By Thomas V. Mirus
Showing most recent 200 items by this author.
160—The Vocation of Thomas Aquinas—Matthew Minerd
A deep dive into the life and vocation of St. Thomas Aquinas as a Dominican friar, student, and teacher.
When artists feel lonely in the Church
A livestream of James Majewski and Thomas Mirus discussing how mature artists should navigate what they may see as an excessively moralistic approach to art. This was part of CatholicCulture.org’s Spring fundraising campaign in 2023.
159—Person and Act: John Paul II’s Philosophy w/ Timothy Flanders
In Person and Act Wojtyła set forth the foundation of his blend of phenomenology, Thomism and personalism, a foundation underlying much of his other philosophical and theological writing. In this episode, Flanders & Mirus boil down some of the key points of this rather challenging book, setting Wojtyła's philosophy in its intellectual, cultural, and religious context, and showing why his insights about human consciousness, the experience of morality, and the person are important for us as well.
Highlights: Christopher Tolkien, William Byrd, A Hidden Life, poetry-painting collaboration
This episode features highlight clips from episodes 50, 58, 60, and 66 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.
158—City of God vs. City of Man—Timothy Flanders
It's time for a big-picture look at Church history! Timothy S. Flanders joins the podcast to discuss his book City of God vs. City of Man: The Battles of the Church from Antiquity to the Present. The book is a synthesis of the approaches of St. Augustine and Christopher Dawson, whom Timothy calls the two greatest Catholic historians.
157—A New Faerie Tale in Verse—Marly Youmans
Marly Youmans joins the podcast to talk about her new verse tale, Seren of the Wildwood, the story's relation to the biblical giants or Nephilim, and the difference between myth and faerie.
156—Can music be sad?
It's universally acknowledged that music affects our emotions. But does it actually make sense to talk about music "expressing", emotions in any intrinsic sense (that is, can music itself be happy or sad)? And even if it does, should we treat emotional expression as the essential purpose of music, or the criterion by which we judge musical beauty? If music doesn't literally contain emotions, how does it still manage to affect our feelings so powerfully? And what is music expressing, imitating or reflecting, if not emotions?
155—Pilgrimage to the Museum—Stephen Auth
For decades, Steve and Evelyn Auth have been giving tours of NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art. When Steve (who last appeared on this show talking about his book The Missionary of Wall Street) had a reversion to his Catholic faith 20 years ago, that tour soon enough became a Catholic tour of the Met. Since there is now so much demand for that tour that they can't give it to everyone, they have written its essence in their new book, Pilgrimage to the Museum: Man's Search for God.
154—To Muck We Shall Return—Jane Clark Scharl
Jane Clark Scharl discusses her play Sonnez les Matines, in which a young Ignatius of Loyola, Jean Calvin, and Francois Rabelais, together in 1520s Paris, find themselves implicated in a murder.
153—The Lost Radical History of the Pro-Life Movement—Randall Terry
Without Operation Rescue, the pro-life movement as we know it wouldn't exist. OR was the largest peaceful civil disobedience movement in US history, with 75,000 activists arrested between 1987 and 1994 - that's ten times as many as in the entire civil rights movement. Randall Terry, who ran OR for its first few years and was arrested 50 times for his pro-life activism, is producing a documentary series which will tell the history of OR using many hours of amazing footage that exists from the time.
152—The most Catholic opera: Dialogues of the Carmelites w/ Robert Reilly
Robert Reilly joins the podcast to discuss Francis Poulenc’s 1957 opera Dialogues des Carmélites. Based on the true story of sixteen Carmelite nuns who were martyred in the French Revolution (famously singing the Salve Regina as they went to the guillotine). With outstanding spiritual realism, Dialogues dramatizes the inner struggle of a soul. Its examination of the complex blend of motives for pursuing a religious vocation, the fear of death, and the transference of grace.
Our favorite books and films of 2022
It’s time for the Catholic Culture staff’s annual roundup of our favorite books (and other media) of the past year.
151—Liberal Women & Drag Queens—Darel Paul
What's behind the increasing popularity of drag queens and drag shows in America? Why is half the audience of RuPaul's Drag Race now composed of young liberal women? Attempting to answer these questions brings forth insights about the relation between the LGBT movement, "wokeness", and America's largely female-driven therapeutic culture.
150—Solemnities and How to Celebrate Them—McNamara & Carstens
Denis McNamara and Christopher Carstens join the podcast to talk about the upcoming solemnities of Christmas; Mary, Mother of God; and Epiphany. Their new book covers the Church's 17 solemnities. For each, there is a discussion of its theological and spiritual significance, a reproduction and analysis of a great artwork related to the solemnity, and tips on how to observe the solemnity more deeply, from spiritual practices to festive traditions.
149—Duns Scotus, Minstrel of the Incarnation—Thomas Ward
Blessed John Duns Scotus (1265-1308), the Franciscan friar known as the “Subtle Doctor”, is one of the most important theologians and philosophers of the Middle Ages, yet over the centuries he has fallen into disrepute, or at least neglect, by comparison with the “Angelic Doctor”, St. Thomas Aquinas. Interest in Scotus has revived somewhat in part due to his beatification by Pope St. John Paul II, who called him the “defender of the Immaculate Conception” and “minstrel of the Incarnation”.
148—Being Is Better Than Not Being—Christopher Mirus
How does Aristotle identify goodness with the ability to be contemplated – even in the sphere of ethics? What is the relation between friendship and contemplation? How can we call “beautiful” things as different as a morally virtuous human action, the parts of animals, the orbits of the heavenly spheres, and God Himself? What does Aristotle mean when he says that being is better than not being?
147—The World Is Falling Away—Jane Greer
Catholic poet Jane Greer joins the podcast to read from her third collection, The World As We Know It Is Falling Away. She discusses the spiritual challenges that came with the great success of her previous book, Love Like a Conflagration, which connects to a major theme of her new book: fallen man’s thwarted desire to exceed divinely ordained limits to earthly delights, in the face of death and apocalypse – along with the real beauty of the gifts God has given us to enjoy in this life.
Highlights: music & spirituality, the common good, Mary’s river
This episode contains clips of highlights from episodes 33, 56, and 57 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.
146—40 Days for Life Co-Founder Shawn Carney
Though prayer, fasting, and public presence, 40 Days for Life has been very successful in reducing abortions, closing down abortion clinics, and even saving the souls of women who intend abortion and abortion industry workers. Co-founder Shawn Carney joins the podcast to discuss their work, the current situation post-Roe, and the necessity of prayer and fasting for fruitful activism.
145—Catholic Imagination Conference poetry reading
The Catholic Culture Podcast Network sponsored a poetry reading session at the fourth biennial Catholic Imagination Conference, hosted by the University of Dallas. Thomas Mirus moderated this session on Sept. 30, 2022, introducing poets Paul Mariani, Frederick Turner, and James Matthew Wilson.
144—The Obedience Paradox in Marriage—Mary Stanford
The primordial reality of authority as gift and obedience as receptivity is central to Mary Stanford’s new book, The Obedience Paradox: Finding True Freedom in Marriage. Drawing on Scripture, the theology of the body, and the whole Magisterial tradition of the Church on marital obedience, Stanford offers not just a defense of the traditional teaching, but a profound illumination of how both wives and husbands can find true freedom in submitting to God’s design for what Pope Pius XI called “the order of love” in marriage, which is both mutual and asymmetrical.
