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Matt Fradd is marching with Purpose

The online star speaks to The Catholic Weekly before his much-anticipated appearance at Purpose Conference in December.

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Matt Fradd, from the Pints with Aquinas podcast, is heading to Sydney in December for Purpose Conference. Photo: Supplied
Matt Fradd, from the Pints with Aquinas podcast, is heading to Sydney in December for Purpose Conference. Photo: Supplied

One of the Catholic world’s most prominent media voices, podcaster Matt Fradd, is heading to Sydney in December for Purpose Conference, but there’s one big mystery he’s hoping to solve when he lands.

“I just find it unfathomable that people in Australia listen to this show that I do. So, like what an honour to meet these people. And I can’t wait,” Matt said.

His show, Pints with Aquinas, a showcase of Matt’s deep knowledge of Catholic dogma and his signature Aussie charisma, sees him attract tens of thousands of people every year, particularly in the US, where his podcast has almost half a million listeners.

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It features Matt in deep conversation with the biggest Catholic minds in the world and has made him one of the most prominent Catholic voices in the media landscape.

Its why Sydneysiders, especially the Catholic youth of Sydney, are bracing for his visit to Australia this December.

Matt is one of the guest speakers at Purpose Conference, the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation’s much-anticipated archdiocesan youth conference for teens and young adults.

Up to 2500 Catholic youth are expected to pile into Sydney’s Rosebank college when Matt will deliver his talks on 7 and 8 December. Appearing with him will be Catholic author and chastity speaker Jason Evert.

“I have several talks that I’m giving, talks on my own conversion story, which will include discussions about atheism and belief in the existence of God,” Matt said.

“Talks on the Most Holy Theotokos and what we can know about her from scripture and how to cultivate a devotion to her.

“I’ll be talking about how pornography makes, well, men in particular, women struggle as well, but I’m going to be talking to the fellas.

“So, speaking with compassion, but some boldness on that topic as well.”

One of the most anticipated elements of Matt’s appearance at Purpose will be a recording of an episode of Pints with Aquinas.

Yet to be confirmed is an appearance on stage from either Most Rev Bishop Richard Umbers or Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP.

Matt joined Bishop Richard for a pre-Purpose episode of his Episcopal Podcast, and asked the podcaster for some advice for his live debut.

Matt’s only advice for Bishop Richard? Have fun.

“It’ll just be fun. I think Jason and myself are going to begin the conversation. And we’re going to be inviting different people up, who will be selected by Purpose conference people, to come up and have a quick chat,” Matt said.

“So, I think it’s just really laid back. That’s what’s nice about Pints With Aquinas.”

Matt’s laid-back style has become a signature part of the podcast’s success. A style nurtured and honed during his early years growing up in Australia.

“I was born in Eastwood and then moved directly to South Australia. I decided I was agnostic by about the age of 12, not really knowing what that meant, except that it meant not committed and somehow spiritual or more spiritual than an atheist,” he said.

“But it wasn’t until the age of 17 when I went to World Youth Day in Rome. And it was there that I encountered the Person of Jesus Christ and came back obnoxiously happy, turning off all of my friends!

“So, I kind of gradually grew in my faith 23 years ago.”

From there, Matt found love with his American born wife, Cameron, and drilled down deeper into his newfound faith in the US, where he earned a master’s in philosophy from Holy Apostles College.

He then began applying for NET Ministries and soon found his voice and an audience.

“And at that point, I got connected with folks like Jason Evert, who’ll be at Purpose conference. I started speaking kind of nationally, internationally on things like chastity and pornography recovery,” he said.

“And you know, they kind of evolve into other things. And so that’s how the podcast started about six or seven years ago.”

In an age where the average attention span of a person on the internet is 2.7 minutes, the success of Matt’s podcast, often running to two hours, is testament to his skills as a communicator.

Since the debut of his podcast, it’s clear that Fradd has tapped into something other Catholic podcasts simply have not.

“I just I like to have long-form discussions with people about Jesus Christ. I want him to be known. I want him to be loved,” Matt said.

“I don’t know what we’re at now—450,000 subscribers or something. So, I like to think of this tower that I’ve built.

“And now I can invite these wonderful people to stand on top of it so that they can be heard in the internet landscape where the stage has never been so crowded.”

With a full house expected for his talks and the buzz building for December’s Purpose conference, Matt is excited to be teaming up with the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation and the Sydney Catholic Youth team for Purpose.

“Everything I hear from a distance about the Archdiocese of Sydney is fantastic. It just it seems like there’s some sort of revival taking place there within the church. And I’m excited to come and witness it!”

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