Apologetics


Catholic Apologetics

The word "apologetics" is derived from the ancient Greek word apologia, which means, an apology. Not an apology in the modern sense of the word - which is to say you're sorry for something. But rather, an apology in the ancient sense of the word - which is to make a reasoned defense of something or someone. In ancient times, the word apology referred to the case a lawyer would make on behalf of his client.

Apologetics is about building the case for our Faith...learning how to explain and defend our Faith. It utilizes the disciplines from various fields to explain and defend the faith. The primary source, of course, being the Bible, but also incorporating the writings of the early Church Fathers and the Saints, History, philosophy and science.



Basic Rules for Catholic Apologetics

When doing Apologetics, we need to always keep in mind 1Peter 3:15 which says …  "Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you…" 

Always be prepared Scripture tells us! So, how can we "always be prepared" to make a defense of our Faith?

Rule #1: Pray. Pray to the Holy Spirit. Pray that He will give you the courage to share your Faith and the wisdom to choose your words carefully and profitably.

Rule #2: You don't have to know everything right now! Just learn a little bit more about your Faith each and every day. Read Scripture. Read the Catechism. Listen to apologetics tapes. Read books on or by the Saints. Learn a little bit at a time.

Rule #3: Luke 5:10, "Do not be afraid, henceforth you will be catching men. "Jesus said this to Peter, but He's also saying it to us. Will you make mistakes? Will you get into tight spots...when you start sharing your Faith with others? Of course you will, but Peter made mistakes! He got into tight spots. Yet, Jesus told Peter not to be afraid. Why? Because if we are sincere in our desire to share the truth with others...to share Jesus Christ with others...then Jesus will find a way to make something good come out of even our mistakes.

Rule #4: Always view a question about your Faith, or even an attack on your Faith, as an opportunity - an opportunity to share the truth. Stay calm and stay determined to bring light into darkness.

Rule #5: Don't get frustrated. Quite often Catholics get frustrated by what I call the doctrinal dance...you get asked about Purgatory, Mary, the Pope, the Sacraments all in rapid fire succession. Before you can answer one question, you're asked another. Just keep firmly, but gently, guiding the discussion back to one topic until you've said all you want to say...then move on.

Rule #6: Very, very important! Never be afraid to say, "I don't know," when asked a question about your Faith. Don't try to "wing it." However, always follow, "I don't know," with, "But, I will find out and get back to you." And make sure you do!

If you follow these rules, you will be prepared the next time God puts you in a position to explain and defend your Faith.



A few more things to keep in mind.

#1) Ingrain this into your psyche...the Bible is a Catholic book! The Catholic Church gave it to the world! Which means that there is nothing...nothing!...in the Bible that is contrary to anything in the Catholic Faith and there is nothing in the Catholic Faith contrary to anything in the Bible! Always remember that!

This is important to keep in mind because a lot of times folks will quote a passage from the Bible that "proves" the Catholic Church is wrong. Whenever someone quotes you a Bible verse that "proves" the Catholic Church is wrong on something, your response should be, "Amen, I believe what the Bible says! As a Catholic, I believe everything the Bible says! However, I don't agree with your personal interpretation of that passage." The reason you don't agree with their personal interpretation is because 100% of the time that you are presented with a verse that "proves" the Church wrong, either: a) the verse has been taken out of context, or b) the verse simply doesn't say what they are trying to make it say.

#2) And this flows right from #1, the Catholic Church can be defended solely from the Bible better than any other Christian faith tradition can be. There is actually a good bit in the various Protestant faith traditions that does indeed contradict the Bible. So, do not be afraid to engage non-Catholics in a discussion of the Bible.

#3) If you are ever asked a question about your Faith that you cannot answer, don't worry. There is an answer, you just need to go and find it. Simply respond, "I don't know, but I will find out and get back to you." Then find out and get back to them.

As Catholics, we need to reclaim the Bible. It is our book. We need to read it, pray it, learn it, and use it to bring our separated brothers and sisters back to the Church. If you keep these things in mind, you have started down the road to being a very effective apologist for the Catholic Faith.

John Martignoni-Bible Christian Society