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Unit 28/Podcast

Grace, Heresies, and Avoiding Extremes with Fr. Stephen Pullis

In this podcast, we’re joined by Fr. Stephen Pullis to discuss better catechesis on grace and its relationship to our effort.

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Show Notes

Show Notes: 

(00:00) In the intro to this episode, host Edmund Mitchell welcomes Father Stephen Pullis to discuss the grace in the context of evangelization and catechesis. Father Pullis shares insights from his experience in the Archdiocese of Detroit, highlighting the challenge of moving beyond traditional classroom catechesis to foster lifelong discipleship and what he’s learned exploring ways to integrate faith into daily life in a postmodern world, acknowledging both successes and mistakes in this uncharted territory.

(03:35) In this segment, Edmund and Father delve into the importance of grace, particularly in the context of catechists, for parish workers, and those exploring Christianity. They focus on the intricate nature of grace, discussing its dual aspects—God’s aid and human merit. Edmund expresses concerns about potential pitfalls and asks Father for tips on explaining grace, especially to those new to the faith. Father Pullis emphasizes that grace is God’s life freely given to humanity, an initiative that shapes the entire Christian narrative. He stresses the Christocentric nature of faith, highlighting that Jesus is the primary actor, breaking into our lives and making possible our cooperation. The conversation explores the transformative power of grace, illustrating God’s desire to help, irrespective of our circumstances.

(07:13) In this segment, Edmund and Father discuss the hope and love found in God’s initial act of grace. They acknowledge that despite intellectual understanding and faith, living out church teachings can be challenging, leading to potential traps. The conversation delves into the heresy of Pelagianism, where individuals wrongly believe they must solely earn salvation through their efforts, neglecting God’s primary role. Father Pullis introduces Neo-Pelagianism, a modern challenge wherein people view the spiritual life as independent of God, taking on the burden themselves. 

(11:05) During this part of the podcast, Edmund and Father discuss the beauty of embracing apparent contradictions in faith, like God’s initiative and human cooperation. The conversation turns practical, exploring the challenge of integrating faith into daily life, dealing with sin, and aspiring to holiness. Father Pullis suggests using examples from the lives of the saints to help people see ways these beliefs can be translated into practical everyday life. 

(16:43) In this conclusion to the podcast, Edmund and Father Pullis offer a few last bits of practical advice for catechists on teaching grace. They emphasize avoiding extremes, finding balance between God’s initiative and human cooperation, and again discuss using saints as practical examples. Fr. Pullis notes common ground with Protestant beliefs on grace and encourages a simple, trusting approach to living with God. The conversation concludes with a mention of Sacred Heart Major Seminary’s online courses that are available at shms.edu. The host invites listeners to engage with Real+True by commenting on the video on youtube.


Continue this Unit


Are people inherently good or evil?


What is God’s plan for salvation?


Does God expect us to be perfect?

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