The Beginning Apologetics Series
Beginning Apologetics: The Popular and Informational San Juan Seminar Series
“Since, in our own times, new problems are arising and very serious errors are circulating which tend to undermine the foundations of religion, the moral order, and human society itself, this sacred synod earnestly exhorts laymen-each according to his own gifts of intelligence and learning-to be more diligent in doing what they can to explain, defend, and properly apply Christian principles to the problems of our era in accordance with the mind of the Church.” – Apostolicam Actuositatem – Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. Vatican II, 1965
If someone walks up and asks you about your Faith, how well can you respond? Can you explain why Marian devotion is not goddess worship? Why Apostolic Tradition is such a big deal to Catholicism? Why isn’t the Eucharist just a piece of bread? Why our priests are called fathers? Many Catholics are at a loss for words when asked these or other questions about the Church. We know certain things are true and that the facets of our faith are based in reason and truth, but many of us are not well equipped to say why these things are true, why they are part of our faith. And how do we go about bridging the gap from knowing our faith is true to understanding our faith? The problem for many is that as invaluable and vital as texts such as the Catechism, The Catholic Encyclopedia, and St. Thomas Aquinas’s eloquent Summa Theologica are, when starting from scratch these texts can seem quite daunting to just jump into. Isn’t there something out there to help out beginners?
In 1993, Fr. Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham set out provide Catholics with just such a solid, truthful introduction to understanding the Catholic faith. The San Juan Catholic Seminars’ “Beginning Apologetics” series is a wealth of knowledge laid out in a well structured, easy to grasp booklet format. Each book in the series is around 40 pages and provides answers in a concise, organized layout. The books are of course not exhaustive resources – after all we have 2000 years of history and the writings of hundreds of saints, church officials, doctors of the church and popes here! The Beginning Apologetics series does not replace the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but is a useful teaching supplement within the broader context of the Catechism. They are a wonderful, logical, informational building block to aid in the development of your faith.
Each book in the series covers one broad topic, such as, How to Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith, How to Answer Tough Moral Questions and The End Times, among others. (Browse all titles here) Within each text, the topic is then broken down and the various sub-topics are explained. For example, How to Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith includes chapters on a beginners guide to apologetics, Apostolic Authority, Marian Doctrines, Confession, and others, as well as a chapter on other questions people ask about the Catholic faith.
Any Catholic would benefit from these rich and educational booklets. They could be distributed in an RCIA setting or to other questioning people looking to learn more about the Catholic faith, especially since many such individuals have heard falsehoods about the Catholic faith from outside sources. Whether in a classroom or as a gift to a curious friend or family member, this series is a great introduction to learning about the faith. But it’s not just for new Catholics, either! Many Catholics in the last few decades have experienced a sort of watered-down version of catechesis. For many individuals, Sunday School got us through “Love God Above All Others” and “Love Thy Neighbor” but didn’t provide in depth the rich history and tradition associated with and born from these and other commandments and teachings. And in other instances, we’ve taken our faith for granted without stopping to understand why it is the True Faith. In either instance, the Beginning Apologetics series is a great way for long-time Catholics to rediscover the depths of their faith.
Prepare yourself to preach the gospel, to speak the truth of the Church, and deepen your understanding of why we Catholics believe what we do with this fantastic series. The books are also reasonably priced – about six dollars each or a super pack for just $54.95. Browse the entire line by clicking here. If you have already purchased the original books (1 through 8) in the past, you may be particularly interested in the latest title, How to Answer Muslims, new in 2008 and especially valuable in light of current world geopolitical situations.