Deal W. Hudson: Evangelical Catholicism is Nothing New!
temperature of its members. If there is any diocesan or parish version of systematic training in "sharing your faith," I am not familiar with it. Yes, there has been an effort to mount a program calling inactive Catholics to "come home," but the evangelical attitude implicit in this message has yet to take root anywhere it did not already exist.
Most Catholics, I would venture, look upon their faith as something handed down from parents and grandparents, as a kind of patrimony or heritage, rather than a personal choice involving a commitment to the Absolute. Of course, the sacrament of confirmation is supposed to be that moment when "the whole man submits himself to Truth, in the judgment of his understanding, in the submission of his will and in the consecration of his whole power of love..." From this perspective, the lukewarmness we observe in Catholic practice does not reflect well on the way this sacrament has been administered in the past fifty years.
Catholics become evangelical when they are convicted with the belief that everything depends upon it: from the earthly happiness of themselves, their family, community, and nation, to the eternal destiny of themselves and others. All those individuals, organizations, and institutions I mentioned above, representing Evangelical Catholicism in the United States, view their faith as a matter of life and death. As such, it is not something that can go unmentioned or concealed, which would be tantamount to withholding the greatest gift one person can give to another. Until more Catholics are "converted" to view their faith not simply as a heritage, but as the Truth about human existence, Evangelical Catholicism will remain a small, though influential, movement within the Church.
Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D, is president of the Pennsylvania Catholics Network and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Evangelical, Evangelical Catholicism, George Weigel, Evangelical Catholics, living faith, conversion, New Evangelization, Deal
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