But Whom May We Evangelize?

People are curious. They like to know “what’s new.” Most people, whatever their background, do not, however, like to be proselytized, to be made unsettled in their normal beliefs and practices by some sharp stranger wanting to convert them to something or other. We tolerate many diverging views provided that their advocates do not seek to put them into effect by force or deceit. While error can be described, debated, and discusses, people in error are to be left free to defend or propose their views in a responsible way in public fora. Persuasion, argument, and conversation in reason are to be the means by which differences in every field are resolved or at least explained. To be civilized does not mean that no differences will ever arise among human beings. It does mean that such differences will not be promoted by force or lying. Civilization also means that when beliefs are promoted by force, it is reasonable to use counter-force to protect reason and freedom.

In the New Testament, when Christ sent the apostles out to preach what the Father had given Him, He told them to go to the places where they are welcomed. But if they chanced on places where they are not welcomed, they were to leave, brush the dust off their shoes, and move on to greener pastures. The same instruction is evident in the Acts of the Apostles. When local opposition was stirred up against Paul or Barnabas, he went on to the next town. Both Testaments are surprisingly full of accounts of people who will not listen to what God has to tell them. We cannot escape the fact that there are people who will not listen and who will take every means to prevent the apostles from being heard. If we universalize this experience, it will mean that, at best, the world is filled with pockets of believers and unbelievers, rather like the parable of the wheat and the tares in which both good and bad are allowed to grow till the harvest.

The implication of this record, even in the early Church, is, again, that some people will not listen. They will threaten to stone or kill those who try to present Christianity to them. It is best to let them alone. Yet, Christ seems to insist that those who positively reject the good news be given a chance to reject it. On several occasions, Pope Francis has noted that opposition to Christianity in many lands today is violent and can results in martyrdom. We do not want to prevent altogether people from talking to us or presenting new ideas to us. Freedom of speech and religion presumes that we are beings who speak and listen to each other on a normal basis. But it also presumes rules of propriety, good taste, and proper occasion. If we do not want to listen to an ad or pitch or speaker on television, we can always shut it off.  But that would involve turning the TV off and on every few minutes.

“New evangelization” is in the air. The Church has committed herself to it. Initially, the term, “new evangelization,” refers to efforts to re-evangelize Europe and other areas that have long had the faith but which have in the meantime lost it on a wide scale. At first, this effort seems like mainly an internal problem of the Church itself. The reason we have all those pagans and apostates out there has to do with some fault of the Church. Fix that, and all will be fine. Scripture from the beginning told us not to be “lukewarm” about the good news, as if its effect on others had something to do with its effect on us. There is some truth to this view, of course.

The last words of the gospels have to do with going forth to teach all nations. It does not say anything about whether these nations want to listen to what the disciples had to say. The assumption is that the gospel has something to say to everyone in every time and place, something everyone ought to know about whether he wants to or not. It involves the very explanation of what ultimately man is. Over the centuries, thinkers developed theories about a duty to listen to this good news. Efforts to prevent its peaceful presentation were seen to be in opposition to the movement of the Spirit Himself.

Within the Church, as I have mentioned before, we talk as if the reason most people do not listen to us is our fault. Thus, some propose to restructure the Vatican or episcopal curia or personalize the bureaucracy, or drop supposedly unpopular doctrines and practices. They say we must find new techniques and means to get our message across. Straighten these things out and people will flock to us.

But a case could be made that it is precisely when the Church is doing what it is supposed to, when it is devout and holy, that opposition to it is greatest and most lethal. A tepid Church threatens nobody. When Scripture speaks of those who do not accept the gospels when cogently presented to them, it does not blame the apostles for this failure to believe or for lack of technique. It blames the people who refuse to listen. The problem evidently is not one of technique, ecclesial structure, or of external method.


The Church has especially taken up the  “dialogue” format as a model for dealing with other faiths and philosophies, particularly at official levels. It “dialogues” with almost everybody. My impression is that few people initiate efforts to dialogue with the Church. The Church, however, is energetic in establishing relations with almost anyone, including the devil if she knew his address. I do not think this effort is a bad thing. It is significant that the initiatives usually come from the Church, which holds that it has something to say that others ought to know for their own good. The Church is conscious of its responsibility to make Christ’s teaching known in a reasonable and free manner. She is also aware that what the Church holds can be, and often will be, rejected. The reasons for this “rejection” become part of the dialogue to be tested at the bar of fact and reason.

In his address to the Diplomatic Corps, the new pope noticed representatives there from nations with whom the Vatican did not have official relations. He hoped this situation would change. I suppose this observation meant principally China, a perennial problem for the Church. Chinese culture, be it in the Confucian or Marxist mode, is more a closed religion than a political entity. The Jesuits in particular formed their reputation under Ricci and his companions over the question of China and its conversion, over what was religious and what was political in Chinese tradition. It is said that many “underground” Christians exist in China today, while nobody really believes in the communism that still governs the country.

What I have to say here is conditioned by John Paul II and the fall of communism, something at the time as unexpected and thought impossible. During the communist era, there were many so-called “Christian Marxist Dialogues.” Sometimes it was difficult to tell whether there was any difference. But the way to deal with China was not for Christianity to present itself as an overlay of Marxism. That route would be more of a conversion of Christianity to Marxism than of Marxism to Christianity.

For a time in the modern era, it looked like a political or constitutional solution could afford the space needed for Christianity to pursue its purpose. With the proper limits of Church and State, the Church would be free to pursue its transcendent and public purpose.  Citizens of all lands would be free to listen or not to listen. But, as we reached the Third Millennium, it became clear that the rapid decline of faith in Europe combined with the rise of Islam, with its very closed system, with China, and even India and other countries, the main obstacles to the presentation of the faith in the modern world are not internal to the Church. They lie in the ideologies and religions that compose and control the vast majority of mankind in terms of numbers. Ironically, one could say that the most active groups seeking to “convert” others in the world today are the evangelical Christians and Mormons seeking to convert not Muslims or Hindus but Catholics. When it comes to India, or China, or the Muslim countries, we run into a closed system the likes of which the world has seldom seen before on quite the same scale.


My point, in conclusion, is that when we talk of evangelization today, we have to talk directly and seriously about and to the systems that are politically and culturally closed to any such notion that Christianity can be presented freely in their domains. We have tried to develop a constitutional system in which such things were possible. But this effort could only succeed if politics and metaphysics or religion were not identified under the same political control. The “new evangelization” is blocked off and hindered primarily by forces outside of the Church. And they are backed with law and force. Any serious talk of new evangelization has to begin here where the masses of people in the world really are.

At least three quarters of the world’s present population live in politico-religious systems that make any real evangelization next to impossible. Perhaps a few places in Africa and Asia will allow some outside presence, but, for the rest of the world, including increasingly the Western states themselves, any fair presenting of what Christianity is becomes almost impossible. This situation need not be looked on as outside of providence or as hopeless, as John Paul II showed in the case of Marxism. But the contemporary alternative to Marxism in practice is not always or even often Christianity. One final observation is worth adding. There is no indication in Scripture that, in the end, there will be more than a few real believers in the world. Christ’s advice to the Apostles remains, go to those who will listen to you; leave those who will not.

Editor’s note: The image above painted by Raphael is entitled “Paul Preaching in Athens.”

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J.


Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., taught political science at Georgetown University for many years. He is the author of The Mind That Is Catholic from Catholic University of America Press; Remembering Belloc from St. Augustine Press; and Reasonable Pleasures from Ignatius Press. His newest books include A Line Through the Human Heart: On Sinning and Being Forgiven (2016) and On the Principles of Taxing Beer and Other Brief Philosophical Essays (2017). His most recent books are Catholicism and Intelligence (Emmaus Road, 2017) and The Universe We Think In (CUA Press, 2018).

  • Harry

    “Once upon a time evangelisation was easy, but now it’s difficult. Feel free to give up, as there won’t be many people saved anyway.”

    • ColdStanding

      That was so insightful! I really feel like you get it.

  • tedseeber

    My own conversion away from communism started with Rerum Novarum and the realization than human dignity without private property is impossible. Imagine my surprise to find that crony capitalism, while better, still denies the right of private property to between 20-40% of its citizens- to 30% so severely that they are not even allowed to be born. That is what we need to change, gentlemen.

