How should I confront this issue?


#1

I am 16 years old and will be confirmed in October. I have been volunteering at a local hospital this summer and found out one of people I work with is a Baptist. She asked whether or not I practiced a religion and I said I was Catholic. Immediately, her facial expression turned into a frown and she responded something along the lines of, “You should seriously visit my church if you don’t like yours”. Instantly, I was taken aback by her statement and felt very offended. Then she began to ask questions about why Catholics believe in the Virgin Mary, priests, etc. I gave her the best explanation I could about each subject. Now, my question is simple: How should I confront individuals like herself, especially since she was trying to impose her beliefs onto mine? And while, I know a lot about Catholicism (probably more than a lot of people my age I know who are also Catholic), there are so many things that I do not quite understand. So again, how should I handle situations like this?

Note: if anyone feels that this thread belongs elsewhere, feel free to move it!


#2

You have just entered the world of apologetics and evangelization. Here are my suggestions:

–always say a prayer before responding.

–take your time in responding to each question.

–cover each topic until you have exhausted all of your knowledge.

–try to take control of the conversation so that they do not use the shotgun approach which will invariably dilute the content of the individual answers.

–smile and let the person you are talking to know just how much you love and trust in the Lord. Let them know what the grace of God has done for you.

–never get angry or short with the person and always show respect.

–when you have problems answering, let the person know that you will get back to them with a better and more thorough answer. Then go home, do your research, and then get back to them.

–continue to learn more and more about your faith every single day.

–listen carefully to the non-Catholic questions and arguments so that you know them backwards and forwards. Learn the proper Catholic responses to these arguments.

I hope this helps.


#3

She seems to be assuming that all Catholics are unhappy. Simply say, “I’m quite happy with the Lord Jesus in the Catholic Church.”

She won’t know HOW to answer that one.


#4

sushierror, when I encounter people like the woman you described, it helps me to remember that they want what Catholics have, they just don’t know it yet.

I have found the Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth brochures helpful for basic apologetics. You can read the brochure online here.


#5

Answer the question according to your knowledge.

If you don’t know the answer, just respond by saying that you don’t know, but will find the answer if they really want to know.

Don’t argue. Many fundamentalist Church’s, train their people for debate against Catholics.

Once in my early days of my spiritual journey, a co-worker who was a Jehovah’s Witness, began asking me about various doctrines that the Catholic Church teaches. He wasn’t asking to learn, but to debate and hopefully convert me.

I tried debating him, but he manage to come back with scriptural answers that I was not prepared to handle.

However, I soon learned that neither was he so knowledgeable about the JW teaching. It turned out that at that time, they had an 800 phone number to New York, where JW members could call in and get instant answers to support them in their debates. When I gave him an answer, he’d go to the phone and return with a retort.

As I became more knowledgeable on Scripture, according to Catholic teaching, I was able to put up a good fight, but I also learned that it was all useless. His inquiries were not to learn about Catholicism, but to attack it, and therefore, he was close minded to any answer I provided anyway. He was a former Catholic, which helped him in the debate.

Now, I never debate with such persons. When a person ask me questions about the Church, I answer. If they begin to debate the answer, I end it by telling them that if they truly want to learn about the Catholic Church, I’ll provide help, but I’m not going to argue over it.

In all, remember that the Catholic Church has been around for over 2000 years. She has the knowledge and experience in debating heretics, so in time as you grow, you’ll be armed with this knowledge as well.

Jim


#6

Sushierror, congratulations on your upcoming confirmation.

Not to put words in your mouth, but here’s my thoughts. . .

After assuring your coworker that you are happy and fulfilled in your Catholic church, you could mention to her the quote from Bishop Fulton Sheen, something like, “You know, it’s funny; there are probably a hundred people in the world who hate the Catholic church for what it teaches, but there are millions of people who hate the Catholic church for what they mistakenly think it teaches.” You know, I’ll try to answer your questions as best as I can, but if you sincerely want to know about what the Catholic church really teaches, I’d encourage you to go to catholic.com, a website where all church teachings are explained and misconceptions are resolved. I am growing in my faith and am sure of it, but these people are better at explaining things than me. I want to assure you, though, that my relationship with Jesus is joyful and strong, especially when He comes to me in the Holy Eucharist.

Again, not putting words in your mouth, but that’s how I’d handle it. Take what may be useful and discard all else. I hope I said nothing to offend.

God bless,
Dan


closed #7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.