Excerpted from "The French Reconnection"
by Agnieszka Tennant, ChristianityToday.com http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/003/20.28.html
"The climate of secularization has made allies of evangelicals and gospel-focused Catholics, as well as Reformed and Lutheran Christians. They joined together in organizing well-attended Bible exhibits in 2003 as part of the Year of the Bible. The Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger, has said two good things that Catholics have received from the Protestants are the charismatic movement and the Alpha course.
"In many ornate Catholic churches, including Notre Dame de Paris, big posters advertise the Alpha course, which is booming in Catholic parishes. In 1998, the number of French groups studying the principles of Christianity through this explicitly evangelistic program was 5. In 2004, it was 303.
"Add to this the surprise that Jews for Jesus' Gordon experienced as he handed out his brochures: "I'm shocked by how many born-again Catholics I've run into -- probably 20 -- who say, 'I was raised Catholic but then gave my life to Jesus.' I even run into Catholics who are giving out invitations to their churches."
"Many congregations are being led by lay people, chiefly women," Siemon-Netto says. "They hold worship services that are Protestant in many ways, preaching gospel-centered sermons, and distributing hosts consecrated, of course, by a priest in a neighboring community." With many priests having to look after up to 50 altars, lay people also conduct funerals, and an increasing number of Catholics support the ordination of women and the end of mandatory celibacy.
"Catholics don't mind borrowing evangelical teachers, either. Some Catholic secondary schools hire evangelicals to teach religion classes . . . 'On ethical issues such as abortion and bioethics, Catholics are nearer to evangelicals than to the Reformed and Lutherans.’ "
[TBC: If Catholics are truly "born again" they are commanded by Scripture to "come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing" (2 Cor:6:17). Anyone truly born of Christ is forbidden to create a hybrid ecumenical religion of idolatry, mysticism, and evangelicalism. This kind of syncretism is supported by the Alpha Course.]