Saturday 10th October 2015

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Raiders Of The Lost Art

June 22, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By Raymond De Souza, KM

Who does not remember the action-packed first Indiana Jones movie — Raiders of the Lost Ark — that delighted adventure and archeology-lovers in the early 1980s?
The idea of finding the Ark of the Covenant — the most sacred object in the ancient world — did certainly attract the attention of millions who were — and still are — puzzled about its loss in the Old Testament. The first Indiana Jones movie certainly did a great deal to reawaken the curiosity and desire among many to know what happened to the mysterious Ark.
The challenging tune chosen for the movie (especially the trumpets, in my opinion) added a touch of enthusiasm second to none in the search and finding of the missing Ark.
I saw the movie for the third time in the mid-1990s, in New Zealand. Of course, I knew that it was entirely fiction, and yet it gave me the idea of revitalizing the search for a lost Art — the lost Art of Catholic Apologetics “down under.” That is, thinking with clarity about the objective Truth, putting logic at the service of the Catholic faith in a culture soaked with relativism.
I had the privilege to do so in the Diocese of Christchurch, in New Zealand, counting on the blessing of the ordinary of the time, the Most Rev. Basil Meeking. Later on, in Australia, again with the support of the ordinary, the Most Rev. Barry Hickey, archbishop of Perth and metropolitan of Western Australia, I continued the promotion of Catholic apologetics in the archdiocese and beyond. The motto was “re-evangelize the baptized,” as John Paul II said in Crossing the Threshold of Hope.
Here in the United States, in my capacity as director of the Office of Evangelization and Apologetics of the Diocese of Winona (the Most Rev. John Quinn is the local ordinary), I am once again privileged with the opportunity to help the local Church in the promotion of the New Evangelization of Faith and Reason — Catholic Apologetics.
(By the way, I was told that the Winona Diocese is considered by many locals to be the solid pedestal of orthodoxy upon which Minnesota is built — but of course people in other dioceses in the 10,000 Lakes state may have a different opinion.)
From St. Justin Martyr in the second century to Scott Hahn in the 20th, both cradle Catholics and converts to the Church have  found joy and delight in defending the faith handed down to us by the apostles.
Perhaps the most pressing factor that revitalized apologetics is the “dictatorship of relativism” that is confronting the once Christian West, a dictatorship that was denounced by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger at the homily of the Mass of the conclave that elected him Pope. On the same occasion, he also taught that “Catholics cannot remain immature in the faith, as they run the risk of being tossed away here and there by any doctrinal wind.”
Accordingly, those who believe that teaching the truth does not require refuting error fall prey to the trap of religious liberalism, because no Christian formation, especially in our days, is adequate without apologetics.
Since the cultural and moral ravages of the 1960s, when the Sorbonne Revolution coined the slogan Il est interdit d’interdire (“It is forbidden to forbid”) — followed by the crisis of faith in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council — an unbridled, euphoric, and misguided ecumenism has penetrated virtually every sphere of Catholic endeavor. As a result, the defense of the faith has been largely ignored, if not altogether abandoned.
In the words of William Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “The development and use of apologetics — a system of explaining and defending the truths of faith — largely went out of fashion with the Second Vatican Council, but is still needed today because Catholics in every age are called to explain the reasons for their faith and their hope” (April 29, 2010, address at a conference on “A New Apologetics” at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in Rome).
A great many Catholics today suffer from an unprecedented identity crisis. Mainstream media, peer pressure, and lack of formation are some of the factors causing a near-exodus of Catholics to other religions, such as the many branches of Protestantism, New Age, Islam, or just plain agnosticism. It is tragic that some of the basic tenets of the faith, such as the Divinity of Christ, the Real Presence, the Magisterium, and the role of Mary are seen by many as the opinions of a dying generation.

The Solution:
A New Apologetics

On May 15, 2002, John Paul II taught the bishops of the Antilles in their ad limina visit that: “It is essential in your particular Churches to develop a new apologetics for the people, so that they may understand what the Church  teaches and thus be able to give reason for their hope (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). For in a world where people are continuously subjected to the cultural and ideological pressure of the media and the aggressively anti-Catholic attitude of many sects, it is essential for Catholics to know what the Church teaches, to understand that teaching, and to experience its liberating power. A lack of understanding leads to a lack of the spiritual energy needed for  Christian living and the work of evangelization.”
Grace abounds in the darkest times. Alongside the crisis, the Church has also seen the astounding growth of new movements of apologists: staunch men and women stand up to reaffirm the defense of Apostolic Tradition, the orthodox interpretation of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Magisterium.
The Lost Art of Catholic Apologetics has become increasingly popular today among lay Catholics, especially in the United States. Catholics in general are called to be proud to be a part of this new wave of missionaries — to  reconquer America for Christ the King.
All Catholics must be empowered to believe, love, understand, proclaim, and defend the perennial doctrines preached by the apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the words of John Paul II, Catholics “cannot settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity.” He described them as “cafeteria Catholics.”
I am proud to be a part of this renewed effort with The Wanderer, and I invite all of our readers to make good use of the weekly articles in this new section of Catholic apologetics, to stand up for the faith and be counted among the new apologists of the third millennium. Let us put on the Armor of  God (Eph. 6:10-17) and earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3).

