How do I respond to people who question the church based on ...?

I’d like to hear, er read :), others’ ideas on how to best and most respectfully respond to people who object to Catholicism based on pedophile priests and the Church not being transparent about it, the Church not responding to Naziism in Germany during the 3rd Reich, corruption, and starting wars in the name of God…

Jesus founded his Church on sinners and traitors. And it is still the Church he founded, still replete with sinners and traitors.

There were only two perfect people without sin and they no longer walk the earth though they are still alive in heaven. That being said, sinful people will always be everywhere and make horrible mistakes. Does this mean we should all give up and not go to any Church at all? Of course not. I for one will stick with the Church Jesus Christ founded and promised would be led to all truth in regards to faith and morals and would withstand the gates of hell. There is no better option.

The church DID respond to the Nazi atrocities during WWII. In fact, it was because of one of those responses that all Catholics of Jewish origin in the Netherlands were rounded up and sent to the concentration camps, including St. Edith Stein.

While it does not lessen the horror of what happened to some children at the hands of priests, ask them to compare the rates of abuse by family members, and by school teachers, to that committed by priests. Do they also object to families? And to schools?

The Nazis persecuted many Catholics and many priests.

When Pope John Paul II was a young priest he had to hide and secretly give communion in Poland.

It’s as if Satan knew how good Pope John Paul II was for the world that he had to (literally) tear Poland apart to find him.

Typically, I’d ask such a person to specifically cite “which war” or something like that if they are going to make an assertion––ask them to back it up and then you can discuss. The Nazi-ism one is silly - there are tracts on this website on that. Such people also seem to be blind that many saints have opened hospitals, cared for the sick, poor, lonely, etc… and try to “define” the Church by its worst moments. This attitude against the Church is known as “reverse-halo” where the Church can only be viewed as “bad.”

But even if they were all true - our faith is founded on Jesus Christ, not the sins of members. If they have some problem with Jesus, we can discuss that too.

There are those who do *not *follow Church teaching–is the Church to be blamed for them? Maybe we should instead consider the Church in light of those who *follow *Church teaching, best exemplified in our canonized Saints.

We are all sinners, and those belonging to the Church in good standing are practicing their faith. Those members who do not practice their faith are giving scandal. This was predicted by our founder Jesus Christ, and He said it would go bad for those who give scandal Jesus knew scandal would come, this reinforces the doctrine, that inspite of the scandal He would sustain His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail. If the Church was founded by man, it would have been destroyed by human corruption long ago. It is the true Church founded by God and will last inspite of human corruption The guarantee by Christ to sustain the Church to the end of time, is called “indefectability”

Thankfully! Thank all interested in Gods path. Thank GOD you have this chance to grow your compassion/understanding.
“Jesus needs you to help and love…
Come back/in.”
These people are asking for help to show their love of Catholic. They are US, they simply need your love and Christ will do the rest.

God Bless and Keep you

There’s a lot in there but the first thing you should do is is ask how these people know what they know. There are a lot of assumptions that people make about what the Church has done and hasn’t done throughout history. If anyone raises an objection on any of the above topics, ask them how they know first.

Then ask them if they know how the Church has actually responded to these issues - e.g. Pope Pius XII did do something to help Jews during WWII and there are books about it.

As for deliberately corrupt mistakes like the sex abuse crisis, we can’t defend the indefensible. Members of our Church community committed serious harm to Children and sadly some leaders tried to cover it up. You don’t need to defend this but you can point to the numerous apologies that have been made (and ignored), the actions of bishops and Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis to make sure victims are helped and that this doesn’t happen again.

Also point out that society itself has domestic violence, sex abuse, war and corruption - all without a religious context. What does it say about society when these things are ignored by those who know about them?

I think we can easily make the case that the Church community (the laity and the leadership) are doing a lot to tackle our own problems. Apart from deciding on punishments for crimes, what has society done?

Also, don’t forget that these discussions are fertile ground for evangelisation!

