On Saturday, Francis made the return flight from Bangladesh to Rome, and as is his custom, he answered questions from a number of journalists while en route.
As Bergoglian in-flight press conferences go, this one isn’t especially noteworthy overall, but it does contain at least one exchange that merits our attention.
A reporter named Etienne from France, asked:
What is the priority: to evangelize or to dialogue for peace? Because to evangelize means to arouse conversions, that provokes tensions and at times conflicts among believers. So, what is your priority: to evangelize or to dialogue?
Here we have the quintessential pitch tossed directly over the middle of the plate, belt high (for you baseball fans).
Clearly, the questioner is already a devoted Bergoglian (that, I suppose, is how one gets a boarding pass in the first place) based on his assumption that one must choose between either evangelization or peace.
In fact, the question could easily have been written by Jorge from Argentina.
In any case, Francis’ answered:
First a distinction: to evangelize is not to proselytize.
Let’s stop here for a few definitions.
To “proselytize” is to actively seek after proselytes; that is, converts, in the present case, to the Holy Catholic faith.
For a definition of “evangelize,” just to make it interesting, let’s turn to the Second Vatican Council User Manual otherwise known as the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” It states:
…the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men … the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age.” (cf CCC 848, 849)
To evangelize all men is to Baptize the nations; that is, to bring them into the life of the Holy Catholic Church; i.e., make converts.
So, even according to the CCC, evangelization is proselytism.
Be that as it may, Francis continued:
The Church grows not by proselytism, but by attraction, that is by testimony. This was said by Pope Benedict XVI.
This was said by Benedict XVI?
While it may come as a shock to many a neo-conservative, Francis is correct.
For instance, in 2007 in Brazil, while addressing the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, Benedict said:
The Church considers herself the disciple and missionary of this Love: missionary only insofar as she is a disciple, capable of being attracted constantly and with renewed wonder by the God who has loved us and who loves us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:10). The Church does not engage in proselytism. Instead, she grows by “attraction”: just as Christ “draws all to himself” by the power of his love, culminating in the sacrifice of the Cross, so the Church fulfils her mission to the extent that, in union with Christ, she accomplishes every one of her works in spiritual and practical imitation of the love of her Lord. [Emphasis in text published by the Holy See]
Let’s break this down, shall we.
The Church is missionary only insofar as she is a disciple.
So many Catholic words; it must be true! Right?
That the Church is a “disciple” is the necessary presumption from which the conclusion – “the Church does not engage in proselytism” – naturally flows.
Both, however, are false.
The word “disciple” comes from the Latin discipulus, meaning, one who learns. Individually, all of us, even the popes, are disciples inasmuch as we are “students” at the knee of Holy Mother Church.
But can we say that Holy Mother Church herself is a disciple?
The Church has been endowed with the fullness of truth, and while her members up to and including her head on earth appropriate that truth more deeply in time, the Church herself is not, properly speaking, a “disciple;” rather, she is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
An “apostle” is one who is sent.
In truth, the Church is missionary only insofar as she is an Apostle; not a disciple.
This brings us back to the mission that Christ gave to His Church as cited even in the CCC:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you… (Mt. 28:19-20)
Our Lord did not send His Church forth to learn, but rather to teach.
Notice that Benedict XVI – the pope of the good ol’ days before Francis – effectively abrogated this crucial part of the missionary mandate.
From there, insisting that the Church does not proselytize is but the next logical step.
The Church grows by attraction.
This is the Council speaking – there is no need to condemn error, a fundamentally necessary part of teaching truth; rather, the truth will attract converts like metal filings to a magnet.
Only it doesn’t.
Fallen mankind is attracted to sin; he stands in need of grace and a Holy Mother, who dispenses it while teaching with authority in the name of Christ, to guide him.
This in imitation of the love of her Lord.
This is perhaps the most audacious claim made by Benedict in the citation above.
Our Lord taught constantly, He condemned error with firmness, and He plainly called men to conversion. In other words, He proselytized.
Francis, for his part, went on to elaborate on what it means to create converts by attraction; recounting the following:
In the lunch I had with young people on the Youth Day in Krakow – about fifteen young people from all over the world – one asked me this question: “What should I say to a university friend, a friend, good, but who is atheist? What should I tell him to change him, to convert him?”
The answer was this: “The last thing you have to do is say something. You live your Gospel, and if he asks you why you do this, you can explain why you do it. And let the Holy Spirit attract him.”
Sometimes, it is true, the best that we can do individually, in service to the mission of the Church, is to live out our faith with conviction in deeds as opposed to words.
Note well, however, that Francis, as well as Benedict before him, believes that this is also true of Holy Mother Church; in other words, they believe that “the last thing they have to do” is to speak in her name with the authority of Christ.
For them, apparently “the Church” is thoroughly human; ever the disciple in pursuit of truth who dares not behave, either by word or by deed, as if she is the Mystical Body of Truth incarnate.
Ultimately, this manner of thinking is the fruit of a Christological heresy that casts doubt on the Divinity of Christ; a heresy that is hinted in the words of Benedict, “The Church does not engage in proselytism.”
In conclusion, while Francis has upped the rhetoric in declaring proselytism “solemn nonsense,” and has cast unprecedented doubt on the Divinity of Christ, make no mistake; he’s simply following in Benedict’s footsteps.
Well said Louie. Thank you once again for all the admirable work you do to teach and instruct.
