Brandon Vogt is a bestselling author of eight books and the founder of ClaritasU. (Credit: Courtesy to Crux)
[Editor’s Note: Brandon Vogt is a bestselling author of eight books and the founder of ClaritasU, which trains Catholics how to talk about their faith, especially hot-button issues. He works as the Content Director for Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. Vogt’s work has been featured by several media outlets including NPR, FoxNews, CBS, EWTN, Vatican Radio, Our Sunday Visitor, National Review, and Christianity Today. Vogt serves as a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. He’s also on the board of the Society of G.K. Chesterton
and serves as President of the Central Florida Chesterton Society
. He spoke to Charles Camosy about his new book, What to Say and How to Say It: Discuss Your Catholic Faith with Clarity and Confidence.]
Camosy: Your forthcoming book, What to Say and How to Say It: Discuss Your Catholic Faith with Clarity and Confidence, comes after your award-winning and bestselling book Why I Am Catholic (and You Should Be Too). Can you tell us a little a bit about the journey that led you to this new book? What prompted you to write it?
Sure! My previous book (Why I Am Catholic
) was designed to make a positive case for Catholicism, especially to atheists, agnostics, and “nones,” those who don’t identify with any religion. The goal was to show how the Catholic faith is true, good, and beautiful, and why everyone should consider it.
This book approaches things from the other end. It responds to the most common reasons people give for not
being Catholic, whether they doubt God exists, question the Bible or the Eucharist, or balk at the Church’s sexual moral teachings. So, it’s more a defensive
resource. After my first book, lots of Catholics became more comfortable making the positive
case for Catholicism. This book helps them answer the toughest objections they’ll hear in response.
I noticed that you ordered the chapters in such a way that the topics on God, Sacred Scripture, and the Eucharist come before topics on morality and ethics like abortion, sexuality, and gender. Can you tell us something about why you ordered the topics this way?
Yes, that was intentional. It’s simply the way evangelization should always proceed — from God, to Christ, to the moral life. Many people want to jump straight to debating abortion, same-sex marriage, or transgenderism, because those are admittedly urgent, contentious issues. But when it comes to evangelization, that’s the wrong starting point. The starting point is God and his objective order, then Christ and his Church, and then finally the moral life (notably, this is precisely how the Catechism of the Catholic Church
So, the order is very important. Suppose a non-religious friend sees you going to Mass, or Eucharistic adoration, and can’t make sense of what appears to be you worshiping a piece of bread. You want to help them understand, so you begin by referring to Jesus’ words in John 6 about the Eucharist, but your friend might raise the obvious question, “But the Bible is just full of myths, and historians aren’t even sure Jesus even existed. Why should I trust what the Bible says?” Well, you might be taken aback, but from there you could share good reasons to trust the Gospels, especially when they suggest Jesus is the divine Son of God, but that would only raise another question from your friend: “Well, how can I believe that Jesus is God when I’m not even sure whether God exists?” So, you see how if you start at the wrong end of the path, assuming things the other person doesn’t already believe, you’ll have to keep going backward before taking even one small step forward. That’s why it makes sense to start with God, then move to Christ and the Church, and then the moral issues.
A hundred years ago, you could be pretty confident that most Americans you spoke with believed in God or trusted the Bible. So, you could skip those steps. But that’s not true today. That’s why those fundamental topics appear first in the book. Increasingly, people are not just denying the Eucharist — they’re denying God exists at all
, or that miracles are possible. So that’s where we need to start, with the basic foundational objections.