I am approaching my six-month mark as radio host here at Catholic Answers, and I thought, “Well, this provides a scarcely convincing justification for writing a few things about my time here.” Armed with that meager impetus, here are three things that have surprised me about working at Catholic Answers.
1. There is a coldness to this place
I mean not that the people are cold but just a shocking amount of air conditioning. Seriously. I would say at least fifty percent of the time I am uncomfortably cold in my office. But apparently my office is at the nexus of some ductwork whereby in order for other people’s offices to be comfortable, I have to develop frostbite.
You might well have thought I was going to suggest that the staff is cold, that the place is unfriendly or rigid. I can assure you, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the warmth of the people here, which I think comes from sharing a Christ-centered work together, provides a daily encouragement.
2. Distracting email
So much email can be distracting. I don’t mean the email that comes in from listeners and readers, but just the staff email. There is a feature called “all-staff,” and when an all-staff email comes, the wise guys in the building frequently cannot help themselves from trading barbs, jokes, wordplay, etc. It can go on for a while, and it can get hilarious.
But there are also group emails that get started on some theological or Church issue, and the apostolate works out what our response should be. These are very honest and conflict is not avoided. But people are always trying to get at what the Faith demands of us, and how we can prudently meet those demands. For me, the seriousness of these conversations is indicative of life at Catholic Answers because people really do want to serve Christ and his Church.
The place is very hierarchical. I mean, not that the place is authoritarian or that it is parochial, but just that—and I have to be honest, this genuinely surprised me—there is a lived hierarchy of values here with the love of Christ at the very top. I knew lots of Catholic Answers folks before I came here and had no reason to suspect them of severity or inflexibility, but neither did I know how much the gospel of love is their guiding star.
Getting answers right is really important to an apostolate called Catholic Answers—we really can’t be casual about that. But I have been impressed with how devoted people are not just to answering questions but answering people, and sharing their struggles in faith, hope, and love.
Just yesterday I was telling Karlo Broussard that I thought I could do this job until I am seventy-five years old, at least. And by then they might force me out. But how blessed would I be if I got to spend the entirety of my closing years sharing the truth about Christ, his love, and his Church in the company of people who argue hard, love God, and live charitably?
So I need to get a warmer office, of course, or I’m not going to make it to seventy-five. But besides that . . .
Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time, on Catholic Answers Live.