Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
For me, this article is significant because the President and CEO of Focus on the Family, a quintessentially Evangelical organization, is taking his cue entirely from the guidance of the Pope in Rome and a Catholic cardinal.
Are there still big differences between Catholics and Evangelicals? Of course! But the ecumenism of the trenches has also done a lot to wear down those differences and make Catholic faith intelligible to Evangelicals who, a generation ago, would still have believed some of the most naive and superstitious rumors about Catholics. (“They worship statues!” “They reject the grace of God!” “They think Mary is a goddess!”) These days, it is not uncommon to find Evangelicals springing to the defense of brother and sister Catholics against the new fundamentalism represented by the New Atheists, who trade in some of the most primitive Know Nothing slanders of the 19th Century (“Catholics hate science, murdered Copernicus, and sentenced him to Hell!”) Indeed, another Focus on the Family alum, Paul McCusker (who was basically the engine behind their hugely successful Adventures in Odyssey franchise) is now a Catholic!
We live in very different times from the election of 1960 or even 1980.