Tag Archives: patrick madrid

Surprised by Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings on Life Led Them to the Church

Patrick Madrid
Sophia Institute Press, 208 pages

Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid has assembled here a collection of personal stories of men and women who have come to embrace Catholicism because her teachings on life issues transformed their hearts.

Through this book you’ll meet individuals from an array of backgrounds — among them a prostitute, a Jewish lawyer, a promiscuous victim of sexual abuse, a contracepting couple, an unwed expectant teen, and a post-abortion suicide survivor — who endured many trials and errors before they discovered the truth and entered the Catholic Church. Their stories of conversion might also edify your heart — as many conversion stories are capable of doing.

Order: Sophia Institute Press, Amazon

How to Do Apologetics

Patrick Madrid
Our Sunday Visitor, 2016
208 pages, paperback $15.95

Legates — like all Christians — are charged with spreading the faith. In Madrid’s latest, subtitled Making the Case for Our Faith, he confronts seismic cultural shifts and increased attacks on religious liberty. These attacks often place Christians in the uncomfortable position of having to defend their beliefs when their faith is called into question by atheists, agnostics, or people from other religions.

Madrid has penned an apologist’s toolkit covering all the topics you need to understand and apply. This is his own successful approach to providing reasons for skeptics to believe. He gives special advice and examples for use with non-believers, Protestants and inactive Catholics.

OrderAmazonOur Sunday Visitor

Life Lessons

Patrick Madrid
Ignatius, 2016
170 pages, paperback $16.95

Madrid’s latest — subtitled Fifty Things I Learned in My First Fifty Years — draws from his life’s many interesting, funny, instructive, and poignant experiences. With wisdom and humor, he reflects upon the treasure-trove of riches we can all take from our own lives.

Grounded in scripture and a firm moral foundation, the book shows how the smallest stories are clear pointers to the greater story of God’s work in readers’ lives. The laughter, the tears, and the beauty of life come alive through Madrid’s insightful and clear style. He’ll inspire you to see the wonder of God in your own life’s journey.

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Ignatius Press

Now What?

PATRICK MADRID’s new book is a perfect gift for new (or old) Catholics . . .

MadridNow What?
Patrick Madrid
Servant Books, 2015
160 pages, $14.99 paperback

Here’s the ultimate guide (or gift) for new Catholics! Those who just entered the Church or rediscovered the faith are often at a loss to participate fully in the Church, connect with their local parish, and understand all the “quirky” Catholic things they didn’t cover in RCIA or catechism classes.

Subtitled A Guide for the New (and Not-So-New) Catholic, the book offers concrete advice and clears up misconceptions about what it means to be Catholic. Madrid presents practical information for all those who feel out of their element now that they are in the Catholic Church.

Order: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

The ultimate call-back

Legate Tom Peterson’s Catholics Come Home ministry is rebuilding the flock . . .

Tom Peterson

Tom Peterson

Mary Bane left the Catholic Church 10 years ago, but all it took was a 30-second television commercial to call her home.

The invitation came from former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. The ad was produced by the Catholics Come Home apostolate founded by Atlanta Legate and former advertising executive Tom Peterson.

In the commercial, Holtz talks about staying focused on the goal, fumbling due to sin, and getting back on the field through the sacrament of Reconciliation. “So, if you haven’t been going to Mass lately,” he said, “get back in the game. We’re saving your seat on the starting bench this Sunday.”

Television series

A wife and mother of three sons, Bane said she felt Holtz was speaking directly to her in the Catholics Come Home “evangomercial.” When she saw it a second time, she called her husband to watch.

“He thought it was really neat that you can ‘come home’ because we thought once you left, you left, and there was no coming back,” she explained.

Thanks to that 30-second message, which reached 100 million people, and the material Bane later found on the Catholics Come Home website, she and her family are now back in the Catholic Church as members of St. Agnes Parish in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. After years in four different Protestant churches — and despite the good experiences they had in them — Bane said something always seemed to be missing.

