Catholic Church needs such priests but leadership will not be the prerogative solely of the priest. The presence of the Church in the society of tomorrow will be lay lead, but lay lead by men and women who have a profound understanding of what faith in Jesus Christ entails. The future of the Church will not be about social commentary on political issues but about witness, witness to the impact that the message of Jesus Christ can make on lives and on the interaction of people. The “Communion with one another” which must be the mark of Christians must be one which reflects the meaning of communion with Christ and the communion within his Church.

The Church of tomorrow will not be created tomorrow or next week or next year. The Christian life is a life long task. Ecclesia semper reformanda est: the Church must constantly reform itself. Each Christian must constantly reform himself and herself. Reform and renewal involve humility and holiness; not the empty humility and holiness of performance, but a humility and holiness which can be tested and verified by the lenses of integrity, personal and institutional.

The Church of tomorrow will not be created tomorrow or next week or next year but I believe that slowly the Church in Ireland is turning the corner. I say “is turning the corner, not ”has turned the corner”. History teaches us that hope and challenge will always be present together in the Irish Church. We have to get the balance right. The crisis today is however much greater than in the past and we have only one chance to get it right. Burying our head in the sand or making a mistake of discernment, especially any return to triumphalism or self-satisfaction, could turn renewal back irreversibly.

A key marker on the Isle’s road to renewal comes later this year, as the 50th International Eucharistic Congress takes place in Dublin in mid-June. Last month, meanwhile, Marie Collins — the Dublin woman who’s become the Irish church’s most public survivor — became the first victim of clergy sex-abuse to address a Vatican forum, speaking at the weeklong global conference on rebuilding from the scandals held at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

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The cause for Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s sainthood should be an integral part of the Catholic Church’s “New Evangelization”

by Doug Lawrence

The “poster boy” for Pope Benedict’s “New Evangelization” could well be the most famous television evangelist who ever lived: the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Archbishop Sheen died 32 years ago, but not before his wit, wisdom, and Irish Catholic charisma made illuminating the Catholic faith a weekly, nationally televised experience … informing and entertaining millions of Catholics and non-Catholics, alike.

Attempting to advance Sheen’s cause for sainthood, and in need of a confirmed miracle, some say the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen interceded to save the life of a stillborn baby at a Peoria hospital in September of 2010.

That may well be so, but his “first” real miracle has been clearly apparent to Catholics (and others) of discernment, for many, many years. Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s entire life and career was a miracle!

America was then and is today, a very anti-Catholic place. Yet somehow, Sheen managed to get his own network television show, and he regularly bested the ratings of the competition, to boot. If that’s not a miracle, then I don’t know what is!

It’s time for the Vatican to put aside petty rivalries and jealousies, and get fully on board with this cause, since the best possible “face” for the “New Evangelization” is the same one that made Catholicism widely known and accepted on network television, in the 1960’s.

Much of  the late archbishop’s work has been very well preserved, and with the latest advances in computer graphic animation, it should be no problem at all to digitally “resurrect” him … in both word and likeness. Maybe we could team up the “digital” Archbishop Sheen with a “live” Father Robert Barron?

Two things are pretty certain: 1) It’s doable. 2) Jesus would be pleased!

So what’s stopping us?

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Pope criticizes attitude of indifference to religion in Europe, Middle East

The Catholic Church should seek to spread its message ‘particularly in countries with ancient Christian traditions that appear to have become indifferent or even hostile to the Word of God,’ Pope Benedict told the meeting.

‘Today’s world needs people who announce and testify that Christ can teach us how to live, can show us the path to true happiness,’ he said.

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Editor’s note: Holy Father, if only things were that simple! The message of modern Christianity (and even that of the Catholic Church itself) lacks unity and is often contradictory. It’s impossible to get a straight answer from those who should rightly be expected have them, and it’s even more difficult to find a second, confirming opinion.

Those who are supposed to act in the person of Christ have been widely discredited by scandal, and church assets have been sorely dissipated, while Christianity in general has been splintered into 40,000 different groups, with almost as many varying traditions and creeds, many of them at odds with the others.

Bishops are typically unreachable, showing themselves only at ceremonial events, where they are generally unwilling to take up and discuss the problems of the day with ordinary Catholics.

Priests are scarce, spread too thin, and don’t have the time. Even if they did, most wouldn’t want to take the risk. There’s a virtual minefield of scandal and corruption out there, and bishops have been known to routinely “ship out” priests who have the intestinal fortitude to preach the truth about important matters of the faith.

The People of God have often been poorly served. Traditional Catholics have been treated with outright hostility and scorn by their own Catholic church, for the last fifty years. Others have been sexually abused. Many, many others have been so badly catechized that they have no idea of what being Catholic really means, while still others are regularly spiritually assaulted by bogus, illicit liturgies.

People don’t see the benefit of being Catholic, these days. If they did, they would be lining up ten and twenty deep, at the doors of churches, all around the world, begging to be let inside.

It’s not because they are indifferent. People everywhere continue to vigorously act in what they perceive as their own best self-interest. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has, as of late, done an exceptionally poor job of publicly preaching and demonstrating the eternal benefits of being Catholic.

Holy Father, the more precise term for the malaise of which you speak would be irrelevancy … not indifference. If people were merely indifferent to the church, there would be no reason for perceived or actual hostility. The Catholic Church has recently become irrelevant to many, by and through its own numerous and very public failings.

Until the Catholic Church can once again begin to clearly show the relevance of the divine truths it holds in trust for all mankind, people will continue to eschew God’s grace and prefer to seek happiness through other channels … typically sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, material possessions, electronic media and false religions.

Preliminary results of “Catholics Come Home” Campaign: As many as 200,000 people have come back to the faith or converted.


…the Diocese of Phoenix called me back in 1997, and they said “the Holy Father Pope John Paul II, for the New Evangelization, would like to invite inactive Catholics back home to the Church for the Jubilee, would you help us?” I said of course, that’s the fulfillment of my dream, and that is the calling I had on my retreat, to use the talents that God had given me, not for my own benefit but for the Church.

So I said yes, of course, and we did a very simplistic version of Catholics Come Home back in 1997. We aired it for 2.5 weeks in the Diocese of Phoenix, and miraculously 3,000 people came back to the Church. I figured out how much we had invested and said, “Hey, it is only $10 a soul. This is an incredible return and investment.” That was a one-time program and years later now we resurrected it, and created it as a full time lay apostolate, faithful to the magisterium of the Church. We’ve got excellent boards of advisors, we’ve got many clergy, we’ve got business advisors, we have lay theologians, noted Catholic authors, speakers who give us advice and make sure that our commercials have sound teachings.

So we aired the commercials again, under the new form where there are film commercials like “Epic” showing the universality of the Church all over the world, commercials like “Movie” that call folks to a deeper relationship with Jesus and talk about his divine mercy, testimonial ads of people who have left the Church for various reasons and have come home, and now miraculously the results are even more grace-filled. We’ve aired in 12 archdioceses and dioceses around the United States — Chicago, Seattle, back in Phoenix again — and while we are still working with the dioceses to calculate final statistics, it appears that as many as 200,000 people have come back to the faith or converted, which is a huge blessing, and the average diocese, based on the initial statistics, has grown as much as 11%.

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