It’s been said that time flies when you’re having fun, though as one grows older it is perhaps just as true to say that time flies whether you’re having fun or not. Regardless, as I have been reading Patrick Madrid’s autobiography, Envoy For Christ, my mind keeps drifting back to its subtitle: 25 Years as a Catholic Apologist.
There are very few things that I can say I’ve done for 25 years, besides having successfully maintained the same gender and social security number. I wish I could also say I spent the last quarter of a century advancing the cause of Christ, defending his Church, and explaining her doctrines, but I’m afraid I haven’t.
But Patrick Madrid has: twenty-five years of apologetics and evangelization in articles, books, seminars, radio and television appearances—there is, in fact, a very good chance that you, the reader, are carrying around in your head some enlightening bit of Catholic erudition that you first absorbed from Patrick Madrid, even if you’ve forgotten how it first got there.
I don’t really know Patrick that well, in all fairness, but I can write with confidence that, for him, people are first, meaning that he seems to have no desire to be thought of as merely a walking Catholic encyclopedia. His aim is to convert souls, which is an effort that will fall to the ground and choke to death if it is not done with abiding respect for the personhood of each soul encountered. Nobody converts because they read an entry in a dictionary; contact must be made between persons, with a loving dialogue between them that shows the patience and mercy of God.
That is the idea behind Patrick’s new show, Right Here, Right Now (produced by Immaculate Heart Radio and aired across the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network). As Patrick puts it: “This new one-hour show will focus on my interactions with the callers who can ask questions and make comments (some Catholic radio shows only allow listeners to ask questions, but not comment). “Right Here, Right Now” is a show about you – what’s important to you, what’s on your mind, and what makes you think. My goal is to meet listeners where they are…”
That objective is unrealistic to anyone who has ever listened to a call-in show. The big conservative talk show hosts don’t even attempt it—the caller’s only function is to give the host something around which to build a soliloquy: a thought-provoking one, perhaps, or even just an entertaining one, but still just a unidirectional flow of words and ideas. It would be going too far to say that full dialogue takes place on Right Here, Right Now, but there is no doubt that callers enjoy a level of interaction that I have rarely heard on any other call-in show. Patrick must give detailed responses, of course, and as the host it is his responsibility to keep the show moving in a coherent direction, but at all times the audience knows that he cares about the caller and wants to make sure that his or her thoughts are addressed sufficiently. It is Catholic apologetics at its best.
Give Right Here, Right Now, a listen. What you will find is the truth of Christ, delivered with the trademark patience and gentle wit of a master apologist. It’s only one hour long (“the fastest hour in Catholic radio”), but filled with 25 years of truth in charity.