Defending Catholicism at University


#1

I started a pyschology class this semseter and right on the first day there seemed to be some disfavor for the Catholic Church by the teacher.

We were talking about Galileo and how the Pope “couldn’t be wrong” and so he basically used the Catholic Church’s power to “condemn people to hell” via excommunication. He mentioned how the Catholic Church had such great tools like excommunication, the inquisition, and indulgences to stay in power. Now I will admit there has been some human corruption in the Catholic Church, nevertheless, he went on to say that indulgences could be bought in order to forgive future sins. So if a guy wanted to sleep with his friend’s wife he could just buy an indulgence. I know this is flat out wrong.

catholic.com/library/Myths_About_Indulgences.asp

That explains everything pretty well. I want to say something to him a few minutes before the beginning of next class. I want to have some references and printed out information to just briefly describe how what he said was a misunderstanding and how that is not what indulgences were. I don’t want to use Catholic sources though, at least not without other sources. The reason being is that he will look at it and think “this is coming from a Catholic webpage, of course it’s going to say that”. I have an encyclopedia that explains them pretty well and accurately which I will use, but I was wondering if any of you know of good sources. Non-biased and non-religous sources that I can use to show him so it can be seen as truly factual and not an attempt to cover up for the Catholic Church. I would especially like something that says “contrary to some beliefs, indulgences weren’t used to pardon sins” or something of that nature. Also, anything that says how these myths got started would be helpful. I just want something short and simple so I can just show it to him in a couple minutes, “prove” him wrong in a non confrontational way, and treat it as merely sticking to the facts and not distorting history. Thanks.

PS: If for some reason you think this is not a good idea, let me know. The teacher is pretty cool and I should be able to do it in a very easygoing, non-threatening, “just thought I’d let you know”, “making conversation” sort of way .


#2

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: (CCC 1471) Doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance. What is an indulgence? An indulgence is a remission befroe God of the Temporal punsihment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven,…

It is only applied to Sins already forgiven which includes contrision and repentence and not wanting to do that sin again. Now any corruption and maluse does not mean that it is doctrine or how things “really are”. Like there are bad corrupt police out there but, that is not how it (was) intended to be, not in letter or in spirit.

I hope this helps.


#3

I think you are going about this in the right frame of mind. Now the teachable moment is for the professor. It is not that unusual to run into someone who has been brought up with a stream of mis- or disinformation regarding genuine Catholic teachings and history. Go ahead and offer him any of the information that you can find on the Catholic Answers site. If he is genuinely open to correct information, I don’t see that he should be overly put off by that fact that it comes from a Catholic website. If he were reluctant to even consider information in opposition to his contentions, I think I would have a lesser opinion of him as a thinker.


#4

[quote=zian]I think you are going about this in the right frame of mind. Now the teachable moment is for the professor. It is not that unusual to run into someone who has been brought up with a stream of mis- or disinformation regarding genuine Catholic teachings and history. Go ahead and offer him any of the information that you can find on the Catholic Answers site. If he is genuinely open to correct information, I don’t see that he should be overly put off by that fact that it comes from a Catholic website. If he were reluctant to even consider information in opposition to his contentions, I think I would have a lesser opinion of him as a thinker.
[/quote]

Yes, I’ve decided I will give him the information from catholic.com, but I want it to be in addition to similar information from what would be considered “non-biased” sources. I have an encyclopedia which I can’t possibly imagine him not taking seriously. I just want several sources so it is seen as legit and scholarly. That way he won’t be able to refute it as “their word against mine”. You can’t deny solid history and factual information without looking like an idiot. I also found some good information on Galileo here which I may give him but I want to keep it limited. I don’t want to come across as giving him a theology lesson as much as just simply coming accross as “I think you got some of your information mixed up” and leave it at that.


#5

I think that I will go ahead and just send an email to the professor with some links that I found. That would be quicker and it would give him a chance to actually read over the material and then get back to me.


#6

As for the Inquisition, most of what is popularly believed come from the propaganda of the time. Verdi wrote an opera that vilified the Dominicans and that stuck as ‘history’. The torture devices and the number of people killed are not anywhere close to what is popularly believed. The BBC (not exactly sympathetic to the CC) did an exposition on the Inquisition and found that most of what passes as history are actually myth.

In 500 years people will hear Opus Dei and the only thing they will know about it is Silas and the da Vinci Code and trust that THAT is history.

in XT.


#7

I had this problem in Philosophy, Anthropology, and Biology, most notably.

Biology was my first encounter with it. Partially into the class, the teacher recognized my name as heading a Catholic ministry. He singled me out in class constantly and told me to defend myself. I remained polite and said as little as possible. My grades in the class went from As to Cs from that day on.

In Philosophy and Anthropology, I just said it like it was. I remained respectful, but I would not allow the teachers to further teach blatant lies. (Neither were simply speaking from ignorance, but actually promulgating hatred toward the church.) I talked with both outside class and debated both within. I saw it as an abuse of their authority and felt morally obligated to stand up for the truth. I ended up with As in both classes. And both professors gave me excelllent recommendations. (Neither would ever want me back in their classes again, I wouldn’t think, though!)

