The Catholic Defender: The Need for Catholic Apologetics
Recently, a friend sent me a request to post an article asking, "I'd like to see you do a post on the issue that same website brings up about a crisis in Catholic apologetics". In virtue of our Baptism and confirmation, all Catholics are called to be "Apologists" in some form beginning with parents. The family is the most important foundation that children are raised. The Church is strongest when the family is healthy and children are being taught a clear conscious. Young people must be grounded in the truth. This has been a problem the past 30 or 40 years as the family becomes less stable. Jesus instructs the Church to be that light on a hill so that all may see it. We are to let our light shine before others. This must first begin with the Priest. Pope St. John Paul II stated, "Pastors are duty-bound to educate the lay faithful in understanding how to put into effect that participation in the threefold office of Christ —as priest prophet and king—which they enjoy in virtue of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and, for spouses, matrimony (cf. , 23)." Hebrews 13:7 states, "Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:17 continues, "Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you."
We need to pray for our priests, they are under attack. Hebrews 13:18 follows, "Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a clear conscience, wishing to act rightly in every respect." To the Priests, St. Peter writes, "So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock." (Peter 5:1-3) Jesus gives a specific warning against those who would preach something contrary to the Catholic Church's doctrine, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are a ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:15-17)
Today we are seeing false prophets preaching all kinds of things wanting to challenge the teaching of the Church. From women priestess to gay marriage, to Abortion these renegades who dissent from official teachings of the Church labeled appropriately as cafeteria Catholics lead people wrongly. Those who pick and choose what they accept, it's like, "Which 8 of the 10 Commandments to you keep?" When the Pope St. John Paul II spoke of the "Springtime of Evangelization" it was important to activate the laity to witness to the modern world. This was an important step, but unfortunately, many within the community were not adequately prepared. Many went out into the world with good intentions, but many were not grounded in the gospel. In 1212 A.D., a disastrous Crusade known as "The Children's Crusade" composed primarily of children numbering nearly 30,000. Some argue that the children were really poor wanderers made into an army. Regardless, the vast majority of these were captured and sold into slavery never to go home again.
The current effort to spread the word of God may not be that drastic, but it is estimated that there are about 20,000,000 fallen away Catholics in the United States. Fallen Catholics as a group is the second largest group in the United States, second only to practicing Catholics. The Catholic Church is under siege surrounded by every possible threat coming against it. Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the faithful to utilize the media to promote the gospel. This is a very important step in apologetics. This is the basis for Deepertruth, Catholic Answers, Catholics Come Home, Defenders of the Catholic Faith, St. Pauls Street Evangelization, and others to "contend for the faith". Consider Ephesians 2:19-20, "So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones, and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone." Notice that along with the apostles there are prophets. Who are the prophets. Technically, this is anyone who proclaims the word of God. This is done formerly in the Mass as lectors. But this is also those who preach the word of God out on the street, in the homes, at work, to the world.
Ephesians 4:11-14, "And he gave them some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interest of deceitful scheming." Apologetics is to help and support the leaders for the upbuilding of the Church. This means that the Apologist is to have a firm foundation and grounding of the teaching of the Church. A right conscience. Consider the contradiction of Pro-life representatives arrested at Notre Dame while pro-Abortion advocates were given the day. President Obama spoke to the Graduating Seniors in direct disobedience to the United States Catholic Bishops. Something is terribly wrong when you have a "Catholic" representation defending Abortion, arresting Catholics standing up for the life of children.
Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe, the Plaintiff in the 1973 Supreme Court "Roe V Wade" decision that legalized abortion), Dr. Gregory Thompson (Deepertruth), and Ambassador Alan Keyes were among those arrested.
The Apologist must first seek to follow the Lord by being loyal to the Catholic Church. That is the most important role, to be a true prophet. Anything other than complete obedience to the Teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church would be a false prophet. There are many of those who preach in the name of the Progressive, the liberals who seek to break the power of the Church. I'll never forget the time I was participating in an RCIA Leadership Conference when about half way through it, the organizers brought in a woman to speak. She was dressed like a deacon and she spoke specific against Pope St. John Paul II and for the homosexual movement. I was so upset over this, I'll not forget it. This is why they did not want any cameras because they wanted no physical record of this. I filled out what I thought about it and the organizers were not to happy with my analysis of their convention. Revelation 21: 5-5 states, "The one who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' Then he said, 'Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.' He said to me, 'They are accomplished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son." Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said that it is not a matter of being successful, it is a matter of being faithful. Let us hold fast to the Apostolic Tradition following the teaching of the Church clearly with a faithful heart and sound mind.
Watch out for those who have an "altar ego" who seek to manipulate innocence with the cunning, sincere or not. Always be on guard against those who would preach false doctrines. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 states, "Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences."