Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Introduction to Apologetics by Brother Andre Marie MICM

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 “apologiae.”
Definition (Father Hardon’s, modified): “The science that aims to explain and justify religious doctrine. It shows the reasonableness of such doctrine in the face of the objections offered by those who refuse to accept Catholicism. Also called fundamental theology as the science that establishes the credibility of Christian revelation on the evidence of miraculous phenomena and the testimony of unbiased history. (Etym. Greek apologetikos, a defense.)”
Here, we are limiting ourselves to considering apologetics as a defense of the Catholic Faith in the face of an attack from an adversary.
The proper dispositions for engaging in apologetics are piety and charity. We must desire God’s glory because he deserves it and because we love Him. The Catholic Church is the only one that glorifies Him: It is His; we must love it and defend it. Charity as love of neighbor is also a necessary predisposition for effectively engaging in apologetics. That is, we must cultivate a zeal for the salvation of our neighbor based on the love of that neighbor, who has an immortal soul that has been redeemed by the Precious Blood.
Apologetics is very important to the Crusade. It is a tool — one among many — for the Conversion of America to the true faith.
For the rest of this conference, I will enumerate some absolute DOs and DON’Ts that are obligatory in the art of apologetics, then I will elucidate a simple method to use in dealing with objections to the Faith.
  1. Always listen to your interlocutor. He will give you plenty of ammo to use against him in the argument. Chances are, he is not used to people actually listening to what he says. You are interested, because you want to use what he says in attacking the Faith to defend the Faith. Think Judo.
  2. The second DO is related to the first. Never, ever, ever assume you know what your opponent believes unless he explicitly declares it. This will necessitate asking him questions like, “Do you believe in the Trinity?” or “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God?” Do not think, “Well, this fellow’s a Protestant, and Protestants believe X.” Protestants believe whatever they want, change frequently, and often make it up on the spot. I have not yet met a Protestant who actually believes what Martin Luther or John Calvin taught. About the only constant in their beliefs is that Catholicism is wrong. You may also be shocked to learn what the guy actually believes. I’ve met Baptists that believe in Purgatory and Greek Orthodox who believe that the Pope is the head of the Christian Church — which, by the way, makes them Catholic, but that’s another issue. I’ve also had a Protestant tell me that the difference between us is that Catholics have plain Crosses and Protestants have Crosses with Jesus’ body on it. I’m not kidding!
  3. Learn how to resume your interlocutor’s points so that he can validate them. This will sound something like this: “Are you saying that the Catholic Church is wrong for venerating Mary?” or “So, you’re saying that the Catholic Church was actually founded by Constantine in 325 AD and not by Jesus?” You may find that they suddenly deny what they have just affirmed. It happens. They are used to throwing out a sloppily-worded objection, half-listening to a verbose Catholic explanation of the thing, and then saying something non-committal like, “Well, Ralph, you still haven’t convinced me.” This is not rational discourse. Again, assume nothing. Force them to express themselves with some clarity and do that yourself. You will have to ask questions to do this. You will have to get them out of their comfort zone.
  4. Stay on the point. Do not allow the Protestant to drag you into an argument about Purgatory when you’ve defeated his false claims on the veneration shown to Saints. Get some closure on one point before moving onto another. Even if the closure is that the person is now not sure of his position. Frankly, that is often the best you can hope for.
  5. Do not feel obliged to defend everything said or done by Catholics, including important Catholics like Popes, Bishops, and lesser clergy. You must defend God, Our Lady, Saint Joseph, and the Church. But you are not obliged to defend everything done by every Pope in history, all of whom were sinners, even the saints. [Catholics use the word “the Church” like liberals use the word, “Jew.” They do not distinguish between the Church and Churchmen, between those who call themselves Catholic and those who actually believe.]
  6. Do not assume that the other guy knows what he is talking about. Chances are, he knows little or nothing about Catholicism. He learned a caricature of the Religion from his minister or another highly prejudiced and probably ignorant source. You know Catholicism better than he does. Be the expert and don’t let him tell you what Catholics believe. Call him on factual errors.
  7. You have no obligation to assume your interlocutor’s good will. You don’t need to call him evil or ill-willed, but do not be naïve: people do not hate the Church, leave the Church, or refuse to enter the Church because they are good. Besides this, people lie all the time in these kinds of arguments. They fudge the facts, change their arguments while denying that they’ve changed their arguments, etc. If you assume their good will, you will have to contort yourself into thinking that these things are all morally acceptable. You would be courting insanity if you did that.
With those DOs and DON’Ts out of the way, I will give you a three-point method to approaching objections to the Faith. It involves three questions:
1. Is it true?
2. Is it wrong?
3. So what?
Bob, your interlocutor, says “I would never become a Catholic. The Catholic Church killed millions of Jews during the Crusades!”
Is it true? No. Most non-Catholics that attack the Church for the Crusades haven’t the faintest clue what the Crusades were. It was not about killing Jews. It was about killing Muslims, specifically for the purposes of liberating Eastern Christians from Seljuk Turkish oppression, and saving the Holy Sepulcher of Our Lord as a place of pilgrimage for Western Christians. So, you can contradict the fellow and tell him that his facts are wrong: “You are wrong and your objection is baseless. The Crusades had nothing to do with killing Jews.”
But supposing he says, “I would never become a Catholic. The Catholic Church launched the Crusades, holy wars, at the command of the Pope and all war is evil!”
