Aleteia

A fast take on ‘All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters’ with Pat Gohn

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Hot off the presses this week, here's a book for the person in your life who needs a reason to stay

Aleteia posed six questions to Pat Gohn, writer, speaker and catechist about her book, All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters, published by Ave Mara Press, due out on March 3rd.

1) What inspired the book?  

This book is a lot of what I’ve learned in the last twenty years about the elasticity of my own faith in Jesus, and the beauty of Catholicism, but especially what that means after the disappointments and heartbreaks associated with the clergy sex abuse scandals that broke out in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2001. I was working in a parish back then and it was a very tumultuous and stressful time. A lot of folks, good folks, that I know left the Church in the aftermath of that. There’s still so many after-shocks. This book offers my reasons for why I stayed. And why I’ve come to love the Church, warts and all, even more.

2) If you could give this book another title, what would it be?

Confidently Catholic.

3) What person in this book do you most personally identify with?

I quote a lot of famous Catholics in the book, from saints to popes to other writers… but there is one quote from a 2010 interview that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gave that has stayed with me. I was struck by his remarkable candor, as well as his ability to be wowed by the truth of God. I’ll quote it here. The context is that Benedict is marveling at Christ’s fidelity to the Church, despite the countless infidelities of its members. He says:  “I believe that these two feelings belong together: the deep shock over the wretchedness, the sinfulness of the Church—and the deep shock over the fact that [Jesus Christ] doesn’t drop this instrument, but that he works with it; that he never ceases to show himself through and in the Church.” (from Peter Seewald, “The Pope in His Own Words,” The Telegraph, November 20, 2010).

4) Did writing this book teach you anything?

Any big project teaches you something. Personally, I learned that for all the practical teaching that I do about the Catholic faith in print, online, and in person, sometimes I’m still pretty shy and reserved about sharing things about myself. But a writer can’t hide from her readers. I had to not only write about what I’ve learned in the bible, or the Catechism, but share how these ideas take shape in me. It’s a pretty personal look at my own story of faith, wrapped up in my presentation why we can have faith in the Church.

5) If there is one person you want to reach with this book, who would that be?

The person who has been disenchanted with the Church but somehow is still open to explore a reason (or two) to stay. I’ve told a few of my friends is that this book is my answer to those who limit their potential in the spiritual life by saying they are spiritual but not religious. I’d like to think I’m making the case to be both, not either/or.

6) What is the ideal beverage to have in hand while reading your book?

Best question ever! Something that warms you. If that’s good coffee or cocoa, great! If that’s your favorite adult beverage, so be it!

 

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