Also, if it caught your eye that my last Scripture reference was from a deuterocanonical book, and if you had the sense that it somehow “doesn’t count,” here’s my response: we Catholics believe that 2 Maccabees is just as inspired and canonical as Genesis or the Gospel of Matthew, and we should treat it as such. They are all equally the Word of God and equally authoritative.
Which means, by the way, the Bible has 73 books, not 66. All 66-book Bibles are incomplete, missing vital sections of God’s precious, life-giving Word.
Catholics were believing the Bible is the inspired Word of God and final in all it teaches many centuries before there were any Protestants. And it is precisely this study of God’s Word that has lead us to Catholic doctrine.
I’m not trying to encourage animosity between Catholics and Protestants, and this article isn’t meant to demonstrate how the Bible teaches Catholic doctrine. I’m just trying to help us Catholics have clarity about our beliefs.
And from our point of view, the Bible is completely Catholic. So let’s act like it is.
Evangelizing is something evangelicals, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses do – and they sometimes get made fun of for it. Good thing we’re Catholics! We’re more sophisticated. Evangelicals, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, let them have the reputation for evangelization. In thi
s modern, pluralistic world, we don’t want to be associated with trying to push our beliefs on other people. Right?
Actually, evangelization is the primary mission of the Catholic Church.
We don’t need to copy all the methods of evangelicals, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, but really, we Catholics need to believe that our mission is to evangelize, we need to live it, and we need to be upfront about it: “The Catholic Church: we think you need to know Jesus for the salvation of your soul, and that the way to do that is in the Catholic Church.”
The whole world should know exactly what we’re about. If people don’t know that the salvation of souls is our mission, they are missing the whole point of the Catholic Church. If a Catholic doesn’t know it or believe it, they don’t really know what it means to be Catholic.
Evangelization should be such a focus in Catholic preaching, conversation, and daily living that a person couldn’t possibly conceive of Catholicism without evangelization.
As with the other things on my list, evangelization isn’t something we’re just copying from other people. We’ve been evangelizing since Pentecost. We evangelized the Roman Empire, took the Gospel as far east as the Philippines, and as far west as California (notice all the cities named after saints?).
We’ve always been evangelists and we can be evangelists again.
The “new evangelization” inaugurated by Bl. John Paul II, and continued by Benedict XVI and Francis, has done a lot to simply get the word “evangelization” back into the normal parlance of Catholics and the idea back on the map.
That’s a good start. We Catholics need to follow their lead, make it our own, and, like the saints before us, reclaim our role of being evangelists for Jesus.
Brantly Milleganis Assistant Editor for Aleteia. He is also Co-Editor of Second Nature and Co-Director of the International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity. He is finishing up a M.A. in Theology at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity and will begin working on a Ph.D. in theology at the Catholic University of America this fall. He lives with his wife and children in South St. Paul, MN. His personal website is brantlymillegan.com.