Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

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Spiritual but not religious? This place is made for you.

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Photo by Brandon Nappi


The Copper Beech Institute, New England’s newest meditation center, is located at a Catholic retreat center and monastery in West Hartford, CT, but its founder and director, Brandon Nappi, says he hopes all seekers — from lapsed Catholics to Buddhists to atheists in search of stress reduction — will feel welcome there.

treeCB labrynth signCB artFrom left: a copper beech tree, a symbol of wisdom and solitude, after which the center is named; the sign leading to the labyrinth, based on the design of the one in Chartres Cathedral; a painting in the Golden Thread Gallery.

Fr. Richard McBrien Rest in peace, Fr. Richard McBrien

A champion of progressive Catholicism has gone to his reward, where we know he’s praying for us. Read the National Catholic Reporter obituary below:







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Depression and the spiritual journey, with WESU’s Dr. Helen Evrard

Helen head shotDr. Helen Evrard is the producer and host of “Mind Matters,” on WESU, a show about mental health issues which airs every Wednesday from 6 to 6:30 p.m. She is also the author of Positive Matters: Words, Quotations and Stories to Heal and Inspire. Raised Catholic, she ultimately left the faith, but then was surprised to discover that some aspects of Catholicism were helpful in her journey. You can learn more about Dr. Evrard at and at

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Mario Cuomo: a remembrance

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Rodale Hosts Launch Party for Al Gore's New Book - Red CarpetAbraham Lincoln

Harold HolzerFrank J. Williams


Celebrating the late, great Mario Cuomo

The late NY governor shared an interest in Abraham Lincoln with Harold Holzer and Frank J. Williams, our guests on “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith.” Holzer, a former spokesman and policy advisor for Cuomo, and Williams, retired Chief Justice of the RI Supreme Court, share their reminiscences of the governor, who died Jan. 1st.

You put the community in community radio!

Thanks to all of you who helped bring WESU-FM’s winter pledge drive to a successful close. As a result of your generosity, we made our $20,000 goal. If you gave — or will give — let me know by emailing me at and I’ll send you a spiritually-themed book from my own collection. The most efficient way to give is by going to and clicking on Donate Now.


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The 2014 ‘Reasonably Catholic’ Year in Review

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Rep.-Larson_for_blogSarah-Abbott_for_blogMcCloskeyPatnewbarbaraJacques_Lamarre_for_webTicketsRichard AllevaMark_Mullaney_for_blogFr. Fred Kammer, SJPope Francis and lambRRRGabriella blesses Alexandraphoto 1John RyanBrake logoOpheliaDorothy Daybro mickeyRev. MollyFreudPres RothCardinal Sean O'MalleyMichael O'LoughlinSr. ElaineCindyMattSchmalz_for_blogAnn CareySo smart — and so good-looking! Thanks to all our guests!


Pope Francis’ Christmas message

Gift from the sea

BEach glassI found this on a Christmas morning walk with hubby along the shore at Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT. It was only after I got home and was poking through my collection of shells, pebbles and glass that I noticed one of them carried a bit of profound wisdom!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2015.

But before I go: have you made your tax-deductible pledge at If you give even a small amount and mention “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith,” I’ll send you a spiritually-themed book as a thank-you gift!

Wishing you all the gifts of the Christmas season throughout 2015!


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Pope Francis to Cuba and U.S. nuns: Peace

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MattSchmalz_for_blogHoly Cross College Prof. Mat Schmalz unpacks Pope Francis’ involvement in the recent U.S.-Cuba thaw. The bottom line? This pope is hard to say no to.

Ann CareyAuthor and journalist Ann Carey, who’s written widely on the vicissitudes of American nuns and sisters, explains last week’s Vatican report about them — which may or may not be the Vatican report on U.S. religious women you were expecting — and which takes a markedly kinder, gentler tone toward them. Our interview with her — and her article here in The Catholic World Report  — lays out the whole shebang clearly:


Because you’ve been good, here’s a little sugarplum for you:

Pope Francis, At Christmas Gathering, Blasts Vatican’s Bureaucrats


Ain’t too proud to beg: please support WESU during our winter pledge drive. Go to There’s just a little time left and there’s a matching grant in play. Don’t forget to say you like Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith!


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Rethinking hyperincarceration: a better way to handle non-violent criminals


Att'y Brian MoranIn this second half of a series, Attorney Brian E. Moran, author of The Justice Imperative: How Hyperincarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream, lays out the problem of our bloated correctional system and offers practical solutions toward cutting the prison population in half in five years — a compassionate approach that he says would not only help non-violent criminals succeed when they are ultimately  released into society, but would improve public safety.

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Dr BrothersDr. Michael Brothers of Middletown (CT) Veterinary Hospital with a plaque in his office that spells out what we all — Pope Francis included — know is true.

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Crux, part II: Boston Globe launches expanded coverage of Catholicism with a panel on Pope Francis

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Cardinal Sean O'MalleyMary Ann GlendonJohn Allen Jr

Hosffman OspinoMargery EaganRobert ChristianThe Boston Globe launched expaanded coverage of Catholic issues — at — with a panel discussion at Boston College about Pope Francis. The panelists were Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who provided opening remarks; Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences; Vatican analyst John L. Allen Jr., associate editor of Crux and The Boston Globe; Boston College theologian Hosffman Ospino, assistant professor of Hispanic ministry and religious education; Crux spirituality columnist Margery Eagan, who served as moderator; and Robert Christian, editor and blogger for “Millennial | Young Catholics, An Ancient Faith, A New Century.”

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Is there a Catholic vote at midterm?; and Nuns on the Bus roll out the vote

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Prof. Mark Silk, director of the Leonard Greenberg Center for Religion and Public Life at Trinity College, talking about public reaction to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ objections to the Obama administration’s Affordable Health Care Act: “Most Americans don’t buy this as a threat to freedom of religion.”

Mark Silk, director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, discusses the Catholic vote; the silence of the bishops this election season and whether it’s a result of the Francis Effect; the synod on the family so far; and why certain progressive changes (married priests, same-sex marriage) would be problematic.



Sr. Elainenuns on the busWest Hartford, CT, Sister of St. Joseph Elaine Betoncourt, who traveled the country on the Nuns’ second trip, advocating immigration reform, talks about the sisters’ just-completed third mission — to get out the vote, especially in key states — and provides an update on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, in continuing discussions with its Vatican censors.


Catholic commentary of note:

ross douthatNew York Times conservative Catholic columnist Ross Douthat opines against the Pope:

And two America columnists beg to differ:

Sr Mary Ann Walsh

John O'Malley SJ


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