A friend of mine posted this to our young adult group's page on Facebook:
Have you ever wondered about other people’s faith? What do we learn from the belief system of others? Why so many faiths and so many expressions on Christianity? How can we live together with freedom of religion, appreciation for people of all beliefs, and how are we to live our own faith, humbly serving God and all of humanity? This Workshop is also being offered on Saturday at 1:15PM as Workshop 509. - See more at: http://catechistministryday.com/node/1146#sthash.h9wIwQkR.dpufThis is a talk being offered at the Diocese of Sacramento's Ministry Days for Catechists. The speaker is Mr. Jon B. Fish who is apparently a practicing Mormon according to my source. A quick google search turned up this:
Assuming of course that the speaker is the same Mr. Fish as the author of that book, this is problematic to put it charitably. My first response was to take our Lord's name in vain in addition to other unprintable thoughts. Surely in a diocese with over one million baptized souls, the chancery could have found at least one baptized and practicing Catholic who was able and willing to give that talk. I'm not opposed to the subject of the talk in principle but I am skeptical, to put it lightly, that a man whose religion officially teaches that Catholicism is a work of the devil has anything edifying to teach to a group of Catholic catechists.
I'm certain that Mr. Fish is a perfectly nice man, a good man, a family man. Nonetheless, Mormonism cannot even be classified as Christian. They do not believe in the Triune God. All Mormons who convert to Catholicism must be baptized just as any other non-Christian convert.
I'm disappointed that my diocese is doing this but I can't say that I'm surprised. This is part of a larger pattern in the whole American Church. Either the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ founded by Jesus himself for the salvation of souls outside of which there is no salvation, or it isn't. If it is, then our Blessed Lord's divine command to go out and baptize all nations is literally a matter of eternal life and death. Strictly speaking, the Catholic Church has nothing to learn from other religions. Ours was divinely revealed and contains within it everything necessary for salvation. Tolerance and ecumenism and interreligious dialogue are all well and good but only if they are a means to the end of converting them. The end game for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue is that they reject, abjure, and pronounce anathema upon the errors and heresies of their old religions.
If anyone from the diocese of Sacramento ever reads this, and I am wrong about Mr. Fish's religion, I will happily publish a retraction. I make no speculations about the personal orthodoxy of those who organized this talk, but from a prudential standpoint this is a profoundly boneheaded move that will only confuse and scandalize the faithful.
UPDATE, 3:56 pm: My good friend Juan hijo de Juan confirmed it. Why are my Catholic tithing dollars going toward paying a Mormon to lecture Catholic catechists on anything pertaining to religion?
UPDATE, 4:42 pm: The diocese has corrected Mr. Fish's bio paragraph so that there is no longer any confusion as to his religious affiliation, for which I thank them. I stand by my opinion that it's problematic at best to pay a Mormon to lecture Catholic catechists on interfaith relations when so many Catholics do not even have an adequate grasp of their own religion.