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Mary Breslin, Editor
St. Charles Pastoral Center
402 S. Independence Blvd.
Romeoville, IL 60446-2264
5 September 2003
Re: In reply to "My friendships with non-Christians", by Therese J. Borchard, Catholic Explorer, September 5, 2003
Therese Borchard in her September 5 article, "My friendships with non-Christians", wrote that while "evangelical Protestant missionaries are carrying the Gospel" to the non-Christians of the world, the Second Vatican Council warns Catholics against evangelizing with "pressurized" tactics. She implies Catholic evangelization should not venture beyond providing aid and compassion, and should avoid "quoting Scripture" or sharing our faith without invitation to do so. This position undervalues Scripture and two millennia of missionary activity. Historically many Catholics have sacrificed much to bring the world to Christ in circumstances hostile to them and their message. Is it truly no longer acceptable for Catholics to advocate their faith openly?
Vatican II indeed warns against the use of "coercion or dishonest or unworthy persuasion" in spreading one's faith. But it also affirms that the faithful "must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church... Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread the faith by word and deed" and "to enter with prudence and charity into discussion... with members of other religions." (D.H. 4; L.G. 11; N.A. 3.)
Vatican II teaches we must spread the faith with charity and courage.
D.H.: Declaration on Religious Liberty
L.G.: Lumen Gentium
N.A.: Declaration on the Relation of the Church to non-Christian Religions