Plinio Corręa de Oliveira



How Should Catholic Action

Recruit New Members?





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1. The apostolate of Catholic Action should address all men without distinction, however distant from the Church they may be, trying to make Catholic doctrine known to everyone. The broader the scope of its activity, the more perfect it will be. The voice of Catholic Action should be heard incessantly through the radio, press and all other means, following the Apostle’s counsel: "Preach the word: be instant in season and out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine"; (6)

2. Reading Sacred Scripture, or observing directly souls far removed from God, one can see that some have a hardness which makes them deaf to any apostolate. This deafness goes so far that at times it is closed to the greatest miracles. We already talked about this in the preceding chapter. Others, on the contrary are receptive and sensitive, and a simple call is enough sometimes for them to follow Jesus Christ, taking His cross on their shoulders, leaving all things behind and walking in the Master's footsteps;

3. While occasionally the most sensitive souls can be found among the greatest sinners - which, by the way, only happens through the extraordinary action of grace - this is not the general rule, and theology teaches us that extreme evil makes the soul numb, hard, and almost absolutely adverse to the action of grace: "deep calleth on deep," says Scripture; (7)

4. On the other hand, persons with a more disciplined and moral life are the ones normally disposed to climb higher, because correspondence to a grace always predisposes one to correspond to even greater graces;

5. As a rule, therefore, Catholic Action should recruit its future members in wholesome environments and most particularly among members of religious associations. While a prudent and judicious ecclesiastical assistant or a very experienced layman could make one or another exception, by discerning the hidden work of grace in a specific soul called to make a single leap from extreme impiety to extreme love, it would be rash and even harmful to make gravely wayward people into normal recruits of Catholic Action.

6. Such exceptions should be the exclusive prerogative of souls with special discernment, for otherwise Catholic Action would expose itself to a variety of risky adventures and to the censure of all judicious souls.


6) 2 Tim. 4:2.

7) Ps. 41:8.


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