A guestbook entry in On The Field caught my attention. It was from a certain Tom Borromeo of the Defensores Fidei in the Philippines. I thought it would remain at that, just a greeting on my site. However, it was followed by an email message from another member of the group inviting me to join their web community at YahooGroups: Defensoresfidei. I did present myself to the group eventually and right now my membership is still pending.
I took the invitation as a call to take part once more in apologetics. I stopped writing apologetic blogs when I my AgustinongPinoy Blogs got spammed and my account blocked because the bandwidth limitations of the site got exceeded due to too many file requests from the site (who could have known that the INK and Quiboloy followers would gang up on my blogs!). But I found my old article “Did someone attack your Church and ridicule your faith lately?” recently and decided to set it up on a different website so as to diffuse bandwidth use in my websites. And now the invitations to Defensores Fidei.
One of the reasons why I asked for a parish assignment is precisely to see how much fundamentalist sects are affecting Catholics. I found out after these years in the parish that it isn’t really the fundamentalists that are drawing Catholics from the Church: it is mostly due to the following factors that there are less and less Catholics now than say, twenty years ago:
- most of our Catholic families are no longer evangelized: parents concentrate on making money and do not think that a Catholic upbringing of their children is essential.
- the advance of secularization in our cities and in the suburbs has spread the idea that a Christian worldview is just one of the many worldviews possible
- parishes and some dioceses still work along traditional lines of evangelization with the result that not everyone is reached by the ministries they offer.
- the current brain drain situation in the Philippines has affected the number of catechists working actively in our parishes
Given the above reasons, it isn’t difficult to see how the fundamentalists are making inroads in Philippine church life and getting members from the Catholic Church. Apologetics is still needed precisely because of these latter. Right now, however, we need a different kind of apologetics. Those priests produced by Vatican I were trained in a different kind of apologetics, not the kind that would respond to the attacks of fundamentalist cults and sects. A priest trained to answer the criticisms of an atheist cannot necessarily answer the criticisms of a bible-touting cult proselytizer. INK followers claim that Felix Manalo a former altar boy left the Catholic Church when his parish priest failed to answer the objections raised against the veneration of images. I am not surprised that the poor parish priest couldn’t defend the idea: first the objection would have been presented as one against idolatry in the Catholic Church, and second, it would have been a strange objection since that question — to the priest’s mind — was already settled centuries ago! In other words, he was unprepared for such an attack. His training would have equipped him against atheists, not against lay people who have read a few lines from the Bible.
The above example points to the need of a different kind of apologetics: that of biblical apologetics. Unfortunately, our seminaries have ceased to offer any course on apologetics since Vatican II. Further, biblical apologetics still has to be developed in the Philippines. The Catholic Church in the U. S. is more advanced in this area. In recent years that Church has won converts from anti-Catholic, bible-only, church groups and now is enjoying the help offered by these converts. Here in the Philippines, we have to create our own brand of biblical apologetics since anti-Catholic groups here aren’t more learned that the Catholics themselves, but they are skilled in the art of heckling.
Some years ago, I presented an outline of what Biblical Apologetics is to two groups: theology teachers and students at the CSA-Bacolod and the Catholic Defenders of the Faith of the Diocese of Bacolod. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to follow through on the subject. It is my hope to continue that work now. That is, once I recover that materials from the hard disk of my Bacolod-computer…
Originally posted 2006-09-25 20:59:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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