To be an apologist means to be a defender of something, so to be a Catholic apologist means to defend the Catholic Church.
Recently, I have been checking out websites and YouTube channels focused on Catholic apologetics. Many, especially those who are serious about their work, defend the faith without using fallacious arguments, but quite a number of blogs and YouTube videos do.
This got me thinking: Why do people get into apologetics? Do they get into this work because they wish to defend the Roman Catholic Church or are they only doing it as a kind of pseudo-intellectual pissing contest?
And if they are truly defending the Roman Catholic Church, what is their motive for doing so? Is it possible that they are acting from the motive of pride because if their arguments win, this proves their faith is true and as such they are superior for believing it?
And what about people who refuse to accept logical arguments, or those who are unable to recognize logic? Should the Catholic apologist who uses logic as his main weapon admit that such cases go beyond his responsibilities?
The work of a Catholic apologist makes people prone to feelings of superiority when debates are won and to feelings of irritability and anger when illogical people are encountered. I have been guilty of both. Thus, I have been praying constantly to God to not give me a life that will take me away from Him. I have been asking the Blessed Virgin and all the saints to help me improve my love. I have been asking God to make me see the world as He sees it.
And so now I see.
I realized that the mission of a Catholic apologist is not specifically to defend the Roman Catholic Church, but to save people from falsehoods. The Roman Catholic Church does not need to be defended because as Jesus said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail upon it.”
As someone who did not use to believe but now believes not because I joined a Bible study, and not because an apologist convinced me, but because God Himself, without the direct aid of anybody, made me believe, I know this to be true.
God doesn’t need Catholic apologists to defend the Roman Catholic Church. He defends Her Himself as a husband defends his bride and a father defends his children. Thus, we Catholic apologists are sent out by our Holy Mother Church, not to defend Her but to save our brothers and sisters from falsehoods.
To my brother and sister apologists, we are the rescuers of the Roman Catholic Church. We must constantly clarify the Catholic apologist’s mission in our minds to avoid the sins of superiority, irritability and anger. Our mission is primarily to save others from falsehoods, not to fight the falsehoods themselves and Satan and his demons who are the original authors of falsehoods. After all, our goal as human beings is not to defeat Satan and his demons – God and His angels will take care of them – but to get ourselves and our brothers and sisters safely home.
To everyone we encounter as Catholic apologists, we must say, “Beloved, I do my job not for me but for you. I will take you safely home.”