Profiles in Catholicism
 

An Interview with Tim Staples


by
Gordon Nary



 

 

 


 

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Gordon:    When and why did you join Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and what aspects of the parish do you find most inspirational?
     
Tim:



 
  There are four main things I look for in a parish and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel has all four of them flourishing. First, I look for solid priests. Fr. Anthony Siroki, our pastor, is a very holy priest. He cultivates the interior life first and foremost, and it shows in the way he lives his life for the flock he shepherds. Second, he is both brilliant and orthodox. His homilies are catechetical, apologetic, informative, and inspirational every single week. Remarkable! He makes me want to take notes. Third, the liturgy is faithful to the rubrics of the Church, and reverent. And fourth, there is a true family spirit that gives birth to a palpable joy at OLMC that is contagious! 
     
Gordon:
 
  Before we discuss you leadership in apologetics evangelism,  and communications, there may be some of our readers who may not know what apologetics is and why apologetics is a critical  component of our faith. Please share with our reader an overview of apologetics.
     
Tim:
 
  Apologetics is the science of defending the truth of our Catholic Faith. It employs philosophy, theology, history, science, and more in order to fulfill the Christian calling communicated by our first pope, St. Peter, in I Cor. 3:15: “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.”
     
Gordon:   Who are some of your favorite apologist saints and what impact did they have on Catholicism?
     
Tim:








 
  Among my favorites are the three patron saints of apologetics: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Justin Martyr, and St. Catherine of Alexandria. St. Thomas Aquinas may well be the most important philosopher/theologian/apologist the Church has ever produced. He embodies what every apologist strives for. He used all of the physical sciences, along with the highest sciences of philosophy and theology in order to communicate the Faith in an understandable way to the world. Along with St. Augustine, his impact on theology and philosophy of the Church is unparalleled. St. Justin is often called “the first apologist” because he was the first to present systematic defenses of the faith of the Church to unbelievers. His two greatest works are truly remarkable. His “First Apology” was written to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius in the mid-second century and is an effective work to this day in presenting the Faith to unbelievers. And his “Dialogue with Trypho” is an exhaustive apology written to “Trypho the Jew” and is to this day a remarkable defense of the Faith for our Jewish friends. St. Catherine of Alexandria was the daughter of Constus, the governor of Alexandria during the reign of emperor Maximian (AD 286-305). She was a remarkable scholar from a very young age and ended up studying her way into converting to the Faith at just 14 years of age. Because she was from such an important family, she has access to the emperor and used that access to rebuke him for his cruel treatment of Christians. She engaged any and all in intellectual argument and led hundreds to the Catholic Faith before being martyred at the age of 18. It is said that she converted hundreds to the Faith by her martyrdom and is a reminder to apologists that a life lived for the Faith is the most important element in the life of an apologist.
     
Gordon:   When and did why did you join Catholic Answers and what are your primary responsibilities as Director of Apologetics and Evangelization?
     
Tim:



 
  I approached Karl Keating back in 2004 and asked if he needed any help at Catholic Answers during a Catholic Answers cruise I had been invited on as one of the speakers. When he offered me a job I was ecstatic. Catholic Answers is the standard bearer when it comes to our profession. As Director of Apologetics and Evangelization I am asked to speak at conferences, write books for Catholic Answers, write articles for Catholic Answers Magazine and our blog, and answer questions, both written and on our radio /television shows, as well as produce audio and video series on various apologetic topics just as all of our apologists. But I also have the added responsibility to ensure on-going formation for the apologists in my department, ensure that what goes out from our apologists is orthodox Catholic teaching, and attend to the various administrative duties of a director. I also hire and fire, if necessary, the apologists in my department. 
     
