U.28 — CCC 1949-2051
In this podcast, we’re joined by Fr. Stephen Pullis to discuss better catechesis on grace and its relationship to our effort.Watch
Deacon Bob Rice, professor of Catechetics at Franciscan University of Steubenville, joins us to dive into the heart of catechesis, what our youth are most hungry for, how we can share the Gospel with those far from God, and how to make the bridge between dogma and everyday life.
(00:12) Edmund kicks off the episode by introducing the guest: Deacon Bob Rice. He’s a Catholic deacon, professor, podcaster, speaker, musician, and author at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Edmund starts the conversation by asking Deacon Bob, “How did you first discover the Catechism?” Deacon Bob shares his mystical experience while reading the Catechism for the first time, and emphasizes that it’s an expression of the deposit of faith and not the deposit of faith itself.
(06:50) The importance of the preparation step: “Catechesis is oftentimes almost presented like an answer to a question no one was asking.” Deacon Bob and Edmund discuss the Ecclesial method and the importance of preparation in catechesis. They stress the need to understand the audience and their struggles instead of focusing solely on programs. Deacon Bob emphasizes that we need to see the goodness in people and treat catechesis as a way to build relationships and understand their needs.
(14:55) “How do you know when it’s time to talk about Jesus?” Deacon Bob emphasizes that building relationships and understanding people is key to evangelizing effectively. He reminds us that everyone is made in the image and likeness of God and shares the importance of seeing the good in others. “Culture is made up of men and women who are made in the image and likeness of God.“
(20:33) Formally handing on the faith: advice to parents, teachers, and catechists. Dcn. Rice gives us his insights into how to bring “dogma into everyday life.” He shares, “love how the Catechism is structured. Morality is called Life in Christ. So it’s about being like Jesus.” He gives us three things to keep in mind: First, “Always make it about Jesus.” Second, use the beauty of your own witness and that of the saints. Third, connect everything to the Gospel message.
(26:57) “What do you see as the hunger in our youth?” Our guest shares that he sees human contact as the greatest hunger right now with young people. Additionally, he adds “truth and being able to trust the source” are dynamics young people struggle with right now.
Edmund: Hi everyone, and welcome back to The Real and True Podcast. I’m one of your co-hosts, Edmond Mitchell, and I’m here today with Deacon Bob Rice. Deacon, thank you so much for being here.
Deacon Bob Rice: Yeah, it’s awesome to be here with you, Edmund.
Edmund: Man, this is such a joy. This is like one of the first times I’ve done something in this capacity with someone who is a professor of mine and someone I looked up to, so this is really special…
Deacon Bob Rice: And, and a professor of your father, I feel like I’m, I’m teaching the whole Mitchell family. Yeah, exactly.
Edmund: That’s right. And we, we share a similar name, although he goes by Ed and I think you thought that I was in the Master’s program or something, or,
Deacon Bob Rice: Well, you know, when I saw another Edmund Mitchell, I thought, “Oh, I guess I have you as a student again.”
Edmund: Yeah. Yeah. That’s funny. Yeah. Um, well, today I would love to talk, um, about the Catechism, obviously, but talk a little bit about, um, more effective catechesis. But first I would love, I’ve heard you tell the story of how you first encountered the Catechism, and I would love if you could share that story.
Deacon Bob Rice: Oh, right. Yeah. I, um, well, because I’m old, I was around when the Catechism came out. Yeah. Uh, and I actually remember the day, it was a Tuesday, uh, I think it was in April of 1994. And at the time I was in Orlando, Florida, I was working, I was working at a comedy club, but I was also playing in a band. So all my nights were like late evening nights. And so I’d come home at like 1:00 or 2:00 AM and the only thing at that time that was on was CNN. It was the only 24 hour station that was on. And I remember they had a news story about this new book that the Catholic Church was coming out with, uh, that has all the teachings of Catholicism and they haven’t done something like this in 500 years. So I thought this was great, cuz at the time, I, you know, this was before I came to Franciscan and then got my Master’s degree and other things about really learning about my Catholic faith. Previous to the Catechism, it was really hard to figure out what the Church taught. And now this is also previous to the internet Like, just information generally was hard. Like, it really felt like you had to read about 12 different Encyclicals and some Vatican II documents. And even then in ministry circles, there were a lot of fights about what did the Church teach, what didn’t the Church teach? And that was, you know, one of the great gifts of the Catechism. It’s easy to take for granted now, but now we can just pick up a book and say, uh, that’s what the Church teaches. Thank you Jesus for that.
