It is not that today’s Catholic does not like to argue, it is that he rarely ever decides to argue like a Catholic. And this is strange, for when he discusses sport he almost always wears the hat of a coach or athlete, and when he discusses politics it is almost always as if he were there on the cabinet floor. Direct the conversation towards religion however and our dear contemporary will still argue, he will still have opinions, but he will make them the same way a lighthouse looks at boats, as something far from his experience and yet still in need of his guidance.
Add to this his strange list of inadmissasble data and one might conclude that he is not discussing religion but his own imagination, his stream of fanciful thoughts, upon which no one can encroach.
For example, if you try to cite Scripture to advance a point about the sanctity of marriage, you will not be met with a Scriptural response but with an accusation, that you have become judgemental and dangerously close to playing God.
If you try to point out that historically the Crusades had more to do with recovering the Holy Land than with establishing an economically viable trading post in the east, then you will not be met with primary or even secondary documents to the contrary, but with a scowl and sheer disgust that you should defend the event at all.
Judaism as well, that beloved precursor to the arrival of our blessed Messiah, is for many Catholics a topic not to be discussed; unless of course it is to drive a wedge. Just try to show another the illuminating and oh so helpful details found in the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Aramaic Targums, and you will not be met with interest but with suspicion, as apparently Catholics should stick to their own religion and leave others’ alone.
And not surprisingly I suppose, even the teaching of the Church, that pilar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15), is anathema to today’s Catholic. Not because what it teaches is senseless or unthoughtful or unproven, but simply because it does not originate from the mind of the Catholic himself.
This is just the point isn’t it?
Our contemporaries have difficultly discussing religion because they themselves do not believe in the rules of engagement. They are like those who want to talk hockey without in the least believing that pucks are possible. They are like those who want to talk democracy without for a second believing that the president is not a monarch.
Yes, they are Catholics and they do like to argue, but not about religion.