Browsing The Northern Cross

‘Argument of the Month’ gets new Duluth twist

Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross

Back in January, organizers experimented with bringing to Duluth the famous Argument of the Month Club, a Catholic men’s apologetics event now hosted by St. Augustine parish in St. Paul.

The experiment was largely a success. It brought a good crowd to

Dubh Linn’s Irish Pub in downtown Duluth to witness and participate in the events as they happened in St. Paul via Internet live stream, and the feedback was that people wanted to do it again.

The main problem was the live stream. “It was a good experiment, but the audio-video quality wasn’t right where we wanted it to be at to have a good experience all around,” said Deacon Carl Provost, one of the organizers, who serves St. Rose in Proctor.

“So while we’re waiting for them to improve that … we decided to do our own little event and call it ‘Theology Untapped,’” he said.

On May 25, Duluth’s spin on the event, will be held at St. Benedict in Duluth at 6:30 p.m. It will feature Father Steven Laflamme, the judicial vicar of the Duluth Diocese, who will be getting into “The Nitty Gritty on Annulments.”

Similar to the event in St. Paul, Duluth’s version will have a meal and a choice of beer, wine, or soda. (Famous Dave’s is catering this one.) Deacon Provost said St. Benedict will offer more space than they had at the downtown pub, allowing for a little bigger crowd.

However, the Argument of the Month Club is centered around just what the name says — an argument. It has a debate format, with two or more speakers taking positions on a disputed question and arguing for those positions, and against opposing positions, in a more or less formal debate, followed by questions from the audience. For instance, the January event was focused on the questions raised by the “dubia” four cardinals submitted to Pope Francis regarding varying interpretations over the controversial sections of Amoris Laetitia, his apostolic exhortation on marriage.

Theology Untapped will take a somewhat different approach.

“We’ve kind of gone away from the debate format, in a sense, where we’re going to bring in experts on the topic who will give us from a Catholic perspective the true theology behind it,” Deacon Provost said.

The debate portion will come up during the Q&A with the speaker, which should be a major part of the evening. Deacon Provost said he hopes people will bring their real questions and encounter an atmosphere where they can really discuss the issues.

“We want people to be unguarded with their questions, get to the nitty gritty, which is the theme of the whole thing,” he said.

Deacon Provost said the inspiration for bringing this to Duluth came about when he attended the event in St. Paul himself, with another recently ordained deacon, John Foucault from St. Benedict. Deacon Provost said he has gone four or five times in the last few years.

They were impressed by the number of men attending and thought there may be a similar need in Duluth. “So we just thought having something local would certainly be well-attended,” he said.

Deacon Provost said it’s uncertain whether the format will remain the same or evolve locally or if they will again try to tap into the event in St. Paul. He said organizers there are interested in improving the quality of the video feed.

Cost for the event May 25 is $20. RSVP to Deacon Carl Provost, (218) 624-4400 or carl4400@hotmail.com, by May 22.