Should you ever advise someone not to become a Catholic?

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, comes this… with a quote from one of WDTPRS’s favorites… sorry, favourites, His Hermeneuticalness.

Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Apostolic Nuncio to Britain, says in an interview with the Herald this week that he used to advise an Orthodox seminarian “not to become a Catholic”. The archbishop, who was nuncio to Russia for eight years, said:

I would tell him quite often: “You must not become a Catholic. You have to keep your faith in order to better serve your Church. Now you know us you can dream about going to Rome. You can go to Rome one day in order to study but you should remain a Russian Orthodox.”

The blogger Fr Tim Finigan says he finds the comment “disconcerting”: “Surely we can never say to someone that they must not become a Catholic?” he suggests.

Archbishop Mennini was, perhaps, in an exceptional situation: as nuncio to Russia, he was working very delicately to repair relations between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox.

But what about in more ordinary situations? A surprising example comes from the life of St Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei. A Jewish girl told him she wanted to become Catholic but that her parents were against it. He advised her not to make “any gestures of rebellion”: “You will be a good daughter of Christ,” he said, “if you are a good daughter of your parents.”

So, are there ever good reasons not to become Catholic? Or should people always be encouraged to convert?

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51 Responses to Should you ever advise someone not to become a Catholic?

  1. Joe in Canada says:

    In the mid-late 90′s, the hierarchy of the Orthodox Church in what is today Macedonia approached Rome with the possibility of coming into union with Rome. The Pope declined, preferring to deal with all the Orthodox as a group rather than accept new ‘national’ churches. Plus the ‘nation’ was in dispute at the time.

  2. Mike says:

    The second example, I believe, is slightly different in one more way than you indicate: Escriva is suggesting she wait until she’s older–not a minor–and pray that her parents come around to it.

    So, I think timing could be an issue–a minor, someone about to marry a Catholic, someone who has just lost a loved one, someone who has just gone through a bout of depression, etc. Waiting could be the prudent thing to do, in order to purify the motive of the person.

    Otherwise, I would always welcome someone to convert, in ordinary situations.

  3. angelrui says:

    In fact, St. Josemaria advises her to pray; that is the way to get her parents let her get baptised. She is a minor. He advises her, in the meantime, to go on studying the catechism. He explains her that she already has the baptism of desire.
    He explains all that in the video you link.
    St. Josemaria was always very strong on the need to convert for everybody outside the Roman Catholic Church.
    [And sorry for my English]

  4. Katherine says:

    When a husband or wife wants to convert, but that conversion would cause his/her spouse to consider divorce, I believe the advice should be similar to that St. Josemaria gave to the child– pray for your spouse and your marriage vocation, continue studying the Faith, and wait for God on the timing of your conversion.

  5. HyacinthClare says:

    I’m glad Dr. Patrick of the College of St. Thomas More in Fort Worth encouraged me.

  6. JoAnna says:

    I would advise someone not to convert if they had no intention of following the teachings of the Catholic Church (for example, someone who is converting merely because their fiance or fiancee is Catholic). I would encourage them to continue to study Catholic Church doctrine, and to only convert if they felt they could accept and uphold the Church’s teachings.

    I overheard a conversation between my sister and my stepbrother one Christmas, when my sister was engaged to her Catholic fiance, now husband (both of them, sadly, are converts to Catholicism — you’ll see why I say ‘sadly’ in a minute). My sister said, “I’m thinking of becoming Catholic because I don’t like not being able to receive Communion when I go to Mass with [fiance]. But I’m not sure because I don’t agree with everything the Catholic Church teaches.”

    My stepbrother (who only converted because his wife is Catholic) replied, “Go up for Communion anyway. They probably won’t know you’re not Catholic and they’ll give it to you.”

    I couldn’t help but express my shock at this point, and I was (very rudely) told to mind my own business and not to eavesdrop. (I wasn’t trying to overhear, but we were all in the same room and it’s not like they were whispering.)

  7. JoAnna says:

    To clarify my above comment — both my sister and my stepbrother are converts. My brother-in-law (my sister’s husband) is a cradle Catholic.

  8. Clinton says:

    I understand that it is customary among rabbis to refuse prospective converts when
    they make that initial inquiry. Evidently, the logic is that if the person is truly serious
    about converting to Judaism, that initial refusal won’t stop them from trying again.
    As Mike said above, “waiting could be the prudent thing to do, in order to purify the
    motive of the person”.

    Perhaps I just lack imagination, for while I can imagine circumstances where it would be
    a good idea to delay converting, I cannot imagine how anyone would be better off remaining
    outside the Church.

  9. MichaelJ says:

    Think like a non-Catholic and the answer might become clearer.

    1. Catholics believe that the only known path to Salvation is through the Catholic Church
    2. They hope that through His Mercy and Goodness, God may make exceptions, but the only way He has promised is through the Church He founded.
    3. This person tells me not to become Catholic.

    Given the above, what could you as a non-Catholic logically conclude?

  10. APX says:

    I’ll never forget the time my then future SIL asked me if she should become Catholic. Apparently my mom wanted her to be Catholic so she told her, “it’s nothing at all. You just put on a cute bathing suit and go for a dip in the Baptismal font.” Needless to say I told her not to get bapized, and gave her a quick Catholicism 101 lesson and let her know there’s more to it than that. Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to have a Catholic SIL, but not under misguided reasons.

    Catholicism isn’t a religion to be taken lightly, despite how it appears today. I have a really hard time with people who decide to become Catholic because they’re marrying a Catholic. Unless the person honestly plans on committing themselves to Catholicism, I think it’s wise to advise them not to become Catholic unless they’re ready to make that commitment.

    That said, I’m not a convert, so don’t know how much a person has to go through in RCIA before they can be baptized.

  11. PostCatholic says:

    I would certainly put forth the same advice, somewhat indiscriminately. But that’s my bias.

  12. THREEHEARTS says:

    Unwilling as I am to be severely critical, I must say that since Vatican 2 we the laity has been dreadfully misled about Baptism of Desire. The Young Man who asked Christ what must he do to follow Him left because he was unable to give up the world to follow Christ. His desire ended. We have no right prelates priest or publicans to murder this urge from the Holy Ghost the Divine spirit that breathes wisdom into our souls and minds. No right whatsoever and any priest should remember what Christ said about Himself which because of their vocation and election priest should remember it also applies to them. “I will answer to My Father for every soul I have lost” Let me go further do not try to rationalize these quotes. That is pride and will doubly condemn you.

  13. dcs says:

    I would never advise someone that he or she should not become Catholic. Who is more likely to be saved? (1) The Catholic who doesn’t believe everything the Church teaches, or (2) the non-Catholic who does not believe everything the Church teaches? I think (1). We don’t tell bad Catholics that they ought to leave the Church; we tell them that they ought to be good Catholics. We should apply the same standard to non-Catholics seeking to become Catholic.

  14. Fr. Basil says:

    Looking at the seminarian in Abp. Meninni’s story, there are several things to consider:

    What if he HAD embraced Catholicism? Could he have continued his theological studies?

    Would there have been an Catholic Church, Latin or otherwise, in his home town? Probably not.

    Had Abp. Meninni received him, he would have had a certain spiritual responsibility for him. Could he guarantee this convert would have had access to the Sacraments from the Catholic Church while living in Russia? How could he foster his vocation?

    Orthodox priests have similar issues to consider when receiving inquiries from persons isolated from an Orthodox parish

    The Catholic Church teaches that the Sacraments in Orthodox Churches are valid and salvific. Vatican II said that ALL baptized Christians are in a relationship, albeit imperfect, with the Catholic Church.

    And as others have asked here, what were his motived for becoming a Catholic? Could his possibilities for ordination in the Orthodox Church have been uncertain and he was just jumping ship?

  15. Lurker 59 says:

    I don’t think enough information is given in the article. What I would like to know is if the Orthodox seminarian wished to become “Roman” Catholic, as in switch rites from Byzantine, or if he wished to enter into union with the Catholic Church by becoming part of the Russian Catholic Church. There is a difference here for it is not a small thing to switch rites and it is also the Church doesn’t want to present to the orthodox a sense that they have to convert from Byzantine to Roman in order for their to be union between the Churches. What the Church wants to present is that union will come about by the Orthodox being more fully orthodox (and thus catholic) as well as Roman Catholics being more fully catholic (and thus orthodox) according to their own rites. I see this as on par with the Vatican’s attitude towards the Jews — that is that “conversion” is not really the right idea but rather it is more so a sense of the Jewish individual being more fully Jewish that they will find their Messiah.

    Personally I find it fully appropriate to tell someone who is a part of a valid rite and is part of a real Church but a Church that is in schism that they should retain their religious identity while at the same time seeking to, through their own rite, find communion with the fullness of the Catholic Church. I don’t know if that is what the Nuncio indicated.

  16. A dear priest friend of mine and a valued mentor told me the story of a young man who approached him to become a member of the Orthodox Church. After working with the man for some months he suggested to him that he might be happier in the Episcopal Church. A very good advice: the man’s name was JAMES PIKE.

  17. Sword40 says:

    Having watched a Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy and having had to endure 40+ years of the Novus Ordo, I might advise the seminarian to be real careful in deciding if he wanted to become a Roman Catholic. The Divine Liturgy is absolutely beautiful. Can’t exactly say the same about the Novus Ordo.
    The Traditional Latin Mass is another matter. Its where my heart and soul resides.

  18. RichR says:

    God desires all people to become Catholic. That should be the underlying assumption in dealing with the rare exceptions to converting. IOW, the evil of resisting God’s will must be severely justified by an even greater evil. Maintaining the integrity of a schismatic church at the cost of souls who sincerely desire conversion is just plain silly. The idea that by preventing enlightened souls from becoming Catholic we can help millions of souls continue in their invincible ignorance is terrifying.

    While I don’t judge the motives or culpability of the above-mentioned Abp, I am sincerely concerned about the actions themselves. We need to rediscover a missionary instinct amongst the laity.

  19. RichR says:

    Liturgy aside, it is dogma that seals the conversion.

    But I agree, the Novus Ordo as typically celebrated in a mainstream parish is a mere glowing ember when set against the blazing fire of the Eastern Divine Liturgy. The externals do very little to aid the conversion of visitors.

  20. Mark R says:

    Bl. J.H. Newman advised some not to convert…he sensed that they would not count the cost.

  21. Mark R says:

    BTW, I was in the same situation in reverse about twenty years ago. I approached a very good emigre Russian priest (who has been a Russian prof. at Georgetown). He was initially somewhat discouraging…I think it was partially because he respected the integrity of the Roman Church, partially he may have sensed I was converting just for liturgical reasons. Liturgical aesthetics is very important but it is not everything. Can you imagine a Catholic in another era hunting out a catacomb where he prefers the liturgics?

  22. Jason Keener says:

    Jesus Christ established only one True Religion. We simply have no authority to advise non-Catholics to continue on in their non-Catholic religions for any reason. One may never do something evil (encouraging one to stay in a non-Catholic religion that is man-made) to achieve some good (peace in the family or peace between religious bodies).

    It is true that in God’s mercy, He will probably save many of those in non-Catholic religions despite their religious errors, which are often well-intentioned. Even if God does save non-Catholics out of His great mercy, Catholics still have absolutely no authority to encourage such less than ideal situations and presume that God will always save people in exceptional ways.

    I wonder how many people in the post-Vatican II era have missed out on the graces of the Catholic Church because someone told them that there is no need to convert to the Catholic Faith. There has been a lot of nonsense going around that Jews should just be good Jews and Muslims should just be good Muslims, etc.

  23. Kevin B. says:

    I would never turn away someone who wanted to convert. I might, however, turn him away from some parishes.

  24. QMJ says:

    Jason,

    There are extraordinary circumstances. Without all the details we cannot determine whether the situation with the Russian seminarian was one or not. Also, in dealing with the Orthodox the goal is to bring them into communion with Rome, not make them Roman. This happens by the whole church coming into communion, not just individuals. If they lose those individuals who will foster that return from within? Also, do not forget that the Orthodox live a fully sacramental life with all the graces that entails.

