Apr 032018

I was pretty excited when I first heard that author Rod Bennett was going to be doing a weekly podcast called The Popcorn Cathedral.

I was already a big fan of his from his books regarding early Church history [Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words] and The Apostasy That Wasn’t: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church. Became an even bigger fan with his intelligent time travel novel The Christus Experiment. Later I read his books of essays The Popcorn Cathedral: Essays at the Junction of Film, Faith, and Fantasy and found we had many overlapping interests. Just loved his essays and his storytelling.

Like the book of essays, the podcast also explores film, faith and fantasy. As a movie buff he has done a lot of background reading along with thinking much about what it means to be a Christian geek.

The first series in this podcast involved Raiders of the Lost Ark with theme “Why Indy Won’t Convert”. The relays the whole genesis of how the movie came to be made and the influences that drove the writers. Really fascinating as the character of Indy could have been a lot different than how it turned out. As this is one of my all-time favorite movies – I enjoyed all the details.

The latest series is on “King Kong Died for Your Sins” and of course explores the movie King Kong, but also a look into Christ figures and the distinctions between symbol, allegory, and reiteration. It is always interesting what makes it into a story whether book or film and how unattended influences make their way in. Writes are often surprised by their own characters and how their muses inspire them.

He does this podcast with his son Jack, who shares his interest and enthusiasm. The shows range from a more scripted style to a more free-ranging style. While Rod is Catholic, the podcast is intended for a general audience.

The Facebook page for the podcast is very active with posts giving more background about what is discussed.

Jun 142016

Pints with Aquinas – Matt Fradd

This podcast by Australian Catholic apologist and speaker Matt Fradd is informative and fun.

If you could sit down with St. Thomas Aquinas over a pint of beer and ask him any one question, what would it be? Every episode of Pints With Aquinas revolves around a question, a question that St. Thomas addresses in his most famous work, The Summa Theologica. So get your geek on, pull up a bar stool, and grab a cold one. Here we go!

This is a very professional sounding podcast and Matt Fradd’s enthusiasm for the faith in infectious. He does not shy away from hot or sensitive topics and sticks to what the Church teaches through the lens of the Angelic Doctor. When I recently became aware of this podcast I went back and listened to the archives. There are currently 12 shows roughly half an hour long.

Fides et Ratio – Fr. Chris Pietraszko

I was introduced to this podcast via Matt Fradd’s podcast. Fr. Chris Pietraszko is a newly ordained priest in the Diocese of London.

This podcast is a series of recorded lectures and homilies. So the audio quality is not the best, but the content is excellent. Very solid theologically and goes deep.

Called to Communion – Dr. David Anders

Dr. Anders use to hold the EWTN Open Line slot on Thursday and I grew to totally enjoy his show. He is a convert from Presbyterianism. I just love the way he articulates the faith and a joyful manner in which he does. I was delighted when they started to podcast his daily Monday – Friday show “Call to Communion”. While mostly this is a Protestant call in show, I still enjoy his insights and how he answers questions. I must admit to being envious of how he rapidly summarizes in a complete but concise way.

Previous Recommendations

May 162016

I haven’t done a podcast spotlight in a while and there really are some excellent new entries. I am always looking for intelligent Catholic podcasts that I have some heft to them. Something that goes beyond just the apologetics that I can get from other quality shows.

Father Spitzer’s Universe

Fr. Spitzer answers viewer questions on a wide range of subjects, including: Reason, Faith, Suffering, Virtue, and the Existence of God.

I loved his book New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy and Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence) and how well his navigates and integrates science, theology, and philosophy. These tendencies are also evident in this podcast that goes deep on various subjects while also answering viewer questions.

Unfortunately I could not find an RSS feed to subscribe to for this show other than the EWTN podcast feed that includes all of their shows. This page lists feeds for individual shows.

