Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Done With Apologetics

As I read a blog tonight that was so painfully wrong, I wrote a gigantic Catholic response to certain claims, only to stop myself before hitting 'publish post'.

'Andrew', my internal monologue said, 'Have you not made similar posts previously with near endless citations from numerous scriptural passages, patristic quotations, and conciliar decisions that oppose this view?' Yes, I have. The thought continued 'and has it done any good to the cause of the Catholic faith, or only incited more hatred and poorer historical analysis?' Yes, indeed it has.

So then I decided (again), that I would refuse to enter apologetics. It doesn't seem to matter how much we dialogue I will never believe the claims of the Calvinist church or any Protestant church, and no Protestant or Calvinist I talk to will ever believe the claims of my church.

Thus shall I end this blog with a hope that God's grace shall lead them 'home to Rome', and in the reversed words of Charles Spurgeon, may their hearts be smarter than their heads. Soon I'll establish another blog to discuss theology and more personal matters of religious life, I'll leave apologetics to Dave Armstrong and the folks at Called to Communion.

If you have a pressing desire to follow my personal & theological journey without any of the anti-Catholicism, check out: http://recusantcorner.blogspot.com/


  1. "Occasionally [in the Medieval Church] this idea of 'grace alone' would lead to the corollary of 'faith alone,' as Julian of Toledo declared..."

    -Jaroslav Pelikan. Christian Tradition Vol 3, pg 27. (cf pg 155-156)

    My "so wrong" post came from Pelikan's conclusions in his history of doctrine. In fact, three of my quotes came from him. I would encourage you to reconsider dismissing things out of hand. I explain myself in the comments:


  2. Andrew,

    I've really enjoyed our online discussions and keeping up with your thoughts re: the Reformations of the 16th century. I will miss it.

    However, I must say (only half in jest) that refusing to defend the faith contra Protestantism is the most Roman Catholic thing I've ever seen you do. No pope-respecting Roman Catholic should presume to defend the faith against Protestantism! Who are you? The church has spoken.

    But again in full seriousness, I really have enjoyed the dialogue and pray you decide to continue posting on these issues.

  3. Peace be with you, Andrew. Keep on praying and reading and working and hoping and loving. Christ will not abandon you, as you know.

  4. Hi Andrew,

    I understand the frustration with anti-Catholics, believe me. I no longer attempt to dialogue with them about theology, for that reason. That has been my policy for over two years. I've even removed all reference to some of them from my blog.

    If you find apologetics too wearisome or frustrating or energy-zapping, I encourage you in your decision to avoid it. There are many other useful pursuits.

    On the other hand, I hope you don't go too far into a sort of "anti-apologetics" outlook. I have seen other folks do this.

    It doesn't seem to matter how much we dialogue I will never believe the claims of the Calvinist church or any Protestant church, and no Protestant or Calvinist I talk to will ever believe the claims of my church.

    You say no Calvinist or other Protestant you talk to will ever believe the claims of the Church. But I think you know that is not true. Many Protestants have become Catholics: including many many anti-Catholics (such as Scott Hahn). And many of them cite apologetics as one of the major reasons for their conversion.

    No one is perfect when they do apologetics. God uses our efforts despite their faults, and our manifest shortcomings. That is true of everyone. So if you feel you have messed up in your efforts, join the crowd!

    Grace is always the overriding reason for anyone coming to Christ or to belief in the fullness of the Catholic faith, no matter how much apologetics is involved. The two are not mutually exclusive. Grace can work through apologetics and folks like you and I presenting and/or defending Catholic truths. And grace works through many many other means and avenues besides apologetics. Basically our task is to simply remove roadblocks. We can lead the horse to water but we can't make him drink.

    So I hope you will find this balance as you proceed, and not go down the "anti-apologetics" road out of personal frustration. There is no need to. There are many different parts of the Body. I'm sure you will do well and have much to contribute, whatever focus you decide to pursue.

  5. Thanks Devin and Dave.

    I am not at all anti-apologetics, but I feel like you can only repeat the same quotations so many times. I've proved numerous times that St. Augustine for example repudiates doctrines in Calvinism from imputed righteousness to baptism and ecclesiology and they eventually seem to admit that Augustine is no longer on their side.

    Then I wait 2 weeks and suddenly they're quoting Augustine again as if he was. How many times will it take? The first premise of discussion is that both sides be open to reason, and if one isn't then it's too troublesome to continue.

    Jared, I haven't dismissed them out of hand, I've dealt with the issue multiple times. Your quoted Aquinas as another secret promoter of sola fide. And Arius was a poorly understood Trinitarian.

    Jay, if having over 300 posts with multiple refutations of Protestant Sacramentology, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology is "refusing to defend the faith" then I guess I am. But I think any normal person can see I've vehemently defended the faith.

    Perhaps if our Lord grants me a supernatural charism of patience I will return to apologetics. But until then, God bless.

  6. Yep. That's why I no longer try to debate anti-Catholics. What's the point? No dialogue is possible.

    But Protestants who aren't anti-Catholic are a whole different ballgame, and dialogue is much more possible.

  7. Apologies Andrew. I didn't mean to suggest you had never attempted to defend your faith. I meant that you have recently refused to do so (see blog post above).