Kresta, Missionary Looking Inward, Then Outward | John Burger | CWR
Outlining today’s "Dangers to the Faith", author and radio host urges Church renewal and rebuilding
What will it take to save Western culture? What will it take to turn things around in an America that seems to have turned its back on its Judeao-Christian foundations?
Al Kresta doesn’t see it happening—at least not until the Church changes first.
Kresta, the long-time host of the popular “Kresta in the Afternoon” talk show, is the author of Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st-Century Opponents (OSV, 2013). Though the new book focuses largely on external threats—cults, scientific materialism and atheism, historical revisionism, secularism and consumerism—Kresta also touches on internal dangers, such as the complacency of some Christians. He concludes the 303-page book with a call to personal holiness.
“Often a life well lived can do more to illustrate the truth—‘adorn the doctrine,’ as St. Paul tells Titus—than the most brilliant words,” he writes. “The lives of the saints, but especially your becoming a saint, may be the most neglected tool in the missionary/apologist’s work bucket.”
In this Year of Faith called by Pope Benedict XVI, and in the wake of the 2013 conclave, in which a new Pope’s name echoes the call to “rebuild My Church,” Kresta and Ave Maria Radio are inviting Catholics to “Rebuild the Church, Bless the Nation.”
One must precede the other.
“In the late ‘70s I think there was a window of opportunity for Christians to potentially change the culture,” Kresta said in a wide-ranging interview with Catholic World Report. “I think that opportunity’s passed. I think the window has been shut. Right now we need to build the Church. I don’t want to say ‘forget the nation,’ because we should continue to oppose same-sex so-called marriage. We have to continue to work for the protection of unborn life. We have to continue to work to make sure the poor have adequate educational opportunities.... The Church itself needs to be rebuilt, and that’s what John Paul II was talking about with the new evangelization. Benedict, I think, was suggesting the same thing. And I think Francis is … about a more authentic, consistent, coherent Church.”
Kresta said his next book might be about how Catholics “undermine their own witness in the world, how we as a community are sending real mixed signals. We’re not bearing real truthful witness to who Christ is.”
Long and Winding Road
At 62, Kresta has spent a lifetime searching for that Christ, coming to know him better and finding ways to make him better known. He regards himself primarily as a missionary, whether he is on air, producing Catholic programming, organizing conferences, writing books, or simply being a husband, father, parishioner and neighbor.
“Al Kresta is a broadcaster, journalist and author who is, first of all, a missionary,” says his bio page at Ave Maria Radio, where he serves as president and CEO.
“The point of the show and of Ave Maria Radio is to make more and better Catholics,” said Nick Thomm, executive producer and news director of “Kresta in the Afternoon.”
It was not always thus with Albert Kresta. His early life and detours through drugs, the New Age movement and other distractions are documented in Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic (ed. Patrick Madrid, 1994, Basilica Press).