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Why Be Catholic?: Ten Answers to a Very Important Question Hardcover – June 3, 2014

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Q&A with Patrick Madrid

Q. What inspired you to write Why Be Catholic?

It was more a matter of “who” than “what.” Over the last 30 years or so, I have encountered countless people who have posed this very question. Some couldn't imagine anything more ridiculous or objectionable than the Catholic Church, and others who were genuinely interested in becoming Catholic sought answers and information. I’m convinced that, “Why be Catholic?” is a very important question, whether it comes from a scoffer or from a seeker. I wrote this book so I could present to the reader, regardless of his or her feelings about the Catholic Church, what I believe to be the compelling and convincing answers. These reasons can change one’s life for the better if they are honestly considered and explored.

Q. What do you love most about being Catholic?

I love being Catholic the way Noah loved being on the Ark when the flood came. Like the Ark, the Catholic Church is not perfect. It’s not tidy, clean, and odor-free. It has plenty of problems and challenges and unruly passengers, but it’s still the “ark of salvation” given to us by God and I love that I get to be on board. I love the beauty of the Catholic Church’s teachings, its Liturgy, art, architecture, music, and wisdom. I love the Catholic Church because it is “ever ancient, ever new.” I love tracing its existence back 2000 years to Jesus Christ and the Apostles, and I get to be part of that. I love being Catholic because of its richness and diversity. It’s a big hospital for sick people – sinners like you and me. I love being Catholic because I can have the most personal relationship with Jesus Christ possible, by receiving Him, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Holy Eucharist.

Q. How did you become a Catholic apologist? What is the most rewarding part of your job? What is the most challenging?

Although born-&-raised Catholic (I never left the Church or even had the slightest doubt about whether I should be Catholic), I did nevertheless experience a profound re-conversion or recommitment to Jesus when I was in my mid-20s. As I was praying to God to show me what to do with my life, the door to the world of apologetics opened unexpectedly. God answered my prayers by opening that door to work at Catholic Answers, back in early 1988. I’ve never looked back, always grateful for this wonderful opportunity to serve in this part of the Lord’s vineyard. I think the most rewarding aspect of the work I’ve been privileged to do is knowing that it helps others draw closer to God and the things of God. Not because of me, but because the truth, as Jesus promised, will set us free. As for challenges, to be frank, I really don’t see any. Sure, the work sometimes involves routine inconveniences that come with travelling, but that’s nothing compared to the hardships Saint Paul endured, including beatings, stoning, getting shipwrecked, starved, etc. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). That puts it all into perspective for me.

Q. In Why Be Catholic you write that “being Catholic does not require that I fully comprehend every truth God proposes to me.” Could you elaborate on that point?

Well, for example, I don’t fully comprehend what it means to have a soul. I know I have one, I know it’s in my body. I can think, ponder, remember, be self-reflective, self-aware, and love. But how exactly that all happens in me, and how my soul and body work together as a single unit, I don’t fully comprehend. No one does. But we know these things are true even if we can’t understand all their complex realities. That is the nature of truth. It’s not necessary to first understand every single facet of a truth before he will deign to accept it. These divine mysteries revealed by God are deep and far more profound than the fact that I have a soul. We should never forget that a mystery is not something we can know nothing about, it is something we cannot know everything about.

Q. Who should read this book?

I wrote Why Be Catholic? For two particular audiences: the first is the person who is not Catholic, may not know much about the Catholic Church and, heck, may not even like the Catholic Church. I want to take that reader gently by the arm and show him what the stained glass windows look like from the inside, the way they were meant to be seen, with the sunlight streaming through them so that their meaning and beauty can be understood and appreciated.

The second audience, naturally, is Catholics, whether they are firm in their faith or wavering, plagued with many doubts and questions. For them, I pray that Why Be Catholic? will serve as a gentle and comforting reminder that they are in the right place. They are on the Ark and, no matter how turbulent the ride may get or how jostling the conditions on board might be, if they remain they will make it through the flood.


