A Radical “Third Way” of Catholic Discipleship (Guest: Rob Marco)

February 09, 2024 00:58:57
A Radical “Third Way” of Catholic Discipleship (Guest: Rob Marco)
Crisis Point
A Radical “Third Way” of Catholic Discipleship (Guest: Rob Marco)

Feb 09 2024 | 00:58:57

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Are traditional Catholics too insular? Do they focus too much on the liturgy at the expense of evangelization and the works of mercy? Our guest today will challenge us with what he says is a "third way" that encompasses the "both/and" of Catholic discipleship.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:08] Speaker A: Catholics are often pitted against each other during this current cris in the church, for example, traditional versus progressive, or a focus on liturgy versus a focus on social action. Our guest today will present what he says is a third way that encompasses the both end of catholic discipleship. Hello, I'm Eric. Sam is your host, and Aaron, chief of Crisis magazine. Welcome to the program. Just before we get started, I want to encourage people to hit the like button, to subscribe to the channel, let other people know about it. We appreciate all the people subscribing and liking our videos, our podcasts. We really appreciate that. Also, if you want to leave a review at like, Apple Podcasts, I think people still do that. We get about a split between our audio podcast and our videos, so we encourage both to like it and subscribe and all that. Also, you can follow us on social media at Crisis Mag, at all the various social media channels. Subscribe to our email newsletter, just go to crisismagazine.com and there'll be a place you can put your email address. You get articles sent to you every day in your inbox. So that's great. Okay, so our guest today is Rob Marco. He is a happily married father of three living outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a grateful convert to the catholic faith from eastern spirituality. I'm going to ask him about that. He's appeared as a guest on EWTN's the Journey Home. I'm also an alum of the journey home. I feel at this point that it's a pretty large group of people. I mean, not knocking us for being on it, but hey, if they have us on it. He's a prolific writer and regular blogger who offers catholic perspective on faith, family, marriage, manhood, prayer, chastity, christian discipleship, the state of the church, and the traditional roman liturgy on his blog, Potter Familius, and I'll link to that. Of course, he's also a regular contributor to many magazine websites and stuff, of which I'm just going to mention one, which is of course the best one, and that is crisis magazine. We're very happy to have him writing for us. He also writes for one, peter five. I'll bring that and a bunch of other sites, and I'll put that in his bio. He's also got to mention this too. He's the author of wisdom and folly, essays on faith, life, and everything in between, which has a forward by our friend Kevin Wells, who is a regular contributor to Crisis magazine as well. Kevin Wells is great. So if Kevin wrote the forward, if he's endorsing it. You know, the book is good. I mean, I just feel like that's a good endorsement. So welcome to the program, Rob. [00:02:41] Speaker B: Thanks, Eric. It's great to be here. [00:02:44] Speaker A: Okay, so I got to mention it first for everybody who's going to see the thumbnail is this is really the same guys in the photo that I have on. The thing I'm hoping is, of course, now watch, it'll go live. And he's going to send me like, that's not me, dude. But. No, it is. It's your photo. I think you use a crisis. You've grown a beard and all that stuff. So it is the same person. But anyway, that's not too important. Although we could talk for an hour about beards if you want know, maybe that's a third way men need to grow beards. Right. So, Rob, why don't you just tell us about your background? I particularly am interested in. We don't encounter a lot of converts from eastern spirituality. So why don't you tell us a little bit about your own background? [00:03:30] Speaker B: Sure. Well, it's funny, Eric, I came into the church when I was 18, my freshman year of college. But I actually have a little bit of east in the eastern liturgy because my father is a Ukrainian Catholic. My mother was an Episcopalian, so we weren't raised with any faith. But I also studied Buddhism and was attracted to Harry, Krishna, and Budhism in high school. So I kind of fell into that without a, like, background and started studying the four noble truths and the Bhagavad Gita and things like that, these eastern things. But I really had a conversion to Christ in high school, a very strong conversion, and kind of worked my way down the funnel until when it came time to. Where do you put that faith in Jesus Christ? The four marks of the church, the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church, seemed like the most stable place to go deeper with a relationship with Jesus, because it was a know apostolic, it has the truth. And for just. I fell into Catholicism, but kind of following my father's footsteps, but I had all this eastern background of influence of Buddhism and Hare Krishna and things like that. So very interesting windy path, but thank God I've come to the truth and come home. [00:04:43] Speaker A: So how long have you been Catholic? [00:04:45] Speaker B: So it'll be about 25 years this December, so I'll be 44 in March. And I came into church when I was 18. [00:04:54] Speaker A: Okay. I joke with my guests that I have a five year rule on converts. You have to be a convert at least for five years. Joshua Charles was on. [00:05:02] Speaker B: It's a good rule a few months. [00:05:03] Speaker A: Ago, and he had just passed it. I didn't realize he was that recent of a convert, but he was, like, just past it. It'll be 31 years this year, so we're about similar time frame. So j p two was the pope when you came to church as well? Okay. Now, did you go Ukrainian Catholic then because your dad, did you do that? [00:05:25] Speaker B: You know what's funny, Eric, is the divine liturgy. I ended up going to the divine liturgy with my dad when he would go growing up, and so it wasn't like this exotic traditional liturgy in the east for me, wasn't, like this exotic thing that was the only expression of Catholicism I knew Roman Catholicism. When I ended up on campus and went to the auditorium for the masses, everybody was kind of dressed in sweatpants and things. It was a totally foreign thing for me, but because it was more, I guess, accessible. Where I was at Penn State and I made friends in the roman church, that's where I ended up going to liturgy, although there was a byzantine priest that would come out once a week to do the divine liturgy, so I started going to that, but then I kind of transitioned over the roman rite. My wife is Filipino, so she was raised in the roman church, and we ended up at a traditional latin mass parish. Just because. But I am byzantine by. Right. When I came into the church, I actually came in through the byzantine. Right. So it's an interesting background, but they're kind of the two lungs, the east and west of the church. [00:06:27] Speaker A: Right. [00:06:28] Speaker