Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Compromise, No: Communicate, Yes

From today's National Catholic Register, online:
"Do we need New Apologetics after Vatican II? "
Matthew Warner, National Catholic Register (June 16, 2010)

"As Catholics, we are still figuring out exactly how to live out our faith online. It's a new frontier. How do we engage the culture? What is appropriate to say here and there and how? How do we open people's minds to the intelligibility of the faith? How do we win hearts, not just arguments?

The New Evangelization calls for New Apologetics. This newness is, in part, simply applying the same old principles of our faith to the emerging and novel format of today. But it's also pausing to reflect on what ways we may be going astray....
The short column includes this video:

"Fr. Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn discuss the New Apologetics"

wordonfirevideo2, YouTube (June 3, 2010)
video, 2:22

Picking up Matthew Warner's words again:
"...I especially liked Scott Hahn's quote he gave at the end when answering how we engage in this 'New Apologetic'?

"Answer: By forming strong friendships with Marxists, atheists, and radical feminists so you're not just refuting arguments, you're responding to friends...."
(Matthew Warner, via National Catholic Register)

What?! Associating With Those People?!

Matthew Warner said that it's not a good idea to "demonize" folks who disagree with Catholic teachings.

I probably wouldn't have put it that way - but that's because I've read "demonize" so often, for so long, in so many contexts, that it's become a tiresome term: almost hackneyed. That said, I think he's right.

Princeton's WordNet somewhat unimaginatively defines "demonize" as "make into a demon." The way it's commonly used, it's a sort of metaphor: "demonizing" other human beings means treating them as if they were demons - implacably, irrevocably evil beings.

Jesus dealt with demons: rather firmly. The closest we see to leniency in my Lord's treatment of fallen angels is in Luke 8:27-33. That incident ended with dead pigs and an indignant swineherd.

Let's see how Jesus acted toward people who weren't, well, quite nice:
"While he was at table in his house,9 many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him.

10Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

Jesus heard this and said to them (that), 'Those who are well do not need a physician,11 but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.'
(Mark 2:15-17)
Then there was that Luke 7:36-50 thing.

Which, on another topic, is one of the times when Jesus was quite up-front about just Who and What He was. I've written about that before.

Looks to me like Jesus didn't mind associating with sinners, tax collectors1 - or Pharisees.

People Won't Understand, If They Can't Listen

Jesus didn't change his rules to accommodate people who had been doing wrong - but he didn't hurl insults at them either. That, he seems to have reserved for the scribes and Pharisees. (Matthew 23:27, and particularly Matthew 23:33)

There's solid good sense in what was in that video, and was quoted by Matthew Warner.

Throw insults at someone: and that person isn't likely to listen when you start talking sense.

Forming "strong friendships" with people who are diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching may not be easy. But I think just being civil would be a good start.

Related posts:From May 28, 2010, posts about dealing with differences:
1 In case someone who works for the IRS reads this: a lot has happened in the roughly 2,000 years that have passed since the Gospels were written. I've been given to understand that tax collectors in Judea, back in the 'good old days,' had a reputation for what we'd probably call extortion. Times change, and I can't say I'm particularly sorry about that.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.