Friday, 3 February 2017

On Evangelization

a] Faith is a grace - it's pure gift - God gives it - it's not in our remit to provide it - we are here to relate and convey the Truth of the Gospel and the magisterial teachings and practices of the Faith in creed , code and cult - which people may accept or reject....

- we're not here to sell some form of double-glazing or magazine subscription or snake-oil of
'join us for a group hug, we're nice people, he have a long list of social heroes who've changed lives in history for the better and we socialise and we're a great get-along-gang'

- that's NOT what the Church is - and frankly the Protestants - even the mormons and jehovah's witnesses - ye gods even the scientologists - are MUCH better at it than we are...

- Because Catholics come from all walks of life and class and from all fringes of society and background with diversity and plurality of tastes and interests and pastimes and family and work lives

- we can't get that syncretist homogenised communal conformity to be some sort of social club like a book club or amateur dramatic society

- UNLESS you want a certain 'type' of elitist exclusionist gnostic clientele?
Urban unmarried upwardly mobile middle class?
Or the disaffected sheltered background University yoof ?
Or the ageing 'belongers' who want a niche to fill and a soapbox upon which to stand since the horticultural society and whist-drive circuit dried up?

This isn't evangelization - it isn't catechesis - it isn't apologetics - it's a glorified narcissistic self-indulgent navel-gazing trainspotter's club without the trainspotting!!!
A feel-good vanity project...

b] People are not simply looking for a second home or a community social or a new circle of friends or a group to share like interests...
Evangelization is about informing and convincing and inspiring Intellects.
You are what you believe - what you believe in the intellect actuates and motivates the will - the head DOES govern the heart...
This isn't about feelings - especially NOT warm fuzzy group-hug feelings - this isn't about finding like-minded friends with the same interests in some sort of Jesus fan club...

c] What people are truly looking for is the Truth - a reason for life - a meaning and purpose - something to live for

- a set of beliefs which no matter how inscrutable and mysterious and ineffable in totality but nevertheless in their knowable reality are unconfoundable, irrefutable, eternal and consistent and cogent..they are desperate to know who they are, where they're from, where they're going and why?!!

- they want a code of conduct to follow - they want the reassurance and understanding and guidance of a moral law and ethical directives leading to a self-reformation - a metanoia - and all these actions driven towards a specific definitive purpose and end. - they want to know what to do - and why?!!

- and they want a spiritual life of private and public cultic ritual and a relationship with that which is beyond them - they're yearning for that personal relationship with Christ even if they don't yet comprehend it or are able to formulate it in that way...

...or to go back to the penny catechism they want to know, love and serve God.

They want something to believe in, something to justify their existence, something to hope for, something to love, something to struggle, to sacrifice and fight for, something to live and die for, they want a flag to wave, a banner under which to march, they want self-vindication..they want vindication for everything - they want to be able to look at a blade of grass and say to it 'you're worth it!"

d] but the ludicrous farce of modern NuEvangelization is it just provides a set of soundbites and quasi-factoids and explanations of Catholicism's creed code and cult - without having the temerity or decency to give any convincing intellectual argument or justification for it???!!!

Instead the paradigm's changed into - oh it's just what we who belong do - it's the rules we follow because we're members - it's the way we act because we're members - it's what we believe because that's what you have to believe to be a belonging member....

Just club rules - with the seduction/enticement - if you want to belong and join the group hug these are the rules you follow and the concessions you make and the words you have to repeat and say you believe....

In other words - we make no attempt to teach or convert or evangelise - we simply dangle a string of 'join us and belong among the belongers' to the lonely confused or questioning and think - nay presume that - this 'belong'-incentive will be enough to ensnare them amidst the lukewarm tea and damp custard creams and the powerpoint presentations on inane eco-friendly inoffensive bilge or docu-dramas about mother Theresa or Powerpoints on Natural Family Planning or discussions about 'how you think the Holy Spirit affects your life?" or whatever else...

In this modern world people are desperate for intellectual answers to WHY?!!!
hence the major thrust of everything we do should be in apologetics
and I don't merely mean theological apologetics
I mean pastoral ones too - family apologetics - work and lifestyle and pastime and leisure apologetics....
Why we believe what we believe
why we do what we do
why we are what we are

Apologetics is the way forward - and NuEvangelization basically tells bare-faced lies in its claim to provide apologetics...

Look at the claims of so-called self-professed Catholic professional 'celebrity' "Apologists" over here [ there are no Peter Kreefts or Fulton Sheens or Fr Larry Richards in this fair isle] - who actually have the audacity to claim they are providing ethical apologetics [take for instance the farce of Catholic Voices or the Pro-Life groups] for 'analgesic' issues....

The last thing they provide is any answer to the WHY - merely a "well we say so!!!"
..usually followed by an incoherent personalist, subjectivist pragmatic 'winging it' mess because they never really bothered to study and comprehend why the Church teaches what it teaches...

It's time to get clever - to know what the Church teaches - and why - and start telling not merely inquiring catechumens - not even the lapsed hesitantly wishing to return to the fold - but the desperately confused and abandoned regular Catholic in the pew too whom - let's admit - hasn't got a bloody clue about their faith..because nobody really bothered to tell them...
Fr Stephen Wang last year was extolling the marvels of new technology like VR and global networking as "a vital part of the new evangelisation"
No poxy virtual reality machine will ever help evangelise if those programming it haven't got a clue what evangelism really is....

The Ethiopian had studied everything - but he needed St Phillip to explain it to him - to walk and guide him along the path towards being able to receive that Grace of Faith...
We need to get our act together - and get back to the simple why that was the heart of the Old Evangelisation - look at the wonders of the Catholic Evidence Guild where junior members fifty-sixty years ago knew more about the faith than your average Bishop does today - even more than the Pope!!???

Apologetics is the way forward...or we are spitting in the wind....

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