In an apparent repudiation of the Great Commission to go out and baptize all nations (Matthew 28:16-20), Pope Francis has recently taught a group of high school students in Rome that speech should never be used in order to convince a non-believer of the truths of the Catholic Faith.
Citing a fictional 11th century account of an episode of forced conversion, attributed to the eighth century emperor Charlemagne, Pope Francis implied that the belief that positive efforts should be made to convert non-Christians to the Gospel through argument entails coercion to the faith.
The Pope’s remarks came during a visit with students of Rome’s Pilo Albertelli classical secondary school on Friday, December 20. According to Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, school administrators have sought to help students understand the many issues involved in the inclusion of the thousands of those arriving in Italy who are reportedly fleeing war, poverty, and famine. The Pope’s visit preceded a December 21 daylong series at the school on migration.
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