The memorial service was a crowded event, the building filled to overflowing. I walked out, gripping my husband’s hand, hoping that in those last extremities my old friend had finally turned to God. Did he go to hell?There is much to like in the Hon. Mrs. Hamilton's post. She hits on a few points which I have made in the past, in particular concerning evangelizing as opposed to merely proselytizing, and of putting party loyalty over one's Faith. This latter becomes especially damning when neither major party (and few if any minor ones) party is particularly friendly to genuine Christianity, though one is more openly hostile towards it (and the other possibly more cynical about it).
I said it aloud when we got back to the car. Was he dead, really, eternally dead and gone to hell? My passionate, crazy friend — had he doomed himself to eternal death?
My husband was silent for a moment. Then, he reached out and squeezed my hand.
Probably, he said.
I changed again after that. My friend’s death shook me out of my somnambulance. I realized that being quiet about Jesus was the cruelest thing I could do to the people around me.
On the other hand, there is more than one way in which we can evangelize. To literally tells people about Jesus (of better, to do our best to show them in our lives) is of course important, even necessary. It is not, however, sufficient. The simple outreach which attempts to introduce people to Jesus is important, but then again so can be catechesis.
The goal is not merely to get people to proclaim Jesus as Lord, but to go the step further of getting them into right relationships with God, man, and self. Just helping a person to become "Christian" is good, helping them to "find Jesus" is good. But helping them to understand and then embraces the fullness of His teachings is also important, and can help to avoid what I might call the "accidental scandal."
Scandal is that which causes another to stumble, be it stumbling into sin, or stumbling out of the Church. Accidental scandal, for lack of a better phrase, is that which we cause by our own ignorance which then causes another to fall into sin; and falling into sin, to perhaps then embrace the sin, then deny the Faith, and finally to deny Christ. I think we manage that well enough without neglecting catechesis, through probably well-meaning but almost certainly misguided attempts at "pastoral care."
The road seems innocuous enough. First a "lesser evil" is tolerated, then encouraged, and then even embraced as a means of avoiding what was as best as could be discerned the greater evil. But then this "lesser evil" takes seed, festers, and grows; it is not uprooted, and so it takes hold, and while we seem to master teh greater evil we fall to the lesser one, which then leads to some other evil. As Chesterton warned, that road leads down and down.