143—The Sacrament of Church Architecture—Denis McNamara
"Architecture is the built form of ideas, and church architecture is the built form of theology." Denis McNamara joins the show to give a crash course in the underlying principles of Catholic church architecture, and make the case for classical architecture as the method that should be used by today's sacred architects.
142—The Genesis of Gender—Abigail Favale
Abigail Favale returns to the show to discuss her new book, The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory. Topics include: --Understanding "lived experience" in light of theology and anthropology --Learning from people with gender dysphoria who have transitioned and detransitioned --The spike in transgender identity among teenagers --"What about intersex people?" --How potency and actuality can help us to understand sex difference --Manhood and womanhood as symbols of theological realities
141—Libertarianism, Jazz & Critical Race Theory—Edward Feser
Catholic philosopher Edward Feser joins the podcast to discuss his new book, All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory. But before getting to that, he and Thomas discuss their similar paths away from libertarianism, and their shared appreciation for the music of Thelonious Monk.
140—Let’s Get Real—Joshua Hren
Joshua Hren returns to the podcast to discuss his essay, Contemplative Realism: A Theological-Aesthetical Manifesto: "In our present age of raging post-truth unreality, we ought to heed Pope Benedict XVI’s summons to 'ask rather more carefully what 'the real' actually is.' So-called 'realism,' when relegated to material tangibilities, can blind us—instead of binding us—to things as they are."
139—Response to Fr. Gregory Pine: Movies, Music & Contemplation
Gregory Pine, O.P. recently voiced his concern that mass entertainment, particularly music and movies, is often an obstacle to achieving the heavenly end of contemplation for which we are made. This discussion inspired by Fr. Pine’s points specifies some elements of music and film which are obstacles to the contemplative life, but also suggests how, rather than simply eschewing music and movies, we can engage with better art in a deeper way which serves the contemplative end of man.
138—Drawing in Clay—Christopher Alles
Catholic sculptor Christopher Alles joins the podcast for an introduction to the art of sculpture, especially in its formal qualities. Alles mostly does commission work for the Church, and the theoretical points in this conversation are illuminated by references to some of his recent works, including a work-in-progress Pieta and his monumental sculpture of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death.
137—The Poetics of John the Evangelist—Anthony Esolen
Poet, translator and cultural critic Anthony Esolen joins the podcast to discuss his book, In the Beginning Was the Word: An Annotated Reading of the Prologue of John.
136—The Novel against Self-Destruction—Joshua Hren
Joshua Hren returns to discuss his debut novel, Infinite Regress. The book is particularly timely in its philosophical themes, as it treats the subject of metaphysical deconstruction used as cover for sexual grooming in the world of education.
135—The Cardinal vs. the Communists—Arpad von Klimo
József Cardinal Mindszenty was not only the face of Hungarian resistance to fascism and communism, but ultimately a symbol Catholic resistance to communism worldwide. From 1948 to 1956 he was in a communist prison, from 1956 to 1971 he was isolated from the world as a refuge in the U.S. Legation in Hungary. He then spent the last 4 years of his life in exile from his country and in increasing tension with the Vatican's more conciliatory approach to diplomacy with Soviet nations.
134—The Political Form of Evil—D. C. Schindler
D. C. Schindler's book The Politics of the Real: The Church between Liberalism and Integralism is one of the richest entries in the ongoing Catholic debate over liberalism, political authority, the common good, and the relation between Church and State. Schindler offers subtle, convincing arguments as to why liberalism is "the political form of evil", specifically consisting of a rejection of the Christian form - specifically, the Jewish-Greek-Roman synthesis embodied in the Catholic Church.
133—Think Like a Poet—Ryan Wilson
In a wide-ranging and erudite interview, poet and translator Ryan Wilson joins the podcast to discuss how the poet makes use of the classical virtue of xenia or hospitality, what poets can learn from the work of translation, the "romantic turn" (inner vision) and the "classical turn" (communication/craft) in poetry, the great Latin poet Horace, and more. Ryan performs, in his dynamic style, classic poems by Horace and others, as well as his own poems.
132—Technology and the Artist: Glenn Gould in the Studio
"The justification of art is the internal combustion it ignites in the hearts of men and not its shallow, externalized, public manifestations. The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity."
Highlights: Indie rock, postliberalism, Mary and the Holy Spirit
This episode contains clips of highlights from episodes 51 and 53-55 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.
131—Virtue Is Not Enough—J. Budziszewski
One of the best contemporary natural law philosophers, J. Budziszewski, joins the show to discuss his new book, How (and How Not) to Be Happy, spiritual warfare in the classroom, and his journey from “macho nihilism” to faith.
130—John Paul II’s Retreat for Artists—Christopher West
In Holy Week of 1962, Bishop Karol Wojtyla gave a retreat to a group of Polish artists. The text of that retreat has now been published in English, along with commentary, by the Theology of the Body Institute, in a book titled God Is Beauty: A Retreat on the Gospel and Art. Christopher West, president of the TOB Institute, joins Thomas Mirus to discuss the retreat and how it fits together with St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body.
129—Fatima Today: In Defense of Private Revelation
Thomas Mirus reads his article "Fatima Today: In Defense of Private Revelation". The first part of this article is a reminder of the essential importance of Fatima in our time. The second, and longer, part corrects a misunderstanding of private revelation held by many—namely that whatever falls into this category can make no claim on our mind or conscience, and that it is a matter of indifference whether we pay heed to it.
Fatima Today: In Defense of Private Revelation
The first part of this article is a reminder of the essential importance of Fatima in our time. The second, and longer, part corrects a misunderstanding of private revelation held by many—namely that whatever falls into this category can make no claim on our mind or conscience, and that it is a matter of indifference whether we pay heed to it.
128—As Earth Without Water—Katy Carl
Katy Carl, author of the excellent new novel As Earth Without Water and editor-in-chief of the Catholic arts journal Dappled Things, joins the show to discuss the novel and the state of the Catholic literary scene.
127—Gregory the Great—Chase Faucheux
Today's guest is Chase Faucheux, translator of a recent biography of Pope St. Gregory the Great.
126—How Charlie Parker’s Music Changed My Life
Thomas Mirus's relationship to music was transformed in his late teens by exposure to the music of alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. Before he had used music to stimulate an emotional response, but soon he found himself listening for the sake of musical beauty itself, regardless of emotions. Then Thomas explains how to follow the musical form of a jazz performance, and introduces the music of Charlie Parker and the new form of jazz he pioneered in the 1940s and early 50s, known as bebop.
125—St. Joseph in Art History—Elizabeth Lev
Art historian Elizabeth Lev joins the show to discuss her new book, The Silent Knight: A History of St. Joseph as Depicted in Art. The book offers not only a history of sixteen centuries of art featuring St. Joseph, but also an account of the development of devotion to St. Joseph over the past two thousand years -from the old man sitting overlooked in the corner of early Nativity scenes to the glorious Patron of the Univeral Church.
124—Culture Warrior, Culture Nurturer—Maggie Gallagher
Maggie Gallagher, once the public face of opposition to gay marriage, now runs the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship. She discusses her history in the marriage wars, and her current efforts helping Archbishop Cordileone to build culture for the future.
123—The Nature of Middle-earth—Carl Hostetter
Carl Hostetter, editor of a new volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's unpublished notes, The Nature of Middle-earth, joins the show to discuss Tolkien's metaphysics, his theology, and some of the startling revelations about Tolkien's creative process found in this and other books of Tolkien's notes and drafts.
