Catholic Answers Prepares Faithful to Confront Assaults on Church

April 7, 2014 | 20 comments

Catholic Answers is gearing up for its next national conference, which will be held September 4-6 in San Diego. The conference is designed to help the faithful defend the Catholic Faith against the challenges it faces in today’s culture.

Conference speaker Christopher Check explained: “Our doctrines and practices are ridiculed in the media. We are called bigots for speaking the truth about marriage. We are labeled intolerant for defending innocent life. And now the government wants to force us to pay for abortions and contraception. The Church has entered a new age of persecution.

“Following Pope Francis’s call for a new evangelization, Catholic Answers is calling on the faithful to learn how to evangelize with charity and to live their Faith more publicly,” Check said.

Other speakers include Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, Tim Staples, Trent Horn, and Hector Molina.

The keynote address will be delivered by Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon. The archbishop will also take part in a special radio broadcast of Catholic Answers Live, hosted at the conference by Patrick Coffin. Archbishop Sample will field questions directly from conference attendees.

The conference will take place at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina. “It is one of San Diego’s loveliest settings,” Check said. “We are taking advantage of San Diego’s great weather and the hotel’s location overlooking the harbor. We’ll have an outdoor reception and lunch, and there will be opportunities for participants to meet and interact with the Catholic Answers speakers.”

Last year’s conference sold out three months in advance. This year, Catholic Answers has arranged a larger venue to accommodate a growing audience.

To enable as many people as possible to attend, Catholic Answers is offering a special discount of more than $100 per person for anyone who registers before May 31. Registration and more information are available at

Jon Sorensen earned his bachelor’s degree in 3D Animation and Visual Communications in 2004 from Platt College, Ontario. Before coming to Catholic Answers, he worked in the automotive industry producing television commercials and corporate video. He has also produced motion graphics for several feature-...

Comments by Members

#1  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Wish I was closer to San Diego. Will there be any kind of audio copy available after this meeting?

We are definitely under a barrage of attacks. Sometimes I get discouraged hearing what people say about Catholics out on the streets, in internet blogs, and in the news by the media. It breaks my heart that they can not see the beauty or understand the true Church that was founded by Her Divine Spouse. Then when I see things like I saw this weekend my spirits were lifted. There, just feet from the altar of God, stood the elect, those who are about to enter the Church this Easter. I also looked around at the children and saw love, hope, and the future of our faith. It is comforting to know that our faith will always be in good hands (the Hands of God) and have faithful members who will keep living and bringing the Gospel to the world until the end of time.

April 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm PST
#2  Usulor Kenneth - Lagos, Lagos

The President,
Catholic Answers,
I hereby appeal to you to consider reaching out beyond the confines of USA, and if possible, holding a conference in Nigeria. We are languishing in ignorance of the Cathollic faith. Consider also of having a branch of the Catholic Answers in Nigeria. I will greatly appreciate that as I appreciate the one you are already doing.

April 8, 2014 at 2:49 am PST
#3  Paul Ezeh - Olodi-Apapa, Lagos

i have grown in my faith since i came in contact with ur site. how i wish this can can be extended more through conferences and workshops to especially those of us catholics in my district. Keep up the good work.

April 8, 2014 at 5:57 am PST
#4  Jon Sorensen - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Christopher, the audio will be available some time after the conference.

April 8, 2014 at 8:57 am PST
#5  Jon Sorensen - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Usulor Kenneth, We just started organizing conferences last year. Perhaps someday in the future we may take the show on the road, but for now we are still working on getting it right here at home. God bless you!

April 8, 2014 at 8:59 am PST
#6  Peter Laffin - Boulder, Colorado

And when will world-wide poverty be addressed? Or will sex be the only topic?

How I long for the days we truly become the church of the poor and the sinners as opposed to the church of sex...

April 9, 2014 at 10:57 am PST
#7  Peter Laffin - Boulder, Colorado

Honest question to Catholic Answers, and I don't mean any hostility in this: Do you ever have any reservations that the topics you constantly emphasize are a bit superfluous, or American-centric and isolated, in light of the extreme suffering taking place all over the planet toward which our Christian goodness might be better aimed?

