How do you show your family and friends that Catholicism is the authentic version of Christianity? Obviously you don't want to beat them over the head or get into a argument over doctrines. A debate over the ins-and-outs of transubstantiation usually doesn't go very far at a cocktail party.
So what is a quick and simple way to discuss the merits of Catholicism?
Perhaps the most effective argument for Catholicism (in casual conversation) is the fact that Catholicism has been validated by public miracles for 2,000 years whereas the other denominations have not. The only way to account for this difference is to look to God who is the author of all miracles.
Did Mohammad or Buddha rise from the dead? No. So that settles the debate about world religions pretty quickly. Christ's message is validated by his resurrection from the dead.
What about the 36,000 denominations that conflict in both Christian beliefs and morality? Can they all be correct? No.
So next ask, which has a history of public verifiable miracles?
You can start with Martin Luther. Did Luther perform any miracles? Did he make prophecies that came to pass. No, not at all. Yet at the same time period, the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe (a public miracle) did occur to St Juan Diego and millions of Aztecs. Also during this time period, the Catholic missionary Saint Francis Xavier was miraculously preaching to the people of India, Indonesia, etc. in their native tongues without study.
Bring it into the focus: What about the last one hundred years? Do any of the Protestantd enominations have public miracles in the last 100 years? Not that I know of.
Yet look at Catholicism. There have been many public miracles in Catholicism:
- Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal: Three Catholic children were told by Mary that there would be a public miracle on October 13 of 1917. On that very day, over 50,000 people assembled to see if it would happen - include thousands of skeptics. Sure enough, the actual miracle of the dancing sun was seen on October 13 by 50,000 people - by journalists, believers, atheists, children, and old people. Even people in neighboring regions saw the miracle.
- Lourdes Water: The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared at Lourdes, France and promised that the waters from that spring would heal people in the name of Christ. Hundreds of people have experienced medically verified miracles through holy water of Lourdes. Recently a young paralyzed man was healed in the waters of Lourdes and walked 1000 miles to prove that the miracle was valid.
- Saint Pio: Padre Pio bore the five wounds of Christ (stigmata) in his hands, side, and feet for decades and these miraculous wounds were repeatedly verified by medical professionals (Catholic and non-Catholic). Moreover, Pio made several prophecies that came to pass. He died in 1968 and there are many photos and videos showing his stigmata. Just go to Youtube and watch some videos. (I included a video at the top of this page.)
Those are just three recent miracles. If we went back in time we would find hundreds more. Eucharistic miracles, Marian miracles, amazing miracles by saints, even miracles in times of war and battle.
When faced with these miracles, a person can only conclude with one of two positions. Either God is actively providing public signs and wonders in favor of the Catholic Church that goes all the way back to Christ and the Apostles, OR the Catholic Church is a master magician in creating false signs for 2000 years. Perhaps a third option is that the Catholic Church is just "lucky" in that natural forces somehow seem to regularly produce events that appear miraculous, and that these events do not randomly occur in Protestant bodies.
So then, what's the easiest way to make a quick case for Catholicism? Share what you know about Catholic miracles. Perhaps this information might lead someone to investigate the Catholic Faith in a deeper way.
ad Jesum per Mariam,