Talking to The Catholic Weekly about Anger, Beauty, and Confession

Talking to The Catholic Weekly about Anger, Beauty, and Confession April 23, 2015


I did an interview with The Catholic Weekly while I was in Sydney, and talked a little about my conversion, my book, and my approach to arguments and anger.  I’ve excerpted it below, and you can read the full story here.

Q: Obviously you are in demand as a public speaker. What is it that people most want to hear from you?

A: There tend to be two things people want to hear from me. One is my conversion story, which is fun for me to tell but I feel is actually less generally applicable.

It’s the story of how, “as a deontologist” [affecting pomposity], I found a path from there to Catholicism and that’s not where everyone starts. So you can’t take my conversion and throw it at your friend and hope it works.

I think the other thing is that because I came from outside the faith there are lots of things that look weird or look hard to me so I got to explore them in a way that you wouldn’t maybe if you take them for granted.

If confession is a natural part of your life – you grew up, your parents went – you might be good at going but don’t spend very much time reflecting on how because you know how. You go into the box and say your sins and come out.

And for me, it was much more mysterious. What am I doing here? What is this like?

So one of the things I decided it was like, as I am trying to understand it, is that it is like Japanese pottery repair – this process called kintsugi where you repair the pot, not to make the crack invisible but to actually limit with gold.

The crack becomes more precious than what the pot was; that confession is a process not of erasing our sins but of transfiguring them so that the mark of a wound becomes something more and better than a scar.

And so because I’m kind of sneaking up on Catholicism all the time I bring with me everything else I’ve loved and found beautiful.

I hope my book, for people who aren’t Catholic, is a way to see what’s beautiful about Catholicism in a language you may already know and for Catholics to see many other beautiful things that illuminate the faith.

If you love Catholicism, I will trick you into loving math and music and folklore.

You can read the whole interview here, and you can preorder Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Offer here.


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