GMD 53-55: Goal Two, Inviting Others

The second goal found in Go and Make Disciples is the classic understanding of evangelization as it might shade toward proselytizing:

To invite all people in the United States, whatever their social or cultural background, to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ so they may come to join us in the fullness of the Catholic faith. (GMD 53)

The bishops see this as a multi-pronged effort: reaching out to non-believers, to inactive Catholics, and providing a welcome for those who have approached us about becoming Catholic.

I think the Catholic Church in the US is fairly effective when people come to us. As individuals, groups, and parishes, do we reach out with an aim of drawing people into active Catholicism? The bishops offer the adverb “continually” to describe the ideal. We have a way to go before achieving that.

A caution:

At the same time, we Catholics cannot proselytize—that is, manipulate or pressure anyone to join our Church. Such tactics contradict the Good News we announce and undermine the spirit of invitation that should characterize all true evangelization. (GMD 55)

This is our understanding of proselytization: pressure or manipulation. If we as a church were more enthusiastic, I would say it could grow to become a problem. As things stand today, I think not so much.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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