The great commission is now not licit and poisonous!?

So Catholic answers and 2 thousand years of tradition have been wrong? Just saw this on fb. As a convert who has believed strongly in evangelical efforts and spreading the faith this is very distressing to have read. Please explain.

Let not your heart be troubled. Some Christians define “proselytism” more narrowly than you apparently do, as the attempt to convert people from one Christian tradition to another; those who use the term in this way generally view the practice as illegitimate and in contrast to evangelism, which is converting non-Christians to Christianity. Others define it to be an aggressive form of verbal apologetics, “arguments” for the faith if you will. I believe that this the way that Pope Francis is using the term. He is not saying, “do not evangelize”, rather he is saying that just being “preachy” is ineffective, and often counter productive, but that a better way is to “walk the walk”.

As an aside, I believe the author of that article knows this and is being pretty disingenuous in attacking the Holy Father this way.

I wonder if something was lost in the translation. (Did this conversation take place in English?) Without more information, I would guess he is discouraging “proselytism” when it is limited to recruitment. Rather we should begin by working toward conversion of the heart of the unbeliever. How do we do that?

Edit: After posting that, I read Deacon Jeff’s reply. I agree with what he said, particularly that the journalist was working the story, I would say being sensationalistic, for what reason I could not say.

Pope Francis very clearly says to evangelize in that article/transcription.

He’s referring to the manner in which evangelism is done. It’s easy for certain approaches to insult and drive folks even farther away. That’s counterproductive, doing far more harm than good. I’'m sure you’ve encountered it.

“Preach the Gospel always; when necessary use words”

That article was actually linked from another article I had initially read:

Which when combined has me a bit worried. Ecumenism and unity is important but never at the sake of truth. All christians should want to convert non Christians and Catholics should want to defend and promote the truth to protestants that are in theogical error about certain things. To gloss over them as unimportant and promote controversial figures like Luther seems counterproductive and offensive especially to converts and apostolates like Catholic answers.

I agree. I think Deacon Jeff’s description as “pretty disingenuous” is quite accurate.

There is a big difference between evangelism/faith sharing and proselytism. Proselytism is very aggressive and infers pressure and coercion, but evangelism is another matter,

Our first priority is to live out the Gospel at all times because as we all know, attempts to share the faith is just meaningless noise if our actions and works don’t reinforce what we say we believe.

Our first mission (as per the church) is our own souls and those of our family and then friends, then comes those outside that circle.

CAF has an excellent article Why Catholics Don’t Evangelize

The magazine had a sad joke on the cover which said , “What do you get if you cross a Catholic with a Jehovah’s Witness?”

“Someone who knocks on your door and says nothing.”

And sadly that is often true, but the reality is that (from my own experience) it is also true of most Christians. The percentage who actually find ways to share their faith is really pretty small and some of those that do are aggressive high pressure proselytizers. (You can see a lot of these folks on their YouTube channels where you will also see that they have great zeal but their methods are generally pretty counter-productive…not to mention their grossly anti-Catholic prejudice.)

If anyone wants to get involved in excellent Catholic evangelism I would suggest purchasing a supply of CA’s outstanding tract God’s Love For You and OSV’s excellent Top Ten Questions Catholics are Asked

Then also there is St. Paul Street Evangelization which is a wonderful organization that calmly works to spread the Gospel. I’ve talked with some of them and they are outstanding. :thumbsup:

Lastly, I would point out that Life Site is not really that reliable of a source. decent at Pro-life, but not so good at Catholicism. :shrug:

Stay focused and do what God has given us the graces to do to call people to conversion while living out our most holy faith moment by moment and day by day.
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.:slight_smile:

Proselytism in the case of non-Catholic Christians today would be something like this: “You heretic, convert now to the Catholic Church or burn forever in hell!”

We are called to share the faith with non-Catholic Christians, but with love and an evangelistic disposition

Not a decisive disposition which was used often throughout protestant vs Catholic persecutions.

When you listen to Catholic Answers Live radio, they do it the right way. They are respectful of our protestant brethren.

So evangelizing is down the love of Christ.
Proselytizing is often considered to be done with fear or force (either physical or psychological force).

