Houston, we have a problem...
  • Hmmm... so much that can be said on this...

    German bishops conference statement
  • Just.....wow....
  • MarkB
    Posts: 374
    Nobody who agrees with that "communique" has the apostolic faith.

    The "synodical way" is a euphemism for schism while maintaining a superficial and hollow union with the Church.

    Time for a Pope Pius XIII to put an end to all the nonsense.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,597
    I don't know. The popes have frittered away their authority to the point many wouldn't follow them. The current one has chattered his way into irrelevance.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,141
    Wow, getting your news from Breitbart? Here's The Catholic Herald's coverage.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,093
    Richard Mix - that seems to be then (2017) this is now (2019).
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • Wow, getting your news from Breitbart? Here's The Catholic Herald's coverage.

    Richard, you may have missed that your article regarded a vote held within the Bundestag... as opposed to the Breitbart article which was about the statement released by the synod held by the German bishops, themselves - two completely different things... and as a_f_hawkins points out, different years. With a very small amount of searching, you'll see Breitbart is (as usual) validated:
    National Catholic Register: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/german-bishops-commit-to-newly-assessing-catholic-doctrine-on-homosexuality
    Catholic World Report: https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/12/12/german-bishops-commit-to-newly-assessing-catholic-doctrine-on-homosexuality-and-sexual-morality/
    and Life Site News: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/german-bishops-proclaim-homosexuality-normal-adultery-not-grave

    Additionally, there is coverage leading up to the start of the synod:
    New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/29/world/europe/germany-catholic-church.html
    Yahoo News: https://news.yahoo.com/german-bishops-tell-vatican-catholics-reject-sex-rules-193805441.html
  • Incardination,

    Among those things which could be said, perhaps the saddest of all (or nearly so) is that this is the sort of thing we've come to expect in the Church under His Holiness, Pope Francis.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • I don't care how many clergy try to convince me it's okay to sin, I refuse to cooperate.

    It isn't entirely novel. I know directly of several people who have been encouraged to continue in grave sin by parish priests, out of a false sense of compassion. None of them German. (All of them pre-Pope Francis, too.)
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,933
    'Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
    500 x 1002 - 78K
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 379
    These reports indicate only 4 German Bishops, are they speaking on behalf of all German Bishops? Has there been any response from Rome or other Bishops from around the world?
  • I think that 4 bishops in particular are mentioned, but at least one article makes clear that there are several other bishops involved beyond the four, and apparently they speak in an official capacity for the German church, although there may be more orthodox bishops in the German hierarchy.

    The intent is that this would help redefine Church teaching, and at least one article indicates some degree of receptiveness from Rome while another indicates that the German bishops were rapped on the knuckles for exceeding their boundaries.

    While I fully expect individual bishops from around the world to speak either for or against these "principles", it is perhaps most telling that there hasn't been a unified, powerful condemnation from other conferences or from the Vatican, but one can always hope that is simply a matter of time.
    Thanked by 1David Deavy
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,933
    [66] And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. [67] After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. [68] Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? [69] And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. [70] And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.
    John 6:66-70

    Many who start out with the Lord abandon him. Many who follow him and come face to face with truth, cannot accept the words or the truth, and also leave. Let us all pray for grace to remain with the Lord until the end, even if it mean our own death standing for the Gospel.
  • joerg
    Posts: 87
    Please don't judge anybody's orthodoxy on the basis of an unofficial, unauthorized, inaccurate (deliberately I'd suppose) English rendering of a German press statement.
    Thanked by 3a_f_hawkins Carol Elmar
  • ...unofficial, unauthorized, inaccurate (deliberately I'd suppose) English rendering of a German press statement.

    joerg, you are more than welcome to post something "official, authorized, and accurate" to clarify or provide additional context. Failing that, I take the criticism of the (multiple) source(s) as unwarranted, unjustified and ostensibly inaccurate. I won't presume to judge whether that is deliberate or not.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,912
    Many who start out with the Lord abandon him.


    *Cough*.......graduated from a Catholic high school. Was at the class reunion a couple of summers ago and from the admittedly anecdotal evidence gathered there (and from death notices which are beginning to pile up) perhaps only 40% of classmates remained practicing Catholic.