B: Okay. [00:06:28] Speaker A: Now I just got to ask this, because I know there's. So your wife is just in the roman right. You're technically in the byzantine right. Like, officially in the church. So what do your kids end up being? Whatever they're baptized into or they go one way? [00:06:45] Speaker B: No, we don't attend the divine liturgy anymore. This was something I grew up. So our kids were baptized in the roman rite. [00:06:55] Speaker A: But it doesn't, like, pass on by father, because I know in some cases, even if you attend and you get baptized in the roman rite, you still can be byzantine. If your parents or something like that. Maybe I'm confusing it, to be honest. [00:07:08] Speaker B: That might be. And I might have gotten some misinformation, because when I was discerning religious life, I was told I would need to change rights officially. [00:07:14] Speaker A: Right. That's why. [00:07:14] Speaker B: But if I wasn't in that, if I wasn't. Yeah, it's kind of like. But I still love the divine liturgy. But we attend all our kids know is the latin mass. So if anything, the novus ordo is a little bit more foreign to them than maybe the divine liturgy might be. [00:07:30] Speaker A: Okay, so now you attend the traditional latin mass, so no more masses and auditoriums in sweatpants is what you're saying. Yeah. Okay. So with that background, how long actually have you been writing this blog? Because you write a. [00:07:50] Speaker B: It's a compulsion. This is the third iteration of a blog that I developed. I probably started writing on Myspace before blogs were a real thing. [00:08:04] Speaker A: Really? [00:08:05] Speaker B: Myspace, remember? Yeah. [00:08:07] Speaker A: Oh, I remember. I don't know if anybody listening remembers, but we do. [00:08:11] Speaker B: Yeah. Before pre Facebook and everything. So I think I started with that and then I dropped on blogger. I started on probably around 2004, writing regularly for a blog. But then I kind of distilled to focus more on. I just write about the faith and kind of aspects of the faith. So it kind of went from being this broad, all sorts of interests down to another iteration of the blog. And then I transferred all 900 posts over to my newest blog, which is Potter familiars, which basically focuses on faith, family, living out the faith as a catholic man, on chastity, on all the things you mentioned in the beginning. So I have about 900 posts over the past ten years or so in that modern, most recent form of the blog. So, yeah, I do write a lot. I don't know. It's a problem. [00:09:02] Speaker A: Well, we appreciate it. I appreciate you writing for crisis and for the other places as. So you date back all the way to the Mark Shea and wellborn days, like when they were. [00:09:14] Speaker B: Yeah, I remember when Mark Shea and Simka Fisher were still writing for the National Catholic Register. Now things have changed. [00:09:22] Speaker A: Yeah. Remember when they were on blog spot, though? I remember with Mark Shea. Do you remember those days? Like back in the. I think it was 2004 or five or something like that. [00:09:30] Speaker B: Yeah, that might have been right around when I was coming onto the scene. [00:09:33] Speaker A: Okay. [00:09:34] Speaker B: You have to remember too, I wasn't well catechized when I came into the church, so I came through a very liberal, kind of like beginning of the church. So, yeah, it's been a long road of kind of riding the ship into orthodoxy Catholic. [00:09:50] Speaker A: When did you move over to attending the traditional latin mass? [00:09:54] Speaker B: So it's been about five or six years, I think. Yeah, it was about 2018, 2019 around then. So it was kind of one of those things where I would scout out. Somebody invited me to a traditional lat mass in Philly. I would go on my own, and then we would go to the nova sordo. I'd go back. It kind of got to be this schizophrenic, like trying to do both. And then eventually, as most people know, you get to this point where you just got to jump all in. [00:10:24] Speaker A: Right. [00:10:24] Speaker B: It's been about five years. [00:10:26] Speaker A: Okay. Very good. [00:10:27] Speaker B: And I mentioned that I still feel like a guest in the house. You know what I mean? I'm not died in the world. Traditionalist. We stand on the shoulders of giants in a lot of ways, learning. [00:10:38] Speaker A: Yeah. I like to think of, you know, how there's like the ogs. I consider myself like an MG, a middle guard. I feel like you had to be going to your slot mass regularly before Pontificum to really be an OG. And then I started going around 2011. Yeah, it was 2011 I started going. And then the new guard, people who are just the last year, too, which we love having, and it's great to have them. So I feel like you're in that middle time as well, because. [00:11:07] Speaker B: Right. [00:11:08] Speaker A: Okay. That's what your family goes through and stuff like that. Now we're bringing this up for a reason, by the way, dear audience, because you have a recent, relatively recent. How long ago was that you wrote that? The third way. [00:11:21] Speaker B: That was just a few months ago. [00:11:23] Speaker A: Yeah, it looks like it was December. So you had a post called the third way. And some of it, I think, is, and I'll link to that in the show notes, there are some criticisms in there, or at least implied criticisms of the traditional world of traditionalists and stuff. So I wanted to kind of, before we go into that, kind of establish your credibility that you're not just somebody who just started going last week or that you just don't even attend and just want to criticize from the outside, but you're somebody who loves a traditional Latin. Right. Actually, let's just start with that. Would you call yourself a traditionalist? [00:12:02] Speaker B: Yeah. That's a good kind of point to start at, because as I mentioned just a couple of minutes ago, I feel like a guest in the house. I don't even want to see these as criticisms. What do they call it in performance reviews, like opportunities for growth. They couch it in a way that's not critical because it's not meant to be critical. You are excited and you want to talk about what you love. And we've grown to love the latin mass by a strict definition. I wouldn't consider myself a traditionalist. If you consider a traditionalist someone who would not attend the novus ordo under any circumstances. And in that case, I haven't attended a novus ordo on a Sunday in like five years. So we exclusively tend the traditional latin mass. But I'm not opposed. I wouldn't not go to the novice ordo. Sometimes when I'm on campus for work, I'll go to a daily novus ordo. But if we were on vacation, I would drive 2 hours out of the way to go to a traditional latin mass. Even if I had a church ten minutes down the road, that was a novice ordo parish. But in the sense of having a hard line in the sand where I wouldn't attend either ideologically or just for reasons of conscience, I wouldn't say I'm a died in the wool traditionalist. I'm maybe trad adjacent or trad sympathetic. [00:13:18] Speaker A: Yeah. It's interesting because, of course, the term just can be defined in any way. I would define you then, as a