The Banes tell their homecoming story in one of 13 episodes of EWTN’s new Catholics Come Home television series. In the 30-minute episodes filmed in various locations in the U.S. and Canada, viewers get to meet such returnees as a linguistics professor who was an atheist for 52 years, a former drug addict and dealer who now works at a Catholic hospice for homeless men, and a 27-year-old law student who attended Ave Maria University as a Protestant before converting to the Catholic faith.

Their stories are interspersed with “evangomercials” and other segments, including one hosted by Peterson’s 26-year-old daughter, Katie Warner, explaining how to share the faith.

The series, which debuted in October, airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. Eastern. Shows are also available on DVD and online on EWTN.com.

Besides the EWTN series, Catholics Come Home’s upcoming projects include a “Keep Christ in Christmas” ad to be shown during Advent and a Confession ad called “Heavy Burdens” set to air during Lent.

Calling Catholics home

The Catholics Come Home apostolate grew out of what Peterson calls his spiritual awakening at a 1997 parish retreat in Gilbert, Ariz. Although he went to Mass on Sundays and never disagreed with Church teaching, Peterson admits he was a lukewarm Catholic. As his retreat group was gathered in front of the Eucharist, however, God became real to him.

“He invited me to downsize and simplify my life and to have a relationship with him,” he explained. “His love was so apparent in my heart I couldn’t say no. It was like a light switch turned on and the adventure began.”

Peterson started attending daily Mass and reading the Bible. In the process, he asked God what he should do with his life and how he might use his talents in advertising to serve him.

At first, Peterson continued working in his own agency, Peterson Advertising Corp., while he started Virtue Media to produce pro-life messages. He also helped the Diocese of Phoenix with a campaign to invite people back to the Church.

Eventually, he went full-time with Catholics Come Home, giving up a lucrative income and selling both his homes to move to a smaller one. The apostolate, which includes Virtue Media, operates out of a donated office condo in Roswell, Ga., with one full-time staff member besides Peterson and a host of vendors, volunteers and part-time employees.

Since the startup — in addition to running four national campaigns — Peterson has helped 37 dioceses with Catholics Come Home efforts, and he is currently working with three more. In the 12 dioceses that have measured results, more than half a million people have returned to the faith.

The gold standard

Patrick Madrid

Patrick Madrid

Author, radio host and Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid said that to his knowledge no one has pitched a message asking Catholics and others to “come home” the way Peterson has.

Madrid said he has also been struck by the high quality of Peterson’s media work — so much so that when he first saw a presentation of Virtue Media’s pro-life commercials at a Phoenix parish several years ago, he immediately offered his support. Peterson later contacted Madrid, who now serves on the Catholics Come Home advisory board.

“He’s been able to catapult the level of quality so far forward that I would say Catholics Come Home has become the gold standard for outreach for Catholic causes,” Madrid said.

Through his speaking events and radio program, Madrid estimates he has met more than 100 people who have told him they returned to the Church after seeing a Catholics Come Home “evangomercial.”

“They say things like, ‘I can’t believe I saw this on a secular TV station. I was just watching sports and — wham! — here’s this Catholic commercial. I wasn’t looking for it, but it found me!’”

In the foreword to Peterson’s 2013 book, Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life (Image Books), author and theologian Scott Hahn said he believes all Catholics are being asked to take up the work that Catholics Come Home is doing.

Peterson said that although not everyone is called to leave a secular career to work for the Church, he believes Legates especially can assist the New Evangelization right where they are by opening doors in their dioceses for Catholics Come Home to be invited — or by organizing book studies or viewings of the Catholics Come Home TV series in their parishes.

He attributes the apostolate’s success to the Holy Spirit, rather than to his own abilities.

“The ingenuity of men only goes so far, but when an apostolate is obedient to the Holy Spirit, things happen above and beyond what any smart person could do.”

JUDY ROBERTS is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.

