I will be visiting my family at the end of June and will be seeing my brother. We were raised Catholic, but he is now an agnostic and anti-Catholicism. He always asks me how I can belong to an organization which has acted so unChristlike over the centuries. Whether it be, in his opinion, the forced conversions of the Jews, Native Americans and other indigenous groups, the selling of indulgences, the inquisition, and the physical abuse doled out by some nuns/clergy at schools. His main focus, however, is the child molestation that went on in, and was covered up by, the Church. My gut reaction is to say that I’m a Catholic in spite of some of the actions of the Church and not because of them. And because I believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, I need the stay a member of the Church because of that belief. I also feel that the Church has earned much of the ridicule heaped upon it in the wake of the sex abuse scandal, so I don’t think it’s right to always defend the Church.
Am I sinning by holding these positions and by not defending the Church when my brother goes on one of his anti-Catholic tirades? What might be a better way to handle these attacks?