Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Goal of the "New Evangelization": Vortex

As usual, Michael Voris has a good point in today’s (January 15) Vortex: is the goal of the “New Evangelization” to convert people to the Catholic faith…or not?

The goal is seldom specified. To me, "new evangelization" often seems to mean the “evangelizing” of Catholics, to the exclusion of non-Catholics. That is not an unnecessary or unworthy goal, really, because it’s pretty self-evident that half of the self-identified Catholics in this country do not adhere to the teachings of the Church - otherwise, Obama would not be president. 

Some unfaithful “Catholics” stay in the Church to try to change Her teachings; others are probably just plain ignorant of Catholic teaching on homosexual behavior, contraception, abortion, etc.  That’s a sad commentary on the state of our Church, but that’s where we find ourselves.

Still, “evangelization” is really about converting non-Catholics to the faith…isn’t it? In some ways, I think we would better spend our efforts at evangelizing non-Catholics than trying to rehabilitate some of the "progressive" ones we already have. 

But, as Michael Voris notes, we seldom hear the “new evangelization” described as having the goal of converting people from their non-Catholic faiths. Why? We wouldn’t want to offend anyone…

The script:

Just curious here – is anyone else confused about what EXACTLY is meant by the often tossed around phrase The New Evangelization”?

I mean – just WHAT does this mean anyway?

Call me old-fashioned, but it seems to me evangelizing is telling people the truth of the
Gospel – the whole truth. Right? Or did I miss something in Catechism 101?

If telling people the truth of the gospel is what evangelizing is, then the POINT – the GOAL – of evangelizing is to bring them into the Faith and ultimately to salvation. Or did I get something wrong there as well?

What you never seem to hear in all this talk about the New Evangelization is the goal; the only goal is to make converts – anything else is simply a waste of time. If people aren’t either converting to the Catholic faith or “reverting” to it from a life of bad catechesis, then cut all the PR nonsense, fold up your tents, and go home.

But…it’s easy to get the sense that this is NOT the goal of many engaged in this work – to make converts to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Christ Himself personally. The reason it’s easy feel this way is simple: you almost never hear it.  

Where is there a website, a press release, a statement, issued by an authoritative body or leader that says in plain simple language: The Goal is to make Converts.

Perhaps the reason we don’t see this plastered all over church bulletins and bulletin boards, and hear sermons about it, or see mailers stuffed in our mailboxes from the diocesan office for the New Evangelization is because none of the above really see it this
Way – or even agree this should be the goal.

What exactly the goal is – besides just some new level of bureaucracy for its own sake, some new department or office downtown at Church headquarters – isn’t exactly clear. But what sure seems to be clear is this: IF the goal of the New Evangelization IS to make converts, then this is the stealthiest, most cunning program in all of Church history with such a goal – because you don’t hear this goal anywhere.

And why might that be? Could it be because so many Catholics in mid-management positions in the establishment Church have been fed such baby food gook for so long now, that THEY no longer believe in anything superior about the faith?

It certainly isn’t a stretch to imagine program directors sitting around in offices at the chancery having meeting after meeting about plans and budgets and strategies to launch this year’s New Evangelization programs in all the parishes and nearby college campuses without ever giving a thought to the actual PURPOSE of said strategies. Why? Because they don’t believe it themselves. They have been schooled for so long by errant teachers that there is nothing especially noteworthy about the faith, noting head and shoulders about it compared to other faiths, that the idea of trying to convince people to CONVERT to it – to abandon their current faiths and commit to this – seems positively medieval, if not downright insulting to other religions.

This “nothing special” attitude isn’t of course spoken of in those exact terms – that precise language; it’s couched in expressions like  “the value of other faiths” and “there are elements of truth to be found in other religions as well”.

While that’s true, as far as it goes, it isn’t the WHOLE truth – not by a longshot. Those
“other truths” aren’t really “OTHER” truths; they are Catholic truths that have been accepted by other religions, like: Jesus Christ is God; there is Eternal Life; God is a Trinity and so forth.

Those are CATHOLIC truths, period. The fact that other religions may have adopted them doesn’t legitimize THAT religion. It simply points out the fact that various aspects of Catholic truth are capable of finding acceptance outside of the visible Church, but it does not make those other faiths valid and sure pathways to Christ.

Only the Catholic Church was established by Jesus Christ. He founded ONE Church, period. He called it “MY” Church. And it is to this Church that all men are called and through which salvation is found and outside of which there is no salvation.

This NECESSARILY makes the Catholic Church unique and superior – not just one among many that needs to open up some kind of dialog with every other faith on earth, like they are somehow equal in their teachings. They most certainly are not.

Any Catholic officially engaged in the work of the New Evangelization who doesn’t have as his goal the conversion of souls to the Catholic faith should hand in his retirement notice, effective immediately.


  1. Good morning Dr. Boyd!

    This video is Providential timing for me.

    Tonight our faith study is titled: "Does it matter which church one belongs to?"