Edmund: And I have relatives who, it just seemed like it depended on what priest they talked to at the time, too.
Deacon Bob Rice: Yeah. Right. And it depended on their formation and what seminary they went to and what they heard in the class. So, so it was a bit of, I mean, it was kind of crazy at the time in terms of doing ministry, just trying to figure out with great clarity, you know, what did the Church teach on these things? So I had a lot of questions, like a lot of people my age did, a lot of people around that time did. So I heard it was coming out, and I just figured that every Catholic in the world, you know, watched CNN, knew the book was gonna come out and would be rushing to the bookstore. I set my alarm for Tuesday morning to try to make it to the bookstore, and I slept in, and I remember waking up being like really upset. Like, oh no, they’re gonna be sold out. And at the time I also hadn’t had a lot of, you know, I was working, um, with a group called Young Life, which was an evangelical Protestant ministry, and I loved being Catholic, but that was a lot of my, my background, at least my friends. So the, the bookstore I used to go to was called Long’s Baptist Bible Bookstore. And so I showed up like Tuesday afternoon, like mid-morning, and I said, do you have any Catechisms of the Catholic Church? And the woman just stared at me like, “No.” And I was like, “Oh, did you sell out?” And she was like, “We don’t sell that book here.” And I said, “Well, where do I get one?” And she went, “You should go to a Catholic bookstore.” And I went, “There are Catholic bookstores? This is so exciting.” So then I had to look in the phone book, like, where’s the Catholic bookstore? And I’d never been in one before. I mean, this show’s kind of like the, the lack of formation I had myself, even though I grew up in a Catholic family, I went to a Catholic high school. It’s just, you know, sad in retrospect that I missed out in some of those things. But I found it, it was a very small store. I remember they had a lot of statues in it, and like a stack of Catechisms that I swear I, I remember like there being cobwebs on them. I don’t know how that could be. I mean, there were there maybe for an hour, but that just was the vibe of the store. Yeah. And, um, and I read it, I read it cover to cover, and it was, it was like a mystical experience/ I mean, it was so exciting to read revelation, like, to read the truth, you know, especially, you know, as you were mentioning, and a lot of people my age would say this, like, it depended on what parish you went to. It depended on what homily you heard. You know, there wasn’t really a great unified source of this is the beauty of the Church’s teaching. And, and I really think, um, man, the Catechism has had such a powerful impact on lives. You know, even now in ministry now we’re arguing about what’s the best way to do ministry? Not what’s the best thing to say in ministry. And that wow is a much better fight to have, you know, like, you know, what’s, what’s a more effective methodology is way cooler than what does the Church teach on this? And what should we say about this? That’s one of the great gifts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Edmund: When you were reading through it, did you just sit down and plow through a ton of pages? Was it a little bit at, like, what was your experience? Was it front, you know, cover to cover?
Deacon Bob Rice: I did a bit. I did a section a day, and I just made it part of my prayer time, you know, so I was praying the rosary at the time. So I, you know, I kind of switched out. I used to do like Bible studies every day, and I just switched it to Catechism studies every day. And I think that’s an important way to do it. You know, there is one, there is one way that you can grab the Catechism, pull it off the shelf, go through the index. Oh, I always wanted to know about this 23,22. Oh, that’s what the Church teaches. Well, that’s nice. But for me it was, I wanted, because though it’s not, it, so the Catechism is an expression of the deposit of faith. It’s not the deposit of faith, but it’s an expression of it. And, you know, 70% of the footnotes are Ccripture. So it really is an expression of the Word of God. And I think it’s important to reverently approach it in that way, in a, in a prayerful manner, because Jesus can speak to you through this truth. He wants to, it’s why he revealed it. That’s, that’s how he spoke to me. And I mean, it was just, it was absolutely profound the way it changed my life, you know? Yeah. Reading through th Catechism that way.
Edmund: Uh, growing up, I was raised Catholic, but, you know, I had, I went to CCD with volunteer catechists who were very poorly trained. They were just kind of handed, uh, the ACRE test and a box of crayons and a textbook.
Deacon Bob Rice: Right. And good luck, kids.
Edmund: We ended up throwing the crayons around… And, uh, I’ve experienced this with other people as well. Their opinion of the Catechism, or even just catechesis, is oftentimes and evangelization, it’s oftentimes almost presented like an answer to a question no one was asking. Like, you know, I’m in CCD and my teacher says, “did you know…” I mean, this is like opening up the class. Right? “Hello? Class today we’re talking about, did you know the fact that Jesus never sinned?” And it’s like, well, Jesus didn’t live with my sister. Okay. And like, right. I don’t know what that has to do, why I would care. Like, good for him. Yeah. And, um, so I was really interested in us knowing that you’re such a creative person and, you know, a speaker, a musician. You’ve been involved in so many different creative projects in catechesis. You know, I would love to talk a little bit about the importance of the preparation step, right? Or the importance of how to approach, cuz it’s the same content, but there’s work that be, can be done to prepare someone to receive the content. So I wonder if you could maybe just describe the preparation, the ecclesial method and the preparation step really briefly for people.
Deacon Bob Rice: Absolutely. And I would say it begins with knowing your audience. Um, and, and that you can’t skip over that. You know, I think sometimes, particularly in the United States, we’re very, we’re very program focused and not people focused. And so we wanna create a template. We want to create whatever it is that you can just say, if I do this, this, and this, then this happens. You know, it, it will equal this. And I think that’s the first step before any, every, everything goes wrong. Because I need to know what is this person’s life that who I’m talking to? What are they suffering with? What are they wondering about? What do they need to hear? I I think that’s, that’s really the, the crux of it because in terms of a preparation step, I need to know where they are to prepare them for what they are about to hear. And, and if they don’t know Jesus, like if they don’t have a relationship with Jesus, if they don’t wanna grow an intimacy with Jesus Christ, well then whatever’s in my curriculum really isn’t important. Right. Then, you know, it’s kind of like, I feel like we, we often try to put furniture in a house that isn’t built. And, and we can too often treat catechesis like education. And in education, you, you go in there and you’re told what you’re supposed to wonder about and what the answer to that is. You know, you go into a history class and I don’t know anything about history, so just tell me what I’m supposed to know and, and as the attitude, right? But catechesis, as St. John Paul II said is about intimacy with Jesus Christ. You, you have to have an in, you have to have a desire, um, a need that’s there that you’re looking for God to fulfill. And so when I’m talking particularly maybe with people who are like younger in the journey, I’m trying to figure out, well, what is their felt need? You know, what is the thing that they’re dealing with in their life? And I wanna find ways to connect Jesus into those moments in their life because the Catechism is just Jesus. You know, Jesus is the mediator and sum total of all revelation. And it’s always geared towards intimacy. It’s always geared towards love. I love that opening quote. You know, that the whole concern of doctrine, uh, must be directed towards the love that never ends. It’s not directed towards trivia. And that was a very nice class. Thank you very much. It’s directed towards the love that never ends. And love means you have to have a person there. And so I think one of the most important things to prepare somebody for the message is there’s a relationship of love. You know, we use the word sometimes accompaniment, you know? …which is kind of a buzzword. And Pope Francis uses it a lot, but I like actually the root of the word accompaniment in Latin is “to break bread with.” And it’s that encounter moment community wherein if I’m, if I’m breaking bread with them, if I’m connecting with them, if I know what they need, then I as the catechist can draw from the riches of divine revelation and help satisfy that need in maybe a way they didn’t expect. Cuz they all need Jesus. They just don’t know they need Jesus. Yeah. And so if a young person is lonely, well, what does that have to do with Jesus? And I’m with you always until the end of time. And so those would be some of the ways that I would approach maybe having catechesis be a bit more effective than it might be.
