Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
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.
–1 Peter 3:15-16
Apologetics is the science of giving a reasoned explanation for your faith. Its roots lie in the earliest of St. Peter’s admonitions, “Always be ready to give a reason for your hope.” Apologetics is unique because it relies on the principles of reason to articulate Catholic truths rather than arguing, for example, from Scripture or the authority of the Pope. This allows the Catholic voice to be heard and defended in the public arena where the authority of God’s Word may not be accepted. The late Cardinal Avery Dulles described the Catholic apologist:
‘The Catholic apologist is, quite evidently, a believer. Like any Catholic, he fully accepts the Christian message as understood by the Church. But as an apologist, he has a particular function, namely, to show the reasonableness of the assent of faith. This means that he cannot, in his work as an apologist, make use of all the helps which he enjoys as a believer. He has to rely on purely human evidences.’ (from Maryvale Institute Apologetics website)
Becoming well-formed in apologetics enables the Catholic to help others understand the Catholic faith so as to foster respect and open communication and also to defend that faith when under attack or derision. It is important that Catholics be literate in their faith and be able to give intelligent witness to the reasonableness of belief in Jesus Christ and all that God has revealed about life. Apologetics should be an integral part of Catholic adult faith formation.
NewApologetics.com Our mission in developing the content of a New Apologetics is to reach out, as Cardinal Francis George has written, “with the faith that comes to us from the apostles, without compromises that would contravene the dignity and vocation of beings made in the image of a self-giving God.” All contributors to NewApologetics.com are loyal to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, but our methodology in dialoging with those who do not share the faith is strictly limited to using well-accepted principles of reason without appeal to authority.
Magis Center of Reason and Faith Our mission is to explore and share the close connection between reason and faith as revealed by new discoveries in physics and philosophy. Check out Magis Center’s free online encyclopedia on topics of faith, reason, science and the reasonableness of Jesus.
Catholic Answers Catholic Answers is an apostolate dedicated to serving Christ by bringing the fullness of Catholic truth to the world. We help good Catholics become better Catholics, bring former Catholics “home,” and lead non-Catholics into the fullness of the faith.
New Saint Thomas Institute The New Saint Thomas Institute is an innovative Member community over 1,000 Members for those who passionately desire to become better defenders of the Catholic Faith through study of philosophy and theology. It provides training through HD video lessons, audio lessons, notes, recommended reading, and community support. If you want to go deeper in your faith, this is the place for you!
Articles and Books
Thanks to Our Sunday Visitor for this excellent list of books:
Answering the New Atheism, by Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker
The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism, by Patrick Madrid
The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine, by Alister McGrath and
Joanna Collicutt McGrath
Handbook of Catholic Apologetics: Reasoned Answers to Questions of Faith, by Peter Kreeft and Ronald
God Is No Delusion, by Father Thomas Crean, OP
From the Maryvale Institute Apologetics website:
The Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft gives three reasons for the urgent need for apologetics today:
1. Western civilisation for the first time in its history is in danger of dying from secularism and materialism. (Scientism is a form of secularism and materialism). The modern period has been marked by genocide, sexual chaos and money-worship. We do apologetics not to save the Church, but to save the world.
2. Western civilisation is also suffering from an intellectual crisis, a crisis of truth. Increasingly, the very idea of objective truth is being ignored, abandoned or attacked – not only in practice but even in theory, directly and explicitly, especially by the educational and media establishments, who mold the minds of generations.
3. Western civilisation is also suffering from a spiritual crisis. As Peter Kreeft puts it, ‘At stake are the eternal souls of men and women for whom Christ died.