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76 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I heard Austen Ivereigh was writing a new book on apologetics, I was thrilled. Austen is the man responsible for "Catholic Voices", a mostly-lay evangelistic group based in England. The group was created during Pope Benedict's visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010 to ensure that Catholics and the Church were well represented in the media.

As in America, the English media tends to paint the Church in a bad light. Subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, it depicts the Church's views as archaic and oppressive, while interviewing angry anti-Catholics about the Church's own teachings.
Austen wanted to change that. So using his media background and expertise, he gathered several lay Catholics and trained them in both apologetics and media skills. The goal was to create Catholics who could articulate Catholic teaching in a reasonable, charitable way.

The group was a tremendous success. Before, during, and after the Pope's visit, the "Catholic Voices" crew was featured on radio, interviewed on television, and were even invited to several public debates. In many cases, they were able to shift the public perception of Catholicism and change hearts and minds.

Two years later, Austen has gathered everything they've learned from these exchanges into a new book titled, How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot Button Issues (Our Sunday Visitor, paperback, 144 pages). The book is a goldmine of tips and advice on reframing several of the most contentious Catholic issues. You'll find chapters devoted to topics like:

- The Church and Political Life
- Homosexuality and Contraception
- Equality and Religious Freedom (including the recent HHS mandate)
- Assisted Suicide
- Clerical Sex Abuse
- Defending the Unborn
- Catholics and AIDS
- The Meaning and Purpose of Marriage
- Women and the Church

If you've ever found yourself in a heated discussion about these topics, this book will show you how to approach them with reason and grace.

Check out my video review for more and be sure to pick up How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot Button Issues:
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is an excellent addition to my library. The author eloquently and reasonably states the Roman Catholic Church's position on a number of issues that often cause conflict and emotional responses, such as same sex marriage and abortion. The author doesn't only focus on the Church's rationale for its positions on these issues, but he acknowledges the positive values that may cause those with differing views to contest the Church's positions. I especially appreciated that aspect of the author's book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book was given to me by Our Sunday Visitor in exchange for an honest review. How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice is a brief study in Apologetics. Although, there are many subtopics under the umbrella of Apologetics, this book focuses on civil issues including politics, homosexuality, euthanasia, and abortion to name a few. Each of these topics and the many more in this book are all considered hot-button political topics, but the Catholic Church remains steadfast in her views.

Each chapter starts off with common questions or objections people have, such as "Why does the Church oppose allowing people to choose the time of their own death?" or "Why should the Church be allowed to discriminate against gay people when the law forbids it?" The author then takes the emotion out of this argument and explains why the Church teaches what it teaches. While Mr. Ivereigh is very thorough in his explanations, the summaries at the end of each chapter are my favorite parts of the book. Perhaps, that is just my preference for succinct answers though.

Overall, this book is an invaluable resource that deserves a spot on your shelf. You might still raise your voice, as these topics always can cause an emotional response, but this book will provide you better ammunition. Therefore, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. And might I also add that I think this book is an essential gift for the high school graduate. Your new "adult" will encounter a lot of liberal professors and peers in college and will need to know how to defend themselves against others and even self-doubt that could creep into their minds. Make sure to get a copy for them and yourselves.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot-Button Issues is a book that seeks to guide the average Catholic in defending his faith especially in relation to neuralgic topics - those issues that touch a nerve. In order to be a team of ordinary Catholics to speak to the media, Catholic Voices devised a 'method' prior to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the UK in 2010. Apologists need to not be defensive nor aggressive and 'reframe' the criticism of the Church or Her teachings by looking for the 'positive intention'

The book covers a wide range of topics from politics to pro-life issues to women in the Church. Each chapter begins with typical criticisms in the form of questions that many of us might hear in our ordinary day-to-day life. The positive intention is then offered along with pages of explanation and concluding with the existing frame, the reframe and key messages.

I found this book did a very good job of explaining nine neuralgic topics and the reasons the Church believes and teaches. I will be the first to admit I am not a very good apologist and living in the South run into more than my share of criticisms of the Church. Just this past weekend, someone asked me about the selection of the new Pope and I made a comment about it being a very prayerful decision guided by the Holy Spirit. Another individual at the table made a snide remark about pedophiles and I was tongue tied - I will be rereading Chapter 5: Clerical Sex Abuse.

How to Defend the Faith is a book I will come back to time and time again to refresh my memory on how to respond to criticisms of the Church. It's also an excellent resource for Catholic college students who want to evangelize on campus and for RCIA students.

