Wednesday 13 June 2012
By Fiona Basile
Kairos Catholic Journal
RENOWNED CATHOLIC apologist, author and EWTN television and radio host, Patrick Madrid, was in Australia last month to present a series of seminars and talks on the Catholic faith.
The 2-week Australian tour, between 18-31 May, which was hosted by the Catholic Adult Education Centre, Archdiocese of Sydney, saw Patrick travel to Melbourne, Wagga Wagga and Brisbane.
While in Melbourne, Patrick provided talks on two occasions at the Freedom Press office in Balwyn and also at the monthly Theology@thepub event—there was standing room only as more than 200 people packed into the pub’s function room.
This is Patrick’s third speaking tour to Australia, the last time being 16 years ago. He said much had changed.
“Since my last visit I’ve noticed an aggressive and vociferous new atheism. More than ever we have an obligation here and now to explain, share and defend the faith—we must always be ready to give defence.
“Apologetics and apologists are not the same as apologising. In many ways, we’re all called to be an apologist. As St Peter said, ‘we must always be ready to give an explanation or rational account of our faith, but we do so with gentleness and effect.’”
“When someone questions you, always be ready to give the best defence in your own words. Share from your heart what you believe and why you believe.
“We’re not out to win arguments. It’s not about conquering someone, or using superior arguments as a weapon. We just need to be able to engage someone in a mindful way to help that person come to the truth.”
Patrick spoke of the reasons why people leave the Catholic Church. They include boredom, “particularly among cradle Catholics”, moral differences around issues such as contraception, abortion and same-sex marriage, and the belief that the Catholic Church has biblical errors.
“People have also been hurt or scandalised by members of the Catholic Church or don’t know what the Church really teaches,” he said.
So what can we do? Patrick advised that “complacency is our number one enemy”.
“We often think ‘I’ll let others handle that and not get involved’, but we need to not be afraid to step outside our comfort zone. Many Catholics just don’t share their faith out of fear, ridicule or we’re just luke warm about sharing our faith. But we need to be willing to make a difference in the lives of people,” he said.
“We at least have to be fearless to speak the truth when we need to; Jesus calls us to defend love and truth.
“You and I are the ones loaded with the delicious truth and people are starving for it. So we need to take every opportunity to speak out, offer encouragement or give an invitation to come back to the Catholic Church.”
Patrick advised that we can’t give what we don’t have. “We need to study and know our Catholic faith in order to share it,” he said.
“We need an adult understanding of our Catholic faith because we’re dealing with new issues. We need to be reading the catechism, Scriptures, and other resources that exercise our Catholic intellect. These books are a life line to knowledge; do what you can to feed both your mind, and the minds of those you know you can influence. You can be a giver of alms by giving away good books, CDs or DVDs. God’s grace will work in a little book like this.
Patrick said, “God wants to work miracles through us using the gifts and talents that each one of us has. He gives us the grace to do it; we just need to rely on His grace.
“Jesus will give us the words and courage to share our faith because people are depending on us to share the truth.
“We must listen with our hearts as well as our ears. The power of God’s grace doesn’t need grandiose gestures or memorising the whole catechesis, just a simple explanation of the faith.
“We have to be willing to let the Holy spirit do the heavy lifting. You may know all the facts, but ultimately what’s necessary is to let the Holy Spirit do what’s necessary in the soul of the other person. We are called to be a sower of the seed. It could be thorny or fertile soil but it is the Holy Spirit that converts hearts and we are his tools. God is just waiting for us to say ‘yes’.”
Patrick is the best-selling author of 16 books. He and his wife Nancy have been married for over 31 years and have eleven children—two of his sons travelled with him to Australia.
More about Patrick:
Patrick Madrid earned a B.Phil. in philosophy and an M.A. in theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He is currently enrolled in the licentiate of sacred theology (S.T.L.) programme at the University of Daytons International Marian Research Institute (affiliated with the Pontifical Theology Faculty Marianum in Rome).
He publishes the award-winning Envoy magazine (www.envoymagazine.com), a print and online Catholic journal of apologetics and evangelisation. He is the author or editor of 16 books on Catholic themes including, Pope Fiction, Search and Rescue, Does the Bible Really Say That? The Godless Delusion, and the multi-volume Surprised by Truth series.
In addition to his work as an author, Madrid is the host of four EWTN television and radio series: Pope Fiction, The Truth About Scripture and Tradition, Where Is That In the Bible? and Search and Rescue, and is the host of the Thursday edition of EWTN Radios Open Line radio broadcast. He is an adjunct professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville and a research fellow of the St. Paul Centre for Biblical Studies.
At the invitation of numerous bishops and priests, he has conducted hundreds of conferences in English and Spanish at parishes, seminaries, and universities across the U.S., as well as throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He is a regular presenter at Franciscan University of Steubenville's Defending the Faith summer conferences.