“Most Spectacular in Modern History”
ADDRESSING 10,000 delegates of the 51st session of the National Catholic Educational Association, John A. O’Brien, of the University of Notre Dame, criticized “the lack of zeal in winning converts” among Catholics, observing that “the overwhelming majority (72 per cent) of Catholic men and women have never so much as lifted a finger to win a convert for Christ. Protestants are twice as zealous as Catholics to win converts.” He pointed to the missionary zeal of such as Jehovah’s witnesses, although “one need not approve all their methods,” and then stated that the progress of Jehovah’s witnesses “is the most spectacular in modern history.”
Regarding Catholics’ leaving their church he said that “it must be admitted that our leakage is disturbingly large; larger than we have generally realized. The greatest loss that the [Catholic] church in America is suffering is from the failure to harness the latent missionary zeal of our devoted laity.”—Chicago Daily Tribune, April 23, 1954.
Is there such a thing as “latent zeal”? If the “laity” were truly devoted could they be said to have “latent zeal,” if there is such a thing? Can it be that the spectacular progress of Jehovah’s witnesses is due to their zeal’s not being of the “latent” kind?