Thursday, May 4, 2017

Chapter 7 of The Way Back Home - Is This Book Propaganda

Catholic Evidence Guild, Hyde Park, 1948
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Today there are hundreds of thousands of men and women who, though they claim to be Christians, belong to no particular church. They are living in practical indifference to God and are risking the salvation of their immortal souls. They will have much to answer for when they stand before the judgment seat of the Almighty. For if Christ founded a Church upon earth, he meant that men should enter it. If He commanded that all men receive Baptism, He meant that they should become members of His Church. If He commanded that all men listen and accept the teaching of His Apostles, He meant that all men should be docile members of that Church He would build upon Peter, the head of the Apostles.  To such men this little book makes its appeal. The invitation which God gives you now, you must not put off too lightly. As the Scripture warns us: "The night cometh when no man can work." And again: "Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation." The invitation, which God gives you now, may not be given again.

As you read these pages however, it may seem to you that what is written here is Catholic propaganda. As a matter of fact, in the good sense of the word, it is. Propaganda in it original sense means anything that is written or spoken or depicted in order to encourage and promote a movement, an idea, a faith. This is the honest and true type of propaganda the Church practices at the command of Christ Himself. Upon establishing His Church He gave the clear command to the Apostles: "Go forth and teach all nations."

In the sense in which the word propaganda is often used today, it signifies anything said, written or done in a partly false manner to influence people into accepting some belief or some idea not entirely true. The Catholic Church does not employ this false type of propaganda. It realized that no true conversion will ever be made by force, by deceit, or by trickery. It presents its claims honestly and openly to your reason and to your conscience. It invites your full investigation into its history, its dogmas and its practices. Only then when the truth prevails under the impulse of God's assistance can a true conversion be made.  

If the Catholic Church fulfills the duty given it by Christ, she must never cease teaching the doctrines  of Christ to all men. Catholic missionaries have in fact carried the message of Christ to all parts of the world. All parts of the world have responded to their appeal. On the other hand, there could be more effort made at times by the ordinary lay Catholic at home, and even by the priest at times, to restate Catholic doctrine to their Protestant brethren. Secure in his faith, content with his faith and not wishing to impose his faith upon the unwilling, the Catholic layman usually makes little effort to propagate it. The ordinary priest, moreover, is so immersed in the duties of taking care of his congregation that he has little energy and time left over for the work of reconverting those who have strayed. Christ Himself, however, gave us the injunction to work for the conversion of those not as yet in His fold. "Other sheep I have," He says, "that are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."

It is strange and yet it is true, that the Catholic Church, although two thousand years old, remains largely unknown to a large part of the modern world. A certain convert in Alaska once remarked:  "What kind of a church do you people run? Is it a closed corporation? It seems as difficult to enter it as it is to pry open the door of a bank vault. I have been coming to your church now for the past six weeks, assisting at the services on Sundays, and I have not as yet met the priest in charge." In some cases then the approach to the Church is difficult.  To make it less difficult, is the purpose for which this book is written.


Pray Your Rosary Every Day


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