PROMISE KEEPERS WOOS CATHOLICS
Bill McCartney and his Promise Keepers were
embraced by the Denver Catholic Archdiocese Monday night at a gathering
of more than 250 men, and a handful of women, at the John Paul II Center
in south Denver.
In his first address to a group of Catholic men, McCartney - former football coach at the University of Colorado and founder of the Denver-based evangelical Christian men's organization - told the gathering that one of the great things about sports is that if you love sports, it doesn't make any difference what denomination you are, "they'll let you in."
"It has become clear to me what God has in mind" for Promise Keepers, McCartney said.
The answer, he said, was found in the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they are the sons of God." A peace-maker is one who brings warring factions together, he said.
The reason there isn't a Catholic men's group filling stadiums around the country "is because God wants us together," he suggested.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, who embraced McCartney as he came off the stage, had said in an interview before McCartney's talk that he viewed Promise Keepers as another evangelical movement trying to bring people closer to Christ, and it should be encouraged.
Chaput said he wouldn't put out an appeal for Catholic parishes to answer Promise Keepers' call for every church in the country to contribute $1,000 toward its operation, in light of its decision to stop charging men to attend its conferences.
"But I wouldn't discourage it," the archbishop said.
He said he will let individual pastors decide. It might be appropriate for a parish with several Promise Keepers members to make such a contribution, he said.
In his talk, McCartney said Promise Keepers has set Jan. l, 2000, as the date for "men of God...across the United States to stand up for Jesus Christ."
He said he envisions 650,000 men in every state capitol gathering at the same time.
Christopher West, director of the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life, said the archdiocese had expected a turnout of about 100, and was overwelmed by the response.