Learn more:

CatholicsComeHome.org

VirtueMedia.org

Why Be Catholic?

Popular author Patrick Madrid lays out 10 answers to this very important question . . .

MadridWhy Be Catholic?
Patrick Madrid
Image Books, 2014
240 pages, $22 hardcover

Subtitled Ten Answers to a Very Important Question, Madrid’s new book offers readers a way of looking at the Church — its members, teachings, customs, and history — from perspectives many may have never considered.

Growing up Catholic during a time of great social and theological upheaval and transition — a time in which countless Catholics abandoned their religion — Madrid learned a great deal about why people leave Catholicism and why others stay. He shares that experience and many other insights into what it is about the Catholic Church that some people reject, as well as those things that others treasure.

Order: Amazon, Image Books

On A Mission

Patrick Madrid’s new book draws remarkable lessons from St. Francis de Sales . . .

MadridOn A Mission
Patrick Madrid
Servant, 2013
138 pages, $15.99 paperback

In his new book, subtitled Lessons from St. Francis de Sales, Madrid uses the saint’s example to illustrate the zeal, principles, and attitude of one who sets out to live and share the faith. Christ sent his apostles to evangelize and, by virtue of our baptism, we are called to do the same.

The Legatus mission statement is a template for such a life. But how to start? How can we accomplish anything in today’s culture? Madrid shares his own time-tested methodology for teaching Catholics how to prepare themselves to learn, live and spread the faith.

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Envoy for Christ

Veteran evangelist Patrick Madrid shares his insights and experiences as an evangelist . . .

Envoy for Christ
Servant Books, 2012
392 pages, $19.99 paperback

Over the past 25 years, author and apologist Patrick Madrid has explained and defended the Catholic faith worldwide. Envoy for Christ is a fascinating look inside Catholic apologetics from his vantage point on the frontlines. A fixture on Catholic radio apologetics programs, Madrid covers a variety of topics from comparative religions to all things Catholic — and he includes insights into how his own thinking has matured over the years.

He points out that learning about our own faith and that of our detractors is basic to fulfilling our call to evangelize. Full of his “man on the street” observations, this book is a legacy of his far-reaching public ministry.

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Living the fullness of TRUTH

Legate Chris Aubert teaches what it means to be a real man through word and deed . . .

Chris Aubert recognized the human face of evil at a young age. His late father, Henri, told stories of surviving Buchenwald By playing the violin to entertain the SS, who also forced him to serenade prisoners making their death march to the “showers.” Among those who heard Henri play a prelude to a satanic symphony of screams were his parents and sister.

Fearing another Holocaust, his father named his son Christopher to obscure his Jewish identity. Aubert’s early lack of religious devotion obscured it all the more: His Bar mitzvah marked the last time he attended temple.

The American Holocaust

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo

Eventually the native New Yorker became a successful attorney in his adopted city of New Orleans. Living a self-centered life and splashing in the shallows of hedonism, Aubert didn’t think deeply about the two pregnancies he caused — the final solutions to which were the checks he wrote the abortionists.

“If I took a wrong turn in life, I justified it by saying something like, ‘Hey, everyone does it and no one got hurt, so what is the big deal?’ This excuse was used for frequent indiscriminate sex without love, guiltless partying of all kinds, and many other things for which today I am, frankly, embarrassed.”

Light first pierced Aubert’s soul in the early 1990s when he heard abortion referred to as “the American Holocaust.” Up to that point, abortion was an impersonal issue to him — just the purging of an inconvenient blob of tissue. But the Holocaust: That he knew on a deeply personal level. How could abortion even begin to compare with the nightmare from which his father never fully woke?

The question got him thinking about the big questions in life. Soon God became his first consideration. The decisive turnaround happened when he met his wife, Rhonda, a cradle Catholic who led him to the faith, which he embraced in 1997.

