We Catholics are commanded to "prosyletize"


#1

I am deeply disturbed in conscience by something Pope John Paul II and our current Holy Father Benedict XVI have been saying, several times over the years, namely, that Catholics should not prosyletize (evangelize with a view to winning converts).
They pledged to the Orthodox that Catholics would no longer prosyletize them in the BALAMAND DECLARATION, and even in the Holy Father’s new encyclical there is a brief denunciation of prosyletism.

Yet the catechism teaches that Catholics ARE to proclaim the gospel in it’s fullness to everybody. So why the trend toward condemning what Christ himself commanded us to do??

Is there an angle to this that I am missing??

Love,
Jaypeeto3


#2

[quote=Jaypeeto3]I am deeply disturbed in conscience by something Pope John Paul II and our current Holy Father Benedict XVI have been saying, several times over the years, namely, that Catholics should not prosyletize (evangelize with a view to winning converts).
They pledged to the Orthodox that Catholics would no longer prosyletize them in the BALAMAND DECLARATION, and even in the Holy Father’s new encyclical there is a brief denunciation of prosyletism.

Yet the catechism teaches that Catholics ARE to proclaim the gospel in it’s fullness to everybody. So why the trend toward condemning what Christ himself commanded us to do??

Is there an angle to this that I am missing??

Love,
Jaypeeto3
[/quote]

To proselytize does not mean “evangelize with a view to winning converts.” It means to force or coerce in an unreasonable manner by threats, intimidation or other means.


#3

dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/archive/2001/01/04.html

That doesn’t seem to be the dictionary definition…


#4

Proselytization carries with it the meaning of “inducing” someone to convert, implying some sort of underhandedness:

INTRANSITIVE VERB:1. To induce someone to convert to one’s own religious faith. 2. To induce someone to join one’s own political party or to espouse one’s doctrine. TRANSITIVE VERB: To convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another. OTHER FORMS:proshttp://www.bartleby.com/images/pronunciation/lprime.gife·ly·ti·zahttp://www.bartleby.com/images/pronunciation/prime.giftion (-thttp://www.bartleby.com/images/pronunciation/ibreve.gif-zhttp://www.bartleby.com/images/pronunciation/amacr.gifhttp://www.bartleby.com/images/pronunciation/prime.gifshhttp://www.bartleby.com/images/pronunciation/schwa.gifn) —NOUN
proshttp://www.bartleby.com/images/pronunciation/prime.gife·ly·tizhttp://www.bartleby.com/images/pronunciation/lprime.gifer —NOUN


#5

The Holy Father(s) have determined that the most productive route to bringing the Orthodox to Truth is by the discussion of the differences through direct communication between the Various Churches.

Namely that the evangelization be done in the same way as was conducted at the Council of Florence, between Theologians Bishops and Patriarchs with the intent of explaining the Truth to whole Churches, not individuals.

If that is the wish of the See of Peter, who am I to say differently?


#6

[quote=Jaypeeto3]I am deeply disturbed in conscience by something Pope John Paul II and our current Holy Father Benedict XVI have been saying, several times over the years, namely, that Catholics should not prosyletize (evangelize with a view to winning converts).
They pledged to the Orthodox that Catholics would no longer prosyletize them in the BALAMAND DECLARATION, and even in the Holy Father’s new encyclical there is a brief denunciation of prosyletism.

Yet the catechism teaches that Catholics ARE to proclaim the gospel in it’s fullness to everybody. So why the trend toward condemning what Christ himself commanded us to do??

Is there an angle to this that I am missing??

Love,
Jaypeeto3
[/quote]

Yes you are, the Pope is infallible, so he is smarter than you. If you question him, you need serious help with your “Faith”. Even I have a certain quality of respect for the man. Ever read any of his works? A very intelligent man.


#7

[quote=Jaypeeto3]dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/archive/2001/01/04.html

That doesn’t seem to be the dictionary definition…
[/quote]

That’s the trouble with using a secular dictionary to prove a precise religious definition. You’ll also notice it doesn’t make a distinction between evangelization and prosyletization even though, properly speaking, they are not the same thing. Evangelization is merely, sharing, discussing, showing what the Gospel is. Prosyletization is aggressively shoving that message down someone’s throat by bombastics, intimidation (physical, emotional, and psychological) and, even (sometimes especially) directed toward those who it is felt are outside the prosyletizers own understanding pale of who is saved. Sometimes even deciet is involved, as in giving a pretense of friendship or misrepresenting the target’s own religion.


#8

[quote=joseph caiphas]Yes you are, the Pope is infallible, so he is smarter than you. If you question him, you need serious help with your “Faith”. Even I have a certain quality of respect for the man. Ever read any of his works? A very intelligent man.
[/quote]

I don’t see anything wrong with the OP’s question. Popes aren’t infallible in everything (that a total misunderstanding). Even if he is intelligent (which he is, God bless him), he is human and can make mistakes. While I did admire our late Holy Father, John Paul II, of blessed memory, I was not too happy with some of his actions like the kissing of the Koran.