When reading the Pope’s remarks, I believe he’s saying that Christians must first walk the walk before we talk the talk. Gandhi once said he would become a Christian if he ever met a Christian who follows Christ’s teachings. Christians (esp today) are often accused of being hypocrites. I think the Pope, is saying that we must first focus on living a Christian life. If we are not living a Christian life, then it becomes very hard for the Holy Spirit to work through us.

I pray this helps.

BTW - I read LifeSite and LifeSiteNews for their Pro-Life articles. However, they don’t always get Church matters correct from a theological point of view, esp. with their opinion pieces.

God Bless

. . . :bible1: . . .
And how shall they preach
unless they be sent, as it is written:
How beautiful are the feet of them
that preach the gospel of peace,
of them that bring glad tidings of good things!
then cometh by
hearing; and hearing
by the
Word of Christ.
- Romans 10:15, 17

+A gentle word of encouragement . . . steering clear of both the dangerous territory of trying to . . . **choose :shrug: between **. . . interpreting another’s words . . . and trying to judge LifeSite New’s and one of their writer’s hearts’ motives . . . when in doubt . . . as God’s beloved children we can simply trust the **Sweet Counsel **of the Holy Spirit of Our Lord as recorded below . . . and . . . prayerfully . . . leave this matter in God’s good and holy Hands . . . and rest our soul’s understanding in . . . Him and His Holy :bible1: Word . . .

[INDENT][size=]. . . :coffeeread: . . .[/size]


Sacred Scripture is [size=]the speech of God[/size] as it is put down in writing under the [size=]breath of the Holy Spirit[/size].

Article 3 - SACRED :bible1: SCRIPTURE

In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it [FONT=“Arial Black”]not as human word, "but as what it really is, the [size=]Word of God[/size]."

In the
sacred books
the Father Who is in heaven
comes lovingly :heart: to meet His children,
and talks with them.
[INDENT][INDENT]:bible1: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand …” Psalms 139:17-18b[/INDENT][/INDENT]
[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+[/RIGHT]

I appreciate the pope’s wisdom and resonate with it. In my humble experience, I have converted many souls, but this has never been anything more than just exposing people to the truth that is already out there so that they can see it for themselves. It is best to assume that people have access to the truth and only make corrections when they actively make a mistake.

Unless I am at church! There I want to be actively refreshed/ I know what I am getting into there!! But I sought it out myself and it was not forced upon me. Faith is a choice - and act of the will. We must always respect that.


I scrupulously avoid lifesitenews. They are hysterical and non-credible, IMO.

I grew up in a Protestant church with a great focus on “witnessing” and I felt like an Amway salesperson when I tried to do it, especially since almost everyone in town was some kind of Protestant too, We should evangelize; we should not cultivate a relationship to convert a person. We shouldn’t harass them. We should always follow the Golden Rule.

Have an interesting thought on the reading? Talk about it. Find a neat quote from a saint? Share it. Be honest when someone asks about Church teaching. I’m a writer of sorts. In non-fantasy works, I try to write a Catholicism that’s attractive while still acknowledging life’s harshness. In fantasy, I try to affirm some point of Catholic moral theology. I regard it as evangelization.

Love people and live your faith.

I have made that point many times, but have fallen on deaf ears.
Now, with regards to the difference between evangelisation and proselytising, the former is what the Legion of Mary does, the latter is done aggressively.

I think they are very credible in regards to abortion & euthanasia news. But non-credible when it comes to Church news.

That is funny. :wink:

I have noticed that from my own experience. I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and on Monday I was out in our preaching work. We really love the Bible and from what we have learned believe sharing that knowledge with others is really important to help them. To start the conversation I showed a tract we have entitled: “How do you view the Bible.” (it often gets a conversation going)

Anyway: Getting to the point of my stroy: :rolleyes: …

At leat four people politely told me they were Catholics, and then ended the conversation! :frowning:
None were at all interested in telling me about their beliefs or trying to “correct me” from following what they no doubt consider a false religion.
(infact if my understanding of the Catholic religion is true, I am probably heading for eternity in hell if I’m wrong)

If a Catholic arrived on my doorstep wanting to show me what they think is important from the Bible, I would drop whatever I was doing and invite them inside.

