diofav 23

Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

090617 star wars catholic“Jedi Catholic Apologist”

What do you get when you put Catholicism, Star Wars, and apologetics together?

Attend the 2017 Eucharistic Congress to discover for yourself. I am excited to be packing my bags in Dyersville, Iowa (home of the Field of Dreams, if you are old enough to remember the movie) preparing to travel to Charlotte to talk about two of my favorite things: the truths of our Catholic faith and Star Wars.

As an author, speaker, educator, and videographer, I appreciate the various means available in our era to evangelize, but I enjoy few things as much as gathering with so many other faithful Catholics to worship, pray, and grow. Below are a few of the things I am looking forward to contributing to this year’s Eucharistic Congress.

The first is a talk on Catholicism and Star Wars as the keynote for the High School Track. From my earliest recollection, I have always been both a Catholic and a Star Wars fan. As an adult I have come to appreciate the depth of the franchise and how well it correlates to many elements of Catholicism. For example, have you ever noticed that the Jedi are a lot like clergy or religious in keeping the evangelical counsels? They practice obedience to their hierarchy, chastity with regard to romantic relationships, and poverty in their abandonment of attachments.

The Star Wars franchise not only gives great focus on the importance of faith in a predominantly secularized world, it also emphasizes the role we play as a community, the communion of saints, in bringing about God’s kingdom. Furthermore, it advocates virtuous and self-sacrificial living, while illustrating the consequences of a life lived selfishly and embracing evil. There are even examples of apparitions, locutions, and contemplative prayer.

The Star Wars franchise has enjoyed incredible success over the past four decades, including the current top-grossing film in U.S. history in 2015 and the best-seller of 2016. Consequently, I believe we may find fertile soil in the large Star Wars fan base in which to sow the seeds of Catholic truth. Star Wars fans can be quite at home in Catholicism where we have Saints, prayer, ritual, tradition, honor, virtue, community, spiritual warfare, morality, and a dramatic history. All of these are beloved elements of the Star Wars universe.

I am convinced that in Catholicism we find the real, historical fulfillment of what Star Wars imitates in fantasy. This ought to be shared as a way of furthering the Gospel. I thoroughly enjoy exploring the two for the good of the Church’s mission, both in talks as well as in an upcoming book on the subject I am currently polishing in draft phase.

The second presentation will be about basic apologetics as a Catholic. I am a natural skeptic—somewhat of a doubting Thomas. I desire evidence to support the claims we make as believers, and I am blessed to have rediscovered Catholicism as a late-adolescent. During that time I wrestled with the question, “If there are so many religions, how do we know which one is true, if any?”

The talk on apologetics will offer the foundational elements that convinced me Catholicism is the fullness of Christian truth she claims to be. This perspective has been refined over nearly a decade of presenting the case to one of the toughest audiences in the Church—teenagers. In an area such as the Charlotte Diocese, consisting of less than 5% Catholics among the general population, knowing our faith and living it well are essential.

While I will not be presenting on what is perhaps the most widely rejected teaching of the Church, namely contraception (birth control) and family planning I will be bringing resources to help explain it. The vendor area at the Eucharistic Congress will feature a table with my book on the subject, Sign of Contradiction: Contraception, Family Planning, and Catholicism. It is the most thorough defense of the Church’s teaching that I could research and write, yet keep at a manageable size. The book is accompanied by DVD and CD options of my presentation exploring highlights of the book for audio-visual learners or those wanting the best information in a quick and concise package.

I am overjoyed at the opportunity to explore these topics and contribute to the Eucharistic Congress this year, and I look forward to visiting you and the Lord in the most Blessed Sacrament in Charlotte soon! May the Christ be with you.

Anthony Digmann is a Catholic author, speaker, and educator. He has appeared nationally and internationally on Catholic television, radio, and has published articles in various diocesan periodicals. He holds a MA in Theology and a double major BA in Religious studies and Communications with a minor in Ethics. Discover more at anthonydigmann.com