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Evangelization as It Used to Be September 28, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, manhood, priests, sanctity, Society, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

From the book A Saint Among Us on Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun, a little blast from the Catholic past:


Seminarian Kapaun spent many evenings reaching out to souls in this novel bit of outreach and apologetics back in the late 1930s.  I think this is a brilliant idea, though it might go over as well today as it did then, given the increasing hostility towards any form of Christianity held by growing numbers of souls.

I think this form of evangelizing is superior to most of today’s technology-enabled efforts by priests to do similar work for the following reasons:

  • It is much easier to blow off a blog post or Youtube video than someone standing in your presence
  • Interaction and argumentation are much easier, and much better conducted, face to face than over the internet or even radio
  • There is no substitute for human interaction, where a soul could, hopefully, experience the warmth and charity of a devout priest, seminarian, or religious
  • This is also excellent training for a real-life apostolate, having to interact on the fly with people who may be hostile, questioning, or simply ignorant.

Downsides to this approach include:

  • It’s much more challenging to interact with doubtful or hostile souls face to face than over the internet
  • It’s demanding of priest’s/seminarian’s time
  • It may reach fewer people than a blog, social media, or other “modern” means
  • It takes a true man to stand in public and declare his faith, and all the supports for it.  Not sure how many of those are around anymore

But, for all that, I think this kind of personal interaction, necessary at the time due to lack of technology, is still superior to most of today’s attempts at the same.  I’d love to see our priests witnessing in public more than they do at present.  Of course, some of that absence here locally has been due to deliberate diocesan policy.  Perhaps that will change to a more fortuitous approach in the near future, too.

What do you think?




1. Peter - September 28, 2016

What deliberate diocesan policy do you refer to?

Tantumblogo - September 28, 2016

Bishop Farrell – for various reasons, some of which were not bad – felt that priests did not have time to do things such as praying outside abortion mills, leading public processions, and this evangelizing in public. It wasn’t a hard and fast rule so much as a clear communication that priests who did “too much” of that sort of thing obviously had time on their hands and would be given undesirable assignments, like being moved to poorly funded decaying inner city parishes, or being told to fill in a few days a week in a similar environment.

At any rate, this message got around, so that few if any priests are willing to do such public acts. Pastors enforce this to varying degrees, and there are exceptions, of course, but pretty rare ones.

Peter - September 29, 2016

How disheartening. Time on their hands to do … what else? Hold meetings with the parish council? Organize extraordinary ministers? Bishop Seitz, when pastor of St. Rita’s, led prayers outside a mill for 40 days and the mill eventually closed. Not time wasted! And priests should want an inner city decaying parish…out on the margins, where most needed. Unless they’re careerists. How disheartening.

Tantumblogo - September 29, 2016

Well the situation when Bishop Farrell arrived was that the seminary situation was so bad, and the priest shortage becoming so acute, that Grahmann (his predecessor) had been taking steps to prepare for priest-less parishes. Farrell did put a stop to that immediately after arrival, and perhaps felt that since there was a perceived shortage, the priests should be compelled to focus on core tasks? That’s a guess, and about the most positive spin I can put on it, but after Farrell arrived, several efforts like Seitz that you mentioned came to a halt pretty quickly. Those priests that continued to do such things as praying outside mills generally had to do so under the radar, and refused any public notice.

There were a handful of exceptions, however.

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