How to not "lose my head" when combatting anti-Catholic ignorance

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I posted here, and I basically need help with an issue. Everyone in my life, if not almost everyone, especially the people that know me, know I’m very open about my devout Catholicism. I promise I don’t “shove it in people’s faces” like some may think. I’m never like “Hey, people my name is David, have heard about Jesus?” I’m more of “if you ask me” or “if you can tell, I’ll let you know.” The issues I’ve faced with non-Catholic friends and other people is sometimes ignorant statements and questions come up.

I’m very okay with people disagreeing with me or dissenting from what I believe is true, but if you do so due to ignorance I get a little winded up. I just get mad at certain opinions that people have when it’s due to a popular misconception.

For example:

An opinion I don’t get mad at: I’m not Catholic because I don’t believe in X, Y, Z teaching of the Church.

An opinion I do get mad at: Catholics worship the Mary, the pope, and statues.

Is there any way I can learn to calmly correct people’s misconceptions about the Catholic Church? Does this tie into not letting what people say get to you?

I live in a predominantly Protestant area and I tell EVERYONE I am Catholic. Most are receptive and ask questions. If I don’t tell them, I don’t make it a secret. And to answer your question. I have a southern Baptist friend who asked me about my miraculous medal. She was curious why I wore it. So I told her. She and I didn’t get in a fistfight afterwards (I am a big guy, but she’d have won)! I have a Muslim friend who has even gone to Church with me, and I explained to him what I believe and the differences we have with other types of Christians. I think praying over 1 Peter 3:15 might help :slight_smile:

First of all, pray about how this is affecting you. Ask God to give you a deep love for those whom you are trying to help. This helps oh so much!

When someone makes a false assertion don’t get upset–ask the person why he believes that. That way you open up the discussion–that is if he really wants to discuss it and not just throw the assertion in you face as an insult. If it is meant to be an insult, you will have suffered for Christ, so be thankful that you were given that opportunity. :slight_smile:

But back to discussing such things. If the person evades answering ask he why he’s evading. If he skips answering to go onto another anti-Catholic accusation, ask him why he refuses to respond to the first one before going on to another. Often people will do that when they don’t have a good response, but want to put you on the defensive. Keep politely asking him questions until he either acknowledges that he is speaking out of ignorance or he blows you off. Either way, you won’t get upset and maybe he’ll learn something. :slight_smile:

I have found that getting into arguments rarely changes anyone, so why do it?

If you find they talk about the Pope, Mary…change the subject, saying you prefer not to discuss it, being you’d like to continue having a nice friendship.

Even if they start the discussion (argument), why bother?

Why not just say, “I know what you believe. You know what I believe…so how about we go back to talking about…?”


Just keep in mind that however energetic a disagreement may become, you stand in no danger of physically losing your head; and you should be able to avoid figuratively doing so.

God Bless and ICXC NIKA.

If you are all Christian, all believe in Christ, focus on your commonality, which is greater than your differences.

If they are willing to listen, think of it as an opportunity for sharing the truth. Thank God that they spoke up and gave you the opportunity.

Perhaps it would help if you thought of it in the same way as if your brother, sister, or a child said something untrue about the church. Would you lose your head, or would you look for a way to communicate with them and correct their misunderstanding?

If they are just talking and not receptive (not listening), there is not much you can do, but you should respond with charity. That might be the best way to preach the Gospel to them.

My suggestion would be to stop taking your Catholicism for granted. It’s not like you’ve earned it by your own efforts or created it yourself.
Think of all the Catholic people who came before you and from whom you’ve had the good fortune to learn things. Few people are fortunate like that.

Although it’s hard to do, you MUST NOT take it personally. So long as they aren’t making it personal obviously. But when I was strongly agnostic I talked a lot of smack on religion in general, but I never had a problem with any religious people, just the thought of religion itself.

So keep in mind that they have formed their opinions, not to offend you, but rather because it is simply what they believe.

I try to love everyone, and God rarely allows me to get angry or proud.

As a non-Catholic Christian I had many misconceptions in regards to Catholic worship. If you can remember that people who speak disrespectfully about the Pope or Mary are mostly “ignorant” of what actually is happening. Ignorance is not necessarily a bad word but it means that they don’t know the true aspect of what you do.

Prepare yourself ahead of time…coming here and asking for help is the best step. Then, when you are faced with how others perceive your Church, you will be ready. If they don’t want to listen, turn around and leave; no sense in getting riled up.

God bless!


One important thing to remember is that natural law is on your side. When you argue from this standpoint, you cannot lose.

Agree with Della.
Most people that have those views are just regurgitating what they have been told all their lives. Some people are leaders but most are followers and most of the ones that are ignorant of the truth to the Catholic Church are the followers. And they have been so ingrained in untruth they have no inkling to search or keep an open mind because to them they are the ones with the truth so why look for something you think you already have…Does that make sense???

The only way to combat anti-Catholic ignorance is to get down on all fours and bang your head on the floor until you knock several points off your IQ. Then you can deal with them on their level.

I don’t think you should say anything at all, unless you can do so with charity and calmness. However, if someone came up to me and told my I worshiped statues, I would feel compelled to correct them, in charity. You have truth on your side, so there’s really no reason to get angry about it. Besides, most of the people who say those things probably believe them to be true. They heard them from someone else. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t deliberately spreading lies about the Church.

I think in some situations a little righteous indignation is totally understandable, and as long as you try always to be charitable then don’t be too hard on yourself.

The confessional is the best place to go to get over a difficult sin. If you think your anger is rising to the occasion of sin, go a little more often to confession. Works like a charm!

Good for you to stand up for your faith! May your Guardian Angel help, inspire and protect you!

Gk Chesterton had a great way w/ people who disagreed w/ him. His books would come in handy for anyone who would like to better defend their faith.

Apologetics is an arm of evangelization–that’s something we have to keep firmly in mind. It isn’t enough to defend the faith, we should be reaching out in love to those who are misinformed but open to hearing the truth. If someone is not open–not just disagrees, but just wants to argue for the sake of arguing, then it’s time to just walk away and leave the person to God. We need to remember that all those we encounter are just poor sinners like us for whom Christ died–to redeem us all so we can be saved.

We don’t have to correct everyone’s minor misconceptions, but when challenged we need the guidance/power of the Holy Spirit so we can respond rightly and with love. It’s like fishing. Just how much effort is it worth to fight someone who simply won’t listen? That person may be hearing deeper down in his heart, and we must always treat everyone with courtesy, but when someone isn’t open to hearing, we can’t make them be. Prayer is necessary at all times, of course, but especially when we have opportunities to witness to God’s goodness and spread God’s truths.

“Is there any way I can learn to calmly correct people’s misconceptions about the Catholic Church? Does this tie into not letting what people say get to you?”

Contemplative prayer makes you more aware when you get really bothered by something. If you are reacting to people it is not going to be productive. You need to prayerfully get to a place where you don’t react when people don’t agree with your view of the Catholic faith. I say the ball is on your court for growth, not theirs.

Being respectful is always a good idea. Some Catholics are Catholic in name only and can’t explain their faith, then others get extremely offended when questioned about their faith. I like to avoid those types of people.

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