From ghosts to gay weddings, Easter eggs to the death penalty, sacraments to scapulars, there’s hardly a topic relating to Catholic life and faith that Fr John Flader hasn’t written about.
Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Randazzo will launch his latest book, Question Time 4:150 Questions and Answers on the Catholic Faith, this month. It’s the fourth book based on the priest’s popular question and answer-style column published by The Catholic Weekly.
Previous volumes have enjoyed local and international success and Fr Flader says he has no intention of ending his great run, with Question Time 5 “already halfway done”. The priest of Opus Dei began writing the column in 2005 after the former editor, Kerry Myers, gratefully accepted his offer to do so.
He was then head of the former Catholic Adult Education Centre in Lidcombe, and “foolishly” expected it would take him 20 minutes a week.
“It takes me three hours, but it’s been eminently worth it because many people obviously read it, and people continue to have questions and concerns,” he said.
Occasionally it takes longer when the answers aren’t clear-cut, he added. That’s because while it’s important to remain faithful to Church teaching, when it comes to questions about people and relationships “it’s not black and white”.
“You have to deal with things in a pastoral way and a sensitive way and yes, observe moral law, but there are people involved, it’s not just about laws.”
He receives fresh questions each week and consults Scripture, Church teaching, and the work of contemporary writers and theologians along with his own extensive experience in teaching and pastoral care.
Question Time 1 was published in 2008 after he realised people were collecting his columns and photocopying them for friends and family.
“The strange thing I found is that people still cut them out,” he said.
“They can’t wait three years to have them.”
Question Time 4: 150 Questions and Answers on the Catholic Faith is published by Connor Court.
The columns and books have become an effective ‘go-to’ resource for anyone interested in finding out more about the Catholic faith, how to pass it on, or with a question about navigating new developments in society and culture.
All are welcome to attend the book launch in the church hall at St Michael’s parish, Belfield, on 15 May from 7.30pm.