Edmund: Yeah. Are there certain, um, you know, I know people who, or maybe in, even in my experience where I have certain friends, but I’m not exactly sure. I wonder what the next step is. Right. If someone hears this and says, okay, I have this friend I want, I’m feeling called to evangelize or want to be a good, um, influence in their life and feeling this missionary zeal, but, and I, and I’m hearing you say, what are their needs? Yep. But I don’t know how to, what’s the next step? Like, how do I even have that conversation? Like, we just play ba we just play basketball, I go over his house, we drink a beer, and that’s it. Yeah. Um, like how do I get to that? And, and what, what types of needs or needs that are worth, um, talking more about?
Deacon Bob Rice: Well, I think you’re always looking, you know, all of us have different needs in our life. And then the real question is, in a relationship, can there be a place of vulnerability, um, where somebody might share with you, um, you know, whatever’s going on in their life or whatever’s happening. And can you, in a loving way, bring Christ into it? I, I think the first step is always prayer. And even the Catechism itself talks about, in that fourth section of the Catechism, it says, everything that we believe in the creed, celebrating the sacraments live in reality, it all comes together in prayer. And I remember hearing actually a talk by Cardinal Schönborn, who was one of the primary editors of the Catechism. And he said, always start with the fourth section of the Catechism. It’s always about prayer. And I think in a practical evangelistic experience, just praying with somebody is a huge first step of grace. You know, because because passing on for the faith is a movement of grace and the movement of the Holy Spirit. And so even just having the courage, if they’re struggling just to say, Hey, bro, can I just say a quick prayer? And they’re not gonna say no, they might be a little weirded out, but then, you know, don’t pull out the rosary beads, you know, just say, “Jesus, I’m just so thankful for my friend. He’s really struggling. I hope that you help him, give him your peace. Amen.” That is, that’s allowing the Holy Spirit to come in, in a powerful way. And I think it’s in those very small ways that we can eventually end up with the kinds of more tangible discussions, you know, that can really reveal the faith in a deeper way.
Edmund: That’s awesome. I, um, with the three videos that we write for Real+True, we were, I was, you know, obviously greatly influenced by going to Franciscan and the ecclesial method and trying to loosely like, how would that influence the way we would created these video. And obviously can’t replace, you know, personal accompaniment. But the idea was like, could we create, instead of just diving straight into the content of the catechism, could we create this first video that just would rouse curiosity that you could imagine sending to a friend and just talking about, oh, isn’t that, isn’t that interesting? Like that, that’s kind of cool. Like, um, and then potentially could dive into a deeper conversation. So things like, you know, what, you know, ancient practices of death, you know, the art of dying, this like, uh, text from the medieval times, the, you know, call and response in music, and why is that so powerful for us to have this call and response, you know, in, in concerts and stuff. Um, but I wonder, two questions. I’m gonna do an unfair thing. Two questions. I wonder how you, you’re such a creative person, like how do you distinguish a good idea, something to look for in pop culture, current events? Uh, like an artistic idea from a bad one? Like how do you decide something like that? Obviously the person, what their interests are, but, and I guess my, that, that’s my follow up question, which might be begging the answer, but like, like how do you know that, that you’ve done that well? Like, how do you know you’ve given enough, um, time to stir up that curiosity that you, like? What should you look for? What should, when do you know to like, all right, now I might wanna start talking about Jesus, like I’m, this, this is getting close enough Yeah. To sharing, Hey, as a Catholic, I believe this about the human person,
