Need Help Debating an anti-Catholic!

So, I’m in this online debate with an anti-Catholic and he hurled a slew of accusations against the Church at me. I formulatied his accusations into a succinct argument so you guys can help me out.

**Argument A: **
1. The Catholic Church made an alliance with German and Italian Fascism.
2. The Catholic Church yearly celebrated Hitler’s birthday from the pulpit.
3. The Catholic Church was silent during the holocaust.
4. The Catholic Church institutionalized the rape and torture of children over 2000 years.
5. The Catholic Church criminally shuffled around pedophiles and “scam artists”.
6. The Catholic Church said condoms increase the rate of AIDS/HIV.
7. The Catholic Church suggests that gay people should live a totally sterile life.
8. Premise #6 is Disgusting.
9. The Catholic Church had ties with fascist Spain.
10. The Catholic Church influenced the criminalization of abortion and prevention of access to divorce in Ireland.
11. The Catholic Church forced conversion of indigenous people in South America.
12. All of these things that the Catholic Church has done are evil.
13. Therefore, the Catholic Church is consistently Evil.

I let him know that logically speaking, all of his premises must be true in order to have a sound argument, even if the conclusion is valid. I am convinced a majority of these accusations are false, but I cannot address all of the false accusations by myself. You all are welcome to logically proove as many as you wish to false. I really need help, this anti-Catholic guy adamantly stands by all of these premises as true. Thanks :slight_smile:

I am not catholic, and I beleive at least some of what he is saying is true as many of them are. So good luck arguing with him.

Ask him why he really hates the Catholic Church. Little point in arguing with him. Better to reply with questions. Such as where is your proof? Why is it evil to bring Christ to indigious people?

I’m not tryimg to be anti catholic here, but I believe the catholic churcj would make more headway if they would better own up to what mistakes have been made in the past. Bad things have happened and mistakes were made.

The burden of proof is on him; demand (nicely) that he provides creditable, historical proof for these statements from reliable sources, not from Chix Tracts. I am always amazed at how much anti-Catholic hogwash is out there and how many otherwise thoughtful, intelligent people buy into it. :confused:

To address them properly each accusation should have its own thread.

Which ones do you believe to be true?

Well, that’s your first problem.

Do you know this person personally? Have a relationship with them? Can you speak to them? Is this a one on one discussion or is it in a public format?

I think this is, for the most part, a waste of time.

Here is your second problem, and a frequent tactic of those not interested in actual conversation. See if this person is willing to stick to one subject at a time. If not, you are wasting your time.

Here’s your third problem. It doesn’t appear you want to do the heavy lifting. Why don’t you formulate your own reply and then run them by someone here as a review?

Then I suggest you bow out of the discussion with this person.

Then it is up to him to prove them, not you to disprove them.

  1. Absolutely lies. The Church had multiple times condemned Nazism, and the Church had ties with the German Resistance, not Nazi Germany. The only way the Church had ties with them is that they had an ambassador to Germany, though this doesn’t at all mean they supported them.
  2. BS. Nothing like this ever happened, and when the Vatican ambassador to Germany was invited to Hitler’s birthday party, the Pope advised him NOT to go.
  3. A popular lie told against the Church. Pope Pius XII and the German bishops had already condemned Nazism and the holocaust on many occasions, and what is seen as silence was actually POLITICAL neutrality. The Pope condemned Nazism, but he still otherwise called for peace. And the Church gave immense relief to the victims, whether they were Jews, refugees, or prisoners-of-war.
  4. What? The Church condemns rape and torture. There have been bad people in the Church, such as molester priests and immoral popes, but the teaching of the Church did not change, and the Church denounces these things.
  5. Once again, he’s taking the actions of irresponsible bishops and taking them to be the view of the whole Church. The Catechism teaches against child abuse, and whatever faults were caused in respect to this were the faults of individuals, not of the Church.
  6. The Church does not officially teach this idea. Benedict XVI said something of this sort, and it seems to be because of the possible breakage and leakage that could occur. Either way, the Church doesn’t claim to be a scientist.
  7. I assume he means “celibate” when he says “sterile”, and yes, the Church teaches that homosexuals should live in celibacy since that they don’t want to have sex with a woman. This is the Church’s teaching, as God created marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman. The Church teaches the two ends of sex are to (1) procreation and (2) unity of the (male and female) spouses, which two people of the same sex cannot create.
  8. That’s your own completely subjective opinion.
  9. The Church initially supported Franco because he was the only one that wasn’t persecuting the Church, but as we started to see the abuses and evil caused by the regime, the Church came to pull away their support for it.
  10. I don’t see this as a bad thing. Abortion is murder and should be criminalized. The Church has long had an influence in Ireland, and let’s be clear that influence doesn’t mean control. The Church doesn’t control the elections or anything.
  11. The Church condemns forced conversion. And, even though the Church started the mission in the Americas, she condemned the mistreatment of the natives by the colonists.
  12. Abortion and divorce are evil.
  13. Wrong.

I wish you luck in your defense of the Church. People have told endless lies against the Church, and it is our duty to defend her.

Many Catholics spoke out against the holocaust/ protested Anti Semitism and Pope Pius XII (I think that was the pope) hid some Jews in the Vatican.

The Church was not institutionalizing torturing and raping children for 2000 years

In pagan times children were seen as lesser and the pagans left newborns out to die if they didn’t want them. Catholics took some of them and took care of them

Which of the ones that actually happened HAVEN’T been owned up to?

Pope St. John Paul II risked his life to hide Jews from the Nazis.

No point in doing shotgun argumentation IMO. Focus in on one point, refute it. It might be helpful to remind this person that Germany was a nominally majority Protestant nation in 1933, and that Catholic areas of Germany voted against Hitler more than Protestant areas of Germany (see below). He might then bring up the Concordat signed in 1933 between the Vatican and Nazi Germany. This is a complex issue to give context to (one point is that the Vatican had been signing concordats for centuries with many nations as a means to secure legal operation of the Church in countries, even dictatorships like Napoleonic France), but it’s easy to point out that Britain signed the Four-Power Pact treaty with Nazi Germany months before the Concordat, but nobody says anything bad about Britain about this. At the time Nazi Germany didn’t have the infamous image it now has, (for example the Olympics were still held in Nazi Germany in 1936)

These maps come from “The Coming of the Third Reich” by Richard Evans

Percentage of Catholics and Protestants in Germany

Elections in Germany

I feel they try to downplay the molestation that went on for example. I have seen people on here downplay it before. It was a horrible unexcusable thing that shouldn’t be downplayed.

I challenge you to point to 1 post on this forum that anyone described it other than a horrible inexcusable thing. Just one.

And after you cannot find that, what is the next thing on the list?

This is a great lecture from a scholar on Pope Pius XII. Send it to this person and tell him to watch it if he’s really interested in the truth or getting some solid information about Pope Pius XII during WW2. But if he’s just looking for whatever he can get to bash the Church then there’s no point IMO.

Molestation should not at all be downplayed, but the problem with the whole thing is the misconception that the Vatican promoted child sexual abuse. There have been various cases of the hierarchy attempting to shield these cases from the public eye, but these are primarily diocesan (rather than episcopal or Curial). For example, the USCCB has issued a zero-tolerance rule for molester priests, and the Vatican is trying to better handle these cases, but it is a challenge considering the vastness of the Church. The Church of course officially condemns all sexual abuse and the Vatican isn’t trying to hide these cases, as all of the last three popes have expressed sentiments against the abuse. Also, a corespondent to the Vatican for National Catholic Register stated that certain misunderstandings between the Vatican and America don’t help this:

No one [in the Vatican] thinks the sexual abuse of kids is unique to the States, but they do think that the reporting on it is uniquely American, fueled by anti-Catholicism and shyster lawyers hustling to tap the deep pockets of the church. And that thinking is tied to the larger perception about American culture, which is that there is a hysteria when it comes to anything sexual, and an incomprehension of the Catholic Church. What that means is that Vatican officials are slower to make the kinds of public statements that most American Catholics want, and when they do make them they are tentative and halfhearted. It’s not that they don’t feel bad for the victims, but they think the clamor for them to apologize is fed by other factors that they don’t want to capitulate to.

The irresponsible and evil actions of certain bishops shouldn’t be downplayed, but it certainly shouldn’t be taken to be the actions of the entire Church.

