When we planned this week’s In Focus long ago, we weren’t aiming for a specific issue. Pope Francis was making people — many of them non-Catholics — more intrigued about the Faith, we knew, and we wanted to provide OSV readers with the building blocks to be able to respond to their queries.
Thus this week’s “How to talk to non-Catholics about the Faith” was born. (No points in the headline creativity department, but at least you’re not left wondering about the theme.)
Running it during the summer was the goal, but the specific date didn’t matter too much. It’s an “evergreen” — important, to be sure, but one that always is applicable to the faithful no matter the week.
Then God steps in, where editors fail to plan.
It turns out that running a guide in this week’s issue outlining how to talk to others about the Faith is nothing short of providential.
Not only are these the days of people being captivated by Pope Francis, but, as this week’s issue illustrates, these also are the days of people being barraged with headlines about the family in crisis and contraception mandates, about the “war on women” and hypocrisy within the Church.
Take Hobby Lobby alone. Since the Supreme Court ruled on the case June 30, headlines in the secular press have been vicious. “Court’s Catholic Justices Attack Women’s Rights” and “3 Lies about Birth Control that were Just Reinforced by the Hobby Lobby Ruling” are just two examples of the vitriol that began spewing only hours after the ruling was passed down.
But, flagrant as those statements may be, they plant seeds of doubt — and not only in the minds of non-Catholics.
Catholics, too, are left with questions of their own, on a slew of issues. Why is the Church making such a huge deal out of contraception? Is it really waging a war on women? Why isn’t the Church supportive of my re-marriage? Why isn’t the Church supportive of same-sex marriage?
The list goes on and on, fueled by misinformation, misunderstanding and by a society that no longer believes that God should have any role to play, much less that of top priority.
What to do? For starters, read the In Focus. It turns out that the “non-Catholics” in “How to talk to non-Catholics about the Faith” could really be a “fill-in-the-blank” for, well, anyone. My children, my grandchildren, my friends, my siblings, my cousins, my parents, my co-workers, my book club, my peers, fallen-away Catholics and, yes, fellow Catholics all apply.
Then, pray. Ask the Lord to guide your conversations — to give you courage, the right words to say and the right moments to say them.
These are the days of questions, and there aren’t enough of us ready with the answers.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Thoughts? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.