  • Elmar
    Posts: 240
    Just to add to the anecdotal evidence:
    One of the bishops in question (Bode) has had an important part in my remaining catholic in a rapidly secularizing society (reminds me of what is being reported about the US today), when he lead regular summer retreats for the youth ... where, by the way, I met my later wife; now maried for 25 years.

    ...unofficial, unauthorized, inaccurate (deliberately I'd suppose) English rendering of a German press statement.
    Corrected.
    Translation is always interpretation; e.g., Breitbart claims that
    a sexual relationship after divorce and remarriage is no longer qualified as a serious sin
    ("eine sexuelle Beziehung nach Scheidung und Wiederheirat hierin nicht weiter pauschal als schwere Sünde qualifiziert"), from the oringinal statement of the German bishop's conference)
    is about "an update regarding Church teaching on adultery", while it can equally be understood as a quest to further lowering the threshold of annulment in connection with divorce.
    And so on.
    (btw. I would never dare to claim that my interpretation is in any way official, authorized, or accurate, just on the basis of a dozen of vivid discussion afternoons some 30 years ago ...)
  • Elmar, I'm not sure that you are really making your point. This isn't simply from a single source - it is multiple sources, all with the same general reporting, albeit with different nuances. You are taking a single sentence and translating it. Is that the gist of the entire statement from the synod? Are the bishops not calling for a re-examination of how the Church views sexual morality? Are they not calling for this reinterpretation based on the fact that most "catholics" don't accept Church teaching in this regard?

    The reporting - again, multiple sources - is not saying "here is the statement translation". They are reporting on the gist of what the statement entails. Is there a clarification from the German bishops indicating that this reporting is inaccurate?

    I'm not out to excommunicate anyone. That's not my role. I'm merely pointing out a disturbing report, reporting which is not inconsistent with previous reporting (from other sources) about different "progressive" elements in the Church hierarchy, and disturbing statements regarding typical Church teaching regarding sexual morality.

    Perhaps there is a full translation of the statement available that casts it in a completely different light, a statement from Germany (or Rome) clarifying and contradicting an erroneous report. At this point, I remain unconvinced by your post that this is so.
  • joerg
    Posts: 87
    No, it is not multiple sources. It is multiple unofficial, unauthorized, inaccurate English renderings of one German press statement.
  • I'm sorry you feel that way, joerg. Your assert this because... you have some certain knowledge to the contrary? Oh please, do share.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • The central point, of course, is whether the renderings in any other language are accurate. As I noted above, however, if the report is entirely untrue or even significantly untrue it is entirely believable.

    Karl Keating issued an April Fool's Joke some years ago, announcing that the American Bishops had decided to move Ash Wednesday to the nearest Sunday to make it more possible for the faithful to attend. People believed it because it had the air of the more than merely plausible.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 240
    To clarify: the issue isn't so much with the translation itself, but with the 'explaining' text around. When Breitbart is speaking about 'adultery' it comes along as if that was extracted from the original text, while in fact it is their own interpretation of it (whether legitimate or not).

    Btw. I remember that (then pastor) Bode was quite clear about adultery 30 years ago, yet pleading for taking seriuosly the issues people had - and have - with the Church's teaching on sexuality in general.

    I'll have a look into the other reportings later.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • In an interview given to the National Catholic Register (one of the multiple sources for the original post), Bp. Bode indicates that the German Synod follows the lead of the Pan-Amazon Synod, which set the stage by considering the ordination of married men to the priesthood. Cardinal Marx (president of the German bishops' conference) said that the synod would "tackle 'key issues' arising from the clerical sex abuse crisis."
    In particular, the bishops are set to question the Catholic Church’s perennial teaching on priestly celibacy, human sexuality and the role of women in the Church.
    According to the report, "The Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), the most influential lay group in the Church in Germany, which openly supports ending the discipline of priestly celibacy, ordaining women and blessing same-sex couples in churches, will be working closely with the bishops." LINK to article

