"I May Land in Trouble"
Hello. My name is Robert and I am writing from Nairobi, Kenya. I am going to be 19 in August. I have just finished secondary school life, and I will be joining one of our universities at the end of the year.
However I have a problem. I am not too good in my knowledge of our Catholic doctrine. I fear that I may land in trouble with the Fundamentalists. What should I do?
I got your address from one school priest to whom I talk. I think he already had some magazines, and I was very impressed by their contents. Thanks for the good work and keep on moving!
Robert K. Nderitu
Your mention of The Conversion Center of Havertown, Pennsylvania in the February issue brought back memories. Back in the middle 1950s a priest friend and I used to argue with Alex Dunlap at a small discussion group we started. I believe Alex was the founder of what he called The Conversion Center for Catholic Priests and Nuns.
The most horrendous stunt he always performed was to pull out a handful of hosts from his pocket which he then claimed were consecrated hosts. He told us he obtained them by receiving Communion in a Catholic church and then quickly removing the hosts from his mouth. (No Communion in the hand back in those days.)
We were charter subscribers to your newsletter, Catholic Answers, and are very pleased to see it evolve into your new publication, This Rock. Your new magazine has a fine format, and everything about it is well-structured.
We have purchased your books and tracts for distribution. Your writings have been an inspiration and have encouraged us to become apologists also. This has involved participating in a nationwide religious conference on an electronic bulletin board. It is a fine way to witness.
We subscribe to several other Catholic publications, but feel that your publications have been the ones that have truly upheld Catholicism and have boldly gone forward to proclaim the Church Christ established.
F. M. Scheidt
How About Chapters?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to Omaha. Catholic Answers is a real answer for my prayers. I have a suggestion. Have you thought of organizing local chapters of Catholic Answers?
Editor’s reply: Yes, we have thought of local chapters, but there are some difficulties in forming them. How do we ensure uniformity of style and substance--that is, how to we make sure some well-intentioned member located far from us doesn't lose his cool when giving a public presentation or doesn't offer his pet devotion or private opinion as the official position of the Church?
We've met countless fine people who would be willing to serve the Church through full- or part-time apologetics, and we encourage them to do so. But if we're to have them working under our auspices, we need to maintain "quality control," and we're not sure how to do that.
A start: Train them here in San Diego through a rigorous on-the-job program, then farm them out. We don't have the facilities yet to do that (the trainers, yes; the classrooms, no).
"I Know Just the Place"
Your InsideStory newsletter is a real "grabber." I read it all at one time--it is such great news, so current and upbeat (except, of course, for the fact that you're still a "shoestring" operation). But it makes life an adventure to live on the edge of a disaster.
By the way, I met a lady at the last prolife rally. She came over to me and out of the blue said she wanted to know more about Catholic beliefs. I said, "I'm taking you to a Catholic Answers seminar!"
Almost a year ago I read Catholicism and Fundamentalism. Although I have been raised Protestant and have many friends who are anti-Roman Catholic, I found Mr. Keating's defense thought provoking. Since that time I have read more literature to better familiarize myself with Roman Catholic thought.
To inform you of the source of Mr. Keating's book, I acquired it in a "Fundamentalist" book store. I did find the polemic with [Loraine] Boettner illuminating of the prejudice in my Protestant background.
I have a couple of other friends who have also been concerned about the anti-Roman approach to some aspects of our theology, though none are perhaps as read on the subject as myself.
Curtis L. Dunn
Even Pakistan Isn't Safe
The Fundamentalists have spread their tentacles all round and have come to the shore of Karachi, Pakistan. They have a knack for alluring the Catholics to their groups. There is dynamism among them. I am interested in knowing more about them.
I wish to make the Legion of Mary interested in the problems that are creeping into our society. They do home visitations and meet people and their questions. Fundamentalism is a modern problem of proselytizing. It has to be met.
Fr. Joseph Perera
Delaware's State Religion
I am incarcerated in a prison in Georgetown, Delaware. Here the state religion is Fundamentalist Christianity. There are few Catholics here, and the ones that are here are very uninformed about the faith. They are also confused by all the Fundamentalist attacks against them. I have found your tracts very helpful in talking with these Catholics.
Clarity, Depth, Good Humor
I start this letter with a deep gratefulness for what you have done for me. Early this year I wrote a letter saying that I hadn't received any of your material. Thanks be to God, today things have changed. I received Catholicism and Fundamentalism, the tracts, and the catalogue. As you can see, surface mail took just seven short months! (A week later I received the February issue of This Rock, and it took only one week.)
Reading the material, I was delighted to see the clarity, depth, and good humor which it contains. In this country many people will be interested in your publications because Fundamentalists are causing havoc here.
There was a Catholic meeting about Fundamentalism two months ago, and without much advertising we were around two hundred people: priests, religious, and lay people from different places of the country. Some had traveled three or four hours to get to the meeting.
With all of your material we have prepared a seminar for lay people from the different parishes of the Nairobi Diocese; here any material about the matter is unknown.
That's why I'm asking too much because I'd like to have a sample of everything you have. In this way I could do publicity here. The market would be big and, what is more important, the good done to souls immense.
The next step, the most difficult one, was to see the Cardinal of Nairobi. I had been sending him photocopies of your letters and publications through one of the vicars of the Diocese, but recently he told me to go and see him personally.
I went and talked about your publications. He was very happy and told me, "I have been praying for something like this for a long time."
Fr. M. Gonzales Lopez de Lemus
Crazy About Debates
Thank you for sending the tracts and the back issues of This Rock. I went crazy over them. I have been wondering where I could begin studying so I could give better answers to the questions that are put to me.
I also want to set up a debate between you and some people I have in mind. I have been contacting others for help, and we might get a priest to let us use the Newman Center for this. It will be in Lawrence, which is a college town, so we might have a good turnout.
If you can come, I would like you also to speak to the Bible study that I help lead. We have been meeting for about three years, and we even had a few people start their own Bible study in their town because they liked what they saw at ours.
Editor’s reply: Catholic Answers' staff members frequently engage in public (and very civil) debates with Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and representatives of other faiths. If you would like to help arrange a debate in your area, please write to us or call us at (619) 541-0324.
Trouble in the Family
I was riding in my mom's car and listening to your tape "How to Handle Fundamentalists."
My mom asked what it was, and I translated some of it into Spanish. She, in turn, whips out this cassette from the glove compartment and said, "See how you like this."
Ugh! This guy sounded exactly like Jimmy Swaggart, only in Spanish--real emotional, loud. I pictured him doing the Bible-thumping jig.
I asked mom if someone gave this to her at the door. She said no, that she went to that church (I don't recall the name of the denomination) and bought it herself. I was devastated!
My mom, who taught me from Spanish catechism books, who prayed the rosary fervently when my little sister was ill years ago, who, I felt, was my staunchest ally in Catholicism, was "shopping around." No wonder she had been reluctant in telling me.
This happened on my dad's birthday. Once I got her home I left on the pretext of going to pick up my daughter for my dad's party. I ended up at the church where I was married. I felt I needed to talk to a priest.
That turned out to be pretty useless in that he felt keeping peace in the family was more important than my mom's faith being undermined. "All roads lead to Christ," he said.
Later on I talked with my mom. I shared and translated some of the material with her. I can't really blame her for being doubtful. The parish church she has been attending has been dry as dust for years, and my sister, who has been a "Bible Christian" for about ten years, has been undermining her faith for years.
Now I was able to point out in Scripture why we believe as we believe. My biggest lesson in all this is to speak gently and to speak in love. I've got so far to go and so much yet to learn.
Get a Baptist Flashlight!
I am writing to express appreciation for your magazine. The articles are quite interesting with some entertainment.
The various articles by Br. Mark Brumley are most stimulating. Why? Because I am a "regenerated" Baptist preacher who's a member of the [real] Catholic Church. I am an active participant of the church universal (Eph.1:22-23). I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church that began in A.D.1054.
I do have some questions I hope you can answer. Since I have lived in countries with the populace 98 percent Roman Catholic, have Roman Catholic friends, currently live in a community of predominantly Roman Catholic people, why has no one yet shared the gospel with me? I mean, if the Roman Catholics have the Truth, then where's the vocal cry of redemption?
I would very much like to meet and talk with you someday. I do appreciate your kindness and spirit of gentleness, even if you have gone away from scriptural light. There is hope. The Baptist's flashlight has a bulb with fresh batteries. Call for help and your pathway will be made clear.
Terry E. Crownover
P.S. Ever-Ready batteries have been bought for you by the blood of Jesus.