As for recognizing the evil of abortion, the watershed moment in Aubert’s conversion came when the father of six saw an ultrasound of his first child. “I want to meet the person who says that is not a baby!” he remembers saying out loud.

Ministry

Today Chris divides his time between his law practice and two non-profit ministries: Fullness of Truth and his personal ministry to men. His involvement with Fullness of Truth, a lay apostolate dedicated to the New Evangelization, was initiated through a series of serendipitous events born of a disaster — Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Auberts’ Louisiana home, so they moved to Texas.

There Aubert reconnected with his friend, Fullness of Truth cofounder Ken Zammit, who asked Aubert to help him jump-start the fledgling organization. Aubert did so — and more. Today, Fullness of Truth hosts parish and regional conferences to bring fallen-away Catholics back into the fold, to introduce non-Catholics to the faith, and to encourage and educate faithful Catholics.

“The conferences are incredible things,” Aubert said. “I’ve seen marriages changed, people throwing away their contraceptives and starting to have babies, conversions and vocations.”

Aubert is heartened by strong support for the ministry in dioceses like the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, where Cardinal Daniel DiNardo addressed a benefit dinner for the organization.

“Chris Aubert is a man whose deep conversion to the Catholic faith drew him into a genuine mission of proclaiming the beauty and dignity of all human life,” Cardinal DiNardo told Legatus magazine. “His reverence for life is a powerful witness to many, especially to men who desire a deeper friendship with Jesus.”

Chris Aubert and Patrick Madrid

Patrick Madrid, author and director of the Envoy Institute, frequently addresses Fullness of Truth conferences — most recently the June regional conference in Lafayette, La. That conference had an apologetics theme titled after Madrid’s book Where’s That in the Bible?

“I admire the fact that Chris wants others to avoid the problems he encountered in his previous life — especially pushing back the darkness about abortion,” said Madrid. “He’s also a very articulate and effective speaker. People need to be confronted in a genuine way, not candy-coated. He’s also a dedicated family man. Having met his wife and children, I can testify to the fact that he’s not a public face who promotes aspects of the faith but at home is different.”

Monsignor James Hart, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller, Texas, will host a Fullness of Truth conference at his parish in September. It will focus on teaching the Catholic faith. Monsignor Hart first became acquainted with Aubert after seeing him appear on EWTN’s The Journey Home, which features conversion stories. “He and Rhonda embody the faith, especially in their openness to life, which is a testimony to the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life,” he said.

Men and Abortion

Chris and Rhonda Aubert with their six children

Aubert speaks to thousands of men every year about abortion, spiritual fatherhood and what it means to be a Catholic gentleman.

“If they get me a ticket and a hotel room, I’m there,” he said. Speaking to men who have been affected by abortion is important, Aubert said, because “the number of men suffering silently is astronomical. I remember at the end of one talk there was an old man, maybe 75, standing at the side waiting over an hour until the line [of men waiting to talk with me] was over. He walks over to me and starts to cry, says ‘Thank you,’ and walks away. That guy had such a scar. It happens every time I talk about men and abortion.”

Aubert hopes to extend that message with the book he’s writing. The working title is Real Men Don’t Kill Their Kids.

Dorinda Bordlee, vice president and senior counsel for the Bioethics Defense Fund, said she admires Aubert for being “a witness to truth and life.”

“Like all of us, he’s made terrible mistakes,” said the New Orleans-based attorney. “But what makes him a man of character is that he learned from them and tries to prevent others from falling into the trap of abortion — and the pain it’s brought to women and the unborn children these men will never meet in this life.”

Matthew A. Rarey is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.

Rise of the new atheism

Patrick Madrid writes that the new atheists’ arguments against God are empty . . .

Patrick Madrid

In recent decades, atheism has become steadily more acceptable and even fashionable in the U.S. Spurring its credibility is that the atheist worldview has become entrenched in academia and is drummed incessantly into the minds of students — as early as grade school.