    And I contend that the beginning of conversion, evangelization, needs to start with the neighbor sitting next to you in the pew- the one who for either a lack of belief in human life or a lack of belief in human dignity, voted for the lesser evil last election.

    • Rock St. Elvis

      The other explanation for a vote for the lesser evil is the lack of a viable alternative. Moreover, last year’s crony capitalist candidate was also our anti-life socialist-in-chief. You know, the guy all the patricians like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett supported. They love government micromanagement of the economy and favors to guys like themselves.

      • tedseeber

        The crony Capitalist that was supported by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet was opposed by the Crony Capitalist supported by the Waltons. You can’t win, you can only lose slower, the entire game is rigged against everybody who doesn’t have enough money to buy politicians. We will never have a viable candidate until we all stop participating in this farce called voting and advocate for real change.

        But that needs to start with a personal conversion away from sin, inoculation against the disease and the allergy to sin that can only come from personal holiness. Without that, well, democracy just isn’t suited to the immorality of moral relativism- we need personal virtue first.

        7% of Catholics do 84% of the work of the Church and give 84% of the money. Prayer, study, and generosity are what those 7% do that leads to the ability to evangelize others. Without virtue, without God, we can achieve nothing. WITH an objective virtue that comes from prayer and study, we can do anything.

        • DF

          One reason this country is in economic trouble is democracy – without it (or marxism, of course), not to mention moral chaos, our economic problems wouldn’t exist, or at least be as big.

          • tom

            Encouraging ignorance of “the people” has been a cruel tool of the Leftists from the NEA to the communists running our universities…including many “Catholic” colleges.

    • Adam__Baum

      Congratulations on finding your way out the darkness, please keep posting, there’s a couple of posters here that lack your respect for the necessity of private property, perhaps they will have a similar epiphany.

    • tom

      Maybe it’s time for a Christian Democrat Party that believes:
      1. There is a God.
      2. Murder, even of the unborn, is evil.
      3. Tradition has merit as a guide to the future.
      4. The individual, rather than a group identity, is more important than the state or a corporation.
      5. Smaller government is better than bigger government.

      We could sweep the nation and then the world, while tossing the Republicans and the Democrats in the trash bin of history.

      • One revision, Tom: It is not the individual alone that is more important than Jabba the State or Jabba the Corporation. Remember all the mediating groups between the individual and the State. The family, the neighborhood, the small business, the self-governing municipality (and I mean REALLY self governing, not taking its orders from the State).

      • tedseeber

        4 is a bit problematic, isn’t it? Isn’t the whole point of Christianity in general to band men together as brothers?

        But having said that- I’d say the group identity of the Church is far more important than the State or the Corporation.

  • Watosh

    Well recent Popes and Vatican officials have told us that we don’t seek to convert other faiths but to have all of us converge. I have heard that some protestants seeking to convert have been discouraged to do this. then the sayings of Pope John Paul II can be interpreted to mean that all men are saved, and according to Vatican II, all Churches can lead to salvation. then we have the recent Popes saying that Moslem, Jews and Christians all worship the same God, which makes me wonder why Moslems and Jews don’t celebrate Christmas and Easter. In regard to the “New Evangelization,” which comes on the heels of the “New springtime” ushered in by Vatican II, that the “evangelizations” should began with evangelizing our Hierarchy. Remember when the church had converts such as Cardinal Newman, Cardinal Manning, Sigrid Undset, Evelyn Waugh, G. K. Chesterton, and the head Rabbi of rome. Now we have converts like Newt Gingrich and Tony Blair. But Pope John Paul II was immensely popular with the world and the world loved him personally, but not too many converted, as we seemed to be the ones converting to the world.

    • How can it be that Moslem, Jews and Christians all worship the same God ! do people ever read the Coran and its hateful stances against Jews and Christians and the Thimmis in general ?
      How can the same God possibly hate and love the same people ? -letter to the Romans Chapters 9 to 11 for israel.-

      How can the same God persecute to death Christians all over the Muslim world and be our God ? If there is no Faith, there should be some logic.

      • msmischief

        Because it is possible to address your worship to a being whom you have many false beliefs about. Given that only one being can be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, whoever worships such a being worships God.

        • Watosh

          According to this logic, (1) there is only one God. true (2) Various people worship a God, true. (3) therefore we all must worship the same God, false conclusion as this doesn’t necessarily follow. According to this logic the worshippers of Baal worship the same God as we do.
          But this statement that the Jews and Moslems worship the same God as we do is patently false, yet this is something that recent Popes have peddled. Which shows you that every statement by a Pope is not necessarily infallible.
          This logic reminds me of someone claiming that 2 + 2 + 5 provided you make 2 large enough.

          • tom

            Maybe they just want to avoid having St. Peter’s blown up?

      • Well, to be honest, I’ve read the Qur’an several times and I did not find in it any hateful statements against “Jews and Christians and the [D]himmis in general”. On the contrary, the Qur’an clearly states that these “people of the book” are to be protected. Can you give me any quotes, please? Perhaps I’ve missed something. The Qur’an certainly prescribes death to the persistent unbelievers but the dhimmis are not considered to be unbelievers.

        • patricia m.

          Are you talking seriously or are you a Muslim troll?

          Do you know that the dhimmis have to pay a tax in order to “be protected”? The first mafioso of this world was Muhammed. Do I also have to remind you of Benedict XVI’s speech about the Muslim way of conversion, that is, by the spade? Really? Are you also brainwashed by The Religion of Peace INC? No, you can’t be serious. Just google and you’ll find the violent stuff.

          • Adam__Baum

            I vote troll.

            • Sorry, I thought I was addressing objective thinkers, not one-track-minded bigots. FYI, I am a traditional Catholic but that does not prevent me from considering things in a fair manner. Even though Islam is not exactly a religion of peace (at least not in the conventional sense of the last term), we could learn a thing or two from it, especially about piety. Dr. Peter Kreeft would certainly agree.

              • Adam__Baum

                You can get lessons in piety from the Amish, the Mormons, Hassidic Jews or any variety of sects, none of which have been implicated in 9/11, or a myriad of bombings.

              • Anders13

                The problem with Islam is the same as with secular humanism; both are in bondage to slavedom.

              • janet_baker76

                Me, too.

            • And I vote idiot…

              • Adam__Baum

                Ok, you know yourself better than we do.

        • patricia m.

          Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”

          This is so peaceful…

          Above I meant “SWORD” instead of “SPADE”. Was thinking in my native language.

          • patricia m.

            And the Hadith, don’t you consider the Hadith as well?

          • “Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137:9) This is so peaceful… And which passage is morally more repugnant? Be careful what you quote, Patricia, the Bible is full of violence and hatred, too.

            • patricia m.

              Oh please quote me such violent words and deeds coming from our Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament, please. That’s what I want to hear.

        • Reg Platt

          Just a few:

          Qur’an 9:29-Fight against Christians and Jews ”until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.”

          Qur’an 4:91- If the unbelievers do not offer you peace, kill them wherever you find them. Against such you are given clear warrant.

          . Qur’an 9:7-9-Don’t make treaties with non-Muslims. They are all evildoers and should not be trusted.

          Qur’an 9:12-14-Fight the disbelievers! Allah is on your side; he will give you victory.

          . Qur’an 9:5 Kill the nonbelievers wherever you find them.

          Qur’an 2:191-2-Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

          Qur’an (5:51) – ”O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.”

          Qur’an (2:65-66) Christians and Jews must believe what Allah has revealed to Muhammad or Allah will disfigure their faces or turn them into apes, as he did the Sabbath-breakers.

          Qur’an (4:48, 4:116)-Those who ascribe a partner to Allah (like Christians do with Jesus and the Holy Spirit) will not be forgiven. They have “invented a tremendous sin.”

          Qur’an (4:51)-Jews and Christians believe in idols and false deities, yet they claim to be more rightly guided than Muslims.

          Qur’an (5:51) Don’t take Jews or Christians for friends. If you do, then Allah will consider you to be one of them.

          Qur’an (5:80) – “You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide.” Those Muslims who befriend unbelievers will abide in hell.

          Qur’an (3:85) – ”And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.”

          . Qur’an 9:6-Those who submit and convert to Islam will be treated well. (Those who don’t submit will be killed. See previous verse.)

          Qur’an 5:53 Jews and Christians are losers.

          Qur’an 5:59 Jews and Christians are evil-livers.

