In November of last year, an important televised debate took place in the Methodist Hall in London. The motion of the debate was that 'The Catholic Church is a force for good in the World'. Over 2000 people were gathered in order to hear Ann Widdecombe (MP) and Archbishop Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, debate the issue with two well known atheists: Christopher Hitchens (author of 'God is not Great: How Religion poisons Everything') and the writer and TV personality Stephen Fry. The Catholic side was defeated and comprehensively so. They mounted a stout defence but lost the popular issues.
As a Roman Catholic, I have often been in the position that Ann Widdecombe and Archbishop Onaiyekan were that night - the losing side of the argument! Convinced of the truth of my faith, I have, however, often lost the argument because I was unable to effectively challenge the misconceptions and misinformation that deforms many people's understanding of Catholicism. But out of failure much good can come and over the years I began to study Catholic apologetics so as to be better able to provide a reasoned defence of my Catholic beliefs. I now hope to present these 'reasoned defences' on this blog, with a view to helping others, not only to defend Catholic beliefs and practices, but to be of service to those who have genuine and deep-seated difficulties in reconciling their own convicitions about moral, religious and social matters with the Catholic Church and her teachings.
As a final preliminary point, I have come to appreciate that in order for apologetics to be effective, then it must be coupled with charity. Logical arguments and rational defences are important and necessary, but if charity is absent then the power and persuasiveness of a sound argument is severely compromised. So this blog will not be about polemics but hopefully will actualise the advice of St. Paul and that is the importance of '...speaking the truth in love' (Eph 4:15).
Here ends the prologue! ACT 1 to soon follow!