What is the place of the Catholic Gentleman in the modern parish setting? What are some practical ways in which he can help lead others to more reverent worship?
I think we can have more reverent worship if we first begin with true friendliness at the local parish. The parish has become a check-in/check-out destination and nobody knows one another. Consequently, the liturgy of the Mass becomes the “social meeting,” and that’s just not right. If we could build real friendships and bonds with our fellow Catholics then the Mass will become oriented toward God and less about saying “hello” to my neighbors during the passing of the peace.
Regarding liturgy itself, the priest’s reverence is the single most important factor in guiding the reverence of the people. “Like people, like priest.” Hosea 4:9
How does the Catholic Gentleman engage the peripheries of society, whether that be those closed off to the Faith, those in need of corporal works of mercy, or those who are simply in need of social fraternity?
The Catholic man simply lives the faith, but with a profound smile and joy. The modality of truth is important. That is, the way you deliver it matters to people. A smile itself will disarm a hater.
Could you talk briefly about the Catholic Gentleman as the Good Shepherd of the Family?
The father is a shepherd. He is a guide. He should be able to guide his children in religion, prayer, finances, work, marriage, and skills. The father should be a treasury of prudence from which the children make withdrawals.
Several men have recently written to us about starting fraternal organizations based on gentlemanly behavior, lively discussions on Faith, and the proper enjoyment of whisky. How important are fraternal organizations to developing communities of men who actively embrace their vocations as husbands, fathers, and shepherds of families? Could you recommend a few books that might prove worthy of study and discussion at such groups?
We launched the fraternal organization of the Troops of Saint George for priests, deacons, fathers, and sons. We seek to grow in the seven virtues in the context of outdoor adventure and survival. This provides a way for Catholic men (even Catholic priests) to talk around the campfire, away from the noise of the world. We made the hard decision not to allow alcohol on campouts and outings, simply because there are young men around and it would be too messy. Still, the men and officers of my local troop did recently get together for a scotch tasting (without our young sons). Catholic fraternity is something that we need. And a glass of wine or scotch doesn’t hurt if handled virtuously and in moderation.
Since we last spoke, you launched the New Saint Thomas Institute to provide online video theology and philosophy classes. Could you please give us a summary of the program, including how our readers might become involved?
Over the years, I heard from so many Catholics that wanted to get deep and study Catholic philosophy, theology, and apologetics. They wanted to take classes with me but we were limited by time and space. So we launched the New Saint Thomas Institute providing online, short, fun, and profound classes online via mp3 and HD video. We’ve grown as big as 1,600 student Members in 25 nations. It’s hugely successful and popular.
We offer three certificates in Philosophy, Theology, and Apologetics. There is currently a waiting list to join, but you can learn more and watch a sample lesson at newsaintthomas.com.
What is the place of St. Thomas in modern Catholic thought? What are some ways the Catholic Gentleman could learn more about the Angelic Doctor?
The Latin motto of our New Saint Thomas Institute is “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of an ox” from 1 Cor 9:9. We use it to refer to Thomas Aquinas who is known as the “Dumb Ox.” We want Thomas Aquinas to speak to our time and our culture. I believe that this century will be a Thomistic century in the Catholic Church. His philosophy and theology is the answer to the doubts and questions of our time. I wrote a small book called Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages and I’d like to offer that to all your readers for free. It’s an easy and short introduction into the mind of this amazing intellectual saint. You can get the book for free here: taylormarshal.com
Last one! What are you drinking these days? Do you have any new recommendations for our readers?
I’m drinking a lot less these days and I usually stick to scotch and gin. My dad’s favorite Scotch is Oban 15 (Highlands single malt) and I really like it more and more. Plus it reminds me of him and therefore has a certain nostalgia to it. Certain scotches remind me of certain friends. For example, I can’t drink Lagavulin without thinking of a priest friend of mine because he introduced it to me.
I used to chase after the fancy 21 year single malts (because it felt cool), but honestly I keep coming back to the 15 year range, particularly the Speyside and Highlands distilleries. I really like Dalwinnie (Speyside single malt) which is a 15 year. I’ve taken to Scotch and soda instead of wine if I’m out with my wife and I’ll usually ask for Chivas blended in that case.
I used to laugh at “scotch cocktails” but I recently discovered the Ginger Dram and it’s fantastic. Bars don’t know how to make it so I have it saved in Evernote on my phone. I literally hand my phone to the waiter and he takes it to the bar and has the bartender make it. Here’s the recipe on my phone for the Ginger Dram:
1 3/4 oz. single-malt scotch whisky (Laphroaig 10-year recommended)
1 oz. Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur or ginger brandy or ginger vodka)
2 barspoons Fernet Branca (bitters)
2 dashes Angostura bittersIce cubes
Tools: barspoon, mixing glass, strainer
Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: lemon twist
When it comes to gin, it’s either Gin and Tonic or a Gibson (a gin martini with an onion instead of an olive). Which gin do you like? I’ve tried fancy gins and I always come back to Tanqueray because it so obviously tastes like juniper.
Our favorite is Plymouth Gin, distilled at a former Dominican monastery in Plymouth, England. The gin is both strong and smooth, but maintains the distinctive juniper flavor. We would highly recommend it for use in a martini.
Thanks for having me on. It’s always fun to talk about these kind of topics!