          Qur’an 5:63 Evil is the handiwork of the rabbis and priests.

          Qur’an 5:72 Christians will be burned in the Fire.

          Qur’an 5:73Christians are wrong about the Trinity. For that they will have a painful doom.

          Qur’an 9:30Christians and Jews are perverse. Allah himself fights against them.

          Qur’an 9:34 Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to the rich and greedy Christian monks and Jewish rabbis.

          Qur’an 19:35-37“Woe unto the disbelievers from the meeting of an awful Day.”
          Jesus was not the Son of God. Those who say he was (Christians) are going to hell.

          Qur’an 28:62-64 Allah will taunt Christians on the day of their doom, saying: Where are My partners whom ye imagined?

          Qur’an 40:73Allah will taunt the Christians in hell, saying: Where are all my parnters that you used to believe in?

          Ishaq:364 “Muslims, take not Jews and Christians as friends. Whoever protects them becomes one of them, they become diseased, and will earn a similar fate.”

          Qur’an 3:67 ”Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was a true Muslim, surrendered to Allah (which is Islam), and he joined not gods with Allah.”

          Nothing personal. I’m just sayin’.

          • Reg,
            Many of your quotes concern “disbelievers” which term in the Qur’anic usage does not apply to Christians, Jews and/or Sabbeans. I pointed this out in my posting. Apparently you either are ignorant of this fact or try to swamp me with the sheer number of quotes. Other quotes, which do mention Christians and/or Jews, are hardly more harsh than what Jesus had to say about the scribes and Pharisees. I do not believe that Islam is a “religion of peace” but let’s be honest and refrain from spreading outright lies about it like you’re trying to do. Nothing personal, I’m just sayin’.

            • Reg Platt

              I know that you’ve bailed already, but I would like to point out that Jews and Christians, even when in dhimmi status, are technically infidels, i.e., they do not believe in Mohammed’s status as prophet or that his representation of Allah/God is an accurate one.

              I believe that qualifies one as an “unbeliever.”

              And if I offended you personally, I apologize. You asked for quotes, so I provided them without the intent of making you look bad. I don’t know you except through here, and I wish you no ill will.

              And I regret leaving you with the impression that I am “spreading outright lies,” Lying, at least to my understanding, involves the telling of a deliberate falsehood that one knows to be false and tells anyway. All I did was provide you with something you requested, and I still offer no comment on your motives. I may be mistaken about the position of Islam regarding non-Muslims, but I sincerely doubt it.

              I’m also pretty certain that you are mistaken about many of us and our motives, and I pray that the grace of God fill all of our hearts with a more Christian attitude, even toward Muslims.

        • Axilleus

          Reg Platt provides an excellent list there below. And I would not be so certain of the protection offered to dhimmis because it requires you to submit to someone other than Jesus Christ. Every word of Islam is a denial of the Catholic understanding of Jesus Christ, and Belloc was correct in grasping it as essentially a heresy as many of the great saints who lived in the days of its first appearance did.

          • If you think his list is “excellent”, Axilleus, you are as ignorant about Islam in general and the Qur’an in particular as he is. Are you at least aware about the fundamental difference between “the people of the book” and “the unbelievers”? And what is this nonsense about “submitting to someone other than Jesus Christ” through paying a tax? Do we “submit to someone else that Jesus Christ” because we pay taxes to the government? Think, man, think!

            • Axilleus

              The whole ‘people of the book’ thing reduces down to this for Catholics: accept Islamic domination and don’t preach the Gospel in any form or fashion (which is what we are commanded to do by Christ), don’t build new churches and don’t repair old churches and pay your tax and you can still celebrate the rites of your religion on a very limited basis in a private way and there won’t be any physical violence directed at you. This is why the Catholic Church has all but died out in the region of the world where it was born.

              • patricia m.

                Maybe Jambe D’ Argent should try to build a church in Saudi Arabia. Maybe he’s able to talk sense into those Muslim’s heads, who knows…

                • janet_baker76

                  If he were to build a church that did not promote Vatican II liberalism, he would probably be able to live there as peacefully as Christians have for hundreds of years. It is our promotion of secularism–immodesty, porn, abortion, homosexuality, concubinage– that galls islam, and I cite the Gallup poll of four years ago which found that the primary irritant to muslims is secularism, not Christianity as such. But we joined cause with secularism at the Council. We dissolved the remaining Catholic states. We endorsed western style democracy (faugh) and promote it with drones.

                  • Bono95

                    The Church does not and never has promoted porn, immodesty, homosexuality, concubinage, and abortion. Unfortunately, more than a few individual Catholics do, but they are not the whole Church. As long as there are human beings in the Church, there’s going to be problems. Those problems should be addressed and corrected, of course, but they should be corrected by prayer, sacrifice, and discipline. To try to build a whole, new, “perfect” church would just be to repeat Martin Luther’s mistake. His church isn’t perfect and peaceful.

            • Axilleus

              And in truth, as Catholics we are not people of any book. We do not look at the Bible the way a Muslim looks at the Qur’an. Our salvation does not revolve around a book, but a person: Jesus Christ. We are saved because Jesus Christ was who He said He was and did what the Apostles said He did. If His claims and those of His Apostles are untrue then the Bible is a waste of paper, unless you are Martin Luther who wished to turn the Bible into a Christian version of the Qur’an under the influence of the Turks, who in the decade of the Ninety Five Theses were at the gates of central Europe (an entirely forgotten now but extremely illuminating point) and besieging Vienna. In any case we are not ‘people of the book’ we are the people of Jesus Christ and His Church and Muslim adversaries would certainly use that against us, especially those of the jihadi ilk. Don’t be deceived.

              • I’m talking about facts, you’re pushing your subjective interpretation of them. This “discussion” is only a waste of time for me, good-bye.

                • Axilleus

                  I’m sorry you feel that way.

              • Cliff

                I think you misunderstood what Martin Luther stood for, as he did not want to turn it into a “Christian version of the Qur”an”. He wanted respect for God’s Word which was being overshadowed by shaky traditionalism.
                The people of the Book is a very confusing term and is primarily a Muslim term. The proper understanding of scripture is vital to our faith. Scripture plays a vital part of the Christian life.

                • Bono95

                  You are right that a proper understanding of Scripture is very important, but Luther’s understanding of it wasn’t proper. I wouldn’t even say he had very much respect for it, because he threw the books of Maccabees, the epistle of Jude, and parts of Daniel and Esther out of his edition of the Bible because they didn’t agree with his teachings. He wanted to toss out even more, but didn’t dare. And he blatantly added in the word “alone” to justify his doctrine of being saved by faith alone without good works.

                • Axilleus

                  The Church was built on Tradition and the preaching of and evidence supplied by the Apostles, not the Bible. The Word of God was Jesus Christ, the Word become flesh. His Passion, Death, and Resurrection were in and of themselves the New Testament (Covenant). This has been the bedrock of the Faith from the beginning, long before anything was written about it. For the first believers Scripture was the writings of the Old Covenant (Testament) because they foretold and foreshadowed the coming of the Word of God in the flesh and the New Covenant that was extended to all humanity. The books of the Bible are divinely inspired and are useful as a guide only insofar as they lead one to faith in the Word of God Himself made flesh. Jesus Christ, in his life, death, and resurrection was the speech of God to mankind, not a book.

        • janet_baker76

          We don’t worship the same God but we share many of the same values. Do you know there are locals where muslims have pressed for an end to pornography in local stores and the Church would not join with them in it???? If only we would stop fighting secularism’s war against islam and use them where we can. But no. And by the way, those quotes below by Reg–we Catholics are also allowed to use force, and the time may come when we will again.

      • Watosh

        Yes, you are right, I was only citing something that Pope John Paul said that has influenced a lot of Catholics, I can’t understand how any thoughtful person could claim that we all worship the same god. This is merely saying something to paper over the divisions that exist so that we can ignore our differences and all come together so peace can be achieved. It is incredible to hear such a statement being issued by a Pope for the purpose of bringing us all together. Of course making statements like this won the acclaim of the world, whereas to state the truth would arouse the resentment of the world, and possibly crucifixion.

      • scbconley

        The same God, but some reject the Son. If someone rejected your child and claimed to love you, how would you feel. One path to salvation through Jesus Christ. There are even Messianic Jews, who maintain the Jewish faith, which promised the Messiah and believed he came. lived, was crucified, and rose again.

    • Axilleus

      I hate to say it but I agree with you about John Paul II. I am part of that generation for whom he was the only pope we ever knew until well into our adulthood (when he died and the priest started praying for ‘Benedict our Pope’ during the Mass it was like they changed the Mass itself) so I had an incredible attachment to him and was very caught up in his personal magnetism. Age and maybe a tiny amount of wisdom maybe have seeped into my brain in the almost decade since his death and I have serious questions about his papacy and serious doubts about his almost instant beatification and seeming fast track to canonization. The sex abuse crisis that went almost unexamined for the nearly the entire length of his long papacy. The continuing cultural falling off the cliff of Western society and mass exodus from the Catholic Church that met with almost no real opposition from the Church save marketing slogans like ‘Culture of Life’ and ‘New Evangelization’ that sound nice but in practice are empty and meaningless. Was not the evangelization that the Apostles brought to the world 2,000 years ago good enough, and if so why does it then have to be new? And worst of all was the increasing depiction of the Catholic Church by its leadership as simply one choice among many in the world of religion. Was the Church established by Jesus Christ as the sole vehicle for the salvation of the human race or not? A clear and unambiguous answer from the hierarchy would be nice, and John Paul never gave that answer and in truth his successors haven’t seemed interested in giving an affirmative answer to that question either. Those of us out here who do seek to share the Faith in all its ancient glory could surely use some back up on this question…

      • tom

        He did help crush the USSR. Not bad….not bad, at all.

        • Watosh

          That Pope John Paul II helped crush the USSR is one of those stories we like to believe and so accept them with little evidence. Same for Ronald Reagan. the USSR crashed under the weight of its failings, but when it crashed many claimed responsibility, i.e. the USSR crashed, because I did this or I opposed them. The butterfly that stamped syndrome. While the communist government of Poland would not permit Cardinal Wyzinsky to leave and reenter Poland, it allowed Cardinal Wojtyla to go in and out at will while gaining friends and recognition. doesn’t sound like they regarded him as an enemy during the time the Communists were firmly in control. When the communists grip began to weaken then we heard from Pope Paul II decrying Communism. As they say, all that glitters is not gold. I didn’t hear about Cardinal Wojtyla ever suggesting during Vatican II that it issue a denunciation of communism then. But it sounds good to Catholics that Pope John Paul II helped crush Communism, for the same reasons Republicans like to point out how Ronald Reagan’s actions crushed communism..

          • tom

            When the human will is handcuffed by ideologies like communism, Faith has a roll in undermining the regime. We’re seeing it in America, today. With creeping…if not galloping….”socialism” the Democrat regimes cramp our style: We become less productive, less inventive, less interested in our Leftist nation. Polish communists were often “Catholic” and were pleased when the system crashed. If you don’t think labor leaders like Lech Walesa were guided by the Church, you’re wrong. “Save Russia” we prayed….and God did! As for the USSR, it’s paranoia from outlandish American defense spending caused it to try to match our expenditures. Meanwhile, every time Gorbachev visited his mom, he saw her holy pictures and other signs of an abiding Faith in her home. You can’t weigh such influences on a scale, but they’re weighty nonetheless.

            • Watosh

              Oh I see your point, communism and socialism are bad because they make people less productive and less inventive, and God answered our prayers to make Poland and Russia more productive and inventive and more open to Western influences like rock, pornography, divorce, same-sex marriage, and unrestricted profit making by the oligarchs that were created under Western tutelage. I have always maintained that while reason alone in the absence of faith as a guide leads to error, at the same time faith alone completely divorced from any considerations of reason also leads to error. You have provided another data point for me.

              • tom

                Hey, the Russian economy is pretty good and Poland’s is excellent.
                The Slavic peoples are doing pretty well with Faith and reason. They’re to be congratulated fro escaping the armies of Stalin and Trotsky…debating points aside.

                • Watosh

                  Yes but we can’t escape the influence of Satan or can we if we just do away with taxes and the government and let the unregulated free market work its “magic.”

              • janet_baker76

                Socialism is just the necessary response to the death of the Catholic state, which according to Pius XI is Quadragesimo ano has (had, I suppose) economics indistinguishable from ‘moderate socialism. ‘ Those are Pius XI’s exact words. The poor we shall always have. And we must always help them, and the Catholic state always did. The protestant rebellion threw off that obligation and substituted Wealth as the talisman of sanctity and that’s how we got Detroit.

                • Bono95

                  Socialism is quite different from any Catholic state because
                  #1 Socialism is opposed to all religion, Christianity and Catholicism in particular
                  #2 In Catholic states, people who had more gave voluntarily to those who had less. In Socialist states, everyone has what they have taken by force whether they like it or not, and what’s taken is not always given to those in need. More often than not, it goes to the wealthy and powerful ruling Socialists.
                  #3 A Catholic state, no matter the exact government, is always good and practical if it’s faithfully Catholic. Truly equal Socialism is just not possible. In the US, people are born every 8 seconds and die every 13 seconds. In order for everyone to have the exact same amount of the exact same property, everyone’s possessions would have to be redistributed every 10.5 seconds, and possibly more frequently depending upon how many new material goods are produced.
                  #4 Finally, Catholic states recognize that complete equality on earth is not possible, and that earth is not our true home. Their mission is to help their citizens get to heaven and to ensure that their earthly needs are fulfilled. Socialist states teach that this world is all there is, and their elites are far and away better off than any of the citizens, though the citizens are all equal………..ly miserable.

                  • janet_baker76

                    Of course the Catholic state is different from the communist, and the socialist from both. I merely said communism was a response, and a predictable one, to the demise of the Catholic state because the capitalist state unleashed by the protestant rebellion is open war on the poor. Pius XI said the economics of the ‘moderate’ socialist state were indistinguishable from those of the Catholic state. They both make provision for the poor, and it cannot be denied the socialist state does so (even though, as unstable because of its injustice to God, it will end up in fascism, as will capitalism, and communism, and every other ism). To trash socialism/communism without trashing capitalism is just wrong, and in your post you do just that. What we have now, in the US, is unacceptable and cruel and must be overturned. The only alternative is the Catholic state. But we would have allies among the left, that emerges with analysis. All those who are ‘left’ simply because they see the economic side could come with us. We would free them to come with us. We must free them to come with us, and most of that involves freeing them not from the economics of socialism (winning them to the drear protestant Free Market) but from heresy as found in Vatican II. There was re-distribution of wealth–in the implementation of ownership, as the popes put it, read the social encyclicals for heaven’s sake, in the Catholic state, and that’s not bad at all, it is necessary at times for the common good.

                • Watosh

                  That is an interesting as well as a valid observation. Good point.

          • Chris

            Hey Watosh. Get your facts straight before spouting off verbal falsehoods about the influence Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II & Margaret Thatcher had on the fall of the Soviet Union. It is a historical fact that the SU could not keep up with the US, Britain in the arms race & the covert influence of PJPII in Poland.
            Watosh, are you a communist?

            • Watosh

              Gee, Chris, I apologize for upsetting your cherished beliefs. If it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling to believe certain modern fables that have found their way into high school history books, then by all means hold tight to those beliefs. But I would caution you that you shouldn’t call anyone a communist just because they have done something to upset you, as that does not reflect well on your understanding of modern historical issues..

        • Axilleus

          How exactly did he do that? Some of the worst sins of Communism have now been imported into the Western world.

      • Watosh

        I am nearly 83 and as I live it seems the world is getting nuttier. I remember that Cardinal’s Manning and Newman, the great writer, Evelyn Waugh, another great writer, the Norwegian Sigrid Undset, G.K. Chesterton and the head Rabbi of Rome converted to the Catholic Faith, before the advent of the New Evangelization. Sigrid Undset said that becoming a catholic did not mean simply changing your religion, it meant changing your whole life. It makes me cringe when I see the caliber and commitment of recent converts like Newt Gingrich and Tony Blair. The only thing on reading Warren Carroll’s “History of Christendom,” there were times during the history of the Church that I was convinced the Church had been ruined and couldn’t possibly recover, but in reading on I found the church always had revived. But I have lost my faith in the merits of a secular democratic pluralistic government.

