Rev. Father good morning,
I contacted you some tim ago in order to join the brotherhood of the Holy Rosary.; I suppose you don’t remember me. I am writing to you to have some advice: Irecently met and saw a person really prepared in philosophy, I have difficulty in dealing with him about theological and doctrinal questions because I don’t have a very high level of theological preparation. Therefore, I am always outclassed and I can’t explain the credibility of our catholic faith.(I often make a figure of being naive).
Can I have some advice about this situation? How I should behave? Maybe by not getting into discussions regarding the topic and trying to avoid the topic?
I really thank you.
1. The first advice I give you is this: if your interlocutor asks you questions to which you don’t know the answer immediately tell him you are taking time to study carefully the topic.
Once studied, you will explain it to him.
In principle you must be convinced that God does not ask us to believe in anything irrational.
God would contradict himself, and therefore would no longer be God, if after giving us the rational capacity he asked us to adhere to something irrational.
2. By proposing to us a source of supernatural truth, God does not ask us to abdicate the demands of reason.
With Revelation, man is offered the ultimate truth about his own life and the destiny of history; that truth that man cannot reach with his rational resources alone because it is of another order, of a supernatural order.
3. There are truths of a natural order that can be reached by the human mind itself, such as the demonstration of the existence of God and some of his perfections and the spirituality and immortality of the soul.
In her teaching, the Church asks to have faith in reason and for this very reason in the rationalist century par excellence which the 19th century was, she condemned fideism, that is, the uncritical and faith-based acceptance of truths that can only be acquired from the resources of reason.
4. Having said that – and here is the second piece of advice – your point of reference for understanding the faith should be the Catechism of the Catholic Church in which all the doctrine of the Church is exposed.
Although presented in very concise terms, it is always possible to grasp the reasonableness of the statement.
This aid should not be missing among the most necessary things that are kept in your home.
5. In some cases – it is the third piece of advice – you could ask your interlocutor who shows himself to be so learned if he has taken into consideration what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in this regard.
In this way you stimulate him to go and verify his assertions, to approach even only in a neutral and not preconceived way the banks of Christian doctrine, without starting exclusively from its presumed premises …
It is easy for him to fall into many prejudices in this way, to remain enlightened and to realize the insufficiency of his arguments.
6. Finally (the fourth piece of advice) in other particular circumstances you could tell him: I am not a theologian by profession, while you are a philosopher by profession. I advise you to go and talk about these problems with priest Tizio or Caio, or even with dr. Tizio or Gaius.
Indeed: “if you want we go together”.
If he accepts the proposal it means that he is of good will and does not intend to take advantage of the unpreparedness or simplicity of others.
Meanwhile, do not forget to pray for him and also to offer sacrifices so that the scales that prevent him from seeing what can only be seen with a purified look fall from his eyes.
I gladly accompany you on this journey, reminding both of them to the Lord.
In the meanwhile I bless you
translated by Emanuele Menchiari