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‘If You Want to Be Happy: Don’t Proselytize’

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
My friend Jan was disconcerted to hear that Pope Bergoglio was telling Catholics not to proselytize, which is, of course, the ecumenical and secular word replacing evangelizing or converting people to the only true Faith.

INterview of Pope Francis to Viva magazine

Pope Francis on the cover of Viva magazine

“Isn’t converting people the mission of the Church? Isn’t it the responsibility of all Catholics?” she asked. “It is really hard to believe the Pope actually said not to proselytize. I know there have been times when he was reported to say things like this, for example, that he was not interested in converting the Evangelicals to Catholicism. But can you show me a written record of him actually saying not to proselytize, using those exact words?”

Yes, Jan, I can. To mark the first 500 days of the pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio the Argentinean weekly Viva (July 27, 2014) published excerpts of an interview with him conducted in that month. In it he not only told Catholics not to engage in proselytizing, but called it “the worst thing you can do.”

Always trying to be popular and novel, Francis did not change his policy in this interview. In the long 77-minute conversation where he addressed topics like immigration, youth unemployment and a possible encyclical on ecology, he gave a short “10 tips” on how to be happy.

‘Do not proselytize’

By far the most controversial bit of advice was Francis’ straightforward command: Don’t proselytize.

These were his words of tip No. 1 - “Do not proselytize” – “We can inspire others through witness so that both grow together in that communication. But the worst thing you can do is religious proselytizing, which paralyzes. ‘I am talking to you in order to persuade you.’ No. Each one must dialogue from his own identity. The Church grows by attraction, not by proselytism (conversion).”

Here we find a strong insinuation that the Church was wrong in the past when she ordered her missionaries to evangelize and expand by converting others to the Catholic Faith. The conversion of the Indians in South and Central America, for example, would have been wrong: These missionaries should have respected the pagan gods and religious customs of the indigenous peoples and dialogued with them, not instructed them in the Catholic Faith.

Empty pews

The ecumenist approach ends in empty pews

Likewise, the Catholic apologists – counting many saints among them – who entered into polemics with heretics with the aim of converting them would be wrong. The departure point for discussion would not be the Catholic Faith, but “respect” for the identity of each false religion, an implicit admission that salvation can be found outside the Catholic Church.

Are these just more crackpot ramblings of the spontaneous Francis? I fear not. They reflect what the post-conciliar Popes have been preaching since Vatican II. The nonchalant reaction of the clergy and people – who have come to accept this notion of dialogue replacing conversion – is proof that Francis is saying nothing ‘novel,’ only repeating straightforwardly what the post-conciliar Popes have already said.

Basing themselves on conciliar documents affirming that “elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church” (GS 8b, NA 2 and many more (1) , both John Paul II and Benedict XVI rejected proselytism and encouraged “brotherly relations” with the false religions.

What Catholics have falsely been led to believe is that “the Church no longer has a monopoly on truth.” These were in fact the very words of Cardinal Rodrigo Maradiaga, head of the “Group of Eight,” when he laid out Francis’ program of new evangelization in Dallas on October 25, 2013. In his pithy counsel, Francis is simply rephrasing Vatican II teachings on ecumenism and conversion, which denies the militant and missionary characters of the Catholic Church and sets out a new role based on dialogue and inter-confessionalism.

Masonic counsels

Several other of the ‘top 10’ keys to happiness support the religious indifferentism advocated by Francis. Let us look at the next three:

No. 2 - “Live and let live” – That is to say, don’t be so concerned about insisting that everyone think and worship like you, which makes people uptight and angry. Just let everyone find their own truth. “That’s the first step to peace and happiness,” Francis adds.

No. 3 - “Stop being negative” – This can certainly be interpreted as an indirect attack on militant Catholics, who on other occasions Francis has accused of being critical and rigid, “uniformists” who believe that everyone in the Church should be like them.

No. 4 - “Work for peace” – This is a Masonic peace that means tolerating any error, never fighting for principles or religion.

Naturally, these counsels are being well-received by other religions.

“It’s a very sensible and healthy advice that the Pope has given to the people!” was the reaction of one Hindu blogger to his counsels. “Calm down and stop converting people. Catholics have been converting Hindus to their religion very vigorously and are doing so even today! Sometimes it causes friction between the Hindus, Catholics & Muslims! If every person follows his own religion there will not be any trouble! Peace will rule society!”

As Catholics, we cannot accept this kind of false peace based on tolerating and even accepting error. We cannot accept that during 2,000 years the Church was wrong to fight against the error and evil. The very notion that the Church can “learn” from heretical and false sects denies the Church’s role as exclusive guardian of the treasures of Revelation.

If we do not resist these false teachings and counsels – even when they come from the highest cupola of the Church – we run the risk of falling into the same general apostasy.

The last six of the ‘Top 10 Tips’ summarized are these:

Pope with Teleevangelicals

A Pope that is more akin with Freemasons and Protestants than with Catholics

   No. 5 – “Be giving of yourself to others.”

   No. 6 – “Respect and take care of nature.”

   No. 7 – “Proceed calmly in life.”

   No. 8 – “Have a healthy sense of leisure.”

   No. 9 – “Keep Sundays for holidays and family.”

Francis emphasized that workers should have Sundays off to be with their families. Not a word about Sunday as the Lord’s day or the obligation to attend Mass under pain of mortal sin.

   No. 10 – “Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people.”

Unless we make “creative opportunities” for the youth, he explained, “they will get into drugs and be more vulnerable to suicide.” Here we find the Marxist conception of history, which bases a man’s happiness on work and productivity and ignores religion as the true compass that sets a man’s path to peace and happiness.

As you can see, Jan, what Francis offered was 10 banal “humanist” tips that one might hear from the lips of a Masonic Grand Master or the Dalai Lama or even in a “Dear Abby” column, but not from the Vicar of Christ addressing a revolutionary world and a Catholic Church in crisis.

  1. For more excerpts that support the post-conciliar ecumenism, see Atila Sinke Guimaraes, Animus Delendi II, pp. 219-224. For the past teaching on the Church on the Church’s militant and missionary character, see pp. 205-217
Posted September 12, 2014

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