Throwback Thursday: Are Catholic street proselytizers giving out good news or very bad news?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on December 2, 2016 and has been revised.


The American Catholic church put very little effort into proselytizing until recent years. The thinking was that new members were constantly being added to the church anyway as infants were born into Catholic families, but with the number of practicing Catholics declining in the U.S., mainly because of the indifference of its own membership, the church is beginning to make proselytizing a priority.

One church-sponsored proselytization organization is St. Paul Street Evangelization (SPSE) which started in Portland, Oregon and now has over 200 teams worldwide. Members gather in public places and hand out pamphlets, rosaries, and religious medals bearing the image of “the blessed virgin, Mary.” The SPSE team here in Rochester N.Y. regularly meets at the downtown Public Market on Saturdays (see photo above).

Members of SPSE say they’re giving out the Good News!, but let’s examine just how “good” the SPSE’s news is with this hypothetical street exchange below between an SPSE member and a skeptic:

SPSE Member: Good morning, sir! Could I give you a free pamphlet with information about God’s Good News?

Skeptic: What’s the Good News?

SPSE Member: God loves you so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins so that you can possibly go to Heaven.

Skeptic: So what do I have to do?

SPSE Member: You will have to attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes for about a year to learn all the details of the Catholic religion before you can be baptized. After you’re baptized you must attend obligatory mass every Sunday to receive the eucharist and obtain graces so you can avoid committing mortal sin.

Skeptic: What if I mess up and sin anyway?

SPSE Member: You’ll have to confess every mortal sin to a priest. If you neglect to go to confession, that’s another mortal sin. If you die with even one unconfessed mortal sin on your soul you will go to hell.

Skeptic: So what you’re telling me is, I can go to mass every single day and live like a hermit monk for thirty years, but if I stay up late one night and watch porn on my computer just as a meteor crashes through the roof and kills me, then I’m going to go to hell?

SPSE Member: That’s right.

Skeptic: So when are you going to start telling me about the Good News???

While the above hypothetical exchange accurately represents Catholic doctrine, there’s no doubt that the actual language used by SPSE workers would be much more circumspect.

Catholics may talk about “grace” and “faith” and the “Good News,” but what they offer is VERY BAD news. The bottom line for Catholics is they must attempt to obey the Ten Commandments and church rules perfectly right up until their final breath in order to hopefully, not assuredly, merit Heaven. That’s not Good News, that’s absolutely impossible! I can’t even go a single day without breaking God’s commandments in thought, word, deed, or by omission.

“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” – Galatian 2:16

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” – Galatians 2:21

Catholic friend, say a prayer to the Lord. Repent of your rebellion against God and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

Postscript: Catholics who participate in SPSE have to ask themselves why they bother trying to attract anyone to their religion because their church officially teaches all non-Catholic religionists and even atheists may also possibly merit Heaven if they “sincerely follow the light they are given” and are “good.”

17 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Are Catholic street proselytizers giving out good news or very bad news?

    1. Thanks, David. I was obviously bringing RC doctrines to the forefront that these street proselytizers would soft-pedal in initial encounters. What a difference from the genuine Gospel!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. When I originally wrote this post in 2016, the SPSE website reported there were 100 proselytizing teams worldwide. When I revised the post for today’s throwback installment, I re-checked the website and they now claim 200 teams.
      RE: Mary
      From what I’ve read their #1 handout is a cheap rosary.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Yari! I’m glad you accepted Christ as your Savior! Catholicism gets “a few” things right (the Trinity, the Bible being God’s Word), but soooooo many other things wrong, including, most importantly, HOW a person is saved. If any Catholics are saved, they are saved in spite of their church’s teachings.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Never thought about that way before: RC never really systematically tried to evangelize back then since they have so many people and also they have followers with many kids.
    I think your dialogue given above really unmask how a Catholic false understanding of the Gospel really diminish the message evangelistically…Gospel of Grace is sooo important

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Yup, underneath the common parlance is a totally different gospel. These SPSE-izers are out of step from both sides because St. Paul would have condemned their false gospel and pope Francis condemns proselytizing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great. People don’t understand the hoops that a Catholic needs to go through in order to gain “eternal life.” It is impossible. Their doctrine even teaches that the Pope will not escape purgatory. Mormonism is so close to Roman Catholicism, just a horse of a different color. It reminds me of my mission trips to Utah to share the true gospel to the Mormon people. Here is one verse in the Book of Mormon that should make people shudder. “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, AFTER ALL WE CAN DO.” – 2 Nephi 25:23. It is also stated that a man cannot be saved in his sins (Alma 11:37). These are not only unbiblical, but ANTIBIBLICAL. Because I came from Catholicism, it drew me to the Mormons because their gospel is just as impossible, and wanted them to see the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Frank. I’m about 20 miles west of Palmyra, NY and the Joseph Smith home and Hill Cumorah where Mormonism originated. Back in the early-1980s, right before I got saved, I did a lot of research on Smith and Mormon history and doctrine. Yup, it’s a baptismal regeneration/works-righteousness, pseudo-Christian religion with a lot of quirky heresies, similar in those respects to Roman Catholicism.
      I wrote the two posts below about the blatant fraudulence of Mormonism, the details of which I’m sure you’re familiar with:

      Liked by 1 person

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