The Missing Ingredient in Today’s Catholic Evangelization

The Missing Ingredient in Today’s Catholic Evangelization


Twenty-some years ago, I had a typical freshman year in college: studying, getting acclimated to dorm life, and training to go door-to-door to get people to “make a personal decision for Christ.” Wait, what? Didn’t you do that last one your freshman year? I guess that was unique to my experience as an Evangelical Protestant involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, a Protestant “para-church” organization that focused on evangelization. Fortunately for me (and for the poor people I harassed), I soon became Catholic and my evangelization techniques changed considerably. But at that time, few Catholics talked about – and even fewer engaged in – evangelization. Today the word “evangelization” is much more common in Catholic circles. We see lots of videos and conferences and books on Catholic evangelization and hear many calls for Catholics to evangelize. But what we don’t see is…results.

No one likes to hear this, and frankly I don’t like to write about it. But the harsh truth is that fewer and fewer Catholics are practicing their faith, and fewer and fewer people are becoming Catholic. So although we speak about evangelization, we are not really seeing much good fruit from the focus on it. Why is that? Many factors, of course, are at play: poor catechesis, lackluster and irreverent liturgies, capitulation to the culture, religious indifferentism. However, one significant reason for our failure is that we have omitted an essential ingredient of Catholic evangelization itself.

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