Catholic Answers Live is an exciting program to host. Because it’s live, the topic and tenor of the show can change in an instant. It has opportunities for great seriousness that might be followed a moment later by humor and a moment after that by inspiration. It keeps the host on his toes, and it allows each guest to confront questions from a variety of directions.
But it is not the only program we produce here in the Catholic Answers radio department.
Catholic Answers Focus, our other program, is not live. It has no callers. And far from changing minute to minute, it takes its time (30-45 minutes) to explore a specific topic.
I have to say, I love it. As much as Catholic Answers Live keeps us moving from topic to topic, directly addressing the concerns, questions, and even challenges of listeners, Catholic Answers Focus lets us stay in one spot and drill down into a topic. I really enjoy doing interviews, and Focus is 100 percent interview.
My very first guest was Dr. Stacy Trasancos, a former Dow Chemical scientist who now writes about how religious faith, particularly Christianity, provides the foundations for science. I think she was a providential first guest for me, because she gave me an idea of how Focus could be a space for engaging with serious thinkers in a way that is accessible even to casual listeners.
In the interim we have had everyone from a Protestant pastor who led his small flock into the Catholic Church to an expert on liturgical music who instructed us on the power and importance of beauty.
We have had young people who have given themselves to service of the poor, and we have had a leader in ministry to CEOs. Lee Strobel came by (via phone) to talk about his book and movie—The Case for Christ—and privately (though not confidentially) he told me that Catholic media had been exceedingly open to him, a thing that he, an evangelical pastor, found touching and inspiring. Rod Dreher’s book The Benedict Option is controversial, mostly because it calls for a radicalization of the Christian world. I think my forty-five minutes with him on Focus were among the most pleasant and inspiring that I have had in my time in media. Like that first show with Stacy Trasancos, the Dreher show gave me an image of what Focus can be: a gathering place for Christians who are trying to form a coherent and intelligent response to the mess our culture has become.
Recently, scholar Anthony Esolen was on to talk about the reform of Catholic higher education and his move to Thomas More College in New Hampshire. Archbishop Chaput will be here to talk about being Christian in a post-Christian world.
These are the voices we need to hear, just now, and I am over the moon that Catholic Answers Focus is becoming a place to hear them in full. You can join in by visiting catholic.com/audio/caf. See you there!
– Cy Kellett
Host, Catholic Answers Live