April 9, 2014 at 11:10 am PST
#8  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

I can not answer for Catholic Answers but I can sure say that the Catholic Church is the most charitable institution on earth. At my own parish we are not only just giving and raising money for the poor, we also hit the streets providing assistamce and all kinds of care. There are many different minitries by the laity and Catholic Answers is a very important ministry to defend the faith and evangelize. There are many other ministires with in each parish and diocese that deal with the poor.

As far as sex goes, I haven't missed Mass in three years and have been many times in the mornings during the week, I have yet to hear a priest bring up any sex topic, not once I tell you!

April 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm PST
#9  Peter Laffin - Boulder, Colorado

That's wonderful, Christopher, and it's one of the many reasons I'm so proud of my church. I rarely hear sex mentioned either at Mass (because it's rarely the topic at hand in the Gospel readings.) So my question is: Why is Catholic Answers and American Catholic media emphasize these issues above all? Do we have nothing else to promote about our church? (Such as the wonderful things you listed.) Why not lead with that, as Pope Francis has so boldly? Look at the three topics listed for this conference in the write-up above. It's so small in scope and represents so little of who we are.

April 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm PST
#10  Tom Diebold - Shelby, Michigan

Peter, it is the world that is obsessed with sex, not the Church. It is the culture that is pushing against what the Church teaches, and the Church must respond on those issues. It is natural, and necessary, to act in those areas where the culture is pushing the hardest against what the Church teaches.

You are right that we must ultimately strive to reach a balance, evangelizing the full breadth and depth of the Church and Her teachings. But today the culture is particularly obsessed with all things sexual, and aggressively forwarding an agenda directly opposed to what the Church teaches. This has had dramatic effects, even within the Church Herself.

The Church must respond - forcefully, competently and fully. We are tasked to do a better job of speaking the truth, within a culture that is increasingly unwilling to listen and, in many instances, is openly hostile to the endeavor. We did not choose the sexual realm . . . the world did.

April 9, 2014 at 4:37 pm PST
#11  Peter Laffin - Boulder, Colorado

I agree, Tom, but is not the world also hungry and sick? Why are we not to focus on the best way to send this message to the world, to change the hearts of those who are obsessed with materialism and greed and power? What of the sweatshops our clothes come from? Why not speak as loudly and forcefully about this?

To be clear, I don't think the church should mute her teachings on the social issues described above. But do we not run the risk of not preaching such other substantial and important teachings because of the happenings in American popular culture? Are we as much the victims of the moment?

April 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm PST
#12  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Peter, their expertise is defending the Church and that is what this conference is about. We are all called by God to use our gifts and talents as the Holy Spirit leads us to do. If we do not defend our Church amongst the secular world, the less effective we can be. The stronger our Church is, the more charitable work we can accomplish. Many Catholics leave their faith because they do not know and understand it. Missions such as this one sets the heart on fire with our faith and such conferences have brought others into the Church. The scope may seem small to you but for people like me who has his faith riduculed and attacked almost every other day, these conferences are a God send. I do however understand where you are coming from, we as a Church could step it up a notch as Pope Francis has shown by example. Perhaps you should email CRS and tell them to use the money they donated to Planned Parenthood for a giant, mega sized conference on taking care of the poor.

April 9, 2014 at 5:06 pm PST
#13  Christopher Check - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Thanks very much for weighing in. Have you had a chance to look at the topics listed on the conference website? One out of all of them confronts the question of the attempt to redefine marriage. None of the others takes up matters associated with the sixth and ninth commandments. I don't know if you consider the redefinition of marriage to be a pressing issue or not, but it is. Without marriage there can be no civilization. I'm not sure it's correct to say the other talks are too focused on America, but it is true that Americans face a special challenge today as our Church is ever more persecuted. In my remarks, I will be looking at what Catholics today can learn from the persecution of the Church in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. I hope you will join us. Please make a point to come and introduce yourself if you do. I love talking about the modern Social Justice tradition in the Church that, in a sense, begins with Leo XIII. I discuss in my talk the influence of his economic thought on faithful Catholics in Mexico.
Peace and All Good.