traditionalist. I'm in a similar boat to you. Basically, I attend the traditional mass every Sunday and sometimes during the week. Actually, since COVID before COVID I would go to a local Nova sordo parish for daily mass, often because it was very close. But of course, Covid made it where I couldn't go anymore. Know, just the masks and all the craziness, it just wasn't worth. So I started driving down, because our parish is further away, the traditional one. And so I started driving down, and then I basically got in the habit of that, so I just stopped going. And when we take trips and everything with the family, we always make sure we find traditional latin mass. [00:14:06] Speaker B: To be honest, I always think it's worth it. I think it's always worth it if you can. Some people, if they're very rural and they can't do it, that's one thing. But I mean, even when we travel for vacation, for first Friday and first Saturday, we'll find a place in Connecticut or wherever we are to attend the traditional latin mass. [00:14:23] Speaker A: Right. But it's not like I refuse to go to a new store. I've gone know a few over the since know. It's not like now. I will refuse to go if I know ahead of time. It's some loopy, crazy, just we're not even 100% sure if it's valid type of mass, which is unfortunately happens sometimes. Okay, so that's kind of where you are with that. Now, you wrote this about the third way. Why don't we go ahead and now get into. What did you actually mean by a third way? Because we're talking about catholic discipleship, so we're talking about how we live as followers of Jesus Christ. What is this third way you're talking about? [00:14:59] Speaker B: Sure. And I should preface this by apparently I learned after I wrote the post that there's some kind of third way Catholicism out there about homosexuality, which this has nothing to do with. It's something that Father Mike Schmidtz and some other people had developed about somewhere between condemnation and full acceptance of homosexuality. So it has nothing to do with that. If you google the term, it's particular to my blog, but it does kind of touch on that idea of this both and attitude of that. In Catholicism we have the best of all things. We have faith in reason, we have faith in tradition, we have faith in works, we have fasting and feasting, we have the hypostatic union of Jesus was both God and man. So really, when I started thinking about this about five years ago, when I wrote a post called tradition and charity, a forceful renewal, and when I first was introduced to the Latin may, I saw this great potential for a solid liturgical footing where in Matthew 22 you have Jesus's distillation of the commandments and to love God and love neighbor. So the traditional latin mass, and it offers such a solid foundation for the worship. But I think there's this maybe a potential pitfall or a blind spot for traditionalists, that because it's easy to love God in a way, because he's invisible, because he's always present, but he's not right in front of you, we get comfortable in this. It's all about the mass, or it's all about going to church or praying the rosary within the walls or doing the traditional things. And I think that those are all good things. But maybe it's because of the influence I had coming into the church and running a catholic worker house, literally doing all the works of mercy as part of, like jesus said, to feed the hungry. So I'm going to feed the hungry. Jesus said to clothe the naked, so I'm going to clothe the naked. I went into the prisons and I worked in the prisons, so these were things that for me were commonplace. But when we started attending a traditional latin mass parish, I found that these weren't as common. These exercising the acts of charity. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I think a lot of traditionalists are maybe more hidden or muted about it, which is always a good thing as well. But it didn't seem to be an emphasis on service to the poor and acts of charity, even when you interpret charity as love of the love that we're called to be marked by as christians, it's kind of like if you wanted to mark yourself as a traditionalist, you have your chapel veil or you'd be carrying your missile, and that's how you identify yourself. But really the early Christians in the Roman Empire were identified by how they loved their action. So this idea of a third way is really this synthesis is both and of tradition and charity, of being this unstoppable force for renewal, in my opinion, because we have a solid liturgical foundation in which to bring people into the lex. Around the lex Corneli law of worship is the law of how you believe. And then it takes it a step further into a whole complete protein of christian discipleship that doesn't just relegate itself to worship in the mass, but steps out in that second commandment, know loving brother and loving those who are less fortunate and in need of the gospel. [00:18:23] Speaker A: Have you read Rodney Stark's book, the rise of Christianity? [00:18:27] Speaker B: I have not. [00:18:28] Speaker A: Okay, so he's a sociologist, and he basically explains from a sociological standpoint, how Christianity went from being just a few people to taking over the roman empire in 300 years. And he says, I'm not saying there's not the Holy Spirit and divine stuff like that, but he's saying, I want to study it from a human standpoint. How did this actually happen? How was it? Because, of course, that's the Holy Spirit works through us, and so there's nothing wrong with looking at it like that, as long as you don't deny that the Holy Spirit's the one doing this. But one of the big things he talks about was, like, for example, the early Christians, how they would react to, for example, when the plague came. So when a plague came to a town, what happened was all the rich pagans left town as quickly as possible. But then the Christians would go in and they would take care of the people who were sick and everything. And they would ask, why are you doing this? And they would say, because you're Jesus. Now, of course, many of them died, but a lot of them lived, and they became Christian themselves. A lot of the people who had the plague, they became Christian themselves. They told others, and the word kind of spread. Like, these guys are crazy. I mean, they're actually going in. And actually, that's one of my big disappointments is not strong enough word for how the church reacted during COVID that we seem to be the pagans leaving town and being afraid instead of going in and taking care of people. But it was like this idea. Yeah, I was going to say this idea, though nearly church that stark makes is that you have this charity that was practiced and really had a huge impact. And it was a huge evangelization effort, actually, even though it was almost unintentionally evangelistic. [00:20:12] Speaker B: And even we're not social workers either. You can do acts of charity without faith, but without love, you can't be a Christian. And it's interesting you bring that point up because I love this story of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. During the plague in the 16th century, St. Aloysius became a Jesuit at the age of 17. So