        • Axilleus

          I can’t believe I’m saying this but that last sentence of yours isn’t wrong. A democratic government is only as good as the people voting in the elections. And the amount of pride (the first of the capital sins) produced by generation after generation of the people thinking that it is they and not the Divine Master who created it that are masters of the world ultimately makes those same people both stupid and corrupt. I finally understand now (and I admit that it mystified me for most of my life) the skeptical attitude displayed by the Church toward democracy at its beginning, centuries ago. How wise those men were, truly imbued with the foresight and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, but the world as usual did not want to listen.

          • tom

            A benevolent dictator couldn’t do any worse than the likes of the Bushes, Obama and their grab bag of dictatorial “elites”. There’s a reason why almost a third of Americans believe we need another American Revolution, NOW.

            • Axilleus

              There will be no further revolution, at least not in the direction you want to go. In fact the revolution has already happened. It was a slow revolution that took decades and it was accomplished not with guns and bombs but textbooks. No one seems all that interested in real liberty and freedom anymore. They just want their material needs taken care of at as little cost to themselves as possible and of course their candy. And for all those craving for some revolution to solve all their problems I would just remind them of who the first rebel was…

              • Adam__Baum

                It was funded with the Sixteenth Amendment, which was the greatest advancement ensuring the electorate was divided and isolated. It it is fascinating to see how many well-meaning people think the federal income tax can be fixed with a “flat tax” a “fair tax” or any other device that even if enacted, wouldn’t last to the next election cycle.

                • Axilleus

                  You are right. It is interesting to go back to the late nineteenth century and the dawn of the ‘progressive’ movement: they said they could never have the kind of government they needed to achieve the kind of society they wanted without the funding that would come from an income tax. And the division that results in that society is just a bonus.

        • Michael B Rooke

          Cardinal Manning is alive and well

        • Adam__Baum

          “makes me cringe when I see the caliber and commitment of recent converts like Newt Gingrich and Tony Blair.”

          In comparison to some cradle types, you’d think they were models of piety.

          • Watosh

            I am well aware that the range of behavior that exist in the universe of cradle Catholics covers some unappealing people, but to make Tony Blair and Newt Gingrich appear as models of piety does strain the imagination, Tony Blair being a war criminal and Newt Gingrich’s marital escapades among other peccadillos oh his as a member of Congress.

  • Alecto

    A meaty repast, that. I wonder if it occurs to the Church that Catholics who are well-catechized from childhood are immune to “conversion” to other faiths? Establishing a shared Catholic identity is crucial to the future. Catholic schools are at least as important as Catholic churches, perhaps more important is the Catholic school which never accepts public funding?

    In addition, I read daily about muslims in Egypt or other closed countries who want to convert, but cannot openly embrace anything other than Islam. Should we isolate or abandon them? Third, Lebanon (ancient Phoenicia), Syria (Damascus is the sight of St. Paul’s conversion), and other countries were actually Christian long before they were muslim. Evangelizing there is simply a return to what was.

    Finally, sending Jesuits to convert China was a mistake. Methinks Franciscans would have done a much better job because of their gentle kindness and humility. Jesuits tend to be arrogant, intellectually incompatible with the Chinese character. Who knows? But for those Black Robes, China might be Catholic today?

    • patricia m.

      I guess you don’t like the Jesuits very much, do you? *irony* Getta agree with you, St Francis Xavier was really an arrogant man, wasn’t he?

      • musicacre

        Exactly why we shouldn’t generalize. As far as missionaries go, they all bring their own gifts. My husband’s uncle was a Jesuit
        Bishop in India until he died at the age of 91, and a close friend of Mother Teresa’s. His brother was a missionary priest in his own country, India, and did that until he died at 67. Many unsung heroes who brought the faith to the jungles, the cities, the places that are uninviting. India and China have as many faithful Catholics each, as the whole population of Canada, (where I live). So we shouldn’t discount their efforts to bring the faith to others!

      • Alecto

        Today’s Jesuits? Are you kidding? They’re barely Christian, let alone Catholic. They place intellectual pursuits above everything. I recall a passage from Imitation of Christ discussing the vanity inherent in the pursuit of knowledge. I think that could be directed towards most Jesuits these days. It hardly resembles the order founded centuries ago. More than that, if you’re the pope, and you’re trying to do a job, wouldn’t you use the most appropriate tool in the toolbox? You don’t send a plumber to fix an electrical problem. So, too, with missionaries.

    • msmischief

      Immune? The root of our problems is our corrupted wills, which can becloud even the clearest understanding.

      It helps, though.

    • Bono95

      The first Jesuits were on fire with the faith, produced great saints (Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Isaac Jogues, etc), and they made many converts in the Philippines, America, India, Japan, Southeast Asia, and even China to some extent. Some of that work was actually undone when Franciscans and Dominicans arrived because these orders were rivals and their squabbling confused and mislead some converts and would-be converts. Jesuits up until sometime in the 20th century were for the most part good and holy, and even today some still are, like Pope Francis and my bishop. Speaking for today, I would not send Jesuits on a mission either, but speaking for the early days of the order, I would.

  • Joe DeCarlo

    Sorry, all religions cannot be saved. Pope John Paul II was wrong. Jesus said, the only way to the father is through me. Muslims and Jews and other religions do not worship the same God, because Jesus IS God, and they have rejected him.
    Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were members of Vatican II which was a disaster for the church. I believe that both popes were saintly popes, but were completely wrong about the need for an “update” of the church. Jesus said that those who baptized and believe will be saved and those who don’t believe are already condemned. Muslims, Jews, and other religions, unless they convert to Christianity, cannot enter into heaven, despite what the Catholic leaders say.

    • msmischief

      whoever is saved is saved through Jesus Christ. We may not know here on Earth all the means by which this is accomplished, though we have been assured that speaking against the Son of Man will be forgiven.

      • Axilleus

        But sins against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven and a denial of the role of the Church which is the means established by Christ for the salvation of mankind and an indwelling of that same Holy Spirit is in fact one of these.

    • asydwy

      When Blessed Pope John Paul II said that it is possible for those outside the taith to be saved he was not at the same time saying they were saved by any grace other
      than that earned by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. All saving grace comes through the Church, The Mystical Body of Christ. How this grace flows to those outside the Church we know because Christ Himself said so in Scripture ( for example, ” I have sheep not of this fold. “. We have not been told
      how this happens; rather it is part of the great Mystery of salvation.
      Also, we do not all believe in the same God. Catholics believe in a Trinitarian
      God. Not all, especially not Muslims, belive in the Trinitarian God that revealed
      Himself to us through Christ. Another difference, Our God is a loving God; the God of Islam, Allah, seems a vengeful God as the Qu’ran reading shows. Our God is
      the only God Who so loved the world He gave His only Son as expiation for our
      sins. The grace of the Cross of Salvation flows from the sacrimental nature of the
      Catholic Church. Anyone saved outside the walls of the Church is saved by those
      graces. This is what Pope JP II meant by salvation outside the Church.

      • Axilleus

        If this is what John Paul II meant then no one took it as such and it would have been far better if he had kept his mouth shut on the subject.

  • Alecto

    Forgot to add my question: no mention of Mother Teresa or her exemplary work in India? I cannot imagine a more contemporary application of the gospel anywhere by anyone. But mention of JPII? Honestly, as a woman it is difficult to ignore both subtle and overt anti-woman bias, yes, that correct, bias in the Church. Seems the only woman this Church views positively is Mary. I guess the rest of us are dreck.

    • Rob B.

      There are lots of female saints to choose from, Alecto. There are even female Doctors of the Church. So I’m not sure why you believe that the Church treats you like “dreck.” Is it because women can’t be ordained as priests?

      • patricia m.

        Not to mention the women in the Bible also. Martha, Mary her sister, Mary Magdalene, and all the other good women in the Old Testament as well.

        • Bono95

          Don’t forget St. Ann and St. Elizabeth.

    • ColdStanding

      You might like John M. Rist’s discussion on the intellectual struggle many early Church fathers had in dealing with the role of women in the Church, in his What Is Truth? From the Academy to the Vatican. The first two chapters talk about the reaction of exemplars of the early Church as they ingested the Christian message (and Christ Himself!) while at the same time still considering as given the mores of the culture of their arising – often not grasping the contradict between the two forces. As I savory your complaint with a little relish from Rist’s work, I realize that Jesus Christ came to us as we are, warts and all. This means that we aspire to be Christians (ever and ongoing) as we learn to set aside those things that weigh us down.