Well, his historical facts are correct, but his assertion based on them is incorrect. War per se is not evil, and there are many Biblical proofs of this, from the Old Testament and the New Testament. In other words, in reply to the question, “Is it wrong?” the answer is “No,” because war is not necessarily evil — though most wars in fact are.
But let’s have him say something else: “I would never become a Catholic. The Catholic Church launched the Crusades. The Crusaders in the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, murdering innocent Orthodox Christians and plundering the place for filthy lucre’s sake! That was pure evil!”
At this point, he has said something factually true. The crime he accuses Catholic of — note Catholics, not properly the Church — really happened and it was really bad. It was so bad that Pope Innocent III castigated the Crusaders in very strong terms for their horrible crimes in shedding Christian blood. But here is where we ask ourselves the third question, “So what?” This does not mean we blithely dismiss the outrage. We literally ask “So WHAT?” In other words: what are the ramifications of this pursuant to the claims of the Catholic Church to being God’s Church? Essentially, there are none. The incident proves what we all already know, namely, that there are bad Catholics in the world. Peter denied Jesus, the other Apostles all ran away at Our Lord’s arrest. St. Paul wrote of many who suffered “shipwreck of the faith.” The book of the Apocalypse was written to a variety of Christian leaders — Bishops — one of whom was told “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.”
Let me give three other scenarios showing how to use these three questions when dealing with objections against the Faith. In the first scenario, we have a badly formed Catholic attempting to answer the objection:
Protestant: Indulgences are the selling of God’s grace.
Catholic: Well I don’t think you understand Indulgences. You see when a Catholic sins, he incurs this debt. Even after his sins are forgiven, he must pay something else. It like when you…”
Prot: You mean when Christ forgives your sins, it’s not enough? You have a debt that Gods mercy doesn’t wipe away?
Cath: Well if you think about it, it’s like a boy playing baseball outside and breaks his neighbor’s window…”
Prot: What’s that got to do with it? You Catholics have a serious problem. Forgiveness is forgiveness. There’s no debt involved except the debt Christ paid for us. Where are indulgences in the Bible?
Cath: Well, they aren’t there explicitly, but…
Prot: Aha! It’s not in the Bible. Why should I believe any of this nonsense?
Here is the correct way to handle it:
Prot: Indulgences are the selling of God’s grace.
Cath: you are factually incorrect. Indulgences are NOT the selling of God’s grace.
Prot: But that’s what you Catholics teach.
Cath: It may be what some Catholics teach, but it is still incorrect, the Church does not teach that Indulgences are the selling of God’s grace. Where did you hear that?
Prot: from my minister.
Cath: Well, he has his facts wrong. I am a Catholic and I know what my Church teaches. That is not the teaching of the Church on Indulgences.
Prot: Well, what are Indulgences then?
The above two examples deal with the first question: Is it correct. What the non-Catholic is saying, in this case, is factually incorrect and he ought to be told so.
Now for an example of question two: “Is it wrong?” — meaning, “is what this person accusing Catholics of — even if true — a wrong, i.e., morally objectionable, thing?”
Prot: The Bible says to call no man father, yet you Catholics call your priests and the Pope father. You are therefore condemned by the very Bible you claim to follow.
Cath: Are you saying it is wrong to call any man father other than God?
Prot: Yes, that is what I am saying!
Cath: If a boy calls his dad “father” will he go to Hell for this one thing alone?
Prot: Well, let’s not be silly.
Cath: I am trying to understand what you mean, please answer my question. If a boy calls his dad “father” will he go to Hell for this one thing alone?
Prot: Well, no, but you’re an adult, you should know better.
Cath: Do you think Stephen the martyr, in the Acts of the Apostles was a holy man?
Prot: Sure, but what’s that got to do with it?
Cath: Because Stephen, after Our Lords said “Call no man father” used the word father 17 times in the Acts of the Apostles referring to people OTHER than God. We actually are following a Biblical principle aren’t we? When Our Lord said, Call no man father,” it doesn’t mean what you say it means does it?
Note that the accusation is correct. We really do call priests Father, and this is something the Church herself endorses. But what we are accused of is morally good, and can therefore be defended by numerous arguments.
Now let’s look at the third question: “So what?” I said earlier that “So what?” means, “what are the ramifications of this pursuant to the truth claims of the Catholic Church?” It can also mean, “What are the consequences for an individual believer?” In other words, it’s taking the opponent’s reasoning to it’s fatal conclusion: “Will I go to Hell for it?” Observe:
Prot: Since there is no Purgatory, it is wrong for you to pray for the dead.
Cath: Really? Are you saying that, assuming I lived an otherwise good Christian life, that showing my love for my dead mother by praying for her just once, all by itself will send me to Hell for all eternity?
Prot: Well, no.
Cath: Then, if it will not send me to Hell, it can not be wrong.
Prot: Well, it’s still wrong.
Cath: You mean I can do something wrong and still get to Heaven? Is that like a venial sin?
Prot: Don’t be silly, there’s no such thing as venial sin.
Cath: ok, then if I am doing something that will not send me to Hell, then it is not wrong; by definition.
I hope you see what I did here. We all believe in venial sin, but the Protestant guy doesn’t, so I’ve just shown him that his objection to Catholicism is irrelevant by his own criteria, since the thing he says is wrong has absolutely no negative ramifications. Biblically, of course, religious error has dire and eternal ramifications.
So, to review, I’ve taught you one simple method that involves asking yourself three questions:
1. Is it true?
2. Is it wrong?
3. So what?
Anyone can put these to use.
Coda. I said that you are the expert in Catholicism and your non-Catholic opponent is not. Don’t make me a liar, please. Study your Faith so that your apologetical forays have more fire power. Sister Maria Philomena has been working very hard to formalize and enhance the SAI program. Her good work can be of tremendous help to forming you as a lay apostle.

