Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Truculent and truncated...

The following statement was posted at the website of the Saint Benedict Center cult (Richmond, New Hampshire): "There are those who consider us at truculent for wishing to convert our nation to the true faith. Such talk nowadays is not exactly au courant. Neither does it resonate sympathetic vibrations with the ascendancy of the liberal Comintern whose manual dictates public discourse. But we philosophers tend to transcend all that hokum. (Heck, we don’t even watch Oprah!) Hence, we occasionally have to drink the hemlock."

Nothing could be further from the truth. People do not view the SBC cult as truculent for wishing to convert this nation to Catholicism. Rather, it is the SBC's approach to evangelization which is both truculent and truncated. Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Ut Unum Sint, reminds us that, "The capacity for 'dialogue' is rooted in the nature of the person and his dignity. As seen by philosophy, this approach is linked to the Christian truth concerning man as expressed by the Council: man is in fact 'the only creature on earth which God willed for itself'; thus he cannot 'fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.' Dialogue is an indispensable step along the path toward human self-realization, the self-realization both of each individual and of every human community...Dialogue is not simply an exchange of ideas. In some way it is always an 'exchange of gifts.' For this reason, the Council's Decree on Ecumenism also emphasizes the importance of 'every effort to eliminate words, judgments and actions which do not respond to the condition of separated brethren with truth and fairness and so make mutual relations between them more difficult."*

Authentic Catholics know what SBC cultists refuse to acknowledge: that true ecumenism is impossible without true conversion; a turning away from one's own selfish attitudes and sin toward the Lord Jesus and His holy will. Vatican II emphasizes that the first duty of Catholics is to renew the Catholic Church - beginning with themselves:

"Catholics, in their ecumenical work, must assuredly be concerned for their separated brethren, praying for them, keeping them informed about the Church, making the first approaches toward them. But their primary duty is to make a careful and honest appraisal of whatever needs to be done or renewed in the Catholic household itself, in order that its life may bear witness more clearly and faithfully to the teachings and institutions which have come to it from Christ through the apostles. For although the Catholic Church has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all means of grace, yet its members fail to live by them with all the fervor they should, so that the radiance of the Church's image is less clear in the eyes of our separated brethren and of the world at large, and the growth of God's kingdom is delayed. All Catholics must therefore aim at Christian perfection (cf. Jas 1: 4; Rm 12: 1-2), and, each according to his station, play his part that the Church may daily be more purified and renewed. For the Church must bear in her own body the humility and dying of Jesus (cf. 2 Cor 4: 10; Phil 2: 5-8), against the day when Christ will present her to himself in all her glory without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph 5: 27). (Unitatis Redintegratio, No. 4).

Put simply: If we want to convert others to the fullness of truth which is found in the Catholic Church, we must first see to our own conversion. If we are not living what we preach or at least making a sincere effort to do so, how can we expect others to be attracted to our message?

Meditation: Matthew 7: 3-5

* See here and visit Russell Provost's Blog SBC Watch to read what SBC cultists have had to say about other Christian communities.


Alzina said...

I can imagine what most non-Catholics think when they encounter SBC types: "You want to convert me, but why would I want to be like you, an anti-Semite who refuses to abide by the Church's teaching."

RichmondResident said...

The Saint Benedict Center says that it wants to make Richmond and the rest of the country holy. And yet the Center doesn't strive, with the help of God's grace, to make itself holy. Physician heal thyself! Anti-Semitic hatred, Holocaust denial, suing the town that was gracious enough to welcome you....hardly the stuff of holiness!

Elizabeth said...

You've really hit the proverbial nail on the head here. The Catechism (856) says that, "The missionary task implies a respectful dialogue with those who do not yet accept the Gospel. Believers can profit from this dialogue by learning to appreciate better 'those elements of truth and grace which are found among peoples, and which are, as it were, a secret presence of God.' They proclaim the Good News to those who do not know it, in order to consolidate, complete, and raise up the truth and the goodness that God has distributed among men and nations, and to purify them from error and evil 'for the glory of God, the confusion of the demon, and the happiness of man.'"

