Because it is the 500th year of the Protestant revolt, I have been reflecting upon my own conversion into the one, true Catholic Church. In doing so, I have been frequenting Protestant Facebook pages, especially those of the reformed Calvinist position, because it is within the fortress of Calvinism that I made my last stand as a Protestant. In addition to looking at what these Calvinists pages are saying about Catholicism, I have been re-reading arguments attempting to refute the Catholic faith, and listening to debates between Catholic apologists and Protestant polemicists.
During this period of reflection and examination a discernible approach emerges from those arguing against the Catholic faith.
When encountering a view that is true, it exposes and refutes the opposing positions clearly and honestly. The opposing view can be found properly and accurately articulated within the context of the refutation because truth has nothing to hide while refuting error. The truth, however, cannot be articulated accurately within the expressed context of the erroneous counter-position otherwise error would expose itself and its inherent ability to deceive would be thwarted.
This situation directly applied to my conversion into the Catholic faith. When I began to read Catholic theological and philosophical literature, especially arguments refuting Protestant positions, I could see that my Calvinist views were being accurately represented. Saint Francis de Sales’s work, The Catholic Controversy, thoroughly and systematically refutes the strongest case for Calvinistic theology, which is why he was able to bring Calvinist Geneva back to the Catholic faith.
The same situation, however, did not take place when I would read Protestant literature attempting to refute Catholic teaching. When I read James White’s work, The Roman Catholic Controversy, I could not find the Catholic faith in this polemic. What I did find were straw men, misguided polemics, question-begging assertions, and repetitious platitudes. White’s book is for people interested in sophistry rather than truth.
If the Catholic faith is as heretical as Calvinists claim it to be, why can’t her teaching be defeated without fundamentally misrepresenting the tenets of Catholicism? Why does history need to be distorted in order to justify the spirit of rebellion that brought forth the downfall of Christendom? Why do Protestants sound more like the new atheists than evangelists committed to truth when they pontificate about the Catholic faith?
Five years after my conversion I am yet to read a credible refutation of a single position officially taught by the Catholic Church. I have read many platitudes, slogans, clichés, and lies, but nothing credible, honorable, or charitable. I am reminded of this every time I browse through the memes of these Calvinist Facebook pages attacking truth for the sake of theological autonomy.
Truth cannot be defeated and her enemies can only lie in order to remain puffed up in their sinful autonomous pride. While Protestants celebrate their 500th year of rebellion against the true Church, Catholics should look to those great Counter-reformers that combatted the heresies of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Beza etc. The writing of Saints Robert Bellarmine and Francis de Sales, fully informed by the zeal for truth, are a great place to start. There isn’t an argument offered by the pretended ministers of their day, or ours, that has not been methodically defeated. It is our duty as Catholics to carry on this legacy to spiritually combat the pretended ministers of our own era, because their heresy encourages people to reject the Body and Blood of our Lord so necessary for salvation.
– Lucas G. Westman