    The Catholic News Agency indicates that in early September, Cardinal Ouellet sent a letter to Cardinal Marx along with a 4-page attachment - a legal assessment - both of which were obtained by CNA. "The assessment, signed by the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, says that the German bishops’ plans violate canonical norms and do, in fact, set out to alter universal norms and doctrines of the Church.
    "In his legal review of the draft statutes, Archbishop Filippo Iannone, head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, noted that the Germans propose to treat four key themes: 'authority, participation, and separation of powers,' 'sexual morality,' 'the form of priestly life,' and 'women in Church ministries and offices.'
    "

    Additionally: "The Vatican’s legal assessment raised a series of concerns about the proposed structure and the participants in the German “synodal path.” It concluded that the German bishops are not planning a national synod, but instead a particular Church council – something they cannot conduct without explicit Roman approval.
    “ 'It is clear from the articles of the draft of the statutes that the [German] Episcopal Conference has in mind to make a Particular Council pursuant to canons 439-446 but without using this term,' the letter said, emphasizing the need for Vatican permission for such a gathering.
    " LINK to article

    Crux has an article that includes quotes from Matthias Kopp, spokesman for the German bishops' conference. Kopp says that Cardinal Marx "cleared everything up" regarding the expressed concern from Cardinal Ouellet, and indicated: "...there’ll be no separate German process, without Rome, on questions touching the universal church. But we hope to offer ideas and contributions to the universal church.

    He went on to say: “The bishops’ conference has verified the issues - authority, participation, the separation of powers, sexual morality, the priestly life, women in church services and orders - and wish to face these issues. A vast number of believers are waiting for this, and the bishops see it as their pastoral mission.

    At a news conference in late September, Cardinal Marx "said the statutes, not yet published, had been approved 'by a very large majority' of 65 bishops attending the Fulda plenary after lengthy debate.
    " 'There are no stop signs from Rome, and we will therefore continue,' the cardinal was quoted on the bishops’ conference website.
    "
    However, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne said he had voted against the statutes after his own proposals to avoid questioning church teaching were rejected.
    LINK to article

    Interestingly, the Catholic Herald had this to say about the apparent resolution of issues between Cardinal Ouellet and Cardinal Marx:
    "The German bishops’ conference has responded to the Vatican’s intervention in preparations for a binding synodal process to be held in that country beginning in Advent. The conference said Friday that detailed criticisms from the Vatican’s legal department concerned older draft documents, and did not take into account changes made to the German plans.
    "But a review of conference documents indicates that issues flagged by the Vatican remained unaddressed by the German bishops’ draft statutes, provisionally approved August 19, and still unchanged August 30, 5 days before the Vatican’s intervention.
    " LINK to article

    The FSSP sees the German Synod (which opened on December 1st and will convene for 2 years) as a continuation of the Pan-Amazon Synod, taking its cue from that body, calling it "an Amazon Synod for Germany" on their official news-site. Article here.

    I believe ten or so other independent articles validate the original post and Brietbart.
    Thanked by 2Elmar MarkB
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,933
    “Will you also leave?”
    God
  • When I was at University about 10 years ago, there were a bunch of German exchange students who came for a semester. One of them was a Catholic, and I recall asking him some questions about Catholicism in Germany. It quickly became clear that we did not agree on much, but his words at that point have continued to haunt me.

    He said that he thought it was important to stay in the church, to change it.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,885
    He said that he thought it was important to stay in the church, to change it.


    Change or the attempted destruction of the Catholic Church, has been tried by Roman emperors, German emperors, Kings, Queens, Communists, National Socialists, and of course the clergy. So far they have not succeeded, I can't see a German exchange student having any more success than a certain Austrian artist.
  • Acknowledging the Indefectibility of the Church does not preclude having concern over the machinations - whether of a student or a member of the hierarchy - which strive to "change" the Church in her fundamental doctrines. If nothing else, we see a number of Catholics who are scandalized to the point of leaving the Church... of those (whether within or without the fold) who are confused and led astray. Surely we have enough evidence of the detrimental effect from those who (whether intentionally or not) act to subvert the Faith from within.
  • Trust in the Holy Spirit.
    Thanked by 2CatherineS tomjaw
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,933
    Jesus' countenance was radically 'changed' during his passion. So now the Church also suffers in like manner, but only for a time and then it will be completely restored in tact, including all its dogma, truth and indefectibility.
    Thanked by 1toddevoss
  • Trust in the Holy Spirit


