Cardinal Dolan: “We need a ‘neo-apologetics.’”

Our Sunday Visitor newspaper has an interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan that focuses on the founder of OSV, Fr. (later Archbishop) John F. Noll. A couple of excerpts:

“I admire Noll. He was personally invested, but he knew it was not about him. It was about Jesus and the Church. I like his approach to priesthood: gritty, hopeful, can-do. 

“I like his emphasis on apologetics. There is a different twist today. In his day, defense of the Faith was first. Bravo! Today, we need defense, but we need ability of laypeople in convincing, winsome ways to attract other people to Faith. 

“We need a ‘neo-apologetics.’ We want to give our kids the tools that they need to interiorize the faith, to defend the faith. How many priests know that at some time every September a parent will say that a son or daughter, who went all the way through Catholic schools, just started to college and now is not going to Mass but to a mega-church? Their child’s new roommate is a committed Evangelical who has talked the Catholic out of the Faith. 

“And, Father Noll got laypeople involved. OSV could fit into the great movements, Catholic Action, lay ministry, role of laity, all given theological precision at the Second Vatican Council and in Pope John Paul II’s Christifidelis Laici.” …

Cardinal Dolan was asked what he sees as hopeful signs for the Church now and in the future. 

“I see hope in the rise of evangelical Catholicism in which we have a steady flow of committed people, often young people, who have freely and deliberately chosen to let their lives be guided by Christ and His Church. Now, I am not wearing rose-colored glasses. I know some people are not there. But, when I go to a parish and see 500 young people at Mass, longing for and relishing the company of people who believe the same way they believe, praying in a very reverent and joyful way, celebrating afterwards, making plans to get together because they realistically know that they need God and that they need one another if they are going to be able to be faithful to the most important person in life, who happens to be ‘the way, the truth and the life,’ I see is a great sign of hope. And I see it so often. 

“I see hope in the rise of a committed, educated laity, so that the people you see on the pages of OSV defending the faith are laypeople. That is the fruit of Father Noll, of Catholic Action, of lay witness, of the Second Vatican Council. When you have major thinkers in society — while we may disagree with them on a particular issue — say that their faith is important to them and that it affects what they do, and that one of their goals every day is to let the light of the Gospel and the Church shine on everything they do, that is excellent.” 

Read the entire interview on the OSV website.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Carl E. Olson 1120 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications.