News? Happens all the time ... or not?

Some years ago, when i would have been more inclined to answer if forced to answer the question “do you believe in god?” with no, i was truly puzzled about a report watched in TV.

In the usual posture as if they had to offer some ground breaking and shocking news, the story was told of some “undercover”-journalists, who had under false pretense and with hidden camera attended a training center for young people (but over 18) run by some evangelist group. The journalists actually caught on camera someone telling to young people, that they would be fulfilling Gods will if they tried to bring Gods word to non-christians in an attempt to convert them to christianity. And that that could mean doing it even in Afghanistan or some other place, where someone might kill you for spreading Gods word.

Now in a cynical sense those journalists were truly hilarious, in a sense they might as well have been saying:
“Did you hear this astonishing and shocking news? There are christians, who want to run around the world to convert non-christians and they even risk their live doing so and accept that risk. Realy astonishing, never heard of it.”

Just funny to have such quality journalists (or depressing if you arent a cynic), even a casual study of christianity could have revealed that its founder (Jesus), his most important disciple (Peter) and the most important person not personally knowing the founder (Paul) all three met the fate of going somewhere to spread the message in full knowledge of the risk and actually got killed for doing so. So how any idiot can implythat this is something new is beyond understanding.

But it left me with an important question, which i have no answer to:
Why does it seem to happen so seldom today, that the Church or catholics on their own try to spread Gods word in places where some people are likely to act against them?

I know for example of no organized effort by the church to convert the inhabitants of Afghanistan and Iraq or other muslimcountries to christianity. It seems more, that missionary work today is limited to low or no risk activities. Why?
Or am i mistaken about that?

(To be honest the question did only truly form in mymind, when i mused recently why the Church was so soft on Priest abusing children. I would probably tell them that for repentance they should go on a pilgramage to the suspected grave site of St. Ernest and preach Gods word on the way - connection to question obcious, when you check where that grave is probably.)

Yes, you are mistaken. :slight_smile:

There were more martyrs for the Christian faith in the 20th century than all previous centuries combined.

It’s easy for us Westerners to miss because there is ordinarily no threat of physical martyrdom as we go about our daily lives. But that is not so in other parts of the world.

Maybe it was not clear enough, but i’m not reffering to martyrs as such - which the 20th century very likely had even more unknown martyrs than all other centuries combined as communists and nazis murdered in sum more than 100 million and faithful christians being among likely victims - but to missionary activity (which would result in martyrs if aimed at some countries)

I even remember from the report a short interview with a catholic bishop,who somehow implied that it is morally dubious activity to go to Aghanistan and risks ones life in preaching Gods word. And i’m quite certain that those journalists wouldhave sniffed out any church activity in that direction, because while painting evangelicals evil is good for your journalistic reputation, it absolutely pales beside staining the reputation of the church.

And considering how nuts most journalists were about the idea of convincing arabs about having democratic human rights respecting states, they would go crazy if the church actively pursued any attempt to convert them.

Googling alos didn’t turn up much,except for wiki:
“Much contemporary Catholic missionary work has undergone profound change since the Second Vatican Council, and has become explicitly conscious of Social Justice issues and the dangers of cultural imperialism or economic exploitation disguised as religious conversion. Contemporary Christian missionaries argue that working for justice is a constitutive part of preaching the Gospel, and observe the principles of inculturation in their missionary work.”

So it seem, the Peter & Paul style is shunned by the church today. Why?

(Not that i condemn anybody. Obviously its not the way if you care for your health.)

Okay. I think it’s inaccurate to say that the style of Peter and Paul is “shunned” in the Church today. I know lots of people (priest and lay) who have done missionary work in other parts of the world. Most of it seems to be in Africa or Central/South America, though.

Off-hand, I don’t know of any concerted, explicit efforts to roam to country-side of the Middle East preaching the Gospel. But I don’t think it’s a matter of the Church’s desire but rather the reality of the political environment. Most Middle Eastern countries very carefully screen those who enter their countries. Missionaries for other religions simply are not allowed. They are very protective of their national identity.

As for the Christians who already live there, I cannot really say what they do or don’t do. It’s easy for me to say (from half-way around the world in the comfort of my own home) that they should be out on the streets boldly preaching the Gospel even if doing so is punishable by death. But I don’t think I’m probably in the best position to critique their mode of evangelization.

The Church always has and always will be about evangelization. Pope Paul VI said the the Church exists in order to evangelize. But this doesn’t mean that the Church’s evangelization efforts will look exactly the same in all times and all cultures. What works in one time and place may not work in another time and place.

For some reason, I think that Muslims convert by the sword and are only converted by the sword.

Evangelization is illegal in Israel, I believe, and is very likely illegal in Muslim countries. This creates a moral dilemma for any who would knowingly enter these countries with the intent to break the law. When you enter most countries, you are asked the purpose of your visit. If you say, I’m coming here to convert people to the Catholic Church, you will most likely be denied entry to the countries under discussion. Should you then lie to conceal your evangelical mission? Whether early Christian evangelists faced a similar dilemma in the Roman Empire is an interesting question.

In areas of the world where Christianity in general or Catholicism in particular are illiegal or otherwise persecuted, the activities of the Church must necissarly be covert, underground, and to a very great extent, grassroots efforts.

The Church is a worldwide organization. It cannot just march into Saudi Arabia for example, and state that it is setting up shop. An organized and public effort by the Church to evangelize such a place would be a great offense to many Muslims who live there - viewed as an act of aggression in fact - and would place any Christians who are there in great danger through no fault of their own.

Yes, the Church must evangelize, but it is also cautious about doing things that will start world war III.

You may want to have a look at the website for the Knights of Malta. They run ambulance corps and Catholic hospitals (real Catholic hospitals, not just in name only) in Madagascar, Senegal and Cambodia, and even have a hospital for indigent pregnant women on the West Bank of Jerusalem.


So the evangelization is limited because the church fears that millions of christians and non-christians, who are in no way connected to an evangelization effort, would be taken effectively as hostage or even be killed.

Now that sounds like a good reason.

Considering that lying is questionable, why then imply that there is anything nice about Islam, if the evangelization does not take place or is seriously limited because otherwise followers of Islam might start World War 3?

As far as i know, while missionaries have a hard time working or working succesfully in China, North Korea and other not-so-fun places, none of them would start a world war because of some preachers. So starting world war 3 due to preaching is quite and unusual habit.

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