Dominicans in Nashville still silent : how do they interpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church ?

"Our schools exist to evangelize”
'The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia emphasize love of Christ and truth, personal holiness, and academic excellence'

Sr. Anne Catherine, OP, is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (www.nashvilledominican.org) and is principal of St. Cecilia Academy in Nashville (www.stcecilia.edu). The academy is a girl’s Catholic high school that is over a 150 years old, having been founded in 1860. The Nashville Dominicans are a traditional Catholic community who wear the full habit, and with 300 sisters, are well known in the Catholic world. In Tennessee, however, they are very much the minority. Sister Catherine reports that the state is a mere 3% Catholic, the lowest percentage of any state in the union.
Sister Catherine is one of seven sisters at the academy, five of whom are teachers. She recently spoke with CWR.    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3024/our_schools_exist_to_evangelize.aspx

Sr. Anne Catherine, OP belongs to the same religious community as Sr.Jane Dominic Laurel O.P. Sr.Mary Sarah Galbraith is the President of Aquinas College, Nashville.They will not answer questions about the Catechism of the Catholic Church asked on The Catholic World Report blog.-Lionel Andrades

Same Catechism of the Catholic Church but different interpretations
How do the Dominicans Sisters interpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church ?
This is important for evangelisation.
Is CCC 846 contradicted by CCC 847 and 848 ?

Are there visible exceptions in Nashville, to CCC 846 which says all need to enter the Church as through a door.

 According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church there is exclusive salvation in only the Catholic Church. This is my interpretation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (846). For me, being saved in invincible ignorance (CCC 847,Lumen Gentium 16) etc is a posibility known only to God. Since there are no known cases in 2014, CCC 847,LG 16 are not an exception to Ad Gentes 7, cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (846). All need to enter the Church as through a door (CCC 846). All need faith and baptism (AG 7).

So the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993) is in agreement with the Catechism of Pope Pius X. CCC 846 has the same message as the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the Syllabus of Errors.

  This is not the interpretation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, according to the University of St.Thomas Aqunas in Rome, where Sr.Jane Dominic Laurel O.P received her Doctorate in Sacred Theology and teaches at Aquinas College,Nashville. This may not be the interpretation of Sr.Mary Sarah Galbraith O.P, the President of Aquinas College.This is the same community of Dominicans who maintain the school mentioned in this report.

