Quotidian Apologetics, Introduction:
Quotidian: occurring every day; commonplace, ordinary.
Apologetics: systematic discourse in defense of ....
We, as Catholic Christians, former Protestant Christians, encounter much of the same inquiries that long-time Catholic Christians are asked about The Catholic Church. We thought we would share with you, our fellow Catholic Christians, some of the quotidian apologetics we have chosen to live by as we journey with you.
1. We defend our faith by the way we live the Catholic Faith. As St. Paul admonished in I Corinthians 13, "If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love. I gain nothing." Cordial Catholics who practice love draw others to The Faith.
2. We have nothing to defend or apologize (apologetics) for because we know that the Sacred Tradition, Sacred Authority and Sacred Scriptures of The Catholic Church is intact, she stands proven and true (See our July 4, 2015 post).We are, however, responsible for living our every day existence (quotidian) reflecting the Light of the World--Jesus Christ--in word, thought and deed. The beatitudes incarnated in us as we say yes to God.
3. The Catholic Faith is seldom understood by unbelievers and Protestant Christians who have not chosen to explore the ancient Church but rely on hearsay and misunderstandings. We must choose to live the words of St. Bernadette, "[our] job is not to convince, it is to inform." And here is our advice on this. Lies run sprints, Truth runs marathons. Lies can last for centuries, but Truth will go the distance. There are common lies and misunderstandings that distract people from the Truth of the Christian Faith. We come up against some of the same misunderstandings of The Catholic Church as you may. Do these sound familiar? The Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Christian life. The role of our Blessed Mother Mary in Salvation History. The Communion of Saints in prayer and in worship, The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), Purgatory, Holy Orders (celibacy). Or perhaps you are only asked about the "smells and bells" of the Mass, in other words, the sacred traditions of our worship of the Triune God.
The secular modern thinking started kicking the Mystery of The Faith present in The Catholic Church out of the way centuries ago. It is beyond unfortunate that the Protestant Movement followed suit. We as Catholic Christians not only have the tide of the culture and society to swim against, we have fellow Christians in that tide. Some are adrift, holding onto their faith but slowly giving way to the tide. Others are anchored in their faith clinging to what they can interpret from the Sacred Scriptures. Their anchors are solid, but the ground beneath the rock it clings to shifts and moves and eventually gives-way to the tide of modernity.
And here we all are, as Catholic Christians, called to the New Evangelization by Pope Benedict XVI to be evangelized and to go forth to evangelize. To "re-propose" the Gospel of Christ to those who are in a crisis of faith or where the roots of Christianity are deep but are seriously damaged through division and secularization. The secularists damn the Church's stand on moral issues, determined to define the meaning of their own humanity and that of the universe for themselves (gods of their own making). With this mindset we cannot compromise for to compromise is to deny God's ordinances. The misinformed Protestant Christian, for the most part, simply cannot comprehend the Christian Faith through anything other than Sacred Scriptures. When standing on one leg is all you know (see our July 2015 post, "Eternal Truth of Fallacious Ideology?") it's a big leap (or should we say hop) to have confidence in the Sacred Authority and Sacred Tradition of The Catholic Church. Quite honestly it took us years to discover the truth, beauty and goodness of The Faith, it was a hell of a swim to get here but we are surely beholden to the struggle. If it weren't for the struggle we would not be standing here in The Church with you, fellow Christian.
Because we are the Johnny-come-lately, the last of the harvesters to start working the field, we probably are quizzed more about The Catholic Faith than you may be. No doubt, our answers are similar to yours because we have The Catechism of The Catholic Church, the Didache, Papal Encyclicals, the Early Church Fathers, and the writings of the Saints and Martyrs to rely upon. When questioned about our reconciliation with The Catholic Church there's a common theme--reluctance and confusion about how the Sacred Authority and Sacred Tradition "works" to complete our faith. We inform by using the systematic discourse of defense present in what has already been written (we'll get back to that shortly). When asked why we have to believe/accept a tradition or dogmatic teaching (the familiar ones we referred to earlier), the best response is to ask why the person doesn't believe what The Catholic Church has stood on for her 2,000 year history. The Protestant Movement broke with The Church yet used some of the Doctrines of the Faith of the Mother Church to help formulate its Movement. So the culpability really rests with the Protestant to answer why they aren't Catholic or why they do not believe or accept what Sacred Tradition and Sacred Authority has declared as dogmas of The Faith.
Society and some of the many Protestant denominations generally toss aside the Christian Doctrine in its entirety. Others recognize the integrity of The Faith present in the ancient Church yet do not adhere to the fact that the Sacred Authority promised by Christ to his first disciples is intact after 2,000 years. Others declare The Catholic Church a church of stale tradition and superstition (trust us, we've heard that one in many forms!) As a Catholic Christian we have the Sacred Scriptures, yes! We have them because of the stability of the oral tradition present in the Sacred Tradition that developed through the Old Covenant's understanding of faith and worship and was fulfilled in the New Covenant of faith and worship. And because of the strength of the Sacred Authority present from the beginning of Christ's Church--her doctrine, her dogmatic teachings, her worship has stood the test of time. That is what drew us into The Church, that is what will draw the Protestant Movement back to The Church. It may not be in our lifetime, but our Sovereign God always sees to it that his purposes are fulfilled--"Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one." (John 17). Take heart, Catholic Christians. Do not despair over the secular attractions of the age that may woo Catholic Christians away from The Church. Do not be distracted by Protestant Christians' arguments against The Catholic Church. Defend your faith by living your faith. Know your faith...and you can know your faith by knowing the Sacred Tradition, Sacred Authority and Sacred Scripture that has been preserved and passed on to you through The Catholic Church.
Our desire is to share with you what guided us in our long swim to the sure foundation of The Catholic Church. In turn, our prayer is that you will gain some understanding of your Protestant friends' perspectives through reading about how we came to accept and then be consoled by those sticky wickets (authoritative dogmas and traditions) that pervade non-believers and Protestant Christians' misperceptions of The Catholic Church. At the outset, we want you to know how privileged you are as a Catholic Christian to know of the stability and sacredness of The Faith. It is the very thing your non-believing and Protestant Christian friends are seeking. In a culture of noise and distraction, restlessness and insecurity, the stability and holiness of The Catholic Church beckons the modern mind. In a Movement that is so dis-integrated, it is the integrity of the authoritative ancient Church, The Catholic Church, that will draw the disillusioned and despairing Protestant Christian home. We often refer to our journey home by saying we "backed into the Catholic Church". We backed away from the Protestant Movement, little by little. That is how many Protestant Christians are making the journey. You are placed in their lives for this very purpose--rise to your calling by being a cordial Catholic Christian!