Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2013


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

George Worgul

Committee Member

Marie Baird

Committee Member

Maureen O'Brien


Apologetics, Faith and reason, God's existence, Marks of the Church, Resurrection of Jesus


Recognizing that Christians cannot adequately understand the mysteries of faith from a single vantage point, Catholic theologians have been keen on emphasizing the multidimensional nature of theological understanding since Vatican II. The advantage of such a method has helped believers to understand the rich, in-depth quality of Catholic faith.

One of the fields of theology which has not been discussed in the models approach, however, is apologetics&hibar;which includes as one of its aspects the art and science of defending the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church. When all of the relevant passages in the documents of Vatican II are taken into consideration, a unique apologetical approach emerges that incorporates key advances as they emerged historically from the Church's apologists. Each of the individual apologetic systems from the past will be shown to have its own particular strengths and weaknesses. By way of contrast, I will argue that the best way to "make a defense for" the Gospel in a postconciliar church is to advance the integrated model of the Council. This integrated model of Catholic defense is called combinationalism. The interests and views of the apologists are proven to be complementary rather than competing.

This integrated model helps apologists and evangelists to recognize that although one approach might be needed in a certain context, it would be an egregious mistake to take that one system and use it as the exclusive means to reach persons situated within different circumstances and cultural contexts. This essay will not only exploit the different apologetic models in the post-Vatican II period, it will also serve as a serious work of apologetics in its own right by focusing on certain challenges as test cases to highlight the pertinence and livelihood of each model.