    That's what Indefectibility is about... but following that to its logical extension (since it seems you are saying we shouldn't have concern), there would be no need to preach, no need to teach, no need to do any action in support of the Faith.
    Pray as though everything depends upon God. Work as though everything depends on you.
    in the words of St. Augustine (attrib.).
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,933
    Yes... much reparation is required of us who know and love Jesus and Mary, and the Church's wayward shepherds and sheep.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • One can work without concern...that is to say, do the duties and tasks that aid in supporting your own faith and that of the people you are responsible to and for and have a direct impact on and so forth. Without concern, in the sense that you need not have a constant sense of anxiety or panic or worry, since you can trust that you are doing God's will and God is on top of the situation and using you to do your small part, perhaps in ways you aren't even aware of. I think I, at least, am easily led to the "be concerned" part in a way disconnected from the "do something" part. That is, talking about being concerned, or passing around stories of concern, is not actually "doing something", but just worrying outloud. Where to worry seems a lack of faith (see boat full of worried disciples panicking in a storm...) Do I make much sense?

    That said, I am awed at how actual clergy, let alone bishops, can actually not believe the religion they pretend to represent, and remain in utter denial about it. Mystifying, really.
  • @Incardination - If you read history, the Church has been 'going to hell in a hand basket' from almost the beginning. Unless you can do something about the bishops in Germany, or others trying to 'change the church', all you can do is trust in the promise of Christ that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church and protect it from error.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Incardination
  • I'm afraid we must agree to disagree. This isn't passing stories of concern; it isn't a lack of trust in Divine Providence. It is important to be aware of what's happening in the Church, in society, in the political spectrum. I pointed out an article which indicated (I would suggest) a profound problem, one with theological implications, informationally. I provided additional context because it was suggested - by several - that the first source was somehow inaccurate. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I think that the discussion around such a news item can go in a variety of directions... as I think we've demonstrated by getting around to Indefectibility. I don't see that as a bad thing...
    Thanked by 1bhcordova
  • Elmar
    Posts: 240
    When I was at University about 10 years ago, there were a bunch of German exchange students who came for a semester. [...] He said that he thought it was important to stay in the church, to change it.
    Remember that we have been kind of semi-Lutherans for 500 years. It feels like still today, it remains a historic accident whether you became definetly protestant or catholic in 1648.
  • Elmar, can you say more? I never thought of that.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,350
    For you who can read German, here's a press release from the site of the German Bishops Conference, cited in the Breitbart article:
    https://www.dbk.de/nc/presse/aktuelles/meldung/fachkonsultation-die-sexualitaet-des-menschen/detail/

    It summarizes the discussion of a commission, including bishops and others, on the subject of human sexuality, After listing various points of unanimity, the release says there was disagreement ("controversially discussed") over the question of whether "the magisterial prohibition of practiced homosexuality is still suited for our time" and also on the liceity of contraception for married or unmarried couples.

    Perhaps orthodox Catholics are supposed to feel grateful that there was not unanimity against the Church's teaching.

    The release goes on to describe the views of Abp. Koch and Bp. Bode, who emphasized "a solid discussion based on the human sciences and theology" and pointed to the "developments already identifiable" in Amoris Laetitia. The release says that according to them remarriage with sexual relations after divorce no longer generally qualifies as a serious sin or implies an exclusion from the Eucharist.

    Therefore, while the Breitbart headline was a bit overgeneralized -- the statement came from some particular German bishops, not from all of them -- the facts as given in the BB article were generally stated in accord with the bishops' conference statement.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 240
    Remember that we have been kind of semi-Lutherans for 500 years. It feels like still today, it remains a historic accident whether you became definetly protestant or catholic in 1648.
    Elmar, can you say more? I never thought of that.