Gordon:   You have fascinating story on your conversion to Catholicism  What impact did your conversion have on your family
     
Tim:   At first, my impact was quite traumatic. They did not like the idea of me becoming Catholic. And that is an understatement. But by God’s grace, my three brothers, mother, father, three brothers, and even two sisters-in-law all became Catholic. And one of my brothers is now a Catholic priest. These conversions are a testimony to the grace of God. Even though, at times, I was not the best example of the apologetics envisaged by our first pope that I mentioned above from I Peter 3:15 (at least, not the “with meekness and respect” part!), God brought good out of my, let us say, less-than goodness!
     
Gordon:   Please share with our readers an overview of Tim Stapless.com.
     
Tim:


 
  Timstaples.com is my personal website/blog. On it, I have scores of free articles and information about apologetics and theology, but I also get to have some fun with it and present some things that are non-apologetic. I have articles on all sorts of topics, such as, sports, history, politics, I put up some of my favorite funny videos, favorite magicians, favorite golf trick shots, and a whole lot more. In fact, I am now working on a three-part series of posts that will present my top thirty favorite movies of all time. It started as my “top ten” favorites, but I just could not limit it to 10. It has now stretched to my “top thirty!”
     
Gordon:   In closing, what in your opinion are the three greatest challenges to contemporary Catholicism?
     
Tim:   First, living in what has become a neo-pagan society, Catholics must take the challenge of Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium, 132, to present a “creative apologetics” that can present the Faith to a contemporary culture that has lost its way. We have to attempt to find new ways to communicate to a culture that generally does not even know the very basics we Catholics too often take for granted. Second, I think we have to engage in what Pope St. John Paul the Great referred to as “the new evangelization.” What’s “new” about it is that it must begin in the pew and in the re-evangelization of a once-Christian West that is no longer Christian. Many who attend Mass from time to time, or even every Sunday, are not believers in the essentials of our Catholic Faith. They need to be evangelized. And as for the un-churched culture at large, evangelism and the apologetics we need as the tools of evangelism, seem to be the keys to this “new evangelization” to which we are all called as Catholic Christians. Third, and most importantly, we must live what we preach. The priest scandals that have truly rocked the United States and beyond can hardly be overstated when it comes to the damage they have caused. In a sense, we have to earn the right, once again, to be heard in a society that has gone a long way toward marginalizing the Catholic Church and her message. It is going to take time, but I believe there is no substitution for a life lived for Christ in peace and palpable joy in the midst of a confused culture that does not know which way to turn. Kimberly Hahn has said many times that we are going to “change the world, one diaper at a time.” And that is true. But I would also say that statement contains part of the ultimate answer for our culture. We must “change the world one family at a time.” It will be in the context of families living the Faith in joy that the evangelism St. John Paul called us to will be actualized.
     
Gordon:   Thank you for an extraordinary interview.  I know that all of our readers will enhance their lives with Catholic Answers and the opportunity of meeting you.
     

 

·         The Encyclical, Caritas In Veritate

Could you share with our readers your experience as an advisor to the White House?

I had developed a program with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce to help businesses succeed despite the recession with proven strategies for growth, such that when the Chamber was asked by the White House who they thought could provide growth strategies, the Chamber recommended me.  In my I focused my advice on the importance of R&D and innovation, collaborations, key performance indicators, IT utilization and other solutions.  I was also trying to affect an appreciation for the value of diversity and to help minority communities -- where so many people were, and still are, struggling -- through advancing Women and Minority Business development.

Pope Francis recently addressed the issue of global hunger at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Conference .You had some comments on his presentation. Could you share them with our readers?

Importantly, Pope Francis just addressed the issue of global hunger and poverty at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Conference July 3..  He specifically encouraged embrace of the UN SDG of zero hunger by 2030.

Sadly, his remarks were in the context of the number of hungry people in the world having increased since 2015, reversing years of progress. hAs the lined article noted, The Holy Father stressed that the international community should acknowledge hunger and malnutrition are not “natural or structural phenomena,” but “caused by the indifference of many...," and that it is the "duty of the entire human family to provide practical assistance to those in need.”