122—Minor Indignities—T.C. Merrill
T.C. Merrill's debut novel, Minor Indignities, is an evocative portrayal of the vanity of undergraduate life at an Ivy League university. Its protagonist, a freshman consumed with what others think of him intellectually, socially and sexually, only makes a fool of himself the more he strains to impress. The novel ultimately becomes a richness of embarrassments whose final catastrophe illustrates the saying of St. Bernard: “Humiliation is the way to humility.”
Our favorite books and films of 2021
As usual at this time of year, Catholic Culture's staff lists the books (and in some cases, other media as well) they enjoyed most in 2021.
The Glorious English Carol
Did you know that not just any Christmas song is a carol? The true carol, in all its earthy splendor, is a distinctive product of the Catholic middle ages. Yet our forefathers didn’t limit caroling to Christmas: they wrote carols for every season of the year covering the entire story of our Redemption, not to mention secular topics at times.
121—Catholic Jazz Legend Mary Lou Williams—Deanna Witkowski
Mary Lou Williams: one of the outstanding jazz pianists of all time, composer, Catholic convert, visionary, performer of works of mercy.
Highlights: Authority in marriage, anti-libertarianism, the scapular and more
This episode contains clips of highlights from episodes 45 and 47-49 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.
120—Maximilian Kolbe in Japan—Kevin Doak
Miracles is a semiautobiographical account of the author’s personal investigation into the miracles approved by the Vatican for Kolbe’s canonization. Her ambivalence towards her Catholic faith is challenged as she traces Kolbe’s steps from his childhood to his self-sacrifice in Auschwitz, with his time in Japan standing in between as the ascetic crucible which made him a saint.
119—Gilson on the One Secular World Order—Peter Redpath
Gilson's Metamorphoses of the City of God traces the quest of philosophers for a universal human society, as it gradually degraded from the heavenly city of which Augustine wrote.
118—Music for the Joyful Mysteries—Mark Christopher Brandt
Mark Christopher Brandt returns to the show to discuss his latest album, Joy, which is based on the structure of the Rosary. It features the family choir of Mark and his three daughters, accompanied by Mark on piano. The album has an amazing backstory, involving Mark's decision to end his public career as a jazz pianist to focus on his family, never expecting that he would one day make an album with his chilren.
117—Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism, Pt. 2
This is a crossover episode in which Thomas joins forces with Scott Hambrick and Karl Schudt from the Online Great Books Podcast, to discuss the classic essay Art and Scholasticism by Jacques Maritain. This episode covers beauty as a transcendental and its role in the fine arts, and intuition as the way we experience artistic beauty. The beauty of a work does not depend on the emotional effects it produces, nor can it be proven by analysis.
116—Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism, Pt. 1
This is a crossover episode in which Thomas joins forces with Scott Hambrick and Karl Schudt from the Online Great Books Podcast, to discuss the classic essay Art and Scholasticism by Jacques Maritain.
115—A Bishop’s Stand on Gender Ideology—Fr. Stephen Schultz
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, recently issued “A Catechesis on the Human Person and Gender Ideology”. The document takes a strong unequivocal stance against transgender ideology, down to practical specifics like telling the faithful we must not use transgender names and pronouns. Beyond that, it excels in showing how the Church’s whole anthropology and theology are at stake in the transgender issue.
114—A Children’s Book About Accepting Your Nature—Matthew Mehan
Writer Matthew Mehan returns to the show to discuss his new children's book co-authored with painter John Folley, The Handsome Little Cygnet. This lovely tale about a family of swans in Central Park introduces children to the idea of accepting one's God-given nature. That is no small matter in a world which tantalizes the young with offers of a more exciting new identity just around the corner. But we need to know what we are in order to properly shape who we will become.
Is realism in modern fiction an aberration? w/ Joshua Hren
In this outtake from episode 113, Thomas asks Joshua Hren whether the turn to realism in modern fiction, a historical anomaly, is also a problem from a religious and philosophical point of view.
113—Can a Novelist “Create” a Saint?—Joshua Hren
In his new book How to Read (and Write) Like a Catholic, fiction writer and editor Joshua Hren lays out an approach to Catholic literature that spans all the way from St. John Henry Newman called “a record of man in rebellion” to the other end of the continuum, which is a representation of the Beatific Vision.
Apology and Retractions about the Vaccine Episode
This is an apology for and retraction of some things that were said in Episode 106 of the Catholic Culture Podcast, a discussion of the morality of COVID vaccines.
Highlights: Garrigou-Lagrange, Dana Gioia, Tolkien’s metaphysics, and more
Clips of highlights from episodes 38-41 and 44 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.
112—Walker Percy’s Angelic-Bestial Future—Jessica Hooten Wilson
"Now in these dread latter days of the old violent beloved U.S.A. and of the Christ-forgetting Christ-haunted death-dealing Western world I came to myself in a grove of young pines and the question came to me: has it happened at last?" Literary scholar Jessica Hooten Wilson joins the show to give a general introduction to Walker Percy and one of his most beloved novels, the "panoramic satire" Love in the Ruins.
111—Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—Anthony Esolen
Today we discuss one of the greatest Arthurian tales, told by one of the most virtuosic poets in the history of English, an anonymous priest of the 14th century. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells us a lot about courtesy, original sin, and grace, all bound up in an enormously entertaining story about a giant, decapitation-surviving green knight. Poet and critic Anthony Esolen joins the show to discuss the poem, its Middle English dialect, and the tradition of alliterative verse.
110—Woke Idols, Woke Pathologies—Noelle Mering
Noelle Mering joins the show to discuss her new book Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology.
109—A Catholic in the NYC Ballet—Claire Kretzschmar
Claire Kretzschmar, a dancer and soloist with the New York City Ballet, joins the show to discuss her path to becoming a professional dancer, the challenges and joys of being a Catholic in the ballet world, and the spiritual value of dance. She also discusses a beautiful dance film which she choreographed for the NYC Ballet this year.
108—Walker Percy’s Moviegoer w/ Nathan Douglas
Thomas is joined by Catholic filmmaker Nathan Douglas to discuss Walker Percy's first novel, The Moviegoer. They also look at how Binx searches for a deeper connection with reality through his moviegoing habits. Percy has some interesting descriptions of his characters finding moments of transcendent beauty in films, given that this novel was written just before the notion of "cinephilia" developed by French critics made its way to the United States.
Highlights: How men can help the angry feminist in their lives, and more
This episode features clips from episodes 34-37 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.
107—Prayer as a Political Problem w/ Brandon McGinley
Brandon McGinley joins the show to discuss an interesting little book from 1967 that has re-entered the discourse, Prayer as a Political Problem by Jean Danielou, SJ. Danielou insists that prayer forms a constitutive part of the temporal common good. Governments, therefore, have a responsibility to create conditions making it easy for the common people to conduct a spiritual life.
106—Abortion-Linked Vaccines: A Moral Analysis—Michael Pakaluk, Jay Richards
Michael Pakaluk and Jay Richards join host Thomas V. Mirus for a discussion of the moral issues involved with the production of vaccines using illicitly-obtained fetal cell lines, and the reasons for freedom of conscience for those who do not wish to take them.
