How to Approach Catholics

CHALLENGE OF A WORLD TASK How to Approach Catholics

Includes very practical instructions

Instructor in Bible, River Plate College, Argentina

1. Accept the basis of your listener's sincerity in his religion.

2. Do not in any way attack his faith. As far as you are concerned, it is sincere.

3. Since his statements are sincere, do not contradict them. If you do agree with what has been stated, say in a friendly manner, "I respect your opinion, but I wonder whether you have also considered another side to the question."

4. Never ridicule any phase of your friend's religion. When convenient you might suggest, "According to your viewpoint you are right, but would it not be advisable to consider another point also?"

5. Never speak disrespectfully of the clergy or hierarchy. We must always remember that it is the doctrine and the system that is evil, not the individual who may have been deceived perhaps from the time of his birth.

6. Use the Catholic Bible and handle it respectfully. Call it the Holy Scriptures.

7. Many Catholics are sincerely seeking for truth. Let this thought keep impressing itself deeply into your mind.

8. The teacher may not need to parade the fact that he is an Adventist, but on the other hand, he should make no effort to hide it. An intelligent person will soon discover that he is not a Catholic.

9. Catholics are accustomed to kneeling in prayer. Take this fact for granted, and join them in this posture. Use the Lord's prayer frequently.

10. Quote frequently the four Gospels, the Epistles of Peter, Paul, John, and James. Refer to each writer as Saint ————.

11. It is advisable to mention the Virgin Mary frequently at the beginning of your acquaintance with your Catholic friend. Refer to her as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

12. Speak freely about the angels and their ministry. Catholics firmly believe in their work for mankind.

13. The teacher may well capitalize on the teaching that the devil is a personal being.

14. It helps to mention the virtue of early church fathers. (These men belong to the Christian church at large and not just Catholics.)

15. In South America the names of priests are' connected with the history of the country. Some have made valuable contributions in gaining independence for their lands. It pays to know about these prominent men and to refer to them occasionally. One must guard, of course, against leaving an impression of being in harmony with everything they have taught and done.

16. Tradition.—Take the position of accepting tradition for the time when there was no written record; but after the revelation of God was written down and collected into what is now known as the Holy Scriptures, it would be very confusing and unreliable to continue with tradition.

17. Immortality Doctrine.—If your student accepts the doctrine of the mortality of the soul, then the whole system of doctrine he has formerly been taught will readily break down. From here on you will be able to advance on many points formerly held in reserve.

18. The Sacraments.—Ask the important question: "What guarantee have you that these sacraments (mass, etc.) are really effective for salvation?" In reality the Catholic is not offered this assurance by his church, and here is perhaps the weakest point of all its teachings.

19. Give credit to the Catholic's respect for the house of worship. (Refrain, however, from making comparisons with other faiths.)

20. When using visual aids, illustrations, and other materials, build on the pictures of the life of Christ. Frequently include the virgin and the Child and the scenes of Christ's passion, crucifixion, death, and resurrection.



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Instructor in Bible, River Plate College, Argentina

July 1950

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