The great scriptural teaching regarding evangelization has come to a fork in the road, as this great article in The Catholic Thing explains.
Catholicism is being isolated and increasingly persecuted because of the nagging suspicion that it can actually give reasons for anything it holds. Even though much of the philosophy of the age is relativism, it cannot afford to deal with reason lest it admit what it denies. Thus Catholicism’s calm efforts to state this reasonableness are greeted with shouting, ridicule, avoidance of facts, mis-representation, and hatred. Scripture, to be sure, told us, when invited into a home that refuses to listen, to dust our shoes and move on. But there are increasingly fewer places to where we can move. This fact too seems more and more to focus the attention of the world on the truth issue. This is probably exactly where it needs to be focused.
But it is a world, as I said, that does not much want to listen. In Wodehouse’s The Mating Season, I read the following passage: “Well, there were these two deaf chaps in the train, don’t you know, and it stopped at Wembley, and one of them looked out of the window and said ‘This is Wembley’, and the other said ‘I thought it was Thursday’, and the first chap said ‘Yes, so am I.’” From this rather bemused sketch, we recognize that we often listen but we do not hear what is actually said.
On reading such a passage, I sometimes am tempted to think that a stint in a good English pub would solve most of the world’s problems. But where most of the problems seem to occur, such thirst-quenching institutions are generally not allowed. They are considered to be against both reason and religion. That was probably the counter-point of Belloc’s “Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine/There’s always laughter and good red wine./At least I’ve always found it so,/Benedicamus Domino.”
To proffer something good about Catholicism in recent decades has been considered, if not impolite, certainly “triumphalistic.” Yet I wonder if it is not time to face the fact that we are now pretty much left alone with reason and hence revelation addressed to it. We are to state our “reasons” with gentleness and respect, as Peter admonished us. But surely Paul was right. The sophists, usually paid with money, think that they can state any lie or untruth about what we hold as if that is their natural “right.”
No longer is there much dialogue or debate, only yelling and lies. “Proud pretensions” do raise themselves “against the knowledge of God.” In the end, we prefer not merely to “seem to be wise.”
Retrieved October 14, 2014 from http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2014/on-giving-reasons.html