4. October, 2013Blog Post 10 comments

In the aftermath of yesterday’s blog post, it has become evident that Fairytale Fever has reached near epidemic proportions among the Catholic population.

With the well-deserved criticism of Interviewgate 2 making its rounds, in particular as it relates to the pope’s insistence that “proselytism is solemn nonsense,” the papal apologizers set out on an archaeological dig in search of evidence that Francis’ remarks are the stuff of papal precedent.

Well, they didn’t have to dig very deep. They couldn’t, for the simple reason that the Holy Roman Catholic Church’s distaste for her God-given mission is a post-conciliar phenomenon.

Sure, they unearthed quotes from John Paul II and Benedict XVI rejecting proselytism, but who’s kidding who? The Assisi popes are the poster boys of false ecumenism, which is all about dialogue that eventually leads to… you guessed, more dialogue.

In any case, missing from both their reading of Francis, and their defense of the same, is any semblance of context.

In the case of the alleged precedent-setter-popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, one will find in most cases that their negative commentary concerning proselytism is ordered toward addressing coercion, or forced conversions gained via unethical behavior. For example, the oldest quote I’ve found dates all the way back to 1995, wherein John Paul II said during a visit to Sri Lanka, “[the Church] firmly rejects proselytism and the use of unethical means to gain conversions.”

Why conflate “proselytism” with “unethical means” in the first place? Who knows, perhaps this is just another example of that favored modernist pastime, redefining words. In any case, some definitions are in order, but first, let’s revisit the interview to contextualize Pope Francis’ commentary.

My friends think it is you want to convert me.
He smiles again and replies: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense…

The translation isn’t exact. The original Italian text has been published on the Holy See’s website, which in addition to undermining the argument that the pope has no intention of revealing his papal agenda via a newspaper interview, it can be a valuable resource.

The operative part reads, Anche i miei amici pensano che sia Lei a volermi convertire.

My Italian isn’t terrific by any means, but I know enough to understand that Scalfari is more properly telling the pope that his friends think that the pope “wants me to convert.”

At this point, I shouldn’t have to point out that we’re looking at apples and oranges, but I will.

To the (apparently) ludicrous notion that the Vicar of Christ may (get this) want an atheist with whom he has developed a cordial relationship to convert to the one true faith, the pope promptly replied, “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense.”

Are you paying attention? The pope is saying that the very idea that he may harbor a desire to see Scalfari convert to the Catholic faith is “nonsense!” That’s the context, like it or not.

Now on to some definitions.

First, let’s revisit the mission of the Church as given by Christ.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 20:19-20)

As for proselytism, this is nothing more insidious than actively seeking proselytes; i.e., converts.

That’s it, and the Church has, until very recently, been doing exactly this by means of teaching, preaching and exhorting from day one. (See St. Peter the Proselytizer in action in Acts 2 if you don’t believe me.)

Part of the redefinition effort concerns setting up a false dichotomy relative to the mission of the Church, pitting the passive luring of converts by way of godly example and genuine kindness, against active calls to conversion through preaching and teaching.

Heaven is full of saints who did all of these things to the exclusion of none, as each constitutes a necessary component of authentic love of neighbor.

Then there is the more sophomoric notion that “proselytism” refers exclusively to an effort to create converts solely by means of condemnation and conquest. This is wholesale fantasy that just barely qualifies for refutation.

There isn’t one credible voice among the critics of Pope Francis who espouse anything like this. In any case, this make believe scenario couldn’t be further away from the context with which Francis offered his own regrettable comments.

In short, the post-conciliar modernists can labor to convince themselves and others that “proselytism” is a war crime all they want, but the fact remains, it is nothing more than the very mission of the Church.

  1. Martina October 4, 2013 2:21 pm

    Louie, were´s your “donate”-buttom? I couldn´t find it. I really would like to support your very good work.
    God bless you and your Catholic common sense.

  2. linda stella zentner October 4, 2013 2:30 pm

    “Go therefore–” Our Savior is pointed in His directive. I thank you so much, Mr. V. for this, yes, the “p” word is actively seeking converts. This seems to abide with Our Lord’s clear as crystal instruction.

    Thanks be to God I was vaccinated against Fairytale Fever around 1957. Peace be to you, Mr. V.

  3. okiepapist October 4, 2013 2:31 pm

    Louie you are correct. I have read the stuff put out by the establishment Catholic media. I did not know that the likes of Jimmy Aiken could contort and bend and stretch so much. One must torture the language so much to try and eke out even the most periphery Catholic sentiment out of these statements. It is good to see some Catholics still hold fast to the Traditions handed down by Holy Mother Church, instead of the confused, faintly Catholic sounding enlightenment theology of our current Pontiff. The funny thing is, that thus far nothing in these interviews would offend a Mason, but they do offend a Catholic.

  4. okiepapist October 4, 2013 2:34 pm

    Oh and according to Marriam-Webster dictionary the meaning of proselytize is:

    to try to persuade people to join a religion, cause, or group

    Nothing about forced anything in this meaning.


  5. Joe October 4, 2013 2:48 pm

    Here is the earliest John Paul II quote: “It is not the Church’s place to teach unbelievers. She must seek in common with the world.” Archbishop Wojtyla of Cracow. October 22, 1964, Third Session of Vatican II.

    Fesquet, H. (1967). The drama of Vatican II: The Ecumenical Council, June, 1962-December, 1965. New York: Random House, p. 444.

  6. stoney October 4, 2013 6:15 pm

    Jimmy Akin, Tim Staples, Patrick Coffin, Mark Shea, et al, are all part of the Protestant convert takeover at Catholic Answers, and sadly now we’re seeing the same at EWTN since Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill lost control of the station. These sources are no longer trustworthy.

  7. I am not Spartacus October 4, 2013 9:15 pm

    The men mentioned are all CPAs (Converts from Protestantism Apologetics) and they specialise in cooking the ecclesiastical books before announcing to the world that actual debt is putative profit.

    I rely on the Church Fathers (whom Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger said are of little or no use to we Christians today) and Denziger’s and the Commentary of a Laipde and Catena Aurea and Manuals and Trent Catechisms etc etc

    Anything produced after, say, 1948, is suspect

  8. I am not Spartacus October 4, 2013 9:16 pm

    Hey, any tips on formatting so a write-backer can post comments with a clear paragraph break

  9. Sean October 5, 2013 3:12 am

    Thank you for your clarity!

  10. MilanR October 7, 2013 4:17 am

    Proselytism is solemn nonsense? No, the pope did not say that!
    I suspect the translator only wanted to blunt the blade of the pope. In reality the pope said “Il proselitismo è una solenne sciocchezza” where “solenne sciocchezza” should rather be translated as “impressive stupidity”.

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