      His point was that these early Churchmen differentiated between women that were sexually active and those that remained virgins. If a woman remains a virgin, they had status akin to being a man. The expected ideal was virginity for men, too, as sexual activity for men was to be confined to marriage for those that needed a remedy for their concupiscence. The model of the redeemed (hu)man was to have the movements of the passions under the control of reason.

      Now, I am not offering this as an excuse for their behavior. I have no authority or power to excuse their behavior (or pass judgement) at any rate. I merely seek to supplement your supply of facts, perhaps to soften your anger.

      Anyways, sorry for babbling on uninvited and all. Hope it helps!

    • Guy Est

      Right. That’s why the last three Roman popes (save John Paul I) each named women saints as exemplary teachers of Catholic doctrine, i.e., doctors of the Church.

    • Brad

      Dreck, no. But in your case sister, terribly bitter. The Lord will heal you, as all of us, if you let Him, primarily through His Body and Blood and confession. We can’t take bitterness into heaven. It will not pass the threshold. Nothing unclean can be there. If it’s inside of us like a swallowed dagger, we won’t be able to simply drop it in order to pass over the threshold ourselves. Cure it now. Or, more accurately, show it to the Physician and ask Him to cure it. There is no self-medication in Christianity.

      In this month of our Mother, ask her as the Lady of Sorrows how to avoid bitterness. She could have been quite bitter. If she tells you, please remember me in your prayers, as I am bitter, too.

      • Alecto

        It isn’t “bitter” to comprehend that this is a religion which understands women in very limited and narrow terms. While men are allowed to possess and encouraged to develop any number of qualities or attributes, women above all are to be humble, subservient to men in all cases at all times. Yet, women are in various cases more talented, more cooperative, more intelligent? And while it may be easy to dismiss what I write so easily, it actually acknowledges the reality of being both Catholic and a woman. Here’s hoping Jesus gives me some cred for the struggle.

        • Bono95

          Men are called to be humble too, and female saints have come from all kinds of backgrounds and had all kinds of earthly professions. St. Dymphna was a princess, St.s Elizabeth of Hungary and Clothilde were queens, St.s Ursula, Clare, Frances Cabrinni, and Catherine Laboure were nuns, St.s Ann, Margaret Clitherow, Monica, Gianna Molla, and Our Lady were mothers, St.s Catherine of Siena, Theresa of Avila, and Therese of the Child Jesus are Doctors of the Church, St.s Barbara and Lucy were consecrated virgins, St. Zita was a cook, St. Joan of Arc was a soldier, St. Cecilia was musician, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was a teacher. And there were many women martyrs too.
          The Catholic Church loves and understands women better than any other faith. Protestants tossed out all Marian devotion and that of most saints male and female, Muslims and Hindus regard women as property to be bought, sold, used, abused, abandoned, traded, or killed, and godless feminists teach that womanhood is curse and ironically work toward masculinizing women at the same time that they profess to hate men. The Catholic Church recognizes the beauty and dignity of the female gender, loves and blesses all mothers and wives, honors virgins, and allows women to be sister or nuns (the prayers of cloistered nuns move heavenly armies). If that’s limited and narrow, I’m NEVER becoming a Muslim, Hindu, or feminist. I wouldn’t do any of those things anyway, but this solidifies my resolve further.

        • Brad

          Sister, I dismiss nothing of what you write. If I did, I would not have taken time to reply. But, I will try it again, in slightly different words, for both of our sakes, since I am a sinner. This is envy. Why won’t these “men” recognize my merits as theirs are recognized by seemingly by their fellows, seemingly by the Church, seemingly by God. Envy. But unrecognized merits are a gold mine of sanctification opportunity: St. Terese’s Little Way, the vineyard workers parable, the entire life of the Immaculate Conception, etc.

          Here is what envy looks like:


          Notice how she is focusing on creatures. Occasionally her attention must surely, let us hope, turn to the Creator, but only to rebuke Him for elevating these creatures over her.

          But why not sit at the lowest table in the hall of the King at His feast, and then be invited upwards and forwards by the King Himself? Any other way is pride. If no invitation comes, the King wants us to remain where we are, for our sanctification, because He knows that to invite us would harm us: our pride would explosively bloom like petri dish growth.

          So I say again: cast it out. The Physician alone can heal it. It cannot pass the threshold into heaven. If it inside of us, neither can we. I, a man, specifivcally one with no merits of my own, love you. May God bless you.

          • Alecto

            And yet, no response to my original complaint…JPII is going to be canonized, but, not Mother Teresa? She was a living saint, no denying that. The Vatican was going to make sure JPII was canonized no matter what the record was. I wager there are more converts, more saints, more good done because of Mother Teresa than JPII. And like Joan of Arc, we’ll be waiting hundreds of years for those men to acknowledge she is a saint. It’s disappointing because this appears to me politically motivated, not a genuine canonization process where evidence is scrutinized. And yes, it’s evidence of the bias inherent in men towards women. Is that not also a sin? But, I thank you for your response. And I certainly acknowledge we are all sinners. God bless you, too.

            • Bono95

              Mother Theresa has been declared blessed for some time now, for some saints it took years, decades or centuries to even get that far. She will be canonized soon, I am sure, but whether or not it will happen before JPII, I do not know.

              Mother Theresa was known for her great patience and humility, perhaps the possibility of her being canonized later is a further manifestation of that. And wasn’t it JPII who beatified her? If so, his canonization would be an indirect honor to her too.

              It is not unusual for the canonization process to take a long time to complete, or even to begin, for both men and women saints. St.s John Fisher and Thomas More weren’t canonized until 4 centuries after their martyrdoms.

            • janet_baker76

              Pray God they don’t canonize JPII. And I’m sorry, but Mother Teresa was not a ball of fire in the evangelization department, if the scant info I’ve seen on that topic is accurate.

              • Bono95

                Not all saints went out and preached the Gospel. Some achieved sainthood by simply fulfilling their everyday duties faithfully, spending much time in contemplative prayer, offering up penances, or simply saying Mass and performing sacraments at local parishes where Catholicism was already established but needed upkeeping.

        • janet_baker76

          Where do you get this? It may be true that protestant elements have crept into our pews along with everything else, but the traditional Church was the most generous institution in the world regarding women. We were getting university education in the middle ages! And we were not expected to ‘pay out’ in application in the workplace. You should read John Bossy’s work on the English martyrs. He analyzed Catholic’s women’smarked resistance to conversion to stem from the better treatment of women in the true Faith than in the new one, and wow has that proved true. Do you actually think women are treated better now????

    • Bono95

      St. Catherine of Siena St. Agatha St. Apollonia

      St. Theresa of Avila St. Perpetua St. Margaret Mary

      St. Joan of Arc St. Felicity St. Gianna Molla

      St. Margaret Clitherow St. Penelope St. Brigid

      St. Therese of the Child Jesus St. Catherine Laboure St. Rose of Lima

      St. Kateri Tekakwitha St. Elizabeth Ann Seton St. Clothilde

      St. Cecilia St. Angela St. Genevive

      St. Agnes St. Ursula St. Edith Stein

      St. Lucy St. Mary of Egypt St. Bakhita of Sudan

      St. Monica St. Catherine of Alexandria St. Maria Goretti

      St. Dymphna St. Rita St. Clare

      St. Elizabeth of Hungary St. Zita St. Helen

      St. Christina the Astonishing St. Faustina St. Jane Frances de Chantal

      I’m not seeing any “dreck” here.

    • janet_baker76

      Did she evangelize, actually? I’ve heard much on this. But I understand that the order is operating in Chicago in the Pilsen neighborhood with a home for pregnant women in which the women are invited to daily mass. If that is true, it is the only Catholic outreach in the pro-life movement. All the rest is ecumenical, meaning vague phrases about a deity somewhere. Yes, Rachel’s Vineyard and all those.

  • Concerning the number of the Redeemed worshiping in the New Jerusalem -Revelation Chapter 21- it is a great number, for it is written: ” the nations shall walk in the Light -of the Lamb- the rulers and leaders of the earth shall bring into it their glory ..”
    The new city is huge .. just for a few people ?
    No,I believe the seed of the Lamb is plentiful and scattered all over the earth, in many congregations and churches, Blessed be His Name.

