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Pope Embarrassed by Conversions

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
My friend Jan, who receives new shock-waves daily from Vatican News, was particularly upset at a recent report of an “encounter” of Francis in Africa. He was conversing in a private meeting with a group of 24 of his Jesuits brothers from Zimbabwe and Mozambique (and one from Portugal). It was informal of course. Pope Bergoglio invited the group to form a circle with chairs in a room decorated with modern art and a rainbow scene, the provincial gave a word of welcome, and the conversation began.

pope francis mozambique jesuits

Francis tells Jesuits in Mozambique not to proselytize

He encouraged the priests to work with the "serious Protestant groups like the Lutherans" who preach poverty and not prosperity. These Lutherans and other "serious evangelical Christians" who preach the "true Gospel" are good because they do not proselytize. "I've said it many times," he stated emphatically, "proselytism is not Christian."

Let me stop and analyze just one moment this piece of news, since it has two fundamental errors:

Error one: that the Lutheran and other Protestant sects can preach the true Gospel of Christ. This is false. The Catholic Church has always taught that Protestants were heretics. They must be opposed and converted because they lead people away from the flock of Christ and into perdition. A serious Catholic wants to convert the Protestant.

This error, by the way, has been taught by word and example not just by Francis but by all the post-Conciliar Popes.

Error two: One of the marks of the Catholic Church is her apostolic nature, which translates into bringing the Gospel to all nations, that is, to have missions and proselytize. She is called to convert all peoples from her beginning, when Our Lord commanded the Apostles: "Go you therefore, and teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Mt 28:19). No one, not even a Pope, can deny one of the essentail marks of the Church.

'A certain bitterness'

But what really disturbed Jan were Francis' next remarks: "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."

Let me note in passing that by fundamentalist Francis meant the traditionalist or conservative Catholics, who are not to his liking at all.


At a Lutheran temple Pope teaches children that they reach salvation in their false sect

The Pope continued: "The woman 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.'"

He went on to explain why he doesn't like conversion: “Proselytism is incapable of creating a religious path in freedom. It always sees people being subjugated in one way or another. In evangelization the protagonist is God, in proselytism it is the self.”

"We must evangelize, which is very different from proselytizing,” he concluded.

And so, we have a Pope who is irritated by Catholics converting heretics and pagans to the One True Faith. A Pope, who instead of congratulating the new Catholics for their good fortune to enter the fold of Christ, chastises those who brought them into it, pretending that some form of oppression must have been used.

So, why convert our families & friends?

This statement upset my friend Jan very much for personal reasons. Her brother's wife is a Catholic convert whose mother, Helen, remains a Protestant Baptist. Jan has tried to encourage her brother and his wife to bring that relative who is in her 80s into the Catholic faith before she dies.

Her brother and his wife affirmed that her conversion isn't necessary, since the local priest has told them: "A woman so good and 'Christian' as Helen doesn't need to convert. God will surely take her straight to Heaven."

This is not, however, the constant teaching of the Church, which since her beginning has always preached that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. If we truly believe this, we spare no effort to try to convert our families and loved ones to the Catholic Faith.

On the other hand, if conversion is of no matter, what was the need for the brutal martyrdoms of Bishop John Fisher and Thomas More and so many other English Catholics? What was the reason for the Catholic wars against the Protestants? What was the purpose of the missionaries who risked their lives to convert natives in the New World? I could go on and on.

In short, the whole missionary action of the Church becomes futile and even foolish in face of the spirit that emanates from Vatican II.

A contradictory 'new evangelization'

What I would like to emphasize to you, my good friend Jan, is a point that you have difficulty accepting. That is, it is not just the terrible Francis who has been preaching against proselytism and calling for an "evangelization that is essentially witness."

This has been the constant position of the post-Council Popes. After the Council the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith took a new title, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. But the real power shifted to three new Secretariats - for Christians, Non-Christians and Non-Believers, where the focus became dialogue. (Cf. Atila Guimarães, Animus Delendi II, p. 187)

Benedict XVI in Brazil

Above, Benedict in Brazil 2007: "The Church does not engage in proselytism"; below, Paul VI to a guru in 1972: "The Hindu life & the Christian life shall go together. Your message & my message are the same"

Paul VI meets Hindu guru
In fact, in 1988 the Secretariat for Non Christians was renamed the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Its three aims were clearly laid out: to promote mutual understanding and respect among 'religions', to encourage study, to promote dialogue. Nothing was said about conversion.

There are so many examples of the post-Conciliar Popes following this line and  preaching against conversion that another long article would be necessary to describe them.

In fact, dear Jan, please note that in this conversation that upset you so much, Francis cited an address Benedict XVI gave at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil during his visit in 2017. There the German pontiff said that the Church does not engage in proselytism.

This official denial of the apostolic mark of the Church by the denial that followers of other religions must convert to the Faith is sabotaging Catholic militancy everywhere. Today almost no one hears the Catholic doctrine on 'extra Ecclesiam nulla salus' taught in its entirety. And today many Catholics wrongly believe that people can be saved without converting to the one true Faith

What can we do in this sad situation? We must continue to resist the erroneous doctrine spread even from the highest levels. And we must continue to do all we can to convert our family members and friends who are off the path to salvation, the path whose secure guide is the Catholic Magisterium and that leads to Heaven.

Posted October 11, 2019

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