The Lingering — and discredited —“Encounter Group” mentality of the 60s
We do, however, question the implicit paradigm of Encounter Groups
— “Often associated with the radical social upheaval of the 1960s”
2 — that Francis appears to endorse on a massive scale, insisting
And all this time we thought — and the Church taught — that it was God, Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Not an Encounter — with Christ
It is important to note that Pope Francis is not speaking of an encounter with Christ — that is to say, an encounter with God and the subsequent conversion experience to Jesus Christ together with the peace that attends this conversion (for that, after all, would be “proselytism”, or the turning of others to Christianity and the Church which he openly and famously deplores as “nonsense”) — but with other “cultures”.
What an odd notion. We wonder if the Holy Father plans Encounter Groups with ISIS and Radical Islam — clearly another “culture” altogether — and after absorbing their thoughts on the matter arriving at that “foundation of peace” through his policy of the “culture of encounter”. In this case — and it is an important one — God cannot be in the mix. After all, by what name would both cultures call Him (and your head may well depend on your answer), and so arrive at peace? Perhaps we could compromise on the Name of God since we have already compromised on so much.
This is no rhetorical question. Pope Francis's mantra, hearkening
back to the clarion of Vatican II, is clear:
“A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive.”5
This entire narrative gives pause ... no matter how non-judgmental we must “correctly” be in order to offend no one in the name of Christ.
Pray for the Holy Father. Pray for the Church. And never cease to pray for the conversion of the world to Christ. It was, after all, His last commission to us.4
1 Cardinal George Pell (Catholic News Service. October 24, 2014)
3 (Vatican Radio - Pope at Mass: Culture of encounter is the foundation of peace) Homily by Pope Francis May 22 2013
4 “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (St. Matthew 28.19)