Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Proselytism and Evangelisation - Michael Lofton encouraged Fact-Checking - and I Did That.

Φιλολoγικά / Philologica: Proselytism and Evangelisation - Michael Lofton encouraged Fact-Checking - and I Did That. · Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere: Anti-Proselytism Bergoglio Again Defended by Michael Lofton

Michael Lofton pretends what people condemning the 2016 quote about proselytism being a venom, are doing is taking things out of context, applying a Hermeneutic of Suspicion.

Michael Lofton gives examples on how a Hermeneutic of Suspicion could be used against the Bible.

Mt 24:36, "proving" Jesus is not omniscient;
1st Cor 15:42-44, "proving" the resurrection is not bodily;
Prov [8] 22-23, "proving" the Wisdom of God to be created.

Of the last Michael Lofton says it is the one used by Arius. In fact, none of these examples are properly speaking a Hermeneutic of Suspicion.

For each of these points, there are religious groups saying this is what the Bible says, and that it's right.

In order for a Hermeneutic of Suspicion to exist, one needs to state "this is what X says, and it's obviously wrong" ... and that is not what Arius or the other religious groups are actually doing.

Mt 24:30-34, "proving" Jesus made an unfulfilled prophecy.

Here at last we would have one item of Hermeneutic of Suspicion. Possibly. Or one could say, it is legitimately a difficult passage, and one on which those not otherwise convinced are likely to go wrong, since, unless you had other reasons to believe Christ to be God, the answers we have to this one can seem farfetched.

The answers to all of above are:

Mt 24:36 - "does not know means does not make known"
1st Cor 15:42-44, a close reading makes clear : a) it is the same body; b) material is not among the predicates denied of the resurrected body
Prov [8] 22-23 has this Haydock comment:

Ver. 22. Possessed. As Christ was with God, equal to him in eternity. Jo. i. Sept. "created," which many of the Fathers explain of the word incarnate, (see Corn. a Lapide. Bossuet) or he hath "placed me," (S. Athan. iii. con. Arian. Euseb.) a pattern of all virtues. The Sept. generally render kana, "possessed," as Aquila does here. C.

Ver. 23. Up. Heb. "anointed." Sept. "he founded." Christ was appointed to be the foundation, on which we must be built. S. Athan. iii. Orat.

So, while Christ as God the Son already was existing, He was made into the incarnate Christ Who was going to be Crucified. So, a parallel to "the lamb which was slain from the beginning of the world"

Mt 24:30-34 - "this generation" = the generation of the just, the generation called "the Church" (and the Catholic Church is still standing).

But, I can get it, someone who has no other reasons to believe Christ omniscient and a prophet will obviously say this is us explaining away.

Now, in the 2016 context, the adressees of "Pope Francis" were Lutheran Pilgrims. And Michael Lofton gives 2019 as an example of what "he really meant" ...

I would say, in 2016, "Pope Francis" was encouraging Lutherans to demonise or pathologise Catholics who try to make converts.

There are more than one of the things in 2019 that actually underline this:

Two important articles in Civiltà Cattolica have been published in this regard. I recommend them to you. They were written by Father Spadaro and the Argentinean Presbyterian pastor, Marcelo Figueroa. The first article spoke of the “ecumenism of hatred.” The second was on the “theology of prosperity.”[3] Reading them you will see that there are sects that cannot really be defined as Christian. They preach Christ, yes, but their message is not Christian. It has nothing to do with the preaching of a Lutheran or any other serious evangelical Christianity. These so-called “evangelicals” preach prosperity. They promise a Gospel that does not know poverty, but simply seeks to make proselytes. This is exactly what Jesus condemns in the Pharisees of his time. I’ve said it many times: proselytism is not Christian.

Note, "PF" recommended an article co-written by a Presbyterian. By a Calvinist.

The following seems to indicate "PF" doesn't want Anglicans to meet Catholics eager to convert them:

Today I felt a certain bitterness after a meeting with young people. A woman approached me with a young man and a young woman. I was told they were part of a slightly fundamentalist movement. She said to me in perfect Spanish: “Your Holiness, I am from South Africa. This boy was a Hindu and converted to Catholicism. This girl was Anglican and converted to Catholicism.” But she told me in a triumphant way, as though she was showing off a hunting trophy. I felt uncomfortable and said to her, “Madam, evangelization yes, proselytism no.”

The following makes it look as if "PF" had a shrink's look on people:

Evangelizers never violate the conscience: they announce, sow and help to grow. They help. Whoever proselytizes, on the other hand, violates people’s conscience: this does not make them free, it makes them dependent. Evangelization gives you a dependence, that is, it makes you free and able to grow. Proselytizing gives you a servile dependence at the level of the conscience and the society. The dependence of the evangelized person, the “paternal” dependence, is the memory of the grace that God has given you. The proselyte instead depends not as a child, but as a slave, who in the end does not know what to do unless he or she is told.

Excuse me, but is this analysis something he has from the proselyte? Or is it one he imposes on the spectacle of the proselyte, a bit like a shrink could impose the analysis "denial of reality" on a Fundamentalist, if he were inclined to presuppose all and any of the sciences as practised in the major universities as "reality" rather than attempts at formulating it, that could be (and to the Fundamentalist are) failed attempts? I think it is.

I am reminded how people started asking me "are you well?" or hinting at someone being "under undue influence of someone" in 2014 ... after "PF" took over. Or after Aupetit took over in Paris. Wait, in 2014, he became Auxiliar bishop in Paris, no that was 2013, in 2014 he became Bishop of Nanterre, where I was often too. And He's a doctor, some of those are unduly interested in shrinkish ideas about other people.

