The Catholic Culture Podcast

The Catholic Culture Podcast

Musician and writer Thomas V. Mirus hosts weekly conversations on everything Catholic, with a special focus on arts and culture. Dedicated to the Holy Family.

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Episodes

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 consecration to Mary. Even less known is the fact that...

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 together, without special training or equipment. Here...

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 and Locke, argues that the libertarian view of...

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 a few of his poems, discusses how Catholicism...

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 written in the ancient form of the beast fable, with each of Matthew...

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 Missionary of Wall Street: From Managing Money to Saving Souls on the Streets of New...

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. Obianuju Ekeocha is raising awareness about this form...

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 work but between his work and reality (because he...

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 relative to Catholic liturgy, the criterion of...

Episode 38—The Sacred Monster—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 himself. Only in traditionalist circles was his name...

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 form, Habemus Hominem. In this episode Jago...

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 antithetical to the radical feminism that is now...

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 the abortion industry. We discuss the new film...

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 words and deeds of Christ would be included by the...

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 anarchy and sin, which lead to death? How can you be...

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 being finished—and construction began in...

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 solo episode, but don’t worry, we’ll be...

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 unprecedented exhibition of Tolkien’s personal...

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 feminism which inevitably gave way to the secular,...

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: Maritain and the Poet. He wrote the book 60 years ago,...

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 discuss the books regularly. I was in that club until I found...

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 virtue. Links Episode 11: Music and Morals—Fr. Basil Cole, O.P....

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. Links Full list: The best books we read in 2018...

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 group’s artistic director and countertenor, Barnaby Smith. We discuss the group’s...

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 priests, the spiritual tactics laity and priests alike must use to purify and heal the Church,...

Episode 22: Newman’s Idea of a University—Paul Shrimpton

Bl. 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 influential philosopher of education. In his collection of addresses titled The Idea of a...

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 the film industry and the press alike to become an artistic and financial success, even briefly making it...

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 practicing one’s art rather than the other way around, and advocating the three virtues of...

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 could Theodore McCarrick, a serial abuser surrounded by rumors, rise to become one of the most...

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 “sadness about spiritual good.” Today’s guest, RJ Snell, argues that acedia is the chief...

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 the right congressmen and nominating the right justices, it’s about keeping them...

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 The Lord of the Rings? Who and what is Tom Bombadil exactly? Do the good consequences of Eowyn’s...

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 literature: Signum University. We discuss Signum, the state approval process, the current advantages...

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 Great Jones Repertory Company, and the artistic director of Magis Theatre Company. We discuss his...

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 supremacist. Over the past two years or so, the mob has targeted University of Chicago professor...

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 well-known blues singer Dion. We chat about the process of collaboration (whether as...

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 morality be of an indirect kind? Is there such a thing as a virtuous way of listening to music? Can...

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 founder Jeff Mirus shares more lessons from his decades of experience founding several Catholic...

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 has launched several other successful Catholic institutions as well. In this first part of a...

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, or worse, just accepting it, she got in touch with a city councilman and within days, the...

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 secular ethicists. But the production of currency is not just a matter for the technocrats, and...

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 on Sirius XM, takes me through the history of the Dominicans in NYC (which involves quite a bit of history...

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 melancholic, folky acoustic songs he wrote while battling cancer. In this episode I also discuss the...

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 Mary. Carrie Gress’s book The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in...

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 Peter Jesserer Smith, shares some of the holy treasures of American history, such as Joseph...

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 for nonviolently blockading abortion clinics. Yet most people, even most Catholics, don’t...

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 Kevin Costner. In this interview he discusses his seven decades on the stage and screen, the...

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