Our History

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(Above: The Seal of the Defenders of Faith, designed by “S.E.” June 2015)
Website banner by Noein

Our Leadership

Executive Director: William Deatherage
Executive Producer: Mary Ryan
Executive of Organizational Development: Joe Bukuras
Co-Director of Editing: Jenna Drummond
Co-Director of Editing: Madeleine Sanders
Managers of Catholic U: Zacky Samaniego, Eddie Vrona, and Kelsey Nowack
Managers of Franciscan: GraceAnne Sullivan and Alec Gany
Manager of Notre Dame: Bea Cuasay
Manager of Benedictine: Juliet Mattingly
Managers of Creighton: Sofia Deatherage, Paul Martin, and Jon Harrington
Manager of Facebook: Rachel Alexander
Manager of Twitter: Bea Cuasay
Manager of Instagram: Joseph Giesuebelle
Editor of Moral Theology: Mary Boneno
Editor of Liturgical Theology: Ariel Hobbs
Editor of Biblical Theology: GraceAnne Sullivan
Editor of Mariology/Saints: Christopher Centrella
Editor of Philosophy: “Noein”
Editor of Current Events: Bea Cuasay
Editor of Faith Experiences: Maggie Rudman
Board of Initiatives
Katie Hugo
Nick Jones
Benjamin Kelley
Faith Kowitz
Lizzie Self
Grady Stuckman

What is Clarifying Catholicism

Clarifying Catholicism is a lay apostolate consisting of students and recent graduates who write blogs, produce videos, and record podcasts on Catholic Theology. We are dedicated to preserving the rich intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church by defending faith and reason. Our primary aim is to explain and demystify Church teaching that may be misunderstood or difficult for teens and young adults to digest.

The organization is independent of any formal Catholic organization, so any schools, colleges, or universities mentioned on this website are unaffiliated with our ministry. If you are interested in creating content for us or if you would like to start a ministry in your area/campus, please visit the Start a Ministry Page.

Brief Facts

Founded: April, 2015
Created by: William Deatherage
Executive Director: William Deatherage
Patron Saint: St. John Paul II
Colors: Red, Blue, and Purple
Seal: Pictured Above
Emblem: The Defenders Sword

Our History

New Seal

Our Coat of Arms (Updated: June 2019)

Season One: “DefenderofFaith01” was created on April 5, 2015 by William Deatherage as a YouTube channel to present a series called, Clarifying Catholicism. The mission of this channel was to present the complex teachings and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church in a simplified manner to teen and young adult audiences. During this season, William Deatherage served as the primary contributor towards making videos, with Jacob Dicken adding the longest running spinoff, AP Church History. Kyle Guthrie served as the Director of Photography and “S.E.” was the channel artist. The official Clarifying Catholicism logo was created by “S.E.” in June of 2015, and the now defunct Weebly-powered website was made during the same summer. Five episodes of Clarifying Catholicism were released, accompanied by four AP Church History videos.

Season Two: This season began on October 3, 2015. This season looked to expand the team towards reaching out to different interests. Production of Clarifying Catholicism significantly slowed to three episodes, while AP Church History, Andrew Plasker’s A Protestant’s Perspective, and Tucker Chisholm’s Tucker’s Two Cents took on a greater role, the latter two being new series. Following a brief hiatus, an additional series, Poll Center revived activity on the channel. The new series focused on reactions to the 2016 Presidential campaign and took the place of Clarifying Catholicism for months. The Director of Photography’s role was greatly diminished, while quality scripted videos were replaced by unscripted and last-minute styles. The Clarifying Catholicism team expanded in a diverse manner, resulting in three Catholics, three Protestants, and one Atheist.

Season Three: This season began in May, 2016, and was notable for its infrequent updates and long hiatuses. A majority of the team was disbanded, and William Deatherage directed nearly every video and form of content. Despite this, the season rebounded in early September, 2016 with the introduction of the popular series, Catholic Chat, which featured interviews with college students from various backgrounds. Catholic Chat received great positive reception, and the two final Clarifying Catholicism’s focused on the 2016 Presidential Election, each gathering over 100 views. Despite having a very rough start, Season Three marked a new era of videos and viewership, as the team transitioned from High School to College.

Season Four: Season Four marked an incredible leap of growth for the channel. Uploads became weekly, a FaceBook Message list was established, and membership in the Defenders of Faith soared to over thirty members. A majority of the team was located in colleges in Washington D.C. Additionally, a Focus Group was established. This season gathered more views than all other seasons, shattering the record, set by Season One, midseason. In fact, this season got nearly more views than all other seasons combined. Likes/Dislikes were finally enabled, and nearly every episode collected over 20 Likes. The blog, www.clarifyingcatholicism.org was unveiled this season, which achieved moderate success. A new Executive Board was created and the organization flourished in Washington D.C. Catholic Chat also began featuring more prominent interviewees, such as President John Garvey of The Catholic University of America.