    The situation with others who are not orthodox is more complex and I tend to agree with what you said, though their are still extraordinary circumstances (the one given above concerning St. Josemaria would be one of them). As I think about this, I am remembering a situation with which I do not know quite what to think. I had the pleasure of going to a talk given by an Anglican woman pryest. What is interesting about her (I have forgotten her name) is that she fully believes the teachings of the Catholic Church, but remains where she is. As an Anglican she has led many of her parishioners from various parishes (she gets moved around) to communion with Rome. As soon as she leaves the Anglican communion she will no longer be able to do this. It doesn’t sit right with me, but I’m not ready to condemn it.

  25. Jason Keener says:

    QMJ,

    Practicing a non-Catholic religion is an objective evil. That is really the only fundamental detail that we need to understand as we make sense of these situations. We have no authority to encourage others in their practice of evil, and we cannot even remain silent about the evil, as if the practice of a non-Catholic religion was not a serious situation. Moreover, we have a Christian obligation to tell non-Catholics to stop their practice of evil immediately in a charitable way. One can never encourage someone to stay in their evil just a bit longer for this or that good reason, even if it is to achieve the great good of union between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

    Of course, in the example of Josemaria Escriva, one must tread carefully because parents have a right to raise their children in the religion of their choice, as Aquinas taught. Having said that, Josemaria Escriva should have said to the girl, “Unfortunately, you and your parents have been practicing a religion that has been replaced and fulfilled by the Catholic Faith. It is an evil to reject the Church that the Son of God Himself has established in the New Covenant. Do all you can to get yourself and your parents into the Catholic Church, even if it causes some family disharmony. Remember, Christ said that following Him will cause some division, even amongst family members. If your parents still do not permit you to become a Catholic, pray for them and become a Catholic as soon as possible.” This warning involves no implicit support of Judaism and does not water down the serious evil of religious error.

    Regarding the Orthodox, it is true they have many true elements of faith. That doesn’t change the fact that the Orthodox are not in communion with Rome and that the Orthodox are committing a serious objective evil by refusing any kind of real acceptance of Peter’s authority in the Church, amongst other things. A Cardinal has no authority to tell anyone to remain in a religion like Orthodoxy that continues in separation from the fully true Church. It makes no difference what the Cardinal’s good intentions were. Good intentions can never make an objectively evil act good. By the way, I hope this seminarian is still not waiting for the union to occur, and I hope he is not willing to jeopardize his own salvation waiting for something that may never happen when the fully true Church already exists!

    The Anglican woman “priest” is also carrying out an objective evil by carrying on as if Christ established the Anglican Church as the true church where women are free to be ordained, etc. Just because this woman “priest” believes what she does and leads others to Rome, it does not change the fact that she is acting as if she can legitimately practice a non-Catholic religion, be ordained, etc. Of course, Christ established only one Church, and to carry on in any other way is an objective evil that cannot be condoned for any reason, even if this woman “priest” brings every Anglican to the Catholic Church in the process of committing her evils.

    Simply, we must find ways to achieve our good intentions (family harmony, union with the Orthodox) in ways that do not condone evil at the same time.

  26. tmitchell says:

    Did Rex from Brideshead Revisited spring to anyone else’s mind?

  27. Jason Keener says:

    Please note that I incorrectly referred to Archbishop Antonio Mennini as a Cardinal in my last post. Unfortunately, I have no authority to confer a Red Hat on anyone. :-)

  28. Mike says:

    I think Escriva was right to respect the wishes of the girl’s parents, and ask her to pray for them. Parental rights are not abrogated because they adhere to a false or superceded Faith.

  29. APX says:

    Jason,

    Has telling someone to join the catholic church because their religion is evil, etc ever actually worked in modern times? If I wasn’t catholic and someone told me something like that, I’d have a couple words for them. I don’t know the best way to talk religion conversion with people, but I do know that if you put something of someone’s down they will defend it, arguments will begin and no one will get anywhere.