  • Joe DeCarlo

    If we can 1/2 the fallen away Catholics back to the church, we can have a successful evangelization.

    • tom

      Great point. We’d need clergy walking the streets, and parades to Church on Sunday to succeed. Our clergy are simply too lazy to even write a letter to the editor. There should be one with a Bible in hand in Bryant Park every day but Sunday. Riding commuter systems wouldn’t hurt either. All of it is grueling work and Christ-like!

      • janet_baker76

        It’s not laziness, it’s Vatican II policy! We are not to do anything that might possibly be construed as ‘impolite.’ We are not to say or do anything that might hurt any other believer’s feelings. This was last enunciated quite clearly in the Middle East synod a couple years back. Now, for me, it’s laziness that I do not go look it up. Just woke up. But the gist of it is well put in one of Flannery O’Connor’s pre-Council book reviews in which she praised the idea that we maintain one face interiorly (that ours is the True Faith) but exteriorly we maintain a position of equality with other religions. Teilhard-ism. Not possible. At least not without mental damage!

  • “At least three quarters of the world’s present population live in politico-religious systems that make any real evangelization next to impossible. Perhaps a few places in Africa and Asia will allow some outside presence, but, for the rest of the world, including increasingly the Western states themselves, any fair presenting of what Christianity is becomes almost impossible.”

    I disagree, Father. The New Evangelization proposed by JPII calls for “new methods” – most significant of which is the internet. While many places today prevent Christian evangelization in person, nothing prevents anyone (especially those whose mobility is challenged) from entering websites and offering the Christian world-view to all who are there – even the Muslims. Even China, which heavily restricts even internet access is open to being evangelized. How? Because the Chinese are now part of the global marketplace which necessitates travel, what prevents Christians from making contact with their nationals when they are travelling abroad? We just need to be a but more inventive about this evangelization thing.

    • Adam__Baum

      I hope you don’t place to much reliance on the internet. There’s no guarantee it is a permanent technology and even less certainty that it is will remain free.

      • Agreed, Adam. St Paul and the early missionaries had to take boats. No one today travels to far-distant places to evangelize via boat. We will need to adapt to whatever makes our evangelization effective.

    • janet_baker76

      The internet is a good tool (and the conversation here is so fine, I’m probably over-participating) but I get just as many ‘hits’ praying the rosary on the CTA. I make beautiful rosaries with lots of bling–fishing lures, somebody always asks.

  • Some interesting points. Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find, do you think, any faith upon the earth?” This is a rhetorical question indicating that not
    everyone will believe and faith will dwindle prior to His coming, as I understand it. Repeatedly in Sacred Scripture, it’s clear that the end times are not going to be marked by everyone becoming believers, but an overwhelming increase in the forces of evil and those going along with it…followed by His triumphant return and the reward of those who remain faithful. So, actually,when we see massive apostasy, this should not surprise us. It fits right in with what we have been told to expect. Yet indeed we are to propose the Gospel to everyone. Because the Lord wants everyone to have the chance to make the choice for Him.

    Regarding the statement that “The “new evangelization” is blocked off and hindered primarily by forces outside of the Church.” – I know what you mean, but I would point out that no one can actually stop us from evangelizing, short of jailing or killing us. We stop ourselves from evangelizing when we fail to send missionaries or fail to speak because we are afraid of laws, punishments, etc. But the Apostles didn’t do that. They were beaten and told to stop preaching, and they went right back out and preached. They moved on when people wouldn’t listen, but they didn’t stop. And when people did listen, they stayed and kept on even at threat to their lives. And they gave their lives precisely because they did not let opposition silence them. There are converts being made in China and even in Islamic countries, but only by those who dare to put their lives at risk out of love for souls, because they really understand that “there is no other name by which man can be saved.” We Catholics should never be outdone in boldness by evangelicals, who do love Jesus but don’t have the fullness of the faith that we have. Sometime we can be too prudent. I don’t mean we are to be rude! Nor to be stupid and have ourselves slaughtered before we can even open our mouths. But we are to be bold. Is it worth risking death in order to save a soul? I believe the Apostles answer would be yes.

    Just some thoughts!

    • Well said, Juana. You have succinctly outlined the very mission of the Church and the recipe for what ails Her.

    • la Catholic state

      As far as I understand…..the all the nations of the world have to have heard about the Good news….and been given a chance to accept, reject or both accept and reject it before Christ comes for the second time. Looks like China and Africa are at the moment being presented with the chance to accept Catholicism.

  • Howard Kainz

    On the other hand, in those countries in which conversion is restricted and almost impossible, baptism by desire and baptism by blood may be rife.

    • janet_baker76

      Listen, in the formally islamic state of Kelantan in Malaysia the Buddhists manage to evangelize within the rules of the game by taking advantage of four days of ‘open house.’ But the Catholics there do not. They make no more outreach there than they do here. In fact, their websites there are identical to those here. The buddhists are growing (the Chinese population there), the Catholics are dying, from contraception, abortion, and the self-imposed political correctness of Vatican II.

      • Bono95

        Catholics make up less than 10% of the population of Malaysia, and their numbers are shrinking in part from persecutions too.

  • windjammer

    Thoughtful article Father Schall. May I suggest we concentrate the “New Evangelization” on first repairing the Church, second; focusing on CINO’s, and former Catholics, and then our non Catholic/Christian brothers. If we do the first and second, then the third will follow naturally and effectively. One can not give what one does not have. Seems to me that we have forgotten the purpose of the Church. Namely, to first, Glorify God; Second to Evangelize His Truth and Good News; Third, to address temporal matters. Seems all the emphasize has been on number 3 (“social justice”, the definition and means being whatever you want) to essentially the exclusion of the first two since Vatican 2. The results and empty pews, closed schools, etc, etc speak for themselves. Begin at home first.

    • tom

      Why resources are wasted on non-Catholics is anyone’s guess. Perhaps a sense of nobless oblige to make the clergy feel good? They should aim….loke Holy Lasers…on their own flocks and congregations. Giving scholarships to Baptists so they can become Muslims is fiendishly stupid.

    • janet_baker76

      I stopped volunteering at our local women’s pregnancy center because of this. It’s Catholic as all get out in the back of the house–but for the women themselves, they get diapers and baby clothes, but they are never ever offered the Faith. If we sidewalk counselors brought a woman in from an abortuary, we were prohibited from stopping at the chapel, even if she wanted to! The chapel was secret. All the counseling they received was ‘secular’ (promiscuity is bad for your health, abortion causes breast cancer, the way to get over an abortion is to put it out of your head, etc. ) but I didn’t know it until I was training for counseling rather than answering the phone. I thought they were offering the Faith! I have since written a brochure for use outside abortuaries that offers women the Faith, and I use it. I thought Benedict put the mindset well last year, in Brazil, I think, I forget where, he was standing next to a statue of Christ the King and he said how happy it made him, this dead statue. But how mad it made me. Great, I thought, I’ll just carry around a statue of Christ the King and that will protect me on the bus from seeing the woman dressed for her pole dancing class with her crotch in my face. Because the liberal ilk and that includes Benedict will never support passing any law that contradicts anybody’s ‘belief.’ Go google Obama’s Vatican ambassador and see how Benedict called Obama’s election a great triumph for democracy, how vital American democracy was, when he welcomed the new ambassador, a big Obama campaign contributor and ‘Catholic.’

  • Brad

    “Within the Church, as I have mentioned before, we talk as if the reason most people do not listen to us is our fault.”

    I agree with Father. It is not our fault nor was it the faults of the apostles as they shook off the dust, nor is it the fault of our loving mother, the Church. Was it the Lord’s fault when Pilate did not care to be catechized by the Source of all catechesis Himself? A student turned down the ultimate Master-class lecture. Yes, man is so hard-hearted, we reject God as readily we reject other men.

    John 18:38 literal: “Pilate saith to him, ‘What is truth?’ and this having said, again he went forth…”

    Pilate asked a rhetorical, and thus very evil, question because he had no interest in even waiting a heartbeat for quite an answer from quite a Source.

