Printable Version Printable Version

THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: Defending the Faith, Defeating the Enemy

By DEACON RICK BAUER
11/05/2021 | Comments

Most of us know what we believe as Catholics, but often we’re unclear on why we believe it. That experience was true for me as well, having been raised as an infant in the faith and a product of Catholic education into high school. In college, however, when some earnest but misinformed Protestants showed me a few Bible verses about how Catholics were not “saved”, it was confusing. Even Catholic friends were of little help. I have come to learn that many Catholics have a similar experience when they first move to college, enter the job market, or enter into adult social situations, and their effectiveness is not encouraging. We need help sometimes (or maybe I should have just listened better in high school Catholic theology classes!).

Blue Collar Apologetics

At a time when vast numbers of Catholics are slipping away from the Catholic faith, we faithful are tasked with understanding it so we can be prepared to defend it. There are wonderful resources for apologetics (from the word “apologia,” giving an answer to the one who enquires about our faith), but at times wading through them can be long and daunting. Coming across “Blue Collar Apologetics,” recently written by John Martignoni (himself a “revert” to the faith, having left his Catholic roots in college, but returning to Catholicism while studying finance at the University of North Carolina) was a refreshing change. Catholics no longer think they need a graduate course in gospel formation or philosophy in order to address the majority of questions that unbelievers or Protestants generally have about the Catholic faith. As described on sophiainstitute.com, “With an easygoing and inviting style, EWTN’s John Martignoni doesn’t simply introduce you to the major doctrines of the Catholic faith; he explains why they are true and shows you how to explain them effectively to Protestants and Catholics alike in ways that will draw them into those truths.

“Far from a complex survey of obscure theological points, this lively book employs clear, simple language that not only demonstrates the fundamental fact that the Bible is a Catholic book, but also teaches Catholics how to ‘talk Bible’ to non-Catholics. When you are done with this book, you will know the biblical basis for the Church’s teachings on the sacraments, Purgatory, Mary, the papacy, and why salvation requires faith and works. You’ll also be versed in the strategies for effectively challenging others to examine their beliefs in light of the overwhelming scriptural evidence for Catholicism.”

“Blue Collar Apologetics” will also teach you how to be assertive about the truths of the faith without being offensive (I have sadly found that simply answering a direct question with a direct answer can leave you branded with the “Scarlet ‘O’”—being offensive.) In a time when everyone can feel protected in launching any intellectual or moral challenge to Catholicism, the Catholic still has to prepare his/her audience before answering. To disagree with someone is to “judge” them (another sin in the current ethical playbook), so it’s important to prepare someone to truly listen with an open mind and without prejudice (hard to find).

I’ve found that there are rules of engagement for discussing the faith with others, and Martignoni is helpful in our preparation so we do not answer rashly or defensively. We’re reminded by Martignoni what St. Peter encouraged: “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (I Peter 3:15). We are assaulted from every corner by information, and opponents (unbelieving or separated from the Catholic) and more and more prepared to challenge our beliefs. Blue Collar Apologetics helps us to talk to anyone about our faith, from explaining Marian dogmas using the Bible and common sense, and tackling core teaching like sola Scriptura and “once saved, always saved” (did you know there are 85 verses in the New Testament that teach salvation by grace but continued by faithfulness?).  The manner is respectful, not argumentative, but in a way that helps get the point across that the Catholic faith is a religion based on Scripture, reflecting a church given by Jesus that has endured to this day in spite of evil within and opposition without, and that is more than ready to “take a punch” or challenge and answer “with gentleness and respect,” but clearly answer nevertheless.

Diary of an American Exorcist: Demons, Possession and the Modern Day Battle Against Ancient Evil

In an Oct. 26 article published by Christianity Today, an Italian priest named Father Gian Matteo Roggio was quoted as saying that one of the effects of the global pandemic has been an increase in the number of people asking for exorcisms. Father Roggio claimed that some people believe “a malign force” to be behind the pandemic and that “we have seen an increase in the request for exorcisms because the pandemic has made people more vulnerable to the idea that Satan or some evil entity has taken over their lives.” Father Roggio was one of the speakers at a training course on exorcism and liberation that recently took place at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. Those of us in Colorado probably can’t travel to Rome to attend a conference, but we may find it helpful to pick up a book written by   one of America’s most experienced Catholic exorcists.

Msgr. Stephen Rossetti is the author of “Diary of an American Exorcist: Demons, Possession and the Modern Day Battle Against Ancient Evil.” Msgr. Rossetti is perhaps America’s most well-known exorcist and the President of the St. Michael Center for Spiritual Renewal (www.catholicexorcism.org). He is also a research associate professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. A licensed psychologist and the author of several books, Msgr. Rossetti has participated in hundreds of exorcisms. In a series of vignettes (95 short chapters) and personal experiences, we are led through the lengthy preamble and preparation, and the actual encounter with the demonic. The words of Msgr. Rossetti are measured in accord with seriousness of the subject matter but demonstrate an abiding faith in Christ’s power to demolish strongholds.

I was particularly touched by the prayer offered by Msgr. Rossetti for his readers:

“May the Blessed Virgin spread her mantle of protection over all who read this book, or any part of it, with their loved ones and all they possess. May St. Michael and the holy angels establish a perimeter of protection around you all. May the blood of Christ wash you clean of any evil. May the light of Christ shine through you so brightly that it casts out every darkness. I pray especially that the love, joy, and peace of Christ fill your hearts in this world and the next. Amen.”


About Disqus Comments

Our Disqus commenting system requires Internet Explorer 8 or newer. Also works with Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera.

An account with Disqus is not required if you post as a guest, but a name and Email address must be entered in the appropriate boxes. These DO NOT have to be your actual name and email address.

  1. Click the "Start the Discusson" field
  2. Click the "Name" field and enter it.
  3. Check the "I'd rather post as a guest" box.
  4. Click the Email field and enter it.

Comments may not show immediately. Moderator reserves the right to remove offensive or irrelevant posts.


comments powered by Disqus