Season Five: Season Five provided immense growth for the channel, with standout videos setting great standards. Most popular videos used events to illustrate a point about theology. The Fatima: 100 Years, 1 Rosary passed one hundred views quicker than any video prior. Meeting Pope Francis also took off, surpassing three hundred views in less than two weeks, currently sitting around five hundred, now. The culmination of event-based videos, Marching to Victory, filmed at the March for Life 2018, is the first video to amass over one thousand views. In total, the video viewcount nearly doubled in comparison to the prior Season. In regards to the blog, it grew exponentially, as its popularity quadrupled. This was due to some very popular posts, several which garnered over one hundred views. Monetization seemed certain for the channel, which achieved over 13,000 views and 180 subscribers total, though the rules for earning money were changed on the day it applied for such a venture. With this success, structure of the organization was quite loose. Because of this, the channel and blog became more of a hub for contributors to occasionally post in, rather than a formal team of people. The following Season will focus on analyzing what made the popular videos so successful, while retaining greater organizational structure in place.

Season Six: Beginning mid-Summer 2018, this season focused primarily on growing the blog, though some fantastic videos were also made to keep the channel vibrant at 225 subscribers. The channel’s primary purpose has shifted to be more of a collaborative venture, partnering with clubs, churches, academics, and organizations who wish to host Catholic content on a YouTube channel, but have nowhere else to upload. Viewership broke records in every category, as the blog reached over 3,000 views, and the channel soared over 13,000 during this season. Clarifying Catholicism started to have a greater team effort this season, as leadership excelled in formal roles. At this point, our staff had reached over fifty writers.  This trend is looking to continue, as we plan to launch a formalized chapter program across different universities and establish a formal editorial board.

Our Past Leadership History

Fall 2019

Board of Directors
Executive Director: William Deatherage
Executive Producer: Mary Ryan
Co-Director of Editing: Jenna Drummond
Co-Director of Editing: Madeleine Sanders
Director of Video Editing: Thomas Gorman
Co-Director of Social Media: Alec Bonjolo
Co-Director of Social Media: Mary Polking
Executive of Organizational Development: Joe Bukuras
Editorial Board: Ariel Hobbs, Jeremy Volz, Rachel Le Melle, Leo Pio, Luke Parker, Maggie Rudman, Juliet Mattingly
The Catholic University of America Management: Board of Directors
University of Notre Dame Management: Bea Cuasay, Catherine Viz, John O’Neil
Benedictine College Management: Birdie Kopacz, Juliet Mattingly, Marianne Rice
Franciscan Steubenville Management: Hannah Gude, GraceAnne Sullivan, Makayla Ihfeldt
Board of Trustees: Liam O’Toole, Andrew Plasker, Jacob Dicken, Simon Falk, Maria Flores

Season Six Board of Directors
Executive Director: William Deatherage
Director of Production: Mary Ryan
Director of Blog Editing: Jenna Drummond
Director of Video Editing: Thomas Gorman
Director of Cinematography: Austin Visk
Director of Social Media: Alec Bonjolo

Season Five Board of Directors
Chief Executive: William Deatherage
Director of Rome, Italy Operations: William Deatherage
Director of Washington, D.C. Operations: Liam O’Toole
Assistant Director of Washington, D.C. Operations: Eduardo Perez Rubio
Director of Portland, Oregon Operations: Andrew Plasker
Director Consultant: Jacob Dicken
Senior Director: Simon Falk
Affiliate Channels
Ianmage: Animator
Kathleen Alpurado: Music

Season Four Executive Board
Chief Executive: William Deatherage
Executive Producer: William Deatherage
Executive Editor of Blog: Annie Dadosky
Executive of Cinematography: Joseph Pizzoferrato
Executive Web Designer: Mary Hammer
Executive Consultant: Jacob Dicken

Season Three Leadership Team
Executive Producer: William Deatherage
Director of Clarifying Catholicism: William Deatherage
Director of Photography: John Eisenbacher

Season Two Leadership Team
Executive Producer: William Deatherage
Director of Photography: Kyle Guthrie
Director of Clarifying Catholicism: William Deatherage
Director of AP Church History: Jacob Dicken
Director of A Protestant’s Perspective: Andrew Plasker
Director of Tucker’s Two Cents: Tucker Chisholm
Quality Control Manager: Kunal Bhattacharjee
Channel Artist: “S.E.”

Season One Leadership Team
Executive Producer: William Deatherage
Director of Photography: Kyle Guthrie
Director of Clarifying Catholicism: William Deatherage
Director of AP Church History: Jacob Dicken
Channel Artist: “S.E.”