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 Christian Marriage. In this episode, also one of my personal favorites, Mary Stanford, who lectures on the theology of the body at Christendom College, discussed St. Paul’s teaching on male headship and wifely submission in marriage, which many Catholics have trouble embracing.
45—Libertarianism vs. Natural Law on Private Property. In the second episode I have done on my own with no guest, I discuss my reasons for no longer being a libertarian, and summarize Edward Feser’s academic article critiquing the libertarian theory of property rights from a classical natural law standpoint. This one was surprisingly popular and I got some great feedback via email.
36—Bridges to Hell or Heaven: “Toxic Femininity” and the Spirit of Anti-Mary. The wonderful Carrie Gress, in her second appearance on the show, postulates that if there is a spirit of anti-Christ, our culture also manifests a spirit of anti-Mary, in the form of radical feminism and all that goes along with it.
35—Moral Blindness and Abortion. This was my interview with pro-life activist and former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, on the recent film, Unplanned, based on her life story.
29—Catholic Feminism: Should We? Many listeners wrote in to say that I botched this interview with Abigail Rine Favale. Ultimately I agreed with them and re-edited it, which hopefully mitigated my verbosity a bit (see the episode’s intro for further explanation). However, this episode was still very popular, because Abigail is a superb interlocutor with a highly relevant story: her journey from Evangelicalism to “Christian feminism” to secularist feminism to Catholicism.
Now, I can’t help but notice that the most popular episodes have to do with controversial or hot-button or political topics. Those are all great episodes, but for me the heart of the podcast is more on the cultural and artistic side of things. Here are some personal favorites from the last 25 episodes which I hope more people will listen to:
33—Structure and Freedom in Music and in Christ. This is my favorite episode of the podcast. The great pianist and composer Mark Christopher Brandt discusses the interplay between structure and freedom in both musical improvisation and the spiritual life.
44—Catholics Need Poetry. But Do We Want It? Another interview with a great artist: poet, critic and former NEA chairman Dana Gioia.
28—An Introduction to Maritain’s Poetic Philosophy. In this episode which no one should miss, former Pennsylvania Poet Laureate Samuel Hazo discusses the Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain’s contribution to thought about the arts.
38—The Sacred Monster. Matthew K. Minerd discusses the theology of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., a figure whose thought is currently undergoing a revival. Like its subject matter, this episode is technical but richly rewarding.
49-50—A Catholic Composer in Queen Elizabeth’s Court. Kerry McCarthy introduces us to William Byrd, one of England’s greatest composers, who was a musician in the Elizabethan court while writing music for secret Catholic Masses on the side.
47—Our Lady’s Habit: Wearing and Loving the Brown Scapular. I hope this interview with Carmelite friar Fr. Justin Cinnante will encourage more people to take advantage of the garment of grace.
Of the podcast’s whole run, the most downloaded episode of all is the second of two interviews I did with Fr. Roger Landry on the Church’s abuse crisis (episodes 19 and 23), taking a spiritual approach both to analyzing the problem and coming up with solutions. The second most downloaded episode is, more surprisingly, my interview with R.J. Snell on Acedia, the Forgotten Capital Sin (episode 18; perhaps the title grabbed people?).
Of the early episodes, you might also listen to episode 11, Music and Morals, with the wonderful Basil Cole, O.P.. If you are an actor or have a loved one who wants to be one, listen to episode 14 with priest and actor George Drance, S.J., for some great advice. Former Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall offers a most informative lesson in practical politics in episode 17.
And of course, if you haven’t subscribed to The Catholic Culture Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or your podcast app of choice yet, go ahead and do so! Not only that, but look out for news of two entirely new podcasts CatholicCulture.org will be launching in October.
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