1 Pet 3:15 --
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
Mt 10:25 --
"If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!"



I had a dream some time in (early?) 2000 where I was an agent disguised as a priest assisting the Pope as he celebrates Mass. Suddenly this man comes charging up with a big sword in his hand and he was yelling all sorts of threats and foul language at the Pope. I quickly grabbed the crucifix staff that the Pope takes along with him everywhere he goes and went to intersect the attacker. With the power of the Crucifix, I was able to defeat the attacker and submit him to the authorities. The Pope was ok and he continued celebrating Mass.




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If somebody wants to know more about the Catholic Faith, should he ask a member of the clergy or a member of the laity? Yet does the clergy always have the kind of answer that is suitable for the one who asks? I asked three priests on how to respond to Protestant challenges and I've been given three different responses. Fr. Ip tells me straight off the bat some of the important foundational issues between Protestantism and Catholicism. Later he tells me that I should take a more proper approach by actually taking courses in theology. Fr. Ralph tells me to just relax and have faith. And then Fr. Comey tells me (although he had less than a minute to answer me) to read the Catechism.

In actual fact, I agree with all three of them. I should take a more systematic approach to studying the matter. I should also have faith instead of freaking out. And the Catechism does contain a lot of useful fundamental information. My concern is for those people (both Catholic & non-Catholic) who ask such questions as I did; might their expectations when they approach the clergy be such that the answers given by the clergy are inappropriate and might actually drive them away? Yet a lot of people expect the clergy to have all the answers - and good ones too. But what if people don't get what they expected? Should we work on those asking the questions or on those being asked?

Lucky for me, I got some pretty decent answers. But some other priest might say, "It doesn't really matter what you believe." Or another one might tell you that they don't know and just leave you like that without giving you any advice on what you can do. And just as worse, another one might tell you that the Catholic Church has been ruled by heretic councils for the past century!

I propose that members of the laity should also play a significant role in evangelization. Not just morally living out the Faith, but also intellectually explaining and defending it. Three reasons: 1) there is few clergy and they don't have enough time for one-to-one consultation, and 2) technology has allowed people to be increasingly presented with all sorts of information both good and bad, and 3) laypersons may have had similar experiences.

With all due respect, it is true that some of our shepherds either don't know how to explain the Faith or who are liberal of the Faith in a dissenting way (ie: those who pick and choose). While there exists a higher percentage of liberal and dissenting laypersons, there are also many who are orthodox and the Second Vatican Council had encouraged the involvement of the laity in the catechizing and evangelizing of peoples.

While I hold that faith will always be more important than knowledge I believe that the times have changed and that Catholics of this age, in the midst of so many competing religious traditions, should be better prepared to explain and defend the Faith from those who inquire about or question it .

1 Cor 9:20 -- "To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law--though I myself am not under the law--to win over those under the law."

General
Audio
(courtesy of EWTN)
  • download RealPlayer Franciscan University Connections (12 min. 49.3 sec.)
    (presented by Dr. Scott Hahn who is a Presbyterian convert)
  • Catholic Apologetics
    (12-part series presented by Chris Noble)
  • Answering Common Objections (15-part series by Scott Hahn)
    Since Dr. Hahn is a theologian, his discussions are more like a bible study in light of OT/NT history and hermeneutics.
  • Household of Faith (Kristine Franklin & Rosalind Moss)
    These two ladies are also converts from Protestantism and their 16-part discussion focuses on many of the misunderstandings they formerly held as Protestants.

  1-on-1 Dialogues with Protestants  


Apologetics-Oriented Sites   My mini-Resources
(requires much needed improvement in format, clarity, and information)
  • BIBLE
    - Did Catholics change the listing of the 10 commandments?
    - Did the Catholic Church add extra books to the Old Testament?

  • CHURCH
    - The Bible, not man, is the only authority.
    - Until the Reformation, the true Christian Church either vanished or went underground while the Catholic Church reigned with terror.

  • MARY
    - Catholics worship Mary and has elevated her above God.
    - Why go to dead people when you can go to God directly?

  • EUCHARIST
    - Catholics commit idolatry by worshipping a piece of bread.
    - Christ said that "it is finished", but Catholics think they are sacrificing Christ over again every Sunday.

  • JUSTIFICATION
    - Catholics believe that good works and merit will get you to heaven.

  • PURGATORY
    - Catholics deny the sufficiency of Christ's Death by believing in Purgatory.



Online Book! -- Beginning Apologetics + Study Guide

The False Gospel of James McCarthy [a book refuting James McCarthy's "Gospel According to Rome"]

Rebuttals to some notorious anti-Catholics [various online articles]
That page is blank now, so try the "Protestant Critiques of Catholicism" sections (two of them) in the bottom half of Dave's "Protestantism" page.

Same Root (apologetics in CHINESE)


Click the banner to learn more about and purchase this book and additional popular apologetics and theology titles by Dave Armstrong


In case you are interested...

CONVERSION
Testimonies of 8 former evangelicals
Numerous Conversion Stories
More Conversion Stories
The Journey Home
(EWTN Audio Series hosted by Marcus Grodi)
Conversion to Catholicism: General Observations (Dave Armstrong)
Coming Home Network (support for possible converts)
Cardinal Newman @ 2000
(EWTN Audio Series hosted by Fr. C. John McCloskey)
The Catholic Church and Conversion (G.K. Chesterton)

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