Mr. Paul Bois is the, self-described, resident Catholic monarchist at The Daily Wire. He is a frequent guest on The Michael Knowles Show, where the host has dubbed Mr. Bois with the modest title “Vox Dei”. Paul is a revert to the Roman Catholic Church and utilizes his studies and insight to introduce the wisdom of the Church in media and politics. You can follow Paul Bois on Twitter @PaulBois39 and on Facebook here.
Q: Among the faithful, clergy and laity alike, an experience so common it could be called a cliche is the encounter with a long suffering parent who laments, “We did everything right. My kids don’t come to Mass anymore. They left the Church.” Many respond with what amounts to three directives – pray, hope, and be a good witness. Paul, you are a young man of the millennial generation. You left the Church, but, you did something refreshingly uncommon from our generation of “nones”: you came back. Point blank – Why did you leave? What made you come back? Is there an answer to the question “What can I do to bring someone back to the Church?” Or is this a question to be left to prayer and Providence?
I grew up in a nominally Catholic household and had no formal rearing in the faith. Though I went to Catholic school for 8 years, it may as well have been a secular public school, considering I graduated not knowing the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. To me, Jesus was just a really nice guy and Catholicism was just one denomination of many. Like most young Catholics of my generation, I drifted into secular life throughout high school and into college. By the time I graduated Cal State Northridge in 2010, I had bought into the hookup culture and wandered into the liberal abyss, completely detached from the selfishness inherent with so-called “sexual freedom.” Had God not shown me tremendous mercy by introducing me to a brave and courageous Christian woman who demanded I change for the better or hit the road, I may have never woken up from my spiritual slumber. That woman eventually became my wife, who brought me into the fold of Christ through protestantism, which I remained for four years until having a full-blown Catholic awakening in the Summer of 2014.
I have little negative to say about my time spent as a protestant. The pastors I met were men of genuine good faith, whose zeal for God enabled me to trust in the bible’s infallibility and live by Christian morality. Few of the lessons I learned have been rendered useless now that I’m Catholic, and have only been expanded into a richer, more textured, deeper understanding of God and his will for mankind. As some protestant converts have described, I felt as if I had been spending my time in foyer of God’s house, but being Catholic allowed me to explore everything else: the upstairs, the garden, the kitchen. I felt I could lay may head down and rest at home. How I arrived to that conclusion was the second most merciful act God had graced me with. I won’t go into specifics, but events happened that yielded such spiritual turmoil in me that I wanted to sit inside a Catholic Church one Sunday, as I always found the physical presence of statues, paintings, candles, and the altar deeply soothing to the soul. (Keep in mind, I never developed a bitterness or hatred of the Catholicism in my youth, only I knew nothing about it.)
Sitting in the pews that Sunday as the sunlight refracted through the stained-glass windows amidst the silence echoing off the stone and marble, a great, unexplainable peace came over me, and I felt as though I had nothing to worry of. Not in a materialistic sense, but in a sense that I were a part of something greater than myself, something I could rest in. I wanted to find out why. The next day, I immediately began asking questions about the Church that evaded me in my youth: why the priesthood, why the Pope, why the dogma, why the saints, etc. Not only did I find the answers impressively logical, most especially the importance of an earthly authority designated by God himself to hold and distribute all truth, but also irrefutable. At this point, I had watched numerous debates on various political and theological positions, from abortion to gun control to taxes to evolution, and each time the counter to my position always made sound points that severely stifled my conclusions. When it came to Catholic positions versus protestant positions (sola scriptura, sola fide), no such altercation occurred. The Catholic positions were so logically air-tight both practically and theologically that there was virtually no contest. At some point, every protestant position would veer off from the theological and philosophical spheres and into the emotional: the Church was mean to this group, this Pope did XYZ to so and so, my mom could not get an annulment, confessing to a priest is uncomfortable, etc. After hearing several testimonies of protestants who confessed of experiencing nearly identical revelations, I sensed a spiritual tug pulling me to come home to the Catholic faith.
The kicker for me came in realizing that protestantism began with one man – Martin Luther – and now morphed into thousands of denominations and splinter groups who each have entirely different answers for very serious moral questions that only get more complicated the further modern man explores the limits of his reach. First there was contraception, which protestantism uniformly caved into during the 1960’s, now there was a same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism, IVF, surrogacy. Soon there will be genetically-engineered babies and then artificial intelligence. The host of moral quagmires are increasingly becoming far too murky to answer with sola scriptura, which is why millennial evangelicals are largely adopting more liberal positions regarding these issues. One thing about protestantism is that it always conforms to the culture and never bounces back, case in point: contraception. Catholicism, though extremely broken here in the West as its bishops and priests syncretize with protestant culture, always remains rooted in its unchangeable doctrines and tradition stretching back 2,000 years. It may go dark for a generation, as in the baby-boomers, but the doctrines remain for future generations to take hold of.