    I still stand firmly in my belief that no one should convert to Catholicism superficial intentions. I’ll help to get them there if they really are sincere, but I think it does more damage for someone to convert if they have no intentions of actually being catholic. Besides, if they are baptized into the catholic church, but then live a life in mortal sin, will they not go to Hell anyway?

  30. Oleksander says:

    Sword 41:
    “Having watched a Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy and having had to endure 40+ years of the Novus Ordo, I might advise the seminarian to be real careful in deciding if he wanted to become a Roman Catholic. The Divine Liturgy is absolutely beautiful. Can’t exactly say the same about the Novus Ordo.
    The Traditional Latin Mass is another matter. Its where my heart and soul resides.”

    You need to think outside of America/Anglosphere/Western Europe World

    The Ordinary Form is very reverently and traditionally celebrated in the Russian Federation, as it is other parts of Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Ukraine) also lest we forget the Near/Middle East – you havnt heard Gregorian Chant until you hear it chanted by Palestinians – and Central Asia and also in China (where the extraordinary form was the standard until about 20 years ago, though I have heard of some liturgical laxity seeping into Patriotic Churches, no doubt the influence the many Patriotic Chinese seminarians trained in US seminaries)

  31. tioedong says:

    when I worked in Africa, originally a polygamous man who converted had to give up his second wife to be baptized. This often resulted in the breakup of the family and harm to the innocent spouse and children. So often Father would advise the man to come to church but not be baptized until he was old or sick, and rely on God’s mercy. Several of our priests and sisters came from such pious polygamous families.

    Similarly, girls whose fathers were pagan were told not to be baptized at the age of reason (about 14) but wait till they married, since their father might chose a pagan husband who wouldn’t allow them to practice the faith, or they might end up as a second or third wife and technically be “living in sin”.

  32. kuritzo says:

    The question I would have, which I think is very important is this: According to Vatican II, if someone knows that the Church is established by God for salvation, but refuses to enter it, he cannot be saved.(LG 14) If then, someone wishes to convert, believing that the church is established by God for salvation, can one tell them not to enter it, and expect them to follow your advice?

  33. Dirichlet says:

    I would ask that person to fully understand the teachings of the Church before considering conversion. If they can uphold the entirety of the Law, then they should join the Church. Our liberals fifth column is already large enough.

  34. The problem here is that ulitmately we are dealing with questions of what is true and what is false (or perhaps to be more polite in some instances, an incomplete truth). If one ultimately decides that the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth, particularly that truth required for our salvation, that person has no choice but to become Catholic. Any other course of action is illogical.

  35. Philangelus says:

    Fifteen minutes before the start of the Easter Vigil at which she was going to be baptized, confirmed, and receive Holy Communion, one of the RCIA candidates looked at me and said, “So what is Holy Communion, anyhow?”

    I explained, and her eyes shot wide. “REALLY?”

    I should have urged her not to go through with it. Not until she knew what she was swearing to uphold. May God have mercy on everyone involved in that particular event. :-(

  36. jlmorrell says:

    APX,

    I completely agree with Jason Keener. He is not stating that you should go around telling people that their religion is evil, but simply outlining the reasoning why Catholics must always support and encourage conversion to the one true faith. The prudential decision about how one goes about urging/encouraging/persuading one to convert is, of course, different in every situation.

  37. tilden says:

    I will become a Catholic later this year, and then marry a Catholic girl later in the summer. Maybe I should have waited, but when I understood what the Church really was, I really couldn’t wait. Some may question my motives, but I can live with that. My conversion is genuine, and I hope how I will live my life will prove that. Please pray for converts, candidates and catechumens.

  38. Jason Keener says:

    APX,

    I do not suggest that we make an ordinary practice out of telling others that their non-Catholic religions are evil. It is good to be honest, but we must cook the truth in charity until it tastes sweet, as St. Francis de Sales used to say. Having said that, we can’t be afraid to tell non-Catholics exactly why their religions are seriously inadequate and why the Catholic Church is the True Church. In order to do this, Catholics should arm themselves with the traditional manuals of Catholic apologetics that were once so popular. It is sad to say, but the manuals of apologetics have been replaced by the manuals of false ecumenism.

