BRISBANE Deacon Peter Pellicaan was joining a line-up of speakers including Scott Hahn, Catholic Answers’ Trent Horn and Dr Peter Kreeft at the Virtual Catholic Apologetics Conference running from October 23-25.
The conference was the brainchild of Australian podcaster Matt Fradd, who projected it to be the “largest apologetics conference ever”.
Mr Fradd, who had previously worked in Brisbane as an archdiocesan youth minister and now lived in the United States, ran a popular Catholic podcast Pints With Aquinas.
The conference was set to host more than 50 on-demand talks as well as live question-andanswer sessions with leading apologists.
Deacon Pellicaan, who is Evangelisation Brisbane’s executive director, said engaging in some apologetics could give the average Mass-going Catholic increased confidence in their faith.
“Many Catholics know they have faith, but they can be almost scared that somebody’s going to ask them a question about their faith because they’re not going to know what to say back,” he said.
“We can even feel threatened by someone asking us about our faith because it’s going to expose what we don’t know.
“The power of apologetics is that it helps Catholics grow confident in their Catholic identity and gives them reasons for why they believe what they believe.”
Deacon Pellicaan said his own talk would confront the dilemma on why Protestants did not become Catholic.
He said the Catholic Church had the “best smack downs” when it came to theology, philosophy and consistent church history.
He posed the question – if the Catholic Church does have the most “robust and defensible position”, why weren’t more Protestants joining the Church? His talk identified three issues that could prevent Protestants from converting – a lack of community in parishes, an authenticity crisis within the Catholic Church evidenced by a disparity between what Catholics say and what Catholics do, and the lacklustre focus on the Gospel message.
The Virtual Catholic Apologetics Conference was the latest of a series of virtual conferences brought about during the pandemic.
Deacon Pellicaan had been part of previous virtual conferences like the Pentecost Pilgrimage and Rosary Pilgrimage.
He said the pandemic had forced a lot of these events to go to the virtual space, which had its benefits and drawbacks.
The biggest benefit was the number of people you could talk to at once – projected to be about 70,000 registrants at the upcoming conference – but this came at the cost of personal encounter, Deacon Pellicaan said.
“We’ll continue to see more online events because of their versatility and flexibility, but these events will never replace the experience of real people meeting together and encountering God together and worshipping God together, because that’s where the experience of faith really comes to life,” he said.
Faith is caught more than it is taught, he said.
But, in the pandemic, virtual encounter was a necessity and Deacon Pellicaan said he was excited to be part of what may be one of the biggest apologetics conference in history.
You can register for free at: https://bit.ly/3nGY5QV