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Posted October 27, 2012
Defending the faith
In the introduction to his new book, Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid describes the nature of apologetics and gives some background on his 25-year career in the field. He defines apologetics as offering a reasoned defense of something, in this case, the Catholic faith. A cradle Catholic from a devout home, Madrid began working with Karl Keating of Catholic Answers in 1988. Keating, a San Diego lawyer, was producing a newsletter and writing tracts on Catholicism, which he attached to car windshields in response to “papering” by fundamentalists attacking the Church. In the late ‘80s he gave up his law practice in favor of full-time apologetics. Early in their association, Madrid and Keating connected with Scott Hahn, a former minister who had converted to Catholicism, and shared their goals regarding apologetics. Madrid captures the excitement and challenges in the late 1980s and early ‘90s as Catholic apologetics experienced a resurgence: debating, teaching, speaking, writing and, above all, learning. The theme of growth in the practice of apologetics comes up throughout the book, which consists of material Madrid has produced (mostly written, but also in broadcast media) during his career. Most pieces are blueprints for meeting specific criticisms of Catholic dogma in sections such as comparative religions (for example, Muslims and Mormons) and life, morality, and scandals (for example, “pro-choice” Catholics and radical feminists). In addition, Madrid offers copies of his two written debates with a Reformed Evangelical Protestant; an essay on Frank Sheed, whom he considers one of the twentieth century’s greatest apologists; and personal reflections on prayer and fatherhood. He points out that learning about our own faith and that of our detractors is basic to fulfilling our call to evangelize. This book, Envoy for Christ, is a good starting place.
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