During the recent National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) held in Indianapolis on Nov 21, the attendees were greeted with a video message from Pope Francis in which he urged them to witness to their unsaved peers, but to do so without “conviction” and without seeking to “persuade” them or “proselytize” to them.
In the short video Francis slowly intoned a prepared statement encouraging conference-goers to evangelize (of sorts) to their peers, “bring the Lord…fill the places you live” but then suddenly grew passionate and animated when he urged them to do so “not with convictions, not to convince (persuade), not to proselytize.”
This powerless, convictionless view is in stark contrast to the declarations of scripture, where Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 1 that “our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” and 1 Peter, where believers are exhorted to always be ready to give a defense of the hope that is within us- ideally one that is persuasive and with the intent to see the other person saved.
Pope Francis is well documented to have an especially accursed soteriology, being a proponent of Universal Salvation. Several years ago he wrote an open letter to Eugenio Scalfari, the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, where he stated that so long as non-believers followed their conscience, they would be forgiven by God.
As recently as last year, during the April 15, 2018 mass in Rome, Francis stated that a young child’s deceased father was in heaven, despite that father being an avowed atheist, because he was a “good man” for having his children baptized.
You can see the video message to NCYC below…
Dear Youth of NCYC
I send you a very affectionate greeting, along with my prayers, on the occasion of the meeting you are experiencing. May it be an opportunity to strengthen and increase faith and communion and enflame your missionary hearts with the courage and strength to live in and with the Lord in an outgoing Church, always.
Today, just as in the beginning, we must go forward each person, more and more, it is our duty to do so, especially those who are far and those who suffer. We must reach the existential peripheries of our world.
You know your peers. You know that many are alone, that many do not know Jesus. Go, go and bring the Lord. Go and fill the places you live, even the digital ones. Not with convictions, not to convince, not to proselytize, but to bear witness to the tenderness and mercy of Jesus.
I bless you with all my heart, and do not forget to pray for me.
Please pray for the people of the Roman Catholic Church, that they might find the real Gospel and be evangelized by Protestant believers with a Gospel that is of Faith Alone.