The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Friday, January 02, 2004

The Catholic Asian Plan

The Catholic scheme to evangelize Asia is less confrontational and more diplomatic than the Baptists', but no less sweeping. Excerpts:

"Just as in the first millennium the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the Third Christian Millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent [of Asia]."

"If the Church in Asia is to fulfill its providential destiny, evangelization must be your absolute priority."

"Christ is the one Mediator between God and man and the sole Redeemer of the world, to be clearly distinguished from the founders of other great religions."

"The Bishops and participants bore witness to the character, spiritual fire and zeal which will assuredly make Asia the land of a bountiful harvest in the coming millennium."

"The Church has the deepest respect for these traditions [in Asia] and seeks to engage in sincere dialogue with their followers. The religious values they teach await their fulfillment in Jesus Christ."

"I [the pope] pray to the Lord to send many more committed laborers to reap the harvest of souls which I see as ready and plentiful [in Asia]."

"The universal presence of the Holy Spirit cannot serve as an excuse for a failure to proclaim Jesus Christ explicitly as the one and only Saviour."

"Some of the followers of the great religions of Asia have no problem in accepting Jesus as a manifestation of the Divine or the Absolute, or as an 'enlightened one'. But it is difficult for them to see Him as the only manifestation of the Divine".

"Vatican II taught clearly that the entire Church is missionary, and that the work of evangelization is the duty of the whole People of God."

"Jesus Christ [is] the fulfillment of the yearnings expressed in the mythologies and folklore of the Asian peoples."

"The Synod therefore renewed the commitment of the Church in Asia to the task of improving both ecumenical relations and interreligious dialogue [as] essential to the Church's evangelizing mission on the continent."

"From the Christian point of view, interreligious dialogue is more than a way of fostering mutual knowledge and enrichment; it is a part of the Church's evangelizing mission."

"In many countries, Catholic schools play an important role in evangelization."

"Asia is thirsting for the living water that Jesus alone can give."

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