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Critics Rand Richards Cooper and Richard Alleva, both longtime contributors to the Catholic journal Commonweal , consider this year’s Oscar nominees. Not exactly the ’70s, but not a bad year, they agree.
Tom Krattenmaker is a USA Today columnist, spokesperson for Yale Divinity School, author of Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower, and former leader of the Yale Humanist Community, which recently closed up shop. In this, our second conversation on Reasonably Catholic, we unpack, among other topics, the concept of ‘horizontal transcendence’ ; the ‘tough gig’ of humanism; meaningful conversation as essential to ‘the good life’; the importance of doing our part to reverse climate change because ‘even if the ship’s going down, at least we did what we could.’
This is the final episode of Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith, because I need to complete some long-unfinished projects. Also — full disclosure — I need to take a breather from religion. I hope to be back in the fall of ’20 with an arts-and-culture-themed program, to be called The Left Bank. I welcome your suggestions of potentially interesting guests and topics. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t say goodbye to Reasonably Catholic without thanking certain key people, even as I realize with a shudder that I’m bound to leave some of you out! I beg your forgiveness in advance! You know that I love you; it’s just that my memory is shot! Thanks, first, to the WESU-FM board of 2012, which — counterintuitively — approved my proposal to have an even marginally Catholic radio show! Relatedly, thanks to WESU-FM General Manager Ben Michael for encouragement and technical support beyond the call of duty. Thanks to Program Manager Rick Sinkiewicz for dealing with my last-minute emails about needed tweaks to my show. Thanks to goddess Marianne O’Hare, producer of Conversations on Health Care, for teaching me how to plant a garden of sound waves, and also for showing me it’s possible to remain cheerful while technology explodes around us. Thanks to faithful donors to the station who didn’t stop being my friends even though I kept asking you for money! BIG thanks to my husband Leith for the theme music and for constant patient help; you are a saint.
Finally, thanks to everyone involved in my Catholic education — my parents; the Catholic school nuns and teachers who formed my conscience; certain good priests, especially the late, great Fr. John Baptist Pesce. Though I’m stepping away from practicing Catholicism, everything you’ve taught me is in my bones.
Tom Smith is the author of several books on coping with suicide. His daughter Karla, who suffered from bipolar disorder, took her own life in 2002 at age 26. Tom and his wife founded the Karla Smith Foundation and karlasmithbehavioralhealth.org.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, the 24-hour hotline # is 800-273-8255. To text: 741741.
Photo by E. Lane Gresham
New York Times bestselling author Barbara Brown Taylor’s latest book, Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others, is about the insights she gained while teaching a college course she designed, World Religions 101. Has “groupishness” overtaken the best teachings of Christianity? she asks. Are we, perhaps, “post-ecclesial” Christians?
An ordained Episcopal priest who finally had to leave her ministry to rediscover her faith, she is the author of many award-winning books. Among them are An Altar in the World, Learning to Walk in the Dark, and Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith.
University of Hartford Professor of Architecture, Michael J. Crosbie is the editor and author of dozens of works on architecture (his entire oeuvre can be seen here). He received all of his degrees — BS, MArch, and PhD — from Catholic University. An Episcopalian, he is interested in sacred space and is the founder and editor of the quarterly journal on religious art and architecture Faith and Form.
Art historian Catherine Osborne is the author of American Catholics and the Church of Tomorrow: Building Churches for the Future, 1925-1975
She holds a Ph.D in historical theology from Fordham University and has taught there, as well as at Franklin & Marshall College, the University of Notre Dame, and Loyola Marymount University. She is a member of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker community in South Bend, Ind. Among Prof. Osborne’s more unusual architectural interests has been the Cold War-era design of a chapel on the moon.
The Rev. William C. Mills, a priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the author of Losing My Religion: A memoir of faith and finding, which recounts the crisis he faced when a segment of his North Carolina parish mutinied.
Mike Thomas of Manchester, England, grew up Jewish, then discovered Catholicism when he started dating Elaine Giles, a Catholic girl who was a fellow fan of the Manchester United soccer team. By way of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, he became Catholic and is now president of his circle of a fraternal organization, The Catenians. He and Elaine founded the circle’s official internet radio station, which can be accessed at https://brooklands196.com/
The Rev. Richard DeBiasi grew up Catholic but, compelled by the Jewishness of Jesus, he eventually found his way to becoming a Messianic Jew, a Jew who believes in Jesus. He also is a licensed Christian minister. Information about his Messianic Jewish congregation, Elohim Mekomo, in Ledyard, CT, can be found at http://www.rabbijoe.com
Al Masciocchi, my coffee buddy, fellow ex-parishioner, and fellow disaffected Catholic bats around the path forward now that our beloved guru, Fr. John Baptist Pesce, has died.
Christopher J. Doucot helped found the Hartford Catholic Worker on Clark Street in the north end of the city 25 years ago. He talks about how he and the effort have evolved, and also how charity can be ‘an occasion for sin.” Chris is the author, with Shannon Craigo-Snell, of No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice.
Learn about how you can be an ally at hartfordcatholicworker.org.
Robert Hudson talks about his latest book, The Art of the Almost Said: A Christian Writer’s Guide to Writing Poetry. Good poetry, he says, requires “intensity and toughness.” Lest the “Christian” of the subtitle give you the wrong idea, Bob’s favorite chapter is on “Love and Sex: A Brief, Comic Interlude.”