Category: Evangelization

0

Catholicism Is Always Right and That’s Why Catholics Are Often Wrong

If you’re reading this, my guess would be that you have a certain level of theological education (formal or not), intellectual curiosity about the faith, and a desire to debate and discuss that faith with others. But this post-modern era is the time to put aside debate that aims exclusively for the head and instead reach for the heart with the Gospel’s perennial message of mercy. On the internet or at least facilitated by online...

0

Evangelization in an Election Year

It is now officially 2020. Political junkies rejoice!  For the rest of us, the heightened level of negativity and emotion that elections bring typically means many of us won’t be too eager to engage with others on anything that can become an opportunity for debate. For Catholics, the notion that this election year could be an opportunity for evangelization is likely far from our minds.  It is both possible and absolutely necessary to share our...

0

Christianity Without Guardrails

Fr. Dwight Longenecker finished reading Rusty Reno’s new book and is now ready to declare that we are heading for World War III. But Longenecker’s article illustrates that a world war, spiritual in nature, is already upon us. Longenecker’s review of Reno’s book details some of Reno’s core arguments. In his reading, there was a post-war consensus that has led influential actors across disciplines to “get rid of dogma,” to dispel with the idea that...

0

Catechesis Is Not the Answer

What figure best shows how dire the Church’s situation is in the West? Is it Mass attendance among youth? Perhaps it is polls of self-professed Catholics that reveal little connection between the Church’s teachings and common practice? We know the Church is in decline, but sadly the Church’s response (and by Church I mean myself included) has been haphazard and a little sad. We look to bishops to be prophets, speaking out boldly for the...

0

Growth Requires Strong Roots

America is a melting pot of various cultures and traditions. As American Catholics, we have a unique perspective on both the benefits and the challenges that this can bring as we seek to evangelize in our schools and communities. Multiculturalism, as Pope Francis describes it in several different speeches and letters, can help to bring people together in a new, enriched harmony but Francis acknowledges that it very easily can create a feeling that one...

0

Not Mercenaries, but Missionary Disciples

“A missionary disciple is not a mercenary of the faith or a producer of proselytes, but rather a humble mendicant who feels the absence of brothers, sisters and mothers with whom to share the irrevocable gift of reconciliation that Jesus grants to all.”  –Pope Francis Homily at Holy MassSupachalasai National Stadium of Bangkok During his first full day of events in Thailand, Francis spoke to thousands during Mass in Bangkok’s national stadium. In his homily,...

0

Who Jesus Saw

“Where many saw only a sinner, a blasphemer, a tax collector, an evildoer or even a traitor, Jesus was able to see apostles. Such is the beauty that his gaze invites us to proclaim, a gaze that transforms and brings out the best in others.” –Pope Francis, today in Thailand, speaking at St. Peter’s Parish of Wat Roman in the village of Tha Kham In his final day in Thailand, Francis delivered a stirring message about evangelization to...

0

The Ship of Peter

In Gianni Valente’s recent book-length interview with Pope Francis, the Holy Father explained the Church’s mission: that per Our Lord’s command, we’re a moving church, always reaching out into the peripheries. He stated, “The Church is either on the move or she is not Church. Either she evangelizes or she is not Church. If the Church is not on the move, she decays, she becomes something else.” This is in essence what the Church is....

7

A missionary Church: where everyone’s wounds are healed

Pope Francis recently sat down with journalist Gianni Valente of Fides (the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) for a lengthy interview on some of his favorite topics, including evangelization, what it means to be a missionary, and witnessing to the Gospel. It was published on November 5 in Italian as a book entitled, Without Him, We Can Do Nothing: a Conversation About Being Missionaries in Today’s World. Hopefully an English...

11

Do Something Truly Radical: Get Off the Internet

Connection. Connection was the pretext under which millions and millions of millennials such as myself flocked to the Internet in the 1990s. But as we have become more connected, we are becoming ever more distant IRL (in real life). This has had lasting impacts on the Church and efforts at evangelization.   The West is nearing peak virtuality. Some of our closest friendships may be with people we’ve never even met. Some are friends, perhaps exclusively,...

24

As the “Inside Synod” nears the finish line

In his opening address to the Synod of Bishops on October 7, 2019, Pope Francis warned about “two synods”–the idea that while a synod of bishops takes place in the Synod Hall (Aula del Sinodo), a “synod of the media” takes place concurrently. This second, unofficial synod is the public, often vitriolic, ideology-fueled discussion that takes place in the public square, on social media, and in publications and blogs (including this one). This media synod...

Catholics Are Irrelevant

I wonder if Catholics realize how irrelevant we have become. Actually, it’s worse than that. I wonder if Catholics realize how irrelevant we have made the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While the sowers of the Gospel all locked inside the walls of an insular Church, the devil is ravaging the fertile soil that could have borne fruit. The countryside is being choked by thorns and and we seem content to argue with each other about...

Shepherds of the Young

Among the many issues that critics of Pope Francis took with Christus vivit, the apostolic exhortation that emerged from last year’s Youth Synod, a number focused on how the exhortation treated the fact that many teenagers and young adults have serious qualms about Church teachings and practices. Pope Francis and the Synod participants clearly realized that the more politically controversial aspects of Catholic belief present serious obstacles to communion for young people not predisposed to...

Lights and Shadows

Lights and Shadows in Church History

The Rise of Historical Absolutism The New York Times recently profiled Susanna Ceccardi, the new right-wing populist mayor of a previously left-wing town in central Italy, as part of a series on the rise of populist politics in Europe. Much of Ceccardi’s political playbook—scapegoating of immigrants, anti-establishment rhetoric, a genuine concern for people facing precarious work situations, and so forth—is well-known to anybody following the news today. However, one aspect of it, Ceccardi’s rhetorical focus...

Jesus and Mary Walk Into a Bar

Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your...

Revisiting Orwell in the Era of Intra-Catholic Culture Wars

In 1945, George Orwell, who was born on this day in 1903, wrote a long essay called Politics and the English Language in which he warned of a growing modern tendency to use English vocabulary to specifically political ends—avoiding evocative language to disguise defenses of immoral practices, using long-winded and needlessly abstract words and phrases to lend poorly-considered ideas an air of being well-considered, and using jargon that can only be understood within the context...

Going to the Peripheries

When Silence, Martin Scorsese’s epic film adaptation of the 1960s Japanese historical novel of the same title, hit theaters in late 2016, I was a master’s student at a mainline Protestant school of theology attached to a prominent private university. I was also in the process of entering the Catholic Church. I have a longstanding interest in Japan, my bachelor’s degree is in Japanese literature, and I was making a point of studying East Asian...