Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online

12/3/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We need good catechetical materials that are up to date in both style and method of communication

We have a problem in the developed world that we have never experienced before. You might call it a "post-Christian mentality". Many of the atheists, agnostics and nonbelievers are former Christians. They say the second largest religious affiliation in America is "lapsed Catholics!"

Highlights

By Catholic Online

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/3/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Standing on My Head, Fr Dwight Longenecker, Catholicism Pure and Simple, catechetics, new evangelization, conversion, testimony,


GREENVILLE, SC (Catholic Online) - In addition to running a parish, Fr Dwight Longenecker is an author, blogger and broadcaster. Catholic Online caught up with him for a quick interview about his latest book and his thoughts on the New Evangelization. CO: Fr Dwight, you were brought up as an Evangelical Christian. What eventually brought you into the Catholic faith? DL: I first moved to the Anglican Church and served as a priest in the Church of England for ten years. It was the question of authority which brought me into the Catholic Church. When faced with the difficult questions of the modern age, the Catholic Church spoke with an authority that was both ancient and modern--an authority that was rooted in the ages, but relevant for today. CO: Evangelicals are known for being zealous to spread the gospel. How well do you think the Catholic Church does in evangelizing? DL: It's easy for Catholics to be somewhat intimidated by the Evangelical Protestants when it comes to Evangelization. But I think we underestimate the powerful witness of Catholics in the world today. We hear so much about bad priests and hypocritical Catholics, but there are wonderful, radiant examples of saints active in the world today, and it is these shining Catholic examples who are the best evangelists. CO: What do you think are the greatest difficulties in sharing the gospel today? DL: We have a problem in the developed world that we have never experienced before. You might call it a "post-Christian mentality". Many of the atheists, agnostics and nonbelievers are former Christians. They say the second largest religious affiliation in America is "lapsed Catholics!" This means that we are trying to reach people who already know something about the Christian faith but, for a whole range of complicated reasons, have rejected it. They are harder to reach because they believe they know it all already. CO: So how do we reach them? DL: Good question! Most often those who have rejected the Catholic faith or God are rejecting a false understanding of God or the Catholic faith. They have been taught badly, or they have only ever known a bad example from those who professed the faith, or they have been taught a form of the Christian faith which is faulty, stupid or incomplete. In a way, if they have rejected a false version of the Christian faith we can't blame them. In fact, they are right to reject it. CO: But how do they find an authentic expression of the faith? DL: I think there are several good ways of getting through. First of all, we need good catechetical materials that are up to date in both style and method of communication. Fr Barron's Word on Fire video work is fantastic, and there are an increasing number of Catholics working hard in the new media to get the message across. I'm thinking of Tom Peterson's video work with Catholics Come Home, Grassroots Films and a whole range of blogs, websites, e-newsletters, podcasts and more. CO: You've been pretty busy in this area haven't you? DL: I guess so. My blog, Standing on My Head was recently voted one of the top religious blogs in the country, and I'm busy on Twitter and Facebook trying to spread the gospel. I've also started a new weekly e-newsletter on practical Catholicism called FaithWorks. CO: Do you think all these media messages really get through? Are people converted by them? DL: You have to remember that people are on a continuum of beliefs from committed Catholics right through to ardent atheists. Conversion is rarely the sudden dramatic moment when a great sinner turns to God. Instead it is more often a gradual drawing closer to the truth. Every time we declare the truth a little bit more light is shed in our darkened world, and someone somewhere is helped. CO: Have you had people say that they were converted by your writings? DL: Of course! Yes! People have written from all over the world thanking me for my writings and a good number of them have said that my work has helped to bring them back to the church or to convert to Catholicism or to consider God again. CO: What is your latest project? DL: Some years ago, when I lived in England, the Catholic Truth Society asked me to write a series of booklets for primary evangelization. These brief was to write in simple, straightforward language for people who were considering Christianity for the first time. This project was called Christianity Pure and Simple. CO: Did it work? DL: I think so. The books sold out, so I suppose that's good going! Now I've put the books together into a single volume and re-written parts of the text for an American readership. The result is Catholicism Pure and Simple. CO: Who is this book for? DL: I would love this book to become a basic textbook for confirmation and RCIA classes. The book begins with arguments for God and goes on to explain his plan of redemption for the world. It explains the basic Catholic doctrines then goes on to discuss the church, sacraments and the life of prayer and service. CO: You said confirmation classes. Is this really simple enough for eighth graders? If so, isn't it too simple for adults? DL: I've had both groups try the book and say that it works just fine. This is assuming that the confirmation candidates are using the book as part of classroom discussions. But the book is not just an RCIA textbook. It also serves as a good refresher course in the Catholic faith for all those lapsed Catholics I spoke about who need to return to the faith. CO: Do you think people are converted just through books and videos and blogs and all these words you produce? DL: The words are only part of the picture, and probably only a minor part. People are really convinced about the Catholic faith when they see it in action. In other words, if you want people to be converted look like you're converted yourself! Live the faith with joy and trust and open hearted service to others. That's what draws people to Christ--by them seeing Christ alive in us. CO: You're clearly very busy! What do you do for relaxation? DL: I have a motorcycle, and I live in near the mountains of North Carolina, so on a beautiful day in the Fall you'll find me tooling along the mountain roads soaking up the beauty of God's creation. I also just like to find time to spend with my family and friends.-----Visit Fr Longenecker's website at www.dwightlongenecker.com. There you can learn more about Catholicism Pure and Simple, link to his blog and sign up for his newsletter.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Islamic State's seduction, recruitment of Americans under scrutiny Watch

Image of At least 25 Probable American recruits have been detained since January.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. prosecutions of would-be recruits to Islamic State has grown exponentially. ISIS has used both brutality and perceptive propaganda to attract members worldwide, in ways that are far more sophisticated than al-Qaeda and other jihadist adherents. LOS ... continue reading


'Man of peace, tenacity and courage,' Cardinal Francis George dies aged 78 Watch

Image of Polio during childhood had left the prelate with a weakened leg and a pronounced limp throughout his life. With his death, the College of Cardinals has 223 members, of whom 121 are under 80 and thus eligible to vote for a pope.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Retired Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George has died after a decade of battling cancer at the age of 78. The first native Chicagoan to head the archdiocese, he is being remembered as "a man of peace, tenacity and courage" by his successor Archbishop ... continue reading


Genetic rescuing considered for shrinking wolf population on remote Michigan island Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are only three wolves left on Isle Royale, a small island in Michigan Lake's Superior, according to biologists. Researchers said that they do not know what to do or what should be done in order to save the wolves from dying and disrupting the ecology. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Another scandal shakes Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions as IRS reports she took millions from foreign governments Watch

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken another hit to her reputation with new information coming out that could compromise her chances at becoming president or even the Democratic nominee. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recent information has ... continue reading


Controversial 'Killing Jews is Worship' posters soon to be seen plastered around New York City Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After being the center of a legal debate, posters with the statement, "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" are going to soon be seen plastered on New York City buses and subways due to the victory of American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) against ... continue reading


Where will the next big quake be? It may not be in California Watch

Image of The American midwest is seeing a rise in the number of earthquakes, likely caused by fracking for oil and natural gas.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Central and eastern portions of the U.S. have been suffering from a spate of earthquakes over the last few years, and the U.S. Geological Survey believes that human activity may be responsible for this uptick. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Geological ... continue reading


Bishop Robert Finn's resignation officially accepted by the Vatican Watch

Image of Bishop Finn served a two-year suspended sentence and the diocese was fined $1.1 million. Finn remained at his administrative duties until just recently and did not serve any jail time as a result of the conviction.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican has announced the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph. "The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W Finn from the pastoral governance" of his diocese, the Vatican said in a statement. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Spill all of their blood' Suburban American girl joins ISIS, encourages others to terrorize 'non-believers' Watch

Image of Hoda Muthana was described as a quiet girl in school.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hoda Muthana, 20, shocked her entire suburban community when she joined the extremist Islamic State back in November. Muthana was allegedly brainwashed by the terrorist group when she fled to Syria using her university tuition fee. The young American refused to go back ... continue reading


5.3 MILLION chickens euthanized on Iowa farm as bird flu epidemic devastates Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The H5N2 bird flu virus took its biggest toll on a farm in northwest Iowa, in Osceola County. There are seven other Midwestern states that have been hit by the virus. The number of deaths in chickens and turkeys caused by the bird flu virus has been counted to around ... continue reading


Defend Marriage! Sign the Pledge in Solidarity for Marriage, Join the March

Image of Did you read that these defenders of marriage faced tear gas and clubs from the riot police of the French Socialist regime? They sang La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem, and called for the resignation of the President. Most US news sources did not even report on the Paris March. It was led by a growing movement in France called La Manif  Similar marches have occurred in Taiwan and around the world.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

One of the leaders I have the privilege of calling my friend is a great evangelical Christian and constitutional lawyer named Mat Staver. Mat is the Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action.  We have joined together on many fronts, ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2015 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter