Monday, April 16, 2018

Q&A: On Buying things from non-Catholics; On Evangelization and being ashamed, and of not knowing what to do or say etc.

Question: “Hello - 1. It is a sin to donate to heretics but is it also a sin to buy books and other articles from them? For example there is a book called the Publicans Prayer Book by the "Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of New York" of the Vatican 2 sect. Also icons by the Sofrino Store run by the schismatic Russian Church and a book of meditations by St Bonaventure Press /TAN.
2. How can I evangelise? I feel that to evangelise one must be intelligent and have studied apologetics and theology /philosophy. But I have a weak mind.
I also don't know how to reply on the spur of the moment (immediately).
3. With atheists one may try to prove creation and miracles but what about pagans /protestants? I am afraid to say outright that they must convert, for fear of persecution. By this I am losing many graces and possibly any chance of being saved. I am afraid that because I was ashamed of Christ, He too will be ashamed of me. What should I do?

Answer: 1. It is not a sin to buy things from non-Catholics, even if their preferred paying methods is through a donation. Since this is a purchase, it does not count as a donation.

2. You can evangelize by giving out materials acceptable to your conscience and that does a good deed in evangelizing. You could buy a lot of good things from MHFM and give it out cheaply, if this is according to your conscience. If you buy from us, you cannot get us much or nearly as cheap, so it wouldn’t be worth it. Alternatively, you could also burn your own dvds and make your own papers to hand out with all the information you love and think is important—print it and give it out to people for free.

The best evangelization method is not necessarily to preach, since many people are not interested in such things. It might be better and more profitable to give them a paper or a dvd instead that they can look into in order to get the same information or even more, but in a better format and more convincing way.

Concerning not knowing how to respond when talking with people on theological questions, that is to be expected if one don’t know all the arguments. Do not worry, no one is required to be an expert in theology or know everything or have all the answers. And provided you stand for the truth no matter what, that is what really counts before God. Also, the more you speak and the more familiar you become on the subjects, the more easy it will become to talk to others in a convincing way.

It is also good to have a “The Bible Proves the Teachings of the Catholic Church” book readily at hand, or to know it (the arguments) if you often bring up points against protestants, since this book proves the Catholic faith in such a good way from the bible:

If you received the books I sent to you, you should have received a copy [if anyone wants free dvds, books, devotionals and religious materials, please contact me]. If you want to buy more and for a lot cheaper (and in much smaller format then the book I sent to you), you can buy The Bible Proves book from Most Holy Family Monastery’s online store.

3. It is an excellent idea to prove creation to atheists (one can also give them dvds proving Creation, God and the Supernatural), but it is also a good idea to stress the point of life and its eternal existence in religion and with God. The point is: if atheism is true, then life is essentially meaningless since it will cease to exist and the universe and everything in it will die out (eventually); so life will die out, according to atheism, and never more to exist. An honest persons will of course see and understand that life has more meaning than this, and hence that atheism is seriously lacking something which only religion can give—i.e., a true meaning of life.

With protestants (and pagans/infidels), I would advice you to give them dvds and the book “The Bible Proves the Teachings of the Catholic Church”. Most protestants (and pagans/infidels) are bad willed and will not be converted, so even if you could all the arguments out and in, it might be pointless and perhaps almost no fruit will be gained. So give them the material (especially the dvds may give fruit if they take the time to watch them), and move on. But if you feel the need to talk, talk. But if you don’t know the arguments or what to say, there might be a problem. That is why it is always good to have the book “The Bible Proves the Teachings of the Catholic Church” at hand, and to read it and become familiarized with it, and to learn other arguments in favor of Catholicism and for refuting paganism and the infidels.

You don’t have to mention out right every time that unbelievers and non-Catholics must convert to be saved. However, depending on the context and if they ask, one must inform them of this truth. There is not much point in telling others that they must convert if they are hardly religious. It is better in that case to just give them the dvds or other material in the hope that they will look into it. If they are more religious people that you are dealing with, then it might be more fitting to say, in a good and proper context, that they need to be Catholic to be saved. But it is not a sin to not mention this all the time. So if you constantly worry about the need of having to mention this issue, relax. It is more important that you give them the dvds and make them inclined to watch them then to preach “No Salvation Outside the Church”.

However, as I said, depending on the context, one may want to tell them of the need that they have to become Catholic to be saved. The more religious and fervent a person is in his false belief, the more proper and fitting it would be to tell him of the need to be Catholic in order to be saved. Also, if the religious discussion would be about the topic of the true faith and religion, then it also would be fitting and proper to mention this truth. When it comes to atheists and not so religious people, it is of less importance and it would be more important to just make them look into the material at all—if it is possible to make them do so—by making the material look interesting.

I have a hard time to understand if you are just scrupulous concerning being ashamed of Christ (i.e., with the mistaken notion that you constantly have to mention certain things such as “No Salvation Outside the Church”) or whether you are seriously not doing what your conscience is telling you to do when you could easily do so, such as easily handing out materials to others (dvds etc.) or by admonishing them when a suitable situation occurs.

Also, you would have much less scruples to approach and talk to people of God and religion if you also had at hand free and good material to give out at the same time. In fact, evangelization becomes easy and even enjoyable if at the same time as one is talking with a person one can hand him a free dvd concerning the topics at hand. People always like to receive free things and hence you don’t have to worry yourself with what to say, or “burden” them for a very long time with words that they might not be interested in hearing, and so the conversation does not have to become awkward as it sometimes can happen when talking about religion and God and when don’t know what to say.

So if you don’t have any material to give out to people currently and feel that it is hard to talk to people and approach them even in suitable situations (and that this is a problem for you), this problem would easily be fixed if you bought or made some own free material, such as burning dvds or printing religious papers in order to give out to people.

To not always talk in every situation about God is not a sin or the sin to be ashamed of Christ. After all, we are humans and may feel weak at times. But if we never or seldom talk of God or eternal life—not even when it would be easy to do so or required of us or when our conscience tells us to do so—then there is something wrong. As Christians we must trample human opinion and esteem under foot and also consider that to be esteemed fools by the world, for the Love and Honor of God, is a great honor before God!

I hope this helps, and if there is anything else, please let me know.

Sincerely, and God bless,

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