105—Confronting an Unprecedented Church Scandal—Phil Lawler
Catholic Culture’s own Phil Lawler has written a new book addressing what he sees as flaws in the response of Catholic leaders and laity to the pandemic and advocating a different approach —Contagious Faith: Why the Church Must Spread Hope, Not Fear, in a Pandemic.
104—John’s Gospel, Mary’s Voice—Michael Pakaluk
Michael Pakaluk joins the show to discuss his new translation and commentary on St. John's gospel, making the case that this loftiest of gospels echoes the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the evangelist's adopted mother) in subtle but profound ways.
Highlights: Feminism and ideology; intuition, temperance and art; Great Books; Tolkien’s visual art
This episode features highlight clips from episodes 26-30 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.
103—Pope Leo XIII’s NYC Hotel
Did you know there's a hotel in NYC named after Pope Leo XIII? The Leo House was founded in the 1880s as a boarding house for German Catholic immigrants, at the behest of the Holy Father, and is still operating today as a Catholic nonprofit hotel providing charitable hospitality at a discount.
102—Becoming Cultured Without a Bow Tie—James Matthew Wilson
Poet-philosopher James Matthew Wilson returns to the show to read poems from his new collection, The Strangeness of the Good, including his "Quarantine Notebook" series, and to discuss various topics in Catholic intellectual life.
101—The Non-Reactionary Tolkien—Holly Ordway
J.R.R. Tolkien is commonly perceived as a reactionary who totally rejected the modern world, and whose literary influences began and ended with the Middle Ages. Holly Ordway's new book, Tolkien's Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages, debunks that view of Tolkien's life and work.
100—The Singular—Samuel Hazo
We celebrate our 100th episode with the return of former Pennsylvania Poet Laureate Samuel Hazo. At 92, Sam remains prolific. In this episode Sam reads and discusses poems from his new collection, The Next Time We Saw Paris, a recurring theme of which is how each experience in time passes away, yet in passing away it becomes a singular whole which remains present as such in memory.
Episode 0—The Nightingale—Mark Christopher Brandt
Catholic composer and pianist Mark Christopher Brandt joined Thomas Mirus to discuss his classical album and suite The Nightingale, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Emperor and the Nightingale".
99—Ashes and Elitists—Gail Finke
There is a certain spiritual elitism which regards concern for the external rite, including the rare opportunity to explicitly witness to the faith in a public way, as the province of those of little or superficial faith, or even of the vain.
98—An Anglo-Saxon Bard—Benjamin Bagby
Famous for his chanted performances of Beowulf in the original Old English, Benjamin Bagby is the closest thing you'll find today to an Anglo-Saxon bard. Bagby joins the show to describe how he reconstructed Beowulf as a sung tale, giving a demonstration of his Anglo-Saxon harp which is modeled on harps found in burial sites from over a millennium ago. He also discusses the recordings of the complete works of St. Hildegard of Bingen made by his ensemble, Sequentia.
97—The Hierarchy of Being in Natural Science—Daniel Toma
Catholic geneticist Daniel Toma is the author of Vestige of Eden, Image of Eternity: Common Experience, the Hierarchy of Being, and Modern Science. He joins the podcast to discuss what natural science, including the fossil record, can teach us about the hierarchy of being and the liturgical structure of reality.
96—Hillbilly Thomists—Joseph Hagan, O.P.
The Hillbilly Thomists, a bluegrass group entirely composed of Dominican friars, have just released their second album, Living for the Other Side. Percussionist Fr. Joseph Hagan, who happens to be a priest at Thomas's parish, joins the show to talk about the new album, the connections between bluegrass and the Apocalypse, and music as an expression of the Dominican mission of preaching.
95—Fighting Pervasive Religious Indifferentism—Ralph Martin
Ralph Martin, whose new book A Church in Crisis: Pathways Forward is a comprehensive spiritual diagnosis of our present situation, joins the show to discuss the many factors contributing to religious indifferentism. These include theological doubts about whether anyone really goes to hell (thanks, Balthasar), the therapeutic culture which has lost any sense of sin and justice, the focus on legalistic analysis of culpability rather than the need to change, and fear of human respect.
The best books we read in 2020 (plus films, music, etc.)
It’s time for the annual article in which some of the Catholic Culture staff look back on their reading in the past year and recommend the best - plus films, podcasts and music.
94—Understanding Postmodern “Social Justice”—Darel Paul
"Woke" ideas that were only a few years ago complacently dismissed as the perennial agitation of a few campus loonies are now pervasive in the corporate world, mass media and pop culture. This is a discussion of the book Cynical Theories, a very helpful primer on the development of modern radical left activism from 1960s postmodernist philosophy.
93—An Introduction to Thomas Tallis—Kerry McCarthy
This is an episode about one of England’s greatest composers, Thomas Tallis (1505-1585). As a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, he composed sacred music for four successive monarchs, starting with Henry VIII and ending with Elizabeth.
92—Claudel’s Cosmic Vision—Jonathan Geltner
In his Five Great Odes, the great French Catholic poet Paul Claudel (1868-1955) offers a cosmic vision in which man, in his contemplative and poetic capacity, stands as mediator between God and all creation.
COVID and 9/11: the cure worse than the disease
The war on COVID is analogous in most respects to the War on Terror.
Happy birthday to Jacques Maritain!
Today is the birthday of the great 20th-century Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain. Maritain contributed to virtually every subfield of philosophy, was a major influence on the second Vatican council, and his legacy continues to be appreciated (and debated). This post will feature some of CatholicCulture.org's Maritain-related resources.
91—The Temptation of St. Anthony—Elizabeth Lev
The trials of St. Anthony the Great (251-356 AD), as described in St. Athanasius's Life and the medieval Golden Legend, have been a favorite subject of Western artists since the Middle Ages.
90—Leo XIII on the State’s Duties Toward the Church—Thomas Pink
Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, Humanis Dignitatae, begins by noting that its discussion of religious liberty “has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society” and so “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.” This episode is about discovering what that traditional doctrine was and is.
89—Mary and the Blues—Mike Aquilina
In addition to being the host of Catholic Culture’s Way of the Fathers podcast and the author of dozens of books on the early Church, Mike Aquilina is a poet who has written songs performed by the likes of Dion, Paul Simon, and Bruce Springsteen.
88—On Columbus—Robert Royal
Columbus was neither a genocidal maniac nor a saint; while he did not “discover” America, he did discover the world—as much for Native Americans as for Europeans.
87—The Jester Is Not The King—Jeremy McLellan
Jeremy McLellan is a Catholic stand-up comedian who, strangely, is huge is Pakistan. He joins the show to discuss the woke takeover of comedy, the nihilistic dogmas of many comedians, the relationship between comedy and suffering, and the ethics of the word “retarded”. Thomas describes his past experience doing open mics and Jeremy gives him some pointers.
86—Karl Marx, “Monster of Ten Thousand Devils”—Paul Kengor
There is the distinct sense of something demonic in Marx’s personal life. Those who knew him most intimately consistently described him in demonic terms: His son wrote to him as “my dear devil”, his father suggested that he was “governed by a demon”, and Engels referred to him as a “monster of ten thousand devils”.
85—Three-Fifths of Our Band Got Ordained—Luxury
There are many strange stories in rock history. But Luxury is surely the only band in which three out of five members ended up becoming Orthodox priests. Combining a hard-edged instrumental texture with sweet, melodious vocals and literary lyrics, Luxury has continued to record and perform sporadically since their beginning in the mid-1990s Christian punk scene. They have retained a loyal following and their latest album, Trophies, was released last year to much acclaim.