Q: Tell me about your work with Truth Revolt and The Daily Wire. Specifically, I am interested in your strategy for engaging the culture. One of your online author bios explains that you have adopted the method of your mentor Ben Shapiro to “punch back twice as hard”, particularly in response to the initiatives of the political left and those among the theologically progressive (i.e. those with a perverse love of novely at the expense of orthodoxy). You can almost see the comments section now. “This is uncharitable. This is no way for a disciple of Jesus Christ to conduct himself.” What do you say to those who, in a sincere desire for peace, wrestle with the tortured question of the prolific American philosopher Taylor Swift: “Why you got be so mean?” Are you just mean, Paul?
I believe in the words of Jesus Christ when He said “blessed are the peacemakers.” I do not wish for this divided society to continue, where Americans regard each other with such suspicion, where we look to our cultural flag-bearers with scorn rather than guidance, where institutions have evaporated of all public goodwill. I desire peace, but that requires stopping the sowers of discord. How does that come about? As Christ clearly demonstrated with St. Paul, true peace only comes through a conversion of heart. By converting Christ’s enemies into his flock, as the early Christians did, discord is then replaced with not only peace but harmony. There are several degrees of prudence in the converting of hearts that changes depending on the circumstance and the individual. For the average person on the street and my co-workers, conversion of heart comes about through what Pope Francis called the “culture of encounter,” meaning we talk it over. Unless the person insults you, there is no need for confrontation, because the point is about building rapport in hopes that they will see the irrefutable Truth about Catholicism. In other words, we both exist on the same plain of influence and can therefore engage in a constructive conversation. For cultural flag-bearers: Hollywood, political elites, mainstream media, the Catholic establishment, big business; they exist upon a plain of reality above those of myself and most faithful Catholics. Unlike the average person, they wield tremendous influence and inflict serious damage upon the souls beneath them. The “culture of encounter” applies to them differently than the average person because they must be brought down to a level that allows them to see the Truth on an equal playing field. In other words, they must be humbled. Christ did this to the Pharisees in the Temple, He did it to St. Paul on the road to Damascus, and He certainly did the same to myself. The powerful and the entrenched will not convert without first having their pride checked, and that will only come about when they know the pain their ideas (abortion, socialism, sexual liberation, modernism, etc.) have inflicted upon people.
Take the recent sexual harassment allegations made against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein for example. Here was a man entrenched in a life of unchecked sin, treating women and those beneath him with unbridled contempt. For decades, nobody could touch him, because his position of power shielded him from ever coming face-to-face with the consequences of his actions, but now that the truth of his alleged behavior has come to light, he can no longer go on living in denial. He can no longer hide in his place of privilege believing whatever he wishes about his actions. Reality is now the captain of his ship. His gravity belt malfunctioned and he’s crashed down to Earth. Only in a place of such intense humility do the enemies of God convert. Will a man like Weinstein ever convert and rest in the mercy of God? I do not know, nor do I know if Cecile Richards will convert if abortion should ever be made illegal and her legacy disgraced, but that is the only way to bring them to a place of genuflecting before the cross.
Q: Following up from the previous question – you engage in media and politics. Currently, the two most derided professions are those related to media and politics. Does your work sanctify you?
I certainly believe, based on the series of events that led me to my positions that God has given me a mission to engage in media and politics. One of my overall goals is to move beyond using media to criticize of those in power and create media that moves the soul, which is why I write screenplays and plan to direct movies in the coming future, something I have been working towards since high school. All my work, though not always overtly religious, contain a Catholic moral center, and I do feel a sanctification when I write my scripts, a sense that my soul is filtering through the chaos of this world to project back into something that makes sense, something Godly. A true artist serves as a mouthpiece for God and projects dignity onto the masses, reminding them of their worth, their purpose, their inherent goodness, despite their pain and suffering. It is deeply humbling to serve God in such a way, and I can only pray He graces me with the opportunity to continue doing so.
Q: Your twitter account touts that you are the Daily Wire’s “resident Catholic monarchist”. Quite a contrast to your place of employment which seems largely impacted by a conservative/libertarian politic. Is this tongue in cheek? If not, how does a monarchist finds himself at home in such a place as The Daily Wire?
