Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D.

2/17/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In other words, an evangelical is someone who looks for and takes the opportunity to talk to others about the Christian faith in terms of morality, salvation, and final judgement


Although it is a positive sign that George Weigel has published a book extolling the need for Evangelical Catholicism, the fact is that this movement has been evident for nearly a half century.  Indeed, most of the new growth in the Church in these fifty states can be traced to various apostolates that have combined into a virtual coalition of Catholics who speak of their faith with a zeal markedly different from mainstream  practicing Catholics. 

Deal Hudson, Ph.D

Deal Hudson, Ph.D

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/17/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Evangelical, Evangelical Catholicism, George Weigel, Evangelical Catholics, living faith, conversion, New Evangelization, Deal


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Although it's a positive sign that George Weigel has published a book extolling the need for Evangelical Catholicism, the fact is that this movement has been evident for nearly a half century.  Indeed, most of the new growth in the Church in these fifty states can be traced to various apostolates that have combined into a virtual coalition of Catholics who speak of their faith with a zeal markedly different from mainstream  practicing Catholics. 

What I refer to as a virtual coalition owes its existence primarily to the leadership of John Cardinal O'Connor and John Paul II; the Catholic pro-life movement; Catholic homeschoolers; the success of EWTN, led by Mother Angelica since 1981; Ignatius Press, founded by Rev. Joseph Fessio S.J., in 1978; the philanthropy of Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza; and the vitality of colleges like Christendom, founded in 1977 by Warren H. Carroll; Franciscan University, since 1978 under Rev. Mike Scanlan, TOR; and St. Thomas Aquinas, founded in 1968 by Dr. Ronald McArthur.

These successes were presaged and encouraged by a large cast of characters and institutions: the founding of the University of Dallas (1956); the creation of Catholics United for the Faith in 1968 by L. Lyman Stebbins; the influence of The Wanderer, Triumph, and the National Catholic Register; as well as the leadership of Catholic intellectuals, charismatics, and evangelicals like L. Brent Bozell, Bishop Fulton Sheen, Rev. Paul Marx, Dr. John Willke, Phyllis Schlafly, Paul Weyrich, Patrick Frawley, Prof. Frederick Wilhelmsen, Prof. Dietrich von Hildebrand, Ralph Martin, and Deacon Keith Fournier, among others.

Deacon Fournier, in fact, published a book in l990 entitled Evangelical Catholics, urging Catholics to embrace a form of "Christian Cooperation to penetrate the Darkness with the Light of the Gospel." He used the term Evangelical Catholic to a mixed reaction. He suggested the adjective should characterize all Christians who had a living relationship with the Lord who is the Evangel, the Good News. They should desire to share that living faith in the Lord with others. However, he told me that in spite of their being evangelical Catholics at the time, many of them rejected the use of the term. Perhaps Weigel's book will help to make the notion of Catholics being "evangelical" more widely accepted.  We can only hope so because until now, and I say this from experience, being evangelical is one thing, calling yourself one is quite another.

The term "evangelical," of course, has a generic theological meaning derived from Scripture, but it's the meaning attached to the figure of TV evangelists with well-worn Bibles raised aloft that has made Catholics wary of the word. The four gospel writers are known as the "Four Evangelists" based on the Greek term euangelion and the Latin Evangelium, both meaning one who brings, or literally proclaims, "good news."

But the issue at the heart of an Evangelical Catholic movement is not about whether Catholics believe their faith is "good news." Of course they do!  The issue is their willingness, or lack of willingness, to share it.  Those of us who have belonged at one time or another to a brand of Evangelical Protestantism know first hand that the disposition to share the faith, to witness, is considered an explicit obligation within that community. In other words, an evangelical is someone who looks for and takes the opportunity to talk to others about the Christian faith in terms of morality, salvation, and final judgement.

What makes witnessing so important to the evangelical is that the "good news" is not merely a "better" way to live, to view the world, to understand politics, but rather demarcates those who live knowing the Truth about human existence and those who do not.  Even more, knowing the Truth through faith unites a person with God in such a way that it bestows the power of Grace in this life and opens the gates to eternal happiness in heaven.

