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How many Catholics have heard the phrase "That's offensive"? It's what many Catholics hear when they try to defend the Church's teaching or try to fraternally correct someone who is falling into sin.
For the modern man, it's the easiest way to avoid having your sins pointed out to you. In fact, there is a whole movement today within the Church whose first principle is to never offend anybody.
This movement often identifies itself as "Christian Ecumenism."
In Catholic terms, ecumenism refers to uniting all forms of Christianity, such as the Greek Orthodox Church and Protestants, to the one authentic Catholic Church.
The word "ecumenism" comes from the Greek word oikumenikos, which simply means "from the whole world" or "universal."
Today however, there is a modern form of ecumenism in the Church promoted by many liberal bishops at Vatican II. This modern ecumenism still claims to be working for the unity of all Christians, but at the expense of never offending any non-Catholics.
That's why you hear so many Catholic laity and clergy saying "Don't be offensive!" It's because they think that offending non-Catholics will drive them away and undermine Christian unity. So they refuse to say anything that might be offensive or judgmental.
For instance, nearly every Protestant church accepts contraception. For that matter, many Catholics accept contraception and defy the Church's teaching. Talking about contraception as an evil is taboo, so seminarians are often instructed to say nothing about contraception in their homilies because it might offend people who use it. Of course, this strategy doesn't do anything to help Christian unity because it doesn't address any of the problems that are the very causes of division.
Does this modern ecumenism even make sense as a debating tactic?
Not according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in his recent interview with ChurchMilitant.com. He said of modern ecumenism, "If the Apostles had followed this method of ecumenism, they would not have spread the Gospel."
His Excellency went on to compare evangelization to a doctor treating a very sick patient. "If a doctor hides something [from his patient], it would be irresponsible for him. You have to know what problems you have. We have to speak to the people of the problems of spiritual and mental illnesses of our time."
The bottom line is this: You can't help people unless you first identify their problems. It so happens that people don't like having their problems pointed out to them. But that doesn't change the fact that you still have a responsibility to help them and therefore to point out their problems.
Consider Bp. Schneider's example. If a doctor knew that his patient was suffering from liver cancer because of alcoholism but he neglected to tell his patient to stop drinking because it might "offend" the patient, wouldn't that make him a lousy doctor?
If people went to the doctor only to hear compliments, then doctors would get paid to lie, and nobody would ever be cured. Likewise because many Catholics, including Church leaders, refuse to say anything offensive, the authentic Faith is not being preached and many souls remain either outside the Church or in a state of apostasy.
Our Blessed Lord did not say "Don’t offend all nations." He said, "Go forth, and make disciples of all nations." (Learn more; watch our premium show Baptize All Nations.)
Catholics must put aside their irrational fear of offending people and appearing "judgmental" and work for true ecumenism. There is nothing to fear, because Our Lord promised to remain with us "even unto the consummation of the world."