84—Disobey Lockdown Now—Douglas Farrow, Andrew Busch
Catholic theologian Douglas Farrow and Lutheran political scholar Andrew Busch join the show to discuss their recent essays on the coronavirus lockdown, and assess the reasons and prospects for civil disobedience.
Ep. 83—The American Founding’s Medieval Roots—Robert Reilly
Robert Reilly’s new book America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding argues that the Founding’s roots lie a few millennia further back than the Enlightenment. With superb scholarship, he examines the whole history of Western culture up to the Founding, beginning with the Greeks, Hebrews and early Christians, proceeding through the Middle Ages to the Protestant Revolt and the debate over the divine right of kings.
Podcast Highlights: The abuse crisis, acedia and more
This episode revisits some great moments from past Catholic Culture Podcast episodes.
Ep. 82—A Habitual Counterculture—Brandon McGinley
Brandon McGinley calls for Catholics to return to the essence of the faith, rather than to a previous era of Catholic "success", and so find creative ways to restore a robust and evangelical Catholic culture in the unknown years to come.
Ep. 81—Love Like a Conflagration—Jane Greer
Jane Greer’s poetry is musical, fiery and accessible, and has received high praise from many of today’s foremost Catholic poets
Ep. 80—Bring Out Your Dead—Scott Hahn
The incarnation, death and resurrection of the Son of God changed how our civilization viewed the body, death and the afterlife. Unfortunately, even Catholics today treat dead bodies in a way that does not convey this reality.
Ep. 79—Three Marks of Manhood, Pt. 2: Scepter, Crosier, Cross—G.C. Dilsaver
This is the second half of an interview with G.C. Dilsaver on his book The Three Marks of Manhood: How to be Priest, Prophet and King of Your Family. Dr. Dilsaver discusses how the Christian husband and father must wield three staves: the scepter of authority, the crosier of co-episcopacy, and the cross of redemption.
Ep. 78—Three Marks of Manhood, Pt. 1: Patriarchy Purified—G.C. Dilsaver
In his 2010 book The Three Marks of Manhood: How to Be Priest, Prophet, and King of Your Family, the “father of Christian psychology” G.C. Dilsaver upholds the natural and supernatural basis of male headship while describing how it must be purified of pagan, dominating and selfish elements.
Ep. 77—Gene Wolfe, Catholic Sci-Fi Legend—Sandra Miesel, Fr. Brendon Laroche
After much popular demand, Thomas pays tribute to legendary Catholic sci-fi writer Gene Wolfe, who passed away last year. Though not known to the general public, Wolfe is a sci-fi author’s sci-fi author—a number of his contemporaries considered him not only the best in the genre, but in American fiction at the time (Ursula Le Guin said “Wolfe is our Melville”). Among today’s writers, one of his biggest fans is Neil Gaiman.
Ep. 76—Playing Jesus on The Chosen—Jonathan Roumie
Catholic actor Jonathan Roumie plays Jesus in The Chosen, the first multi-season TV series about the life of our Lord. He joins the podcast to discuss his approach to playing the God-Man, the spiritual impact of the series, its groundbreaking approach to funding and distribution—and his devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Ep. 75—Don’t Scapegoat the Nouvelle Théologie—Richard DeClue
A broad-brush approach to the nouvelle théologie has resulted in injustices, perhaps as much to theology itself as to some good Churchmen whose reputations have been tarnished.
Ep. 74—What Is Classical Christian Education?—Andrew Kern
Andrew Kern leads us through the profound basics of classical Christian education—offering a radically different view of the human person and of reality itself from that which predominates today.
Ep. 73—St. John Henry Newman’s Aesthetics—Fr. Guy Nicholls, Cong. Orat.
An overview of the role of beauty in St. John Henry Newman's life and thought.
Podcast Highlights: Music and morals, Tolkien and more
A look back through the Catholic Culture Podcast archive.
Ep. 72—Stabat Mater—Francesco Cotticelli
This episode explores the most famous and influential setting of Stabat Mater, completed by the 26-year-old Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) as he was dying of tuberculosis.
Ep. 71—Thick Skin, Weak Stomach—Timothy & David Gordon
Rules for Retrogrades is a reverse-Alinskyan playbook for conservatives and Christians who are sick of being outmaneuvered at every turn by the forces seeking the destruction of the Christian faith and the natural foundations of the social order.
Ep. 70—The Flannery-Haunted World—Joshua Hren, John Emmet Clarke
This episode features two young Catholic publishers who are doing cutting-edge work to preserve and carry forward the Catholic literary legacy, building on the accomplishments of the great Catholic writers of the 20th century in particular.
Podcast Highlights: Native saints, Operation Rescue and more
A look back through the Catholic Culture Podcast archive.
Ep. 69—Poetry of the English Martyrs—Benedict Whalen
The 16th and 17th centuries produced a number of men whose courageous faith was accompanied by prodigious learning and literary talent. he poetry of the English martyrs has been collected in an anthology called Lyra Martyrum.
Ep. 68—What I Learned From Making Music With Mark Christopher Brandt
Thomas recently had the privilege of playing piano on the latest album by Catholic composer Mark Christopher Brandt.
Ep. 67—“Why I’m No Longer A Catholic Feminist”—Melody Lyons
After growing up immersed in feminism and a dissident parish that left her deeply unhappy, Melody Lyons found truth and healing in the fullness of Christ's teaching on man and woman. Yet after decades of no longer considering herself a feminist, she started describing herself as a "Catholic feminist" in order common ground with secular women. Melody has recently realized that this strategy is counterproductive.
Ep. 66—Christopher Tolkien, 1924-2020—John Garth
This is a tribute to Christopher Tolkien, who passed away on Jan. 16, 2020. Without Christopher's decades of dedicated scholarship, most notably his editing and publication of The Silmarillion, our knowledge of J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world and very real genius would be considerably disadvantaged. Tolkien scholar John Garth, author of the acclaimed biography Tolkien and the Great War, joins the show to discuss a father-son collaboration unique in literary history.
Ep. 65—Reason With Stories, Philosophize With Your Life (Vision of the Soul Pt. III)—James Matthew Wilson
Human life is imbued with an intelligible, narrative form, and we are capable of telling true stories about ourselves that reflect the actual story-form of our lives and history as a whole.
Ep. 64—Advancing the Faith in the Podcast Medium—Mike Aquilina, James T. Majewski
It’s Podcast Week here at CatholicCulture.org, as we want to make more people aware of our audio offerings, particularly the two new podcasts we launched last October: Catholic Culture Audiobooks and Way of the Fathers with Mike Aquilina.
Ep. 63—Beauty Revealing Being (Vision of the Soul Pt. II)—James Matthew Wilson
It is in the nature of Being to reveal itself to us, and in the natural realm this is done preeminently through beauty. Aquinas mentions radiance, clarity and proportion as beauty’s three criteria. Proportion is arguably the most important in showing forth Being, as beauty reveals the plenitude of relations among all things: the relation of the parts of a thing, of the parts to the whole which surpasses them, of the whole object to all other things, and to its Maker.
Ep. 62—Overcoming Catholic Dating Hangups & Social Isolation
We’ve all heard the complaints about Catholic dating. Catholics have trouble with the concept of “casual dating” because they (rightly) see dating as oriented toward marriage but (wrongly) put all that weight on a single date. The “Catholic Yenta” joins the show to discuss the pathologies of Catholic dating and how to overcome them, and explains how she went from helping her friends find their spouses to making matches for Catholics across the country.
Ep. 61—Liberal Anti-Culture vs. the Western Vision of the Soul (Pt I)—James Matthew Wilson
This is the first of three episodes exploring themes from The Vision of the Soul. In this episode, after giving an account of the roots of liberalism and conservatism, and showing the emptiness of liberal “freedom”, “equality”, and “critical thinking”, Wilson lays out what he considers the six central insights of the Western (Christian Platonist) tradition, culminating in the contemplation of Being as our greatest excellence and happiness.
Episode 60—Princeton Hosts Event Dedicated To St. Cecilia
Princeton University recently hosted and paid for a very Catholic event as part of its annual Being Human Festival. It was a several-hour program dedicated to representations of St. Cecilia in poetry, painting and music, exploring how a conversation between these art forms can stir us to wonder and the contemplation of the Divine. The day’s events included singing the Salve Regina and a dinner in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast it was.
The best books we read in 2019
It’s that time of year again! As usual, I’ve invited the CatholicCulture.org staff to list their favorite reading of the past year, not restricted to books published in 2019. And as usual, I’ve included some other media in my selections at the end of this article.
Episode 59—The Glorious English Carol
Did you know that not just any Christmas song is a carol? The true carol, in all its earthy splendor, is a distinctive product of the Catholic middle ages. Yet our forefathers didn’t limit caroling to Christmas: they wrote carols for every season of the year covering the entire story of our Redemption, not to mention secular topics at times.
Episode 58—A Hidden Life Film Review w/ James Majewski
Terrence Malick’s stunning new film, A Hidden Life, is about Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer who was martyred for refusing to swear loyalty to Hitler. James Majewski joins Thomas to discuss the film. He reads excerpts from Bl. Franz’s letters and prison writings, to see how well Malick’s portrayal lives up to the real-life saint.
Episode 57—River of the Immaculate Conception—James Matthew Wilson
James Matthew Wilson’s new cycle of poems, The River of the Immaculate Conception, is a reflection on the history of the Catholic faith in the Americas, from Juan Diego to Elizabeth Ann Seton. Its title is the name given to the Mississippi River by the missionary Fr. Marquette. James reads four of the seven poems, explains their relation to the recent Mass of the Americas which inspired them, and discusses the challenges and delights of poetic form.
Episode 56—Vindicating Authority—Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P.
Modernity has attempted to do away with authority. It does this not most commonly by advocating anarchy. Rather, it justifies its own established powers in terms of a fictive self-rule, and purports to replace the arbitrary dictates of power--and much of what makes us human--with scientific rationality. But authority is necessary to human life, and not just as a medicine for weakness and evil. It arises from and serves what is noblest in us.
Episode 55—The Hundredfold—Anthony Esolen
Having honed his skills translating Dante, Tasso and Lucretius, well-known Catholic cultural commentator Anthony Esolen has now published his first work of original poetry. The book-length poem The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord is centered around twelve dramatic monologues set during and shortly after the time of Christ, complemented and illuminated by dozens of lyric poems and hymns.
Episode 54—Fostering Responsible Elites—Jonah Bennett
Today’s guest is Jonah Bennett, editor-in-chief of a fascinating new online magazine called Palladium which is devoted to constructing what could be called the post-liberal synthesis. Palladium Magazine seeks to foster the perspective of a responsible elite, with high-quality, non-ideological coverage of everything from geopolitics to video-game addiction to the crisis in Ivy League institutions.
Episode 53—God Made Us For Order and Surprise—John-Mark Miravalle
A conversation on our moral obligation to delight in beauty, why we are moved by the combination of order and surprise, and the proper way to delight in the beauty of the human body.
Episode 52—Off-Broadway play accurately portrays conservative thought: zoology or spiritual wisdom?
Is Heroes of the Fourth Turning a zoological exhibit for progressives to gape at, or something deeper? Is it ultimately more unsettling to a perceptive Catholic viewer, for whom Arbery’s troubled characters might function as an indictment of a Catholic conservatism that can be focused more on ideas and temporal concerns than on the reality of Christ?
Episode 51—Bringing Melody Back to Pop Music—The Duskwhales
Indie rock trio The Duskwhales formed almost 10 years ago at a small Catholic high school in Virginia. Over that decade, four albums and three EPs, they have forged a distinctly melodic sound in contrast to today’s joyless pop milieu....
Looking back on 50 episodes of The Catholic Culture Podcast
Last week, I published the 50th episode of The Catholic Culture Podcast. Back when I reached episode 25 I did a round-up of the most popular episodes thus far, and now I can say that from episodes 26-50, the five most downloaded episodes were: 48—Authority and Submission as Gift in...
Episode 50—A Catholic Composer in Queen Elizabeth’s Court, Pt. II—Kerry McCarthy
One of England’s greatest composers, William Byrd is a fascinating and complicated figure of Catholic musical history. A musician in the Royal Chapel of Queen Elizabeth, he associated with the highest ranks of the Anglican establishment...
Episode 49—A Catholic Composer in Queen Elizabeth’s Court, Pt. I—Kerry McCarthy
One of England’s greatest composers, William Byrd is a fascinating and complicated figure of Catholic musical history. A musician in the Royal Chapel of Queen Elizabeth, he associated with the highest ranks of the Anglican establishment...
Episode 48—Authority and Submission as Gift in Christian Marriage—Mary Stanford
“Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in...
Episode 47—Our Lady’s Habit: Wearing and Loving the Brown Scapular—Fr. Justin Cinnante, O.Carm.
Many Catholics have worn the Brown Scapular at some point in their lives. Some of those people stopped wearing it for one reason or another. Others have continued to wear it but perhaps don’t appreciate its true depth as a sign of...
Episode 46—Sing With Your Children—Roundabout
Emma and Cecilia Black grew up in a large family that sang together constantly. Now these two sisters from Grand Rapids, Michigan, have made an album of folk songs for children. They want people to know that any family can start singing...
Episode 45—Libertarianism vs. Natural Law on Private Property
Thomas discusses his libertarian past, explains why he abandoned that political philosophy, and summarizes an article on the topic by the Catholic philosopher Edward Feser. Feser, himself an ex-libertarian who has written books on Hayek, Nozick...
Episode 44—Catholics Need Poetry. But Do We Want It?—Dana Gioia
Dana Gioia is one of the greatest Catholic poets working today. In this interview he discusses how Catholic attitudes toward the arts have changed in recent generations, and the revival of interest in poetry in the culture as a whole. Dana reads...
Episode 43—Teaching Children Self-Knowledge Through the Liberal Arts—Matthew Mehan
Mr. Mehan’s Mildly Amusing Mythical Mammals (M5) is a book of poems intended as an introduction to the liberal arts for children, helping them to grow in self-knowledge, virtue, and the art of charitable rhetoric. It is...
God works through friendship: the Easter that changed me
To Karina and James Majewski on their wedding day, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I had looked forward to Easter 2019 for months, even before Lent began; for with it would come the baptism of my new friend—the fiancée of an old and dear one, who had brought her...
Episode 42—The Missionary of Wall Street—Stephen Auth
Stephen Auth is a highly successful investment manager on Wall Street. In his spare time, he hails down strangers on the streets of Manhattan and convinces them to go to confession. Links Steve Auth, The...
Episode 41—The Neo-Colonial West Is Forcing Abortion on Africa—Obianuju Ekeocha
Western governments and NGOs are pushing the Sexual Revolution on Africa, using strings-attached development aid. Of all the funds from Western nations going to “development” in Africa, the majority are for population control....
Episode 40—Tolkien and Aquinas—Jonathan S. McIntosh
Tolkien is well known to have been concerned with the internal consistency of his fictional world, from geography to history to language. But he was also concerned with another sort of consistency: metaphysical consistency, not only within the...
Episode 39—Composing Liturgical Music That’s Noble, Accessible... and Sacred—Paul Jernberg
Paul Jernberg is a composer of sacred music and director of the Magnificat Institute, which offers education in the patrimony of Catholic liturgical music. He tells Thomas about his career, including an interesting digression about gospel music...
Episode 38—Garrigou-Lagrange, The Sacred Monster of Thomism—Matthew K. Minerd
The name of Garrigou-Lagrange has long been a byword for a fusty, rigid Thomism of days gone by, allegedly more concerned with centuries of accretions built up by scholastic commentators than with the original teaching of the Angelic Doctor...
Episode 37—Sculpting Two Benedicts—Jago
The young Italian sculptor Jago is best known to Catholics for his marble bust of Pope Benedict XVI, which the Pope himself awarded with a pontifical medal. Upon Benedict’s resignation, Jago radically reworked the piece into its current...
Episode 36—Bridges to Hell or Heaven: “Toxic Femininity” and the Spirit of Anti-Mary—Carrie Gress
One of the core things that has gone wrong with our culture in the past several decades is the denigration of every virtue associated with the perfect woman, Mary. Gentleness, humility, (true) beauty and especially motherhood: these are all...
Episode 35—Moral Blindness and Abortion—Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson was the youngest clinic director in Planned Parenthood history. After witnessing an abortion on ultrasound, she quit, became a Catholic, and founded And Then There Were None, an organization which has helped over 500 workers leave...
R.I.P., Catholic sci-fi legend Gene Wolfe (1931-2019)
Gene Wolfe, sci-fi author’s sci-fi author, inventor of the machine that makes Pringles, and Catholic convert, passed away at the age of 87 on Sunday. While not well-known to the general public, Wolfe’s admirers have included some of the most famous names in speculative fiction, such as...
Episode 34—The Memoirs of St. Peter—Michael Pakaluk
Michael Pakaluk has written a new translation and commentary of Mark’s Gospel. Mark was relating very recent events, with details only an eyewitness (most likely Peter) would have mentioned. This earliest Gospel set the standard for what...
Episode 33—Structure and Freedom in Music and in Christ—Mark Christopher Brandt
The quest for freedom in structure is fundamental to Catholic spiritual life (particularly during this season of Lent). It’s also fundamental to musical improvisation. How can you be free and spontaneous without giving way to...
Episode 32—Antoni Gaudí, Patron Saint of Architects?—Gabriela Gonzalez-Cremona
For many people who have never been to Spain, their only image of the country may be the strange spires of Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia, designed by Antoni Gaudí. It is certainly the best-known building in Spain, despite still not...
Episode 31—Some Jazz You Should Hear
You may or may not know that I have a background in jazz piano (I wrote and performed the intro and outro music for this show, for example). In this episode I introduce you to about ten of my very favorite jazz albums. This is an experimental...
Episode 30—What Tolkien’s Visual Art Tells Us About His Creative Mind—John McQuillen and Holly Ordway
While Tolkien’s brilliance as a world-builder and storyteller is well-established, fewer people are aware of just how unique (and obsessive) his creative process was, or that he was a gifted visual artist. That is changing thanks to an...
“(Gimme Some of That) Ol’ Atonal Music”
I’ve been playing piano with a country band off and on for the past year and a half, so I enjoyed this spoof in which the country singer “Merle Hazard” remembers the good ol’ days of his father, an atonal composer. A great, pointed send-up of the movement which, by the...
Episode 29—Catholic Feminism: Should We?—Abigail Rine Favale
Today there is more pressure than ever before on both women and men to embrace feminism. In her outstanding memoir, Into the Deep, Abigail Rine Favale gives a resonant account of her journey from an evangelical childhood to a Christian...
Episode 28: An Introduction to Maritain’s Poetic Philosophy—Samuel Hazo
This episode is not to be missed! There is an ongoing and much-needed revival of Jacques Maritain’s philosophy of art. Accomplished poet Samuel Hazo makes a most valuable contribution to that revival with The World Within the World:...
Episode 27: Always Wanted to Study the Great Books? Here’s How You’ll Actually Follow Through—Scott Hambrick
Many people want to study the great books of the western world in a group setting, but are unable to study at a Great Books college like St. John’s, and it’s not easy to find people willing to commit to read and meet to...
Episode 26: The Arts, Contemplation and Virtue—Basil Cole, O.P.
Fr. Basil Cole returns to discuss what he has been teaching the student brothers at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., in a course on the arts, contemplation and...
Msgr. John Sanders, the priest who played with Duke Ellington
Update Jan. 8, 2019: Msgr. Sanders’s nephew wrote to me to let me know that his uncle has died. This article was first posted on Sep. 13, 2018. May God grant him eternal rest. Earlier this week, I made a visit to Our Lady Queen of the Clergy Retirement Home in Stamford, CT to interview...
Should women be “meek and mild” like Mary?
I’ve noticed a recurring theme among self-described “Catholic feminists,” to this effect: “I always heard about Mary being meek and mild and felt pressured as a woman to be that way, but that just isn’t my personality. Feminism taught me that I don’t have to...
Quick Hits: Dominican Friars video, a remarkable French mystic, a reformist imam and more
Some months ago I agreed to appear in a video produced by the Dominican Foundation to talk about the benefits of membership in a Dominican parish. It’s for a matching challenge fundraiser which ends Dec. 31, so I would have shared it earlier except that nobody sent the finished product to...
The top 5 most popular episodes of The Catholic Culture Podcast
Since its beginning on May 1st of this year, I have produced 25 episodes of The Catholic Culture Podcast! For those who haven’t listened to all of them, I thought I would highlight the five most popular episodes so far (in terms of downloads). In no particular order: Episode 18: Acedia,...
Every college student should read Sertillanges’ The Intellectual Life
The incomparably rich intellectual heritage of the Church needs no advertisement here. It is the treasure house filled first by the Holy Spirit, and by the great adventurers and plunderers who went before us. Their hard-won wisdom points us toward the highest truths about God and man, and away...
Episode 25: Phil Lawler, Dr. Jeff Mirus and Thomas V. Mirus on Our Favorite Books of 2018
Phil Lawler, Dr. Jeff Mirus, and Thomas V. Mirus discuss selections from their list of their favorite books and other media of 2018.
Full list: The best books we read in 2018
The best books we read in 2018
Jeff, Phil and I thought it would be fun to do a review of our favorite reading of 2018—not only books published this year, but which we encountered for the first time or which made a new impression on us. This doesn’t only include the specifically Catholic material we would ordinarily...
Episode 24: Talking A Capella with VOCES8’s Barnaby Smith
VOCES8 is a critically acclaimed a capella octet from the UK, focusing on medieval and Renaissance works as well as their own arrangements of modern pop tunes. This episode is an interview with the...
