The Roman Catholic Church has released a new ad. You might have seen it recently. The AD is well-made. The videography is nice. Inspirational music plays in the background. And the virtues of the Roman Catholic Church are extolled. At the end, the commercial directs the viewer to a website with the admonition to come home.
The AD primarily is targeting Catholics who are not regular attenders of a local parish. However, when one goes to the website given in the AD it is clear that the aim is broader than that. The website also has a section for those who are not Catholic. The site is full of information answering the questions someone might have concerning the Roman Catholic Church.
During the advertisement several “facts” are stated concerning the impact the Roman Catholic Church has had on society. Some of them are demonstrably true. Catholics have been involved in building hospitals, promoting education, and helping the poor. Other parts, though, are highly disputable. The claim is made that the Roman Catholic Church gave us the Bible. The claim is made that the Roman Catholic Church was founded by Jesus. Both of these claims need to be investigated more closely.
In the next few posts I’m going to interact with this AD. In this first post I want to interact with what is demonstrably true about the Roman Catholic Church.
It is true that the Roman Catholic Church has been involved with building hospitals, educating, and helping the poor. Few metropolitan cities are without a hospital named after a Saint and connected with the Roman Catholic Church. Each Saturday NBC reminds us that Catholics are involved in education as they air the Notre Dame game, a Catholic School. Again Catholic private schools of both primary and upper level education are seen throughout our nation. On top of this Roman Catholics have organizations geared toward helping the poor operating throughout the country as well. Catholics can also claim to be amongst the leading groups in promoting life.
In as far as it goes the AD is correct. However, the purpose of giving these facts is not simply to state some truths about the Roman Catholic Church’s good works, but rather to persuade the viewer that these actions prove something more. Specifically, they are given to prove that the Roman Catholic Church has shown itself by these actions to be a church worthy of people to “come home” to.
Now, churches should be involved in good works. However, the real question is whether the exhibition of good works alone proves a church worthy of support. I would argue it does not. For instance in Matthew 7:21-23 we have the a group of people who did many good works “prophesied, cast out demons, performed miracles.” If this group were to put up a television ad it would be impressive, however, Jesus response to their claim was “I never knew you,”because they had not built their house on the message of Jesus.
The Roman Catholic Church cannot be judged merely by the amount of hospitals built and people educated. A lot of organizations have done these tasks, rather it must also be judged by the message that it teaches. And for me that is where the problem lays.
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