Deacon Bob Rice: Right? Yeah. So the, to answer the first question, um, and you mentioned it, uh, you kind of passed through it, but I think it’s really key, and I’m curious if you have even feedback on the videos that you use, even though what you’re doing is a video series. It’s exactly what you said. That it’s the kind of video that somebody who loves the Lord can say, my friend would be interested in this video, and I’m gonna send it to my friend so that I could then have a conversation with them. And I think that’s one of the real gifts, particularly of those first videos that you guys do in Real+True. Like, it, maybe there’s gonna be folks who stumble upon it, maybe. Um, but I think more often than not, it would be the case that somebody sees it and goes, “That’s great. Oh my gosh, Fred would love this.” You know, or this, yeah. And so they use it as an in, as a hook, or there’s people who are on their faith journey, but sadly, sometimes a lot of folks on their faith journey, they might not have good catechists near ’em, good support. They, they went to a conference, they went to a retreat, and now because of the relationships of others, they’re able to build on the information that’s present. So, uh, I, it’s always comes back, I think, to those relationships that are key. And I think resources like what you’re creating are a great follow through if they’ve had the relationships in the first place. My favorite quote from, uh, the Second Vatican council, I know we all have one, but is, uh, is from their document on missionary activity. And it says that the missionary lay bears, the seeds of the word that lie hiddens among their fellows. And the attitude is this culture, pop culture, whatever the culture is, culture is made up of men and women who are made in the image and likeness of God. Somewhere along the way, the, even if they’re not trying, there’s something good about it. Like, like we, we end up, because we’re made in the image and likeness of God, we, we default to goodness like superhero movies, for example, right? Like, they’re always gonna be willing to sacrifice themselves for somebody else. Isn’t that interesting? Like, why is that? It’s cuz we were created by a God who greatest act of love, he sacrificed himself. And so that’s, that’s written in our heart whether we wanna accept that or not. But so therefore, in everything that, you know, not everything, but in many things in culture, we can find those seeds. And I think that’s the real key thing about it, that instead of proclaiming a foreign God, you know, a God who’s somewhere else, I can say, actually God is among you. And look and look and here are the seeds. Now that means we have to dig. Sometimes our hands get dirty doing it. You know, we might read a book that we’re not that big a fan of, or watching some movies that we’re like, eh, it’s okay. But we find those things and that’s a more effective connection to somebody who’s living in the culture than maybe the other extreme, which would be like a, um, oh, everything in your culture is so gross. You know, you need to just ban all your TV channels except for EWTN, and, uh, you know, like, and, and just like create this weird Christian pseudo culture, you know, well, you’ll be safe and everything you watch is gonna be good and you know, only listen to the Christian radio station and et cetera, et cetera. Now, by the way, if that’s your life and you’re listening to it, praise God, that’s kind of mine too. I pretty much just listen to The Message on Sirius XM all the time. But that’s my choice, right? Like, that’s, that’s where the Lord has brought me. But we’re talking about evangelization, we’re talking about reaching to people who are living in a different culture. And so this goes to the second part of it. How do you know? Well, you judge a tree by its fruits, first of all, you know, is it being effective? Um, are they being drawn more to the true, the good, the beautiful, you know, that that’s present. You know, are we just inviting them into, into this world and into the culture? And then the how question really is a supernatural moment. You just need to keep, um, asking the Holy Spirit. But I love the scripture in 1 Peter where it says, “Proclaim Christ, wholy in your hearts and always have a reason, ready to give for the hope that you have received.” In a sense that St. Peter is saying, if you live boldly, if you live a life of joyful holiness, at some point they’re gonna ask you what’s so different about you. And when that moment happens, you should be ready. You shouldn’t be going, oh, I don’t know. I just, you know, coffee. You know, like you can say, you have to have the courage to say, you know what? It’s actually my relationship with Jesus. Like, it’s really changed me, and I find a greater peace in him than, than I knew before, really falling more deeply in love with him. The beautiful thing about a witness is you can’t argue a witness like it’s your witness. If that’s how you feel, they can’t be like, no, you don’t. Right? And, and it, it arouses curiosity and eventually it makes them say, can I have that in my life? And that’s when you can really have some beautiful conversations.