"The Catholic Church is the last place most people would expect to find their intellectual and spiritual home, so they never investigate it. Why should they? How could the Church—with its rules, rigidity, and reputation—possibly be where true happiness is found? How could it, appreciated for its pageantry but disdained for its teachings, have anything to offer the modern world in general or them in particular? It’s this very improbability that Patrick Madrid cuts through in showing that only the Catholic faith can satisfy everyone’s deepest longings." -Karl Keating, President, Catholic Answers

"If this book had been available when I was still a Protestant, I may have been convinced to become Catholic without reading any further.  It’s a great resource for dispelling much of the misinformation and ignorance that abounds about the Church and also a reminder to us Catholics as to how blessed we truly are." -Gail Buckley, Founder & President, Catholic Scripture Study International

"This book is as simple and clear as its title.  In ten chapters, master apologist Madrid explains and explores ten good reasons to be Catholic--ten good, true and beautiful things the Church offers us.  Each is explained in a way almost impossible to misunderstand, and enlivened by fascinating actual incidents from the author's life.  Full of historical facts and commonsense arguments for Catholic teachings, yet not intimidatingly 'scholarly,' this is a perfect book for inquirers or beginners." -Dr. Peter Kreeft, author of Handbook of Christian Apologetics

"Patrick Madrid's latest book goes to the heart of the matter and answers the question 'Why Be Catholic?'  In a world that has a love hate relationship with religion, and especially all things Catholic, Mr. Madrid bravely, clearly, and convincingly provides the answer to that question, helping every Catholic understand the basics of the faith but also gives the Church a reason to celebrate it!" -Fr. Leo E. Patalinghug, founder of

"To be Catholic is to be joyously human and alive; ready to both party and to feel deeply the grief of this world.  It is to know deep common sense and deep mystery; to weep at the tomb of Lazarus and to shout in triumph over death at the tomb of Jesus.  Patrick Madrid gets this and is one of the best guides to the Faith writing in English." -Mark P. Shea, author of The Heart of Catholic Prayer

"Our Sacraments, Church history, our Traditions, the Saints; after reading this beautiful examination of our faith, the question that comes to mind for me is not why be Catholic but why would you be anything but Catholic? Patrick's latest book will no doubt be a tool to bring fallen away Catholics back into the fold and help attract others to the one, holy, apostolic faith as well." -Teresa Tomeo, author of God's Bucket List

“Patrick Madrid has done it again.  With wit, humility, and nearly three decades of experience, Madrid lovingly responds to the top misconceptions about Catholicism, making it simple for each of us to swing wide the gates in welcoming people into the Catholic Church.” – Greg Willits, author of The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Image (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307986438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307986436
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

PATRICK MADRID is a life-long Catholic. He has authored or edited 16 books on Catholic themes, including Search and Rescue, Where Is That in the Bible, and the acclaimed Surprised by Truth series.

In the fall of 2012, he will release four new books with four different publishers: Our Sunday Visitor, Servant Books, Saint Benedict Press, and Random House.

Since 1996, Patrick has published Envoy Magazine, and he also serves as the director of the Envoy Institute, which is dedicated to teaching Catholics how to explain their Faith more intelligently, defend it more charitably, and share it more effectively.

Commenting publicly on the effectiveness of Patrick's approach to doing apologetics, Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, said, "How do you bring a friend or relative back into the Church? First you pray. Then, you follow Patrick Madrid's advice in [his book] Search and Rescue."

Prior to launching the Envoy apostolate, Patrick worked at Catholic Answers for eight years (1988 to 1996), where he served as vice president.

A veteran of a dozen formal, public debates with Protestant ministers, Mormon leaders, and other non-Catholic spokesmen, he has presented over 2000 seminars on Catholic themes, in English and Spanish, at parishes, universities, and conferences across the U.S. and around the world.

Patrick hosts the Thursday edition of EWTN's "Open Line" radio broadcast (3-5 p.m. ET), heard on approximately 195 AM & FM stations across the country, as well as on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 130 and globally via shortwave.

Patrick earned a bachelor of science degree in business at the University of Phoenix, as well as a B.Phil. in philosophy and an M.A. in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum (Columbus, OH).

