Anthony Digmann is a Catholic speaker, author and theology teacher at Beckman Catholic High School who has taken his teaching apostolate to new levels online in the form of a YouTube series titled Passionately Catholic.
Hailing from Monticello, Digmann graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a double major in religious studies and electronic media and communication, as well as a minor in ethics. A few years after graduation, he accepted a teaching position at Beckman where he’s taught for the past 13 years, earning his master’s in theology from Loras College along the way. Digmann is also the owner of Capture This Video Productions, a professional videography/cinematography production house founded in 2010 that specializes in wedding and event video production.
Digmann has also authored three books: “Using the Force: Star Wars and Catholicism,” “Sign of Contradiction: Contraception, Family Planning & Catholicism,” and “Made for Holiness: A Catholic Introduction to Demons and Exorcism.”
“I love theology and the Catholic faith, and getting the truths of the Catholic faith out is what my life’s all about,” said Digmann. “Years ago, I’d take a lot of stuff I teach in class and put it into books. The book on demons and exorcism came right out of what I teach in class in a unit on moral theology for the seniors.”
Digmann said his new series, Passionately Catholic, was inspired by his desire to continue reaching out to educate about the Catholic faith in a world where books are in declining popularity.
“Taking to YouTube is kind of the new version of literature and books. In trying to reach out to people, I ask my students, ‘Would you rather read a book or watch videos on YouTube?,’ and they said YouTube. Publishing companies are having trouble with books, so I thought, ‘If I’m going to reach out and share more of the faith, do I want to do another book or something else?’ Since I’m a videographer and have cameras and stuff, doing a video is a natural option for me.”
As a speaker, Digmann already possessed a YouTube channel for five years, showing clips from talks and shows he’d appeared on, only hosting his new regular series with the first upload on Feb 16, 2021.
“I wasn’t using YouTube as a content creator, just for functionality,” said Digmann, “and when I was looking at getting into content creation and making a bigger difference in people’s lives and share the Catholic faith, I wondered what to call it. Passionately Catholic is what I do. I will be passionately Catholic 20 years from now because I became passionately Catholic when I was 18. I had a big conversion experience in high school and it hasn’t faded in those 20 years. I want that for anybody. I think if you’re excited about something like that, you want to share it with people. Passionately Catholic has become an opportunity for me to take what I do as an author and speaker, as a videographer, as a Catholic theology teacher, put them all together and help people spiritually.”
Merging his talents in the creation of Passionately Catholic, Digmann said he was heavily motivated by concern for his students, wishing to ensure their continued education in their faith while living in a world where such beliefs can be met with hostility.
“When I was looking at my motivations for doing this, I saw a need in several areas. When students leave here and I don’t have contact time with them anymore, who knows where they go? Catholics are notorious for hitting young adulthood and just leaving the Church, and I wanted to make sure I was going to continue to provide something for my graduates. I love these kids every year as my students, and I’m sad to see them go every year; then when they leave and feel like Jesus sending the apostles out as sheep among wolves. We have an apologetics class in the senior year about evidence for God’s existence and such, so they’ve heard it, but until you run up against some opposition and your beliefs get challenged, you’re not going to grow as much. My biggest motivation for the channel was to continue to serve the seniors after they leave and help them to be inspired, continue to be educated in their faith and stay Catholic.”
While his videos often end up focusing on topics related to teenagers, Digmann also focuses on adult topics, such as parenting. Additionally, Digmann believes parents are often in need of further information about the Catholic faith
“The sociological data shows that where a lot of teens are at, that’s where their parents are at too,” he said, “and a lot of teens don’t have a really solid understanding of their faith. It goes up even to my parent’s generation that was growing up with Catholicism in the 60s, 70s and 80s. A lot of them didn’t get good catechesis and don’t know their faith well. This will be great not only for the students but for their parents.”
One topic Digmann has a special fondness for is the meeting of faith and popular culture as a method for exploration and discussion of faith.
“I think, as a Christian, there’s a lot in the secular media and culture that can tie into our faith. I’ve always enjoyed analyzing popular culture and media from a Catholic perspective and using what’s good. St. Paul says to test everything, keep what is good, and throw out what’s not. You can test things in modern media and culture, and if it’s good, use it. I’ve always loved Star Wars and I’ve always been Catholic. Those two have been there since my earliest days. I think there’s a lot in Star Wars that can help us share Christian ideals, although it wasn’t created to be that, it’s a great launching off point to begin a dialogue about our faith and what we believe.”
Digmann hopes to eventually start a second channel entirely focused on a Catholic analysis on Star Wars, Marvel, and other media after Passionately Catholic gains more internet traction. Passionately Catholic currently uploads three videos a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/c/AnthonyDigmann.