Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online

12/3/2012 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

As death toll passes 2,600 U.S. lawmakers worry about spread of Ebola Watch

Image of Red Cross workers in Guinea in protective gear. Currently, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the worst nations worst hit by the West African Ebola outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legislators in Washington are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of Ebola and worry that it could become more contagious and potentially spread into the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Obama's new plan to put 3,000 U.S. ... continue reading


Obama gains support from House to further fight against ISIS Watch

Image of President Obama, with the support of the House of Representatives, may now start arming and training Syrian groups to fight the Islamic State, and will continue to strike targets in Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Barack Obama told Americans-in somewhat ambiguous terms-last week that he intended to destroy the Islamic State, as of September 17, he promised that the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


Nice try! Democrats try to distance themselves from Obama for midterm, but it's too late! Watch

Image of Kentucky Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, seen here with a shotgun in an ad where she attempts to distance herself from the disastrous and unpopular policies of President Barack Obama.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, is trying her best to let Kentuckians know that she is certainly not an Obama Democrat, releasing a campaign ad where she wields a gun to prove it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grimes' 30-second ad takes place in ... continue reading


Are terrorists invading the US through the open border with Mexico? Watch

Image of The Islamic State nay already have sympathizers and cells within the USA. The porous border does nothing to aid the situation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Americans are worried that the Islamic State will soon conduct terror attacks within the U.S., inserting agents via the porous border between the states and Mexico. At least one sheriff has told the media he received an official alert while the federal government is ... continue reading


'We'll send them to hell!' Texas sheriff declares war on Islamic State Watch

Image of Texas sheriff Gary Painter reveals that he believes the Islamic State has already infiltrated the U.S. through the porous southern border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Law enforcement agencies along the U.S.-Mexico border have received alerts to be on the lookout for terrorists from Islamic State attempting to cross into the United States, a sheriff from the region has said. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Midland County ... 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 Corinthians 15:12-20
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 17:1, 6-7, 8, 15
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen, Yahweh, to an upright ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:1-3
1 Now it happened that after this he made his way ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 19th, 2014 Image

St. Januarius
September 19: St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento ... 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