He teaches theology and apologetics as an adjunct professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

His website is

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Trixie L on June 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Patrick Madrid has done it again. With his personable approach and insightful writing, Madrid thoroughly examines the Catholic church and why it is so exciting to be a Catholic now. With detailed examples, anecdotes, and a truthful examination of the good and bad of this faithful institution, Madrid celebrates the Catholic tradition. By looking at the sacraments, mass, the Eucharist, Mary, the role of the pope, and the importance of Saints, this book not only is a great spiritual affirmation for anyone who is currently Catholic, but a great book for those who are interested in the Catholic church or are taking confirmation or RCIA courses. Madrid's honesty is inspiring and his knowledge of the Catholic faith tradition is compelling. This book is quite simply a one-stop guide for anyone who has ever asked "Why Be Catholic?"
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Orchid @ The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia on June 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I well readily admit that I don't usually go out of my way to read apologetic type books. While it's not that they aren't interesting and worthy of being read, it's the whole feeling like the author is yelling that turns me off and looses any chance of me following what they're trying to say. So, while I was extremely excited to read Why Be Catholic? by Patrick Madrid, I had no idea what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the way he was able to convey his thoughts on the most commonly misunderstood subjects within the Catholic Church.

As many Catholics I know have mentioned, while I've never had this problem myself, there are those of other denominations that have misunderstood the teachings of the Catholic Church and been turned off by what they either don't understand or were taught falsely about our doctrines. So, with all the anti-Catholic vibes that one gets from watching the media you can understand why I wanted to delve into Patrick Madrid's latest and to see how he would would explain things to either a non-Catholic or to a Catholic who was not properly catechized.
That being said, I found myself quite taken with how he was able to deftly and cohesively talk about not just Church doctrines, the what's and why's on the beliefs of the Catholic Church, but also how he dealt with some of what has in the past couple of years 'rocked' the Church. The chapter that probably was the most interesting to me would be the first one, not to say that they weren't all interesting, because it took a hard look at the sexual abuse scandals that have been coming to light in recent years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By saj on August 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Patrick Madrid is well known as a Catholic apologist--that is, one who presents the reasonableness of the faith, especially in response to challenges. Every adult Catholic, I am sure, has heard the usual challenges: our faith is not biblical; we worship Mary or statues; we "multiply prayers" in outright contradiction to the command of the Gospel "do not multiply your words when praying. Now, of course, we are hearing new challenges, some of them quite absurd: Catholicism is "anti-intellectual"; Catholic moral teachings do not take practical realities into account; Catholicism is incompatible with the findings of science...

Assumptions like these can be common currency in our day (especially the newer ones can be almost taken for granted, even by Catholics!). This makes a book like "Why Be Catholic?" helpful not only for the sincere seeker, but for the earnest, but uncertain Catholic who doesn't really "have an answer to those who ask the reason for your hope" (cf 1 Pet 3:15)--and hopes that an answer is out there.

"Why Be Catholic?" is eminently readable. Madrid is not just an apologist, he is a storyteller (the best kind of apologist!). In responding to the typical Protestant objections or challenges to Catholicism, he hearkens back to his teen years when the object of his affections was from so fundamentalist a background, her Dad had those ridiculous "Chick" pamphlets ready at hand. (Madrid got an early start responding to misconstrues of the faith!)

Madrid looks at ten basic areas, starting with the most difficult of them all: the sin that is so manifestly present and active among us, most horribly in the clergy sex abuse scandals.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mike on June 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Though I first knew Madrid as an editor, blogger and speaker, he has a number of books, primarily apologetic in nature, to his credit. While this one is also apologetic in it ultimately defends the reasons he gives, it also is reminiscent of his personal touch as a speaker since the reasons he gives, while technical, are also personal. This book, more than some of his other “reasons” books, that to come mind, tells a story along with the helpful information for the burgeoning apologetic, making it an effective or not only apologetics, but also evangelization.
Like most defenders of the Catholic faith, Madrid is not out to win arguments, but souls. It is the soul Madrid speaks to here, though he may travel through the mind first. In reasing, I’m reminded of hearing a speaker at a conference who not only presents the evidence and lets it stand on its ow, but seeks to persuade or reengage his hearers. In an interview, he said the book was about helping Catholics “understand” and “appreciate” the Faith. This “pearl of great price” many of us have taken for granted out of perceived familiarity and/or repetition. Sometimes the same reasons we all knew were there just need to be re-presented in an accessible, personal, and enthusiastic way, something “Why Be Catholic,” and Madrid succeeds in doing.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.
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