It’s been my limited experience with Catholic apologetics that anti-Catholics form their opinion first then seek justification to back their opinion. I.e. “The Catholic Church is evil” so they look for reasons to back up their position that the Catholic Church is evil. I suggest you follow this process which seems to work for me when faced with situations like this:

  1. Do NOT react to their first barrage of accusations. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, pray that the Holy Spirit give you strength, truth, and speak through you.
  2. Be humble. We don’t always know the answers. Admit when you don’t know the answer but also take some time to research those issues that seem to vex your “challenger.”
  3. Remember, the person you’re speaking to has Jesus inside him/her so treat him/her with respect.
  4. Don’t argue a point; agree to disagree if there seems no way to present your point of view. Also, make sure you understand where that person is coming from. Argumentative people love to explain their point of view; let them but don’t agree they’re right if you truly believe they’re not right. So make sure you ask “why” a lot in order to understand their point of view. Sometimes, the person I’m in discussion with, crosses over their own logic so I gently remind them of their apparent conflict so they can “clarify” their position.
  5. Address one point at a time. If you don’t know how to address the issue, ask for some time to research the Catholic Church’s position (because his/her question is important to you), then agree to contact him/her again with a response. Then respond. Always follow up on your promises. At the end, when he/she goes silent (in thought), ask (gently!) “did I respond to your concern?” SEE POINTS 2 & 3.
  6. With their permission, offer to take on their next concern and agree upon what that concern will be. Sometimes argumentative people will figure out you’re not the “enemy” and will willingly share why they are anti-Catholic. You’ve become an Evangelical Catholic!
  7. Whatever happens in your discussion, offer to end with a prayer with the other person. I’ve never had anyone refuse a prayer yet! It’s a great uplifting way to end a discussion and to bring the two of you together in Our Lord.

God Bless you for your devotion and faithfulness! :thumbsup:

There is a difference in what the Church does and what individual priests and Catholics do. Certain Catholics have done some terrible things for sure, but that does not prove that the Church as a whole is evil. It just means that the Church has some sinners in it. You can’t judge a barrel of apples by a few samples.

Point 2.

Ask him for proof that the Church celebrates Hitlers birthday from the pulpits. We have a Liturgical Calendar of Worship that is followed strictly around the world in every Catholic Church. Can he show you where it is on that Calendar? Can he produce credible evidence of this practice either in Church Tradition, Doctrine or Worship? Any video evidence?

Point 3.

Pope Pius XII was also silent about millions of Polish Catholic laypeople and clergy along with Gypsy Catholics who were murdered by the Nazis for who they were. Why would he not say anything then? Think about it. He had to be careful. Publicly he was silent whilst quietly he ordered the nuns and clerical to provide refuge for Jews and those fleeing the Nazis within their convents and religious institutions. He hid Jews inside the Vatican as well as Castle Gandalf.

"There probably was not a single ruler of our generation who did more to help the Jews in their hour of greatest tragedy during the Nazi occupation of Europe, than the late Pope." ~ The Jewish Post, Nov. 6, 1958

"Immediately following the war, Pius XII was praised by Jewish leaders, including Albert Einstein and Golda Meir. This was the prevailing cultural attitude for 18 years until 1963, when a play called “The Deputy” written by Rolf Hochhuth portrayed the Pope as a Nazi collaborator. It was a water shed, a brilliant piece of sensationalist anti-Catholic revisionist history. Before the play was created, there was no question about Pope Pius’ integrity. The power of art to shape public opinion and begin an avalanche is breathtaking."

"During World War II, Pope Pius XII never publicly condemned the massacre of 1.8–1.9 million mainly Catholic Polish gentiles (including 2,935 members of the Catholic Clergy), nor did he ever publicly condemn the Soviet Union for the deaths of 1,000,000 mainly Catholic Polish gentile citizens including an untold number of clergy.

Yet, Pius XII aided the German resistance plot to overthrow Hitler. He relayed intelligence from Germany to England, knowing the risk involved, which could result in the complete annihilation of the Vatican under Mussolini’s control and later under Hitler’s control. Here was a Pope, a former secretary of state to Germany, (before the Nazi’s got into power) giving intelligence to the British about German military operations."

Before the war the Pope wrote Mit Brenender Sorge an encyclical tract in German, smuggled out of Italy and copied and distributed to parish priests to be read from all of the pulpits in Germany on Palm Sunday, March 14, 1937.

It was one of the strongest condemnations of any national regime that the Holy See ever published. It condemned not only the persecution of the Church in Germany, but also the Neo-paganism of Nazi theories. The Pope wrote:

“Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State… above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God”

There was a brazen swipe at Hitler and his desire to kill the Church and set up a National Church governed by the Gestapo:

“None but superficial minds could stumble into concepts of a national God, of a national religion; or attempt to lock within the frontiers of a single people, within the narrow limits of a single race, God, the Creator of the universe, King and Legislator of all nations before whose immensity they are ‘as a drop of a bucket’ (Isaiah XI, 15).”

The Pope’s encyclical concluded with the prophetic statement:

“enemies of the Church, who think that their time has come, will see that their joy was premature.”

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