    The great Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand once told a Jewish student of his that he would “walk to the ends of the earth” to help bring the Jewish student into the Catholic Church. Where is that attitude today? Hildebrand’s approach is the only logical approach if we really believe that the Catholic Church is the Spotless Bride of Christ and the ordinary means of salvation. Just because God might save non-Catholics because of His mercy, we cannot act like this is a sure thing. God has given us the sure thing—the Catholic Church.

    It is probably also somewhat controversial, but I believe that Catholics should ordinarily not join in public prayer services with non-Catholics as Pope Benedict did with the Anglicans at a Vesper service during the Pope’s visit to the U.K. The Anglicans have set up a parallel church to Christ’s True Church, and I think it does little good to legitimize their non-Catholic activities. Instead of fostering conversions to the True Religion, it is equally probable that such common prayer services help only to confirm non-Catholics in their errors by making it seem as if what they are doing is not that bad. After all, if it was so bad, why would the Pope join them in a big public prayer service where the Anglicans are allowed to show up in priestly vestments as if they are real priests, etc.?

  39. Giambattista says:

    My difficulty in advising someone to become Catholic has to do with the state of the Church.

    I managed to convince my wife to convert in 2002 and it took years before she understood why I won’t walk into local Roman Rite parishes, but rather we go to the local Byzantine parish or make long distance drives to a TLM. It took years before she understood. Most other people just think I’m nuts – they just don’t get it.

    It’s not by mistake that Cardinal Burke’s name has recently been associated with an Italian book about how to go to Mass and not lose your faith. This is exactly how I feel about the local Novus Ordo parishes because I almost lost my own faith as a result of the nonsense that goes on there, and even with the Church at large.

    Consequently this means that I do nothing in the way of advising people to become Catholic. Unless somebody would entertain joining one of the local Byzantine parishes, it would seem ridiculous if I tried to encourage a person to attend a parish that I myself will not attend in order to be a Catholic.

  40. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    The Orthodox Church has valid bishops, priests, and Eucharist which makes them valid Catholics, SO, how can a Catholic convert to being Catholic?

  41. Dear Fr. Z. (Father, Bless!):

    You have asked a salient question, which I believe few here have addressed: “So, are there ever good reasons not to become Catholic? Or should people always be encouraged to convert?”

    On the one hand, there is the value of being engrafted into the Body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church. What other values are there that could compare with that?

    May I suggest that one may wish to reread the Vatican II decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, for an answer to that question.

    In section 15 of that Decree, the Council Fathers said of the Orthodox Churches: “These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments and above all, by apostolic succession, the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are linked with us in closest intimacy. Therefore some worship in common (communicatio in sacris), given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not only possible but to be encouraged.”

    In short, the Orthodox Churches have true sacraments and the same means of sanctifying grace as does the Catholic Church, at least according to the Decree of an ecumenical council.

    But that Decree also states: “Moreover, in the East are found the riches of those spiritual traditions which are given expression especially in monastic life. There from the glorious times of the holy Fathers, monastic spirituality flourished which, then later flowed over into the Western world, and there provided the source from which Latin monastic life took its rise and has drawn fresh vigor ever since. Catholics therefore are earnestly recommended to avail themselves of the spiritual riches of the Eastern Fathers which lift up the whole man to the contemplation of the divine.

    “The very rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern Churches should be known, venerated, preserved and cherished by all. They must recognize that this is of supreme importance for the faithful preservation of the fullness of Christian tradition, and for bringing about reconciliation between Eastern and Western Christians.

    In other words, at least according to the Council, the spiritual riches of the East are crucially important, not only for those faithful in the East and the West, but for the fullness of the Faith, and for achieving a true reunion of Eastern and Western Christians.

