Re Preaching & the Catholic Faith
Over the past few years my wife tried to talk to a close relative about the Catholic Faith. And, of course, being a real Catholic, she mentioned the necessity of converting to the Catholic Church in order to have any hope of saving one’s soul. At first this person responded pleasantly. He even spoke to a religious leader about the subject. Unfortunately, this leader being an Evangelic Protestant heretic, the leader assured him that the only thing he needed to do was say ‘a sinner’s prayer’ in order to go to Heaven. Armed with this false assurance, the relative then tried to convince my wife she needn’t worry, that he was fine. After a long & busy silence, my wife sent the relative another email, politely requesting that they talk by phone again concerning the Religion of Rome. This time he was stand-offish, almost testy. ‘Don’t preach at me’ was pretty much his line. How to respond? Her feelings were too deeply involved, so I stepped in and composed a response with her approval of the text as accurately representing her thoughts & convictions in the matter. We couldn’t very well excoriate the poor fellow since communication about the subject had been limited & he had never claimed to be Catholic or anything like that; on the other hand, if we didn’t squish this ‘anti-conversion’ stance of his (a prejudice very popular nowadays amongst people) and reveal it to be irrational, then how could we expect the door of his mind to be open to anything else in the future regarding Catholicism? We therefore took the middle road: firm & admonishing, but leaving the door wide open for further communication should he back off from his illogical view. Which is why I say to you, my dear reader, to take a good look at this letter. It isn’t very long, and bears close examination. People today love to accuse real Catholics of being ‘narrow-minded’ or ‘intolerant’, when in fact --- and as you will see from this email --- it is the other way around… they are the ones being extremely intolerant & narrow-minded against the Faith of Roman Catholicism!
17 June 2008
If what I believe is “fine” (your words), then how come you’re not okay with it? And how exactly is something “forced” (again, your words) on someone? Is it simply daring to tell you about the Catholic Religion? Or is it just me bothering to talk & act like the Catholic Religion is literally true?
Let’s get down to brass tacks: you don’t like being told you’re wrong. But if you’re 62 years old, then surely you’ve lived long enough to make a mistake at least a few times in your life and someone has had to warn you, if only once or twice, of the consequences for not getting things right… right? Or is the merest hint of this unflattering idea so shocking to your senses that it’s banned from your mind like the most unthinkable of taboos?
X, be honest. You tell me you “don’t let anyone preach” to you or “try to convert others” or yourself. Alright --- so then why do you preach at me and try to convert me to your way of seeing things by saying “what you believe is fine, but shouldn’t be forced on to others”? (Your words with emphasis added.) Isn’t you saying “but shouldn’t be forced on to others” you telling me what I should or should not do? Isn’t that preaching at me? Aren’t you trying to convert me to your personal opinion of what’s right & wrong?
Don’t you see how you can’t even live up to your own standard? You preach in order to tell me not to preach… doesn’t that show you how mixed up you are? Doesn’t that smell like hypocrisy?
The bottom line is that I can’t pretend to be what I’m not. And I’m a real Roman Catholic. What’s more, however much I may love you, I’m not you and I’m not ever going to think like you or talk like you just to make you happy. If you want to be around me or speak to me then you’re going to have to put up with me saying things and doing things that you won’t like. If that upsets you too much, then don’t talk to me. Meanwhile, if you do choose to talk to me, then I’m not going to stop saying there’s no Salvation outside of the Catholic Church just so your feelings aren’t hurt. No one would expect you to talk like the earth is not round just because you’re talking to someone who thinks the earth is flat, so why should I be expected to talk like everybody goes to Heaven just because I’m talking to someone who wants to think God doesn’t care what religion you are? Am I supposed to put my brain in neutral just because I’m speaking to someone who doesn’t want to deal with the fact that all religions contradict? Am I supposed to shut my mouth just because I took the time to figure out which of these religions is true and actually pleases God?
Think about it. If your apartment complex were burning down and I came running through your front door to tell you that you’d better get out of there as fast as possible so you don’t die, would you look at me and say, “I don’t let anyone preach to me about fires or try to convert others or myself to believing in the danger of burning up in a fire”? I mean, come on! Wouldn’t my warning you about the danger then cause you, at the very least, to take a close look at the evidence for the fire for yourself? Would you go around pretending to know everything already --- as if you could never be wrong about anything --- and wave me away with disdain, saying, “Silly girl, I’m never going to burn to death! You can pretend the apartment’s on fire all you like, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t force your belief about the apartment burning down on others”?