Edmund: Yeah. You’ve always done such a great job. I mean, you’re, uh, as a teacher and then you’ve also have a lot of experience in youth ministry and speaking, and you’ve always done such a great job of pulling from pop culture, you know, Star Wars and Dr. Who and all, all these things.
Deacon Bob Rice: Um, I was so glad they came back. It was a gift of the Lord that I grew up as a Star Wars kid. And just as I was getting into ministry, the prequels came back. I’m like, thank you Jesus, you’re just so good to me. I really, I really went out a step when Twilight got popular. I’m like, oh man, don’t have to read that nonsense.
Edmund: But, oh man, I didn’t read any of that. Um, so, so we talked briefly about, you know, you’re accompanying someone and these things are coming up naturally. What about, uh, people who are listening who might be either formal catechists or maybe they’re teachers or I mean, uh, yeah. Teachers or, um, parents. I’m thinking of parents, like, there’s so many opportunities where, you know, there’s a feast day there’s something that I do want to introduce to my kids, and I, and I don’t want to just, uh, answer an unanswered an unasked question, you know? And so then I kind of, okay, well, how could I open this up and, and make, and and you had mentioned before, you know, it obviously depends on the age, that’s a big factor in it, right? But what I, I wonder what other factors or what other things you think about when you’re trying to attach, um, or you’re trying to open up a specific dogma. And, and what I’m thinking about in particular is one of my favorite quotes, actually, I don’t even think it’s a quote, but it’s just basically a summary of the book, Pope Benedict’s Dogma and Preaching. And, in part of it, it was talking about either the Forward, or in the book, it talks about how the path from dogma to everyday life, or the, it argues that the path from dogma to proclamation or preaching has become very troublesome. And finding ways to relate dogma to everyday life can be really challenging. Yeah. And so some people either just get rid of it all together and just go with just some anecdotes and just some like, kind of positive life advice, or they’re, or, or they’re just like, this is the dogma word for word, and then that’s it, you know? So I wonder when you’re starting from something that you wanna present to someone. How to find that path, how to find the path between the dogma and someone’s everyday life, and how to open it up and prepare them to kind of hear it.
Deacon Bob Rice: Yeah, no, that’s a great question. So there’s, there’s like three things that come to mind with this. Um, and depending on the dogma or the teaching, I think first of all, it’s always about Jesus. And we’re always talking about a person. All the dogmas are deeper explanations of who Jesus is. And that’s why I love even how the Catechism is structured. You know, like, like morality is called Life in Christ. So it’s about being like Jesus. It’s not like, here’s 10 commandments that somebody wrote on stone at one point. It’s like, here’s Jesus, here’s how to be like Jesus. You know, the sacraments are called Living the Christian Mysteries, like the mysteries of Jesus. Because everything that Jesus did when he was alive at the time, that he still does through the Church in a sacrament, he heals, he forgives, he saves, you know, he’s present in the, you know, his body and his blood. And so it’s always about, so the first thing I would say is always make it about Jesus. You’re never teaching a quote unquote topic. You’re teaching about a person. That’s the intimacy. You’re growing in love with the person. The second thing I would say, and I think Pope Francis really talks about this wonderfully, is the beauty of