“Enemy in the Camp” series teaches students how to answer objections to faith


To prepare students for arguments against their faith, Franciscan University’s Anscombe Society kicked off its “Enemy in the Camp” series Thursday night in the Gentile Gallery.

Olivia Vander Bleek, president of the society, said that in order to defend the faith, students must “learn how to listen so we can answer.”

She said that Franciscan is blessed to have a strong Catholic community, but it is important for students to understand that “culture is against us right now.”

Three Franciscan professors acted as opponents to the faith and offered different arguments against the Church.

Photo by Ulises Iniguez
Prof. Gaston speaking for the “Enemy in the Camp” series hosted by the Anscombe Society. (Photo by Ulises Iniguez)

Professor Richard Smith, who holds a doctorate in classics, presented the Protestant high-church argument. He said that Protestants have strong objections against Church teachings on grace and the sacraments, among others.

Professor Alex Plato, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, presented the agnostic position. He said intellectual agnostics believe the Church is an “untrustworthy witness about anything it teaches.”

Professor Patrick Lee, who holds a doctorate in philosophy and serves as director of the Center for Bioethics, presented the secular objection against the Church’s teaching on sexuality. Lee said that modern secularists view the Church’s teachings on contraception and homosexuality as needlessly restrictive.

Freshman Luray Buckner liked hearing these arguments because, “if you only hear the Church position, then you’ll maybe be rattled when you hear the other side.” She said she appreciated how the speakers showed how reasonable the arguments appear because it helped her see that it is important to understand them.

Caroline Payne, freshman, said she appreciated the opportunity to hear opposing views, because “as Catholics, we owe it” to the opposition to understand their arguments.

The Anscombe Society will offer answers to these objections Oct. 13 in the St. Margaret room at 9 p.m.

The next “Enemy in the Camp” presentation will be Friday, Oct. 21.