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What is apologetics in the Catholic Church?

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Philip Kosloski - published on 08/07/19

The study of apologetics is a broad spectrum that takes a person into the depths of Catholic teaching.

When examining Christianity or more specifically, the Catholic Church, the word “apologetics” will likely surface. It is a strange word that is often confused with the word “apology.”

This can be misleading as the modern sense of “apology” is generally defined as an acknowledgement of a past offense or failure. We typically owe someone an “apologywhen we have done something wrong.

Apologetics is in a certain sense the exact opposite, as it is directed toward the defense of something that is true and not blameworthy.

The Catholic Encyclopediadefines “apologetics” as “derived from the Latin adjective, apologeticus, which, in turn has its origin in the Greek adjective, apologetikos, the substantive being apologia, ‘apology’, ‘defense’ … [it is] a verbal defence against a verbal attack, a disproving of a false accusation.”

Apologetics in the Catholic Church is the study of the truth of Christianity and usually consists of overturning false accusations made against the Church’s beliefs.

This could entail answering any number of questions, such as “Do Catholics worship the Virgin Mary?” or “Are there different types of Catholicism?” Or “Is the Eucharist really Jesus?

Many Catholic converts are introduced to the Catholic faith through the study of apologetics or through particular “apologists,” who frequently answer the most common questions people ask about Catholicism.

It is a broad field of study that can take a person into the depths of Catholic teaching. There are many apologetic resources online, one of which is Aleteia. We have a vast number of articles in our archive that answer some of the most-asked questions.

Here are a few to get you started! Search our archives to find more!


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