That said, I always viewed prosyletizing as forcing someone to change by giving them money, better opportunities,threatening etc. As for the Balamand Declaration, there was a link not very long ago in the Eatern Chritianity forum, giving the Orthodox reasons why Catholics should not convert them. Perhaps I can hunt it up if my memory doesn’t fail me :slight_smile:


#9

For what it’s worth, I believe the most effective method of evangelisation to be the quiet living of a full Catholic life; this cannot help but serve as an example to non-Catholics of one’s acquaintance. I don’t think anyone is served by our getting “in someone’s face” and haranguing them with proofs, Scripture verses, arguments, etc. I know I get very annoyed when born-agains and Pentecostals try to use this method on me. But let them see us “living” our faith and the fruits thereof, and what more powerful witness to the rightness of the Catholic faith could there be?


#10

So what’s wrong with the approach of St. Paul that he used on Mars Hill ? The church always directly evangelized the people and tried to get them to embrace Christ and the True Faith.
I don’t see any reason why methods need to be different today?

Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)


#11

That approach was necessary in antiquity in order to “get the word out”, so to speak. You’re talking about a world where most people had not heard the Gospel, and so direct and fervent evangelisation was necessary. The world is very different now, what with satellite radio and television, and text messaging, etc. The world is now a much smaller place communications-wise, and one would be hard-pressed to find someone on the planet who had never heard the “good news”. Subtler methods are called for now, and I think this is where we can help.


#12

[quote=Jaypeeto4]So what’s wrong with the approach of St. Paul that he used on Mars Hill ? The church always directly evangelized the people and tried to get them to embrace Christ and the True Faith.
I don’t see any reason why methods need to be different today?

Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)
[/quote]

Paul used different methods for different times, people, and circumstances. The approach he used on Mars Hill was different from the one he used before the combined Pharisee/Saducee crowd at the end of Acts which was different from the one he used while in prison. Paul famously said that he could be all things to all men. We should use prudence and discretion to do the same. A one size fits all approach is for amatuers and is doomed to failure.


#13

[quote=Jaypeeto3]I am deeply disturbed in conscience by something Pope John Paul II and our current Holy Father Benedict XVI have been saying, several times over the years, namely, that Catholics should not prosyletize (evangelize with a view to winning converts).
They pledged to the Orthodox that Catholics would no longer prosyletize them in the BALAMAND DECLARATION, and even in the Holy Father’s new encyclical there is a brief denunciation of prosyletism.

Yet the catechism teaches that Catholics ARE to proclaim the gospel in it’s fullness to everybody. So why the trend toward condemning what Christ himself commanded us to do??

Is there an angle to this that I am missing??

Love,
Jaypeeto3
[/quote]

Jesus did send his disciples to preach the good news of God’s kingdom. but he did include a couple of provisos (sp?)

for example

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” He also said to leave a town that does not accept God’s word, after shaking the dust from one’s feet in testimony. If a person or group of people don’t want to listen, a good, devout, and dedicated follower of Christ is not under any obligation to continue trying to get such persons to believe. Pray for them and move on to those who are open to the message. This is what Jesus directs us to do. peace Jim


#14

I think an excellent way to evangelize would be to give our non-Catholic friends and relatives copies of Catholic Answers’ booklet called PILLAR OF FIRE, PILLAR OF TRUTH, or a copy of Paul Whitcomb’s THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS THE ANSWER (available from Tan Books). Both are short booklets but thorough.
We plant the seed, God makes it grow if the soil is good.
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)


#15

[quote=Jaypeeto3]dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/archive/2001/01/04.html

That doesn’t seem to be the dictionary definition…
[/quote]

Brother Rich is correct.

Try the Modern Catholic Dictionary.

Proselytize: Originally to convert someone from one religion to another, either by bringing a person to the full acceptance of the new faith and ritual or at least sympathy with it.
The more common meaning, however, is to induce people to change their religious affiliation by using unfair and even unscrupulous means.


#16

Just remember, to many, “evangelization” is “prosyletization” when it is done to them and just the opposite when they do it.

PF


#17

[quote=Jaypeeto4]I think an excellent way to evangelize would be to give our non-Catholic friends and relatives copies of Catholic Answers’ booklet called PILLAR OF FIRE, PILLAR OF TRUTH, or a copy of Paul Whitcomb’s THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS THE ANSWER (available from Tan Books). Both are short booklets but thorough.
We plant the seed, God makes it grow if the soil is good.
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)
[/quote]

Now this approach I can get behind. I like the idea of giving them the literature and then letting them absorb it in their own time; I think there’s a better likelihood of real, thoughtful conversion that way.


#18

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