It is the same Catechism of the Catholic Church but we have different interpretations of CCC 846. For me CCC 847 and 848 are not exceptions to CCC 846 (and CCC 845). For the Dominicans they are exceptions to Tradition. The dead-saved are visible for them.

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ (CCC 847) refer to implicit for us cases. For the Dominicans they are explicit for us cases. For me being saved in invincible ignorance, seeds of the Word, good and holy things in other religions, imperfect communion with the Church are hypothetical.It is not so for millions of Catholics.For me these cases refer to the deceased, now saved in Heaven, who are not visible to us.So they cannot be relevant to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus which says all need to convert into the Church for salvation.

This is also the message of the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 to the Archbishop of Boston relative to Fr.Leonard Feeney which says we must interpret the dogma as the Church does. If the cardinal who issued the Letter had assumed that being saved in implicit desire or in invincible ignorance was an exception to the literal interpretation of Fr.Leonard Feeney, then he made an objective mistake and a great wrong was done to the ex-Jesuit priest from Boston.


Does the Mandatum of the Bishop ask Dominicans to say there are known exceptions to all needing to convert into the Church in 2014 ?


If the Holy Father could genuflect just as deeply after he confects the Eucharist!..as when he washed the feet of men and women laity

Asi comulgaba el Pio

Yes the Holy Father showed he is quite flexible for his age, as he washed the feet of men and women laity. I would drop any protest of this, if the Holy Father could genuflect just as deeply after he confects the Eucharist!

... the refusal to genuflect in the Holy Mass at the words of consecration-Sandro Magister
I'll explain myself better, with a few examples. I can not applaud a Pope who does not kneel before the tabernacle or during the Consecration as taught by the rite of the Mass, but I can not criticize it, because it is the Pope! Benedict XVI asked us in the Redemptoris Sacramentum that we are to inform the bishop of the unfaithfulness and liturgical abuses we are witnessing. Ma .. Who should I inform if the Pope himself does not respect the liturgy?

Positive testimony from a Mexican Priest concerning Garabandal and Maria Divine Mercy

