Writing a Catholic YA novel depicting a Catholic/Protestant debate, looking for suggestions

[Mods, if this part of the forum is not suitable for this type of question, please move this to a more suitable one, where it will reach the right people. -TWM]

Hi, currently as of late, I am writing a Catholic young adult novel. The chapter that I am on entails a apologetics type debate between two different groups of youth: a combined section of Roman and Eastern Rite Catholics on one group, and a combined section of different kinds of Protestant groups on the the other. The Protestant groups I have in mind are evangelical Baptist, Calvinists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, to name a couple right off the bat.

To cut to the chase, my question is for the sake of this debate within my novel, and in the context of the debate within the chapter, what sort of questions should the Protestant youth raise to the Catholic youth?

So far, the topics that the within this chapter of my novel have raised are: the justification of the Catholic veneration of Mary and the Saints; the Catholic practice of having statues of the Saints and Mary contradict the Protestant belief regarding not making ‘any graven image’; the Catholic beliefs regarding purgatory; and the legitimacy of the Magisterium, or the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

I should also note that I am also planning to have the character discuss about the seven Sacraments, especially, Holy Orders. The justification of the Catholic priesthood’s practice of celibacy. The Catholic view regarding salvation, particularly the concept of Original Sin. Transubstantiation, the process of turning bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

Is there anything else that I should also add to this debate I am trying to depict within my novel, something to make the story more interesting and fair?

Likewise, I’m open to any and all suggestions to anyone who is either a Catholic or a Protestant.

And many thanks to any who had taken the time to look into my question. Your answers will be appreciated.



Get to the nitty girtty:

The Eucharist.

However, I once had a very close young friend who happened to be independent fundamental baptist, and we “discussed” over how we are saved, and how so many non-Catholics think we are trying to get into heaven by our “works”. :banghead:

And accusations of not having a real personal relationship with Jesus and accepting him as Your Lord and the whole idea of “being saved”…so yeah…food for thought.

You included Anglicans, who differ substantially from other protestant faiths. Anglicans are not iconoclasts, and they accept the Communion of Saints and veneration of Mary. They accept a watered-down version of Eucharistic Transubstantiation which they call the “real presence” *(and, hey, it’s better than the “real absence” espoused by most protestants).

If you want something which Anglicans could object to in the same manner and degree as other protestants, you would really be forced to settle on the Papacy (both infallibility and universal jurisdiction).

But this issue also divides Catholics - the Greek Orthodox do not accept it. I’m not sure if your “Catholic side” is limited to Catholic Churches typically identified as “Eastern Rite Catholics” (who are in full communion with Rome, and subject to the authority of the Pope) or Eastern Catholic Churches (such as the Greek Orthodox) who are in schism with Rome.

Your choices are very limited, and they depend a great deal on exactly how you define your terms.

It would help if we knew the setting for this scene. Is it a group of teens having a discussion over pizza or is it a timed debate with each participant taking turns at a podium? Also, this sounds like way too many characters for the reader to keep in mind during one scene. Maybe you want to scale it back to two or three characters?

Weaving a debate into a story is tricky, especially if you want to keep the action going so your reader doesn’t lose interest. I imagine that would be even trickier for a YA novel. I wrote a novel in which a Catholic and an atheist discuss their opposing views throughout the entire book, but I was careful to intertwine it into the plot and character development. If you want to take a look at how I did it, you can click on the link in my signature.

If, and only if, you are very strong in The Faith, and you want to find some of the most egregious attacks on The Church, you might want to visit Mat Slicks’ CARM dot org website. It is a carefully managed presentation of selected truths, half-truths, spun truths, and untruths. But I warn you, it’s some pretty bad stuff.

@JamalChristophr: Don’t worry, I won’t forget.

@DavidFilmer: Okay, if Anglican’s make my options limited, how about the Presbyterians? And while we’re at it, we should also try to keep the Eastern Orthodox out of the discussion.

@Kay Cee: This is a timed debate, with a ten minute speech on each, along with a seven minute rebuttal. I was thinking that there should be a two from each team of six to make things easier for the reader to understand. Bear in mind, that this is taking place over the course of three days. This debate is important, as it will surely move the story forward, since it is the only solution to resolve a conflict.

@Ignatius: Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. Don’t worry about me; my devotion to the Catholic faith is as hard as Pittsburgh steel.

I think you’d be remiss, if you missed the most fundamental of all of the differences between Cat’s and pro’s: sola scriptura–which would squarely include the Anglicans.

Virtually all differences stem from this doctrine. Every difference mentioned above, is derivative of placing the Bible above–in fact, in lieu of-- the thing Christ actually left to us: His Church.

Christ wrote nothing down, and never spoke of scripture that would come into being. Ever. No one in the Bible did. Not so much as a glancing, side-ways reference.

But the Bible expressly tells the story of the Church that Christ founded, how he founded it, what was to become of it, and what was to become of His authority.

IMHO, you lose the forest for the trees, when you get into the specific doctrinal differences, all of which are derivative of the fundamental difference of what Christ actually left us, and what the Bible actually is.


Concur. Especially with the bolded.

Less is more. The more ‘voices’ in the debate, the more you stand to diminish the Catholic voice, as just being another amongst many.

I know CS Lewis gets a lot of love on this forum, but he lost me in his intro to “Mere Christianity”, when he essentially characterized the One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded, as just another room in a hallway–IOW–just another ‘denomination’.


@Goya: Oh, why did I forget to mention Sola Scriptura? Alright, I’ll try to keep that on in mind.

And after to listening to Kay Cee’s advice, I will try to write about it, not as three different scenes with potentially thousands of words to cover all three scenes, I’ve decided to reduce to a single single, with one of the supporting recounting and summarizing the whole debate, and typing it all out on a typewritter for future reference.

Likewise, I would like to thank everyone for the information given to me. If there’s anyone on this forum who have any more questions, comments, or suggestions to add to this thread, feel free to add your posts here.

In other words, a supporting character recounted and summarized the events, while typing it all out on a typewriter for future reference.

That does sound like a much better idea. :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.