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Ep. 24 - Insights from Larry Chapp, PhD: Embracing Radical Catholicism

Theology, Evangelization & Hans Urs von Balthasar

Dr. Chapp is one of my favorite theologians. I was so honored to have a conversation with him. It was a lot of fun! I sincerely hope you enjoy and appreciate the convo. Please consider sharing this post and help Good Distinctions grow!


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Summary of Today’s Episode

  • Dr. Larry Chapp, author of the book 'Confession of a Catholic Worker,' discusses his journey from academia to living on a Catholic Worker farm. He shares his inspiration for starting a blog and writing a book, emphasizing the need for radical Catholicism in a culture of beige Catholicism. Dr. Chap explores the importance of prayer and the role of liturgy as the highest act of culture. He also discusses the connection between cult, culture, and cultivation, as well as the significance of localism and subsidiarity. The conversation concludes with a focus on the universal call to holiness.

  • In this conversation, Larry Chapp and Will Wright discuss various themes related to evangelization and the Catholic faith. They explore the importance of welcoming others into the Church on Christ's terms, rather than compromising on doctrine. They also discuss the need for a balanced approach to evangelization, avoiding both a superficial apologetic mode and a self-righteous approach. They emphasize the importance of understanding the question behind the question and empathizing with the struggles of others. They also discuss the need for deep prayer and contemplation in order to effectively evangelize. Finally, they explore the controversy surrounding the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar.

  • In this conversation, Larry Chapp and Will Wright discuss the theological work of Hans Urs von Balthazar. They explore Balthazar's dialogue with German idealism, the evolution of ideas and Bible critique, the desire for truth and its service to the church, Balthazar's primary vocation and importance to the church, the impact of theology on catechesis, and recommended readings for understanding Balthazar.


  • Embrace radical Catholicism in a culture of beige Catholicism.

  • Prioritize prayer and make it a central part of daily life.

  • Recognize the importance of liturgy as the highest act of culture.

  • Cultivate a connection between faith, culture, and the land.

  • Embrace the principles of localism and subsidiarity.

  • Answer the universal call to holiness in your own life. Welcoming others into the Church should be done on Christ's terms, not compromising on doctrine.

  • Effective evangelization requires understanding the question behind the question and empathizing with the struggles of others.

  • Deep prayer and contemplation are essential for effective evangelization.

  • The theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, while controversial, offers insights into the suffering and solidarity of Christ. Hans Urs von Balthazar engaged in a dialogue with German idealism in his theological work.

  • The evolution of ideas and Bible critique can be traced back further than the Enlightenment.

  • The desire for truth and continual examination of the mystery of Christ is important as long as it serves the church.

  • Balthazar's theology is of profound importance to the church and has influenced theologians like John Paul II and Ratzinger.

  • Theology has a direct impact on how catechesis is conducted.

  • To understand Balthazar, it is recommended to start with his work 'Theologic' and volume five of 'Theological Aesthetics' where he engages with Aquinas.


  • 00:00 - Introduction and Background

  • 01:00 - Dr. Larry Chapp's Journey

  • 03:28 - Transition to Catholic Worker Farm

  • 05:01 - Starting a Blog and Writing a Book

  • 07:14 - Inspiration for Good Distinctions

  • 09:03 - Critique of Beige Catholicism

  • 14:31 - The Choice and Radical Catholicism

  • 19:21 - Individual vs. Collective

  • 21:38 - The Importance of Prayer

  • 26:21 - Liturgy as the Highest Act of Culture

  • 31:38 - Cult, Culture, and Cultivation

  • 35:11 - Localism and Subsidiarity

  • 39:05 - The Universal Call to Holiness

  • 41:46 - The Church's Terms

  • 42:25 - Compassion and Mercy

  • 43:13 - Ultra Progressive vs. Ultra Orthodox

  • 44:09 - Cultivating Soil for Evangelization

  • 45:05 - Understanding the Question Behind the Question

  • 46:08 - Stepping into Their Shoes

  • 47:24 - Moving Beyond Argument Mode

  • 48:20 - Reformulating the Question

  • 49:31 - Taking Questions Seriously

  • 50:31 - The Need for Deeper Teaching

  • 51:28 - Translating Big Ideas into Common Words

  • 52:41 - The Importance of Prayer and Contemplation

  • 53:34 - God Speaking to Us

  • 54:23 - The Thin Veil Between Worlds

  • 57:13 - The Influence of Protestant Views of Atonement

  • 58:15 - The Doctrine of the Mass of Damn Not

  • 59:43 - A Positive Vision of Salvation

  • 01:01:59 - Motivation to Evangelize

  • 01:04:11 - Living for Christ

  • 01:06:31 - The Controversial Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar

  • 01:09:20 - The Loneliness of Jesus

  • 01:21:36 - Balthazar's Dialogue with German Idealism

  • 01:22:10 - The Evolution of Ideas and Bible Critique

  • 01:23:07 - The Desire for Truth and the Service of the Church

  • 01:23:42 - Balthazar's Primary Vocation and Importance to the Church

  • 01:24:17 - The Impact of Theology on Catechesis

  • 01:25:02 - Recommended Readings for Understanding Balthazar

  • 01:25:41 - Conclusion and Farewell

🔗 Dr. Chapp’s Book and Blog:

Dr. Chapp’s Blog - Gaudium et Spes 22 -

“Confessions of a Catholic Worker” from Ignatius Press -

NC Register Author Page: 

🔗 Links for Good Distinctions:

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