Lord and Giver of Life, the title of Fr. Corapi’s conference yesterday was a theme that Fr. Corapi returned to frequently during the day.
” The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey, not to the disobedient” was one of the recurring statements.
Fr. Corapi said his purpose was to “confirm the brethren” to enable us to go out and be the witness the laity are called to be (paraphrased the second half of that statement). I remember: “To be a flame” was Fr. Corapi’s phrase.
Raymond Arroyo also gave a talk on “Engaging the Culture,” employing his own precept to use humor by being very, very funny in relating anecdotes as examples.
Cleansing Fire, a blog that already has those precepts down, has a wonderful account of the conference.
There was a very anti-Catholic group who stood on the sidewalk across the street from the arena, shouting (with a bullhorn!) standard anti-Catholic fare. They reminded me of Archbishop Sheen’s quote: “There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church.”
The funny thing is, all they could do was shout their “slogans”; they were unable to engage in discussion. Actually, some of them were literally unwilling to listen in that they ignored questions or attempts to engage in discussion. Some responded to questions by repeating, broken record style, their original statement. A few did make an attempt at discussion, but simply had no coherent response.
The person I spoke withwas thoroughly discombobulated when I told him we agree with them that all Scripture is inspired. “No you don’t! No you don’t!” was his response and he started in on the “cannibalism argument.” When I countered “That’s not what John 6 says,” he quoted several verses that were totally off topic (ie, “Jesus said, “It is finished” which is from an entirely different chapter). As much as he waved around his Bible, I wasn’t convinced that he could find John 6.
I’ve learned a lot about the art of apologetics from Jimmy Akin’s blog and the www.catholic.com website and it’s always the same: in the face of an informed Catholic response, the attack on the perception of Catholicism falls apart. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from continuing, but it’s clear they can’t answer the Catholic response.
One of the people I traveled with yesterday asked, “What can we learn from them?” By that time, at the end of the day, I was too wiped out to give a coherent response. Now, however, I would say that the lesson of the anti-Catholic group is the importance of well-catechized Catholics and what a huge difference it would make if all Catholics could do as 1 Peter 3:15 says: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.”