Touching testimony from a Mexican Priest,
concerning Garabandal and Maria Divine Mercy
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I address myself to you, dear Members of the Prayer Circle, concerning the Messages given from God and his Holy Mother to Maria Divine Mercy.
At the beginning of the month dedicated to Mary I would like to share with you an experience which I made 50 years ago and which still stays vivid in my heart.
The name Garabandal is mentioned in three messages to Maria Divine Mercy (1.1.2011, 19.2. 2011 and 31.5.2011). In the last messages Jesus tells us that "the prophecies of Garabandal are about to fulfill. Prepare for this event, as there remain but a few months for you to prepare your souls". The first extraordinary event which will come soon, is the WARNING, which is told us from Jesus and his Mother so often. They express their strict wish that we prepare ourselves and that we help them to save souls, so that we, who are Gods children, are able to react to God’s Mercy through believe and repentance. God’s Mercy We are are going to experience God’s Mercy in an extraordinary way through a personal meeting with Jesus Christ shortly.
The 18 July of this year is the 50 anniversary of another exceptional event of a smaller dimension. It is the "milagruco" (small miracle) which has happened in Garabandal.
As a matter of fact, in a small Province of Santander (today Calabria), which is called San Sebastian de Garabandal, a thirteen year old girl (Conchita Gonzalez) received the Holy Communion in a visible way from the Archangel Michael. There were a few dozen people who witnessed this event.
Soon after midnight - it was summertime and still Wednesday, 18 July. Conchita received the heavenly announcement a few weeks before, that she would get the Holy Communion in an exceptional way. As a matter of fact the young visionaries received the Holy Communion a few times from the Hands of the Archangel during the time of the appearances of the Holy Mother (1961-1965), when the priest could not be present in Garabandal due to priestly duties.
On this 18 July there was a festival in all of Spain: the anniversary of the national rebellion during the civil war 1936 - 1939. Therefore there was a lot of action going on: music, bowling, noisy village youth etc. Some people, who patiently waited before Conchitas house, which lay out of the center of the village, said, that it will be impossible to see a miracle on that day, as it was too noisy.
But it was not like that. Thanks to God, we, (my mother, father and a few other people as well as me, who was the oldest of seven sisters and brothers) had enough patience to wait and stay there.
Soon after Midnight Conchita went into ecstasy, got out of the house with fast steps to the left into a narrow small street. The youngest of us had to run in order to follow her and we saw that Conchita fell on her knees in the middle of the street. On her tongue there was a holy white host, which stayed there for a few seconds. Those few seconds were enough for us to witness the "small miracle". Conchita called it like that saying that the really "big miracle" which was promised by the Holy Virgin, will take place later.
I would like to mention that Conchita and I are of the same age. To be exact, I am 18 days older than she is. This fact was very important to me. A girl, as old as I, saw the holy Virgin and got messages from her for the whole world. A few times during summer time I could see Conchita and the other girls (Mari Loli, Jacinta and Mari Cruz) while they were in ecstasy. They had a shiny face and they smiled. Sometimes they nod their head agreeing to something and sometimes they moved their lips to talk with our heavenly Mother about banalities of the everyday life. They had a fixed stare looking upwards. The ecstasy lasted from only a few minutes to many minutes. Often I could see them running over the paved streets of the village. Once I could see that one of them took the other one by the feet to lift her up, so that she could reach the Mother of God to give her a farewell-kiss.
All those extraordinary events of which we were witness were simple and familiar to us. We felt the close presence of God and his Mother.
I remember waiting in Conchitas house for her to go into ecstasy as the Mother of God has told her. (Conchita told us that there was an indication). We talked with her and her mother when all of a sudden she fell on her knees, without perceiving what happened around her. On that day she gave a medal-scapular, that I used to have with me, to the Holy Mother. Since that day I keep it as a relic.
I was very much impressed by the fact that Conchita and the other girls are rather shy and simple, when they were not in ecstasy and they talked rather little. When they went in ecstasy they changed completely, as I said already.
These experiences have left a deep trace in my soul. In the first message, our Lady said to the girls following:
”We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us”
(18 October 1961).
I also heard other words concerning the Warning and the Miracle which are going to take place before the chastisement (or purification) and that those will be a present from God to the world
to help us change our ways.
From that moment on I started to take my life as a Christian more seriously. I started to take the holy communion often and visited the Holy Mass almost every day. I went to confession often.
I prayed the Rosary almost every day, often together with my parents, who prayed it also on a daily basis since their marriage in 1946 until the end of their life. In addition, due to the experiences
in Garabandal, my believe grew constantly and deepened during my studies. I could see Gods Love clearer and saw the necessity that also the other people get to know this love. All these experiences lead to the decision to consecrate my life to God and to feel the call to become priest within a few years.
On 18 June 2011, after having almost forgotten the events in Garabandal, I commemorated the experiences from 1962, reflecting on how important they had been for me. I checked the internet
to find some news about the appearances and I found a big surprise. I read the book from Antonio Yagüe (Garabandal 50 years later) and soon later I found the messages from Jesus to Mary Divine Mercy. Unnecessary to mention that I read them all, surprised about the truth and certainty, the simplicity, grace the authority. I think that all these features together with the Holy Spirit
which you can feel in your heart when you are reading them and meditate over them, are a strong sign of authenticity. I personally can bear witness that they were a big help to me to pray more and better (contemplative and oral prayer such as crusade prayers), to develop more enthusiasm concerning the apostolic work for our Lord and to develop the wish to help Him save souls.
Every person has to find his way given by Godly Providence. Without doubt it is a big mercy from our Lord that he gives us such powerful impulses which invite us to listen to Him and follow Him.
I am happy to greet you all.
United in prayer and with my priestly blessings
P. Victor C.S.

 Touching testimony from a Mexican Priest about Garabandal and the Warning messages.doc (74,5 kB)

photo: Eucharistic miracle in Garabandal in 1962. Conchita could be filmed from one of the eye witnesses, when she received the Holy Eucharist from the Archangel Michael in one of the side roads.


Answers from priests

Submissions of priests

Divine Mercy Novena of St.Faustina Kowalski - Fifth Day

Fifth Day

"Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*(heretics and schismatics),

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion."
Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son's Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
*Our Lord's original words here were "heretics and schismatics," since He spoke to Saint Faustina within the context of her times. As of the Second Vatican Council, Church authorities have seen fit not to use those designations in accordance with the explanation given in the Council's Decree on Ecumenism (n.3). Every pope since the Council has reaffirmed that usage. Saint Faustina herself, her heart always in harmony with the mind of the Church, most certainly would have agreed. When at one time, because of the decisions of her superiors and father confessor, she was not able to execute Our Lord's inspirations and orders, she declared: "I will follow Your will insofar as You will permit me to do so through Your representative. O my Jesus " I give priority to the voice of the Church over the voice with which You speak to me" (497). The Lord confirmed her action and praised her for it.