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    If you are a Catholic, it is important for you to study your Catholic faith.  By studying your faith, you will grow in holiness, because you are learning more about Jesus and the Catholic Church.  It must be stressed that in the world today, there are many voices claiming to be Catholic. A good number of these Catholic voices are dissenters and heretics, who have a distorted understanding of Catholicism. This means that in order for you to become closer to Jesus, it is very important for you to only study the Faith from Catholic authors/speakers, web sites, publications and news agencies, that are in unison with the Magisterium!

   Since we live in a time where information can be found at the touch of a button, the bishops and the Pope are at times overwhelmed, because the collection of information today is so massive, and constantly being updated.  The bishops and Pope are doing their best to address issues of dissent and heresy in Catholic information, but sometimes they just can't keep up with the massive volume, and are unable to give a decree instantly. Catholics who are not members of the episcopacy, should review Catholic material which hasn't been given an official decree from the Church, with skepticism. To help you see if there is a dissenting ideology in a piece of Catholic study material (book, audio lecturer, publication, online article, etc.) which hasn't received a decree of orthodoxy from the bishops and the Pope yet, I recommend using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Scripture as a reference guide. These two resources (catechism and Scripture) will provide you with a spiritual formation that can help you spot dissenting ideologies.

    I also recommend praying to Christ for guidance in the discernment process of knowing if the Catholic material being studied is faithful to the Magisterium. Only through the power of God will you truly be able to know for sure if the material you are examining is faithful to the authentic Teaching of the Catholic Church.

[Note to Viewers: Catholic Culture Site Reviews is another good resource to use to find out if a Catholic web site is truly faithful and obedient to the Magisterium.]

    As I begin to conclude this note, I want to give some guidelines on how to respond to dissenters and heretics. To properly respond to dissenters and heretics, you must first of all study and understand the authentic Teaching of the Catholic Church, so that you can be successful in destroying a dissenting ideology.

    Secondly, you must listen attentively without any interruptions to the person who embraces dissenting ideologies. Once the person has presented his/her case, compassionately debunk the case with the authentic Teaching of the Catholic faith. To understand how to compassionately debunk the case a dissenter/heretic has against Catholicism, look to the canonized saints as role models.

    What makes the saints perfect role models, is that while they were explaining the authentic Teaching of the Church to their opponents, the saints were courteous and compassionate to the people they were debating. The saints would never attack the personhood of an opponent, only the falsehood their opponent held, because the saints saw Jesus in every human person. Simply put, the saints treated everybody with respect and dignity. So if a dissenter for example supports artificial contraception, and a heretic for example denies the resurrection of Jesus, very compassionately use the authentic Teaching of the Church to unravel the dissenting ideologies by attacking the errors, not the person. You see, it is un-Christian to attack a person's human dignity. By only attacking errors in a compassionate way, you allow the authentic Teaching of Jesus which you are presenting to hopefully inspire the dissenter/heretic you are debating with to desire repentance, and see the Catholic Church in a positive light. [Note to Viewers: I must add that cloaking the authentic Teaching of the Church in secular/common sense terminology is sometimes necessary to make the authentic Teaching of the Church palatable to a dissenter and heretic. Read Point 6 of LPCA's section on apologetics for more information.]

    Furthermore, please remember that when a dissenter and a heretic repents through a successful debate, the person who did the apologetics is not the one who caused the individual to repent, Christ did. Through using people as His instruments, Jesus is the one who saves/forgives people. To help illustrate my point, the following analogy can be applied: 

Catholics can be thought of as salesmen in Christ's company (i.e., the Catholic Church). Christ can be thought of as being the CEO and President of His company, who has the patent rights of His product (i.e., the Catholic faith).  In view of the fact that a salesman's job is to tell a shopper everything about his/her product in order to make a shopper interested in making a purchase, our job as salesmen is kind of similar. For us Catholics, our job as salesmen is to only tell people what the product (i.e., the Catholic faith) is. Simply put, our responsibility is to only present the authentic Teaching of the Church in love, so that souls will freely be drawn to Jesus through our faithful witness to Christ. Since Christ is in management, He is the boss and is in control of the saving/repentance process, meaning He is the one who closes the sale (i.e., saves/forgives people) and profits from the sale (i.e., receives a soul back into His fold).

    It is important to mention that since the repentance process belongs to the Holy Spirit, this process of repentance happens on God's time, not our time. This means that the repentance process can take years to happen. There is also a possibility that repentance may not happen at all, because every human being has the free will to reject God. Catholics must always remember that God desires every human being to spend eternity with Him, and will do everything to help that person choose Him. God will never force Himself upon us, because we were not made to be robotic followers. The decision to accept or reject God is ours. So to help dissenters and heretics make it to Heaven, let every Catholic pray daily for them to repent of their sins, and to accept the authentic Teaching of the Catholic faith.