How does that work? Why did they see no importance in sharing what they believed? :confused:

Yeah well many of us are busy and have only limited time for JW style dialog since it generally leads to recurring visits by a couple of you folks and the study of your materials instead of just the Bible.

Moreover, I have found that your fellow JWs are little interested in what I have to say.

After the last 2 guys caught me out in my yard a few years back no one has been by here again. I’m probably blacklisted as someone who’s more trouble than it’s worth.:slight_smile:

None were at all interested in telling me about their beliefs or trying to “correct me” from following what they no doubt consider a false religion.
(infact if my understanding of the Catholic religion is true, I am probably heading for eternity in hell if I’m wrong)

Well your doctrines are indeed different from those of the Catholic Church and even from most modern Christian communities. We cannot speak to your final end as that is above our pay grade, but we do have a good selection of materials that address the things that you teach.

*]Are They Awake on The Watchtower?
*] Distinctive Beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
*]Stumpers for the Jehovah’s Witnesses
*]More Stumpers for the Jehovah’s Witnesses
*] The God of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
*] History of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

If a Catholic arrived on my doorstep wanting to show me what they think is important from the Bible, I would drop whatever I was doing and invite them inside.

How does that work? Why did they see no importance in sharing what they believed? :confused:

Again, not all of us have time for the kind of intense apologetics that dialog with you will require so CAF is a good option as I’m sure you have already noticed.

As you enter into discussions or open threads to discuss your beliefs or ask about ours you can rest assured that you will get all the input that you can handle and then some. :slight_smile:

Bingo! There lies the problem with modern Christianity, the great commission has become the great omission. I don’t buy it that people are just too busy as church militant says. Most Christians just don’t truly believe that what we have is indeed the Truth, and worth sharing to ensure other souls are won for Christ. Sadly, various forms of universalism have seeped in to the pews of churches. The fire and urgency of the early church to spread the Gospel has dwindled.

Needless to say I disagree and you don’t seem to understand what I was saying.

The JW door to door gig inevitably shows up when people are busy about their household routines. Would you want your wife to neglect your children or let your dinner overcook just because someone came to the door to offer some errant doctrines and anti-Catholic propaganda? Of course not…and so most people say no thank you and close the door.

Many people do not have a clue as to how to effectively share their faith regardless of their religious affiliation and I saw this in my many years outside the church.

Here’s some very good information that can help people be better informed and equipped.
Friendship: The Key to the Evangelization of Men
Winning New Converts
St. Paul Street Evangelization

But you need not blast me or anyone else for a supposed lack of evangelism when the problem really is that human beings often fail to do what they really should.

Do you have a supply of Catholic tracts at your fingertips all the time? I do, and I use them…and whenever the chance arises I am always ready to engage anyone who opens the door for me to share my faith. I lead by example (not at all to blow my own horn) but hopefully to encourage and inspire others to also share our most holy faith with anyone who is receptive.

I wasn’t attacking you. I simply said I disagreed with you. You did not address the other points I raised. I’m not alone in my assessment of modern day Catholicism either… But for the sake of the kingdom I won’t argue with you over this brother

It really doesn’t matter what all of us think as much as what the church teaches.

:slight_smile: I didn’t mean to accuse you of attacking me, so I apologize for that.

However, the church does indeed teach us that evangelism/faith sharing is a work of mercy. (See The Spiritual Works of Mercy)

I think we have departed from our topic somewhat but I agree with you that it is an omission that we would do well to remedy.

Here’s that article I mentioned earlier. Why Catholics Don’t Evangelize

I did find some links on CA’s page that I think could really help.
How Evangelization Can Strengthen Your Own Faith
Tips for Evangelization
How to Evangelize Family Members
Tips on Evangelizing Spouses
Evangelization in the Workplace
Are my evangelization efforts bearing any fruit?
“Door to Door” or “Street” Evangelization?
Why Evangelize Non-Catholic Christians?
Tips for Street Evangelization

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