I think it is very wise to be careful of lay Catholic apologists (pause for irony to sink in).
I somehow missed the irony.
Essentially, you are dealing with people who may or may not have a charism, may or may not know what they are talking about, and may or may not be stable, orthodox, bright, honest, etc.
That is the case with some clergy too. I recall one Robert Barron (if you know the name) balking at Young Earth Creationism, because such Creationism:
- A) is not binding dogma (take a look at a certain paragraph in Humani Generis and reflect on whether it considers one must bow down to a future decision of the Church or the decision could be a past one, like Trent on Patristic consensus being binding)
- B) makes the faith look ridiculous to Bill Maher ...
Come on! Caving in to Bill Maher is ridiculous! He bought that Zeitgeist stuff about December 25 being birth of a dying and resurrecting god for a millennium before Christ - when in fact outside Rome there was no such thing as "December" and Pagan Roman feasts prior to Aurelian (that is AD 200's or sth, I think after Decius) not falling on December 25th. And some other ridiculous stuff too.
Let's document the points on Bill Maher first, and starting that his film Religulous has got a clip release here:
The two best points made in Bill Maher's film "Religulous " (2008)
RRoocckkyy50 | 5.IV.2012
The two points were his scoffing at Creationism and ... his Zeutgeist stuff. Here I answer it, just in case my comments under the video are no longer on top when you look:
Bill Maher at His Most Religulous ....
on Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere | Friday, January 12, 2018
I made the claim there was no December 25 outside Rome for most of the time when Bill Maher and his Zeitgeist buddies thought there was, here I give details:
On BC Dates as per BC Dating (quora)
on Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere | Thursday, January 25, 2018, updated next day
So, if sth makes for Bill Maher laughing, what does that even mean?
Some crook is said to have said, "oderint, dum metuant" or let them hate, as long as they fear. I think a Christian Apologist can afford to say the opposite "rideant, dum cogitent" - let them laugh, as long as they reflect. That doesn't mean one has to be extra meak when one meets real vitriol (as has happened to me once in a while, one can show that vitriol merits rebuke, even one which may be taken as vitriolic). But in confronting the normal kind of debater one can afford a "rideant, dum cogitent" attitude. I don't do that live, since too tired, but online, often a spelled out guffaw, like "lol" or "rotfl" can get on occasion, "enjoy, you might need it".
There is, as a priest friend used to point out, no office of apologist in the Church.
Excellent. This means, it is for volunteers, except of course such who become un-orthodox. And the volunteers may be laymen as often as priests. St Justin was the first Christian apologist well known as primarily such (I think he was before Tertullian and Origen?) and he was a layman.
You do not need ordination to do apologetics. You also do not need to be a prophet to do apologetics.
Apologetics is the handmaid of evangelism.
Means among other things, as providing the handmaid service, I don't need to have the personal qualities of an evangelist. Bringing souls to Christ is "above my paygrade", usually. An Apologist may coincide with an Evangelist, for some particular soul, but an Apologist could do so very well without the usual qualities of an Evangelist as asked by the Church. Precisely because it is providential if this happens, not planned by the Church, except insofar as these days Evangelists may need some Apologetics skills, and are supposed to have them. The rest of the Apologists are their arsenal, not main actors.
Some Evangelists could set about with too little Apologetics skills. They could even get irritable about Apologetics.
"Well, if I bring up Hell threatening them and they don't convert, aren't they really asking for damnation?"
These days, no. These days, they usually also need to be able to show Hell is fair for mortal sinners and that it is not about venial sins and that unbelief can be a mortal sin and not just a disability - the latter being where they need to be Apologists.
Other Evangelist: "well, why do you spoil the souls I try to save by showing Catholicism isn't precluding you believe in Evolution?"
Well, for one thing, some I meet are very little inclined to take your option. They are Atheist and Evolution believing Apologists. They know how much the Bible conflicts with Evolution and usually know from history how recent and ad hoc your approach is.
For another, if you find a soul who is like that, go for it and don't bother about me or my stuff. And leave other souls to other Evangelists who do have use for my stuff. One trait of FSSPX which I find less attractive is, they are sure:
- Élites must convert before the rest will do so;
- this must usually mean the already existing élite or sometimes reactionary counter-élite;
- knowing these, evolution criticism won't work;
- Creationism might just be good enough as an outreach to Radical Protestants, and should then of course be starting point or common ground, arguing Creationism to those not believing it is counterproductive;
- because they are the élite, they know the élite, they know what there is to know according to the élite and the élite is right about it unless it is contrary to dogma (élite sometimes here standing for some counter-élite).
That the French system of education could have been wrong for decades before the Red domination, like in Pétain or Colonial times ... perish the thought.
I am sorry if I here am risking a bit of pseudo-empathy. I have not got this in so many words from one single FSSPX either faithful or clergy or religious. I have sent many mails to St. Nicolas du Chardonnet on which I have received no answers (a bit like certain mail to one Mark P. Shea, you might know), so, I am in part guessing. I am guessing by empathy and this means my empethetic guess might be wrong. This state of affairs is what I refer to as pseudo-empathy.
I just saw, I had forgotten to document Robert Barron, according to some then Father and now a Bishop, actually is caving in to Bill Maher on Creationism.
But, in fact, he is, and here is his video from than and here is my response under it:
Fr. Robert Barron on Bill Maher and Biblical Interpretation
Bishop Robert Barron
Sorry, seems he was already promoted to "his" see back then.
In fact, his stance against Young Earth Creationism could be useful in Macriana - if it is in Morocco, I couldn't find it even on Orbis Latinus - since King Mohammed VI is promoting Old Earth, the Coran having no beef with that. His scientists recently promoted oldest Homo Sapiens as 300,000 years old, good luck squaring that with Adam and Eve (as per Humani Generis) without becoming "racist" in extreme chronological snobbery (I have a horror for one of the solutions). However if Macriana is more like in Tunisia, not sure Barron will be as well served by Old Earth outreach.
Here is my response:
... against false sophistication of the Robber Baron of Theology
on Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere | Sunday, March 27, 2016
So, where were we ... Apologetics is the handmaid of Evangelism.
If you propose the gospel and somebody says, “Right! Makes sense!” you don’t need apologetics.
Apologetics is just for clearing roadblocks. If you build your life around it, it can become an idol.
Or a pensum. Look at Gilbert Keith Chesterton and at Clive Staples Lewis.
And if you start thinking your mission is to correct the Magisterium, the milk has surely started to sour.
That is why I am leaving Magisterial decisions to Pope Michael (except where I cringe at what seems to be clumsy pastoral and being the kind of Evangelist who only evangelises those already Christian). (Obviously, I have a greater problem with those presuming everyone's culture, whether Christian or Pagan, has to be modern as Bill Maher). Wait ... were you referring to "Pope Francis" as the Magisterium?
Hans Georg Lundahl
St. John Chrysostomus**
* A short conversation about lay Catholic apologists
January 26, 2018 by Mark Shea
** Sancti Joannis Chrysostomi, Episcopi Constantinopolitani, Confessoris et Ecclesiae Doctoris, caelestis Oratorum sacrorum Patroni; qui decimo octavo Kalendas Octobris obdormivit in Domino. Ejus sacrum corpus, sub Theodosio juniore, hac die Constantinopolim, inde postea Romam translatum fuit, et in Basilica Principis Apostolorum conditum.