Massachusetts Bishop: ‘Try Connecting More Than Correcting’

by Christine Niles  •  •  February 12, 2016   

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski's pastoral letter on evangelization

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ( - The bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, is asking lapsed Catholics — including homosexuals and feminists — to reconsider the Church.

In a pastoral letter on evangelization titled "The Wideness of God's Mercy," posted on the diocesan website, Bp. Mitchell T. Rozanski starts off the letter apologizing to various people hurt by the Church, including those "who have distanced themselves because they feel unwelcomed. The reasons here can vary, but key among them are race and cultural differences, a sense of gender inequality as well as sexual orientation."

Evangelization, the bishop insists, is about sharing Christ with others, "regardless [of] the path of life they walk."

After urging priests to go "where the people are" and to "use their language," Bp. Rozanski goes on to approvingly quote complaints and suggestions offered by Catholics from a diocesan survey.

  • "The gay community feels that they aren't welcome. They don't want to espouse another religion; therefore, they don't attend church at all. Hopefully, a special outreach could be done to them."
  • "At least half the Church is women. When is the Church going to accept us as equals and value our opinion? They don't even ask our opinion nor do they seem to want it."
  • "We need to do more social outreach and have more ecumenical opportunities to focus on our similarities and not our differences. Get people of different faiths acting together for the same goals."
  • "Try connecting more than correcting."

The bishop continues, "We must make our parish communities places where people want to worship, meet Jesus, and form community. We must put the love of God foremost in all our efforts."

"We must walk beyond our parish boundaries, without fear," he insists, "to demonstrate the faith we celebrate in liturgy takes form in the reality of the world around us."

The pastoral letter fails to cite the need to repent or convert as a pathway to full communion with the Church. Its content is consistent with that of the recent U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops document "Declaration on the Way," an ecumenical effort that glosses over differences between the Catholic Church and Lutheran communities — and which Rozanski himself authorized.

Issued just before the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolt, the Declaration suggests greater similarities between the Church and other faith communities than actually exist. Some speculate the end goal of the Declaration is to downplay the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation, opening up Holy Communion to non-Catholics without the need to submit to the Supreme Pontiff and the Magisterium and convert to the Catholic faith.

Learn more about the "Declaration on the Way" by watching "The Download—Communion for Lutherans?"


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