being like Jesus, which brings in your own witness. You know, as St. Paul II said, modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, but to teachers only if they’re witnesses. So how has this feast Day teaching dogma changed your life? How does it make it approach your life in a more joyful and beautiful way? And sometimes we have to ask ourselves those questions too, right? Like, how am I reflecting this in life? And so I think if you’re focused on Jesus, if you’re using the beauty of the witness of your life, and by the way, also the lives of saints, I think are great to bring into this. Like how, how are they affected by this? And the third thing is it’s always connecting to that Gospel message of a God who loves us, uh, who gave himself to save us, who invites us into everlasting life. You know, Pope Francis always said, like, that’s the, and as did Benedict as John Paul II, like the core of the catechetical message is the Kerygma. You know, that basic Gospel message, I think that roots you with the right framework to then talk about anything in the faith. And it’s gonna be more effective. Without that, I mean, you can think, well, what if we don’t mention Jesus? What if it’s not connected to the Gospel message? What if it’s not about my witness? That’s when I think we get educational and not catechetical. Educational, at the end of that, you go, “that’s interesting. I never knew that before.” Catechetical should be, “Wow. I didn’t know God loved me that much, or I didn’t know I could have that kind of relationship with God.” And I think even when you read the Catechism, it’s implicit that the catechist would be able to do that and, and bring that to the, you know, bring that to the attention and to the hearts of people that they’re ministering with always in that context of prayer. So I would say, Jesus, the beauty of your witness and saints keeping it focused on the gospel message using that, um, it’s gonna be way more effective than without.
Edmund: That’s awesome. That reminds me of, um, when Peter, you know, preaches after Pentecost. At Pentecost, and then at the end of, you know, he’s talking about Jesus, he’s explaining what’s happened, and then, and then everyone says, what must we do? And I found that often in youth ministry or with my kids or with friends, that when you start explaining things in light of Jesus, oftentimes there’s this kind of like, so what are we supposed to do? Like, it’s like they’re excited. Like, like, oh, he offers this to you, he wants this for you, he want, and it’s like, oh, so what do I, what do I do about that?
Deacon Bob Rice: People aren’t looking for a philosophy. People aren’t looking for a club to belong to. People aren’t looking for a new way of morality. They’re looking for a relationship with the God who made them. And that’s why, you know, I’m convinced most of our problems in catechesis is we spend more time talking about what God wants of us than who God is. Because what God wants of us makes this to be a really kind of difficult and ugh. But who God is helps us fall in love. If I talked about the what of my marriage, you know, I gotta pick up kids, I gotta take out the garbage. I have to, you know, make more money to cover these fees. You know, it just sounds like, oh, that sounds really bad. When you talk about the who of my marriage, how much I love my wife, how much I love my kids, the sacrifices, I mean, they’re still there, but that’s okay cuz I’m in love.
Edmund: No, no. Very few people. If you just listed out all the what’s of marriage would be like, that’s what I want.
Deacon Bob Rice: Right, exactly.
Edmund: But it is, if you lay a picture of the person they love in front of ’em, they’re like, no, that that’s who I want.
Deacon Bob Rice: Amen.
