Are We Suppose to Share/ Explain/ Debate the Catholic Faith?


I was watching a debate between Karl Keating and a Baptist preacher on youtube the other day, and if I remember correctly, he (the Baptist preacher) said something along the lines of ’ a Catholic is not suppose to debate their faith with someone from a different faith without permission from the Bishop’ or explain the faith or something like that:shrug: .

I believe he claimed to quote the Catachism or a canon law book or something and I was wondering if this was true. I didn’t finish watching the debate so I don’t know if Mr. Keating responded to this.

If it is true, why so? I would think that a Catholic should tell others about the one true faith?


There is no reason that I am aware of that you have to get a Bishop’s permission to debate anything about the Catholic faith. If that is so, then we would need permission for accounts here at CAF. :wink:


I Peter 3:15
1 Timothy 3:6

It depends if you are a novice in the faith, or mature. If a novice, then you should not go it alone.


Yeah and that standard is no where defined is it? LOL…a ton of people here go beyond “opinion” and tell others freely that they know Church teaching definitively. They claim to negociate the documents with ease and produce what is infallible, opinion, etc from the Vatican. They claim to know when Popes are in error as well as most bishops and nearly all priests. So good luck on telling anyone they are not mature enough in their faith to speak it.


That sounds incorrect. Pope Benedict has made several speeches in which he calls all the faithful to evangelization.

Here are some excerpts from the Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization, which was signed by Pope Benedict in October, 2007:

Thus one understands the urgency of Christ’s invitation to evangelization and why it is that the mission entrusted by the Lord to the Apostles involves all the baptized. The words of Jesus “go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20), are directed to everyone in the Church, each according to his own vocation.

The term evangelization has a very rich meaning.[4] In the broad sense, it sums up the Church’s entire mission: her whole life consists in accomplishing the traditio Evangelii, the proclamation and handing on of the Gospel, which is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16) and which, in the final essence, is identified with Jesus Christ himself (cf. 1 Cor 1:24). Understood in this way, evangelization is aimed at all of humanity. In any case, to evangelize does not mean simply to teach a doctrine, but to proclaim Jesus Christ by one’s words and actions, that is, to make oneself an instrument of his presence and action in the world.

Evangelization also involves a sincere dialogue that seeks to understand the reasons and feelings of others. Indeed, the heart of another person can only be approached in freedom, in love and in dialogue, in such a manner that the word which is spoken is not simply offered, but also truly witnessed in the hearts of those to whom it is addressed. This requires taking into account the hopes, sufferings and concrete situations of those with whom one is in dialogue. Precisely in this way, people of good will open their hearts more freely and share their spiritual and religious experiences in all sincerity. This experience of sharing, a characteristic of true friendship, is a valuable occasion for witnessing and for Christian proclamation.

As in any other field of human activity, so too in dialogue on religious matters, sin can enter in. It may sometimes happen that such a dialogue is not guided by its natural purpose, but gives way instead to deception, selfish motives or arrogance, thus failing in respect for the dignity and religious freedom of the partners in dialogue. For this reason, “the Church severely prohibits forcing people to embrace the faith or leading or enticing them by improper techniques; by the same token, she also strongly defends the right that no one be deterred from the faith by deplorable ill treatment”.[24]


I was just kinda thinking of buying one of those foam “#1” hands they sell at college football games and smacking heretics with it… but your way is real good too!


Share and explaining is distinctly different to arguments and ‘debating.’

Therein may be the problem.

No soul is to be coerced, dragged or tricked into The Church!



This might be the answer to a question I was going to post after something I heard a priest say on an EWTN open line Q & A program recently.
A newer Catholic convert was asking how he could reach his anti-catholic, christian mom with the faith.
The priest told him that we have to be careful to not fall into the sin of “violating someone’s concience”.
Is that possibly what you are referring to.
My thinking is that might apply if you are made aware by an individual that they clearly do not want you to share the catholic faith with them, but you disregard their wish and try to force it on them against their will.
In other words, if you were to politely ask someone if they would like to come to an RCIA meeting to explore the faith and they emphatically say “not interested”, then you need to
shift your efforts to praying for them until it is made clear to you that they are open.

I welcome any thoughts.



I have an opinion that will probably be unpopular. It is my opinion that NO lay person should do apologetics work without his Bishops permission and permission should be sought only after extensive, rigorous, education and training in something like the Catholic Evidence Guild. This opinion extends to the self proclaimed e-pologists that swarm the net. I’m betting many of you folks here can think of a self-proclaimed apologist or two (or twenty) who have done much harm over the years. Clearly I don’t mean Karl Keating and his group. I know that they have the support of the Church. There are KK wannabes all over the place.

Much harm has been done by the posters on different forums as well.


If I remember correctly, didn’t Keating come back and say the cannon law the preacher quoted was no longer in effect?


In all seriousness then… what should I have done in this situation?

Coworker - "Where we going out to eat?"
Me - "Can’t, gave it up for Lent."
Coworker - "Lint? That’s in the dryer."
Me - "Not lint, Lent. L-E-N-T."
Coworker - "What’s that?"
I told him to google it, as we were having fun that day earlier with google. He did, then asked “Why do you do this?”

Should I have said “Sorry, I haven’t gotten permission from my Bishop to explain what I know about it to you.”?

Or when my father is yelling at me that I’m a pagan that worships Mary, do I say “I’d show you where you are wrong and explain myself, but I need permission from my Bishop first.”?


[Mat 5:14-16] You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

Good grief, its “the Good News”, how can one help, but not share it to the best of one’s ability.:thumbsup:


Makes me wonder why the cannon that was referred to was there in the first place. I don’t recall if the preacher sited where you could find it at…


You couldn’t per chance find the debate and post a link could you??

I too would say that we need to be very careful to share and explain without being pushy. We should answer questions as appropriate and try to avoid “debating and arguing” the faith. Keep in mind what St Francis said: "Preach the Gospel Always. When necessary use words."
We should also be ready and willing to admit when we don’t know an answer.
“I don’t know” is a wonderful and honest tool - but always follow that with, “But I’’ find out!!”. Then do so. find the answer and get back to the person you are discussing with.


Thanks for your reply Nick. As I see it there is a wide chasm separating giving an answer for the hope that is within you and the self-appointed e-pologists who just happen to get people to donate to them mostly using the internet. Many of them are wrong on many a subject. I know of only one case where a person’s bishop stepped in but I know of others where I wish they were taken to task. I know of one such e-pologist who posted a blasphemous picture on his website. And is not only allowing calumny of a certain person but is joining in.

When people raise the e-pologist to the status of celebrity and donate to his cause, it causes scandal. The money that they contribute to the self-appointed folks takes away from the money they could donate to places like Catholic Answers. Perhaps with enough moola Catholic Answers could win the law suit.

Since this is critical of people whom KK and his staff may know, this post may be deleted. So be it. Its their call.


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