he's very young, but maybe that's normal for that time period. He came under the spiritual direction of St. Robert Bellarmine, who was just a great spiritual director. And St. Aloysius was very. He had a lot of mortifications and individual penances that he did. He was very severe on himself in terms of prayer and penance. But when he came under the direction of St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Robert Bellarmine ordered him to stop all that and go out into the streets during the plague and start bringing the bodies to the hospital. And what was interesting was that St. Aloysius, he adopted these kind of penances and prayer because of his piety, but also because he didn't like people and he found the work squeamish. And so he kind of preferred the penances that he had chosen. But St. Robert Bellarmine, in his wisdom, assigned him to go out in charity and to bring the bodies on, and he eventually died doing that. But it was through that St. Francis and the leper conversion of loving, sick, dirty, difficult people, that if St. Aloysius had his choice, he wouldn't have chosen that as his mortification or sanctification, but under the guidance of his spiritual director, that going out in charity, which was the work that was needed, I just thought that was interesting because he wouldn't have chosen that for himself and that's what sanctified him. [00:21:59] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. Now, one of the things I would say is today in most traditional parishes, most traditional Catholics are very involved in the pro life movement, and many of them, we have a pregnancy center attached to our parish. A lot of people work for the pregnancy center, go to the abortion clinic, to pray in the council, go to march for life or various marches for life, things like that. So they definitely are involved in that. And would you say, though, that I'm just kind of wondering, are you saying that maybe they need to do more than that? How would you respond to. Because I think that'd be the first thing a lot of Trish got to say. Well, no, actually, we're very involved in this pro life stuff. [00:22:47] Speaker B: I agree, and that's incredible work. And it's also who's more vulnerable than the unborn as well. So it's definitely good work. And people who have been in the trenches for years know how hard it is as well. So I don't want disintegrate, denigrate that at all, because it's important work. I think what I find, and maybe it's my past experience, too, that these great saints before the novus ordo even existed in the 16th, 17th, 18th century, like St. Leo the great and St. Charles Bormeo, these were, like, great dignitaries in the church. They were high ranking proets. But St. Leo had this quote about the love of the poor and the service to the poor. He said that no act of devotion on the part of the faithful gives God more pleasure than that which is lavished on his poor. And St. Charles Bormeo also would feed tens of thousands of people from his own during the famine. So I think it's not so much the work that these make any lasting impact. It's just kind of like the charity that people have known to be a mark of the church, but it also transforms the individual when you're not just writing checks and you're not just removed from the work of charity. And so it's not like it's irrelevant today, because there are a lot of people, like, even, like, you know, they were not well off. They had a lot of children, but they would open their home and their halo during the French Revolution to peasants who were poor. And St. John Vianney said his only competing love with his love of Christ and being a priest in the mass was his love of the poor. So I'm not saying that. I don't think, again, these are not competing things. Like, it's pro life work versus direct charity. It's this idea of a both and that I think it's healthy to go outside of your comfort zone sometimes to encounter the poor. And let's face it, the poor, they're dirty, they're addicted, they're smelly. Dorothy Day said all these things, but Jesus is in the poor, so we can't kind of, like, sidestep it completely. We all have to work within our state of life, and we all have constraints on our finances. But I think to the degree that you can love those who are not like you, maybe don't look like you, and maybe treat you contemptuously that's how we grow in charity. [00:25:28] Speaker A: Okay, I got a couple of practical questions here. I've actually found that it's difficult to help the poor as a family in various situations. Like, for example, I volunteered at a soup kitchen for a while. Actually, I had to stop because they required you to be vaccinated after Covid to help out. But I found that, first of all, they didn't let kids help out. You had to be at least 16 or 18 or something like that to even. To volunteer. No matter what the job was even, like, back in the kitchen or something, they just wouldn't let you in there. I imagine there might be some regulations or something like that. I don't know exactly what. But they didn't let you. Also, it was booked up. Typically. I said, I'll help out. And they were like, yeah, we'll need you maybe once every couple of months. There's another place I also volunteered at that I actually liked it a lot better. That's not saying something against the soup kitchen, but it was helping people. [00:26:31] Speaker B: The. [00:26:31] Speaker A: Lower class, learn job skills. They had specific training for it and things like that, and being a chef and stuff like that. But they also had. What I helped out with was teaching them how to do interviews because they often didn't know how to do a job interview. But that was also, like, I basically was like, they didn't really need me. And I feel like, as a father and as somebody working, I don't want to take my time if they already have a ton of people helping out. I don't really feel like it's a good use of my time. Whereas I will say the pro life movement typically is in need more. And so, practically speaking, and I know it might be different in every city, in every area, though, how do you actually then get into helping the poor? Because I think actually some Catholics might want to do it. Don't know where to start, or they've kind of been buff like I have been in the past. [00:27:24] Speaker B: Well, I think that's a good point, Eric. And I also want to make a note, too, that it goes beyond just serving the poor in this kind of overt charity, in this idea that what we were talking about, about this idea of a third way of complete discipleship, it really goes beyond that to exercising and acting on the works of mercy, both the corporal and the spiritual. So we all have to work within our own states of life. If a homeschooling mom of six or eight children isn't going to be able to go out in the middle of the day to serve at a soup kitchen. And that's okay. There's nothing wrong with that. And that's not the baseline requirement. But I think that we can all find opportunities to serve that goes beyond that, puts the foundation that we have in the mass of this linear of God. First we worship God with our whole heart, mind and soul, and then we have this horizontal axis and the second commandment, to love each other. That might not be in this overt, kind of like lower class, the poor, in the way that we imagine them. It might be you're exercising the work of mercy and instructing the ignorant. So you have a family member or somebody who's ignorant of the catholic faith, and you have them over for coffee. Or there's other works of mercy where there's always an opportunity to exercise that work that the, the Lord calls us to in the vineyard. And it might not look prescribed, like going to a soup kitchen on a Sunday to work. That's a good thing. The pro life work is a good thing, but I think it goes beyond just doing things into a conversion of the heart, where we see every opportunity to either evangelize, to bring people to Christ, to tell the good news of salvation. It might be instructing the ignorant or admonishing the sinner, which is another work of mercy that's very difficult. So these are all works of mercy that goes beyond just feeding the hungry for a day or things like that into, like, how are we spreading the gospel of Christ and the good news of salvation as Catholics? [00:29:36] Speaker A: One criticism you sometimes hear about traditionalists, and I think it's fair at times, is that it can be insular. And I think there's a reason for that. First of all, like, for example, you take your kids there because you know what will happen to them if you send them to the public schools or whatever. And sometimes, frankly, from some normal parishes, schools as well. And so you're purposely trying to protect them. And that's a very good thing. I mean, I do that, and I think good parents would do that, but I think it can then lead to a kind of insular thing. And so is what you're saying kind of like, okay, we need to somehow balance out that desire to a fortress against the culture we're in, yet also somehow reaching out. What is that? I guess that's your third way. What is that? What practically should a family do? That's like, okay, we go to traditional mass, we're teaching our kids the face of that, but what more should they do? [00:30:46] Speaker B: Yeah, well, here's a great example, because I always had that assumption that traditional parishes were more insular. They didn't want people coming. It was kind of like something that was kept, and that's changing. Obviously, the more the word gets out about the traditional latin mass. But we had a family of ten that we had gotten acquainted with. We went to their house for dinner for something, and they just invited us. They took us out to lunch afterwards, they invited us to a traditional latin mass. This was early on when we hadn't really. I had gone to a couple, my own, but my wife hadn't. And so that simple act of charity of even just somebody who's on the fence, who's know, catholic, but they want something more. They want a more solid community. All it took was that outward expression and charity of saying, why don't you come? So that's one simple way of letting people know this isn't like a cult. It's the farthest thing from a cult. I mean, it respects your freedom to come each week or not come each week. People aren't going to welcome you at the door, which is. Some people have criticism of that, but I find it respectful because it respects our free will and dignity to worship in silence and things like that. But I think it goes beyond, like, if you love something, you want to tell people about it, but you also have to balance that with the protection of the charisms of the parish and things like that. I can understand why the old guard or the people who have been in the movement for a while have those defenses, because for a while you were always on the defensive. But that is changing a little bit with new people coming and just wanting a reverent mass. They might not even be wedded to the traditional mass. They just want a reverent mass and that this is where they find it. But I think the charity of telling people about it, of encouraging people in it, of telling people how to use the missile, of befriending people, these are kind of these soft skill things that get a little poo pooed, but they can really go a long way. You don't have to be an effervescent evangelical Christian, like welcoming people at the door and bringing them to the coffee station, but it doesn't hurt to exercise some charity so that it's not just you and your missile in the pew. And then there's a place for that. But there's also a great place for evangelical traditionalism, I guess, if you want to call it, while still protecting and preserving the charism of the traditional mass that doesn't. You don't want it to be watered down. You don't want it to go crazy with all the. Thankfully, during COVID a lot of the traditionalists kind of like held the line and had preserved that. This matters, this is important. So I don't know if that answers your question. [00:33:37] Speaker A: Yeah, it's a real challenge, I think, because you see that traditional latin mass parishes, they want to protect what needs to be protected, and that's good. And I think most of them, they want to grow as well, though I've heard stories at times. But the fear of growing is the fact that being watered down, that if all of a sudden a bunch of people come who are fleeing from wherever, it's kind of like the thing about people from California going to Texas, that it's like, oh, that's great. But wait, are they going to just bring their liberal know beliefs with them to Texas and turn Texas into the next California? Well, I think a lot of traditionalists legitimately are concerned about that. That all of a sudden, if we are too open and welcoming, then it will just turn us. We'll turn into the next loopy clown mass or whatever, wherever it is they're fleeing. I think that's the key, is we got to have that balance somehow. And I guess that's kind of what you're saying again, is this idea of. I like the story of the family that invited you. One of the things my wife has done for a long time in parish is she's really into, like when a mother has a baby, a new baby, let's get meals for them. Let's make sure that they have meals for the first couple of weeks, so you get the moms to all make some meals for them, stuff like that, which I think is great and does a lot. Are there any other practical things? I mean, I think just not being a jerk to newcomers, obviously. And I think what are some other things that you would say, kind of, practically speaking, particularly traditional Catholics can do to kind of live this certain way of charity so we don't become too kind of navel gazing. [00:35:44] Speaker B: Right. And I think this may sound a little offensive in the way I'm going to say it, but for me, there was this fear that a traditional parish would be. The people would be a little weird or culty, and in our parish, that's the farthest thing from the truth. So we have a bunch of normal people who just love. I put that in air quotes because I don't want that to be taken the wrong way, but they're big families. They're believing families. We have single people as well, but we're all there for the same reason. So we all love the traditional latin mass, but they are like, quote unquote normal people. If it was a really fringey parish that was constantly bashing the pope or just very insular, we probably wouldn't be there. So I know I can't be the only person that is out there like that, that wants a reverent traditional liturgy that isn't like, I don't have to feel like I'm subjecting my family to a very fringy thing that could go off the rails at any minute. [00:36:58] Speaker A: Right? [00:36:58] Speaker B: So I think the more that I know that sounds like a wishy washy answer, that the more loving and normal you can be. That is a witness in itself. So that's not a real, tangible thing, but it is just a reminder that there are people out there like myself, who would maybe not have ended up in the traditional latin mass if it was very standoffish, very cold, very non charitable, or non loving. But that wasn't our case, and we've been there five years. We have a very good experience at our parish. We have a great pastor who keeps people in line without being heavy handed. Like, the rubrics of the mass protect the mass, so that's a plus. And then in most traditional parishes, the priest really has the. But it's not like they're ruled by the parish lay council or the music ministers or stuff. So there is that kind of protection there, which I think helps keep it from going off the rails too much. [00:37:52] Speaker A: Yeah. And I think some people might take it wrong. When you talk about normal and weird. I know exactly what you mean. And I think some of it has to do with not adding on to the catholic faith things that are not necessary. The idea is, if you have certain beliefs about, I don't know, like conspiracy theories or whatever, that's. Know. I think Covid showed us that a lot of conspiracy theories are conspiracy facts in the end. [00:38:26] Speaker B: Right. [00:38:27] Speaker A: But don't lead with that. First of all, when a new family comes, don't require them to also subscribe to your views of whatever the case may be. Just kind of. The idea is, what matters here is the traditional mass, the traditional catholic faith, practicing that. And, yeah, when you get to know somebody well and you're friends with them, sure. Go ahead and bring up the fact that you think, I don't know, aliens killed JFK or something like that, whatever it is. I mean, that's okay. But I think that's probably the way to go. Now, what are some ways, though, that beyond the parish? Like, not just people who come to you, but, like, going outside of the parish and being involved in the community? Because I think this is where I think. Okay, first of all, a lot of traditional catholic parishes are in downtowns. Mine is. And a lot of times downtowns are. First of all, they're very much poor areas, but also they're very often ideologically very liberal. I know of at least a few, including my own area parishes that are in areas that are very dominated by the homosexual movement and stuff like that. When they have literally a gay pride prey coming by your parish, you're not going to get involved in that. So how do you think a traditional catholic parish could go out and kind of get involved in the community? [00:40:01] Speaker B: Yeah, that's a good point, Eric. And I think what a lot of traditional parents or myself included, is the protection of our children. We're not going to put our family at risk for the sake of. We've chosen to home school. We've chosen to go to a traditional parish because the passing on of the faith and the protection of our children's innocence is, like, top priority. So I don't want to give the impression that any of this necessitates putting our children or scandalizing our children or anything like even. I wouldn't even recommend. I have gone to pride parade in San Francisco to evangelize downtown to the people there. And it was like being in the lion's den. I was one of three people. I wouldn't take my family there, and. [00:40:55] Speaker A: I don't think I did that this past year in Cincinnati. And it is pretty intense. But of course, it was my. I wouldn't take my minor children, obviously. [00:41:07] Speaker B: Might. I really think even in terms of. Of saving masses of people like St. Francis Xavier would baptize 10,000 people in the missions. We are not saving people en masse. So a lot of our evangelization efforts are going to happen one on one in these dribs and drabs that I describe in the book of these individual encounters that we have, that we don't waste opportunities to be uncomfortable personally in telling a non believer about Jesus Christ, or not backing down when somebody asks about our lives or our opinions on abortion or spreading the good news of the gospel to people who are lost. But a lot of times it's not going to happen in these mass areas. It's going to happen in these one on one situations. And I think you really nailed it. That the struggle is, like, we've chosen to be a bit insular, like, we've chosen to circle the wagons a little bit in this Benedict option kind of thing. So that's something I wrestle with as well, is how do you balance that with going out of your comfortable bubble? Which is like, I like that my wife is in a bubble for myself. I feel called to go outside of that to help save the lost and do the work of an evangelist, what Jesus commissioned us. But it's very uncomfortable work. I don't think that being uncomfortable is a bad thing. I think it pushes you to be, like, to take know. When the early christians did miracles in the name of know the like, they were in the lions den as well. They were in pagan Rome, but they had faith, a deep faith that went beyond the walls of their local house churches, and it spread the faith. So I think being a good witness, first of all, taking care of our families, but going beyond that, to do the work of an evangelist, in my case, it might look different for somebody else who's. Maybe that's not their charism. But I think the point is that there's a lot of work that needs to be done to renew the church and to rebuild the church, because it's not coming from the top down. We're not getting these from the Vatican on down. It's not going to change because of parish programs. It's not going to change because of some declaration from the pope. It's going to change from a lot of hard work, a lot of deep prayer, a lot of faith, and a lot of trust in God's ability to change lives one by one when we do the work. [00:43:44] Speaker A: Now, this maybe not with my crowd, but it'll be controversial, maybe outside of my crowd. I'm going to ask you a question. Would you say, it's something I just thought of while you were talking? Would you say this is a challenge, that first and foremost goes to the men of the parish, the fathers, because something you said struck me. You like your wife being in a bubble, and it resonated with me. I want my wife and my kids, my minor kids to be in a bubble. Obviously, my wife's involved with pro life work. She'll go to the abortion clinic, stuff like that. But the point is, I don't want them to. My job is to protect them, but that doesn't mean I need to stay there. I kind of feel like. I feel more convicted, that maybe this is a challenge first to the men of the parish that you're the ones who first need to step out. Yes, you should protect your family, but that doesn't mean you stay in the bubble. You have to actually go out. So would you kind of agree with