The Word on Fire Show

Bishop Robert Barron’s longtime homily podcast “Word on Fire” has been a long time favorite of mine. Added to this is a new show where show host Brandon Vogt and Bishop Barron discuss a wealth of topics along with answering a viewer’s question. This roughly 30 minute format makes for great conversations that often lead me to adding books to my wish list.

Catholic Production Podcast

As a podcast name, this one would be easy to pass over. Appears to be named after the Catholic Productions site which seems mainly to be maintained by Scripture Scholar and Theologian Dr. Brant Pitre.

The focus of this podcast is an examination of the Sunday readings at Mass. Shows average from roughly 20 to 30 minutes and give tons of insight into the readings on multiple levels. I so look forward to this show weekly as Dr. Pitre’s palpable excitement in discussing scripture and theology is inspiring. I so hope this show never pod-fades as I find it indispensable now.

Laudet Dominum

This is a homily podcast from Fr. Cory Sticha. A pastor of several parishes in Montana who I got acquainted with via social media and his appearances on podcasts for SQPN.

I have been known to complain about the quality of homilies I often hear. But instead of just complaining I found it better to subscribe to the good homily podcasts out there. I totally enjoy Fr. Sticha’s homilies as they are filled with the spiritual wealth from the Church. I also like that in fairly short homilies that he can pack in so much. Another bonus is that these homilies are often available in a very short turnaround after he has recorded them. So whether it is Sunday or a Solemnity you can count on them being available. I can’t say the same for EWTN’s homily podcast.

Feb 072013

One of my favorite radio shows is Kresta in the Afternoon which is hosted by Ave Maria Radio and also played on EWTN radio. Previously they had started to release recordings of their show via MP3s and later created a Podcast feed so you can listen to the show.

Al Kresta was previously a Protestant pastor, Christian book store manager, and later had a Christian talk show. He returned to the Catholic Church in the early 90s and started his present show in 1997. Here is his conversion story.

What I so enjoy about his show is the range of topics. While there is talk on the current events of the day and the world of politics, the show covers a large variety of topics along with a wide range of guests. Even when covering politics it is at a deeper level of analysis than you normally get and the spiritual dimensions are always considered. I also really like that when he has guests of imposing views it is never the shouting back and forth you would get in other venues. He is a very skilled interviewer and asks very thoughtful questions. I might not always agree with his analysis on prudential questions, but really it is only prudential questions that I have ever found myself disagreeing with.

I also quite like his humility in that he does not pretend to have all the answers and is willing to engage and to learn. On a recent show they had a back-and-forth debate between theologian Monica Miller and Simcha Fisher who blogs and writes for the National Catholic Register along with other Catholic publications. Simca had wrote an article regarding the use of the photos of aborted children. Monica Miller as part of her long-time work in the pro-life cause has taken photographs of aborted children and was involved in some highly publicized cases regarding finding the remains of these children in the garbage outside the clinic. This made for a very interesting debate considering both of these women are strongly pro-life and had differing prudential decisions regarding this. The problem with this debate though was it seemed to be rather contentious at times. This week on Al Kresta’s show Al apologized for not doing his role as host very well leading to the debate not coming off very well. It was apparent he was distressed over this airing of his show.

He often has discussion regarding books along with interviews of the authors and again I am impressed by nuances of his questioning and the answers they invoke. I also look forward to his annual show where he interviews various Catholics and asks them about the books they most enjoyed for the year. I have gotten a lot of pleasure from these discussions and reading these recommendations.

My only real complaint about the show is that there are often repeats of previous broadcasts. It might be selfish of me, but I want him on all the time. I would also like it to be much clearer when the shows are repeats. Another thing that I would like is that they provide notes and an outline of each show in the info section of their podcast. Some tech podcasts I listen to do this and it is quite useful to easily get to links discussed and to see the outline of the show.

Disclaimer: His blog lists my site on his short list of “The Blogs That Matter Most” and I once got to be a guest on a short segment of his show along with another blogger.

