There is one important feast day in October that I forgot to mention in my recent article, “Festive October”: World Mission Sunday, that was celebrated this month on 20th with the theme, “…that the precious gift of the Gospel may be offered to all.” This feast is celebrated in all churches as the feast of Catholicity and Universal solidarity. This day “Christians around the world become aware of common responsibility for evangelisation”. The date has come and gone now, but it is never too late, and the work of the Missionaries never ceases.
We are all called to be Missionaries, wherever we may find ourselves, and as our two patron saints of the Missions portray, there are Missionaries who travel far and wide to preach the word (St. Francis Xavier) and those who offer their lives in prayer and sacrifice for this end (St. Thérèse of Lisieux). Passing on the great gift of the Faith is not only a duty for all the Baptised, it is also a beautiful privilege.
In the article below, Michael Voris explains that many in the Church are unfortunately currently minimising, or even denying, this vital commitment of all Catholics.
There seems to be a lot of conversation going on these days sparked by reports of Pope Francis’ comments about, preaching and converting and proselytising and mission of the Church and so forth. And of course, many are weighing in with their own spin and application and interpretations. But The Church has already spoken on these questions, quite clearly and even recently.
In 2007, The Church said the following in a Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelisation.
“There is today, however, a growing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lord unheard and ineffective .. It is enough, so they say, to help people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion; it is enough to build communities which strive for justice, freedom, peace and solidarity.”
Boy, they hit the nail squarely on the head with that comment. That strategy has been the exact path that many of the social justice types have followed for decades now, and that includes priests and bishops as well.
“Furthermore, some maintain that Christ should not be proclaimed to those who do not know him, nor should joining the Church be promoted, since it would also be possible to be saved without explicit knowledge of Christ and without formal incorporation in the Church.”
Yep. Another homerun with that statement. As Pope Francis said directly, there is no Jesus without the Church. Yet, many clergy, and not to mention laity, have no more concern about preaching the truth of the Church and its uniqueness and necessity for salvation than the man in the moon.
The Vatican took note of that as well.
“..present in contemporary thought, [is] a legitimate plurality of positions [that] has yielded to an undifferentiated pluralism, based upon the assumption that all positions are equally valid, which is one of today’s most widespread symptoms of the lack of confidence in truth.”
And yet, given these very clear statements, this particular communiqué from the Vatican .. which was actually produced in December of 2007 seems to have been just ignored or passed over by many in the Catholic world and the Catholic Media.
There is truth – objective truth. That truth is planted in the heart or mind of man as a means of God reaching into our hearts and being bale to connect with us. This objective truth ALSO presents the Catholic Church as necessary for salvation and the consequent need to bring people to the Church.
In other words, the MISSION of the Church. But this missionary impulse was largely abandoned in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. The talk of those heady days of the 1960’s in the Church was that the Church would be more “open” – that was the watchword – more “open” to the world. But in the view of many – and confirmed by now fifty years of statistics showing what a catastrophe this approach has been – many leaders in the Church become so open to the world that they began to view the world as essentially saved without ever having heard of Our Blessed Lord and His Church.
So the proclamation of the Gospel, the normative need for conversion, Baptism, being in a state of grace – these sorts of things got tossed out and what swept in was a Church who saw Herself as – in the words of Pope Francis – “a humanitarian NGO” .. or in the words of a close associate of Blessed John Paul .. leaders and laity began to view the Church “as if the Father had sent the Son to earth to dig wells and found a Church similar to a first aid agency”.
In the past fifty years, the idea of mission in the sense of proclaiming the gospel and bringing souls to Christ has simply been substituted for by another mission of saving people’s bodies .. exclusive of the need to save their souls. How this phenomenon came about is a multi-faceted, but in very general terms it came about, partly through malice against the Church by some of her leaders, partly through cowardice, partly through ignorance laced with good intentions – in short, naïveté.
The Church was founded to give glory to God in the work of saving souls, not digging wells. The spiritual mission holds precedent. And until leaders get back to that, the madness will continue.
Evangelisation document: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20071203_nota-evangelizzazione_en.html
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