Even a casual observer of Catholic behavior will conclude that these attitudes, if held by Catholics, are rarely manifested in evangelical fashion. Prayer rallies, community Bible studies, literature dissemination, and personally challenging the unchurched and the unbeliever with the option of belief and worship are not habits of  mainstream Catholics. 

The average Catholic parish does nothing to welcome visitors, much less go to any length to check the spiritual 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.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

Pope may visit New York City in 2015 Watch

Image of Pope Francis also said there was a possibility he would add Mexico to his travel plans, specifically to visit the Madonna of Guadalupe shrine Mexico City,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Pope Francis has confirmed that he is planning to come to the U.S. next year, a spokesman says that the pontiff may visit New York City. Pope Francis hopes to address Congress and the United Nations, as well as attend a meeting in Philadelphia. A surprise ... continue reading


On the Memorial of St. Bernard: Lord, Send Us Monks for This New Missionary Age! Watch

Image of Bernard, Monk, Abbot, Doctor of the Church, and Model of the Christian life and vocation. - Monasteries are a seedbed of the great renewals of the Catholic Church. Monks are prophetic seeds of the kingdom who always seem to be around right when we need them the most. We need Monks for the authentic renewal of the Church in this hour. Lord, send your Holy Spirit, send us monks for the renewal of your Church and the work of this new missionary age.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Even though he was regularly summoned to leave the monastery by the needs of Church and State, Bernard was above all a monk, a man of deep prayer, communion and contemplation. It was that sincere devotion which made it possible for him to have wisdom to offer the ... continue reading


So this is where school money goes?! Watch

Image of A new study shows that massive amounts of funding go to non-teacher staff in schools, which has little impact on education quality.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Non-teacher employees make up 50% of public school employees, a number which has grown 130% since 1970, a new study claims. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found ... continue reading


Romney weighs in: Obama is doing 'a good deal worse than even I expected' Watch

Image of Mitt Romney called President Obama out over numerous failures in the six years he has been in office during a West Virginia political rally.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney made quite a scene as he attended a West Virginia rally for three Republican Congressional candidates who are up for election in November. Crowds cheered "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" as he spoke. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil. Learning to Live Evangelical Simplicity in an Age of Idolatry Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


STUPID: Political analyst says indictment of Texas governor is 'the stupidest thing I've ever seen' Watch

Image of A video taken inside the jail after her arrest shows an aggressive, uncooperative Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg under restraint.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling it "potentially was the stupidest thing I've seen, I think, in my entire career," MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin says the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry on two felony counts of abusing his power is asinine. "I hope some judge throws it ... continue reading


Persecution: W. W. Bridal Shop Forced Out of Business Because the Owners Are Faithful Christians Watch

Image of W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania is being forced out of business because its owners are faithful Christians who believe that marriage is solely between one man and one woman.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In the first two centuries of Christianity, as the early Christians sought to serve in the broader Roman society by engaging in all suitable occupations, some occupations had to be avoided. To practice them would require them to violate their faith. As some other ... continue reading


Obama denounced as 'greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation' Watch

Image of In the face of incarceration that could arrive this year, James Risen has resorted to journalistic defiance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Denouncing U.S. President Barack Obama as "the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation," New York Times reporter James Risen now faces jail time over his refusal to reveal a source. Risen also refuses to testify against a former CIA agent accused of ... continue reading


Rick Perry on potential indictment: 'I stood up for the rule of law' Watch

Image of Texas Governor Rick Perry is fighting back against an abuse of power indictment leveled against him by Democrats.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On an August 17 interview with "Fox News Sunday" Texas Governor Rick Perry insists that a grand jury indictment, which alleges that he abused his office and attempted to coerce an elected official, is unjustified. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The indictment ... continue reading


SOBERING THOUGHT: Only 11 nations on Earth NOT at war currently Watch

Image of The world in general has been getting incrementally less peaceful every year since 2007. This has bucked a trend that had seen a global move away from conflict since the end of the Second World War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The news has been bleak as of late: A standoff in Ukraine, shelling in Gaza and Islamic State making a hash of Iraq and Syria. A think tank has some sobering news for the casual observer; as of late ONLY 11 nations are not currently at war. It's a distressing ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 34:1-11
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 20th, 2014 Image

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
August 20: St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church St. Bernard was born ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter