instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A measured answer

Mary Kochan has inadvertently uncovered a fault line between cradle Catholics and adult converts from Protestantism in their reaction to her post, "Catholics, Please Say Something About Jesus!" I certainly come down on the cradle Catholic side myself.

I'm all for Catholics saying something about Jesus when talking religion with Protestants. I'm aware that Catholics can be regular, even daily, Massgoers without knowing the Faith very well, much less being able to articulate it in a way that resonates with non-Catholic Christians. I know that some Catholics feel closer to Mary than they do to Jesus.

That said, what I dislike about Mary Kochan's article is that it extracts the perfectly legitimate "Please say something about Jesus!" message from the story of an 80-year-old Catholic dying of cancer who expressed a docile trust in Mary's intercession.

The take-away, for me, is, "Don't be like that guy! That eighty-year-old man failed the Church by not being prepared to argue apologetics with Protestants!"

In a comment on Mark Shea's post on the topic, adult convert Bob B. hits on a formula to describe the polarized reactions:
Bottom line for me is that, as Catholics, too many times I think we take our faith for granted, and get stuck on autopilot too frequently. Then, when hit with the "what would you say to Jesus" question comes at us, we are not prepared to provide a good answer.
For adult converts, "a good answer" necessarily evangelizes Protestants. Cradle Catholics, for the most part, are satisfied with an answer that expresses the Christian Faith.