And the idea of "proselytism" and defining it this way, as an abuse, has been dear to Modernist Orthodox, since Communism imposed it on them. If a shrink tells a Christian he is wrong because he believes miracles happen, the shrink is doing his job to help him out of disease - but if a Christian tells someone he's wrong, he's proselytising.

St. Francis of Assisi told his friars: “Go out to the world, evangelize. And, if necessary, use words, too.” Evangelization is essentially witness. Proselytizing is convincing, but it is all about membership and takes your freedom away.

First, this idea of evangelisation essentially being "witness" - that is witnessing with ones life - rather than "convincing" (with arguments) is also very dear to such "Orthodox" who subject themselves to Communism in accepting this.

Second, it seems St. Francis of Assisi never said such a thing.

FactChecker: Misquoting Francis of Assisi

Our good Francis never said such a thing. None of his disciples, early or later biographers have these words coming from his mouth. It doesn’t show up in any of his writings. Not even close really. The closest comes from his Rule of 1221, Chapter XII on how the Franciscans should practice their preaching:

No brother should preach contrary to the form and regulations of the holy Church nor unless he has been permitted by his minister … All the Friars … should preach by their deeds.

But, there is a little irony in seeing the 2019 text after finding Michael Lofton's video - and searching Catholic Answers.

The Errors of Sedevacantism
JIMMY AKIN • 8/5/2020

The term “great apostasy” does appear in scripture, but it’s used in more than one context. And some of the uses refer to events that are already in our past, but—or actually, “great tribulation” is the term I’m thinking of there. The term “great apostasy” is really a theological term that’s based on some passages that indicate there will be a great falling-away from the faith towards the end of the world. And that’s something the Catholic Church accepts and recognizes, and it’s mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

But what I find problematic with a lot of these sedevacantist claims is they don’t understand what an apostasy is. Apostasy is defined as—and you can read this in the Code of Canon Law, including the 1917 Code of Canon Law, if I recall correctly, it’s certainly in the 83 Code and it’s in the Catechism—apostasy is defined as the total repudiation of the Christian faith. So in order to be an apostate, you have to say “I was a Christian and I’m not anymore.”

So if you’re a schismatic that has left full communion with the Church, you’re not an apostate. You have not committed apostasy. If you’re a heretic that has denied some dogma of the faith, you’re not an apostate. In order to be an apostate, you have to say “I am not a Christian any more.” And that is not what’s happening in terms of the claims sedevacantists are making with regard to the bishops of the Church.

So, according to Jimmy Akin, one cannot be an apostate as long as one at least claims to be a Christian.

Well, duh, that's not how his own "pope" views the hotchpotch he makes in his mind of mixing Joel Osteen with Brenda Weltner or Ken Ham with Kenneth Copeland. I wrote an essay on the latter confusion:

Creation vs. Evolution : Just in Case ANYONE Confuses Young Earth Creationism with Megachurches

Long story short : the "PF" type of Catholicism collaborates with Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, some Evangelicals. It doesn't like Catholics to tell these people they should convert. But when it comes to some - usually Evangelicals - who do any of these things (the two others assimilated to the first), namely:

  • tell people they will get a better life if they meet Christ
  • tell people to shun the Ecumenic movement (and "PF" style or any Catholicism)
  • tell people that the Bible is right and Modern Scientists are wrong where they seem to contradict and actually do contradict

when a group does this, suddenly it is not just wrong, but not even Christian anymore. Take that in. Not even Christian. That means, "PF" and Father Spadaro are basically calling people who seriously and freely adher to them apostates. While it is very clear that they do state they are Christians. So much for what Jimmy Akin said to Trent Horn. His "PF" doesn't feel bound by canon law in defining Apostasy. Indeed, the canon law meant to deal with individuals committing it as a crime of apostasy - not with creeping apostasy in groups that are not Catholic.

I have certainly seen Evangelicals I'd consider as less Christian than I thought - people who do argue seriously (and pretend to do so in deference to 1st Cor 15!) that Our Lord's risen body was some other thing than what had been born of Mary and Crucified, and could not have a second miraculous location in the Eucharist because it couldn't have a primary location even in Heaven, location being too carnal ... and they were anti-Catholic. But is "PF" all that sure that all the Evangelicals he and the Presbyterian consider as "serious" are not making the exact same error?

Back to the Lutheran Pilgrims in 2016. Supposing I had back then been where I was 1986 or 87, when visiting Lutherans in Ystad. The Franciscans had suffered horribly during the Reformation precisely there, I was asking the Lutherans if they wouldn't turn away from that impious thing the Reformation, and I was told that "we and the Catholics get along pretty well, actually" - they simply would, if so, have added "and your own Pope said ...." - today they couldn't tell me that. I'd answer "No, 'PF' is not my Pope" and that takes away their argument.

My impression as a young and sensitive convert to Catholicism of the Novus Ordo type, was: the thing I had concluded was the Church of Christ for some reason was better off with Lutherans and Social Democrats than with me. Any conflict where some of those guys found me too Catholic was one where the "Catholic Church" would take their side. Saying what Tolkien or Chesterton had said about the Reformation or about Socialism was for some reason "not very Christlike" or "a blunder" or whatever. I hate slavery too, and I certainly did not want to stay what "PF" calls a "proselyte" to a sect that actually punishes Catholicism - or Fundamentalism. That's how I went from Novus Ordo to various shades of Trad. And up to and including Sedevacantism and Conclavism. And seeing some things by Pope Michael, I have wondered "is he going Puritan Protestant?" - but I have given him the benefit of the doubt.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Pope St. Evarist