The National Catholic Review

Podcasts: 2011

Signs of the Spirit

January 3-10 Podcast
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Rev. Brendan Leahy, professor of theology at St. Patrick's College in Maynooth, Ireland, talks about his new book, Ecclesial Movements and Communities, which traces the origins and significance of movements such as L'Arche, Focolare, Communion and Liberation and the Community of Sant'Egidio. Fr. Leahy discusses the unique charisms of these communities and the ways in which they were shaped by the Second Vatican Council. He also explains how they serve as an important form of church life for both priests and lay people at a time when vocations are dwindling and parishes attendance is in decline. (CNS picture right: Religious leaders at the close of the International Prayer for Peace in Washington, D.C., April 27, 2006. The meeting was organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio.)

Feeding the Hungry

December 19-26 Podcast
The Rev. David Beckmann, the president of Bread for the World, discusses the plight of hungry people in the United States and abroad, and how his organization works to lobby Congress to maintain financial support for those less fortunate. He also explains how government support is essential to fighting hunger—charities alone are not sufficient—and how U.S. aid for the poor has had a real impact during these difficult economic times.
The work of Bread for the World

A New Chapter

December 12 Podcast
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John P. Schlegel, S.J., describes his journey from president of Creighton University to president and publisher of America Press, Inc. A native of Iowa, Fr. Schlegel has spent most of his ministry in university administration. He is a longtime reader of America, and here describes some of his hopes for the magazine as it navigates the new media environment and seeks to attract the next generation of readers.

Bare Feet and Theology

November 28-December 5 Podcast
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When John Endres, S.J., and Julia Prinz, V.D.M.F., traveled to Asia in 2009 with a delegation from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, they were not sure to expect. Their trip gave them unique insights into the lives of their students, in particular women religious, who travel from the Pacific Rim to study theology in Berkeley. They witnessed women working closely with the poor and practicing a theology that grew from the culture. Sr. Prinz and Fr. Endres recently spoke about their journey at a "Theology in the City" lecture sponsored by JSTB. Pictured above: novices of the Daughters of St. Anne, in Ranchi, Jharkanland, India. Photograph courtesy of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity.

Archbishop's Questions

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Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York recently spoke with James Martin, S.J., about his new book Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life during the the archbishop's weekly radio program on The Catholic Channel. Audio courtesy Sirius Satellite Radio.

Forming Faith Leaders

November 7 Podcast
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Daniel Hendrickson, S.J., reports on Contemplative Leaders in Action, an initiative of the Jesuit Collaborative. CLIA "is designed to nurture faith-centered leaders so they can impact society and culture." The program comprises retreats, lecture, study, and service work, and brings together young people from a variety of professions. Fr. Hendrickson is chaplain to the CLIA program in New York. He is pictured bottom row, left, next to New York program director Alison Donohue.

The Trent Way

October 31 Podcast
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John W. O'Malley, S.J., the esteemed Georgetown University historian, compares the role of theologians at the Council of Trent to the Second Vatican Council. At Trent, the theologians were not pre-selected by the pope, and represented a wide array of theological opinion. Theologians gave extended lectures to the assembled bishops, who then made decisions based on the information they gathered. Trent marked the first time that a class of theologians emerged as a distinct voice from the bishops, and thus offers an interesting lesson for today, when the relations between bishops and theologians are strained. Read Fr. O'Malley's article, "A Lesson for Today?" (10/31). Photo courtesy of the Irish Jesuits.

Editors' Roundtable

October 24 Podcast
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The editors discuss the coming Mass translations and whether or not Catholic are allowed to criticize them; the outpouring of grief following Steve Jobs' death and what it says about the spiritual needs of our society; and the surprising religious language used to describe the Occupy Wall Street protests. Read Fr. Jim Martin's blog post on the death of Steve Jobs.

The Listening Ministry

October 17 Podcast
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Dr. Christine Firer Hinze is a professor of Christian ethics and the director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University. She was one of the organizers of a recent conference called "Learning to Listen: Voices of Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church." The conference was the first of a four-part series entitled "More than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church," which also will include events hosted by Union Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School and ">Fairfield University. Kerry Weber spoke with Dr. Firer Hinze at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus. Photo by Patrick Verel.

Joy to the World

October 10 Podcast
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James Martin, S.J., explains why joy and laughter are essential to the spiritual life and why they have been too often neglected in the church. Discussing his new book, Between Heaven and Mirth, Fr. Martin retells some humorous stories from the Bible, and remembers the lives of light-hearted saints like Philip Neri. He also shares why he finds joy in his vocation and how he remains joyful even in difficult times. Illustrations by Anita Kunz.