Episode 23: How the Laity Must Respond to the Abuse Crisis—Fr. Roger Landry
Fr. Roger Landry returns to the show to talk about what the laity can do to address the abuse crisis. Along the way we discuss the concerns that might make even good bishops hesitant to remove bad...
Episode 22: Newman’s Idea of a University—Paul Shrimpton
St. John Henry Newman was, among many other things, a lifelong teacher. Not only did he found the Catholic University of Ireland and England’s first Catholic public school, he was a highly...
Episode 21: Gosnell, the Abortion Story No One Wanted Told—Ann McElhinney
The new feature film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, about the investigation, trial and conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, has defied opposition from...
Quick Hits: Halloween, Hildegard, and Hugo Chavez
A few of the most interesting articles I’ve read online in recent weeks: Every year we get a spate of articles debating the Christian or pagan origins of Halloween, and this year Catholic World Report offers one of the most detailed I’ve read. Also at CWR: The musical legacy of...
Episode 20: Carl Schmitt, Painter of Vision—Andrew de Sa
The American Catholic painter Carl Schmitt (1889-1989) made fascinating innovations in the use of color. He wrote extensively on the artist’s vocation, arguing for seeking holiness through...
Episode 19: Understanding the Church’s Abuse Crisis—Fr. Roger Landry
The faithful have many questions about the ecclesiastical sexual abuse crisis: What did Church authorities do right in responding to the previous wave of scandals, and what did they fail to do? How...
Episode 18: Acedia, the Forgotten Capital Sin—RJ Snell
Once included among the capital sins, acedia has been identified with both sloth and sadness. St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, defined it both as “disgust with activity” and...
Episode 17: A Civics Lesson for Catholics—Bob Marshall
Many Catholics have become cynical about the possibility of changing the political landscape, but perhaps we’ve given up before we’ve really tried. It’s not just about electing...
Episode 16: Extremely Specific Middle-earth Q&A with The Tolkien Professor—Corey Olsen
In part two of my interview with Corey “The Tolkien Professor” Olsen, we discuss several extremely specific questions about Middle-earth, including: What is “magic” in...
Episode 15: Online Education with The Tolkien Professor—Corey Olsen
Corey Olsen, aka The Tolkien Professor, started out putting his college lectures out in podcast form, and ended up founding an online master’s program devoted to the study of imaginative...
Episode 14: Priest & Actor—George Drance, S.J.
What’s it like to be both a priest and a professional actor? George Drance, SJ is the artist in residence at Fordham University, where he teaches acting, a resident artist in La Mama’s...
Episode 13: Progressives Are Trying to Take Over Medieval Studies—Rachel Fulton Brown
The critical theorists and social justice warriors are trying to do to medieval studies what they’ve done to other disciplines, and if you don’t get on board, you’re a white...
Quick Hits: The year’s best articles so far
I’ve spent most of my time this year working on The Catholic Culture Podcast, but I haven’t neglected to collect some great articles from around the Catholic web to share with you. This is a long list covering the entire year up until now, so I’ve divided it into...
Episode 12: A Career in Poetry & Prose—Mike Aquilina
Mike Aquilina has been a highly successful freelance writer for over three decades. He is best known for his popular books on the Fathers of the Church, but he is also a poet and has co-written songs with the...
Episode 11: Music and Morals—Fr. Basil Cole, O.P.
Are music and morals connected? If so, what is the nature of that connection? Are certain musical sounds morally bad or good in themselves, or are they neutral? Could the influence of music on...
Episode 10: How to Start an Institutional Apostolate, Part 2—Jeff Mirus
This episode is for anyone who believes he is called to found a Catholic apostolate, or anyone who is overseeing one already. In this second part of a two-part interview, CatholicCulture.org...
Episode 9: How to Start an Institutional Apostolate, Part 1—Jeff Mirus
This episode is for anyone who believes he is called to found a Catholic apostolate, or anyone who is overseeing one already. You may know Jeff Mirus as the founder of CatholicCulture.org, but he...
Episode 8: How to Stop Public Porn—Abriana Chilelli
Abriana Chilelli had to drive her children past a lewd strip club advertisement every day on their way home from school in downtown Denver. But instead of taking a fatalistic attitude and a detour,...
Episode 7: Inflation Is a Sin—Guido Hülsmann
It would not occur to most of us to imagine that monetary policy has a moral component. Catholic prelates are as silent about matters like fiat money, central banking and inflation and as are the...
Episode 6: 150 Years of Holy Preaching—Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P.
The Dominicans have just celebrated the 150-year jubilee of their ministry on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Fr. John Maria Devaney, OP, host of the Order’s Word to Life program...
Episode 5: Hospital Dreams—Chris Baker
One of the most creative rock bands around today is Virginia-based indie trio The Duskwhales. Drummer/singer Chris Baker joins me to talk about their new EP, Hospital Dreams, a set of...
Episode 4: The Marian Option—Carrie Gress
There is an easy, short, perfect and sure way to save our failing Western civilization that is often overlooked in the endless slew of books and articles penned by Catholic intellectuals: Turn to...
Episode 3: Native American Catholicism & the New Evangelization
The history of Catholicism in the native American nations is little known, but is rife with lessons for lay spirituality, inculturation, and the New Evangelization. Today’s guest, journalist...
Episode 2: The Largest Civil Disobedience Movement in U.S. History
Operation Rescue is the largest civil disobedience movement in American history. It even dwarfs the civil rights movement, with over fifty thousand people having been arrested between 1988 and 1992...
Episode 1: A Working Actor’s Working Faith
Tony Mockus, Sr. has been Catholic his entire life, and an actor for almost as long. He has worked with countless great performers including Henry Fonda, Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert De Niro and...
Quick Hits: Mary’s influence on culture, the need for digital independence, and more
At her blog, The Marian Option author Carrie Gress describes “Why Mary is the Best Promoter of Culture”. She quotes the Protestant Henry Adams: “The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were a period when men were at their strongest; never before or since have they shown equal energy...
Quick Hits: Jordan Peterson, Museum of the Bible, Way of the Cross for children and adults
If you haven’t yet seen the famous Channel 4 interview of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson from last month, it’s well worth spending 30 minutes to watch what I imagine will be considered one of the most significant media moments of 2018. The interviewer, Cathy Newman, who espouses...
The Museum of the Bible is better in what it imagines than in what it preserves
When I was in the DC area celebrating Christmas with family, I visited the new Museum of the Bible with my parents. In the three hours we spent there we didn’t see everything it had to offer, but it made an overall good impression and we would certainly recommend it to Catholics. At Catholic...
Quick Hits: Star Wars, Mary in the Wisdom literature, and more
Bishop Barron annoyed many with his claim that Star Wars: The Last Jedi pushes feminism hard: “Every male character in The Last Jedi is either bumbling, incompetent, arrogant, or morally compromised; and every female character is wise, good, prudent, and courageous.” I basically agree...
The best books we read in 2017
Dr. Jeff Mirus, Phil Lawler and I thought it would be fun to do a review of our favorite reading of 2017. This doesn’t only include the specifically Catholic material we would ordinarily cover for this site, but also reflects our broader range of interests that our readers might not be aware...
Economics, religion and culture: how Luther failed, again
Though I am no longer a libertarian philosophically (having followed a similar path to Edward Feser), most of my past political reading has been from that camp. I am still in some respects a sympathizer, particularly in the realm of economic theory. Just for that reason, I found it helpful to get...
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