Young people are presented with a false option: Either you believe in God (synonymous with “superstition,” “ignorance,” and being “anti-scientific”) or you believe in science and reason. And if you believe in science and reason, you can’t believe in God because science has “disproved” the existence of God. Science thus becomes for many a de facto religion.

Christians readily admit that we owe a great debt of gratitude to science and scientists. (I, for one, thank God that I live in the era of Advil and air conditioning.) But science cannot answer every question. For example: “Does God exist?” “Do human beings have immortal souls?” What happens after death?” Science deals strictly with the physical realm — material things that are observable and measurable. This is why it is utterly unscientific to imagine that science can detect the existence of a God who is pure spirit.

When I began doing research for my recent book, The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism, I immersed myself in atheist literature. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. Wading through multiple book-length attacks against belief in God is akin to getting one’s teeth drilled without Novocain. Atheism’s specious arguments and woefully unwarranted conclusions based on those arguments are tedious, even tortuous.

“How can such otherwise intelligent, even brilliant, people fall for this illogic?” I asked myself repeatedly as I slogged through the various arguments raised by atheist authors. From the “problem of evil,” to the boast that science has conclusively “disproved” the existence of God (a scientific impossibility), to the notion that “religion kills” (it doesn’t, though some “religious” people do), to the claim that “faith is irrational and antiscientific” (Pope John Paul II demolished that canard in his 1998 encyclical Fides et Ratio), I studied every significant atheist argument I could find. I found myself underwhelmed.

Why? Not simply because these arguments have been decisively refuted in works such as Peter Kreeft’s and Ronald Tacelli SJ’s Handbook of Catholic Apologetics and Edward Feser’s The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. More importantly, it’s because, as a philosophical system, atheism is incoherent.

Best-selling atheist books like Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great suffer from this incoherence in varying degrees. They argue that God cannot exist because only material things exist. This is the naturalist worldview upon which atheism rests. By demonstrating that naturalism is false, it becomes easier to show why theism, not atheism, is the truly rational option.

Naturalism claims that only material things exist. And yet, it is self-evident that love, happiness, human rights, good and evil are real though immaterial. To be consistent, atheists are forced to argue that these things are just electrically charged chemical reactions inside the brain.

But if that were true, then there could be no such thing as “good” or “evil,” only behavior with which you agree or disagree. And if that were true, then there would be no use in appealing to “right” or “wrong” because those are nothing more than chemical processes inside the brain. In an atheist universe where God doesn’t exist, slavery, theft, murder, and cutting down rain forests would not be “evil” or “wrong.” They would simply be behaviors you dislike. Not even an atheist would want to live in that universe.

Christianity can account for the moral law, just as it can account for other immaterial realities such as love, knowledge and human rights. These can exist only if God exists. The only “rights” someone living in an atheist world could possibly possess would be those he wrested for himself through violence. When the atheist worldview claws its way to ascendancy in a given culture, sweeping away all restraints of religion, morality and human rights, we see the rise of murderous totalitarian regimes. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. Remember them?

Just as atheist arguments based on science hit the bull’s-eye on the wrong target, their denial of God’s existence based on the “problem of evil” (if God exists, how can he permit evil? Either he is not good, in which case he is not God, or he doesn’t exist) is also incoherent. If God doesn’t exist, “good” and “evil” are meaningless terms. We can only measure degrees of perfection in relation to some ultimate standard — the way we know a line is crooked by comparing it to a straight line.

The atheist challenge won’t fade any time in the foreseeable future. If anything, it will gain momentum and influence. But Catholics and other Christians should “be not afraid” to evangelize our increasingly atheistic culture with the truth that faith and reason are compatible. Our task includes pointing out that God either exists or He doesn’t. There is no third option. By demonstrating that atheism is false, we open the door for atheists to embrace the only other option.

Patrick Madrid is co-author of “The Godless Delusion.” He serves as the director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College and hosts the Thursday edition of EWTN Radio’s “Open Line” broadcast (3-5 pm ET).