that? [00:44:47] Speaker B: I would, and I'm glad you bring that up because really, when the men lead, everything else follows from that. So again, not to conflate it with just direct service to the poor or anything like that, but just being a witness to your family. Like if you work a 40 hours week and you're coming home and you want to put on the baseball game and drink some beer, there's nothing wrong with that. For me personally, as a disciple of Jesus Christ and as a Catholic, where I found my joy and my purpose is in spreading the good news of the know family might set aside finances for a vacation. Again, there's nothing wrong with taking a vacation, but some of that money we've earmarked to other things that advance the church and missions that we believe in. The extra time that I have that I'm not spending watching sports or things like that, I can devote to the initiatives that we were discussing previously. But yeah, it's like the men, it's going to come from the men first, and it's going to come from the witness of the family as a whole. But you only have good families because of good men. You know what I mean? That's where it starts. So I think you make a really good point there, and that men sometimes have a little bit more bandwidth. I mean, I know a lot of us have full time careers. We have a lot of constraints on our time. We have a lot of children, but we also have a responsibility to be a witness to our family of what a disciple looks like. Not just a Catholic, not just a traditional Catholic, not just somebody who identifies. And Eric, let's be honest, too, here's another challenge that I get a lot of flak for, or I probably will get a lot of flak for, but like, the amount of energy we spend in comboxes and arguing online as if we're like some kind of knight or warrior for the faith, I mean, give me a break. You're not changing minds here. It's not like a bad thing to do, but I think of it in terms of energy and investment. I would rather go out and talk to somebody who, a coworker who. It's going to put me in an uncomfortable situation, but they're sending their kid to CCD, but they haven't gone to confession in 20 years. I'm going to say something about that. That's where the real work happens. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that we're making change from the comfort of our keyboard. Sometimes there's a place for that. But a lot of times we kind of conflate heroic manhood with making some savage comment on Facebook. So I think that's. I'm probably going to get some criticism for that, too. But I stand behind that, that there's a lot of work out there that needs to be done. And sometimes we take the safer road as men in the things that don't matter as much. [00:47:44] Speaker A: Yeah, I think it's a real challenge, and I think it's a good one. And I feel it because it's easier to tell somebody they're wrong on Facebook than it is in person. It's easier to just. And you don't treat them as a real person anyway on Facebook or Twitter, wherever. And like you said, it's very hard. Like, if you have a coworker who, like you said, that's a perfect example, their kids are going to CCD, but they haven't gone confession 20 years. Well, that's a challenge to you, that you need to encourage them in some way, however your relationship is to do that. And I think going back to the men, I think also because in most traditional catholic parishes, in most families, the man works, and often the mother is at home with the kids. That means the man is just naturally more engaged with the world, so to speak, through their work, and therefore they're set up more for the outreach. I think a good example is like, sometimes you might be a coworker, have a coworker who's Catholic, and they're not really that enthusiastic about, well, if you invite them traditional latin mass, your parish, they might be like, whoa, wait a minute. This is the mass? Because I know people this has happened to, that they were good Catholics in one sense, but they just never really were that on fire. And it was very. Just laxadaisical. Because, to be blunt, the liturgy was celebrated laxadaisically. And as you said before, our liturgy guides us in our life. And so it led to a laxadaisical faith, and all of a sudden, they came traditional latin mass, and they were like, whoa, this supercharged them in all their life. So that's something men particularly. I mean, not that women obviously can't do that with friends of theirs and stuff like that, but we just have more opportunities. I say we. Although I work from home, so it doesn't include me. I'm terrible. But for people who the men who work out in the world, I think that's a real challenge to them as well. [00:49:43] Speaker B: Even just Eric, you and I like our situations. We were essentially robbed of our patrimony for years. And when we both became Catholic, the nova sorta was the only thing on the menu. Like liberal Catholicism was the only thing on the menu. God used that grace to work within those confines. But it's because of the love of tradition that you just rediscovered. And you and I are not the only ones that I think that there's. Like I said, you want to talk about what you love, you want to tell people about it, and I think that that's what you don't want to just keep it to yourself. Love goes out from itself. Yeah, the men thing. That's a great point. [00:50:23] Speaker A: Okay, we're going to wrap it up here soon. And although I feel like this one could go on for a long time, I did not expect this to even go the direction it did. But it's hitting some tunes that really resonate with me because I was a director of evangelization for five years for a diocese while attending a traditional latin mass. And I will admit that wasn't always congruent. I mean, there was some tension there, to say the least. So I want to mention about your book, but I have one question, which is just kind of a weird question out in left field, but I thought of it at one point while we were talking, talking about helping the poor. A lot of traditional latin mass parishes are in lower class poor areas. And therefore, one of the things that often happens is when you're going to mass, you get poor people coming up to you, and sometimes they're drugged out, or they tell you a great story about why they need their bus money to get home. Those of us who experienced it, we know all the stories. Now, I know this is not dogma. I just want to hear from somebody else kind of. What do you feel is our obligation? Because I know in some cases, especially women, naturally are fearful at times, especially when it's an evening mass and it's dark out. What is our obligation? To reach out to the poor who are literally on the doorstep sometimes of our parishes? [00:51:47] Speaker B: I want to be clear that I don't think any Catholic in those situations, especially like our wives and things, are under any obligation to. I'm putting in air quotes for the podcast people who aren't seeing the video to help in those situations, because it's not always helping. So I don't want anybody to think that that's like a catalyst thing. Sometimes it's the most prudent thing. At our parish, we are in a rough part of town. We also have a soup kitchen where people can come five