Apologetics Corner

Apologetics gives reason for our hope in Christ Jesus.

“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)

By word and example we proclaim Christ Jesus. We are to manifest a joy to the world, even in the midst of suffering.

When we live as Christ taught we are joyful. This is a beautiful life that attracts others.

Apologetics is not principally entering into and winning debates. Rather it is answering people’s questions about why we are joyful through the use of both faith and reason.

That being said, we need to know both the history and doctrine of the Catholic Church and be able to demonstrate its foundation in God’s word.

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Flower of Carmel

Every year on July 16, Carmelites throughout the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order.  If you want to know how we feel about Mary, our Mother, spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Flos Carmeli. Most of us pray—before meals, morning and/or night prayers, […]

"Sacred Heart of Jesus" (detail) by Chambers

Heart of Jesus, Holy Temple of God

I’ve been reading, recently, a good deal of the work of Dietrich von Hildebrand—perhaps not a household name, but in fact one of the greatest Catholic philosophers of the last century. An inspiration to both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, von Hildebrand was designated by the Nazis themselves as their number one enemy in the 1930s—pretty high praise, that. […]

Pope Francis | giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

“Laudato Si” Athwart Modernity

Pope Francis takes positions that annoy both standard-issue liberals and standard-issue conservatives. This is because his overarching opponent is the philosophy of modernity, which in fact has produced both the “conservatism” and the “liberalism” that we know today. In preparation for my participation in a USCCB sponsored symposium for the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si, I reread […]

"St. Paul Preaching in Athens" (detail) by Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Why We Can’t Do Evil Even If Good May Come

There is a curious and intriguing passage in the third chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, which in the context of the missive seems almost tossed-off, but which has proven to be a cornerstone of Catholic moral theology for the past two thousand years. Responding to some of his critics, Paul says, “And why not say (as some […]

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Identity — Can What We Do Diminish Who We Are?

This thing about identity—there’s more here than meets the eye, more here than most psychologists talk about, more here than we can understand, and what I’m going to present is more questions than answers. But I think it’s a profound point, so I’ll say it. This point that our very selfhood is by nature unstable and in question, this is […]

St. Joseph and the Christ-Child, Belmont Abbey

Journey with St. Joseph

This year the first day of spring falls on March 19, 2020.  St. Joseph’s Day!  Spring brings a certain stillness to the earth. A waiting. A time of hushed expectancy. Seeds are planted and their growth is a quiet one – a hidden growth deep in the soil followed by the tender shoots stretching through the earth and reaching for the sun. […]

"Into the Wild" © by Jef Murray—(Click sketch for artist's gallery.)

What Does the Bible Teach About Fasting?

Lent has begun, so I thought we should revisit self-denial. Fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, help us, by God’s grace, to enable the soul to more perfectly and freely pray.  This leads to a deeper union with God and thus we become better stewards of the gifts […]

"Suffer the little children to come unto me." (detail) by Carl Bloch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Before the Miracle, I Believed—But Now I Know.

The following story is true. It happened to me. I will never, ever forget it. I had been a Carmelite Sister for many years when this story occurred. It changed my life forever, and I came away from the experience with an explosion of faith bursting within my soul. To cut to the quick and bring forth the significance of […]

Pope Francis | giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

Spending Time With My Spiritual Father

I write these words from the Eternal City of Rome, whither I’ve come with my brother bishops from Region 11 (California, Nevada, and Hawaii) for our ad limina visit. This is a regular and canonically required trip to pray at the limina apostolorum (the threshold of the Apostles), the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul, and to meet with the successor of Peter. Yesterday […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato | Restored Traditions

God Chose Mary to be His Mother

The teaching that Mary is God’s mother was proclaimed to teach us that Jesus is true man AND true God. Each January 1 (the Octave of Christmas), the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  I receive more comments and questions from non-Catholics, and even some Catholics, about the Church’s Marian practices and teachings than just about any other topic. […]