X, the ball’s in your court. I care about you, but it’s up to you. You know how to contact me. You want to speak to me, then please let me know. You’re going to have to remember, though, that you’re talking to an honest-to-God Roman Catholic who actually lives what I preach. The other Paula --- the not-truly-Catholic Paula that you want me to be --- doesn’t exist. You don’t have to become Catholic. The choice is yours. Yet you don’t have the right to tell me not to talk about Catholicism to you just because it offends you. I love you way, way, way, way too much to do otherwise since being a real Catholic and a good Catholic is the only thing that will ever save your immortal soul. I pray for your conversion to the Roman Catholic Faith. You can look at my husband’s website at www.TheEpistemologicWorks.com to see for yourself the huge amount of proof & simple good sense there is for what we say. Very sincerely your loving [relative],
Unfortunately, the relative to whom this email was addressed either failed to read the actual contents of the letter carefully, thoroughly & to a complete understanding, or else read the contents adequately but failed to acknowledge the truth of what was said. The response from him was immediate & irrational. The same statements & criticisms that he had made in his previous email were repeated in his response to my wife’s letter above --- thus proving that he hadn’t read the letter or, having read it, that he had closed the eyes of his mind and flatly refused to acknowledge the simple & reasonable points that she had made. In other words, he tried to pretend that he had no problem with Paula’s Catholicism, all the while he denied her the privilege to talk & act like a real Catholic in his hearing… and thus denied her the freedom to talk & act to his face like Roman Catholicism is most literally & actually true.
This is a double standard, because in doing so (for it is a rampant attitude amongst people of the world nowadays) such people pretend that their religious position is somehow ‘neutral’ while Roman Catholicism is not. When, in reality, no religious position is ever neutral. That is to say, you can never take a totally neutral position toward religion. It is rationally impossible. And just as someone professing Roman Catholicism is not neutral, so someone refusing to profess Roman Catholicism is also not neutral. It doesn’t matter whether you, as the one refusing to profess Roman Catholicism, formally profess another religion or not. Merely by the fact that you refuse to profess Catholicism --- and especially by the fact that you even refuse to hear anything about it from a person who is most truly, literally & actually Catholic, living the life of Catholicism every second of his existence --- is proof that you take a position diametrically opposed to Roman Catholicism. For if not, then why don’t you admit the possibility that Roman Catholicism could be correct and listen carefully to what the one who is Roman Catholic has to say? After all, you’re not all-knowing or never-wrong, right? Then you could learn something useful and even save your soul! Or, at the very least, why don’t you concede the natural right & privilege of a real Roman Catholic to talk & act like a Catholic to your face, whether or not you want to hear it?
You see, then, dear reader, how religious neutrality is a myth. There is no such thing as a truly neutral person toward religion. Either you believe or you don’t. There is no in-between. Consequently, you are a hypocrite to pretend that you have no problem with someone being Catholic when you yourself want no part of it. Because clearly you have a problem with it if you refuse to become one! What you really mean to say, though, if you’d simply think it through & be honest, choosing your words carefully, is that you don’t want to have to go to the trouble of ‘fighting’ about it or discussing it, proving to the other side that your refusal to be Catholic is the right position to take. You just want to let the Catholic be a Catholic whilst he lets you be whatever it is that you think that you are, religiously speaking, no attempts at conversion made from either side. But, of course, it rarely ends there. Most people aren’t just content to let someone be a real Catholic. For real Catholics, by virtue of their very real & literal Catholicism, have to talk & act like real Catholics around other people --- as if it’s really true what they believe and as if it really matters that someone become a Catholic, and like the whole rest of the world should be Catholic, too, since Our Almighty Creator has commanded us to do so, everlasting damnation being the fate of those who refuse to obey Him until their deaths on earth.
This infuriates such men. Confronted by the obvious non-neutrality of a real Catholicism, the mask of phony ‘neutrality’ is ripped from their angry faces and their venomous hatred toward Jesus & His Singular Catholic Faith more fully revealed.
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