Monday, April 30, 2012

Bl. Alberione's 7 tips for Catholic Apologists

Back in 1960, Bl. James Alberione included these "rules" for effectively presenting the faith; they are still just as valid as ever in the age of new media!

The first step is prayer and study. Prayer so as to love  people with a sincere heart. To be moved by the sight of hunger, sickness and moral suffering brings us into line with the sympathetic heart of our Teacher. But even more worthy of our compassion are those who do not know God, Jesus Christ, or the Church; all those who are blinded by error and prejudice or overwhelmed by vice.

You need to study their errors, difficulties and objections in order to give suitable instruction, to reply clearly, to use the proper means.

Some rules:
1. Convey Christianity as the religion of goodness, order and peace.

2. Prepare an introduction to the study of Christian doctrine; this acts as a preliminary stage to the basic notions regarding doctrine, morals and worship.

3. Treat people with patience, respect and constant kindness; be like Saint Francis de Sales ...

4. Avoid becoming ill-tempered: show yourself to be conciliatory to the limits of truth; avoid questions of pure politics; be dignified, honest and sincere; admit what is or was truly a mistake.

5. Combat error and sin, not the erring or the sinner; if possible always leave the way open to take up the written or broadcast debate later on.

6. Make abundant use of the defense of truth and justice; employ discussion with a great deal of prudence. Polemics, too, requires greater intellectual preparation, greater love for the truth, greater spiritual balance. To avoid becoming emotional is a great virtue.

7. Organize groups of people who will pray...and who are capable of offering sacrifices in view of helping."

What would you add?


Ruth Ann Pilney said...

These are beautiful suggestions, and I ought to keep them in mind when discussing the faith with my non-Catholic relatives. I especially need to temper my emotions. #9 is especially a good one.

John Janaro said...

Really good points. Thanks.