May 23rd, 2012 14:58 EST
Saving Faith Without Losing Control
When Catholics find themselves cornered on Church teaching, their objective should be to win friends for the faith - not ace an argument. But when thrust suddenly into the spotlight as "defender," a calm treatise usually isn`t their first instinct.
In order to shed light - not heat - there are logical tactics for diffusing contentious discussions, and transforming them into succinct and compelling explanations. British co-founder of Catholic Voices, Dr. Austen Ivereigh - who`s launching the organization in the U.S. this week - lays out the steps for this much-needed process in his new book, How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot-Button Issues, (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).
Ivereigh engages many common quandaries people have about Catholicism and properly reframes faulty accusations - to remake the conversation. The book addresses issues such as:
the Church gets involved in political dialogue;
whether the Church has a right to take a public stance;
whether Catholic politicians should be held to their faith first;
Church teaching on homosexuality, marriage, AIDS, abortion, contraception, women`s roles; and end-of-life issues such as assisted suicide;
whether the Church has the right to maintain an organization tied to its moral belief system;
Church accountability and resolution pertaining to clerical sex abuse.
It also includes a chapter on the "Ten Principles of Civil Communication," helping readers prepare for discussions with the objective of a positive outcome.
How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice actually resulted when a group of knowledgeable lay Catholics in England volunteered to serve as on-air guests answering questions about Catholicism. They had to prepare for "high-pressure, cut-to-the-quick contexts," typical of brief interviews on radio and television. This same perspective is needed to effectively engage almost any `debater` on issues pertaining the Catholic Church.
"This book is a miracle," states John L. Allen, Jr., author of The Future Church. "An authentically Catholic recipe for explaining without excoriating, defending without defaming, and changing hearts without knocking heads."
The world`s largest English-language Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing, offertory, and communication services. Established in 1912, Our Sunday Visitor publishes a wide range of books including Bibles, biographies of the saints, books by Pope Benedict XVI, children`s books, devotionals, bible studies, inspirational works, and curriculum. Our Sunday Visitor is a not-for-profit organization, returning a portion of net earnings back to the Catholic community through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute. For more information, visit www.osv.com.