Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 4, 2002
Author addresses apologetics for teens
Prove It! The Church, by Amy Welborn. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2001. 156 pages.
Review by DEAN SARNECKI
Special to the WCR
It has happened to me many times. You are sitting casually at a gathering, or maybe it is at work, or a dinner party and the topic of religion comes up. Or maybe it is a neighbour who belongs to one of the full Gospel or evangelical churches in the area.
"You're Catholic aren't you? Why do you worship Mary like a goddess? Why go to a priest to confess your sins when you can go straight to God? You have statues in your church, doesn't the Bible say not to worship idols? Why do you obey the pope and not God?" What do you say?
What about your kids? After years of Catholic school do they know how to answer these questions? How do they respond to these questions regarding their Church? Their beliefs?
Amy Welborn, author of Prove It!: God, addresses these and provides responses to these difficult questions. The tone, language and intended audience of the book is teenagers but the answers provided are important to all Catholics.
The focus of the current religious education programs is on a child's relationship, in community, with God and does not tend to deal with issues of apologetics. This resource is an attempt to provide a Catholic understanding of the Church and how we as Catholics have for 2,000 years interpreted God's revelation.
Using the teachings of the Church as the basis for understanding revelation, Welborn tackles many questions fundamentalist churches level against the Catholic Church. Using language most teenagers could easily understand, tough topics such as Mary, biblical formation and interpretation, icons, sacraments and others are carefully, simply and thoughtfully explained.
For example, the third chapter asks the question, Why Don't You Read the Bible Literally? Welborn describes the difference between literal and contextual speech, human communication and metaphor to explain some of the Catholic understanding of biblical interpretation.
She then describes what the Bible is and how it came to be written. Then, drawing upon the previous chapter on the role of Tradition, Welborn provides a definition of Truth.
Is this just for teenagers? Not really, many of these issues are topics that confront and confound adults and this resource could easily be of assistance to parents and teachers.
Welborn's ability to simplify complex theological and ecclesial ideas and put them into a language understandable to teens while still providing an historical and religious context is excellent. I highly recommend this work (along with Welborn's previous book Prove It: God) as an excellent resource for a Catholic family library.