“In conclusion, while Francis has upped the rhetoric in declaring proselytism “solemn nonsense,” and has cast unprecedented doubt on the Divinity of Christ, make no mistake; he’s simply following in Benedict’s footsteps.”
Exactly…which is why Benedict was not threatened to abdicate.
The distinction between apostle and disciple is made very clear in my 4th grader’s Catechism. With flying colors, he just passed that test.
He should be on a plane asking questions. Or better yet, answering them.
Words have meaning…..unless you are a Modernist Virtuoso…..then words mean what you want them to mean regardless of definition.
The more one thoughtfully considers the impact of PB16 vs PF, it is clear the former has done much more long term damage. After all he was/is a periti.
By comparison PF was/is a thug and a boor…..but he is far more honest than PB16.
PB16/Cdl Ratzinger is a coward. For whatever reason he abandoned his watch and his sheep to the boor and thug…..and stayed around to watch….in cowardly silence.
The Bergoglios of the world are the enforcers….the hit men…..the Ratzingers are the Don’s and bosses.
Everyone is just dying to become Novus Ordo, haven’t you heard?
Like the Mormons 90% of born Catholics remain practicing Catholics to their death! Oh wait, I got that reversed…..with Catholic’s only 10% born remain practicing, but with those winning numbers Vatican II remains unstoppable! All these protestants are so terribly attracted to the Vatican II religion, that even when they ask to convert we still have to say no, otherwise how would we deal with them all!!
The Dictator Pope book reveals that when Bergolio’s retirement was coming up. Benedict XVI refused to let him retire.
Also as stated even before, the book details how Benedict XVI was always intending to retire, and that even Bergolio knew about it.
Granted there was opposition to the Gallen mafia from Benedict’s friends who elected him over Bergolio in the previous conclave, but it should put the matter to rest that Benedict XVI wanted to freely retire.
Now knowing that does not address the ‘Papal diarchy’ or the facts that contrary to expectations Benedict would invent the emeritus term, keep the Papal arms, keep the Papal robes and unlike his intentions for retirement, instead of returning to Bavaria, be kept at the Vatican instead. All very suspicious things and with regards to splitting the office could potentially also invalidate the resignation regardless of how ‘sincere’ he was about retiring.
But all in all, we can see from Benedict that he abandoned the law to proselytize, or rather with the usual modernist gobble-de-gook reduced the methodology to limiting proselytizing to personal private example of living, rather than by logical argument.
Essentially that either meant Benedict was a coward, or more probable, that he’d lost the faith. And he’d lost it because the modern Church had to answer the Galileo Affair and Darwinism and how the Popes and the Church and Holy Spirit and Holy Scriptures and Fathers and Councils and saints screwed up all that time. Therefore one had to always be guarded with regards to speaking of the ‘Truth’ ‘Dogmas’ and ‘Facts’ which were now an embarrassment to the world which had moved on ‘scientifically.’ So with logical argumentation thrown out the window, what could Benedict and co. do? If the Church was wrong about science, it had to shut up about scientific matters. If the Church was wrong about history, it had to shut up about historic matters. If the Church councils and dogmas and Fathers were wrong about Galileo and Darwin, then they could not be useful to convert a world that subscribed to those things.
What then is left?
Personal outward piety. Good works.
And if the Church screwed up about Earthly things… then how could the Church dare to believe it hadn’t erred somewhere about Heavenly things? Maybe just as we had to learn from the scientists, we had likewise to learn from the Muslims, the Protestants, the Hindus, the Buddhists etc.
That is the Church the modernists who believed in the heresies of Heliocentrism and Evolutionism had to rectify.
Francis is doing just that.
If you can’t argue why a person should convert to the Catholic Faith on grounds of science and earthly matters, then you’ve got nothing left but to be a ‘nice guy.’
Don’t argue with them about why sexual immorality is bad… just be sexually moral yourself. And show them how happy you are being sexually moral. But hey, don’t we all fail? So, why chastise your neighbour or talk about things you can’t do yourself? That would just look bad, and we want to look nice and inviting.
The Churchmen and Papacy are here today because they began departing from the Faith in the 1800s. The world has been spinning in the blackness of insanity since then. Well actually the Earth isn’t going anywhere, it remains solid stable ground. It’s the Earth’s human inhabitants who have spun themselves stupid and have indoctrinated their children for hundreds of years with these seeds of apostasy.
The Devil’s favourite trick is to try and make you see something that isn’t actually there. The Lie. The fruit looks good to eat and not deadly. The Earth is moving and not special. God is merciful and will not send you to Hell for bad things. Don’t believe what your eyes and senses and logic tell you. Instead, pervert all those things so that you can define reality.
A good summary of the slippery slope with increasing acceleration…
The N.O. V2 Modernist corrupt church does the world a favor by not proselytizing. It is those who adhere to the aka Catholic Church which should do MORE proselytizing.
Those are frightening statistics! Intuitively, of course, I knew things were very bad, but I never imagined anything close to those stats. Most troubling for me, is that when these individuals leave the Novus Ordo version of Catholicism, the likelihood that they will one day discover the truth as to what actually happened to the Church in the last 50 years is enormously diminished.
I would appreciate it if you would provide me with a link to the source of the statistics you have cited. When I repeat them I would want to do so with authority.
I’m sorry. Over the past half- century, I’ve become accustomed to Pseudosacral Homopoetic Prose, and the reasonable, straightforward logic of this article has given me a headache.