I have been delighted by the positive responses to my Institute course, Evangelizing Protestants.
As a former Protestant, I believe I have a particular vocation to help Protestants understand what the Catholic Church teaches, and to make the reality of life with Christ in the fullness of faith more appealing. Some of you may be in the same boat. However, when I was a Protestant, I certainly did not believe I needed any evangelizing from Catholics! My course, therefore, is not about coercion or triumphalism, but dialogue and understanding.
Here's what I mean. Until shortly before I became Catholic, I did not fully realize that the Catholic Church had a great deal of esteem for my Protestant faith. I was not nothing! Nor did the Church teach that my Protestant ancestors were definitely lost for all eternity. Rather, the Church describes Protestants as "separated brethren"—fellow Christians for whom Catholics desire a relationship of full communion. In other words, evangelizing Protestants isn’t like selling fire insurance; rather, it’s offering an invitation to an even more abundant feast.
As the Holiday season approaches, some of us may be spending time with non-Catholic family members and friends. Let me encourage you not to be defensive about your own faith, nor anxious to mount air-tight arguments so that others may be moved to convert on the spot. Rather, give thanks for the common faith you share, and pray that by your fellowship, the fullness of the faith you hold may appear more compelling to outsiders. If you’re looking for a concrete resource to inspire you in this endeavor, I invite you to consider joining in on my course inside the Word on Fire Institute.
May God grant all of us courage and wisdom!
Yours in Christ,
The Venerable Fulton J. Sheen Fellow of Popular Culture