Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

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“It must be absolutely clear: the Pope is in danger”

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In Pope Francis Among the Wolves: The Inside Story of a Revolution, journalist Marco Politi, who’s covered the Vatican for more than 40 years, analyzes the pressures faced by the pontiff in his efforts to reform the church, changes which Francis prays “will endure and not be like a light that suddenly goes out.” Besides challenges from conservative hardliners within the Roman Curia and push-back by a rebuked Mafia, Francis also faces the threat of terrorist attack. “The demon is busy … we are on the right road,” Francis is quoted as saying.

Asked later in an email exchange whether the pope had a reaction to the book, Politi said Francis sent him a thank-you note, and also told the French publisher, it is “a good book.”


Dear Listeners: With a few hours remaining of Giving Tuesday, may I gently urge you to donate to the station that brings you “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith”? Please go to and give what you can. Thanks to all of you who’ve already donated to the fall pledge drive — including recent guests Miriam Duignan of and author Tom Krattenmaker of Yale Divinity School! Your support of listener-supported community radio means so much!




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Christ: not just for Christians

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Tom Krattenmaker, author, USA Today columnist and Yale Divinity School communications director, discusses his latest  book, about  how non-believers can be inspired by Jesus.

His most recent USA Today column, below, offers advice on “Surviving a post-election Thanksgiving”:




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An election post-mortem

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From left: Mark Silk, director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life; Joshua McElwee, Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter; Miriam Duignan, spokeswoman for; and Sr. Marge Clark, senior gov’t relations advocate with


Gentle reminder: WESU-FM, home of “Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith,” is a listener-supported community radio station in the midst of its fall pledge drive. Please go to and give what you can!

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Doing something about human trafficking

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Our guests:

Lynn Campbell, executive director of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry.
To learn more about a federal bill addressing the problem, go to the Resources page at


Attorney Stephanie Wainwright, of The Underground, a grassroots organization focused on ending human trafficking in Connecticut.
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If you suspect trafficking is going on, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline: 888-373-7888







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“I’m the funny lady with the open wound”: Gina Barreca on the heartbreak of losing her religion

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regina-barrecaIn her latest collection of essays, If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse, feminist author, Hartford Courant columnist and UConn professor Gina Barreca discusses her discomfort with religion since forsaking the Catholic Church of her upbringing. She wishes she could go back, she says in our interview, but she feels unwelcome, given the church’s conservative stance on issues important to her, and, as much as she considers herself a rule-breaker, she can’t imaging being just reasonably Catholic, picking and choosing from among the church’s teachings. But she also can’t imagine a relationship with the divine apart from being Catholic. In short, she’s in a bind. But at least she can laugh about it.

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‘The Other Catholics’: remaking a Church that’s taking too long to change

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Hofstra Professor Julie Byrne’s new book, The Other Catholics: Remaking America’s Largest Religion, 10-plus years in the making, explores “independent Catholics,” churches that are not formally connected to the Roman Catholic Church but which hold to the tenets of apostolic succession, the seven sacraments, and devotion to the saints.

Progressive-minded Catholics will take encouragement from her argument that it’s the most left-leaning of these churches — those which, for instance, allow same-sex marriage and female clergy – that are the Roman church’s future, its “research labs.” In fact, she points out, Roman Catholic priests are already turning to independent churches for help — such as when a couple wants to be married but the bride, say, has been divorced.

Independent Catholics are believers who love the Roman Catholic Church but who “are tired of waiting” for change.

“What we see now after all these years since Vatican II, with even the papacy of Pope Francis, it’s very clear there are limits to what Francis can change,” says Julie, “how fast the Roman church can change. There are Roman Catholic progressives as well as ex-Catholics who are really tired of waiting for the change. That is why the independent Catholic groups that have been working in small churches for all these years are seeing so much interest. They’re doing the changes already, such as ordaining women, open communion for the divorced and anybody, marrying LGBTQ, ordaining anyone, basically, and having open sacraments regardless of a person’s background. If he or she has completed the training, the sacraments are open.

“The Roman church generally does pretty well on social justice issues, but it doesn’t do so great on what I call sacramental justice issues.”






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LGBTQ Catholics have Dignity on their side! Plus, Mother Teresa goes marching in!

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marianne-duddyburke-headshotdebbie-carpenterpaul-scarbroughMarianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, with Connecticut members Debbie Carpenter and Paul Scarbrough, which seeks full equality in the Catholic Church for LGBTQ Catholics.

mat-schmalzMat Schmalz, professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, an expert on global Catholicism, on the recent canonization of Mother Teresa.


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“God is found even in grouchiness”

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Regular guest Passionist Father John Baptist Pesce of Holy Family Monastery in West Hartford, CT, explains why it’s a sign of progress that the Catholic Church is infuriating segments of its flock.


Hoof it for Haiti

Also, Jeff Cantin, organizer of this year’s 5K walk, run and roll to benefit Haiti, tells about plans for the 9th annual event, to take place rain or shine on Sat., Sept. 24, at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Rocky Hill, CT.

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