    I am not a historian, it is just a matter of personal observation; including marked differences between Germany (where I come from) and the Netherlands (where I now live), both coutries 'of the reformation' with ca. 50/50 protestant and catholic population (before the big secularisation wave).

    I grew up in a suburb parish of a mid-sized town in a protestant region of western Germany. My mother was born in a catholic region but displaced to a protestant regio after WW2; my father in yet another protestant region, his father was protestant and his mother catholic (in the 1930s!) and he grew up in the protestant town where I was born.

    Before WW2 most regions were still almost homogeneous by religion, but this changed in the wake of the war (90% of the catholics of my parish originated from what is now Poland).
    Although there were family anecdotes of catholic children warned not to play with protestants and vice versa, there was a strong commitment to ecumenism: common prayer services several times a year (including Pentecost Monday), joint religion classes in primary school, a doughter of the protestant pastor joining the catholic religion class in high school. There were 'mixed' married couples going to church alternatingly without anyone scandalizing this publicly.

    I was surprised to see the relation between protestants and catholics to be quite different here in the Netherlands. Although the Dutch 'progessive catholicism' looks very protestant to me (in theology and liturgy), everyone maintains that they are of course catholic, or at least 'of catholic origin' (same for different protestant denominations and their struggle to form the 'Protestantse Kerk in Nederland', something completely normal for centuries in the German 'Landeskirchen'). Our local Taizé-group that tried to build a bridge through regular common prayers has died away a few jears ago ...

    Now i see that it has been common for ages that the society is 'multicultural', in the sense that several communities live alongside each other, yet cooperating where necessary (the proverbial 'building of dykes'). Catholics had to go underground for 250 years, while remaining 'invisibly' present all the time and being proud of their identity. And today we see different 'profiles' of catholic churches coexisting, sometimes even groups in the same parish - from only-once-a-month-a-Mass (but still sung Latin ordinaries every other Sunday) to vernacular-only to RotR-NO to TLM ...
    And then in our 6-church-parish there is a pastor who says to work towards more unity, but without any visible effect, while everyone apparently agrees that it's all legimate diversity.

    From the distance I now see a special tencency in Germany to cultural unity and consensus in ideological matters, including religion. This seems to be distinct from the neccessity for compromise in any democratic society.
    We know from history that Germany has had "cuius regio, eius religio" for centuries; this might be at the root of a strong desire for uniformity, between christian denominations as well as elsewhere.
    Catholics and protestants want to be viewed as 'the christians' by a secular society, nonwithstanding doctrinal differences that are seen as hindrance, if not altogether irrelevant. And German catholic laics bundle their associations in the "Zentralkommitee", which (in contrast to communist organisations that share this name) acts as a bottom-up consensus finder, also in cooperation with the bishop's conference.

    In the same line, there is strong reluctance to devide people into believers and non-believers, such that Church teaching is expected to be relevant and accessible to everyone. We love the parable of the lost sheep, but have second thoughts about the rich young man who won't give everything in order to follow Jesus.
    Likewise there is a strong desire for Church teaching not to be at odds with modern science.
    Starting with the (from a catholic viewpoint) straight-forward assumption that there can only be one truth; but no way taking traditional church teaching as the starting point for dividing sciences into 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable' branches (evolution biology? gender studies?).

    I believe that this is the background on which Bp. Bode et al.
    emphasize "a solid discussion based on the human sciences and theology"
    and discuss
    the question of whether "the magisterial prohibition of practiced homosexuality is still suited for our time" and also on the liceity of contraception
    as Chonak has pointed out above. However I disagree (and hopefully made a bit clear why so) on Breitbart's interpretation that they make an attempt for
    an update regarding Church teaching on adultery
    at least not as their intention to alter a (dogmatic) teaching.
    Of course there have always been updates qualified as clarifications concerning the teaching on eternal truth, as well as actual changes concerning discipline (e.g., celibacy of priests).

