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QUESTION AND ANSWER TIME


QUESTION FROM MARIA


Father Michael,


Christos Anesti!


I know Reverend Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor. However, he made some good observations on the state of Christianity in the United States during his stay here in the 30's, and of course, about his natal Germany under the Nazi regime. On the other hand he might or not have been involved in an attempt against Hitler's life.


How are we supposed to treat or think of other Christian pastors/philosophers? (Like C.S. Lewis for instance).


We cannot reject some of the truths they said, but some did not live the "perfect" lives as the media portrays, or even have a hatred of Catholicism.


In any case, when I see the lives of Bonhoeffer, MLK, Graham... I see they tried... but were missing something: the priesthood, the Church, etc.


So, who are they? what are they? philosophers? sojourners searching for God just like we are?


Thanks so much!

God bless you!



FATHER MICHAEL




HAPPY EASTER to you and your family.


God bless you for the great questions.


It is great that you pay attention to how other Christians live and give witness to our Lord Jesus Christ.


It also shows that you care about our Catholic Faith; that is to wit, your faith does not remain on the superficial or emotional level, but rather you have a questioning and maturing faith.


This is great, Maria. Thank you.


Now regarding your inquiry on the teachings of non-Catholic Christian thinkers, you presented me several questions:


+ How are we supposed to treat or think of other Christian pastors/philosophers, such as C.S. Lewis or Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Martin Luther King, Jr., or Billy Graham and the like?


My answer is:

- With respect

- With attentiveness

- With care

- With CRITICAL THINKING


(1) HOW TO THINK ABOUT THEM?


Notice many of the things they taught sound true and attract millions of followers, including many Catholics.


Nonetheless, pay attention to the content of what they said or taught and employ our PAPA's ART of CRITICAL THINKING on it.


Ask questions about the implications of their teachings; which means, where do their teachings lead you?


- To "Faith Alone" without "Works of Mercy"?

- To "Jesus alone" without the "Church," i.e., "to the Head" without "His Body?"


Ask questions about consequences.


Suppose you trust in their message and follow them, what would it cost you? What do you pay for it in the long run?


Or you could attentively listen to their teachings and pick out the Catholic elements and values in them and take them home with you.


(2) HOW TO TREAT THEM?


The answer: You can't. Why?


(2.1) All the names in the list you sent me are Christians who are already dead.


(2.2) Even if they were alive today, they don't live with you or near you.


(2.3) Your question therefore implies that how should we treat their THOUGHTS and TEACHINGS?


The answer again: THINK CRITICALLY with care and respect.


Now since you "heard" or "read" from books or the magazines or the News that some of them used to hate and attack the Catholic Church, how should you treat them?


Here are some options:


(1) Retaliate

(2) Reject them or

(3) Retrain yourself from judging or condemning them and pray for them.


Basically, do what Jesus told us to do to our enemies, i.e., if you see them as "your enemies": Love them and pray for them.


Here is what Jesus told Sister Faustina Kowalska to do to a nun who hurt her:


"Love your enemy out of my love for you."


I have no more to say.


Pax Cor Christi

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