A Conversion Story

October 3 Podcast
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In this week's podcast Associate Editor Kerry Weber interviews Mary Karr, a poet and author of three memoirs. The most recent of these is the bestselling Lit, which describes her struggle with alcoholism and her eventual conversion to Catholicism. Kerry Weber spoke with Karr from the author's apartment in Manhattan. Read Timothy W. O'Brien's essay on Mary Karr and the Ignatian imagination.

Editors' Roundtable

September 26 Podcast
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Associate Editors Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., and Kerry Weber join Tim Reidy for a conversation about Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm X. Read Fr. Schroth's review of Marable's book in the September 26 issue. Also discussed: the controversial memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—why does he look so serious?—and David Brooks' recent column laying out Christian Smith's research on the moral relativism of young people.

Wanderhope's Progress

September 19 Podcast
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Jesuit scholastics Kevin Spinale and Tim O'Brien join Tim Reidy for a discussion of Peter De Vries' 1961 novel The Blood of the Lamb. In this tragicomic tour de force, De Vries chronicles the life of Don Wanderhope, a Calvinist from Chicago who works as a garbageman and spends his nights necking in city parks. As grows older, however, he gains a measure of maturity, caring for his wife and then daughter as they struggle with illness. Along the way, he wrestles with age-old questions of faith and suffering, rendered in inimitable style by this unjustly forgotten novelist.

How Not to Read the Bible

September 12 Podcast
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Brian B. Pinter offers an intriguing account of his experiences teaching the Bible to Catholics in parishes in New York. A small but vocal minority of parishioners have taken issue with the historical/critical approach he espouses, preferring instead a literal account of Genesis and other Biblical stories. Pinter explains why some Catholics may be taken by a literal interpretation of the Bible and why a historical/critical approach actually enriches the reading experience. A campus minister at Regis High School in New York City, Pinter also offers some hopeful reflections on the faith of young people today.

9/11 Perspectives

August 29-September 5 Podcast
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Historian David O'Brien talks about how September 11 marked a turning point in his identity as an historian and "Americanist" and how impressed he was by the stories of courage and love that grew from that day. In a second interview, Fr. Robert Robbins describes his role in inter-religious relations in New York in the period following September 11.

Episode VI

Editors' Roundtable
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Kevin Clarke leads a discussion with Editorial Director Karen Sue Smith and Editor in Chief Drew Christiansen, S.J. on America's fiscal woes, an upcoming article in America on American Muslims post-9/11 and the signs of dissatisfaction among the British underclass.

Out of the Darkness

August 15-22 Podcast
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Jennifer Haigh's novel, Faith, centers on a priest who is accused of sexual abuse in Boston in 2002 and his half-sister who sets out to find the truth. In this installment of America's Book Club, Kevin Spinale, S.J., describes the complex relationships among the Irish-Catholic family at the heart of the book, and explains why the novel is not really about sexual abuse but sexual maturity.

Looking to 2012

August 1-8 Podcast
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Is the race for the Republican nomination Mitt Romney's to lose? Will Sarah Palin ever decide whether to run, and can Michelle Bachmann pull a Mike Huckabee at the Iowa stroll poll next month? Can any of these candidates defeat President Obama, even at a time of growing unemployment? Matt Malone, S.J., former associate editor and keen observer of the U.S. political scene, analyzes the field as the race for 2012 gathers steam.

Episode V

Editors' Roundtable
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James Martin, S.J., describes the devastating drought in Eastern Africa, and what Catholics can do to help, and Kerry Weber discusses the challenges facing unemployed workers who are now being told not apply for jobs if they have been out of work for an extended period. Kevin Spinale, S.J., reports on Google's legal battle to obtain the rights to scan books into an online digital archive. Read Robert Darnton's coverage of the issue in the New York Review of Books.

Episode IV

Editors' Roundtable
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Tim Reidy joins Mike Avery and Tim O'Brien, S.J., two of America's summer interns, in a discussion of Mark Oppenheimer's much-talked about article on Dan Savage's views on monogamy and marriage. The roundtable also takes up Mickey Edward's six-step plan to fix Congress, published in The Atlantic, and Daniel Okrent's Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Listen to Terry Gross's interview with Okrent here.

Holy Voting

July 18-25 Podcast
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How can a Catholic balance the demands of voting with the Christian call to holiness? Nicholas P. Cafardi, dean emeritus and professor of the Duquesne University School of Law, discusses his article in the current issue of America, "Keep Holy Election Day," explaining why the values of holiness and conscientious citizenship need not be contrary. He also addresses the controversy surrounding the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in New York state and the dilemma it posed for Catholic politicians.

Episode III

Editors' Roundtable
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Kevin Clarke hosts a discussion with fellow editors Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., and Francis X. Hezel, S.J., on Foreign Policy's annual list of failed states, what risks these states pose to the international community and what role other nations should play in their rehabilitation. The editors also look at a growing sense of disappointment with President Obama from critics such as Maureen Dowd, and more seriously, David Bromwich, whose essay in the New York Review of Books offers a devastating critique of Obama's governing style.

