IN THE midst of the world’s rapid modernization, devoted Catholics remain courageous to defend their faith against the continuous secularization of Christianity.

Oscar de Tagle, an international economic consultant and former Varsitarian Alumni Editor, is among the few concerned Catholics who wrote A Layman’s New-Style Apologetics, a specific text dedicated to defending the Catholic faith against the negative influences of modern philosophies and ideologies.

Apart from the modern ideology which recognizes man’s ability to handle life on his own, de Tagle noted that there still remains a natural instinct within him “to acknowledge and worship a supernatural Creator and Preserver.”

He added that most Catholics possess a waning faith because of independence, materialism, secularism, and scientific atheism, which can be countered by heeding and listening to the call of God.

Divided into nine parts, the book explains the intricate concepts underlying Christianity in a layman’s perspective, giving a concise explanation on the authenticity of the historical and divine Jesus; various world religions such as Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism; existence of God; and the creation of the world and of mankind.

Expressing his Catholic views in a layman approach, he further noted that human beings live their lives to fulfill two major desires in their entire existence: the first is to survive death and to live forever in some (other) form, while the second is to be remembered after death by one’s family, community, nation, and the world.

“Man cannot just bear the knowledge that after his death, no one will even remember that he even existed in this world,” de Tagle said.

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His work also aims to enlighten the public about the ‘true meaning of life’ as well as the reality behind death.

“Humans exist to live a good life, and after death, to be united with God forever,” de Tagle said.

The book also explains the answer to various religious controversies using a scientific and organized approach.

Answering the debate between religious ideals and scientific beliefs as the source of creation, he said that scientific discoveries and innovations “do not sound the death for established religion. In fact, they enhance the credibility of God as First Cause and Supreme Intelligence.”

This dependence of man towards God is best seen when nature reminds him of his limitations especially during natural calamities. This shows that humans should turn back to God and stop acting independently from him, de Tagle explained.

Catholic immigrants

One of the focal points emphasized by the book is the continuous waning of Catholic devotion by the youth.

According to him, the “pursuit of happiness” of many people have become diverted to superficial things like a new car, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, a big income, an exquisite holiday treat, and others. He noted that those who are greatly affected by this wave of materialistic desires have no place for God in their lives.

De Tagle made use of a dialogical approach to solicit the opinion of church officials, lay leaders, and heads of immigrant families about the issue and adopted the approach of a one-on-one interview with his respondent. Most of the people he interviewed said that attracting the youth towards Catholicism remains to be one of the biggest problems of Christian churches.

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“It is extremely difficult to attract teenagers and youth to get involved or participate in anything other than sports, entertainment, and socials,” said Fr. Rolf Hasenack, O.P., pastor of Sidney and North Saanich Catholic Parish based at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Sydney, in an interview with de Tagle.

According to Fr. Dean Henderson, chaplain at the University of Victoria, the best way for people to be unaffected by the world’s continuous secularization is to involve themselves to various religious events available within their community.

“The best thing for them is to be encouraged to live their faith, to participate in the mass and the sacraments, and to be actively involved in their own ethnic community,” Henderson said in an interview with de Tagle.

This new apologetics serves as a great guide for Catholics who may be experiencing uncertainties with their faith. It provides easy-to-understand discussions that uncover the author’s argumentation regarding the birth of the universe, origin of man, and existence of God.

The 572-page book also encompasses a wide range of topics ranging from inspirational snippets about the spiritual dimension of life and concise discussions about the various religions that have emerged in the modern world.

True to its title, this apologetics reflects the views and perspectives of a layman with regards to controversial issues surrounding the Catholic Church, presenting discussions based on real-life experiences, mostly coming from the personal journey of the author. Jennifer M. Orillaza with reports from Rommel Marvin C. Rio

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