    In the video, at about the 4:00 mark, Michael speaks about how some (in the Church) apeak of how there are other traditions that have kernels or nuggets of the truth (paraphrasing here). He then goes on to say while that's true we must remember that they are *Catholic* truths!

    100% correct. From the catechism, we see this:

    "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, *whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church*. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276 (CCC 819, stars added)

    When, pray tell, was the last time a Catholic has heard that statement from the pulpit or read it in your diocesan newspaper?

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith put it this way in "Mysterium Ecclesiae" (Mystery of the Church) in 1973:

    ...Catholics are bound to profess that through the gift of God's mercy they belong to that Church which Christ founded and which is governed by the successors of Peter and the other Apostles, who are the depositories of the original Apostolic tradition, living and intact, which is the permanent heritage of doctrine and holiness of that same Church.

    The followers of Christ are therefore not permitted to imagine that Christ's Church is nothing more than a collection (divided, but still possessing a certain unity) of Churches and ecclesial communities. Nor are they free to hold that Christ's Church nowhere really exists today and that it is to be considered only as an end which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach. (ME 1, italics added)

    Sorry for the length, Dr. Boyd. You kind of got me fired up for tonight! ;)


  2. CK, I think the folks that come to your classes are blessed indeed! Preach it, brother!

  3. I must admit to often lamenting on this point: if we bring people into the Church, what kind of a Church are we bringin them in to? We recall that "perception is everything", and, if so, what does the average non-Catholic see in the current Church that would want to make them convert? The churches are, architectually, becoming uglier and uglier, the music more unspeakable, the hesitance and cowardice of our Bishops, constant mixed signals coming from the Vatican, Catholics who behave not too differently from everyone else in the world, the outright stupidity of the current "ordinary" Mass, etc. Why would anyone want to come into a mess like that? I realize that even THAT should not prevent me from trying to make converts but it is getting far more difficult to do that when all they see is a Church at the end of its tether.

    There is no point in cataloguing again the immense problems in the Church. Only the willfully blind refuse to acknowledge them. But if there is going to be any kind of evangelization going forward we must, as the physician, heal thyself first. Otherwise the few new converts who will be brought into the Church will be taught by Catholics who have not the slightest idea of what Catholicism is all about. These new converts will be poorly formed. It will be the blind leading the blind. The converts I know, for the most part, fall into this category.

    The late, great Hamish Fraser once wrote that "if they had used whips and chains they could not have done a better job of driving people out of the Church". He was referring, of course, to the glorious reforms of forty-odd years ago that have been slowly murdering the Church and destroying the faith of Christians. This is wehere are are at now and if we are going to evangelize then the leaders of the Church who have brought us to this sorry pass must, at least if they are honest, admit that the Edsel they foisted upon us in the 1960s has been, shall we say, a non-starter.

    But I cannot see that happening. They will never admit their failures. Yet Christ has told us quite plainly to teach all nations, so no matter how much I lament I have been given my marching orders. I ferverntly hope that He will make that task a bit easier by ridding His Church of the rats that have infested it.


    1. Dear Aged parent,

      Yes, there are those who come in and are malformed (good grief, I've witnessed this in RCIA sessions that were basically "sharing circles" of nonsense) but, take heart! The Lord *is* calling and there are those who are answering who *want* clarity on issues of faith, morals, liturgy and disciplne.

      How do I know this? Well, if I may say so, I am one. (and I know many others)

      Good grief 15 years ago I had *no idea* what Christianity really was. Nada. Zilch. I was clueless.

      As you so correctly lament I *knew* something in Mother Church was not quite right. The smell test was failing.

      As I have said here before I was hearing things (doctrinally and liturgically) that were incorrect. I instinctively knew it and, at the same time, I was studying sound Catholic sources and would raise questions about the dissent I was hearing. (it cost me, but those may have been Holy Ghost moments)

      What to do?

      Well, for starters go to the catechism. That was a great help. Then, I started reading conciliar documents (sure, even the ones from V2 where there is some ambiguity) and Papal encyclicals. Man! What a breath of fresh air. The "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" by Ott and Denzinger's "Sources of Catholic Dogma" are tremendous.

      God is calling folks home to Mother Church... despite the mess.

      This book edited by Catholic author Donna Steichen is proof of it.


      Now, how does one help in trying to right the Lord's ship?

      As Dr. Boyd says pray, pray, pray... then *do* what one can. :) (James 1:22-23, Gal. 5:6)

      God love you,

    2. Dear Catechist Kev:

      It is Catholic converts such as yourself, and Dr Boyd, who give me hope.

  4. Oh, I hear you loud and clear, Aged Parent! In fact, I was thinking about this again last night. I know I wrote about it before - how can we evangelize when the Church is in its current state?! Why should anyone choose the Catholic Church based on their experience of the typical NO Mass in my diocese? It's not much different from a Protestant service, and the music is much worse!

    That's just for starters! Pray, pray, pray...


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