Recently, on FB, there’s been a bit of a controversy over the discovery that a “pro-life” page, Abolish Human Abortion, is actually a front operation for Jack Chick-type Evangelicals. In my final participation in that page, I compared them to sedevacantist Catholics: both groups insist that just about everyone is damned except members of their group, and even many members of their group. Both groups take texts (passages of the Bible on the one hand; Church documents on the other) and insist on interpreting them by taking select passages out of context, refusing to consider historical situation, audience and other factors of hermeneutics. Both sides engage primarily in condemnation of other views rather than in promoting why their view is good.
One of my best friends once called the sede “Most Holy Family Monastery” on the phone after watching some of their Youtube videos and reading their web page. He said, “I would like to ask you some questions, because I’m really involved in my parish, and I even teach John Paul II’s theology of the body. I’ve watched your videos and read your website, and you’ve pretty much convinced me that he’s wrong, but I’m wondering what is it that *you* believe? If I decide you’re right, and the Church has gone into heresy, what is it about your group that I should decide to join you and not become a Protestant or something?” The woman who answered the phone screamed something at him about being a “Popolator,” and hung up on him. So he called her back. She didn’t answer . This went on several times till she finally picked up and screamed, “Stop calling here, or I’ll call the police and have you arrested for harrassment!!”
Last year, I blogged about the Baptist couple who accosted me while I was in the ER with my daughter. It’s happened to me several times that I’ve been grocery shopping in a mart cart, and someone has come up to me and said, “Can I pray over you?” or “Can I pray with you?” And that person starts some prayer, and then starts an akward “conversation” about whether I have faith in Jesus, and how I just need faith in Jesus and I’ll be healed.
The notion of “planting seeds” totally eludes some people. It’s like they have to convert you to attend *their* church on the spot, no matter where “on the spot” is. They can’t just strike up a friendly, brief conversation and trust God to do the rest. That’s how we Catholics are trained to evangelize, and they even attack us for taking that approach.
But extremists aren’t the only ones who do it–they’re just the ones who make the least sense.
Some Catholics raise a mostly academic question about whether a pro-life activist’s “undercover” work conforms to the Church’s teaching that all lies are to be condemned. People protest that “her work is necessary,” and “God needs her”. “God cares more about ending Planned Parenthood than about some passage in the Catechism.”
A popular TV priest is asked to step out of the spotlight and return to community life with his order while they investigate some charges against him. People get upset and say, “God needs him!” “He’s the *only* priest preaching the true teachings of the Church.”
A popular pro-life activist priest is asked to return to his diocese and serve in pastoral life for a while. “God needs him,” people cry. “The pro-life movement depends on him.”
Is God just what the atheists claim: an imaginary figure? Is God as impotent as Baal? Is God just an idol that has a mouth but cannot speak and eyes but cannot see?
Or is God able to raise up servants from the stone? Do you believe that all things are possible with God?
Is God truly more concerned about ending Planned Parenthood than about the salvation of a single soul? Couldn’t God just strike every Planned Parenthood building with lightning and burn it to the ground?
Yes, He could. But He doesn’t operate that way, except under certain circumstances, because His will is for us to change our will and love Him freely. Yes, He chooses to use us as instruments, but He doesn’t “need” any particular one of us to serve any purpose other than to serve Him as best as possible. And what’s best for our souls is often what’s least public, what’s most private, what’s most secret.
That is why, after Holy Father Elijah slaughtered the prophets of Baal, God said he would come to visit him on Mt. Carmel, and showed Elijah that He was not to be found in the Earthquake, the fire or the storm but in the still, soft breeze.