THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Here we have yet another example of why the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) should be completely and totally ignored....
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: In other words, you should feel free to evangelize Protestant Christians in a respectful way! In times such as these it's important to remember the USCCB is NOT a governing body in the Catholic Church and has NO REAL AUTHORITY whatsoever. That's not how the Catholic hierarchy works. As far as the lay faithful are concerned, there are only four authorities in the Catholic Church. The first is your local priest. The second is your local bishop. The third is your metropolitan archbishop (see here), and the fourth is the Vatican which includes the pope and all the prefects who work in unity with him. That's it! The USCCB has no authority, and the local state bishop conferences have no authority either. They are coordinating bodies and that is all. Sadly, these organizations have gotten all too uppity lately, and are given to the notion that they do have some kind of authority. Perhaps it's time for Rome to give them a subtle reminder of who's really in charge. In the mean time, The Catholic Knight urges you to ignore the USCCB, and local state bishop conferences as well. We should all completely ignore them, as they've not only been known to teach heresy, along with all sorts of liberal ideas, but in addition they have been known to give money to anti-Catholic organizations such as ACORN, which actively opposes the work of the Church in so many areas. Furthermore we should urge our local bishops and metropolitan archbishops to defund these organizations, and keep collection monies local to the diocese.
(Catholic Culture) - A recent press release by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops appears to put forward a different understanding of proselytism from that taught by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith-- and in doing so, may inadvertently lead some Catholics to neglect their responsibility to proclaim and witness to the Catholic faith in its fullness to non-Catholic Christians.
An official of the US bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs writes:
Proselytism, or the deliberate targeting of another Christian or group of Christians for the sole purpose of getting them to reject their church to join another, is not allowed. Some people may feel called in conscience to change from one tradition to another, but “sheep stealing” is unacceptable.
The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith does not equate proselytism with “sheep stealing,” but with coercion. In its 2007 Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization, the Congregation teaches:
The term proselytism originated in the context of Judaism, in which the term proselyte referred to someone who, coming from the gentiles, had passed into the Chosen People. So too, in the Christian context, the term proselytism was often used as a synonym for missionary activity. More recently, however, the term has taken on a negative connotation, to mean the promotion of a religion by using means, and for motives, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel; that is, which do not safeguard the freedom and dignity of the human person. It is in this sense that the term proselytism is understood in the context of the ecumenical movement.
Although the USCCB press release summarizes several aspects of the Magisterium’s teaching on ecumenism, it fails to emphasize the obligation of Catholics to proclaim the Catholic faith to non-Catholic Christians. The Congregation notes:
Everywhere and always, each Catholic has the right and the duty to give the witness and the full proclamation of his faith. With non-Catholic Christians, Catholics must enter into a respectful dialogue of charity and truth, a dialogue which is not only an exchange of ideas, but also of gifts, in order that the fullness of the means of salvation can be offered to one’s partners in dialogue. In this way, they are led to an ever deeper conversion to Christ.read full story here
This is the total power granted to national and local bishop conferences according to the Code of Canon Law. The "Apostolic See" mentioned above is Rome itself. Basically they can't do ANYTHING unless they get a two-thirds vote from all the bishops assembled, AND they get a "rubber stamp" of approval from the Apostolic See (Rome). In all cases the competence of each diocesan bishop remains intact, and unless there has been a specific mandate from Rome, a diocesan bishop is free to ignore the conference.
From the Code of Canon Law...
Can. 455 §1. A conference of bishops can only issue general decrees in cases where universal law has prescribed it or a special mandate of the Apostolic See has established it either motu proprio or at the request of the conference itself.
§2. The decrees mentioned in §1, in order to be enacted validly in a plenary meeting, must be passed by at least a two thirds vote of the prelates who belong to the conference and possess a deliberative vote. They do not obtain binding force unless they have been legitimately promulgated after having been reviewed by the Apostolic See.
§3. The conference of bishops itself determines the manner of promulgation and the time when the decrees take effect.
§4. In cases in which neither universal law nor a special mandate of the Apostolic See has granted the power mentioned in §1 to a conference of bishops, the competence of each diocesan bishop remains intact, nor is a conference or its president able to act in the name of all the bishops unless each and every bishop has given consent.
Once again, to make myself absolutely clear, The Catholic Knight urges you to listen to your priest, local bishop, metropolitan archbishop and the Vatican (especially the pope). Under no circumstances however should we continue to listen to the USCCB or local state bishop conferences. As far as I can tell, there is nothing in the Code of Canon Law the requires it.