Read the original question here.
I am so glad that you asked this question. I would guess that the situation you described is one that more than a few Catholics experience from time to time. Above all, keep asking our loving Mother for help and for her prayers! She does not disappoint.
When I hear a negative comment about the Church or about being Catholic, I find it helpful to begin by asking the person what they mean by their comment and how they arrived at their understanding of the Church, of life as a Catholic, etc. Listening to the person explain their perspective can be helpful in starting a conversation off on the right foot and ensuring that we fully understand what they are saying. It could be that this person was misinformed about the Church and what she teaches; knowing this provides an opportunity to correct that misinformation so that, at the very least, the person knows what the Church truly teaches. I find that an honest, civil conversation prevents me from becoming defensive and allows me to have confidence during a discussion.
Turning towards other sources of confidence, I try to remind myself of the heritage of faith entrusted to the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tell us that “[t]he apostles entrusted the ‘Sacred deposit’ of the faith . . ., contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church” (84). We also know that Jesus promised us that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide His Church. Even when I am not confident in myself, I can be confident in the promise of our Lord, the guidance of the Spirit, and the Church’s authority based on Scripture and Tradition.
Even when I am not confident in myself, I can be confident in the promise of our Lord, the guidance of the Spirit, and the Church’s authority based on Scripture and Tradition.
Finally, it helps to reflect on my own experience of being Catholic and learning about the Church and her teachings. There are some Catholic teachings that I have struggled to understand. Arriving at a fuller understanding of these teachings, by the grace of God, leads to a deep joy and peace. Nothing has given me more joy, more peace, or more consolation in times of suffering than the Catholic Church and her guidance in developing a better personal relationship with my Father (which happens by His grace alone; we all know who causes the problems in our relationship). This makes me want to share the Church with others in the hopes that they may also experience this joy and peace. When a conversation could be an opportunity to introduce someone to the Church and the beauty that comes from living a life of faith, it is easier for me to forget any lack of confidence I feel and focus on the person in front of me.
Amanda is a Coloradan who recently relocated to the south. She works at a Catholic college and could talk for days about her love of Catholic education. She can usually be found at a local coffee shop or getting lost while exploring her new city.