Edmund: Um, so I wonder maybe to, at the threat of speaking in generalities, but in your experience, we’re, we’re trying to reach millennials, gen Z, you know, young adults. And I wonder what spiritual needs or hungers you see, uh, in culture or pop culture or in some of these areas, like what, what things do you, uh, see that other obviously there’s always these universal right hungers, but are there any particular things that, is there, is there anything that you have been noticing or thinking about? Uh, I know I’m throwing this question at you…
Deacon Bob Rice: But No, no, it’s a great question. Well, I would say there’s two things. Um, one of them is human contact, and I think some of that’s just a, a follow through from Covid, you know? Mm-hmm. Like, you know, you could, you could describe many people in younger generations as almost relationally anorexic. You know, they just don’t know how to have them, they don’t know what it looks like. And really the beauty of Christian friendship, brotherhood, sisterhood, uh, fraternity, you know, in that kind of sense, um, is something they’re missing. And they might not even know they’re missing it. You know, they don’t even see examples of people in, in great relationships, but the shows that they flock to, I mean, some of the most popular shows right now are The Office and Friends. And what are they attracted to? …The relationships of the people in there, you know? Yeah. They like the fact that Jim and Dwight keep making fun of each other, but they’re, but they’re still friends, you know, in that context, you know, um, there’s something beautiful about, like, they’re gravitating towards larger ensemble shows where people are in relation with each other and Yeah. Um, and I think our faith communities could fulfill that. If we could find a way to, to step forward into it. I’d say the other thing that they’re looking for is, is truth and being able to trust the source. You know, in this crazy informa, you know, it’s, it’s kinda like we see it almost in an extreme, maybe with an older generation of, “I believe Fox News,” “I believe CNN,” you know? I like, because we can no longer trust anything, where can I zone into and who can I believe? Who earns my trust? And so sadly they’re willing to go down the rabbit hole with some things because they’re just looking for some kind of certitude of this is the way the world is, this is how I should see the world, this is how I should behave in the world. And I think that’s actually one of our biggest challenges because younger people generally don’t trust authority. You know, I mean, we’ve, we’ve raised generations of conspiracy theorists, and so just the fact that the church says so, almost gives them a disinclination to think that it’s right. It’s almost an immediate, like, “I don’t think that can be true.” And that’s why I’m really glad a lot of what you’re doing in your videos is trying to hit it a little bit more with curiosity and philosophy. I think the biggest problem in our society isn’t theology, it’s philosophy. People, if you can’t think the right way, then you’re never gonna find Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And so in some ways, we need to help them think about thinking and thinking the correct way. And that lays the framework, you know, I mean, even just the name of your ministry, Real+True, I think directly speaks to what many younger generations are looking. I don’t want, I don’t want a sound bite, I don’t wanna spin. Show me something real, show me something true. And I mean, that’s why I’m so excited about the ministry you guys are doing. I think it’s really heading in a great direction.
Edmund: Well, thanks so much. Well, this was great. I wish we could talk for another hour because there’s, there’s so many good things you said that I think we could like go off on tangents and, and so much greatness there. But…
Deacon Bob Rice: I’ll come back another time.
Edmund: Okay, good. Perfect. There you go. Uh, so do you mind sharing, where can people go to find, you have lots of different projects you’re working on. You, uh, teach writers, speaker, musician, like all these things.
Deacon Bob Rice: Podcast, whatnots, interpretive dance videos,
Edmund: Two, two podcasts. Just to mention, I wanna mention these, the, um, uh, one where you interview deacons and then with Fr. Dave Father Dave Povonk. Those are two wonderful podcasts,
Deacon Bob Rice: ‘They That Hope’ with my good friend Fr. Dave Povonk, who’s the president of Franciscan. We do a weekly podcast that’s about a half hour. We jokingly refer to it as ESPN meets EWTN. Uh, we talk about sports, we talk about culture, we talk about the faith. And a lot of what we’re trying to do here is just present it in a hopeful and loving way. And then occasionally I’ve got a podcast called Speaking with Deacons, uh, where I talk with other deacons about matters of faith. Right now I’m going through a wonderful book by Fr. Mike Scanlan called ‘What Does God Want?’ It’s about discernment. And so how can we discern God’s will in our life, but also as people in ministry help them discern things? And deaconbobrice.com is the website. I’ve got music, articles, podcasts, just check that out. It’d be fun.
Edmund: Well, everyone, that was a fantastic episode with Deacon Bob Rice. If you enjoyed this episode, you can find many more like it anywhere podcasts are hosted. But also I encourage you to go check out our website at realtrue.org. You can find all the podcasts there as well, as well as all the other videos we’re making, all the other content we’re making and resources. So go check out realtrue.org and we just wanna remind you the Real True is a project of Our Sunday Visitor under the patronage of the Holy See. And we thank you so much for tuning in, and we’ll see you on the next episode.
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