Podcast feed

Jan 072013

The Sacred Page Michael Barber is a professor of scripture and theology at John Paul the Great University. He maintains a blog called The Sacred Page along with two other professors. In addition he has created a podcast with the same name.

This is a quite excellent podcast with a focus on scripture. Michael Barber’s love of what he is teaching is infectious and it is hard to not get excited by what he is teaching. The podcast ranges from a typical hour long topic or shorter ones following the liturgical calendar. During Advent and Christmastide he has been rather active producing several shows.

I like the way he can give the basics of a topic and then go deeper while also providing historical information.

My only complaint is that as far as consistency goes this podcast is not always on any kind of schedule.


St. Irenaeus Ministries This is a podcast produced by the St. Irenaeus Ministries in Rochester, NY. My first though was to echo Nathaniel “Rochester! Can anything good come from there?” Well the answer is a massive yes. This weekly podcasts goes through books in the bible and provides commentary. This seems to be a recorded version of a class where there are questions from the group.

The main speaker is David Higbee who converted to the Church in the 70’s. He is quite a good teacher and has an amazing depth of knowledge. I have especially enjoyed his teaching on the Pauline epistles He really dives into the scriptures and you come to understand them much better on a multiple levels. What he has to say is solid and orthodox along with keen insights. The personality that comes across to me in the podcast is a bit gruff at time, he doesn’t put up with heterodox opinions lightly. Although for me that is a plus and not a minus.


Oct 302012

Greg and Jennifer Willits have left Sirius satellite radio and have returned to their roots in podcasting.  They released a reboot episode today of  “The Catholics Next Door”.

As an early listener of the Rosary Army podcast I am delighted to be able to listen to them again instead of only via a “best of” podcast from their radio show.  I just love their energetic creativity that addresses the new evangelization and the personal call to holiness done in such a way as not to scare off all but hardcore Catholics.  The way they use both humor and address serious struggles in such a frank way is one I admire.

I quite enjoyed the reboot episode and once again they are stepping out into the deep putting God and family first and displaying a trust in God worthy of imitation.

You can find it on iTunes or subscribe directly at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/thecatholicsnextdoor

Mar 292012

Over the years there has been a lot of talk about Catholics use of the new media and the poor quality of certain segments of this.  For example Catholic parishes have notoriously poor web sites, and while there have been some general improvements there is plenty of room to grow in this regard.

The same goes for diocesan websites, though they are generally of better quality than parish ones since money is being spent is this regard.

One area of the new media that has been much ignored by most diocese is podcasting with very few diocese getting involved in this.  I would like to highlight one example of the effective use of podcasting by a diocese which I think should be a model for other diocese.

The Archdiocese of Boston produces The Good Catholic Life, an hour long show scheduled Monday through Fridays.  The production values are very good  and the host Scot Landry is top notch in moving the show along and doing interviews.  This is a quality show that focuses on local news for the diocese along with news that affects all Catholics. So Catholics in the diocese who listen to it are kept well aware of what is going on in the dioceses along with hearing personal stories of other in the diocese.

I would love to have a similar podcast in my own diocese to learn more about the priests and people in my diocese to build up a real sense of community that is often lacking in today’s parish life.

They also simulcast the show on their local Catholic radio station which is also an ideal way to build up an audience.

No doubt producing such a podcast is time intensive and requires real resources to pull off right, but I think it is something well worth doing.

Jan 162011

Now if somebody was to craft a podcast just for me than it would be the new podcast “A Good Story is Hard to Find” with the tagline “Two Catholics talking about books, movies, and the traces of “one Reality” they find there.”

Julie from Happy Catholic and Scott Danielson a contributor to SFFaudio start by discussing a Zombie novel “The Reaper are the Angels” by Alden Bell and it was a good conversation indeed and I look forward to future episodes.

Julie is on another book fast this year – that is she is trying not to buy any books and instead rely only on the library and review copies. The irony is that they start off with a book that I have added to my wish list to buy. Oh well another year as a book glutton.

Podcast Feed

iTunes Link

Dec 242009

As a life-long lover of science I was of course delighted to find not only that there was no contradictions between faith and science, but that many scientists were men of faith and that in many ways it was Christianity that birthed the scientific method.

So I was quite glad to come across the podcast The Catholic Laboratory. Produced by Ian Maxfield, a Catholic scientist himself. Normally in each episode he introduces the life and history of another Catholic scientist and their contributions to science. Though he has also had mutl-part episodes for example discussing the multiverse. His presentation is quite enjoyable as he lays out biographies or discussion of science and even tosses out a bad joke or two (bad in a good way). I also enjoyed the interview he did with an author i admire, Benjamin Wiker and I hope he is able to do more such interviews in the future. I would enthusiastically recommend this to all others who enjoy science or are interested in the intersection of science and faith.

Feb 152009

Last October I posted on the Obama votive candle with his face on the body of St. Martin de Porres which Mark Steyn labeled “Votive early, Votive often.” A reader sent me in an update.

He may be the Second Coming to many San Franciscans – but one local Catholic priest wants a popular prayer candle with President Obama’s picture on it pulled from a local gift shop, saying it “mocks Jesus” and “depicts our beloved saints in a not so saintly way.”

The Rev. Tony La Torre of St. Philip the Apostle Church, in ever-hip Noe Valley, is so riled up that he’s calling for a boycott of the neighborhood’s Just For Fun card and novelty shop, which has been selling the $15 candles at a fast clip.

The candles feature the president’s halo-adorned head plastered onto the crucifix-clutching body of St. Martin de Porres, the Peruvian-born friar regarded as one of the first black saints in the Americas.

“I am appalled that in such a family-oriented neighborhood, any retailer would be so bigoted and so hateful (as) to carry such merchandise just to ‘make a buck,’ ” La Torre declared recently in the parish newsletter.

Store owners Robert Ramsey and David Eiland say they’ve sold more than 700 candles since putting them on display over the Christmas holiday.

And while the candles are a big hit, Ramsey says they’re not much different from the line of gag gifts they’ve been selling without complaint at the store on upper 24th Street for the past 22 years.

Yeah they put them right next to the prayer rugs picturing Obama as Mohammed – oh wait they don’t have that.

But to La Torre, the candles featured in a big window display were “the final straw” for a store “that feels the need to mock and ridicule the Catholic/Christian faith.”

It’s not first time “anti-Catholic, anti-Christian” attitudes, as La Torre calls them, have been decried in the city.

A couple of years back, Archbishop George Niederauer said he had been duped into giving communion to a couple of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – cross-dressing, prankster “nuns” – prompting outrage from religious conservatives across the country.

The candle commotion might have passed quickly, except that La Torre also described the store’s owners as Jewish (they’re not) and urged parishioners not only to boycott the store but to “be sure to poke your head in … and tell them why.”

The San Francisco Archdiocese weighed in, contacting the priest to express its concern over his “Jewish” reference. La Torre has since retracted the reference, saying he only meant that the owners – if Jewish, as he says he was led to believe – “should know what it feels like to be mocked and ridiculed.”

That certainly didn’t help matters and wasn’t germane to the matter at hand even if true.

The owners ignored La Torre’s offer to meet with them to discuss his concerns, but did post a copy of the priest’s newsletter in their store window – right next to the king-size, 2-foot-tall version of the Obama candle that had set him off.

So far, the only effect of the controversy seems to be free advertising and a demand for even more candles.

“Tomorrow, I got 72 more coming,” Ramsey said.

That is always part of the prudential decision to boycott since it can give free advertising and in this case drive sales. Too bad it was mostly the local pastor seemed to be upset by these candles. This is really and act desecration by sacrilege whenever something sacred including sacramental is used for an unworthy purpose. This is more than just a political novelty, but a mocking of the Catholic faith – something that seems to be a constant theme in San Francisco.