Ending Obama's War

July 4-11 Podcast
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David Cortright, author of the new book Ending Obama's War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan, offers a critique of President Obama's recent speech on military policy in Afghanistan and outlines other options for assisting the Afghan people that do not include boots on the ground. Professor Cortright, the director of policy studies at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, also talks about his personal disappointment with the president's handling of the war in Afghanistan in light of his earlier criticism of the war in Iraq.

Episode II

Editors' Roundtable
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The editors discuss a new "biography" of St. Augustine's Confessions, the art of collecting art and the demands of homework. With Kerry Weber, Karen Sue Smith and Edward W. Schmidt, S.J. This is part of a series of podcasts featuring the editors of America discussing items of cultural and political interest.

Following the Money

June 20-27 Podcast
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Jason Berry's new book, Render Unto Rome, looks at the financial structure of the Catholic Church from the parish level to the Vatican. What happens when a Catholic puts money in the collection plate? What kind of financial reports are offered by diocesan leaders? How big of a problem is embezzlement? Berry, a longtime investigative journalist who first broke the story of the sexual abuse scandal, discusses these issues as well as the recent efforts to sell church property in Boston. He also provides an eye-opening account of the scandal involving the Italian businessman Raffaello Follieri and his ties to Vatican officials.

Episode I

Editors' Roundtable
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The first in a series of podcasts featuring the editors of America discussing items of cultural and political interest. This week Tim Reidy, Fr. Jim Martin and Regina Nigro talk about the weighty themes addressed in the film "The Tree of Life"; "The Astral," a new novel by Kate Christensen set in Brooklyn; and a New York Times story and video about a miraculous pair of conjoined twins.

The Bishops' Voice

May 30 Podcast
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Is there an inverse relationship between effective leadership of the bishops' conference and that of individual bishops? Or is it possible the stronger the voice of the bishops collectively, the stronger the voice of most bishops individually and locally? Peter Steinfels explores these questions in the May 30 issue of America, and here on our podcast. Steinfels' inquiry grew from his reading of George Weigel's recent article in First Things on the workings of the bishops' conference under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. You can read Steinfels' formal response to Weigel in Commonweal (subscriber only). Peter Steinfels is the co-director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University and the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America.

Naming God

June 6-13 Podcast
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It's not uncommon to hear "Abba" or "Shepherd" as names of God. But what about "Voice of Freedom" or "You Who Question Souls"? In her new book Fragments of Your Ancient Name, Joyce Rupp, O.S.M., explores these names and 361 others—one for each day of the year. Rupp spoke with America following her talk "Exploring and Deepening Our Naming of Divinity" at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in March.

A Study in Awareness

May 23 Podcast
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The Indian Jesuit Anthony DeMello died in 1987 but his spiritual writings still have wide appeal. In this discussion, Thomas G. Casey, S.J., a professor at the Gregorian University in Rome, and Margaret Brennan Hassett, one of his students, discuss their love for the work of "Tony" DeMello, and explain his teachings. Among DeMello's insights: that a deeper awareness of one's breathing can help facilitate prayer. Casey and Hassett's new book, From Fear to Serenity with Anthony DeMello, S.J., is published by Paulist Press.

House Pastor

May 2-9 Podcast
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April 14 marked the last day of Father Daniel J. Coughlin's tenure as chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. Fr. Coughlin was the first Catholic priest to serve in that role, and he held the position for 11 years. Here he speaks about some of his most difficult moments as chaplain, notably the tragedy of 9/11 and the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords. He also asks for the prayers of all people of faith for both the chaplain and the members of the House, whom he argues approach the duties of their office with moral seriousness. Scroll to minute 4:39 to hear Fr. Coughlin's comments on the controversy surrounding denying communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians: "One of the saddest stories I heard and experienced," he says.

Done In Our Name

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Kenneth R. Himes of Boston College talks about his article, "Divided on Torture," from the April 18 issue, which examines U.S. attitudes toward torture and explains why a public commission is still necessary to account for the moral panic unleashed by the war on terror. The tolerance of torture may stem from a humanitarian impulse—the belief that it could save lives in the long run—but that assumption must be questioned. Catholics, Himes points out, have a special mandate to repudiate torture, as such cruel and inhuman treatment is clearly prohibited in Catholic moral teaching. See the U.S. bishops document, "Torture is a Moral Issue."

Father Figure

Special Podcast
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At the age of 13, Bethany Hamilton, an up-and-coming surfer, lost her arm in a shark attack. But with the help and encouragement of friends and family, she was back on a board within a month, and went on to become a nationally ranked professional in the sport. In the new film adaptation of the her story, Dennis Quaid portrayed Hamilton’s enthusiastic and encouraging father, Tom Hamilton. Quaid spoke with America about his role as a father, the role of suffering and his new-found love of surfing.

