Why I’m a Theist, a Christian, a Catholic, and a Seminarian

My friend Simone Rizkallah invited me to make a video for her theology classes at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, to share with them (1) why I believe in God, (2) why I’m a Christian, (3) why I’m Catholic, and (4) why I’m a seminarian. Take a look, and see what you think.

Credits: special thanks to Tyler Johnson (Archdiocese of Seattle) for filming, and for editing and adding music, as well as to John Lamansky (Diocese of Davenport) for the use of his camera.


  1. Speaking as “an old man,” one is never too old to learn new things. Thank you, Joe, for this video. It was enlightening in many ways. God bless you always on your journey to the priesthood.

  2. Thank you for sharing that. You echoed my reasons for joining the Church so clearly. I am also struggling right now to discern/accept God’s will in a specific area of my life, so that reminder of His goodness and my own need to trust was very timely. Thanks again.

  3. I really enjoyed the video. I didn’t realize that you were still in seminary, from what I’ve heard the academics are intense. It’s great to know that there are people like you who are on fire for the faith.

  4. If anyone is wondering, I have chosen to delete a series of comments related to the Holocaust. It seems appropriate to provide a few words of explanation as to my reasoning. By way of background, the crux of the argument was that it was somehow anti-Tradition to describe the Holocaust as “the Holocaust,” because Christ’s death is also a Holocaust, and a worse one. So here’s why I chose to delete it:

    1) The entire argument is hijacking an evangelical outreach to gripe about the Jews and about language usage. That’s not just off-topic, but an active hindrance of the Gospel.

    2) It’s already been repeatedly explained to the original poster that his claims are false. It’s never been the teaching of the Church that only the Sacrifice of Christ can be described as a holocaust (or “the Holocaust”). Nor has “the Holocaust” ever been the normative or most accurate description of the Passion and saving Death of Christ. Only metaphorically can Christ’s death be described as a “burnt offering” (which is what “holocaust” means).

    3) The debate is, if I may be blunt, stupid. Even if it were true (which again, it’s not) that the Church previously preferred the term “holocaust” for Christ’s Death, it’s undeniable that nobody understands that as the primary referent for the Holocaust today. Standing on archaic and misleading terminology isn’t Tradition, and the history of the Church includes adjusting her theological language as appropriate to avoid confusion. In this case, the entire world understands “the Holocaust” to refer to the Shoah.

    4) The commenter repeatedly referred to the Jews (and seemingly all of the victims of the Holocaust) as “Messias-deniers.” This noxious anti-Semitism isn’t even thinly-veiled. That’s also not a fair characterization of those murdered in the Holocaust, from the Jewish children who never had any exposure to the message of Christ to the great Saints like St. Edith Stein, who were killed for their Jewish heritage.

    5) The commenter claims not to deny the Holocaust, but proceeds to refer to it as “the false Holocaust” and links to his own blog, in which this sort of garbage is rehashed. I don’t think that this sort of rhetoric and double-speak needs a platform, and especially not my blog as a platform. I mention these arguments here only to rebut them.

    This is all that I think needs to be said on the subject. If anyone is genuinely confused as to why a term (like ‘holocaust,’ ‘passion,’ ‘death,’ ‘sacrifice,’ etc.) can be applied both to Christ and to other events in human history, I would be happy to explain. But singling out the Jews as not being allowed to use the term “holocaust” just cannot stand.



    1. OK, ABS understands you quite well.

      Messis-Deniers are they who will not accept Jesus as the Messias. It is understandable why they who control discourse repudiates that entirely accurate and truthful description but as to how or why such a designation is anti-semitic is impossible to understand outside of the category of fear of the Jews.

      Apparently, it is anti-Semitic to even notice that Jews are Messias-Deniers. Thought and speech crime anyone?

      Such bowing and scraping before those who repudiate He whom we worship is par for the course these days because ecumenism.

