I know that a number of people who comment here are converts from other religions or no religion at all or have come into the full communion of the Church from other Christian denominations.
I wonder how many became Catholic through the proselytizing of others or the attractiveness of the Church, meaning not just the institutional elements, the trappings, the academic qualities of studying theology or doctrine or the attractiveness of our history but through the example and love of other Catholics?
In the pre-Vatican II Church, we were taught not to proselytize. We we told not to wear our religious medals on the outside of our clothes, but hidden underneath (such as crosses, scapulars and the like). I can remember vividly my father telling me when he saw me wearing my rosary that it wasn't jewelry and that one doesn't wear these kinds of things in public less we offend someone.
In fact my father would not send religious Christmas cards to friends or family. He sent secular ones. This was his formation in the Church in the pre-Vatican II times. He was born in 1910!
We were always told that people should become Catholic because they wanted to be Catholic not because someone talked them into it.
The same was true of Catholic education especially in the south where protestants, jews and those with no religious affiliation were welcomed. It was made clear that they would have to participate in Mass by attending, would be taught the proper respect shown to Christ in the tabernacle and that they would have to do all the postures of Mass. They could not, though, receive Holy Communion.
But Catholic school personnel would not denigrate a child's faith or lack thereof and would never baptize a child if the parents would not also come into the Church.
I think of Immaculate Conception School in Augusta prior to Vatican II where there usually was a higher percentage of non-Catholics to Catholics in the school. Many of these children as adults joined the Catholic Church even with its all Latin euro-centric Liturgy. They were attracted to the Latin Mass and to their Catholic friends and families and saw something in these Catholics and their way of praying and living that was very attractive.
So, instead of wearing our religion on our sleeve or on our chest with huge visible crosses and instead of trying to convert people with our words, how do we make the Catholic Church attractive to those who want something deeper in their lives?
1. The best evangelization in the world (workplace or secular venues) is not the words we use but the life we live and our humility. I think humility, true humility is attractive to others and will draw people to the Church, especially the recognition we are sinners in need of God's love and forgiveness.
2. Beautiful liturgies and devotions are key. The Mass well celebrated with faithful, devoted and pious Catholics is very attractive to others. Catholics taking their Sunday obligation as well as Holy Days of Obligation seriously is attractive to others. And Catholics who go to daily Mass is attractive to others. The sincere devotional life of Catholics is attractive too.
3. Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the Church or give assent and do not dissent are attractive to others too. It is ugly to dissent from the Church's faith and morals for the simple reason of integrity. If one is a public dissenter why would anyone want to join a Church were her members are so unhappy with their mother? If one is at heart an "Episcopalian" why remain Catholic and try to re-make the Church in the Episcopal image? How attractive is that? Not!
4. Catholics who are joyful, enjoy life and the good things of this life, and use them in moderation, such as food and alcohol, assure others that the Catholic Church isn't puritanical which is attractive to many people.
5. Catholics who are generous and not materialistic are very attractive to others too.
So, what do you think? Is the Holy Father pre-Vatican II in his evangelization techniques or should he push the proselytizing that has begun to occur in the Church after Vatican II similar to what Protestants sects have always done? Just wondering.