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There are a few films on the Vatican film list James and Thomas haven't been looking forward to watching. Among them is Richard Attenborough's Gandhi, and our dread was due to the suspicion that this film, certainly negligible in its historical importance as a work of cinema, was included mainly because Vatican bureaucrats of a certain age are apt …
 
Chrysostom means “golden mouth,” and only one man has credibly borne the title. John Chrysostom may have been the greatest pulpit preacher in Church history. In his lifetime he was also renowned for his asceticism and spiritual counsel In recent years, however, he’s been maligned — and mischaracterized — for his views on marriage and sex. Here we s…
 
“What is up to us is to plead without ceasing for discernment and love, for justice and patience—and for unshakable love for the Church. Because only the lover discerns. And what people who do not love her, maybe secretly hate her, tell us about her need not frighten us.” Born in 1901, Ida Friederike Görres was an historically significant, but toda…
 
This episode features clips from episodes 34-37 of the Catholic Culture Podcast, including some personal stories from Thomas. Links The Memoirs of St. Peter w/ Michael Pakaluk https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-34-memoirs-st-peter-michael-pakaluk/ Moral Blindness and Abortion w/ Abby Johnson https://www.catholicculture.org/commentar…
 
This is a discussion of an interesting little book from 1967 that has re-entered the discourse, Prayer as a Political Problem by Jean Danielou, SJ, recently reprinted by Cluny Media. In this book which seems confoundingly ahead of its time, before its time, and (irksomely) of its time, Danielou insists that prayer forms a constitutive part of the t…
 
“In your bread is hidden the Spirit which cannot be eaten. / In your wine dwells the fire that cannot be drunk. / Spirit in your bread, fire in your wine: / It is a distinct wonder that our lips have received!” Born in the year 306, Ephrem lived in Nisibis (in modern-day Turkey), at what was then the border between the Roman and Persian empires. Ep…
 
Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 is widely considered to be the best film ever made about filmmaking, but it's about much more than that. Ingenious cinematography and surreal images convey the experience of a man who is increasingly lost in his own memory and fantasy, and so finds himself unable to have real relationships with the people in his life or to …
 
Catholic circles, especially online, have seen significant division and anger over the COVID-19 vaccines. The majority position is essentially “The Church says taking the vaccine is OK”—“Rome has spoken”—while a loud minority insists that no circumstances can ever justify using vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines. Neither side accurately…
 
When Augustine's story is told, it too often ends with his baptism. But the drama of his later years is no less moving. He was as introspective at the end as he had been in his Confessions decades before. He gave his life and work a thoroughgoing review, even as he produced what many consider his masterpiece. His City of God marked the close of an …
 
“Like the new mother, burdened with milk for the child, so the poet with the word within him, addressed to others.” Paul Claudel was born in 1868 in rural northeastern France. He absorbed the poetry of Walt Whitman and Arthur Rimbaud while in his teens, and experienced a religious epiphany at Notre Dame cathedral during Christmas 1886. Claudel was …
 
In honor of Pope St. John Paul the Great's birthday, James and Thomas discuss the 2005 film about his life starring Cary Elwes as the young Karol Wojtyla and Jon Voight as Pope John Paul II. One of the strengths of the film, made within a few months of the saint's death, is its portrayal of John Paul II's Polishness and how it influenced him as a w…
 
“True, we should esteem the things that make for the glory of God, but we should show the greatest esteem for those that concern the will of God.” This week, we conclude our series of readings from St. Alphonsus’s Uniformity with God’s Will. In these final chapters, St. Alphonsus turns his attention to times of spiritual desolation, when submission…
 
Observing both Church history and the events of our lifetime, we can no longer be surprised at the existence of corrupt and abusive priests and bishops. Priestly sexual abuse, for example, was a problem the Church had to fight during the Middle Ages. The scandal of 2020 and beyond, however, finds no equal precedent in Church history. That bishops t…
 
The drama of Augustine’s life hardly ended with his baptism. The years that followed included his ordination-by-mob, an attempt on his life, and wars of words with at least four major heresies. His years were breathless adventure and busyness, and yet they yielded 44 volumes of work that continues to exercise a profound influence—no only on Christi…
 
The sixth episode of Kieslowski's Dekalog series inspired by the Ten Commandments, included in the Vatican's 1995 list of great films, deals with a characteristically modern form of adultery: voyeurism. The film begins from the perspective of a peeping tom, but gradually we start to see things through the eyes of the promiscuous woman he spies on, …
 
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. Watch discussion on YouTube: https://youtu.be/G0PDD5Qyfh0 Links Mary's Voice in the Gospel Accordi…
 
“...at the moment of Joseph's own ‘annunciation’ he said nothing; instead he simply ‘did as the angel of the Lord commanded him’. And this first ‘doing’ became the beginning of ‘Joseph's way’. The Gospels do not record any word ever spoken by Joseph along that way. But the silence of Joseph has its own special eloquence..." On August 15th, 1889, Po…
 
Augustine of Hippo is a name that appears on any short list of the most influential intellectuals in the history of the world. He seemed to live several productive lifetimes in the course of his own. In this first of three episodes on Augustine, we examine his early years — from his childhood through his conversion to Christ at age 31. We also cons…
 
This episode features highlight clips from episodes 26-30 of the Catholic Culture Podcast. Links Online Great Books opens a new enrollment period approximately once a month. Get in there using discount code “catholicculture” for 25% off your first three months! Or use this referral link: https://hj424.isrefer.com/go/ogbmemberships/tmirus/ Tolkien: …
 
“Sickness is the acid test of spirituality, because it discloses whether our virtue is real or sham.” If with the first three chapters, St. Alphonsus makes the case for obedience to God—the excellence of this virtue, and that man’s ultimate happiness derives from it—in these chapters, St. Alphonsus gets practical, turning his attention to those ins…
 
A good priest is threatened with death for the sins of an evil one. He has one week to prepare. That is the simple premise of John Michael McDonagh's 2014 film Calvary, starring Brendan Gleeson. This portrait of a heroic but very human priest illuminates the crucifixions, mundane or dramatic, faced by good parish priests everywhere, but especially …
 
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 hotel providing charitable hospitality at a discount. In this episode you'll learn from the Leo House's chairman and pr…
 
“Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more -- it means that we make one will of God's will and ours, so that we will only what God wills; that God's will alone, is our will.” A few weeks ago, the Church celebrated the 150th anniversary of the proclamation, by Pope Pius IX, of St. Alphonsus Liguori as a Do…
 
Jerome is renowned for his biblical studies and translations, The Church invokes him as Doctor, Father, and Saint. Yet he is just as famous for his curmudgeonly character. He clashed with Augustine and Rufinus, disdained Ambrose and Chrysostom. His insults stand with the best of Mark Twain and Groucho Marx. He is often depicted angry in works of ar…
 
In 1962, inspired by Pope St. John XXIII's outreach to non-Christian artists, a gay communist picked up the Gospels and ended up making a film about Jesus. Nervous yet? But one thing you can't fault Pier Paolo Pasolini for is taking liberties with his source material - the dialogue in The Gospel According to Matthew is drawn entirely from that book…
 
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 the decay and renewal of Catholic intellectual life. Topics discussed include: The present narrowing of Catholic intellectual life in conservative/traditional circle…
 
"... as His atoning passion was undergone in the body, so it was undergone in the soul also." Today’s episode is a re-release of a reading that we first published on Good Friday last year. Since our back-catalog of audiobook episodes is restricted to those who register for free at CatholicCulture.org, we’ve decided not only to re-release this for t…
 
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. Ordway begins with an invaluable critique of the source…
 
In anticipation of Season 2 of The Chosen, the popular TV series based on the Gospels, Thomas and James take a look back at Season 1 and what made it so remarkable. They are joined by Brother Joshua Vargas, a filmmaker, artist, and novice at the Oratory in Philadelphia. The show’s two greatest strengths are its writing, which James calls “an educat…
 
“How, and when, did Mary take part—and the initial part—in the world's restoration? It was when the Angel Gabriel came to her to announce to her the great dignity which was to be her portion.” Happy Feast of the Annunciation! The reading featured in today’s episode is a selection from a larger work by Newman, published posthumously as Meditations a…
 
Didymus lost his sight at age four, and yet he became one of the most respected theologians on earth. This was in the fourth century, more than a millennium before Braille, audio tech, or other accommodations. Among his renowned disciples were Jerome, Rufinus, and Palladius. His life was long and full, intensely engaged in the controversies surroun…
 
We celebrate our 100th episode with the return of a favorite Catholic Culture Podcast guest, former Pennsylvania Poet Laureate Samuel Hazo. At 92, Sam is still writing books, most recently a new collection of poems and a novel, published by Wiseblood Books. In this episode Sam reads and discusses poems from his new collection, The Next Time We Saw …
 
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