The SBC cult does not engage in "respectful dialogue" with others. I've followed the hateful comments left by SBC followers and sympathizers at this Blog, Russell Provosts Blog and the Keene Sentinel Talkback. Anytime someone would disagree with an SBC cult member (we're not all anti-semites and Holocaust deniers or outside of the Church's communion), they would be given a hateful label: heretic, apostate, zoophile, idiot, moron, anti-Christ, minions of the devil etc. Just recently at this Blog, an anonymous person once again accused people who comment here as being "heretics."

And when the SBC isn't violating the tenets of respectful dialogue, they are filing lawsuits in and around Richmond, NH.

You are totally right Alzina, why would anyone want to convert to the SBC's idea of Catholicism? Not likely.

Marie Tremblay said...

The problem isn't ecumenism. This problem is poor catechesis. The solution isn't to denigrate non-Catholics. The solution is right before us. Self-renewal, renewal of the Church. The world wasn't converted by intellectual arguments. It was converted by example. I am reminded of the excellent film "The Keys of the Kingdom" starring Gregory Peck. The Confucianist approaches Peck (who plays a missionary priest) and tells him that he wants to convert to Catholicism. Peck's character, a very devout priest, is at a loss since his intellectual arguments hadn't been successful. The confucianist tells him, "I was conquered by your example."

It is love that converted the world to Christianity. Perhaps that is why St. Francis - popularly known to as the mirror of Christ - once said, "Preach always, use words if necessary."

Anonymous said...

US Jewish groups: Dialogue at risk following bishops’ clarification on Church's mission

Catholic World News
August 21, 2009

Two months after the US bishops’ doctrine committee published its Note on Ambiguities Contained in Reflections on Covenant and Mission, two major American Jewish organizations, joined by Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform rabbis, say that the new document puts interfaith dialogue at risk. “A declaration of this sort is antithetical to the very essence of Jewish-Christian dialogue as we have understood it,” they wrote in an August 20 letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The doctrine committee’s June document offered “a clear affirmation of the Church’s belief that Jesus Christ in Himself fulfills God’s revelation begun with Abraham and that proclaiming this good news to all the world is at the heart of her mission.”

Anonymous said...

U.S. Jews tell Catholics: We won't accept Christ as savior

August 21, 2009

Major Jewish groups and rabbis from the three largest branches of American Judaism said Thursday that their relationship with Roman Catholic leaders is at risk because of a recent U.S. bishops' statement on salvation.

Jewish groups said they interpret the new document to mean that the bishops view interfaith dialogue as a chance to invite Jews to become Catholic. The Jewish leaders said they "pose no objection" to Christians sharing their faith, but said dialogue with Jews becomes "untenable" if the goal is to persuade Jews to accept Christ as their savior.

"A declaration of this sort is antithetical to the very essence of Jewish-Christian dialogue as we have understood it," Jewish leaders said in a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The signers were the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and rabbis representing the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements.

The statement fueling the tension was issued by the bishops in June to clarify a 2002 document called "Covenant and Mission." The bishops said the earlier document mistakenly played down the importance of sharing the Gospel and was therefore misleading.

"While the Catholic Church does not proselytize the Jewish people, neither does she fail to witness to them her faith in Christ, nor to welcome them to share in that same faith whenever appropriate," said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of a bishops' committee on doctrine. He had said the revisions affirmed statements from the Holy See.

The tensions are rooted in a complex theological debate about salvation for those outside the Catholic Church. Discussion of the issue between Jews and Catholics focuses on the significance of the ancient covenant between God and the Jews.

Pope John Paul II had spoken repeatedly of a covenant "never revoked." Many Jewish groups view the bishops' statement as stepping back from the pope's position.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops, said Thursday: "Catholic-Jewish dialogue has been important to the U.S. bishops for almost 50 years. The bishops have just received the letter and currently are studying it.

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