Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Come Home!


pic from http://www.catholicscomehome.org/about-our-mission.php


Catholics come home! Or at least consider it. Recently, CatholicsComeHome.org has been running TV commercials to reach Catholics and non-Catholics. On their website, they explain their mission is to create, “…effective and compassionate media messages and broadcasts them nationally and internationally, in order to inspire, educate and evangelize inactive Catholics and others, and invite them to live a deeper faith in Jesus Christ, in accord with the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.”[1] They go on to say, “We offer many resources that aid fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics to learn more about returning to the Catholic Church. Coming home has never been easier!”[2] So it seems that this is not only an outreach to idle Catholics, but non Catholics as well to return to the Church.

Non-Catholics, specifically Protestants and Greek Orthodox, are separated from the Catholic Church, but according to the Vatican 2 documents we are not totally severed. At the second Vatican Council, [3] they came to this conclusion. They write:

“Our thoughts turn first to those Christians who make open confession of Jesus Christ as God and Lord and as the sole Mediator between God and men, to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are aware indeed that there exist considerable divergences from the doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning Christ Himself, the Word of God made flesh, the work of redemption, and consequently, concerning the mystery and ministry of the Church, and the role of Mary in the plan of salvation. But we rejoice to see that our separated brethren look to Christ as the source and center of Church unity. Their longing for union with Christ inspires them to seek an ever closer unity, and also to bear witness to their faith among the peoples of the earth.” [4]

The differences and similarities are made clear here. We are not totally severed; it appears according to Vatican 2, unlike what the commercials portray. I think Protestants and Greek Orthodox are staying in separate guest houses, but we cannot stay in the main house because of honest differences with those whom reside there(same for Catholics whom come to Non-Catholic congregations). Those differences are not going to be resolved through outreach in commercials, but through firm, honest, and most of all respectful debate and discourse.


Endnotes:

[1] http://www.catholicscomehome.org/about-our-mission.php

[2] Ibid

[3] The Second Vatican council was held in the mid 20th century to meet contemporary conundrums that Catholicism was facing.. Pope John the 13th called the council, according to Lane, Collins, and Komonchak, to, “…spiritual renewal in the light of the Gospel, updating (“aggiornamento”) to meet the demands of the modern age, and the promotion of the reunion of all Christians.” Also, it was held in different sessions from Oct 9 1962 to Dec 8 1965; Joseph A. Komonchak, Mary Collins and Dermot A. Lane, The New Dictionary of Theology, electronic ed. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), 1072.

[4] Catholic Church, Vatican II Documents (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011).