[...]
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book was and is an excellent read for anyone interested in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Even though it was written, not as an exposition of Catholic Doctrine, you can learn much doctrine, it was written to teach, in summary, truths to those brothers and sisters whose negative Views of Catholicism elicit in them such bigotry against Catholics. This book will, in a persuasive way, challenge their bigotry, and learn that there is nothing nefarious about Catholicism, there are no albino monks out to get ya, just me,lol.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The book came in great condition, as usual. The book is an excellent discussion of how Christian Catholics can present Church teachings without offending others or being argumentative. Excellent insights on how to refute or deflect arguments of non-believers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Following in the tradition of Aaron Eckhart (Thank You for Smoking) and The Yes Men comes a pocket-sized user's manual that would make Joseph Goebbels proud! Starting from the assumption that all Catholic teachings are true and that the ends justify any means used, Austen teaches believers to be polite while ignoring social ills and profound suffering that are the direct result of archaic and obsolete religious dogma! Here's just a sample:

- The Church has a DUTY to speak out on political issues (p. 15). The incidental fact of its tax-exempt status is merely a convenient benefit of calling itself "Christian" in an extremely right-wing nation, such as the United States. Think of it as paternalistic representation without taxation for your own good.

Also, please gloss over Luke 20:25 which states "And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's." Also outdated is Romans 13:1-4:

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."

- Bishops are not trying to influence individual voters, but rather the entire political process (p.21). Therefore we are not violating the unilateral wall espoused by Jefferson and Madison when they founded the nation and established the First Amendment.

- Birth control is evil because God said so (p.31-32). Women are nothing more than living incubators. Biology bears this out. Just look at the brilliant design of the female form. That is precisely why abortion must not be permitted (p93-94).

- By being required to give gay couples equal treatment, the Church is being oppressed through the Dictatorship of Relativism (p51-54). Who cares if no secular charities are required to follow similar laws? As we all know, orphanages and foster homes are the absolute best environment for children to be raised in. Just ask the Magdalene Sisters. Furthermore, when Diane Downs and Andrea Yates murdered their children, they were, in actually, blessing them by sending them on to heaven far sooner (and without risking their eternal damnation).

- It is possible to choose to continue to suffer until a natural death, not not possible to freely choose a pain-free demise (p66-69). Please ignore the voices of reason and science (including those within the palliative care community) who assert that even the best care cannot relieve all suffering to the patient's satisfaction. Also, please pay no heed to Samson's murder-suicide pact (that was war) and Jesus' committing suicide by cop.

- We must NEVER spread the feeling that life is never worth preserving. Ivereigh is absolutely correct here. This is why we will also fight to make it illegal to refuse heart transplants, live-saving medication and surgery, and painful chemotherapy treatments.

- When the Catholic child rape scandal is raised, invoke pity from your detractors by pointing to the Christians and priests murdered by Stalin's regime. Smother the faithful and secular critics who moan about child rape among the church by pointing out the steps taken (in the past few decades) to end a systemic problem that has lasted since the Church's founding and is a direct result of the Puritanical requirements of celibacy (p72-74). Lastly, convince them that $50,000 is fair compensation for years of rape and emotional trauma.

In a postmodern world where faith is being rapidly displaced by science, reason and empiricism, I am eternally grateful to Austen for his work in keeping oppressive regimes in place. Disguising bigotry with a honeyed forked tongue, he makes himself appear respectable and reasonable. Well done!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
For Catholics who are constantly barraged with secular, but meaningful friends, this is the book for you. It covers the issues that we are now dealing within our society. It helps the reader understand more clearly where the Church is coming from and why we continue to be the voice of morality in our culture today. It does not give you canned answers but by reading it over and over, it helps you to verbalize more clearly to your friends and family what the Church teaches and stands up for today. If you are a political history buff, the issues covered are not new issues, just more pronounced in America today.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The average citizen has had their perception of the Catholic Faith cultivated by a provocateur news media which has only it's viewer ratings at heart.

Any person, Catholic or non Catholic, who is hungry for a more intelligent, articulate examination of Catholic Doctrine, I believe will find this book a breath of fresh air.
This is not a religious discourse, but rather a clearly worded examination of the Church and the tenets that have made it one of the powerful movers of societies for centuries.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Outstanding! This book is a great read, giving easy to understand reasonings for the most common "why do you believe that?" points in the faith. It gives a lot of great facts and details which are easy to relate to and help others outside the Church understand the Christian faith. Very practical and easy to use, and can be read by topic as necessary. Outstanding! Thanks to the author for this concise mini-course in understanding how to defend the faith in an articulate manner!
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