 

 

On 2017-07-10 01:33, timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org wrote:

Hi Gordon,

I've read some of the profiles and I am looking forward to reading more.  They are very encouraging.

It is a great blessing, honor and privilege to be profiled amid all these wonderful Catholics. 

I pray God will use your work, the many profiles and people you've worked with and me and my profile to bring Him glory and to help fulfill his plan for our very needy world.

Thank you very much for your great effort.

Tim

 

 

 

 

On 2017-07-08 18:48, Gordon Nary wrote:

Tim.

 

I just thought a few might interpret it that way. But I am generally more wrong than I am right .

 

Apologia. Thanks for catching my spelling error in your name.

 

I made the edits (I hope)

 

This is the best interview we will ever have and I deeply appreciate your time.

 

You will be in some interesting company in our August issue

We have a former director of the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in which we discuss his work in Belize, a first grade teacher who also helps children and others with intellectual disabilities , a retired Profession of Bible studies at a major seminary, and a priest from Tanzania  who is teaching at a US University among others

Gordon

 

 


From: timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org [mailto:timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org]
Sent: Saturday, July 08, 2017 1:09 PM
To: Gordon Nary
Subject: RE: A Request for an Interview

 

Hi Gordon,

I'm so glad you shared your concern.  I was in no way criticizing the Pope. I will always be faithful to our Pope.  My word choice was only intended to convey that it's sad there's been an increase in hunger.  Yes, feel free to delete to avoid misinterpretation! (THANKS!)

One catch: on the title my last name Maurer -- the name is missing an R.

And in the bullet about Lumen Fide could you please edit per the following two items in red:

  •  The Encyclical, Lumen Fidei, which offers multiple encouragements to live and affect transformed lives respectful of the many gifts of God's love and mercy we’ve received – and which I believe references various gifts from God and our need for transformation in some manner more than 20 times each

Gordon, do you think it's an effective profile for your goals, and might it encourage our faithfulness, fervency and fruitfulness? 

I hope it's not boastful.  If so, you or I could edit once more to address that critical concern.

Thank you so much!

In His service,

Tim

 

 

On 2017-07-08 17:20, Gordon Nary wrote:

Tim.

I hope that I made the corrections

Please recheck the link

 

My only concern is that they are some Catholics who might resent any criticism of the Pope, regardless of it being correct and might stop reading the article

 

Would you consider deleting the word “Sadly in the statement?

It could be

 

His remarks were in the context of the number of hungry people in the world having increased since 2015, reversing years of progress.

 

I think that it would be more helpful.

 

Gordon


From: timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org [mailto:timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org]
Sent: Saturday, July 08, 2017 11:05 AM
To: Gordon Nary
Subject: RE: A Request for an Interview

 

Hi Gordon?

Thank you. My changes are discussed below.   What is the concern you'd like to share? 

1.) Sorry for the confusion.  The document now has two similar paragraphs, so just delete the red one. 

If the prayer looks like half a Christmas tree, it is. It’s a prayer I used in a faith fervency seminar. To me, it represents the hope of an everlasting exchange of gifts: reciprocating to God for all the awesome gifts He’s given to us (spiritual and corporal); and giving gifts of ourselves – including much more of our time, talents and treasures --  to all our brothers and sisters in need.

If the prayer looks like half a Christmas tree, it is. That’s what happened when I first rendered it for a faith formation seminar. To me, it represents the hope of an everlasting exchange of gifts: reciprocating to God for all the awesome gifts He’s given to us (spiritual and corporal); and giving gifts of ourselves – including much more of our time, talents and treasures --  to all our brothers and sisters in need.

2.) First paragraph is missing a period.

#.) Also, could you please swap out the visual for this one:

 

THANK YOU.  SORRY FOR THE TROUBLE.  I HOPE IT'S WORTH IT.

