Who is Matthew Olson?
I am a 20-year-old college student in the Diocese of Little Rock. I am an amateur apologist, and I aspire to become a priest.
I see you are on fire for Christ Jesus. Why?
I have always thought of myself as a Christian. I was baptized Catholic, but I was raised in multiple Protestant denominations. This left me with a great deal of confusion, and I suffered from apathy as a result. That all changed with my conversion.
(My conversion story is available here, a little more than halfway-down the page: Great-grandmother’s gift )
Have you suffered any form of persecution for your faith?
Actually, no, although I see persecution in the future for all Catholic Americans and Europeans, due to the rampant emphasis on secularism.
Why is it hard for so many to believe in Jesus Christ?
In America, our society is formed around a very self-centered attitude. Here, I do not think that the difficulty is in getting people to believe, so much as it is in getting them to believe correctly. I think it is our self-centered attitude that forces everyone into the “personal relationship with Jesus” mentality, which is fine by itself, but also which frequently gets tied with Pentecostal tendencies (dancing around and throwing your hands up in church, etc.) that usually lead people to Protestantism. And, of course, Protestantism eventually leads to a loss of faith, whether in the first generation or a later one.
How best can the Gospel message reach out to the world today?
I am partial to the Internet. The Internet can certainly be used maliciously, but it can also be used for tremendous good. Thankfully, I think that Catholics are beginning to expand their online work.
Who inspires you?
St. Thomas More (my patron saint) and Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI.
What are your favorite Bible verses?
1 Corinthians 7:19 and Ephesians 2:10.
Any book recommendations?
I am reading “Cathedra Veritatis: On the Extension of Papal Infallibility” (written by John P. Joy, S.T.L.) right now. It is, admittedly, a difficult read, but it is very good.
For the more casual reader, I would strongly recommend “Divine Providence: God’s Design in Your Life” (written by Cardinal Francis Arinze), which I finished recently. It is very straight-forward, in typical Arinze style.
Your view on the marriage debates?
Our culture, assisted by our government, has polluted the marriage debate by co-opting terminology. It is reminiscent of “Newspeak” in the novel “1984.” People here have forgotten what marriage is really all about: the deep spiritual, physical, and emotional bond, of course, but also procreation and proper child-rearing. Until we learn to place emphasis on others (in this instance, children), rather than ourselves, we will suffer.
Any message to the youth?
Read Catholic bloggers. They can offer fantastic insight into topics that can, at times, be challenging. Do not get intimidated. Study as often as possible.