    (Here I definitely leave solid ground of my knowledge, so I leave it at that.)
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • My main experience is in Brazil, and as a convert, so I find the regional differences in 'being Catholic' interesting. A few things that stand out to me here (only because I don't tend to see them as evidently when I visit the US):

    -an enormous degree of social hierarchy and deference to ones superiors, elders, etc in Brazilian society, (including towards clergy) (example: startled to discover on a retreat/conference in the US that I was seated at a table with a deacon, and he was not addressed as such nor asked to bless our food before we ate)
    -a great deal of value placed on extended family and on mothers (when mother's day rolls around even those with no children are told "but you are a mother in your heart!" and given congratulations and blessings anyway; most people live with or next door to extended family and share resources/chores/meals in common)
    -the piety of the general population is hard to destroy, and a belief in the supernatural is normal and widespread (even if people are not practicing Christians); mushy religious boundaries are also normal (many people dabble in a variety of religions, or consider themselves Catholic by culture and birth even if they actively participate in other religions, too.) Some parishes make regular announcements before Communion to remind people that you may only receive if you do not practice other religions (besides being recently confessed, etc.)
    -it's very rare to find what I would call a 'conservative' NO Mass here. Informality seems most common. Charismatic influences are widespread mostly due to constant broadcast on television. That said the overall culture is very conservative on moral issues, for instance, so informality of liturgy does not go hand in hand with the sort of liberal morality found in the US. Or, it comes in strange mixtures. I had a very beloved and devout confessor when I first converted who on the one hand denied that hell existed (because he'd learned novelties like that in seminary) and wouldn't be caught dead in a cassock (just wore street clothes); but at the same time would spend hours at the bedside of a dying Freemason trying to get him to renounce his evil ways so he could die in a state of grace...
    Anyway...

    Thanks for that insight, Elmar.
    Thanked by 2WGS Elmar
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,933
    Houston IS the problem... (since I have German roots, please excuse my Teutonicisms) :-/
  • Hmmm... perhaps this goes a fair way to explain a great deal along the twists and turns the discussion that this thread has taken at times. Although I disagree with his whole point about "proselytizing", I do agree with him that we must certainly provide examples of the Faith. Having said that, though, the mission of Christ to His Church was to go forth to all nations and preach the Faith.

    Pope Francis Tells Christians Not to Try to Convert Nonbelievers

    ROME — Pope Francis told Christian high school students this weekend they should respect people of other faiths and not attempt to convert them to Christianity, insisting “we are not living in the times of the crusades.”

    Asked by one of the students Friday how a Christian should treat people of other faiths or no faith, the pope said that “we are all the same, all children of God” and that true disciples of Jesus do not proselytize.

    Francis said that his experience growing up in Argentina with its waves of immigration was a great help in learning to respect other people.

    “There is a mixture of blood, a strong miscegenation in Argentina — I am the son of a migrant — and this made for a culture of coexistence,” he said. “I went to public school and we always had companions from other religions. We were educated to coexistence.”

    “This taught me a lot, that we are all the same, all children of God and this purifies your gaze, it humanizes it,” he said. “In Argentina, there is a small group of narrow-minded Catholics who do not want Jews, do not want Muslims but this group, I never liked it, it is a fringe group, they have a cultural magazine but they do not have impact in society and when I used to teach I saw them for what they were, this is the secret.”

    The pope went on to say that a Christian should never try to convince others of the truth of Christianity, but should simply give a testimony of consistency and wait for others to ask about the faith.

    “You must be consistent with your faith,” he said. “It never occurred to me (and nor should it) to say to a boy or a girl: ‘You are Jewish, you are Muslim: come, be converted!’ You be consistent with your faith and that consistency is what will make you mature. We are not living in the times of the crusades.”

    “The last thing I should do is to try to convince an unbeliever. Never,” he said. “The last thing I should do is speak. I should live my faith with consistency. And it will be my witness that will awaken the curiosity of the other who may then ask: ‘But why do you do this?’ And yes, then I can speak.”

    “But listen, the gospel is never, ever advanced through proselytism,” he continued. “If someone says he is a disciple of Jesus and comes to you with proselytism, he is not a disciple of Jesus. Proselytism is not the way; the Church does not grow by proselytism.”

    The Church grows by attraction, by witness, he said. “Soccer teams can do proselytism, this can be done, political parties can do it, but there should be no proselytism with the faith. And if someone asks me: ‘But why do you do this?’ Read, read, read the Gospel, this is my faith. But without pressure.”

