Pope John Paul II called for a New Evangelization. I think some avenues of evangelization have been chartered, but why is it that Catholics don't go door-to-door? Not that I think it's a great idea because I find the people who do this to be intrusive and presumptuous. They may be very sincere in trying to save my soul, but I don't like having to elude these folks and their questions while I'm standing at the door holding a child or a dust rag.
Maybe door-to-door evangelization should be my response to these people. Evangelize them when they come to my home. My father used to do that, but he was a great debater and could articulate his beliefs very eloquently. He was very unselfconscious and charming. He frequently turned the discussion back on the person(s) going door-to-door. I know this isn't my strong suit, at least not yet. It might not ever be.
Stuck in the door
When we got to our cabin, there was a pamphlet from the "Watchtower" folks. Seems they have been doing a full-court-press on getting out the word, or their version of it. A large number of my husband's family is in the area. His parents retired to their cabin on a nearby lake. Shortly after that, my sister-in-law and her husband bought a few wooded lots close to them. My husband's divorced grandparents, then in declining health, were moved into a home together in the very small town close to my PIL. My husband's uncle also moved in with them. Not too long after all this happened, my husband's aunt and her husband bought a lot on another lake in the area (there is a chain of lakes all within a few miles of each other). It seems all of us have been visited by the Watchtower/Jehovah's Witness crew.
My husband's aunt and uncle have a lot that is what they call "high bank." It's almost alpine in its height and steepness. In order to get to the lake, they had to cut a zig-zag path into the side of the hill. It's still incredibly hard to get down to the lake. It's even harder to get back up the hill. A mountain climber would be winded after walking up the path. But, twice the Jehovah's Witness gang navigated the path and knocked on their tiny cabin door at the bottom of the hill. All this despite the place being well off a road that sports "Private Drive" and "No Trespassing" signs. Obviously, they are a determined bunch.
But, where are the Catholics?
Even growing up we would get knocks on the door from people of various religions/denominations. I was in college and a group of ladies from Jehovah's Witness came to the door. No one else was home and, in the heat of the morning, the house was wide open. They saw me before I was able to hide. They gave me their spiel about things, then asked me what religion I was. I answered "Orthodox Catholic," which I erroneously thought they would understand as a secret code to leave me alone. Nope. They obviously hadn't heard that term before and asked me about it. Considering it ruse to engage me in conversation, I simply told them I was in full communion with the beliefs of the Church and the Pope, merely trying to distinguish myself from a non-practicing Catholic to let them know to leave me alone. They kept trying to sell me their books, which I thought was idiotic seeing as I was a very poor college student (I was living at home!) and I had just told them the Catholic password for, "I'm solid in my beliefs."
They persisted while I stood there and gave them an attitude and look that only a 20-something can pull off. It was well past the point of trying to be charitable and kind, they were not letting me go gently or gracefully. It was almost to the point that I had to either physically remove these women from my doorstep or close the door in their face. Fortunately, I had just gotten out of the shower and my hair was all wet. I told them I didn't have time to talk since I had to get to work. One of the ladies reached into her bag and pulled out a small pamphlet that she wanted me to have, actually, she wanted a donation for it. I told her to keep her pamphlet because I wouldn't read it and there was no way I was paying for something I wouldn't read. She then told me she still wanted me to have it even if I wouldn't read it or pay for it. I reiterated to her I would simply throw it away. We bantered back and forth about it, but she insisted I take the now contentious pamphlet. Right inside the kitchen door was an open garbage bag ready to be set out. It was garbage day. As the lady handed me the pamphlet, I moved my hand over the garage bag and dropped it in. I looked up at her and said, "I TOLD you I would just throw it away." Then I closed the door. Yes, it was mean and uncharitable, but I was 20 and felt like I was being ignored and manipulated, that they were forcefully trying to indoctrinate me.
What I didn't tell them was that my cousin had married a Jehovah's Witness and all the money in the world wouldn't make me sign up for their ranks, even if I had been "church shopping."
While I lived in Seattle, I had several friends who were Mormons. Not to bash my poor LDS friends, but their religion is like Voodoo or Santaria, taking parts of Catholicism/Christianity and mixing it with something very alien. Mormons, compared to their Voodoo cousins, are more mainstream because they have adopted a clean outward appearance; they are better packaged. Their belief system is still as extreme as Voodoo, but more palatable to people in the suburbs. Mormons will cut you from their ranks as quickly as the Jehovahs if you don't tow the line, then you are anathema. Not very forgiving.
So, where is the Catholic Church in all this. Lately, people are up in arms because the return to the Latin Mass will remind Catholics to pray for their Jewish brethren. That's "anti-semitic." There are deep and painful scandals the Church is still recovering from. Possibly, the suffering of the Church will get worse before it gets better.
We need to evangelize by example. Clean up our own house. We need to embody our beliefs, not just espouse them. Show and share the joy we have. This should go a long way to help with public relations. Catholicism is such a rich religion that if we are just able to utilize the tools and gifts we are given, with God's grace, evangelization would be a by-product of our example of faithfully living the commandments.
I might not be able to evangelize door-to-door, but I can work on the example I provide. This needs to start with my children. The bible study I just completed really emphasized this and showed what happened to the Israelites who failed to instruct their children. I can see this happening in my own extended family. My great, big, Catholic family is not so great or Catholic anymore. It seems that evangelization needs to start on this side of the door, within our own families, nurturing a good example that can be shared with the world.
I need some serious mid-week input from you...
4 hours ago