How Should a Catholic Evangelize? Let Me Tell Ya.

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How do you evangelize? asks one ChicagoNow blogger, a convert to Catholicism.  Should you talk doctrine and  cite  Biblical passages? She thinks not. The best way, she says, (if I understand her) of delivering the Good News is to model it.  I couldn't agree more.

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic.  And I got a good Catholic education too. From  Franciscan nuns,  Christian brothers,  Vincentian priests.  What I once perfunctorily accepted, I have  in time embraced in mind and heart.  But both my mind and heart have always remained open and free.

I remember back in high school a Religion class called Apologetics. It was a crash course in dealing with Non-Catholics. They were out there in the world waiting to test our faith. And we had to be prepared. I was 16 and propaganda---I mean it in a good sense---had to  scrub my thinking of the toxins of heresy in all its forms.

Yet I never was comfortable with the idea of aggressive proselytizing.  After all I was born a Catholic in America.  The Land of the free. And that meant freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. So faith, I figured, was a deeply personal thing. That someone, like myself, is born and raised in.  And not something lightly to be disowned and repudiated.  I decided in those formative years that morals are , if  not more important, at least, more reflective of a good person.

So, my fellow blogger, how do you evangelize?  Well, if you ask me, I agree with Mother Angelica.  Act in the mold of Jesus. He set the pattern of virtue. Words are fine, but conduct will convince.

And Ben Franklin would  agree with the good sister too.  In his advice for living a good life ,  Ben exhorted everyone to   'Imitate Jesus'.  But  he added  'Imitate Socrates'.

Want to evangelize?   Love  thy neighbor.  Know thyself.

 

 

 

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  • I'm certainly in no position to debate Catholic theory on how to evangelize. However, Chabad seemed to do much better (at least in the suburbs) once its literature changed from "you have to follow all 613 commandments" to "we are offering you something and are nonjudgmental." I posted on some Rabbi's blog as his congregation was "going out of business" and the board sold the building to Chabad, about which he kvetched: "the annual guilt sermon that we should show up more than once a year isn't working, and at least Chabad engages in some outreach."

    I think we've discussed before that Pope Francis has taken one approach, while those harping about abortion, or [note Berkowitz with his Santorum interview] prayer in the public schools aren't going to get many followers. The latter only reenforce in my mind that there was a reason for the Reformation about 500 years ago.

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