Across the dinner table a few months ago, we were discussing the subject of books and what we each thought were the “Must Read” books for adult Catholics. Today I would like to say a few words about a book which I think is the number one book on the subject of pro-life apologetics, “Persuasive Pro-Life” by Trent Horn from Catholic Answers.
I had originally intended to take some time to write a longer review, but since you can currently pick up a copy for $5 or download the eBook for free, it seemed wise to write a shorter review and have it published before the sale comes to an end:
The first thing which should be highlighted is that, although this book is published by Catholic Answers, none of the arguments outlined in the book are based on the Bible or even the existence of God. All arguments are based on easy-to-understand science and clear logic. Even if you are a pro-life atheist/agnostic, you will find this book extremely useful.
Typically, if I like a book, it’ll be in large part because of the way it is organized. This book is no exception. Trent assigns a separate chapter in his book to each pro-choice archetype. These archetypes include:
The Tolerant who personally don’t like abortion, but believe other people should be able to choose it.
The Skeptic who deny that anyone can know when life begins.
The Disqualifier who claim that unborn children do not have a right to life because the unborn are different from born humans.
The Autonomist, for whom it does not matter whether or not the fetus is a human being, because a woman has a right to bodily autonomy.
In each chapter, Trent addresses the essential arguments used by each archetype. He then goes on to explain the faulty science, incorrect assumptions or poor logic which are at work. The chapter then concludes with a (somewhat) imaginary dialogue between Trent and a pro-choice advocate. I particularly liked this feature since this shows how to apply practically what you have learned in that chapter. Not only that, it demonstrates how one can engage in pro-life apologetics in a respectful, productive and persuasive manner.
What other pro-life books would you recommend? Who else is going to the Walk For Life this weekend?
Who knows the hidden suffering of Catholic men?! Well, thanks to FOCUS, the secret sufferings of Catholic men…
Today is the concluding part of yesterday’s article, “Should I date a non-Catholic?”. In the previous post, I explained that this is a question I’ve heard often in Catholic circles and I shared a little bit about my own experience of dating non-Catholics. We spoke about the reason for dating and concluded that its purpose is ultimately marriage. Therefore, when we speak about dating a non-Catholic, we should really talk about marrying a non-Catholic, since this is ultimately the point of dating someone.
We ended the previous post by looking at what the Catechism has to say on the subject of marriages to non-Catholics. We read that the Catholic Church does allow marriages to non-Catholics, but cautions Her children not to underestimate the difficulties involved in this kind of union. In today’s concluding post, I would like to discuss in more detail the potential areas of difficulty alluded to by the Catechism and then offer some concluding thoughts.
Since this two-part series focuses primarily on dating a Protestant, it is good to emphasize how much we share with our Protestant brethren. A couple composed of a Catholic and Protestant will have much in common, as did I with my former girlfriend whom I mentioned in yesterday’s post.
Having said that, when discussing this subject with friends, I find it helpful to ask questions about three areas of potential conflict:
1. The Wedding
Who will marry you? Will it be a Catholic priest or will it be another kind of minister? Will you get married in a Catholic Church or will you seek dispensation to marry in some other denomination’s building? How will your respective families react to this?
Who will teach your marriage preparation classes? What will be the content of that formation? Not all views of marriage are the same. For example, the Catholic Church’s teaching is that marriage is indissoluble. Will this be taught during your class?
2. Religious Practice
Where, as a couple, will you go to church? Catholics are required to attend Mass each week. In an effort to accommodate this, will you go to a Catholic parish together?
Or, will you attempt to go to both a Catholic Mass and a Protestant service each week? I speak from experience when I say that this can quickly become exhausting!
Or, will you fulfill your obligation by going to the Saturday Vigil Mass alone? Are you okay with that?
Is the subject of religion taboo with your potential spouse? Is it a regular source of conflict? Are you supportive of one another’s religious practices? Are you leading each other towards holiness?
When spiritual issues arise, to whom will you turn as a couple?
3. Children and family life
Will your potential spouse be open to life, or will he want to contracept? If it is suspected that your unborn child has Down Syndrome, for example, will he urge you to abort the child?
When seeking permission to marry a non-Catholic, you and your fiancé will be told that you are required by the Church to make sure that any offspring from the marriage are to be baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church. Will you and your spouse do this? Or will your children be dedicated, rather than baptized? Will you teach them the Catholic Faith in its fullness, or will they be taught the lowest common denominator between your respective faiths? How will you respond when your children ask questions about the differences between the teaching of the Catholic Church and your spouse’s denomination?
An ex-girlfriend of mine had an interesting take on the subject of children. She would ask herself if she felt confident, in the unfortunate case of her early death, whether her husband would raise her children as she would desire.
Tomorrow is the celebration of Epiphany, the day in the Church’s calendar when we remember the visitation of the Wise Men to the infant Christ.
A couple of years ago I was at visiting a parish in Los Angeles for Epiphany and I encountered a tradition with which I was not familiar. As the priest entered the nave of the church, he ascended some portable steps and scribbled something in chalk above the doorway. This tradition is apparently quite common in other parts of the globe, but less common in the United States and I don’t ever recall coming across it in England.
So what did the priest write above the doorway? Well, tomorrow you may see a priest write the following:
20 + C + M + B + 17
The 20 at the beginning and the 17 at the end refer to the new year, 2017. The C, M and B have a two-fold meaning:
1. The Initials of the Wise Men
CMB refers to the first letter of each of the traditional names for the Wise Men: Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar.
2. Latin Abbreviation
It is also short for “Christus Mansionem Benedicat”, which means “Christ bless this home”.
The crosses between each of the letters naturally refer to the cross of Christ.
Not just on church doors…
In countries where the tradition is more prevalent, this doesn’t just take place at church, but it also happens in every home. All it takes is some chalk and a prayer.
This tradition represents another wonderful way in which to bring the Liturgy that we experience in church back into the home. It also provides a wonderful teaching opportunity for children. I think that, as a boy, I’d have been extremely excited at the possibility of writing on the walls outside the house without fear of repercussions!
It has been quite some time since I wrote my series on Catholic dating. Those articles were certainly among the more popular here at Restless Pilgrim. The subject matter of those posts generated considerable discussion in my local Catholic community of San Diego, which pleased me no end since this was my main goal in writing them in the first place. The fact that it was also an extremely cathartic writing experience was just an added bonus! 😉
During the intervening three years since writing that series, my own love life has been, to put it mildly, anything but dull. Despite this, I’ve never felt inclined to write further on the subject of dating. That is, until now…
Over the past few months one particular question concerning dating has come up again and again, particularly as my thoughtful friends attempt to marry me off and enlist me in the ranks of the blissfully domesticated. The question has been “Hey David, what do you think about dating a non-Catholic?”