Tim

 

On 2017-07-08 15:05, Gordon Nary wrote:

Tim,

I triad to make the corrections. Please check of I made them correctly

 

http://catholicprofiles.org/Augusr%202017/tim_m_a.html

 

I was confused on the lest statement

And may I also share one of GIFT’s spiritual reflections and a message from our Holy Father that also encourage us to live a life comprising a fervent faith:

 

The image  is at the closing of your interview. Is it possible that you can’t see it or did you send me an alternate image?

 

Once we have everything OK. I have one concern that I will send you.

 

Gordon


From: timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org [mailto:timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org]
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2017 8:21 PM
To: Gordon Nary
Subject: Re: A Request for an Interview
Importance: High

 

HI GORDON,

DO YOU LIKE IT? IS IT HELPFUL TO THE FAITH? WOULD YOU RECOMMEND ANY CHANGES?  

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR WORK ON THIS!

I'D LIKE TO MAKE SiX EDITS (SORRY):

1)  The second  bullet under Papal messages is from 2017, not 2016

  • "The beating heart of the Risen Lord is given to us, and we are asked to give it in turn as a transforming force, as the leaven of a new humanity," proclaimed Pope Francis, Easter Vigil 2017

2) The section on nutrition, can we insert one word in this sentence:  It can also help lessen dependency on food pantries, and can help tackle climate issues through the shift in consumption...

 

3) In the White House section, can we edit the second paragraph to: I focused my advice on the importance of R&D and innovation,...

 

4)  In the section of the Pope's message to the UN FAO Conference, can we replace the two paragraphs with these that include some minor edits:   

As the linked article noted, "The Holy Father stressed that the international community should acknowledge hunger and malnutrition are not 'natural or structural phenomena,' but 'caused by the indifference of many...,' and that it is the 'duty of the entire human family to provide practical assistance to those in need.' The pontiff said the reason hunger and malnutrition still exist is because of a 'lack of a culture of solidarity'... He called on everyone not to be resigned but to engage in advancing agricultural and other solutions."

I agree wholeheartedly that this overall resignation to world poverty and hunger must stop.  When I’ve spoken about the UN SDGs calling for eradicating hunger and ending poverty by 2030, I’ve heard several fervent Catholics ask, “But didn’t the Lord himself say ‘the poor you will always have with you?’”  And several have said these goals are attainable and will only discourage people into doing nothing.

5) The line about sweet potatoes is missing a word: 

Based on extensive internet research, we’ve identified that the sweet potato is perhaps the most efficacious crop people can harvest

 

6) At the end of the message I've provided a replacement for the graphic (slightly edited to include a quote from the exact article referencing his remarks) and edited the paragraph above it as noted in red:

 

If the prayer looks like half a Christmas tree, it is. It’s a prayer I used in a faith fervency seminar. To me, it represents the hope of an everlasting exchange of gifts: reciprocating to God for all the awesome gifts He’s given to us (spiritual and corporal); and giving gifts of ourselves – including much more of our time, talents and treasures --  to all our brothers and sisters in need.

 

And may I also share one of GIFT’s spiritual reflections and a message from our Holy Father that also encourage us to live a life comprising a fervent faith:

 

 

 

On 2017-07-07 15:47, Gordon Nary wrote:

 

Tim.

Here is a linl to the formatted interview for your review, edits, approval>

http://catholicprofiles.org/Augusr%202017/tim_m_a.html

 

I hope that I made the links correctly
With my ancient software, I has a little problem in properly lining ip your name properly with one of the longer  answers
I hope  that this is OK

 

Thanks your again for the interview

 

Gordon

 


From: timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org [mailto:timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org]
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2017 11:26 PM
To: Gordon Nary
Subject: RE: A Request for an Interview
Importance: High

 

 

Hi Gordon,

Sorry, I had forgotten to check spelling.

Please use this version.

I'll provide a photo soon.

Thanks,

Tim

 

On 2017-07-07 04:15, timothy.maurer@institutefortransformation.org wrote:

Hi Gordon,