There is a little bit of cheekiness there, but ultimately, yes, I am a proud Catholic monarchist, or rather a constitutional Catholic monarchist, not an absolute monarchist, which is a concept that did not arise until the Renaissance. I do not believe democracies or republics exist in any tangible or real sense. People have two options of government: oligarchy or monarchy; either people are ruled by an elite class or they are ruled by a designated elite above the elite class who answers to only the duties of his/her office mandated by Catholic tradition. Without a symbolic figurehead that represents a set of unchangeable values, the country is doomed for a chaotic relativism that results in dictatorship, as Rome clearly showed. As demonstrated by my appearances on The Michael Knowles Show, I care mostly about morality, philosophy, and theology; less about politics. In my opinion, politics is the dumping ground of intellectual thought, it’s where our collective beliefs go to manifest themselves in public policy. If the morality and theology in a society are broken, which they most certainly are in the United States right now, then politics will reflect that. There really is no point in debating policy with people who think the law should allow women to kill their unborn children, because somewhere, on a fundamental level, the society’s moral reasoning has broken down, and without fixing that, the policy will not change.
Also, I’m a proud medievalist.
Q: What does it mean to be a Catholic and a patriot? Do you see any conflict in these convictions?
I am a proud American patriot and consider it my moral duty as a Catholic. It is important here to distinguish between patriotism and nationalism, known here in the states as “Americanism.” Patriotism is really about gratitude and giving thanks to a nation that gave you a home, a culture, a language, and protection. Being an American, I have much to be grateful for, and would gladly give up my life to defend all I have been given if the situation (heaven forbid) ever arose. Patriotism, however, does not mean you view your nation as the finest achievement in human existence, nor does it mean you overlook your nation’s flaws.
Q: You follow the “goings on” of the Church. Doctrinal confusion abounds. I’d say that the Church does not look a thing like what anyone would have expected after the Second Vatican Council. On the one hand, those influenced by the zeitgeist of the 60’s/70’s and inspired by the so called “spirit of Vatican II” presumed the birth of a new Church independent of her history and tradition but were confronted with the pontificates of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI – stalwarts of Catholic tradition. Conversely, many in the post Vatican II era (the so called “John Paull II generation” of Catholics) have long been anticipating a coup de grâce to the confusion which reigned in the aftermath of Vatican II only to be confronted with the pontificate of Pope Francis – whose pastoral style is reminiscent of past aversions to doctrinal clarity in favor of a more casual posture. Where do you suppose the Church goes from here?
I speak here as someone who has seen the effects of both modern liberalism in the Church (liturgical abuses, watered down preaching, etc.) and dogged traditionalism. In my interpretation, both have missed the true “spirit of Vatican II” which I believe is about remaining firmly rooted in tradition while simultaneously taking into account the diversity of human expression, sort of a cultural subsidiarity. How does that look? I am completely at a loss to answer that, but I’m faithful that God is slowly building a new generation that will get it right. What I see in younger Catholics like myself, Michael Knowles, and friends I have is a strong commitment to God’s justice and the beauty of Catholic tradition while translating that into a language that the modern world can understand. We make jokes that everyone can laugh at, make movies that appeals to broader audiences, and utilize the power of social media. We recognize that it’s not enough to speak doctrine amongst ourselves while huddling together in a traditional Latin Mass as if the world outside does not exist. At least I think that’s what God is doing.
I could be wrong…
Q: How do you pray?
Sometimes intensely, sometimes peacefully. I try, though not always successful, to pray my rosary every night and a meditation on “Our Lady of Sorrows.” However, I am always in conversation with God, always asking Him or reflecting on His will for my life and for the world, always reflecting upon how my actions translate into eternity.
Q: Are you hopeful for the future?
If you have no hope, you have nothing. Hope is a prerequisite for being Catholic. Even if the whole world were to become a corrupt gulag where the faithful suffer at the hands of cruel tyrants, one must hope in joining God for eternity once their days on this earth, which are numbered, have ended. But yes, I am hopeful for the future of this country and this culture. I do believe we will turn it around and restore it to something better than it was before.
Q: In our interview with Michael Knowles, the editor chose to describe him as “ The Catholic at the Daily Wire”. Do you contest this?
Michael is successful for publishing a blank book, meaning he made six figures by doing absolutely nothing. That required serious divine providence. As far as I’m concerned, he’s far more Catholic than me.