Matthew R. Petrusek, Ph.D. is Assistant Director and Professor of Catholic Ethics at Bishop Robert Barron's Word on Fire Insitute. Before joining Word on Fire, Dr. Petrusek received an MA from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was a tenured professor in theological ethics at a Catholic university in Los Angeles. Petrusek specializes in Christian ethics and moral theology, though lectures broadly, in English and Spanish, on politics, social issues, philosophy, theology, the new evangelization, and the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Petrusek is the author of Evangelization & Ideology: How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture (a #1 release on Amazon), co-author of Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity: The Search for A Meaningful Life (also a #1 release on Amazon), and co-editor of Ethics and Advocacy: Bridges and Boundaries and Value and Vulnerability: An Interfaith Dialogue on Human Dignity. He has two additional books in progress: The Splendor of Truth: St. Pope John Paul II's Encyclical with Commentary and Practical Applications and A Theology of Free Speech. In addition to appearing on the Jordan Peterson podcast and the Jonathan Pageau podcast, he has hosted two seasons of a bilingual apologetics show, "Reasons to Believe" ("Razones para Creer"), produced and distributed by Wordnet Studios. He has also been a speaker at the national Good News Conference. Petrusek lives with his wife and children in southeast Minnesota.
Petrusek was born and raised in a small town in eastern Oregon. He grew up Catholic and decided to pursue the academic study of religion while in college at Washington and Lee University. Inspired by the command to love God with all one’s mind and heart, Petrusek seeks to integrate the careful study of philosophy and theology with the traditional teachings and piety of the Catholic Church. To that end, he speaks frequently in diverse secular and Catholic communities on the beauty, depth, and truth of the Catholic intellectual and spiritual tradition. Motivated by Pope Benedict XVI’s engagement with secular culture, Petrusek seeks to reveal how Catholic thought remains perennially relevant and prophetic, both in and out of season.
Within the Church, Petrusek takes a “back to basic” approach to catechesis in an effort to recover an orthodox, pastorally-nimble yet intellectually-robust approach to faith formation and evangelization, using Scripture, the Catechism, and the great minds of the Church’s tradition as a foundation. His ultimate goal is to present the Church’s theological and moral doctrines with as much clarity as possible, believing that great ideas, if allowed to speak freely, will naturally draw people in.
Sample talks include (can also be presented in Spanish):
1) Catholicism and Politics: An Alternative to Ideology
2) Dignity, Equality, & Solidarity: A Catholic Alternative to "DEI" (diversity, equity, & inclusion)
3) Corporate Sponsored Totalitarianism: New Threats to Freedom and A Catholic Response
4) A Theology of Free Speech
5) Reclaiming Social Justice
6) Thinking in Circles: Why You Are Already A Theologian (Even if You Didn't Know It)
7) Catholicism and Jordan Peterson
8) Secularism and Its Discontents: A Catholic Way Path Back to Sanity
9) Monastery, Mission, Cathedral: Three Models for Catholic Education
10) Be Not Afraid: A Field Guide to Wokeism
11) Justice as a Tool for Resistance: Lessons from St. John Paul II
And many more...