Re: the mission statement

Hello, Father... I've enjoyed your site, and have been quoting to others, "the church proposes, she imposes nothing..." I figured since I'm quoting that, I should nail it down... but when I copied the mission statement of Pope John Paul II, (which you referred to), I could not find it. Where is it? and how is it used?

Mamie Farish in Los Alamos, NM 505 672-9891


Dear Mamie,

Thanks for your e-mail. Glad you like the website and the quote from Redeptoris Missio. below are the pertinent paragraphs w/ the quote (the whole encyclical can be found by clicking on "Redemptoris Missio" then Pope John Paul II, then encyclicals).

How are things in Los Alamos? God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

(63) The Church is thus obliged to do everything possible to carry out her mission in the world and to reach all peoples. And she has the right to do this, a right given her by God for the accomplishment of his plan. Religious freedom, which is still at times limited or restricted, remains the premise and guarantee of all the freedoms that ensure the common good of individuals and peoples. It is to be hoped that authentic religious freedom will be granted to all people everywhere. The Church strives for this in all countries, especially in those with a Catholic majority, where she has greater influence. But it is not a question of the religion of the majority or the minority, but of an inalienable right of each and every human person. On her part. the Church addresses people with full respect for their freedom.

(64) Her mission does not restrict freedom but rather promotes it. The Church proposes; she imposes nothing. She respects individuals and cultures, and she honors the sanctuary of conscience. To those who for various reasons oppose missionary activity, the Church repeats: Open the doors to Christ! Here I wish to address all the particular churches, both young and old. The world is steadily growing more united, and the gospel spirit must lead us to overcome cultural and nationalistic barriers, avoiding all isolationism. Pope Benedict XV already cautioned the missionaries of his time lest they "forget their proper dignity and think more of their earthly homeland than of their heavenly one."


Dear Fr. Bloom,

Thanks for the info. In January I hope to begin Elizabeth's Ministries at my church, the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Alamos with Fr. Charlie Brown as pastor. I don't know if you are aware of this ministry, but it is a way in which parishes can connect women with one another during their times of childbearing. It was started by Jeannie Hannemann at her parish, Bernard's Parish in Appleton, Wisconsin. Elizabeth Ministry is based on the visitation of Mary with her cousin Elizabeth, and how we, as women, can be open to the Holy Spirit in our lives. I'm very excited about starting up the ministry. Fr. Brown is supportive, and there seems much support from the women with whom I've talked.

I did have several reservations, one being that controversial issues surround a ministry such as this, for example, contraception, in vitro fertalization, to name a few. Even praying can become an issue, for example, saying the rosary. One of the pitfalls, for example, could be that an Elizabeth minister approve of in-vitro fertilization for a women who has fertility problems. Interestingly, the only qualification for becoming an Elizabeth's minister is that she is baptised, because our "baptismal call gives us the right to share in the prophetic, priestly, and kingly mission of Jesus." There is no requirement for being faithful to church teachings. I had wondered if I would put myself in a position of directing a ministry that would have the potential of going against the church teachings. But, in reflection, I believe your mission statement, "the Church proposes, she imposes nothing" helps to resolve my conflict. When these controversial issues arise, I can offer programs to present the Church teachings. In the meantime, it is good to follow the model of Mary and Elizabeth and offer support to the women in our church, who are becoming increasingly isolated from one another. And I will spend some time reading the Pope's encyclical. Anyway those are my thoughts..... If you have other thoughts on this issue I would like to know.

Keep up the good work! Your words are like an oasis in a desert!



Dear Mamie,

Sounds like a wonderful ministry! I do see the pitfall you mention. While we do not impose, we in fairness must be complete about what we propose. It would be misleading to present ourselves as representatives of the Catholic parish and withhold part of the Church's teaching, e.g. on the question you mention (in vitro fertilization).

I recently was dealing with a guy who is considering "coming out" and at the same time wants to have a teaching role in the parish. I asked if in his coming out, he would be affirming what the Catechism teaches about homosexuality? As you can imagine the answer was "no." It really was not a matter of imposing something on him, but preventing him from imposing something on people who would take him as a representative of the parish. I know some people would get mad at this, but is it really asking for more than fairness and integrity?

By the way, this does not mean we have to have all the "answers." "I don't know" or "I will look it up" or "I will ask Fr. Brown" are all good replies. Pastoral care (another word for loving people) is the bottom line.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom