Catholicism Today – How Do We Respond to Attacks Against Our Faith?

August 18, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014


It seems that Catholicism is being attacked in the secular world in an increasing amount. How do you respond to these challenges? Discus how to articulate and defend the Catholic position on important issues facing us today. Use these opportunities to build the Kingdom of God and defend your faith.


We are constantly bombarded with the messages that Catholicism is old fashioned and out of touch with the “modern culture”. The Catholic Church is the leading voice in key issues such as sanctity of life, definition of marriage, contraception/natural family planning, religious freedom challenges and other important issues. Use this session to explore and these and how we can effectively and courageously speak out on the Catholic perspective. Explore who among attending Fathers has recently experienced challenges to the Catholic view on key topics and how they responded. Do we have the knowledge and courage to as Pope Francis said at World Youth Day to “make a mess” or “shake it up”.

Bible Readings

1. 1 Peter 3:15-16

15 “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, 16 but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.”

2. Romans 1:19-23

19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

3. Philippians 1:7

7 “you who are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.”

4. Psalms 119

46 “I will speak openly of your decrees without fear even before kings.”

5. Mathew 10:16-20

16 “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. 17 But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. 20 For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

6. Luke 12:8-9

8 “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.”

7. John 6:67-69

67 Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

8. Mathew 16:18

18 “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 849

The missionary mandate. “Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be ‘the universal sacrament of salvation,’ the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men”: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age.”

2. Paragraph 856

“The missionary task implies a respectful dialogue with those who do not yet accept the Gospel. Believers can profit from this dialogue by learning to appreciate better “those elements of truth and grace which are found among peoples, and which are, as it were, a secret presence of God.” They proclaim the Good News to those who do not know it, in order to consolidate, complete, and raise up the truth and the goodness that God has distributed among men and nations, and to purify them from error and evil “for the glory of God, the confusion of the demon, and the happiness of man.”

3. Paragraphs 905

Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.” For lay people, “this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world. This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in apostolate; the true apostle in on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers…or to the faithful.”

Small Group Questions

1. Have you been engaged in discussions about the Catholic position on key social issues in the world today? How did you respond?

2. What is it about being Catholic faith that inspires you to defend your faith?

3. Are there any ways that your team might be able to improve your knowledge of the Catholic faith and teaching on critical issues in the world today so you could defend it?

Recommended Resources

1. How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot Button Issues By Ivereigh Austen

How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice is a new sort of apologetics. It is for those moments when you are thrust into the spotlight as the token Catholic whether the spotlight is simply at the office water cooler or whether it is front and center at the in-laws Thanksgiving celebration. How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice gives Catholics a fresh way of explaining the Church’s teaching on contentious issues humanly, compellingly, and succinctly.

Ten Principles of Civil Communication

Here are the ten principles which helped Catholic Voices develop the mind-set needed for this work:

Look for the positive intention behind the criticism.

Shed light, not heat.

People won’t remember what you said as much as how you made them feel.

Show, don’t tell.

Think in triangles.

Be positive.

Be compassionate.

Check your facts, but avoid robotics.

It’s not about you.

Witnessing, not winning.




5. Catholic Answers is great resource to for all things Catholic


1. Take an action to increase your knowledge of this faith this week and church teaching on social issues.

2. Read How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot Button Issues

3. Listen to “Catholic Answers Live” on Sacred Heart Radio from 6:00-8:00pm M-Fr and/or Al Kresta from 4-6 PM


Mike Suter utilizing some previous material from Dan Lape and Michael Copfer

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