Patrick Madrid. Has he been -- along with Karl Keating and Fr. Brian Harrison --, irrelevant for "almost a decade"?
By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong
This struck me today when looking over a (public) post (6-20-14) from Kevin's Facebook page, in which he severely criticized Catholic Answers for providing a cruise. The line that particularly struck me was the following:
. . . to hear people [speak on the cruise] who haven't done anything relevant in almost a decade speak the same talking points they have been using the past two decades!
That seemed pretty harsh to me, and so I was curious to see who the speakers were. They included Karl Keating, Patrick Madrid, and Fr. Brian Harrison.
Imagine anyone who is at all familiar with the modern apologetics revival and Catholic Answers, saying that Karl Keating hasn't "done anything relevant in almost a decade"?! Same thing for Pat Madrid? These are two of the best and most influential apologists of our time, and I consider Keating literally the "father" of the current Catholic apologetics movement. Certainly Catholic Answers (love 'em or not) has the single largest influence in terms of Catholic apologetics (and very much for good).
Yet Kevin not only thinks neither man has done anything relevant for "almost a decade" (I wonder why he says "almost" there? So in 2004 they were relevant, but not in 2005?), but also that what they have done for the last "two decades" was merely "talking points." I guess that is how Kevin describes apologetics: talking points: as if it were mere political rhetoric or something rambled off that is of little lasting or intrinsic importance. If Madrid defends and explains Sacred Tradition or if Keating explains how sola Scriptura is illogical and unworkable (or any of a host of other topics they write or talk about), this helps no one; does little good, since it is merely "talking points."
Fr. Brian Harrison, too, is a highly respected priest among "traditionalists."
I became further curious to see what Kevin has stated about apologetics in general on his now defunct website, Common Sense Catholicism. Here he is writing on 25 January 2011:
I have never been an “anti-apologist.” I think the apologetics movement within Catholicism in the last 35 years is one of the most important trends in the Church in the 20th century. The apologetics movement has provided a valuable frontline defense against those who seek to attack the Church.
Good; yet somehow Keating and Madrid (two of the biggest names in the movement, by any reckoning) have been irrelevant for the past decade and merely have regurgitated tired "talking points" for the last twenty years? Nuh-uh. That's beyond ridiculous.
There is some considerable irony here, too, insofar as Kevin has recently been doing quite a bit of analysis of how bad communication and ethics are online (see, e.g., his last blog post after he decided to forsake blogging).
Kevin contends that there are too many feuds and wars going on among Catholics online, and that this is scandalous and pathetic. One person puts another down, and perhaps the other responds, and it goes on and on.
Now, how is this trashing of the work of Keating, Madrid, and Fr. Harrison at all edifying, or a counter-example to what Kevin has rightly (for the most part) been decrying? Perhaps he can explain the difference of principle to us.
It's one thing to make a critique of a cruise as too materialistic or whatever. That seems to me to be fair game and a legitimate discussion. But saying that seminally influential full-time Catholic apologists have done nothing of relevance for "almost a decade" is clearly over the top and out of line.
Kevin dramatically (with a big bang) gave up on blogging as a hopeless cause, and then writes this garbage on Facebook three weeks later? I guess he thinks anything goes there . . . Very curious reasoning . . . I condemn untrue personal insults, period, wherever they occur: Facebook, the blog world, the Internet in general, the paper or broadcast media, on the phone, talking on a bus or in a coffee shop; wherever.
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