Should we Catholics silence ourselves in public because others are offended?


I have been thinking a lot about something that has been wearing me out lately. I’m really exhausted by this, and I would like to gain more understanding so I can put it to rest. Pretty please, I would really appreciate it if those who practice paganism,etc would refrain from answering. I only ask this because I already spent a few days asking pagans their perspective, and I have a wealth of answers on that side. So just solely practicing Catholics only, because I’m really searching for just Roman Catholic answers here. Answers from Priests/brothers/sisters would be excellent, but not mandatory. Thank you :).

I asked the question to several pagans if they thought that it is “bigoted” for a Christian to say/teach/believe/etc that Jesus is the only source of salvation (as the Church teaches).

It turns out that even if a Christian is tolerant of other religions, and respects the rights of every person regarding religious decisions, even if a Christian doesn’t judge, even if a Christian doesn’t cast judgement about another’s salvation (CC 843 says it best!), even if the Christian doesn’t push this thought on others… the Christian is a “bigot” (according to some pagans), simply because a Christian believes Jesus is Lord and that salvation is from Christ, and that only the Trinity is worthy of worship.

I asked these questions in a spiritual forum, where questions are asked and discussed. So I wasn’t proselytizing, but asking questions, and that was understood by all. While not all thought monotheism and Jesus equaling salvation was “bigoted”, some did say they thought it, and the Bible, was bigoted. Some said it was even offensive to hear “Jesus loves you” and some even found it offensive when Christians speak of Christ’s invitation to receive Him. Most basically said they were very turned off when any Christian spoke of their religious beliefs, unless they (the pagan) has specifically asked for Christian “opinions”. But most agreed that a Christian sharing the gospel only crosses the line when a Christian keeps pushing Christianity on those who have already expressed that they don’t want to hear it. (And I agree with that, it is rude to go beyond expressing one’s beliefs, to actually being forceful).

One of the other things quite a few pagans (wiccans,etc) seemed to have a problem with is when Christians make definitive statements. For instance, instead of saying “I believe Jesus is lord” we say “Jesus is Lord”. Many expressed moral relativism, and of course definitive statements do not fall in line with moral relativism. So that, too, many find “bigoted”.

So, I guess my question is… What should Catholics do:

Obviously proselytizing is not accepted (by many pagans), and is actually not a good idea when a person has already said no (of course!). This is not an issue so I shouldn’t really be mentioning that. I felt I had to mention that in order to get to the meat & potatoes…:

Should a Catholic shy away from acknowledging in public what both the Bible and the Church says… that Jesus is Savior & salvation comes from Him, that only the Trinity is worthy of worship, etc? Because others think these things are bigoted. Some also think it’s “bigoted” for the Catholic Church & Christians to say Jesus is not “a way” but “THE way”, even when acknowledging that non-Christians can go to heaven.

So what should I do as a Catholic? Should I keep my Catholic faith hidden all together, should I never speak of Jesus’ salvation to the world- period, should I never say only the Trinity is worthy of worship? I’m not talking about proselytizing or even saying these things to pagans (because it seems pretty clear to me that they don’t want to hear it). I’m asking… should Catholics just keep quiet & deny Christ in public because others find our non-‘moral-relativist’ statements about Christ, etc, to be “bigoted”?

Thank you. I hope I wrote this clearly :o.

Hmmm… I just found Pope Benedict XVI’s book Truth And Tolerance: Christian Belief And World Religions
I think this book might be of help to me…

Interesting thread. I thought of a similar question yesterday. If Christians did less complaining/campaigning against the moral depravity of society, and more of the prayer, meditation, caring for the unwanted children and unwed mothers, etc., would we draw MORE people to us, or would our silence be drowned out by those on the other side that use the loudspeaker of the media to advance pornography, abortion, etc.?

I am riding the fence about this question. I kind of believe we need both, like the Reagan/Thatcher military funding combine with Pope John Paul II’s conversion of the people’s hearts. (As a Christian, I’d like to believe the Pope didn’t need America and Britain’s military strength to end Communism, but it’s my understanding that historians say both were necessary.)

BTW, I have to admit, I currently fit in the category of complainer.

Why is a pagan’s opinion of you of such importance?

Of course someone who subscribes to the erroneous belief system that includes moral relativism will find fault with a religion that contains moral absolutes.

It is our baptismal call to preach the Gospel. If they want none of it, then as Jesus tells his disciples-- shake the dust off your sandals and move on.

BUT, it is still part of who we are a Christians to witness to our faith and to be salt of the earth and the light set on a hill. So, don’t hide your faith and don’t be pushed out of the public square (false religions would like nothing better).

So, the bottom line is-- it matters not what a pagan thinks of you. Stand proud in your Christian faith, and share it lovingly when the opportunity arises (and there is a difference between being yourself and being a pest).

Perhaps you will plant a seed that will lead them to the Truth someday.

Thank you 1ke! You’re absolutely right :). After after being told by so many of those who aren’t Christian that the teachings of the Church (& those who believe them) are “bigoted” and/or “intolerant”, it is so refreshing to hear a Christian say their insults should not quiet us. I love Jesus, and I won’t deny Him or who He is… I love the Church, and I won’t deny her universal truth… I love God, and I could never deny that all other gods are false. I don’t bother anyone with my beliefs, but when some non-Christians say Catholics are bigoted in thought, belief, words, etc, that’s just terribly wrong. I’m Catholic, Catholics are monotheists who believe salvation comes from Christ and that Jesus is Lord, and only the Trinity is worthy of worship. Even though we’re tolerant of other religions and even accept that those of other faiths can go to heaven (& we don’t “push” our religion on others), some still call us bigots. Well. I’ll not be ashamed, no matter what they call us. Jesus is worthy of all our love and respect (& more!), I will not deny Him, or what the Bible & Church say about him, or turn it into something that fits into moral relativism just because a few people think we’re bigoted. I guess I just needed a little encouragement :o. Thank you 1ke :).

Mods: Oops- looks like I originally posted this in the wrong topic area. My apologies. Thanks for moving it over for me.

Well, I saw “Amazing Grace” today (it’s about William Wilberforce, who argued for years against the slave trade in Britain. Eventually, it was abolished, thus proving that activism can work, even though it may look bleak for years.

For me, the best way to evangelize is to live and talk about how I am living my faith. By this I mean, I tell folks at work that I am heading to Church instead of meeting them for a drink on Saturday night. I breeze in a few minutes late on Tuesday because they know that I attend daily Mass. I mention the lunch I had with Father so-and-so and what a wonderful experience it was. I tell them about how my prayer was answered on Thursday when my car repair only cost 125.00 instead of the 500.00 I feared! I talk about my faith and God in everyday language, peppering all talk with my faith. So far, the only response I’ve received is curious questions, which I happily answer. If they don’t like what they hear, they don’t ask anymore questions. But as far as I know, I’ve not offended anyone yet.

Silence? Absolutely not! Lest we then hear the cries of the souls falling into hell because we failed to share our faith.

Yet even more important is the need to make the witness of our moment by moment lives so active and clear that even if we were silent the testimony of Our Lord Jesus Christ would be undeniable.

If Christians did less complaining/campaigning against the moral depravity of society, and more of the prayer, meditation, caring for the unwanted children and unwed mothers, etc., would we draw MORE people to us,

In my state, as in many, the Catholic Charities Organizations are the second largest provider of social services. Number one is the state. I don’t think people understand how much the Church does for all the causes you mentioned. In this city alone there are 5 enormous facilities for young pregnant women.

I guess it’s not everybody’s cup of tea to stand against the tide. But if there needs to be a clarification the answer is a resounding no. And if you decide to speak out, do it right.

I once talked to a Catholic priest who travels quite often in rural areas of India on missionary work. He told me a story of meeting a very intimidating Forest Officer (In rural India government officials carry tremendous clout) with whom the priest developed a surprisingly good rapport. The truth came out eventually when the officer told Father that he didn’t have a problem with him because Father wore his cassock. It was the priests in mufti (everyday clothes) that he did not trust. :cool: :cool: :cool:

We are taught to preach the gospel, Jesus sent us out. The other side is so bold about thier views, forcing them o society. But we cower and wonder if someone may be offended, meanwhile lives are being destroyed emotionaly and physically.

Of course in the Bible itself we have the plethora of examples of those who persevered in preaching the faith in spite of ridicule and persecution (and even death!)

I certainly don’t believe we should stop witnessing simply because of the persecution, etc. What I’m wondering is, in the world of today, which method is the most efficacious?