The Church's Message Problem

April 11 Podcast
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The papacy of Pope Benedict XVI has been marred by a series of communications mishaps, from an affair involving a Holocaust-denying bishop to public statements from Vatican officials which aggravated the sexual abuse crisis. John L. Allen Jr. spoke with America about the Vatican's PR problems at the L.A. Religious Education Congress. Allen is a Senior Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN.

The Church's Image Problem

April 11, 2011
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The papacy of Pope Benedict XVI has been marred by a series of communications mishaps, from an affair involving a Holocaust-denying bishop to public statements from Vatican officials which aggravated the sexual abuse crisis. John L. Allen Jr. spoke with America about the Vatican's PR problems at the L.A. Religious Education Congress. Allen is a Senior Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN.

Staying Put

April 4 Podcast
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Michael Leach, an editor-at-large and publisher emeritus at Orbis Books, explains why he remains a committed Catholic in the age of falling Mass attendance and the clerical sexual abuse crisis. His new book, Why Stay Catholic?, lists 100 people, places and ideas that make the Catholic Church a compelling institution. On that list: the papacy, Andrew Greeley, Walter Burghardt, S.J., the Catholic Church Extension Society and the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

Sage Advice

March 28 Podcast
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Fr. Francis X. Hezel has spent over 40 years ministering in Micronesia, and now serves as guest editor at America. Here he discusses the Jesuit mission in Micronesia, and offers six lessons to young people that he has learned over a lifetime. His first insight: "Life grows simpler as you grow older." Read his article, "Good Counsel," in the March 28 issue.

Teaching the Bible

March 21 Podcast
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Mario J. Paredes talks about his work at the American Bible Society, where he coordinates outreach to Catholic leaders throughout the country. Paredes has helped setup Bible summits featuring noted Scripture scholars and taught pastors and pastoral ministers about the practice of lectio divina. Learn more about the outreach of the American Bible Society, and read Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic exhortation on the 2008 Synod on the Word.

History Boy

March 14 Podcast
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Peter A. Quinn worked ten years on his first novel, Banished Children of Eve, writing in the early hours of the morning while working a day job as a speechwriter for New York Governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo. As he writes in the March 14 issue, he can relate to St. Peter because he too had two jobs: fisherman and apostle. Like St. Peter too, Quinn knows what it's like to try to walk on water: "Each time I start a novel, I have the same sensation of going over the side of the boat." In this conversation, Quinn talks about Governor Cuomo's famous speech on abortion at the University of Notre Dame in 1984, his new historical novel, The Man Who Never Returned and the recent production of Banished Children at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York.

A Feminist Church?

February 28 Podcast
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M. Cathleen Kaveny lists the many ways in which the Catholic Church is a feminist church, while also raising questions about "complementarity" and other ways in which the church has sought to define women's particular gifts. Speaking of the "new feminism," she encourages young scholars to engage the work of their predecessors, and to be careful not to replicate the mistakes of the earliest generation of feminists by focusing solely on one or two issues. Read "Defining Feminism," Professor Kaveny's article for America, and her remarks at the "Contending Modernities" conference, which was sponsored by the University of Notre Dame.

Uruguay Today

Special Podcast
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In the small Latin American country of Uruguay, the literacy rate is 97 percent and the Catholic Church is much less influential than in neighboring countries. Retired Bishop Luis Del Castillo talks with Kerry Weber about the unique challenges and opportunities presented by these circumstances.

Deconstructing Oscar IV

February 21 Podcast
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Is "The King's Speech" worthy of the accolades it has received, or is just a glorified episode of Masterpiece Theatre? Why is Danny Doyle, director of "127 Hours," so fascinated with body fluids? What to make of that Dante-esque scene of impending doom in "Toy Story 3"? For the fourth year in a row, Tim Reidy is joined by Fr. Jim Martin (America's culture editor) and Bill McGarvey (formerly of Bustedhalo.com) in a discussion of this year's nominees for Best Picture. Read America's film reviewers dissect the Best Picture nominees here.

A Catholic Broadcaster

February 14 Podcast
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Veteran broadcaster William F. Baker talks about his long career at WNET, the flagship public television station in New York, and how his Catholic identity nourished him in his work. Baker looks back on "Great Performances," "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" and two films he helped to produce on Jesus and Mary in art. Drawing on his relationship with Cardinal John J. O'Connor, he also offers some lessons for the church on how to deal with the secular media.

A God on the Move

February 7 Podcast
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Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., describes his research among migrants in the United States and abroad, and how their perception of God is shaped by their transient lifestyle. Fr. Groody also describes the unique challenges facing migrants in Europe, and what it means to understand God as a "migrant God." Read Fr. Groody's article from America, "A Theology of Migration."