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.”


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.

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