Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Evangelism, à la McBrien

Fr. Richard McBrien is at it again. In the latest issue of the Tidings, Fr. McBrien critiques conversion motivations in the post-Vatican II Church. Evangelism in the Catholic church has suffered:

"With the Second Vatican Council, however, and with the ecumenical movement which the council and the popes had endorsed, it became practically impossible to present the Catholic Church any longer as "the one, true Church" and all other denominations as awash in error and falsehoods."

Of course, you cannot present the Catholic Church as the one, true Church if you don't really believe it. Can you? That's also a large and unspoken variable in the calculus; the scores of clergy and theologians, in the Church, that cannot acknowlege the Church and thus cannot proclaim it. Skeptics make lousy salesmen, and cynics are even worse.

McBrien goes on to examine recent conservative converts to the Church, noting:

"Conservative Protestants and Jews who convert to Catholicism, especially of the Opus Dei kind, rarely shed the religious, social and political biases they had in their pre-Catholic life."

I didn't realise that there is a Opus Dei Catholic Church. Or, is this a backhanded slap at conservatives who come to the Church expecting some orthodoxy? Some converts have no interest in Cafeteria Catholicism, especially of the Most Holy Redeemer (San Francisco) kind, or else they would have joined the Episcopalians.

At least converts to the Church have the good grace and intellectual honesty to leave a church (or 'faith community') that they do not agree with. Right, Fr. McBrien?

h/t to Curt Jester and da Cafeteria.

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