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Prudentius is the Latin poet most praised from the ancient Church. Phenomenally creative, he invented new poetic forms and genres—and established artistic standards that would hold through the Middle Ages. Scholars as varied as C.S. Lewis and Robert Wilken call him “the first Christian poet,” the first great representative of a real Christian liter…
 
“One that lives by other's breath, / Dieth also by his death.” In honor of the recent feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we’re returning to the poetry of the English Jesuit martyr, St. Robert Southwell, whom we’ve featured on this podcast before. In this episode, we’ll be hearing his poem “Mary Magdalene’s Complaint at Christ’s Death”, a meditation upon …
 
In this interview originally from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, Thomas Mirus and James Majewski interview Sixtine Leon-Dufour, writer of the new Lourdes documentary, one of the best religious films in recent years. She discusses: -Her background caring for the sick at Lourdes -How she convinced the Lourdes authorities to give secular filmmak…
 
A Quiet Place Part II is a more straightforward horror film than its predecessor, with less emotional weight, but it delivers on well-executed suspense and action while faithfully carrying forward the first film's themes of themes of family and self-sacrifice. Thomas and James discuss the series' remarkable use of silence to enhance the dramatic we…
 
Noelle Mering joins the show to discuss her new book Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology. Topics discussed include: The core principles of woke ideology: group over person, will over reason, power over authority Proof that ideology is what really matters to the woke, more than membership in a victim group How F…
 
Paulinus was tagged as the most promising poet of his generation—by the most famous poet of the preceding generation. He was supposed to carry the torch forward for his art. And he did, but not in the way the old school had wanted or expected. Instead he fashioned a new esthetic for the empire, a deeply Christian appropriation of the old classical …
 
“The axe of the Gospel must now be laid at the roots of the barren tree and the tree must be delivered to the flames with its unfruitful leaves, so that he who has never learned to speak might learn at length to hold his tongue.” Throughout his life, St. Jerome was never far from controversy. Infamously irascible, Jerome often found himself in fier…
 
James and Thomas interview Sixtine Leon-Dufour, writer of the new Lourdes documentary, one of the best religious films in recent years. She discusses: Her background caring for the sick at Lourdes How she convinced the Lourdes authorities to give secular filmmakers unprecedented shooting access to this holy place How a documentary about a Marian pi…
 
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, and the Catho…
 
No sane person ever proposed John Chrysostom as a model of diplomacy. His name means "Golden Mouth" and reflects his eloquence. His words, however, proved his undoing when he chose to preach a word of criticism against the Empress Eudoxia. He soon found himself battling for his position as bishop and then for his life. LINKS Works by John Chrysosto…
 
A new documentary on Lourdes, originally released in France in 2019, is now in theaters in the US. It is intensely moving and one of the best religious films in recent years. Written by a Catholic who used to care for the sick at Lourdes, it is an inside look at the spiritual but also deeply human needs and aspirations that lead people to this plac…
 
In this bonus episode originally from the Catholic Culture Podcast, CatholicCulture.org’s director of podcasts, Thomas V. Mirus, interviews voice actor James T. Majewski (Catholic Culture Audiobooks) and author Mike Aquilina (Way of the Fathers) about how they make their shows and the effect reading and studying the Church Fathers has had on them p…
 
Thomas is joined by Catholic filmmaker Nathan Douglas to discuss Walker Percy's first novel, The Moviegoer. They examine the malaise-ridden protagonist Binx Bolling's "search" for meaning, which he ultimately finds through responsibility: not the responsibility urged by respectable "values", but that urged by love. They also look at how Binx search…
 
In this episode from the Catholic Culture Podcast, Thomas is joined by Catholic filmmaker Nathan Douglas to discuss Walker Percy's first novel, The Moviegoer. They examine the malaise-ridden protagonist Binx Bolling's "search" for meaning, which he ultimately finds through responsibility: not the responsibility urged by respectable "values", but th…
 
“I ask you to ask yourself simply, very simply, this question: where is the honor which I am due as a father? Does it exist? Does it exist enough? Do I enforce it enough, these rights which I do not have the right to touch because they are the rights of divine fatherhood which I represent?” Happy Father's Day! We’re continuing our series of works h…
 
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…
 
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