[quote=Al Masetti]Ask him, which came first, the Church or the “Bible”.
Actually, from my brief experience that isn’t at all what your standard Protestant cares about with regards to the Catholic Church.
The two Protestants I’ve spoken to on Catholicism have all had the same reaction “the Crusades.” How can the Pope be infallible and authorize the crusades? Really.
So I think this person’s response reminds me of that. People see what they see as evil in the Catholic Church and wonder how it can be Christ’s Church, without understanding that just because evil people have done evil things, it doesn’t invalidate the claims of the Church. So first, we have to answer their questions about this. Next we have to tell them that even were some of these things as bad as they think, that it wouldn’t invalidate the Church.
For instance, one guy talked about the pedophilia scandal. Except, well, it ain’t really a pedophilia scandal. It’s more of an epebophilia scandal. And, well, the incidences of pedophilia and epebophilia in the Church aren’t at all higher than the general prevalence in the population at large. (See my post here.) So, first, destroy that idea. Then, also see this article.
Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but church volunteers.
These are findings from national surveys by Christian Ministry Resources (CMR), a tax and legal-advice publisher serving more than 75,000 congregations and 1,000 denominational agencies nationwide.
Dr. Shupe suggests the 70 allegations-per-week figure actually could be higher, because underreporting is common… Nearly 4 percent said they had been victims of sexual abuse by clergy. Child sexual abuse was part of that, but not broken out, he says.
James Cobble, executive director of CMR, who oversees the survey, says the data show that child sex-abuse happens broadly across all denominations– and that clergy aren’t the major offenders.
“The Catholics have gotten all the attention from the media, but this problem is even greater with the Protestant churches simply because of their far larger numbers,” he says.
Of the 350,000 churches in the US, 19,500 – 5 percent – are Roman Catholic. Catholic churches represent a slightly smaller minority of churches in the CMR surveys which aren’t scientifically random, but “representative” demographic samples of churches, Dr. Cobble explains.
And in any case, if you’re looking for news reports on abuse from other than the Catholic Church, look here for a compilation. That’s only to say that they do exist, even if the media doesn’t trumpet them. Don’t use them to bludgeon Protestants, though.
I think most people are quite shocked when they first hear someone defending the Catholic Church. I mean, based on what they’ve always heard about how 1. unbiblical 2. evil we are, they’re probably surprised anyone could even support such an institution. But, just seeing you defend the Church strongly could make them softer towards us, and that goes a long way towards good.
So what you do is, step by step, one by one, take their misconceptions away. It’s a cumulative effect, not an all at once thing.