Not everyone is called to the same method of evangelization, but I want to give you my support for standing up for truth!


#8

Do not allow the students to be subjected to the anti-Catholic bias of the professor. Casually talk to him after class about the truth of the matter and ask him to consider righting the wrongs of presenting false information by publicly stating that he was wrong in front of the class. That way the students aren’t left with such a bad impression of the Church from an ignorant source. Make sure you do this with the utmost charity so you gain the respect of the professor. God bless and good luck. Pax!


#9

For 20 bucks you can buy a book by Thomas E. Woods, Jr called How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization from Amazon.com. It covers a lot of ground including some of those things you have questions about. The author cites copious references to back up his assertions; references that include fairly well known agnostics, atheists and non-Catholics. One interesting point is that it was the Church that developed the first early Universities where the freedom to teach and research was protected and encouraged. It is not a long, dense book and is a relatively easy read even for your Prof. :thumbsup: Sic um!


#10

Alright, thank you very much for all the replies. I think I am going to email him tommorow and tell him about it. I’ll include links to various websites debunking his claims. I was thinking about saying something to him before next class like I orginally posted, but then I decided email may be best as he could have time to look over all the material I send him and have him get back to me. I will also look over the inquisition stuff.

His whole lecture was obviously (to me) bent on making the Church look like this big bad monster that can’t be wrong and wants to promote ignorance, even if that means torturing those who disagree. I wanted to say something to him right in the middle of class, but I’ll admit I was a little shy about it because I didn’t know off the top of my head enough to really call him out on. I just knew that he was distorting the truth. That is why I decided to get references so my point of view will be taken seriously.

I do plan on being very respectful. In fact, he may not even know I am Catholic by how I could come across. I’ll just question (in a polite and studious way) why his information doesn’t match up with the information I found and ask what his sources are. How he handles the information I give him will say a lot about his character as a “professional”. Maybe he will actually point out his mistake to the class, but I won’t hold my breath. Either way, I’ll let you guys know how it goes.


#11

Just in case anyone was interested, I sent him an email. He got back to me with a long response on Galileo. I’ll paraphrase what he said so these aren’t exact quotes, I’m just going off the top of my head. Basically, he said he was just trying to point out the mindset of the time and it wasn’t a history lesson. He then went on to talk a lot about Galileo. He was reasonable and said he hadn’t fully explored the links I sent him yet. He seemed to take them seriously, although he did point out as I figured he would that they were from a Catholic source. He didn’t say much about indulgences and in my reply I pointed out that was my main concern. I think being called out on it made him step off a little bit from what I perceived as a downright negative view of the Catholic Church. I have no idea what will happen in the future. I can only hope he is a little more cautious of what he says when addressing this topic in the future.


#12

At least he didn’t jump down your throat. It’s good that he at leasts respects his students enough to respond to their questions and sources even if they may differ from his opinions.


#13

Why would a professor bring up something like this in a Psych class? What kind of class is it? I’ve had numerous Psych classes, and I can’t recall any which would have been an appropriate place for a discussion of indulgences.

Peace,
Linda


#14

I haven’t read it myself, but usually wikipedia is an unbiased and informative source. I hope it helps.


#15

I have come across a great deal of anti-Catholic bias in classes, the best way to deal with it in my opinion is to not become disrespectful and argumentative, but simply to cite the facts, no need to embellish anything because historical facts back up the Church ultimately.
It may be difficult in a psychology class because it doesn’t really apply, but I have devoted most of my time in history classes to discussing the Church in history (we are lucky, our Church can be found in almost any area of history in the last 2,000 years). A lot of modern scholarship recognizes the heavily anti-Catholic bias we have been given through our Anglo-centric history. One example is Henry Kamen’s The Spanish Inquisition, which is THE prominent source today on the Spanish Inquisition and provides a view based on primary sources from the time which is much milder than the Spanish Inquisition that pop history seems to thrust upon us. So my advice is just be reasonable, cite facts, don’t be argumentative, and it will help you grow in your faith and maybe enlighten some classmates as to the true history of the Church.

PS How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization is a GREAT book, but most professors probably won’t be too receptive to it yet.


#16

GKC said that everytime the world tries to get rid of Catholicism and its sacraments it eventually tries to fill that void in a secular and weaker fashion…like the sacrament of Reconcilliation is secularly copied by the psychiatrist’s chair without the safeguard of the privacy of the confessional.

in XT.


#17

[quote=Atreyu]I haven’t read it myself, but usually wikipedia is an unbiased and informative source. I hope it helps.
[/quote]

yes this is very true. tha tis a good source.

Here is a good link that defines his behavior as anti catholic. very typical.

I would send this too him and ask him to apologize for his remarks.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Catholic

Playing up the Church’s historical suppressions of science, as in its conflict with Galileo Galilei, while downplaying the Church’s scientific contributions (from followers such as Christopher Clavius, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Laura Bassi, Gregor Mendel, and Georges Lemaitre. Also ignoring the organized church’s role in the rise of the Medieval university system, the Vatican Observatory, and the Jesuit missionaries’ introduction of Western science to China.)


#18

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