God Bless:)

I would first ask.

Are you open minded to hear what I’ll say and not interrupt me to start ranting?

All the posts have sound advice. My only other thought is to think about the faith base of the person asking the question, if it is appropriate. For example, many people believe whatever someone they think is in authority tells them or just believe what they want to hear. Most of us have been guilty of that at one time or other. This means that some people accept whatever the media headlines are as gospel truth.

As someone previous said, ask them for more factual detail, then don’t be afraid to say you need to look into it and get back to them. It is surprising how often their authoritative statements are simply unfounded fluff. And don’t be surprised if some are not genuinely interested in discussion but are simply misguided in their words and intent.

PS. Have a look at other areas outside the forum in CAF, there are some good resources on answering a range of questions about the faith. Its amazing what you can learn.

These are very different issues and it is important to point that out.

Which war? If they are talking about the Crusades (which is very common), then ask which Crusade they mean. Explain the just war principle. You will be surprised at how little such people know. So be prepared for these common accusations and learn the facts (including about the crusades :wink:

Sex abuse. Well, I would point out that this was done by people who went against God’s law. Our faith does not teach this. When people live their faith then they do great things, and we have so many saints to prove it. (It is useful to know a few names of those who did immense charity work.) It is good to mention what the church has done in order to prevent these things from happening. People who make these accusations probably don’t have a clue about parish life and the mechanisms put into place for the protection of minors in a number of countries.

I found it impossible over the years to change peoples’ opinion that the Church is laden with pedophiles. Right there, their thinking is very biased and they draw on sensationalism.

Yeah, been there. I converted, first thing out of a family members mouth was, “keep the kids away from the priest!”

it is my understanding despite media sensationalism, the incidence of pedophilia amongst our priests is less than that of the general population.

A possible cure - The Irrational Atheist

Priest scandal - they really hate it when you present the facts that the majority of crimes were those of a homosexual nature. Support - The John Jay Study

Anti-Catholics will come up with anything. Adequately replying to one “argument” will not resolve the matter: they will just come up with something else.

Note that the “arguments” are red-herrings. They do not disprove any Catholic Doctrine.

Those who attempt to proselytize Catholics out of the Church (I am speaking of Protestants here) have two burdens:

First, they must prove that Catholic doctrine is wrong.

Second, they must prove that their doctrines are correct. Simply “proving” Catholic doctrine is incorrect is not sufficient.

Unfortunately, most Catholics led out of the Church do not demand the second test. Instead, they follow whoever is misleading them, whether JW, SDA, LDS, or any of the numerous and conflicting Protestant groups.

Try not to get led into red-herrings. Instead, try to put up the Catholic Faith against whatever they or their group holds.

Well, what did Jesus say? “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” (Matthew 7:1)

I would say to such a person, “Don’t tell me what it is, but stop for a moment and think about the worst thing you’ve ever done.” I would let him think about it for a couple seconds, then add, “Now, how would you like to be judged solely on that? Instead of also on all the good you’ve done? Is that the way we’re supposed to judge? Just on the evil someone has done without looking at the good?”

We all tend to condemn others while excusing ourselves.

Some of them are challenging you to go on defense in a never ending discussion.

So, be careful about engaging. Don’t go deep too soon. In other words, your initial response could be general, rather than launching into a litany of facts to refute what they’ve said.
Such as " Well, there are alot of misconceptions about all those things, and everything you read isn’t exactly true…and some of those things exist outside the church and have little to do with its teachings. In cases where wrongs have been done, the Church recognizes it’s made up of human beings…ie sinners…and has made steps to rectify those situations. More so than when those things occur outside the church, as most of them do.

UNless you sense that someone’s enquiry is sincere, I’d leave it at that.

Wars- The Pastry War (a real war) fought between Mexico and France “proves” that those yummy sugar filled baked goods are evil and should be done away with. They did after all cause a war. There was also a war somewhere in the region of SE Asia fought over a chair.

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