    We note that our dear Lord did not press His point and call Pilate back from the doorway, in the same way He did not call those who departed from Him upon hearing of the necessity to consume His Flesh and Blood. Why not? Because He respects our decisions. Why? Because we are made in His image and likeness. But also He does not heap unrequested understanding upon us (He does, however, heap unrequited love upon us), because understanding brings further and more terrifying culpability: the abyss called Grand Culpability is that which one sees when one leans over the side of the donkey as he carries one down the zigzag cliff trail. If Pilate is in heaven now it is because our Lord in His absolute wisdom and and prudence and temperance held His tongue and thus at the next meeting Pilate had with our Lord, long ahead, at the moment of Pilate’s death, our Lord then met him in the arena of the particular judgment and explained to Pilate just how He had not, long before, avoided making this present moment worse. I have hope that Pilate saw and was grateful and thus is one of the creatures who now glorify God Almighty as He deserves.

    The other point in Father’s essay I would like to mention: “The “new evangelization” is blocked off and hindered primarily by forces outside of the Church.”

    John 14:30, Ephesians 6:12, etc.

    Man is merely caught in the crossfire of the two major combatants. In his pride man usually either thinks he is alone on the field or is one of the majors and not the minor.

  • Advantages we enjoy:
    1. The World has no holidays, nothing to celebrate. Its feasts, the few it still has, are either feverish or pro forma.
    2. The World has abandoned genuine art and poetry, and most music.
    3. The World has rejected the delightfulness of children.
    4. The World has lost its reason. The old atheists had brains; the new atheists have bellies.

    • tom

      Well said. It’s all sitting there. Mormons and conservative Jews know this, while too many Catholic leaders seem confused. Education AND jobs for Roman Catholics should be the priority of the Catholic Church.

  • Brother Rolf

    Way too wordy.

  • In my humble view, evangelizing the modern world require an expansion of what great missionaries had done since the early 15th century. Of course aside from being concrete, this requires imaginative evangelizing genius of the present hour in which the laity has a great role to do. This does not mean a disjunction between the hierarchical role and the rank-and-file, but that Bishops has a great role in reading the evangelical impulses within the lay and to find concrete steps to drive these energies into fruitful service to the missionary injunction of the Lord at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. One area that this can be tapped is the explosion of communities within the Church, which has always that driving zeal and courageous spirit to communicate the Gospel. Of course, we always have problems of canonical and doctrinal import regarding this ecclesial communities, however, there are many ameliorations that the Bishops can put forward because it is they who know them at the very fields.

  • NHMc

    We can propose the Gospel but we can only speak, not demand others hear – or even be discouraged that they do not. Ultimately, we live in God’s creation – all things are known by Him, past, present and future and we do nothing, believe nothing, preach nothing that he does not know. I think some Christians have issues of guilt because we, as a faith, seem to be ‘failing’. We are not, we are simply minute parts of His Creation and His will WILL ultimately be done.

  • Facile1

    Evangelization is an act of LOVE and FAITH — both of which defy “human reason”. God does not ask us to win human minds. God asks us to crush human hearts.

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  • Tom_ATK

    What God Wills us to do is simple. He wills us to follow his commandments: to Love Him and neighbor. That’s it. When Jesus says that its’ only through him that we can be saved, He means exactly that: it will be on God’s terms, not ours. The difference between being a Catholic or not, is that we Catholics will have less excuses on Judgment Day, than non Catholics.

    What does that mean to our relation with Muslims, for example? It does not mean a New Age hodge podge mixing of religions. It means first knowing confidently where one stands in our Faith. It means treating an average Muslim as we would like to be treated. Perhaps that will trickle down, and will prevent a relative in Egypt from burning a Church in a mob. It also means have firm expectations that Christian have exactly the same rights as Muslims in places like Egypt or the Gulf States, as Muslims have in the West. It means not becoming like their fake fanatics, fabricated by oil money and politics. Its means not ignoring them, less they be influenced by the worse the secular world has to offer (any one that reads Al Jazeera English knows what I am talking about). In some way, parts of the Muslim world is going through a Vatican 2 like renewal. Lets encourage that, and lets not let self serving fanatics take over (that includes on all sides). Fixing the Church inside is important, but doing the recluse ostridge head in the sand routine in these times is only going to back fire.

  • Anders13

    The fundamental difference between secular humanist and Christians is that for Christians God the creator of all things is the origin of truth, while for humanist material nature is the origin of truth. Christians and humanist speak with the same words and grammar but reason from entirely different context. Humanists’ concepts of creation, spirituality, life and justice are virtually opposite those of Christians. Each understands perfectly well what the other says, but from where each is standing, what the other says has no foundation, so neither believes the other.

    The only solution is to determine which side of the looking-glass reality resides. This means finding a common truth, which, at this time, appears to be a paradox without a solution.

  • May I pose this issue: Whom MAY we idolize? I am a Roman Catholic from birth. I am also an applied forensic psychologist, trained to seek out motive. In the role of a Roman Catholic psychologist, I read the above article and then analyzed it, even reading the full verse of your quoted scripture. My evaluation: While writing this, you were quite angry. It’s in your word choice, placement, and choice of scripture. Without going into my process, I strongly believe this article was written with the clear motive of revenge or retaliation. I have enjoyed reading your blogs/articles in the past. This is the first time I have seen you deviate from your normal style. Which is why I ask you about Who we are allowed to Idolize.
    Obviously, the First Commandment addesses this by telling us “I am the Lord, thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods besides me!” And in the Books of Ezekiel I and II, God gives His instruction to Ezekiel, his messanger, on what he is to tell the different nations. Every nation who had populace that idolized false gods were to be burned alive along with the cities and temples. Clearly God has strong feelings about being the only Deity idolized.

    Yet, you used your position of power , your article , as your vehicle for gaining revenge or perhaps a “one-upsmanship”. Even though our Sweet Jesus tells us to “..turn the other cheek.”, you post an article that is mere self-pontification. We as Catholics are taught to aim for the glory of God, not bask and peacock ourselves in God’s glory, thus seeking your OWN idolization in the name of our Lord.

    I won’t be reading your work anymore.I have many strong beliefs.I believe we should practice what we preach. I believe the work of God is all around me. And up until this article , I believed in you.


    Dr. Kate Tellucci

    • RPTMS

      Your disappointment is duly noted. Good-bye.

  • Vishal Mehra

    Rev Schall is incorrect about India where there is freedom, as noted by Solzhenitsyn himself.

    There is no legal bar to evengelization; in my Indian town I often see Mormon missionaries walking in pairs. But the Catholic Church in India is inward looking and makes few converts.

    • janet_baker76

      Thank you!!

  • Randall Ward

    Two young Chinese Girls has been Christians for three weeks and were sent out on a missionary journey. Two years later they returned and apolgized for failing in their mission. When asked what they did actually accomplish, they answered that they had only started six new churches.
    Is the average Catholic lay person able to measure up to the young Chinese girls? The problem with the Catholic Church and evangelization is obvious to most converts to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the best church because it is one of the origional churches and the truth is taught and preached but the lay members are like some lazy people on welfare; waiting for someone else to do the necessary work.
    While the unconverted people are dying and going to hell and not pleasing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit when they are alive, the believers “play games” and do not reach out in love to the unconverted.

  • janet_baker76

    There are a million ways to do it! A million avenues of approach! We are, for one thing, in an economic crisis caused by our immorality–the killing of fifty five million home buyers. I make the point to somebody every day, on the bus or in the grocery store. Our children have gone savage and clearly need to be taught Thou Shalt Not Kill. We live in a rape culture. Our secular society has (inevitably) gone to hell in a handbasket and people are receptive to ideas they would have rejected for ‘religious freedom’ in the 1600. And thanks to islam, they are even aware of the notion of a religious state, which is actually the only solution, putting Christ in the center of society, that first justice from which all other justice flows (Quas primas). There was a muslim barroness who recently told some official meeting in Rome that the Church should please stand up and take back Europe so it was safe for muslims to live there. All we have to do is do it! I take out a Target wicker tray filled with cheap TAN religious books and once a week or so stand at busy bus stops and offer them. People are so eager to get them! They want to hear about angels and grace and chastity and truth and confession! (We need Spanish books!) I’m not talking about the cheap mealie mouthed post-Vatican II junk but Ligouri and Sheen and all the wonderful rest.)

    • Bono95

      Muslim baroness? Women in Islam are property of men.

      And about Vatican II. The council and its teachings weren’t bad. They got misinterpreted by bad and weak people. Railing against the abuses by these people is fine, but be careful how you word your frustration. Remember, to doubt a papal council is to doubt the Pope, the Catholic Church, and ultimately God himself.