I’m already seeing a number of people (claiming to be Catholic) on various blogs/Facebook pages, websites, who are criticizing not only our new Pontiff, but dragging up all kinds of issues such as types of Mass preferences and also just long lists of grievances (women should be priests, etc.
Has anyone here had to defend Holy Church anew, since the election of our new Holy Father? So far, I have pointed to Christ’s handing the keys to St. Peter and how we must trust in the Apostolic Succession, that the “Gates of Hell shall not prevail” against Holy Church. But these people continue to berate their own faith.:highprayer:
Thoughts on responding to those openly criticizing the Church?
Thank you for any guidance.:angel1:
And it’s all the more upsetting when Catholics (or they call themselves Catholics) rant and rail against everything and everyone in our Holy Church! They seem to find so little good to say. They forget Christ’s words, that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against her!
They do so mainly because of sheer ignorance. A quote comes to mind.
“There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church. …As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.” - Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
Depends on whom is doing the talking. If it’s just someone with a rabid tongue frothing at the mouth, there’s probably no point, and you should take the advice of St. Ambrose:*To avoid dissensions we should be ever on our guard, more especially with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals, people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous. Those who insult us and treat us contumeliously are anxious for a spiteful and sarcastic reply: the silence we then affect disheartens them, and they cannot avoid showing their vexation; they do all they can to provoke us and to elicit a reply, but the best way to baffle them is to say nothing, refuse to argue with them, and to leave them to chew the cud of their hasty anger.
Saint Ambrose, Offices, chapter 5*If someone makes an accusation, sometimes I ask for names and dates corresponding to the claim. Often, they have no idea and are just regurgitating something they read in media which provided no substantiation. If it’s someone reasonably attempting to address Catholic theology with regard to women priests or something, I try to explain it as simply and charitably as possible. And if possible, NEVER get personal, i.e. don’t say “you are just saying that because you are a bigot!” or something like that. Stick to the subject matter as much as you can.
At times though, it does need a response. A couple of days ago, some anti-theist accused the conclave of being evil because according to him, all the cardinals in it are pedophiles. I responded to him that the Catholic Church is still doing a lot to keep the pedophiles out of the priesthood and that the cardinals are not pedophiles. He was stunned and tried to pull an argument out of a hat, and had failed in doing so.
And what was gained there? So you scored points on somebody who was wrong on the Internet. I’ll bet my iPad that even though he was “stunned” and didn’t respond, he still isn’t going to run out and join the next RCIA class in town.
I’m not picking on you, really…even though it might seem like it. I just think we waste time firing salvos at people that are never going to change their minds anyway.
If someone is truly seeking, I don’t think they are going to be firing off insults on the Internet. Those people are just trying to get a reaction.
I had a Facebook friend ask for the Biblical reason for a Pope the other day and THAT got my attention. I took the time to respond to that and did everything I could to be accurate. She may still not agree, but at least I know that she got the right answer-and so did her friends that read her wall that day.
Makes me sad when people do that. No rational person if they saw a bunch of teachers gathered for a teacher conference would say, “They’re evil, and they’re all pedophiles!”. :banghead: But it seems when it comes to Catholicism some people lose all sense of reason.
I like that quote MarcoPolo had from St. Ambrose. He like perfectly described every troll I’ve ever encountered on the NC register’s comment box. I should really start following his advice, might be better for my health.
I really haven’t decided on how to respond yet. It’s kind of hard to respond to total ignorance. People who want the Chuch to accept such things as gay “marriage” quite simply don’t have any idea at all whatsoever about the Church, because if they did, they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. It’s just that simple. They’re quite obviously ignorant of the fact that the very same rules and laws that forbid gay interaction are the same rules and laws that forbid contraception even among married couples, cohabitation, premarital sex, remarriage, etc.
I can understand people pushing for women priests because quite frankly there is no rhyme or reason to the teaching. It’s simply a “because I said so” teaching.
About priests getting married, that’s just a discipline and that might change in the future. In fact, I hope it does. But that’s up to the Pope.
But it’s hard to have a meaningful discussion about Church teachings with someone who thinks they know what the Chuch teachings, but in fact they do not.
Perhaps they are, but you’re leaving out a very important facet of all this.
Let me give you an example from the other side.
I belong to another forum which is probably about 70% protestant / 30% Catholic (my own “guesstimate.”)
When I first became a Christian (and even leading up to that point), I observed many “debates” between the two sides. What impressed me most about the Catholics is the way they responded with reason and love to the salvos (and even out-and-out lies) which came their way from the Protestants. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were many fine Protestants there who I absolutely consider brethren in Christ, but as an “outsider” to both sides, I couldn’t help but notice which side came armed with facts, reason, and love, far outweighing that shown by the other side.
I am absolutely certain that many of the Catholics knew they were unlikely to convert the diehard Protestants (especially those who told the same easily-refuted lies time and time again). They knew that, and yet they still continued to defend the Catholic faith with love, honor, and charity. They did this for the lurkers … like me. The ones who never spoke up, but who were absorbing everything like a sponge, doing our own research to see who was telling the truth and who wasn’t, and to observe who displayed the “fruits of the spirit” … and who didn’t.
I will be forever grateful to these amazing Catholics for not “just ignoring” the same arguments that had no doubt been made for years prior to my arrival on the forum, but who instead answered them again and again with love, faith, hope, charity, and reason, so that all the newcomers (like me) could see, and learn.
As Paul Harvey would say … “and now you know the REST … of the story”
That’s a great story and I’m glad it worked out so well. I post on a bunch of different forums too and learned a lot from all of them.
I’m really not thinking of posters on a forum so much as people writing comments on news sites or blogs. Blog writers are looking for readers, so they need to get attention and insulting a big organization like the Church is a great way to get it. People who wrote comments on news articles are like drive by shooters-they say something rude and then vanish. I don’t find either of those types worthy of energy.
I’m not a commenter on blogs, either, but I do think that commenters can serve a valuable purpose as described in my last post. True “apologetics warriors” (and I mean that in the the best possible way) can provide a very necessary counterpoint to vitriol and misinformation, and can inspire readers to do some research on their own (to see who is telling the truth), or even just to think about something from a new perspective.
We can’t individually “fight the battle” on every possible front, but let’s not be too quick to dismiss as “unworthy” any avenues that could allow the truth to shine forth. I give a tip-o-the-hat :tiphat: to those who take time to post links or other valuable information in response to news articles or blogs, even though I don’t do it myself. The readers (including lurkers) of those sites may never find their way to CAF, but they may be impacted by someone who posts there, just as many are impacted by forums such as CAF.
That the anti-theist’s charge had been proven baseless. I did give him the evidence that his accusation is a very bad sweeping generalization. In this world of social media, there’s always someone reading these comments. Sure, it may not have convinced the anti-theist in question, but it did enlighten other people on this issue.
That people saw who used reason more and who decided to go for the irrational generalization.
The anti-theist in question was not even looking for a reaction but a discussion. And I gave it to him. The fact that he had to bring up Cardinal Emeritus Mahoney does not change a thing. This is because the anti-theist in question was observing “guilty until proven innocent beyond reasonable doubt”. This observance is highly unfair and paranoid.
Don’t worry, I enjoy discussing things with you as much as I enjoy discussing things with CopticChristian.
It makes me facepalm especially if they already know the truth and yet seek to ignore it. That is why when I see people do the same tactics as the Westboro Baptist Church in their attacks against Catholicism, I get to laugh at how they try to set themselves up as paragons of tolerance, justice and reason when they clearly fail in all three to the point of sheer recklessness.