    I believe that these would be good reasons for His Grace, Archbishop Mennini, to suggest to Orthodox seminarians that they could be of more help to the cause of the reunion of East and West if they were to remain Orthodox, but Orthodox who were of good will to their sister Church, the Roman Catholic Church.

    [I respond saying that the fullness of membership in the Church Christ founded requires union also with the Successor of Peter.]

  42. Matariel says:

    I don’t think anyone should ever be advised not to enter into the Church, since “outside the Church there is no salvation” is de fide. Just my two cents.

  43. David Collins says:

    Hieromonk Gregory: I had never heard of James Pike. Having now read the Wikipedia entry on Episcopal Bishop Pike, clearly your valued mentor made a good decision.

    Is joining the Church like joining the Communist Party? Are we supposed to reverence the Catechism of the Catholic Church as our version of Chairman Mao’s red book? Indubitably, those outside of the Church objectively need to convert. But if anyone thinks that an abstract principle must be adhered to, irregardless of circumstances, then he needs to reread the posts by Fr. Basil and tioedong.

  44. Jens says:

    Be carefull with the Statment of the founder of the Opus Dei.

    Normally this kind of “public interviewing” with him was prepared in advance. The founder did know the questions before the meeting. (As I know from members of the Opus). It was not spontaneous.

    So he has had probably some informations about the young girl and her family. So he had probably to be very prudent.

  45. Patti Day says:

    I was not persuaded that any sincere adult person should be advised against becoming Catholic. If the person has been called, understands what is required of him, and has considered the consequences (perhaps not entirely possible with a minor), who are we to discourage them? Would we change places with them? No, because we would not give up the one, true Catholic faith. So why should we keep what is best, while sending them away?

    Fr. Basil speaks of sending the seminarian back to his homeland without the guarantee of the sacraments, undeniably a most severe hardship. If all the Catholic churches in our country were closed down, and all the priests martyred, and there were no access to the sacraments, would we not still be Catholic?

  46. bgeorge77 says:

    I was just thinking about this yesterday, after reading a line from Germain Grisez where he stated that even St Thomas said that one must follow ones conscience, even in the case that if one felt it wrong to become a Christian, one should not.

    That put me off the book a bit.

    So: What if one were a man in northern Pakistan, and converting would entail death, not just for himself but also for his wife and children?

  47. Fr. Basil says:

    \\ If all the Catholic churches in our country were closed down, and all the priests martyred, and there were no access to the sacraments, would we not still be Catholic?\\

    Can you guarantee that without access to the Mysteries and worship of the Church, all would remain Catholic in this situation?

  48. catholicmidwest says:

    Yes, when you know as a matter of fact that they have no intention of following through because they’ve told you that. Becoming Catholic is not a trivial choice.

  49. The Cobbler says:

    “\\ If all the Catholic churches in our country were closed down, and all the priests martyred, and there were no access to the sacraments, would we not still be Catholic?\\

    Can you guarantee that without access to the Mysteries and worship of the Church, all would remain Catholic in this situation?”

    All? Probably not. But some, quite possibly, which seems to be sufficient for the point being made when that question was asked.

    I seem to recall hearing that, as baptism and marriage can be sacramentally celebrated without priests if necessary (that’s leaving out explanation of what qualifies as necessary, but allow me to continue), the Japanese Catholics persisted without further priests for lack of missionaries for generations. I don’t know where to look this up, unfortunately.

  50. dcs says:

    The Orthodox Church has valid bishops, priests, and Eucharist which makes them valid Catholics, SO, how can a Catholic convert to being Catholic?

    They are not in communion with the Pope so they are not Catholics. They can become Catholics by entering into communion with the Pope. Having valid bishops, priests, and Eucharist does not make one a Catholic.

  51. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    dcs,
    The Orthodox are Catholic because to posess the Eucharist is to possess the complete (catholic) faith in the mind of the Orthodox and many church fathers. St. Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to the church of Smyrna declares for the first time in Christian literature “the Catholic Church” is to be found “wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wheresoever Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” Since Christ is validly present in the Orthodox Church they are validly Catholic because it is Christ, and not the bishop of Rome which makes a church cathoolic.