Catholic vs. Catholic - 2018-07-07 - Scott Smith

Author Recorded Saturday July 7th, 2018

There are 44 episodes in the Versus:Catholic series.

Recorded September 13th, 2017

Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-09-13 - Thomas

Scott Smith is a Catholic author and speaker that helps faithful but overwhelmed Catholics understand the richness of the Faith, so they can light the world on fire, starting with their own friends and families.


Catholic vs. Catholic - 2018-07-07 - Scott Smith

Author Recorded July 26th, 2017

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hey this is Scott Smith and you're listening to Catholic versus Catholic tell us a little bit about yourself if you would please who you are what you believe and how you came to believe it well Oh as far as who I am I'm a husband father of four I'm an attorney I've also been a Catholic High School religion teacher my degree was chemical engineering but I worked as a civil engineer I've also been in seminary Catholic seminary I was a Jesuit for a while so that's who I am and then what I am is a Roman Catholic my family has been pretty active in the faith going back as many generations as we know there's been at least two nuns that we know of my great-great aunt died during the Spanish influenza outbreak after World War one or at the end of World War one she's bearing New Orleans so we've been in Louisiana for a while my great-great uncle was the first Joseph I'd priests in Louisiana and it seems we've always been kind of on the conservative side of the faith so that's my family back home where I came it seems like with so many things you know with the sexual revolution seemed like the Catholicism almost skipped a generation they almost skipped my generation all those Catholic generations are on my mom's side on my dad's side they're just kind of a hodgepodge of different Protestant faiths eventually my dad did become Catholic let's I'll get to that in a second just by having that great Catholic background my parents didn't really take me to Mass as a child so I kind of came upon Catholicism more or less on my own that being said my mom did make sure that I received all the sacraments so in high school you know she made sure I went to confirmation and that would pretty much be the only time I go to church was those confirmation classes um I really started getting serious about my faith I think well I think my first girlfriend probably helped with that a good bit she was a met her in confirmation class so she would get me to come to mass that was about when I was a sophomore in high school that time I was a senior in high school I think the second day of my senior year of high school my appendix ruptured and I went to the hospital with that obviously but they didn't for whatever reason I've just been in a car accident so my internal organs had shifted somewhat and they didn't realize I had a ruptured appendix so they sent me home with a ruptured appendix after a week in the hospital yes that might sound crazy but my mom and I were like this that something is not right so we push to get a cat scan they had only done x-rays up to that point and come to find out yeah a mass had encapsulated in my colon luckily though that infection had encapsulated about the size of a softball and they took me into emergency surgery and I didn't die obviously took about 90 days or so altogether basically the first half of my senior year to put me back together again I had some complications had to go back to the hospital at jeavons so through that the pain was pretty bad and that was where I first really started praying before then I had kind of I I didn't believe in the supernatural aspects of God I thought it was a neat tradition but I still kind of stuck in like a empiricists materialist American 1980s kid kind of mindset it wasn't until I was really struck my own mortality that I started grappling with those bigger questions and reaching for a supernatural God so my faith was quickened at that point I can't say it really came on fire yet the Sacrament of Confirmation was there but it hadn't really been activated yet I would say that that really happened when I was in college most I went to Texas A&M that's where I got my chemical engineering degree and a lot of my friends both in at Texas A&M and and Oklahoma weren't Catholic they were Protestant mostly Baptist so they would challenge me on my faith a good bit and I was I'm the kind of person that responds to that that was a fruitful adversity for me I didn't know what it was that time but I enjoyed apologetics and so I wanted to learn my faith with only to beat them in an intellectual way and then the other major component of my faith journey in college was that my dad died he died when he was 46 and it was it's really a tragedy because he and my mom had just separated and I say he literally died of a broken heart because I had an aneurysm of the aorta that they sending aorta so it was almost instantaneous he had a congenital stenosis they order which meant that his aorta basically didn't grow from when he was a child on so it was just a ticking time bomb for him when he died and the way he died really forced me to start seeking the faith more answering questions for myself now I said I'd come back to it later earlier on right before my dad died he began Catholic and I was his confirmation sponsor when I was in the hospital he made a promise to God that if I survived he would become Catholic and I did and he did so I I've been the confirmation sponsor for my dad for my granddad and and now my mom has remarried and I'm gonna be the the unfortunate part of all that is that I was able to serve in that role form not long before each of them died and I hope that's I hope that's not the same situation my stepdad but it's funny how God prepares you with your own mortality in the faith the third component of my faith formation in college you know before I entered seminary I'd say was getting involved in the pro-life movement and then I took Columbus we would pray at an abortion clinic there in College Station Texas we the abortion clinic is a Planned Parenthood clinic that we would say the Rosary at the parish priests that we went with is now a bishop the bishop David Condor Allah in Tulsa Oklahoma the director of that clinic was Abby Johnson who since converted and became pro-life and is now one of the better-known advocates for pro-life and in America that's also where 40 days for life began was with those of us praying at that clinic it just kind of morphed into a nationwide phenomenon so gang involved in the pro-life movement starting to see American culture from that perspective basically brought me to my adult faith from there I've continued to develop there try to develop that in seminary we did 30 day silent retreat of the Spiritual Exercises and then since then I've also gone okay I went back to law school I also went back and got my degree my master's degree in theology so I just recently listened to a Jesuit priest by the name of father Spitzer and he gave a talk about Pope Francis from a Jesuit perspective why his pontificate is a little bit different from any other pontificate that we've ever seen and why he says what he says and what he his approach to spirituality and his his unique way of communicating Christian truths to the faithful and in a in a way that can be misread that's very open to misinterpretation and it really opened my eyes to the depth of the Jesuit spirituality as lived by this pontiff can you give some insight into Pope Francis and the Jesuit connection with Saint Ignatius of Loyola the Spiritual Exercises and all of that how does it connect with his pontificate the first thing that comes to mind is how transparent Pope Francis can be in his manner of speaking I know that to truly advance in a spiritual life both in community as a Jesuit and with our spiritual directors and ultimately with God we had to nurture a spirituality of transparency now when you bring that complete openness and rawness and you bring that into the heavily nuanced world of international politics it can be very refreshing but the evil forces can really miss shape and corrupt what I think it's trying to be said I think that you see that that's what's happening with Pope Francis is the way he speaks is refreshing to so many but it's also being distorted by so many have you been tempted to be critical of Pope Francis or have you always had faith that he's a good Catholic you know I read about him about his work as a bishop the Eucharistic miracle he is involved with his fight against the advance of the homosexual agenda in Argentina so I knew that his bones were Orthodox he you know he may talk more about the environment than any other pope or maybe even that I would like sometimes I think however you fall in global warming I think what he's saying is important and I I trust that the Holy Spirit is certainly going to speak through them and that is certainly guiding the church through this pontiff it's like with any other Pope there's a lot to love and there's a lot to be challenged by do you have friends in the church that have fallen prey to the propaganda against Pope Francis do you know people on the right that have been tempted to go away from the church because of Pope Francis or I know not too many in my personal circle I guess if they did feel it was time to distance themselves from the church because of Pope Francis that maybe they wouldn't no longer be in my inner circle I know that you've got like the set of the contests that they didn't even like pope john paul ii so they're not gonna like pope francis but if i think if you look at the sweep of history since vatican ii with JP - who was the philosopher Pope Benedict who was the theologian Pope and now we have Pope Francis who's just this Pope of the people of this very pastoral Pope I think it says something about these last centuries their complexity that we have such a great diversity of popes every one of them just magnificent mm-hmm can you just talk briefly about Marian apparitions and how our time may be fulfilling some of the prophecies in some of these Marian apparitions do you have any inkling about what might have been said I know in South America there was our lady of good success that talked about the 20th century but do you see any connection are you familiar with the prophecies of some of these Marian apparitions or no I'm not from there as the one you mentioned I did write an article about Our Lady of Fatima just collaborating on what the venerable Fulton sheen had said about Our Lady of Fatima that it was no coincidence that Our Lady should appear in a location that was named after a woman named after the daughter of Muhammad and that not only are they a fatima but all of the other Marian apparitions throughout the Middle East right now you know you've got our lady of zeitoun I think it is and which is much much earlier in the 20th century but you have some current Marian apparitions in the Middle East and even appearances of Jesus in the Middle East to adherence of Islam I think that there might be something brewing in terms of mass conversions of Muslims to Christianity through their session of Our Lady you have plane loads of Muslim women visiting Our Lady of Fatima and at the same time you have Isis pinpointing these marian sites because of the effect that they're having on those people Isis would would wish to dominate so I I think something's something's in the water so I don't want to talk too much about it but I just want to briefly get your opinion before we move on to other topics about magic gorya it seems like a controversial apparition what do you think about met Joe Gloria I have some friends that have been there and have been moved by like the palpable presence of silence something like that but I mean if it's not a Marian apparition then yeah the opposite would be pretty frightening what is your daily practice with the Ignatian spirituality do you do the daily examine prayer for example I tried to but after seminary my especially now with four kids my daily prayer life has just become extremely uneven there is something that Pope Francis said that I have taken to heart it's the daily martyrdom of the father or the parent you know thinking as I go to work you know that sometimes drudgery of that just offering that up as a bloodless sacrifice for my family also the you know with babies it seems like you're pretty much doing all the corporal works of mercy at once you know clothe the naked feed the hungry heal the sick you know it's all there that's something my wife's mother kind of made me think about apart from that nothing special Ignatian I say my rosary hopefully daily I guess there's nothing really special about my prayer life except it's especially struggling I used to have this just wonderful sense of peace and quiet silence you know having gone through so many silent retreats and then ultimately the 30-day silent retreat I could just access that silence whenever I wanted it and it's still there it's just becoming a little dulled over time I'd like to start back with the routine of quarterly retreats just three day silent retreats I find it takes about three days to really break through the noise into the silence and I think if we were to adapt the church's amazing traditions for communal prayer to spousal prayer I'd like to see that I like to see growth in that area speaking of your spouse is there a difference between men and women I know the church teaches that the reason I believe that there is but in your own personal experience how would you characterize the differences between men and women fundamentally and essentially I guess my thought on that has really been shaved by a class I took on Christian anthropology when I was getting my masters I think it's expressed well in terms of masculinity being externally focused while the feminine is internally focused you know even the construction of our bodies of our reproductive capacities our external versus internal I think fatherhood is one of highest expressions of masculinity and certainly motherhood for a woman but also how we approach children you know the woman literally houses the child internally and I think forever after tries to create that security for a child in an internal way whereas a man by conquering the world by slaying dragons by his daily routine tries to provide security for his children and an external means so yeah I do believe that there are clearly defined differences and the way men and women's energies are spent but obviously in a complementary way and not without equal dignity as well so I'm in Montreal have you heard of st. brother Andre Bessette yeah I have this region in Louisiana more or less a lot of us are Acadians by way of the toile VA and something a little bit more Cajun than me though my family is from that well my friends names his his name's Ryan Barret he and his wife are the founders of witness tool of marriage ministry and he named his one of his sons after brother Andre the reason that he came to mind Saint brother Andre is because of st. Joseph I was thinking as you're speaking about the roles of men and women I was thinking about st. Joseph's how quiet he is how behind-the-scenes he is and how supportive and quiet and dignified he is in the Holy Family and how prominent Mary is by contrast it's sort of a reversal of the stereotype that the man is external and the woman's internal but I know that there is a good theological reason for that but that's why that came to mind for me yeah and I would and I would say that that fits the paradigm pretty well because even though it's clearly married that is most revered of the two it's Joseph that decides to take the family into Egypt it's Joseph that his dream and guides his family it he protects his family provides security to his family saving them from the slaughter of innocents whereas marry it doesn't get much more internal than a sword shall pierce your heart as well can you talk just briefly about some of your favorite Saints your favorite Saints now and your favorite Saints that you may have had in the past whether through reading or whether through devotions who are some of the Saints that you really looked up to my patron saint my confirmation saying is st. Martin de Porres one of my great aunts that was a nun lost most of her : as a child and she was very thin a head was a very restricted diet for the rest of her life her patron saint was a martyr perez and part of that was because he is a patron saint for that sort of malady so when I had my own appendix issues I chose him to be my confirmation Saint I credit his intercession to helping me survive because my aunt Beth sister Beth said novena after novena for his intercession did he belong to a religious order or anything like that right here's a dominican lived in the 1500s in Peru he was a contemporary of Rose of Lima his father I think was a Spanish nobleman his mother was a native so he was you know not except in society and that's why he entered the monastery he had a very simple life he's also patron saint of animals all our pets we'll name some form of either Francis or Martin and when we do that those pets become virtually indestructible for better or worse but Martin kind of had a Pied Piper sort of relationship the monastery was about to eradicate the mice and vermin that had come to live with the monks and and he didn't want to see them killed so he led them out into the fields I can't say that you know his spirituality has really affected me more so as intercession but I guess affected me in terms of my manhood would have to be Pope John Paul the second Pope John Paul the great we started an organization here in Louisiana I guess it's about two or three years ago now called the men of the Immaculata and it was obviously a movement of the Holy Spirit because there were a few groups of us within our diocese independently we were getting together and saying we need to host a Catholic men's conference now it may have been because we're all listening to Catholic radio you know EWTN Ave Maria radio and they talked about Catholic men's conferences all the time but all these disparate groups were working on the same idea and we were all brought together by the Holy Spirit and we came together and we saw this Men's Conference and the first year we had like six hundred guys and last year we had a thousand guys and we're gonna cap it at a thousand guys just because that's the largest church in our diocese that's the most it can contain and we don't want to take it from a sacred space but that's pretty cool that that's a legion of men and we it's on my social media and stuff but we published the Catholic man book tour for that event like man book like a punt on on hand book so it's a Catholic man book speaking of projects that you're involved in can you just talk a little bit about what you're excited about moving forward and maybe some of your recent projects that you've published books or videos or whatever it might be what have you been up to and what are you gonna get up to him what he excited about sure I well I mean the reason I mentioned the mini maculata conferences because that was we all felt strongly motivated through the intercession of Pope John Paul just to put a bow on that I guess that's my spiritualities forbear forces I just have so many projects going on not that any of them are ground shaking or anything but I'm finishing up a revised copy of my book on Mary which is what you need to know about Mary but what we're never taught always doing a new cutting every year we do a new Catholic man book my blog is ongoing I tried to write on a particular theme through the years so that I can collect those articles later as a book to publish I'm trying to focus right now on something that I've kind of steered away from in the past because I've just I just love writing about Scripture but I feel like my background makes me particularly suited to write about Catholic developments and the law so I've been I've been wrote a article recently on an encounter I had with Justice Clarence Thomas Thomas being his last name he like many Catholic lawyers has a devotion to st. Thomas More and we're able to share about that and I was lucky enough to ask him a question in a group setting so he couldn't shy away from it they'd not let an assembly of all our students if he had gone on and become a priest he was in seminary what would have been in the subject of his first homily it's a guy wrote an article on that and I thought it's a really great answer so I'm trying to do more write more about that convergence of Catholicism and the law why are there so many Catholics on the Supreme Court how do you explain that I don't know how to explain that in such a country of wasps it's crazy that before Gorsuch it was every member of the court was either Jewish or Catholic I don't know how that happened but I think that a Catholic is born with an analytical framework know if they're properly catechized that lends itself very well to a legal framework I believe that the foundation of their national law was ultimate Catholic through Thomas Aquinas and the natural law is something that Catholics are taught from a young so it just it makes much more sense for a Catholic to be a jurist and say a Protestant because that degree of inquiry is not present in Protestant theology hmm I'm reminded of the infamous Regensburg address where pope benedict xvi talked about the philosophical influence of Immanuel Kant on both Islam and Protestant theology there's a sort of transcendentalism that is not very conducive to reasoning and that sort of thing what is it that keeps us apart in terms of monotheistic religions why why aren't we moving together more quickly or maybe you see that we are moving together quickly cuz you were talking about Islam and Mary but in terms of if we don't to talk about Christian unity what do you see on the horizon the good the bad and the ugly I do see that through the lens of the pro-life movement much of the language both the ethical language and the theological principles it's all informed by Catholic teaching the language of the movement even though it embraces both Catholics and Protestants the language it sounds much more like Catholicism because Protestants like Muslims and I think the philosophy or lack of philosophy is very similar that they are people of the book for process there's a Bible but there's no interpretive Authority for Muslims it's the will of Allah and there's not a lot of interpretive Authority there so with Protestants I think that mindset where we have Catholics use a Bible as a source but the church is the final adjudicator the church is the final redactor of what scripture means Protestants it's every Protestants the Pope every process a power to interpret the Bible of their own so I think that the promising idea is that the three branches the US government the checks and balances are very similar to the way Catholicism structured in that there is the Constitution just like there is the Bible but the Constitution and the laws and statutes of the United States require a interpretive authority to state what is truth what is the law so I think that Protestants especially evangelicals I think they're beginning to sense that in a certain way especially through the pro-life movement the language the adoption of the this language but we see mainline process ISM falling apart because it's embraced to me progressive ideas and that has resulted in the rise of non-denominational ISM which has in turn one generation later in turn gives rise to atheism so I think this Protestant experiment is failing the children the generations of Protestants are either flying away from the church completely or embracing a level of progressivism that is antithetical to Christ's teachings and I think for those disenfranchised from mainline Protestantism I think you'll see those coming back to the church for those that are unchurched I feel like the truth the Catholic Church has to offer is a bright light to them I don't know if it'll be the most attractive ultimately but I think it's what they're longing for so I think there's a lot of hope I think that in the last century throughout all the upheavals with Christianity and America that Catholicism somehow has maintained its population lastly I think that there's something of a synthesis in American Christianity going on that Catholics are returning to the Bible through people like dr. Scott Hahn dr. brain Petrey there's sort of a reawakening of Scripture and Catholic circles that I think will be very attractive to Protestants so I think there's a lot to be hopeful for yeah the church teaches that she can be recognized always everywhere and always by four marks she's one Holy Catholic and apostolic I want to talk about the holiness of the church can you please give me a sort of rationale defense of the holiness of the church given the fact that there are so many corrupt sinners within her pews and even among the clergy in the hierarchy I mean I'm perfectly comfortable with the fact that the church is holy and yet corrupt but I don't have a way of explaining that paradox to any non Catholic in any sort of convincing way do you have a way to help me out to understand that or to articulate that well you know I guess on in one hand we'd be explained that to atheists on the other hand we'd explain it to non-catholic Christians to non-catholic Christians I would say first that even among Jesus's 12 there was Judas there was the betrayer um so you're always in any Christian community you're always gonna have a fallen element and sometimes even a very dark element we are hospital for sinners we are constantly made white and fresh and new in the blood of the Lamb the answer to atheists I think is the answer that was given in the early church to the pagans were willing to die in droves as martyrs for something that we believe in and that's that's just unheard of in world history on the kind of scale and the kind of volume of blood were willing to offer for this truth this incarnated truth in your experience most well you can use your own words to describe the priests that you've met what would you say that overwhelmingly the priests are men of and striving for holiness I'd say that they are striving for holiness to a greater degree than the general population if only because their stated objective in life is to be the spouse of the church personality-wise I think he does very much just like the rest of the population you know between grumpiness and and dryness in the spiritual life I think it's it's good in a certain sense that I didn't become a priest I mean obviously the goods the fruits of my marriage stay into that but it's also it's just such a a responsibility Jesus says it is better that a millstone be put around the neck of any of you that mislead any of these little ones so that's a huge responsibility put on priests and I think American Catholicism is going through a transition with the priesthood following the sexual revolution but I think that the old guard has lost some of the sense of sin I've tried to redefine sin and I worry about them you know I've got a know a good bit of preset have kind of gone that way and I worry for them but then I look to you know those that you'll find in every generation and age they're just stalwarts they're just amazing men of faith and bravery but then there's also this young crop that's coming up that appeared so wholly conservative in a poachable way these new priests certainly in our diocese are just amazing there's something supernatural going on here that this sort of thing could be happening in our culture in our world yeah I can see as being a response to the evils of our world but at goes to show that this church isn't is gonna be here for another two thousand years it's not going anywhere it's immortal yeah I do want to ask you on a very very personal question it's not personal for you it's personal for me it has to do with fraternal correction I'm getting a hard time from a lot of my Catholic friends because when they contradict the church on something that is very clearly taught by the church usually having to do with sexual morality I tend to speak up and just remind them what the church proposes now they're free to choose to accept or reject what the church proposes right but my ears prick up when I hear people contradicting the church on things like that and so I will put my two cents worth in and it's not my opinion it's just objectively what the Church teaches and I am demonized quite a bit for being rigid for lacking compassion and this sort of thing and that's the last thing I want I don't want to be some rules lawyer that's just looking down at other people and sticking my nose into their private affairs and acting holier than now that's not my intention but that's the impression I get how can I improve my bedside manner with these sick patients in the hospital of the church that's hard is so hard but that's how we're merciful we instruct the ignorant wait bondage sinners and it has to be done it it's a function of our church I think you're probably not giving yourself enough credit I feel like you're a person that comes across compassionate I feel like I'm probably much worse at this and you are because I just want to take them to the courtroom sometimes I get frustrated angry but you know I listen to Trent Horne and David Anders on EWTN radio a lot and they have such a great warm way of saying very difficult things I think it does take prayer but I think also the more comfortable we are with our belief the more that will be expressed in our words and the less frustrated angry will become and we'll be able to speak these truths with great love what about the dangers on the other side where you are almost condoning the sins of friends and family members how how do you tread those waters or how do you avoid falling into those murky waters well I'd say it's almost impossible for us to get that right by natural means alone you know by our own skills talents but grace builds on nature is a book I read about john paul ii by american journalist and she said the trajectory of her day is just put right when you start the day with the rosary put on the armor of christ the muse the rosary is our sword and our weapon you know the the sword of the the Lamb that conquers through his own blood it's not easy but we just have to open our mouths and be willing even if we start off with a timid voice we've and it isn't that always the case that to our friends and family I feel like I always come across either too bombastic or too timid like I can never I sometimes I am most angry at myself afterwards because I just can't hit the right tone because I don't have it I don't have that power over my vocal cords you know but I think just like it says in first Peter be always prepared to give witness and apologia of the faith that lives within us so we need to be prepared I think conversations like these help prepare us I think we need to talk about this stuff often so that we become comfortable and conversant not just with friends and allies but what st. Paul Street evangelization does is it gives a person practice in saying uncomfortable things in the public sphere and I think we have to get more comfortable being uncomfortable preach when it's convenient dan when it's inconvenient right yeah I will let you go but I wanted to ask if you've seen the wim wenders documentary about Pope Francis and what you thought of if you did oh no I haven't seen that that's the first I'm hearing of it I went to the theater with my agnostic friend we were the only two in the whole theatre so it's not a popular movie but at the end of the movie Pope Francis said there are two things I recommend if you want to be a good Catholic smile and have a sense of humor well I think it's easier to acquire a smile than a sense of humor you know but I I think that is the it is the easiest way to defuse a situation cuz on facebook on the Internet at Christians gonna get trolled but the troll never expects to get trolled back by a Christian you know so I think we need to the humor element comes in I think for spectators if not for the person were arguing with or debating with their dialoguing with okay so thanks a lot for taking the time at the end of my interviews I do ask my guests to speak directly to the audience just to give a little message of hope from your own unique perspective so what might you say to anyone that's out there that might be listening to this right now well I guess it might be odd for a Catholic to quote Gandhi but when I was younger I read Gandhi's writings and the biographies about him is I think young people are always searching for truth and when young people will come to Gandhi and say look tell me what to do do you want me to become Hindu how do I follow you Gandhi would dissuade them from that and he'd say whatever they are you know Protestant Catholic Buddhists Jew he would say whatever you are take it to the nth degree take it as far as you can do it with as much energy as you can summon and only then will you have truly tested it and so an idea I've been thinking about for a long time it's kind of my corollary to Occam's razor you know Occam's razor being that the simplest theory tends to be the right one when we're testing our ideas trying to drill down to the truth it's not the simplest thing that tends to be right the right one it's the most beautiful that's I think the a great principle to live by seek what is most beautiful and you will recognize truth by its beauty all you've got to do is s all you got to do do

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