How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice

Winning answers to heated questions about Catholicism

HUNTINGTON, Indiana, May 23, 2012 – When Catholics find themselves cornered on Church teaching, their objective should be to win friends for the faith – not win an argument. But when thrust suddenly into the spotlight as “defender,” a calm treatise usually isn’t their first instinct.

In order to shed light – not heat – there are logical tactics for diffusing contentious discussions, and transforming them into succinct and compelling explanations. British co-founder of Catholic Voices, Dr. Austen Ivereigh – who’s launching the organization in the U.S. this week -- lays out the steps for this much-needed process in his new book, How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot-Button Issues, (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).

Ivereigh engages many common quandaries people have about Catholicism and properly reframes faulty accusations -- to remake the conversation. The book addresses issues such as:

  • why the Church gets involved in political dialogue;
  • whether the Church has a right to take a public stance;
  • whether Catholic politicians should be held to their faith first;
  • Church teaching on homosexuality, marriage, AIDS, abortion, contraception, women’s roles; and end-of-life issues such as assisted suicide;
  • whether the Church has the right to maintain an organization tied to its moral belief system;
  • Church accountability and resolution pertaining to clerical sex abuse.

It also includes a chapter on the “Ten Principles of Civil Communication”, helping readers prepare for discussions with the objective of a positive outcome.

How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice actually resulted when a group of knowledgeable lay Catholics in England volunteered to serve as on-air guests answering questions about Catholicism. They had to prepare for “high-pressure, cut-to-the-quick contexts,” typical of brief interviews on radio and television. This same perspective is needed to effectively engage almost any ‘debater’ on issues pertaining the Catholic Church.

“This book is a miracle,” states John L. Allen, Jr., author of The Future Church. “an authentically Catholic recipe for explaining without excoriating, defending without defaming, and changing hearts without knocking heads.”

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About the Author

Dr. Austen Ivereigh, co-founder and director of Catholic Voices, is a British writer, campaigner, and commentator on religious and political affairs who regularly appears on TV and radio. He has a politics Ph.D. from Oxford University and a London University MA in canon law. A former deputy editor of the intellectual Catholic weekly The Tablet, he was for a time communications director for the Archbishop of Westminster, before working as a community organizer and campaigner for the civic alliance London Citizens. Now he divides his time between Catholic Voices, a media apologetics project created for the papal visit to the UK in 2010, and his journalism. His most recent book is How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot-button Issues (Our Sunday Visitor , 2012). He is married, and lives in central London.

The world’s largest English-language Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing, offertory, and communication services. Established in 1912, Our Sunday Visitor publishes a wide range of books including Bibles, biographies of the saints, books by Pope Benedict XVI, children’s books, devotionals, bible studies, inspirational works, and curriculum. Our Sunday Visitor is a not-for-profit organization, returning a portion of net earnings back to the Catholic community through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.  For more information, visit www.osv.com.