days a week to get meals. We often get people approaching us outside of mass. I have been conflicted about it because I know the C. S. Lewis quote of somebody asking for money for a drink, and then CS Lewis gives it to him and then his friend says, why'd you give him that? He's just going to drink with it. He's like, that's what I was going to do with it. I don't think it hurts to give maybe a dollar or something here and there, but I don't think anybody should feel like, and I'm coming across as like a bleeding heart liberal in the beginning of this podcast, but you have to be prudent in these situations. And I've heard the same stories over and over from people. I've had a priest that I was walking to mass with, he was a traditional priest and he would just yell at him to get out of here. So I don't know if that's the best approach. You chased him off. I don't know if that's the best approach. I don't think giving money or things on the street in those situations is always the best thing either. So I don't think any Catholic should feel that they don't love the poor or anything. There's a time and a place. Sometimes we have care packages that we just have like some water, granola bar, things like that. So the act of charity sometimes is a bit like a muscle. So if it's something that's not going to, you don't have to give them $20, but maybe one dollars or something, that's not going to put you out, but exercise that muscle. Charity. And sometimes the right thing to do is not to give anything. So I don't know if that answers. [00:53:39] Speaker A: Your question, but yeah, there's no one answer. I know that. I know my wife. One of the things she likes is the care package, like maybe a gift certificate to a restaurant or something like nearby, like place a deli or something like that. Apples and something like that. Because that is like, okay, they can't do anything with it other than just eat it and that's good for them. So go ahead. I think that's good. And I think it's funny because once you go long enough, you start to know some of the regulars, so to speak. One time I had an incident where the daily mass, it was like a noon mass. And one of the guys who's normally around, he came into the church and he was going up to people who were praying before mass to ask for something. And I just went up to him. I said, you have to leave. And I basically kicked him out because I was like, no, now you've crossed the line. I'm not telling you you have to leave the neighborhood. I'm just saying. But I said, you can stay for mass. And I made it clear, like, if you want to stay here and pray, fine, but you can't go up to people here. And he ended up leaving. So I do think it's a challenge. I just kind of want to get your perspective. [00:54:39] Speaker B: And part of it, Eric, is just, we're trying to figure this out. This is not a hard and fast rule. A lot of it is just know, learning to love is not a science, it's an art. [00:54:52] Speaker A: And it's funny because over time, I've kind of changed my views. And I'm on the more not giving anything now in those situations because I've had too many cases of repeats and their stories are clearly made up. Okay. I'm not really helping them. I do try to tell them where, because there's a soup kitchen about a few blocks away from us and some other things like, hey, you could go there and things like that. [00:55:13] Speaker B: Well, I think we should remember, too, that the spiritual acts of mercy are just as, if not more important sometimes for people who are lost and in darkness. Know, say, peter would say, I don't have any money to give you, but get up and walk. Right. If we had that kind of faith to raise somebody up who's weight and gold. [00:55:32] Speaker A: Yeah. And I think that's something like just talking to them and you don't have to give anything. But obviously I'm not talking about dangerous situations and particularly woman, if you ever feel like, obviously I'm not advocating for that, but there are situations where it's completely safe, or at least safe enough just talking to them. And a lot of times I'll even say, hey, I'll pray for you. Why don't you. Could you pray for me? [00:55:58] Speaker B: I treat you as acknowledge him like a human because this is Jesus. Jesus is in the Eucharist and he's in the poor as well. [00:56:04] Speaker A: Yes, exactly. Okay, so I want, before we go, though, so you have this book, wisdom and folly. Let me make sure I get on screen essays on faith, life and everything in between. Like I said at the beginning, it's four by Kevin Wells. It's 370 pages or so, something like that. I mean, it's a lot of writing. So tell us about it. What was your purpose of writing this book? [00:56:29] Speaker B: Sure. Well, I wasn't reinventing the wheel here either. I was approached by a publisher to republish the best of the best essays that I have have written already that are topical by nine different topics. On friendship, on faith, on manhood, on marriage, on family, on the church, on discipleship, on all the things that we're talking about here is a complete protein of a disciple of Jesus Christ for Catholics in the church today. And they're bite sized essays. I mean, there may be two or three pages each. There's about 90 essays total, and they're just food for thought, I don't think in the age of social media where a lot of us might struggle to read something like war and peace today. So these are really bite sized essays that you can pick up, but that'll challenge you, which it's a lot of meat on the bones to consider how to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ. Just some thoughts of mine, too. So they're personal essays, but I think they're universal enough that they can speak to a lot of people on a lot of different levels in those areas. So I'd encourage people to pick one up. If you're looking for a good read that you don't have to commit to reading straight through, you can pick up an essays, you can treat it with lent coming up. You can treat it as a devotional, but they are personal essays, about 90 of them total. And yeah, Kevin did a great job with the forward, too, and he's become a good man of God and friend. And so, yeah, okay, so wisdom and folly. [00:57:53] Speaker A: I'll make sure I put a link to it in the show notes so people can get it. I encourage you. I appreciate this podcast because I think it was challenging. I think, I know I can tend to get insular. I can tend to just kind of think like you get kind of the hive mind a little bit. And I think it's good to sometimes get a little bit of a kick, like, hey, try to think a little bit outside the box about how we do things. And so I appreciate you coming on and talking about this. [00:58:20] Speaker B: Thanks, Eric. Thanks for the opportunity. I'm outside the box a lot, so it's not very often that you get the opportunity to flush it out a little bit. So thanks. Exactly. [00:58:29] Speaker A: So again, I'll link to the book. I also link to your blog and the article that kind of, this was based on the third way, so people can just easily find it. [00:58:37] Speaker B: Great. [00:58:38] Speaker A: Okay, that's it for now. Until next time, everybody. God love you. It's.

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