    As he did last month, the pope then went on to cite the 11th-century French fictional epic poem La Chanson de Roland as an example of how Christians have tried to convert Muslims by the sword.

    “It is an ugly thing but it made me suffer so much, a passage from the La Chanson de Roland, when the Christians, the crusaders had defeated the Muslims and then all the Muslims were lined up and at the front of the line was a priest and a soldier,” Francis said. “The priest stood in front of the baptismal font and as each one approached, he would ask: ‘Baptism or the sword?’”

    “This happened in history!” he added.

    They also do it with us Christians in other parts, the pope acknowledged, “but what we did shames me because it is a story of forced conversion, of not respecting the dignity of the person,” he said.

    When the pope cited this poem in November to make a similar point, treating the account as if it were historical, a number of people offered corrections.

    One writer said that The Song of Roland was inspired in part by a historical event, namely Charlemagne’s expedition to Spain in 778, but noted that this expedition to Spain was undertaken at the request of several Muslim governors of Spain, in rebellion against the Emir of Cordova.

    Moreover, he said, the invasion was unsuccessful, and is recounted as such in the poem.

    “The memory of Pope Francis evoking the victory of the Franks over Muslims is therefore confused, because the expedition was not a victory,” the writer observed.

    “The fictitious case of the forced baptism of Muslims supposedly defeated after the capture of Zaragoza — which did not take place — is not historical, but is a pure imagination of the poet,” he added, noting that contrary to the pope’s account, there is not even a Christian holding a sword in the original work.

    “How then can he affirm that ‘this is what we Christians did’?” he concluded.

    The pope told the high schoolers Friday that since he was a boy he had dealt with people of other religions, because his father was an accountant and would bring home business clients of other faiths.

    “It was normal and it did not present a problem for me. But it should be normal. Never exclude someone because they have another faith,” he said.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,597
    The thing that doesn't get mentioned about the crusaders - yes, I know all of them were not personally holy - is that Islam is a political entity that had seized Christian lands and overthrown the governments. Of course, the Christians were trying to take back their territory. What else could they have done, hold hands and sing Kum-ba-Yah with the Muslim invaders? How would that have worked out for them?
  • Amen to that, Charles.
    I always remind people that all of North Africa, all the Middle East, and all of what is now Turkey, was Christian long before Islam perpetrated its own 'crusade' and conquered these lands, and by the sword made 'converts' out of the native population that had hitherto been Christian. Furthermore, far from the peaceable saints they would profess themselves to be, they for centuries raided Christian coastal towns, carrying men, women, and children off into slavery. It took the fledgling US navy put a stop to that.

    We hear a lot about 'Islamophobia' today. No doubt much of it is real, and it is shamefully ignorant. But that doesn't make them innocent as lambs. They're not by a long shot! They have their own 'Christianophobia'.

    Of further note is that Christians (not Muslims) today remain the most persecuted religious group throughout the world - much of that persecution at the hands of Muslims.

    And, it is notable that throughout the Western World Muslims are free to practice their religion in peace, to build their mosques, and celebrate their culture. One will not find this largesse reciprocated in Muslim lands.
  • His Holiness appears to be using the word Proselytize to mean "harangue about the faith". On the other hand, if he means "discuss rationally", the only reason not to discuss religion rationally with Muslims is that they believe in the arbitrary will of God, as it were -- although I think my technical term is incorrect.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,093
    "If there is no Holy Spirit, there is no evangelization," the pope said Oct. 2 during his weekly general audience. "This can be proselytizing, advertising. But evangelization means letting the Holy Spirit guide you, that he is the one that pushes you to announce, to proclaim with your witness, with martyrdom as well as with the word."
    Synonyms for proselytism
    disinformation. hype. indoctrination. publicity. advertising. agitprop.
    announcement. brainwashing.

    Vatican website "official" versions :-
    [EN] If there is no Holy Spirit there is no evangelization. This may be proselytism, advertising.... But evangelization is allowing yourself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, letting him lead you to proclamation, to proclamation with witness, even with martyrdom, even with words.
    [IT] ... , se non c’è lo Spirito Santo non c’è evangelizzazione. Questo può essere proselitismo, pubblicità… Ma l’evangelizzazione è farti guidare dallo Spirito Santo, che sia Lui a spingerti all’annuncio, all’annuncio con la testimonianza, anche con il martirio, anche con la parola.

    VII - Ad Gentes ¶13 (in part)
    The Church strictly forbids forcing anyone to embrace the Faith, or alluring or enticing people by worrisome wiles.
    Ecclesia severe prohibet ne quis ad fidem amplectendam cogatur vel artibus importunis inducatur aut alliciatur,

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,597
    worrisome wiles


    I hate to say it, but it seems all the worrisome wiles coming out of Rome are directed against Catholics. Prove me wrong.
  • Charles,

    I want to disagree with you on this point, vociferously or even violently. As soon as I have cause, I will.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • AFH,

    I think it depends on your understanding of "proselytize" as to whether your definitions are accepted. Words change meaning, but the Catholic Culture dictionary online starts with this:
    Originally to convert someone from one religion to another, either by bringing a person to full acceptance of the new faith and ritual or at least sympathy with it.
    The Real Presence Modern Catholic Dictionary has the same definition.

    Because meanings of words can change over time, one has to be careful. For you, "proselytize" may have a negative connotation. For myself, I've never heard it used in that context until now. Sometimes meanings change because a group of people deliberately choose to misuse a word or set out to deliberately change its meaning.

    In this case, however, Pope Francis provides some additional context. First, it would seem that he doesn't consider it to be with the negative connotation of "indoctrination, brainwashing", trickery, lies etc., since he mentions that proselytizing can be done with worldly things like soccer or politics. (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn't endorse trickery, lies, deceit, etc., even from a secular perspective.) Second, he seems to indicate that one should not verbally give witness to the Faith unless first asked by an unbeliever. This is more along the lines of the traditional understanding of "proselytize" - that is, to write or speak in defense of the Faith in an effort to convert unbelievers.
    The last thing I should do is to try to convince an unbeliever. Never,” he said. “The last thing I should do is speak. I should live my faith with consistency. And it will be my witness that will awaken the curiosity of the other who may then ask: ‘But why do you do this?’ And yes, then I can speak.”


    There is a difference between actively encouraging unbelievers in charity vs. using condemnations and fulminations... although Christ indicates that both can be motivated by charity and may be useful. He tells the disciples to preach the Gospel - not to wait until asked about "why they do what they do". He also tells them to shake the dust from their feet of a place that will not heed what they have to say...

    We have plenty of examples of saints who have exercised charity while also making clear that God is not to be trifled with. In the Old Testament, the plagues were a form of charity, intended to soften the heart of the Egyptian pharaoh... until he was punished severely in the last plague. In the New Testament, we've seen times when Excommunication is used not as a political ploy or out of anger, but as a way of encouraging the soul to return to the Faith (just as we've seen instances where it was misused - Joan of Arc comes to mind).

    There is nothing wrong with actively seeking to defend or articulate the Faith - something that would be "proselytizing" in the traditional sense of the term. I will certainly agree that proselytizing or evangelizing or should always be done with charity.

    I can't help but feel we have a Pope Buttigieg - one who says something without saying anything at all, who speaks in a way that a million people hearing him can each come to a different conclusion about what he really means.
  • The more I hear from Bergoglio, the more I am convinced that he is the Click Bait Pope. Say something controversial to catch your attention. Then bury you in an endless diatribe of nonsensical fluff that has no real substance. But he's so ubiquitous that there's no avoiding him.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,093
    I have no special insight into what Pope Francis meant by proselytism, I was just quoting what I found on trying to unravel it. The synonyms are not mine they come from thesaurus.com and I think "Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group."
    VaticanII in Ad Gentes apparently avoided the word. They condemned any attempt to convert by coercion (choose baptism or having your throat cut) or by bribery (we provide rice to all Catholics who are starving) both, unfortunately, methods which have been used in the past (the latter, I believe, within my lifetime).