      That is to say, it is acceptable to call men like ABS an anti-semitic (without ever defining the word, of course) and it is acceptable to call men who deny aspects of the war crimes a holocaust-denier (O, and there is also Climate-Change denier etc) but ABS has not written a single anti semitic word which tells the reader all he needs to know as to how retarded and evil such an accusation is for anti semitic is possessed of such definitional elasticity that it can be stretched to cover men like ABS who does hate Messias-Deniers or wishes they evil (far from it ABS wants them converted and their souls saved)

      Joe Sovran was right; once anti semitic referred to those who hated Jews but now it refers to those the Jews hate.

      The debate is, if I may be blunt, stupid. Even if it were true (which again, it’s not) that the Church previously preferred the term “holocaust” for Christ’s Death, it’s undeniable that nobody understands that as the primary referent for the Holocaust today.

      Well, that is the point, isn’t it? ABS complains that the Church has allowed the Messias-Deniers to steal the word Holocaust and misapply it – for propagandistic purposes – to those Jews who were victims of the Nazi War Crimes and he thinks it is time to take the word back for reasons of logic and truth but you have already surrendered its use for entirely political purposes and you think it is anti semitic to even make the attempt to take the word back.

      Such a supine position is one reason why so many men can not stand the modern shadow church ( a shadow lacks substance).

      It is prolly anti-semitic to observe that the victims referred to with the misapplied term holocaust refers solely to the Jews and that is the use the Catholic Church has adopted also. As to the Christian victims killed in the so-called holocaust?

      Pffffft? Who scares?

      As to the vastly numerically superior numbers of Christians killed by Communist Russia (whose central committee was teeming with Messias-Deniers) they are not mentioned nor do they have memorials or special commissions dedicated to their memory.

      No, the One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church only publicly mourns the Jewish victims of war crimes but the 50 million or so Christian slaughtered by Communist Russia does seem to be a significantly higher number than Jews killed by Nazi Germany but then one remembers that in the Talmud the lives of Jews are vastly more important than the lives of Christians; their sacred text teaches that we Christians have animal souls.

      So, we have the death of 50 million or so souls of Christians, and a Baptised person is an adopted son of God whereas a Jew is not an adopted son of God but rather, as Jesus taught, the Jews who deny Him have Satan as their Father, but they are not spoken about but we do honor the souls of those who had satan as their father.

      It is to be expected that such stark truths will be immediately deleted and so ABS will bid you a fair good bye, future Father and he hopes (but does not expect) that you will think hared about these things.

      O, and he will post your response on his crummy blog as representative of the modern (and failed) approach to truth.

    2. It’s also the case that the original Jewish term for the Holocaust was Shoah (catastrophe). Interestingly enough, the term Holocaust was first applied to the Shoah by Christians.

      1. Ricardo. But your observation means what exactly: that a non-holocaust is a holocaust?

        What about the principle of non-contradiction, is that out when it comes to anthropocentric polemical politics that is completely severed from Divinity?

        The One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church is mystically and sempiternally standing before some Caiaphas in whatever age it finds itself and the verdict is always the same – guilty.

        What is novel is that now we enter a plea of guilty even before the trial begins because we no longer act on what we have always believed and we surrender to the demands of the Messias-Deniers, who, by dint of an existential irony, are also Holoaust-Deniers.

        That is, the faithless Jews do not accept that Jesus Christ is the Messias/Saviour nor do they accept that His Holocaust on Calvary is a Salvific Sacrifice that fulfilled and perfected all of the Old Testament Holocausts pointing to it so as to prepare the once chosen people to accept His freely-offered Salvation and so when the Messias-Deniers accuse others of being Holocaust-Deniers they are actualising a mysteries iniquitatis psychological projection about which they remain entirely unaware.

        If one truly loves Jews as we are commanded to do, one has to desire for them what God wills for them and how do we show that we love Jews if we publicly say that we will not try and convert them?

        Pray and work for the conversion of the Jews,

        Who is saying that other than Catholic Traditionalists?

        We know what will happen to Messias-Deniers

        Luke 19:27

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *