When a Fundamentalist church down the street put anti-Catholic tracts on windshields during Mass at his local parish, Karl Keating didn’t just get mad. He wrote a response. He signed it “Catholic Answers” and thought that was the end of it. But the response was overwhelming—from Catholics who wanted to know their faith, from Fundamentalists who wanted a fight, from would-be converts who wanted instruction. Soon he was spending all of his spare time sitting at his dining room table, typing out Catholic answers. Those answers turned into a newsletter, and that newsletter grew into the publication before you now as well as an entire apostolate dedicated to apologetics and evangelization, now with more than 40 full-time staff members.
It’s amazing what God can do with one yes.
Of course, it took many more yeses to make a magazine, an apostolate, and even a movement. In this issue we pay tribute to many outstanding apologists who said yes and made This Rock what it is today—and we hope that they will be part of what it will be in the future. Our first thought was to make this issue a “best of,” but we quickly realized there was too much to choose from. But we think these authors and these articles well represent the good work that has been done over the last 20 years.
First, we took a cross-section of good, old-fashioned apologetics—defending the Church against the misunderstandings of non-Catholics. Our lead article, by Patrick Madrid, addresses whether it is biblical for Catholics to pray to the saints. It is a tour-de-force of scriptural apologetics, covering everything from Luther to Loraine Boettner to sola scriptura. Similarly, Steve Ray takes us on a tour of the Old and New Testaments as he explains biblical typology and why Mary is the Ark of the Covenant.
Russell Ford invites us inside his prison walls and shows us how he went from criminal to catechist—with some rough spots along the way. Mark Brumley takes on the fashionable idea that Jesus was married. Fr. Ray Ryland explains the Orthodox churches’ understanding of the papacy—and why they should reconsider.
We also chose some articles that address internal Church issues: Karl Keating ponders the problem of lukewarm and dissident Catholics and whether they (and we) would be better off leaving the Church outwardly as they have already left it inwardly. Joanna Bogle encourages us to roll up our sleeves and get busy rebuilding the Church rather than griping about the mess. And, in the wake of the sex-abuse crisis, Jimmy Akin’s article cautions against allowing others’ misdeeds and foibles to steal our peace.
Alice von Hildebrand from the early days of the magazine has provided our readers with searing cultural commentary rooted in deep philosophical insights. Here we revisit a chilling article that is more pressing today than when it was written, more than a decade ago.
Mark Shea seasons truth with a flavor of wit, a la C.S. Lewis. And finally, no issue of This Rock would be complete without a conversion story; we revisit Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s.
Our world has changed a great deal in 200 issues, and the magazine has changed along with it. But as these stories demonstrate, Truth doesn’t change.