Is it rude to talk to strangers for apologetic reasons?

I was praying my Rosary, walking through the beautiful gardens in my parish.
As I went and came, I passed several times by a young couple who was sitting on a bench.
From the little pieces of conversation I overheard, I realized she was Catholic, but had no idea of her faith, and he was trying to convince her that a certain teaching of the Catholic Church is wrong, and he was distorting the facts to make his point. :eek:
So I started thinking if maybe I should introduce myself and talk to them, to correct his wrong interpretation; or perhaps try a different approach and congratulate them first for their interest in faith matters and then suggest that they read the YOUCAT (young Cathechism of the Catholic Church), and comment on what I heard them discuss.

As I was pondering what to do, the time came for the parish to close its doors for the day, and we all had to leave.

And I have not seen them since.

But I have kept wondering what should I have done? :blush:

I did not want to seem rude, :o but I also worried that this girl was being misinformed.

What do you think?

What would you have done?


I’ve had similar thoughts now and again.

I’ve hesitated often. But sometimes I’d chime in and try to strike up a chat with a person who was misinformed about the Church.

It varies. It all varies. Most of the time, though, I end up having a long, wandering conversation that takes twists and turns down many different and often only loosely linked topics involving Catholicism.

It doesn’t usually seem to change their minds. (Well, since when have you converted to Protestantism just because a Protestant comes up and asks “Are you saved?”, or a Mormon comes up and starts his schpiel? But who knows? At least you show you care about your faith - more than can be said for most. It might get them thinking more.

It couldn’t hurt to try.

Interjecting yourself into a conversation that you are not a part of can be very difficult. But, since you we’re on Church grounds and clearly they must have realized you might be overhearing them it might have been an opportunity. Perhaps the next time, if there is a next time, you could stop and ask them if they might be interested in hearing your position on the subject. You could get all kinds of responses so be prepared but it might open the door for a clarification. I would stop and say to them, I apologize if I am being rude but in these close quarters I have heard some of your conversation and I was hoping you would let me talk with you about this. Hopefully, since you we’re on Church grounds it might go positively!

I think doing so is admirable. On a different note, I feel many of our confused by different terms, specifically “apologetics”, “catechesis”, and “evangelization”.

Apologetics is the art of defending (in this context, the Catholic) faith.

Catechesis is teaching the faith.

Evangelizing is spreading the good news of the Gospel.

Sometimes the lines between the three are blurred. In the example you gave, with the girl being Catholic but misinformed or unknowable in the faith, she was in need of catechesis, which in your offering would be quite appropriate.

Peace and all good!

The Spirirtual Works of Mercy include instructing the ignorant and counseling the doubtful.

If, as you say, this girl really didn’t understand her faith or a particular teacing of it and her boyfriend was using this as a chance to creep in doubt about it, then it would seem like a good reason to chime in.

If you do happen upon this situation again, please don’t hesitate, but always do it in a charitable manner, firm, but charitable.

It depends on each circumstance but in the one you noted I would have been tempted
to chime in and say I overheard your conversation and I’m Catholic; could I answer and questions about the Faith.

I’ve always wanted to go up to people who are talking bad about the Faith and to correct them but I am not sure if its right to interject into a private conversation like that.

If you saw someone beating another person with a stick, would you do something?

Conversations can be tricky, especially if we only hear part. Too easily we make wrong assumptions. But if you are reasonably sure someone is beating up spiritually on another person, by all means interrupt. You can do so calmly, even in a cheerful manner. If they are talking non-stop, just tap one of them on the shoulder, and say something like, “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation, but you look new here . . .” You don’t have to force the subject. If there’s an opportune moment to talk to the lady alone, do it.

Perhaps don’t ‘lead’ with the correction. Introduce yourself as a fellow ‘human’ in whatever context you are in (nice ball cap, something like that that is appropriate). Then maybe mention you happened to overhear something and go from there.

If you feel called, ANSWER! God won’t put you into something you can’t handle. You might be surprised by the Graces and gift you find in doing so.

God bless you,

Great advices from you all guys, thank you very much! :thumbsup:

I intend to follow them!

God bless! :slight_smile:


You were doing the right thing wanting to correct things :slight_smile: I love your enthusiasm. Too bad it didn’t work out this time and I understand totally your hesitation (happened to me, too, once) BUT you learned for the next time that you’ll find yourself in such a situation :thumbsup:

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