MANILA, May 26, 2015—Heeding the call of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), college students and young professionals nationwide are taking on the task of upholding the truth of the Catholic faith even as material comfort, pop culture, social media, pornography, and sex vie each for their attention.
In an interview, JM Tuazon, a certified public accountant, shared that since becoming an apologist his spiritual life has become “richer and more meaningful.”
“I’ve also become more sensitive to my thoughts, feelings, and actions,” he said.
According to Tuazon, a former Born-Again Christian, learning his new faith with fellow faith defenders corrected his biases against the Catholic Church.
Choosing to be brave
Instead of spending time, money, and energy on parties, booze, drugs, and casual hookups to the erosion of Christian moral values, an increasing number of Filipino Catholic youth today have “chosen to be brave,” dedicating themselves to the study, defense, and propagation of what the Church teaches and stands for in a world fast becoming secularized.
With the Bible in one hand and the Catechism (CCC) in the other, some 80 to 100 people, mostly young men and women, students and professionals, from the various dioceses of Metro Manila and nearby provinces, gather together monthly in a bid to deepen their understanding of and discuss the faith in the face of mounting indifference.
Inspired by legendary apologists like Fr. Ben Carreon, Bishop Cirilo Almario, Msgr. José Abriol, Sen. Francisco A. Rodrigo, and Mayor Sócrates Fernandez, these new breed of Catholic Faith Defenders (CFD) vow to live out PCP II’s appeal which states:
“… We need not apologize for apologetic catechesis. Since its birth, Christianity has been subjected to attacks from which it has had to defend itself. Jesus had to answer to objections to His teachings, as the Gospels testify. St. Paul had to answer early Christian errors, and charged his disciples to protect the faithful from them while keeping pure the Deposit of Faith” (PCP II 222).
Noting how apologetics has always been part of the “pastoral and theological tradition of the Church,” PCP II points out that today’s Catholics “must be willing and able to defend her teachings in public fora” so that they can defend their faith, exhorting parish priests to “encourage and support the training of lay Catholic faith defenders.”
Jack Saliba, an incoming 4th-year education major, said he accepted PCP II’s invitation to be an “unapologetic apologist” amid the threat of New Atheism, a brand of “unbelief” made popular by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris.
But more than engaging anti-Catholics in intellectual duels, he prefers to assert the truth of Catholicism and win souls by concretely witnessing to it in his dealings with them and others.
Meanwhile, Fr. Abraham Arganiosa, CFD national adviser, told CBCP News that defending the faith is integral to the “Great Commission” Christ left the Church, as well as to her “evangelization mission.”
He expressed joy that more and more young people, who would otherwise give in like many their age to the ways of the world, now search for truth and meaning in their lives.
“The world has many offers: sex, money, gadgets. But they realize these are nothing compared to the joy they have found in the Gospel,” he said. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)