April 9, 2014 at 5:15 pm PST
#14  Christopher Check - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Christopher Travis!
Thank you for your kind observations about the merits of conferences such as ours. Last year's did set a lot of souls on fire. It was a complete sellout, which is why we have added a day and arranged for a larger space. It is going to be a fantastic event. I am especially excited about our newest apologist Hector Molina whose opening address on Thursday night is really going to fire the hearts of everyone there. What's more, it's nothing short of a great gift that Archbishop Sample is going to keynote the Saturday banquet, offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for us, and join Patrick Coffin for two full hours on the live radio show. He is a magnificent and holy man, and Catholic Answers is so blessed to have him.

April 9, 2014 at 5:23 pm PST
#15  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Christopher, I came very close to mentioning what happened in Mexico, It was on my mind when I made my post. The images of that war will always be in my mind, and you probably know the images I am talking about. I constantly get the gut feeling we are not far from that here, we are very close to the tipping point. Those anti Catholic laws are still on the books in Mexico and priests will still will not wear their priestly clothes in public. If that can happen in a country that was predominantly Catholic it can and probably will happen here. The attacks and the resentment are growing at a rapid rate. Things are more serious than most Catholics realize. Because of distance I will not be able to attend the conference, but my prayers and spirit will be united with all of you!

April 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm PST
#16  Peter Laffin - Boulder, Colorado


Is not the best defense a good offense? Why not evangelize by educating Catholics worldwide on the current state of human trafficking and involuntary servitude? That seems like a Christ-like endeavor, no? Or should we just stick to birth-control?

April 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm PST
#17  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

"Is not the best defense a good offense?"

Even in it's application to sports, I've always hated this saying.

"Why not evangelize by educating Catholics worldwide on the current state of human trafficking and involuntary servitude?"

I tend to agree with you that this definitely needs much more attention. That doesn't mean we abandon the rest of the Church's teaching.

"Or should we just stick to birth-control?"

Well, that tends to be an area of the Church's moral teaching that is misunderstood or ignored. So, I'd say it's emphasis is severely needed. Do you disagree?

April 10, 2014 at 3:05 pm PST
#18  Peter Laffin - Boulder, Colorado

I stand by the teachings 100%. I feel the huge imbalance of emphasis on sexual issues over issues like human trafficking and slave labor is scandalous, and history will remember us for it. I was so heartened by our Pope's attempt to strike a better balance, and unbelievably disheartened by The American Church's deaf ear to that attempt.

April 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm PST
#19  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

"I feel the huge imbalance of emphasis on sexual issues over issues like human trafficking and slave labor is scandalous, and history will remember us for it."

Last I checked, the Church doesn't get attacked for the work it does in battling human trafficking and slave labor. It gets slammed for its stances on sexual issues. So, I understand why there is an emphasis here (and so do you). I understand what you're saying though.

"I was so heartened by our Pope's attempt to strike a better balance, and unbelievably disheartened by The American Church's deaf ear to that attempt."

Well, cheer up buddy. He's been Pope for a little over a year now. Give it time. It's nice to know that the "American Church" has one good, upstanding, Catholic that's not deaf though.

April 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm PST
#20  Phil Terbay - Niniveh, Illinois

Sexuality and the priesthood will always a question as celibacy seems to be a flagrant example of the perception of the church's acquisitive nature of wealth dating back to the holy roman empire.

In more recent issues, there is the global crisis of the Church's ability to promote spirituality through celibacy given the issue of sexual abuse.

These are all questions about the Church and not about Jesus or Christianity. Which, to me, means they are red herrings relative to our fealty to the Church.

Jesus, married or single and celibate, had a spiritual connection not only to God but as a reaction to the old testament and what it means to be whole in God's grace. If he had a wife or was independent of the physical needs of humans, even when he was a human, is irrelevant. His message is about how to be whole in God's grace.

So, what does the Church offer? It offers consistency and a connection to the story of Jesus Christ as our founders were Jesus's consorts and his story tellers. These stories established the Church's values.

I say, don't worry about the challenges or overreact. All of the historical discoveries may be true (or may not). It doesn't matter. We have a view, a long standing belief, and a community that has perpetuated the core teachings of Jesus Christ and has distilled his values over 20 centuries. We can adapt our teachings to the cultural issues of the day without comprising our core beliefs. Hold on to that and any of the attacks can be easily addressed for all of the members of the Church.

April 16, 2014 at 11:05 pm PST

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