+    +    +

(Raymond de Souza is director of the Evangelization and Apologetics Office of the Winona Diocese, Minn.; an EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International (HLI); president of the Sacred Heart Institute, and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. His web site is

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Leading African cardinal critiques Vatican spokesman Fr. Rosica

ROME, October 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, a leading cardinal on the organizing committee for the Synod on the Family, issued a pointed critique on Twitter of a controversial report on the Synod by the Vatican’s…Continue Reading

Archbishop Chaput: Synod’s working text risks ‘compromise’ with sin

ROME, October 8, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Fresh off of the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput gave a strong intervention at the Vatican’s family synod this week, warning that the meeting’s working text risks “compromise” with sin. The…Continue Reading

Canadian Catholic Schools Defy Archbishop on Transgender Policy

DMONTON, Alberta, Canada, October 8, 2015 ( – A Catholic school district in Canada is planning to approve a transgender policy contrary to its archbishop’s guidelines. The Edmonton Catholic school district in Alberta wants to push through a radical transgender…Continue Reading

Synod Showdown Report—October 5, 2015

We’re just out of the first press briefing of the Synod 2015, and things have pretty much picked up where they ended last year. The lead story, if you want to say there’s a lead to this, was a question…Continue Reading

Gov. Brown signs controversial assisted-suicide bill

Caught between conflicting moral arguments, Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student, signed a measure Monday allowing physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to hasten their deaths. Brown appeared to struggle in…Continue Reading

Someone is Lying About the Pope’s Meeting with Kim Davis

Papal spokesman Father Thomas Rosica flatly denies Kim Davis met privately with Pope Francis when he visited Washington, D.C. which stands in flat contradiction to Davis’s claims. In Roscia’s telling Davis was part of a large number of people as…Continue Reading

Top Universities Defend Research Using Body Parts From Aborted Babies

Some of America’s top universities have signed a letter urging states not to support legislation that would ban the sale of aborted babies for research. The letter comes after ten videos surfaced exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting business, along with…Continue Reading

Catholic Hospitals Sued For Refusing Emergency Care To Pregnant Women

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday announced that it is suing Trinity Health Corporation, which operates 80 hospitals nationwide, for refusing to provide pregnant women suffering from life-threatening emergency complications with abortions. Trinity Health hospitals have “repeatedly and systematically…Continue Reading

Too Scared to Pray? ISIL Cancels Prayers for Fear of Russian Airstrikes

The Islamic State terror group cancelled Friday prayers in the Syrian city of Raqqa and emptied mosques there out of fear of further Russian airstrikes, according to activists and city residents. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,…Continue Reading

Putin defends Russia’s ban on youth-focused gay propaganda: ‘I believe we should leave kids in peace’

MOSCOW, September 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – In 2013, Russia passed an amendment to the country’s Child Protection Law against “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors,” which also safeguards children from being adopted by homosexuals. Western governments, led by the…Continue Reading

EXPOSED: The billionaire Planned Parenthood donor who wants his donations kept very, very secret

Sept. 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Three weeks after I left my job at the clinic, Planned Parenthood took me to court. I am always asked, “Why would they take you to court? Did they have something to hide?” Well, yes.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Brought Back Into Roman Curia By Pope Francis

Raymond Cardinal Burke has been re-appointed to Congregation for the Causes of Saints from which he had been removed in December of 2013.


Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 5

(Vatican Radio) Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office, brought three prelates as guests on Friday to the daily media briefing on the progress of the Synod on the Family taking place at Vatican City. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manilla, Philippines and Archbishops Joseph E. of Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid, Spain, were present.   Cardinal Tagle told the Friday press briefing that he was…Continue Reading

Synod bishops looking for more autonomy, new insight, fresh language

(Vatican Radio) At the Synod of Bishops on the Family on Friday morning, participants presented the results of their small language group work that has been going on behind closed doors for the past couple of days. Each group has been discussing the first section of the Synod’s working document, or Instrumentum Laboris, focused on the challenges facing family life today. Who exactly are those rows of men with their red and purple hats, sitting…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: why do good things happen to bad people?


(Vatican Radio) God does not abandon the righteous, while those who sow evil are like strangers, whose names heaven remembers not. This is the lesson Pope Francis drew from the readings of the day at Mass Thursday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. A courageous young mother with a husband and three children – and a tumor – “one of the ugly ones” – that keeps her nailed to…Continue Reading

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 4

(Vatican Radio) On Thursday Oct. 8 Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckley of Accra, Ghana, said that the world needs to be patient with Africa when it comes to dealing with issues like homosexuality. “Give countries time to deal with issues from our own cultural perspectives,” he said. He added that the dignity and rights of all God’s son and daughters need to be upheld. The Synod Fathers continued to work in groups on Thursday. Archbishop Edoardo Menchelli…Continue Reading

War Party Targets Putin And Assad

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Having established a base on the Syrian coast, Vladimir Putin began air strikes on ISIS and other rebel forces seeking to overthrow Bashar Assad. A longtime ally of Syria, Russia wants to preserve its toehold on the Mediterranean, help Assad repel the threat, and keep the Islamic terrorists out of Damascus.…Continue Reading

Biblical Types Of Our Lady

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY A previous article looked at the role of Mary as the New Eve, and now we will look at some biblical types of our Lady, and see how the early Church fathers saw different types and prophecies concerning Mary in the Old Testament, that is, that particular incidents or artifacts pointed…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “What is Transgenderism?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For all of the previous Culture of Life 101 articles on homosexuality, e-mail him at + + + While those fortunate few who still possess a lingering sense of reality cringed at the bizarre…Continue Reading

Liberty Counsel Says . . . Pope’s Words And Meetings Support Conscientious Objection

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Liberty Counsel issued the following statement on October 2: Mat Staver, county clerk Kim Davis’ attorney, is the chairman of Liberty Counsel: + + + Despite a statement this morning by a Vatican official, the Pope’s own words about conscientious objection being a human right and his private meeting with Kim Davis…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Ideal Artist

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY Santayana, George. The Life of Reason: Reason in Art. A critical edition, co-edited by M.S. Wokeck and M.A. Coleman. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2015. lvi + 276 pp. The Life of Reason is Volume VII, Book Four, of the Collected Works of George Santayana. Professor James Gouinlock of Emory University…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. We recently celebrated the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. But aren’t there other groupings of angels and what are they? — A.C., Florida. A. Based on the writings of Saints Dionysius, Gregory the Great, and Thomas Aquinas, the Church has taught that there are nine choirs of angels. Beginning at the highest level, they are Seraphim,…Continue Reading

Choose To Serve Rather Than To Be Served

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 53:10-11 Heb. 4:14-16 Mark 10:35-45 In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells us that He came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. This is our hope for eternal salvation and, obviously, it is our hope…Continue Reading

Pope Francis In Philadelphia . . . Religious Liberty Transcends Places Of Worship

PHILADELPHIA (ZENIT) — Here is a Vatican translation of the address Pope Francis gave September 26 in Philadelphia, at a meeting with immigrants on the theme of religious freedom. ZENIT’s transcription and translation of his few off-the-cuff remarks are found in brackets. The Holy Father was in Philadelphia to attend the World Meeting of Families. ZENIT provided the text. All…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Pope Francis’ Visit Leaves Us Blessed And Strengthened

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The chair under me is rolling from starboard to port and back as I write to you this week because I do so aboard the USS San Antonio at sea. In my ministry here I am following through on something Pope Francis has asked of all of us: I am seeking souls at the periphery.…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Church Of Christ Is Universal, For Everyone

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 22 It is true that Jesus came first for the Jews. Many individuals accepted Him, like the apostles, disciples, and their converts, but as a nation they refused Him. So the apostles spread their mission to the Gentiles — that means, to our ancestors. But even if the Jews had accepted Him, the apostles would…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. John XXIII

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Although rare, it is not unknown for a poor man, who had no connections and did not seek to develop them, to rise above all other men in stature and in influence over mankind. Such was the case of the sharecroppers’ son, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. Throughout his ecclesiastical career, he was obedient and kind, but…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Thomas of Hereford

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the High Middle Ages the power of kings began to disintegrate, as shown by the Magna Charta, which was established in 1215. Although neither party of the agreement held up to its commitments, the beginning of more democratic rule had arrived. Three years later a noble family gave birth to a man who played a significant…Continue Reading