If I tell my kid he’s doing something wrong, his first reaction is to be defensive. If I plant seeds to “help” him reach the same conclusion himself, well then it was his idea in the first place! If we (including me, 'cause I do it all the time) complain about Hollywood doing this or that, or all the things wrong with the secular world, etc., are we in fact making them more defensive and more glued to their position? If the witnessing is more subtle, maybe it would be more effective.

Or perhaps different methods are required for different issues/people/circumstances.

Speak the truth about God and his Gospel. Sow those seeds and worry not about who will be offended. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, those seeds will grow. When was the last time you witnessed a protestant being concerned about offending a Catholic?:rolleyes:

Never be afraid of doing what Christ has asked of us.:thumbsup: He warned us that if we stuck with Him, we too would be persecuted.

Deo gratias,


I agree with you :). We are to spread the gospel. Maybe this sounds like a silly question: When non-Christians are envolved with other religions, whether they’re Jewish, Muslim, or Pagan… do all these people need Jesus (not just after they’re dead to get into heaven, but while they’re alive- whether they know it or not)? Because there are non-Christian people who seem to think it’s wrong for Christians to say everyone needs Jesus, and that salvation *only *comes from Him. For instance, some pagans often attack Jesus (and/or His salvation) as a put down (i.e.- that their own gods aren’t good enough or that there’s something wrong/missing/not-good-enough about their own religion). They seem to think Jesus & His salvation are another ‘option’ or ‘path’, and they set Jesus & His salvation to moral relativist conditions. The universal truth of Jesus & His salvation is for everyone alive today, right?

Did the moral-relitivists ever ask if us Christians/Catholics were offended by them saying that Jesus is only ‘a way’ versus ‘THE way’? No matter what, some things you say will offend others. Just ensure your remarks are true to the Gospel. If you’re unsure whether you should speak up or not, say a quick prayer for guidance. God is with you in those situations, He’ll help you out. ^^

I have been thinking about this question since I first read it. This morning I opened the Bible, meaning to read the Letter to the Romans and it opened instead at Acts 18.

This is what I read: ***" And the Lord said to Paul in the night, by a vision: Do not fear, but speak; and hold not thy peace, Because I am with thee: and no man shall set upon thee, to hurt thee; for I have much people ***(many friends) in this city." v.9-10

I don’t know about anyone else, but I believe God was giving me a directive about what I should do in this situation.

Did Christ ever stay His tongue for fear that some may be offended or made uncomfortable by His Holy Teachings? Certainly not!

The work of the Church is the work of Christ, and the teachings of the Church are the teachings of Christ. In doing the work of Christ and in speaking the words of Christ we have a duty to be open and blatant, without fear of what others may think of us (for the opinions of others matter little when we are doing the Lord’s work) and without fear of what they may think of themselves (for we want the work and the words of Our Lord to have an impact).

Christ did not come to make people feel comfortable with their sins and errors. Likewise, as the Church of Christ, our first priority is to rely the message of Our Lord without care or fear of the consequences.

Great points! :thumbsup:

Excuse me?
I had a dream recently. A bad dream. But still important to me.
I dreamed that some soldiers of a different religious persuasion had captured myself and several of my beautiful grand children. They had us in a darkened stinking room. They were threatening us with death if we didn’t convert. My darling grand children looked to me crying asking what should we do. One of the soldiers asked me how I could justify making them kill the children because I would not tell them to deny Christ. Another asked who I wanted to die first. Another grabbed one of the children at the throat and said “Deny your false god! Your grandmother is a fool! Deny him and worship our god and you’ll live.” The child cried out to me, "Nana help me. What do I do?"
Sickened at the thought of her pain I said what I knew I had to say. "Never deny Jesus. They cannot kill our souls. The Lord waits for us to give us life in heaven. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior."
I heard a man call out to his false god behind me. I heard him swing something towards me. I woke up in a cold sweat.

I fear that I am not as brave in this life as I was in the dream.
But God help us if we are afraid to offend others by declaring the faith which Christ gave to us. And how about those who by virtue of our witnessing accept the gift of salvation Christ offers? If we are concerned about offending others by our faith, how then will we defend it in our time of trial?

2 Machabees Chapter 7.

It is a scriptural passage I have had to face up to as well. Do we encourage our children to stand firm and accept martyrdom or do we tell them to deny God and lose their souls for all eternity:rolleyes:

Scary, but we have to face reality. I believe there is a persecution coming and we need to prepare our children in advance, not leave it to the last minute. Your dream tells me that your subconscious believes this as well.

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