Category Archives: Apologetics
Apologetics is a Greek word compounded from apo and logos, meaning “to give a reason for.” St. Peter uses it in his first epistle: “But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason (apologian) of that hope which is in you” (3:15). Some of the Fathers of the Church called the treatises that they wrote in defense of the Catholic Faith “apologia.”
Brother Francis explains in his course on the subject that there is more to apologetics than having enough knowledge to defend the Faith. There is an art or science to the presentation one is making, which comes from logical thinking. Apologetics is not polemics — the latter art being the employment of authority, such as the Bible, in winning an argument.
As you will see in the articles filed in this section the authors have a certain art and logic in the way they present their sound arguments in defense of the Faith. They demonstrate the reasonableness of our holy religion and the goodness of God in revealing Himself to man through the patriarchs and prophets and, finally, through His Son. The writers, each with their own style, confront the major obstacles, lies, and fallacies that deceive people in our times into thinking that Christianity is unreasonable, or that it is an “opiate” for simple folk who put their hope in a better life to come. Such obstacles as arise from modern science (which attempts to discredit the veracity of the scriptures), from the errors of modern subjectivism, from psychological, social and political trends, as well as from the claims of the false religions in the world today, are handled with deft and intelligence by authors who all qualify as good Catholic polemicists.
With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared that a “Year of Faith” will begin on October 11, 2012, and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, is the feast of the Divine Maternity. What is Faith? The Baltimore Catechism gives a very simple definition of Faith as the first of the three theological virtues: “Faith is a supernatural … More →
Just imagine this. The religious Jews were in expectation of the prophesied coming of the Messiah. The scepter had passed from Juda and the seventy weeks of Daniel were at an end, when “the Saint of saints” was to appear. Imagine discovering, as a middle-aged man, that your cousin, Jesus, son of your uncle Joseph, was He. That was the experience of James and his … More →
Saint Irenaeus’ name comes from the Greek word for “peace”: εἰρήνη (eirēnē). Catholic authors often mention that he fulfilled his beautiful name when he made peace between the Christian East and Rome: “In 190 or 191 he interceded with Pope Victor to lift the sentence of excommunication laid by that pontiff upon the Christian communities of Asia Minor which persevered in the practice of the … More →
In the matter of the much-discussed HHS “contraception mandate,” the violation of our God-given, constitutionally protected rights is the principal matter at hand. These rights, of course, are based on our duty to follow the moral law. All individuals of whatever religious conviction should speak out against this coercion by the state that violates our free exercise of religion. Among those individuals, our separated Protestant … More →
Today’s lesson in how to fight grace comes from the Reformation tradition: Every year I tell my Reformation history class that Roman Catholicism is, at least in the West, the default position. Rome has a better claim to historical continuity and institutional unity than any Protestant denomination, let alone the strange hybrid that is evangelicalism; in the light of these facts, therefore, we need good, … More →
How sad it is that so many of us Catholics take our gift of Faith for granted! After reading the astonishing story of Joseph Fadelle and his wife, I am sure, like myself, your soul will feel shaken over its lack of gratitude and complacency. We could have been born Iraqi Moslems and, from fear alone, never bothered to look into the Catholic Faith.
I do not expect that the following argument is going to win a Protestant to the Catholic Faith. I have learned from St. Thomas Aquinas that reason has its limits in persuasion, and when reason reaches the wall, Grace is what pulls it over. My reasoning here is akin to the reasoning to God’s existence, namely, that it offers a proof that will not necessarily … More →
The Story We Live By and the Foundations of Our Faith: Implications of the Incarnation and of the Bethlehem Nativity
[Originally authored 13 December 2003, the Feast of Sancta Lucia] At this time of the Christian Feast of the Nativity, when we are also expectantly considering the coming year of 2012 (as was so in 2003) and the pressures of deepening war and religious conflict, we more openly allow ourselves to consider the foundations of things. Did the Incarnation happen? Or was it an illusion, … More →
The words are not mine, but the Pope’s. In his bull condemning the errors of Martin Luther, Exurge Domine, Pope Leo X described his subject as “one whose faith is notoriously suspect and in fact a true heretic.” Yet Catholics are not ashamed to speak well of this heresiarch who wrought such havoc in Christendom. Those interested in Catholic-Lutheran exchanges can read a little back-and-forth … More →
The Philosopher has no dog in the race of Zimbabwean politics. (You can all breathe a sigh of relief now.) Therefore, agreeing with President Robert Mugabe on a religious point need not be taken as an endorsement of a man considered to be dictatorial. When the Druid who heads the C of E complained to the African strongman about some Anglican-on-Anglican violence associated with a … More →
The Bible teaches that Christ had ambassadors or agents (His bishops and priests) who represent Him in this world. 2 Cor. 5:20: For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting you, be reconciled to God. 1 Cor. 4:1: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God.
The Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge is not among my favorite theologians. No, the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians, doesn’t inspire me with her contributions to sacred letters. But her column, Why Gays and Lesbians Should Never Argue Scripture, does have some — doubtless unintended — apologetical value.