Handling Opposition to One’s Catholic Faith

How can good Catholics respond to people who question our beliefs or openly reject our Catholic faith? On matters of religion, I try to avoid discussing my faith with those who I know are antagonistic to our traditions, customs, rituals, and beliefs. Some people really get worked up about religion. How can I respond to these people?

I suggest that first you consider whether the real reason for their anger is what they identify as that reason. Perhaps they experienced firsthand abuse by a priest or religious or know someone who was abused. Perhaps there is some other grave injustice involved.

Once you have calmly stated the reasons you believe what you do, you can politely decline to escalate the disagreement or to be “hooked ” by their vocabulary or preferred style of speaking.

The First Letter of Peter urges Christians to be ready to explain the hope that is in them (3:15b) while speaking with “gentleness and reverence ” (3:16). Beyond that, there is no guaranteed way to win any disagreement about a religious topic.

Ask a Franciscan


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