I have been following with some interest a story from Tennessee about the distribution of "Chick tracts" that claim to explain to people the errors of the teachings of the Catholic Church and the eternal dangers of being a Catholic. Chick tracts do not limit their concern to those who are Catholic, but the one described in this article happened to be the "Death Cookie" tract which describes in rather viscous and highly inaccurate terms the author’s understanding of the Eucharist.
This is not my first encounter with Chick tracts. I was first exposed to them while a campus minister, and they have continued to pop up sporadically. They are rightfully described in the article as "anti-Catholic." Which leads naturally to the question of how should a disciple respond to this kind of hatred? Obviously as Christians we are called to view everyone we meet as created in the image of God, and to love each person as God loves us, even in the face of hateful behaviors or attitudes. Sometimes loving someone, though, requires us to challenge them to see the world differently.
I was struck in other articles on the matter that the pastor of the church who encouraged the tracts to be handed out assumed that they were accurate, and had never really investigated the teachings of the Catholic Church. For me, this is another key part of our response to such literature. With an attitude of love, respect and compassion we can address inaccurate understandings of our faith. We may not be able to change someone’s mind, but even the attitude with which we share our faith can have a lasting impact. Of course, it helps if we feel we can express what we believe! More on this to come.