MANILA, March 13, 2014— A group of Roman Catholic businessmen and professionals who underwent intensive study to defend the Catholic doctrine offers to facilitate profound understanding for church members who wish to deeply entrench their faith.
Active members of Defensores Fidei Foundation (DFF), these Filipino apologists (defenders of the faith) hold that an average Catholic can be easily swayed to leave or cross to another church as a result of superficial grasp of the doctrine, DFF co-founder and chair Henry Siy said.
The average Catholic, who could not even explicate each of the 7 sacraments, can be easily lured by preachers who were able to build a church out of their own personal interpretation of the Bible and their silver tongue, he said.
The same preachers do not even agree with each other’s personal interpretations of the Bible, whom he likened to lawmakers who have their own contradicting interpretations of a particular law.
A Catholic should not only have a heart for his faith, but also a profound understanding of Catholicism, Siy said. A shallow understanding of one’s faith may lead him fleeing the church or crossing to another.
A Catholic who cannot rise above a particular challenge or cannot answer a definite question may also leave the church due to his inability to expound his faith, he said.
Some denominations raise the issue on images, Siy said. But Catholics do not worship images.
“Image only represents,” Siy said. The “Arc of the Covenant” in the Old Testament is an image. The “staff” of Moses is also an image.
The Church is right for having the 7 sacraments, he said. The Orthodox Catholic Church, which is the second largest Christian church, has also 7.
The goal of Siy’s group is to strengthen average Catholics both in heart and understanding.
Catholics are plenty, he said. But the number of teachers of the doctrine is relatively small. His group offers to help. Catholics can seek DFF for a deeper understanding of the faith.
In an effort to defend the Catholic faith, the foundation developed a course on apologetics, which contains from 10 to 13 classes, he said. The course starts in October with a weekly session on Saturdays that culminates in a graduation in December.
The DFF was founded in the Philippines in the late 1990s by 9 men, including Siy, and a female who are strongly inclined to defend the doctrine of the church. The 10 are businessmen, a landscape consultant, a dentist, a banker, and one involved in stage show.
Siy himself, whose father is a Buddhist, studied to defend the Catholic faith under well-respected apologists in the United States, including Stephen (Steve) K. Ray, during his years in California.
Ray is a Catholic author, speaker, film-maker and certified guide to the Holy Land. He was a Protestant since the 1950s and joined a Baptist church. In 1994, he converted to Catholicism and became defender of the Catholic faith. He wrote the book Crossing the Tiber, an account of his conversion.
Other well-known apologists within the Roman Catholic Church include Dr. Scott Hahn, Karl Keating, G.K. Chesterton, Ronald Knox and Peter Kreeft. (Oliver Samson)