15 Points of Catholic Apologetics You Should Know

“There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church,” said Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

Raphael, “Disputation of the Holy Sacrament,” c. 1510
Raphael, “Disputation of the Holy Sacrament,” c. 1510 (photo: Public Domain)

A few years ago, I had a wonderful opportunity of being the center of controversy at an impromptu coffee klatsch in Manhattan. Some Catholic friends and I meet from time to time at a swanky café in midtown Manhattan. I was friends with all those gathered and as the Church is our favorite topic of conversation, the theme of our tête-à-tête-à-tête naturally came to rest there.

The topic du jour was the mistakes the Catholic Church has made over the millennia. Or should I say, the “mistakes” ascribed to the Church as part of the Black Legend. 

“But, Angelo!” cried one of my friends. “If the Church has been perfect in its aim and commitment, what about the Fourth Crusade when Catholics troops ransacked Constantinople?”

Ah, yes. The Fourth Canard… I mean Crusade. I find that those who are only superficially familiar with the event are absolutely ignorant of what transpired a few years before the attack. Historians refer to the unprovoked Eastern Orthodox slaughter of tens of thousands of Catholics living in Constantinople as the “Massacre of the Latins.” Very messy and shameful stuff.

There simply isn’t enough space in this article to outline all of the Black Legend disinformation that our detractors heap upon us. Please, instead, refer to the following articles for detailed analysis on these issues:


1. The Albigensian Crusade. Yes, the Albigensian Crusade did happen. Open conflict broke out immediately after the Albigensians broke a 75-year diplomatic détente with the Catholic Church when their leaders assassinated the pope’s ambassador. It’s what theologians call a “dealbreaker.” 

2. Forced Conversion of Indians in Mexico. Between 1492 and 1531, only a tiny handful of natives converted to the Faith. But in December 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to a Mexican convert named St. Juan Diego and millions of natives began converting. We couldn’t build enough churches to accommodate those begging to be baptized.

3. The Holy Land Crusades. See “The Crusades Were a Reasonable Response to Unchecked Islamic Aggression.”

4. Attacks Against Protestants. See “Calling a Spade, a Spade.”

5. Galileo. See “14 Errors Revolving Around Galileo, and How to Clear Them Up.”

6. St. Joan of Arc. See “Joan of Arc, Saint of the Eternal.”

7. “Witch Burning.” See “Who Burned the Witches?” by Sandra Miesel.

8. Spanish Inquisition. See “34 Common Errors About the Spanish Inquisition.”

9. Nicholas Copernicus. See “The Priest Who Realized the Earth Revolved Around the Sun” and “The Myth That Catholics Are Opposed to Science Revolves Around Copernicus.”

10. Opposition to Science. See “A List of 244 Priest-Scientists (From Acosta to Zupi)” and “A Short List of Lay Catholic Scientists.”

11. Giordano Bruno. See “The Truth About Giordano Bruno.”

12. War. See “Is Religion Really Responsible for Most Wars?”

13. Abortion. See “22 Ways to Respond to Common Abortion Questions.”

14. Those Who Question Christ’s Divinity. See “10 Times Jesus Used God’s Name for Himself.”

15. Anti-Feminism. See “Being a Saint Takes Chutzpah, Moxie and Grit.”