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Evangelization is not proselytism, Pope insists

January 11, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis began a new series of catechetical talks at his public audience on January 11, speaking about “the passion for evangelization.”

The Church is “born missionary,” the Pope said, but quickly added: “not proselytizing.” The two, he insisted, have “nothing to do with one another.”

True evangelization, the Pope explained, means reaching out to people, helping, them, and inviting them to find the Truth.

Underlining his point, the Pontiff said:

Don’t forget this: when you see Christians proselytizing, making a list of people to come... these are not Christians, they are pagans disguised as Christians, but the heart is pagan.

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  • Posted by: dmva9806 - Jan. 14, 2023 3:20 PM ET USA

    The overwhelming majority of dictionaries and every source on the internet is that Pope Francis is right, "proselytizing" is an attempt to change a person's religious belief. It is not simply instruction in the faith which one already holds or wishes to know more about.

  • Posted by: Gramps - Jan. 13, 2023 7:04 PM ET USA

    In his usual indefinite use of words, the pope misunderstands the terms he is using, There is NO difference in the two words used in a faithful Catholic application: evangelization (telling the good news) is the same thing as proselytizing (instruction in the Faith). It is very confusing to us "simple" Catholics when the pope tilts at windmills or tries to destroy straw men. Does he (or his troop) have an English dictionary?