A Facebook question – a book full of answers

By Barb Ernster –

Christopher Sparks, 30, asked Facebook friends to finish the question: How can you still be Catholic when…? He quickly got all the questions he needed for his book, “How Can You Still be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question” (Marian Press 2017). He sat down with us at the Catholic Marketing Network in Chicago and gave his story of seeking true answers to the tough questions of today.

Why do you think you got such an overwhelming response to your Facebook question?

Because it’s such a common question, either because of all the abuse scandals or because of the history they teach in high schools. My high school textbook talked about the reason the Church opposed witchcraft was because the Church wanted to maintain its monopoly on magic. They are teaching that as serious history in a public high school, and it has no connection to reality. So much of it is myth left over from the Reformation. It’s not really malice on most people’s part, or even a rejection of the faith or Christ or His Church; they don’t know what on earth Christ and His Church really are.

(Bishop) Fulton Sheen had a great quote about that there are millions of people who hate what they believe is the Catholic faith; there are not 100 people in this country who actually hate the Catholic Church. This book will hopefully clear away the misconceptions to bring some people home to the Church, but at the very least make it easier to talk with people, make the Church less threatening. Yeah, we’ve got our problems, but there’s a lot of grace and good here. I’d love to share it with the world.

What are some of the questions you answer in the book?

Some are the obvious: How can you still be Catholic after the Crusades? …after the Inquisition? …after the abuse scandal? Think of your hot topics and I think I’ve pretty much hit them.

How do you answer them? Do you present more accurate history?

Yes, in places. Sometimes what’s really needed is to acknowledge there are problems as well. Though the Crusades were far more justifiable than most people would think, at the same time, there is always something questionable about violence in the name of Christ. Christ didn’t come to raise an army for the world, He didn’t come to lead us into physical battle; He came to raise a spiritual army. Yet, we had to defend the innocent, Europe had to defend itself, Islam was invading and our response was reasonable. And really, there is something noble about the Crusades, an ideal that is lost in a lot of these conversations, even though we didn’t live up to the ideal consistently.

In 2,000 years, we’ve had sinners and done some really awful things. On the other hand, I really wish we could clear up some of these myths in the age of the internet and the age of publishing, with such access to information. The fact that these endure is almost intolerable.

Did you address some of the hot social issues of our time?

Yes, for example, the sexual issues were unavoidable, but this is what people are so blasé about. There’s an analogy that in the ’50s everybody couldn’t care less about what you ate, but they had very passionate opinions about what you did in bed. Now, everybody cares about what you eat—how dare you not be vegan and how dare you eat GMOs–but they don’t care what you do in bed. It’s amazing how this cultural flip-flop has occurred.

In one way, people have a really keen sense of the natural law. They have a keen sense that the human body is made for certain ends that must be respected, so they eat organic and want to live a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, in the name of the sexual revolution, they want to do whatever they want with their body, never mind the ends. So even though people would never have chemicals on their food, they are delighted to take chemical contraceptives. It’s a fascinating almost double-blind from the enemy, if you will.

When did you start trying to answer these hard questions yourself?

I love the truth. I come from a family of fairly bright people (mathematicians and scientists) who, if I asked, ‘Why is the sky blue?’ would give me graphs and equations on a napkin. They showed me that there are real answers, true answers to these kinds of questions.

Both the Protestant side of the family (dad) and the Catholic side (mom) agree on the essentials and everybody gets along. Who’s right? I decided that, to be intellectually honest, I should figure out what I think is true. So I went looking online for the hardest arguments and most fervent atheists and got involved with online apologetics. I was stunned to consistently find really good, deep answers for the Catholic position. I discovered that usually the questions were wrong. The atheist objections were typically founded on bad premises, bad facts or bad logic. Occasionally, you have certain solid objections – evil and suffering consistently throughout history—this will always be a real challenge to the faith. And we honor the saints who were heroic in the face of evil and suffering and were a real witness to the truth and the Gospel.

But so many other arguments come from bad history. Pius the XII was “Hitler’s pope,” for instance. So, as I kept finding the Church winning every argument, I was pretty solidly convinced this was true.

So many of the youth have a cynical view of the world. You sound like you have a lot of hope.

I do, especially, as you know, our great prophetic expectation right now is the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Our Lady promised an era of peace. So the next thing we are looking forward to is not a disaster. It’s not a triumph of the devil. It’s a triumph of Our Lady. And peace as the Church teaches us involves a rightly ordered civilization. That suggests a deep conversion of our culture, a culture of life, leading to a civilization of love as the Holy Father has been talking about for decades now. So that’s what’s next for us as a world. Yes, there possibly is a secularist globalist thing being built and I think the Church will inherit it. It’s very much like it was with the Israelites and the Egyptians; the Israelites took the treasures of Egypt with them on their way to the Promised Land. That’s what we’re looking at.

 

Christopher Sparks has a BA in history and philosophy from Gonzaga University, and an MA in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He provides recommended reading for each of the 50 questions in his book to provide fuller answers and to help readers in their own search for truth. It is available in our gift shop by calling 1-866-513-1917, ext. 218 or online here
Item #BCBB  $14.95

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2 Comments
  1. Please pray for Eric McDonald-Please pray for his conversion and for the salvation of his soul.Pray that Christ The King will have mercy upon him and save him.
    “May Jesus in his compassion guide Eric McDonald to the pathways of salvation.May Jesus in his love bless and protect the soul of Eric McDonald.May Jesus the Divine healer, heal Eric in spirit, soul, and body. May Jesus The Divine Redeemer redeem Eric from this world and the devil.May Christ The Savior Save Eric and bring to His holy Kingdom in the name of Jesus Christ Amen!!!”

  2. I asked the blessed mother keep him in all my rosary intentions.

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