Brandon Vogt’s groundbreaking new book, RETURN: How To Draw Your Child Back To The Church is essential equipment for the mission-hearted Catholic.
The book – part of a larger multi-faceted project – is engaging, informed, fair and accessible. The book is meticulously researched, but the data is not a hindrance to its readability for lay Catholics. Vogt masterfully utilizes language that is stimulating but accessible to a wide Catholic audience.
The books transitions are smooth and systematic. In the first part, Vogt answers the question “Where are we?” Instead of just stating the WHAT of the current situation – that people, especially young people, are leaving the Church rapidly – he identifies the WHYs and immediately puts to rest unhelpful myths about fallen-away Catholics. The New Evangelization must lead with the beauty of charity, and Vogt wisely establishes this precedent immediately.
In the second part, Vogt unpacks numerous tried, tested and true strategies and ground rules for drawing lost sheep home. This section is impressive and exactly what is needed following the WHAT and the WHYs: the practical HOWs. What I really appreciated about this section is Vogt’s clear expertise on “how to re-evangelize without losing a soul”: the kind of expertise that is magnified by one’s own past experience of being outside of the Catholic Church. Vogt himself is a convert to the Catholic Church and his experience on both sides of the fence shines through as practical wisdom for the evangelical Catholic.
Finally in the third part, RETURN addresses a hefty list of common, and often sensitive, questions that can arise. Vogt does a great job in providing tactful, well-reasoned responses to anticipated personal, moral and theological objections like:
“I just don’t have time for church right now. I’m too busy.”
“I’m gay. How could I ever be Catholic?”
“There is simply no evidence for God”.
Bottom line is that I am both excited for and impressed with this book. Return is the most up-to-date, practical book I’ve read on “how to train for the New Evangelization”, and more importantly, “how to do the New Evangelization”. For the average lay Catholic especially, this book will be indispensible because of its unique and expansive practicality. Return will be my foremost recommendation for the average pew-sitting Catholic who wants to evangelize lost sheep but isn’t sure how to get started.