Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

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His ‘Silence’ speaks volumes: what Scorcese told Rand Richards Cooper

rand-bulldogAuthor, journalist and critic Rand Richards Cooper talks about his two-hour interview with director Martin Scorcese about the new film Silence.

Click below to hear Part II of our chat:

Rand’s Q&A in the Catholic journal Commonweal can be found here:

And here is his Commonweal review:


Below is the uncut audio of our entire interview:




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Women make noise; Scorcese makes “Silence”- it’s all good

Some audio snapshots from the Women’s March on Washington lovefest; and Part I of a visit with author and journalist Rand Richards Cooper, who had an in-depth interview with director Martin Scorcese about the project he’d been trying to make for decades, novelist Shusaku Endo’s Silence, about two Jesuits in Japan in the 17th century, when practicing Christianity meant risking torture and death.

Click below to hear the episode:


Rand Richards Cooper, whose Q&A with director Martin Scorcese about his film Silence, can be found here:

and here’s his review:



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Is Pope Francis campaigning for married priests? If so, is that a good thing?

Click below to hear the episode:

Version 2“This could set back the movement for women’s equality in the Church decades,” says Jamie Manson, a columnist and the books editor for the National Catholic Reporter. The LGBT movement, too, will suffer if married men are ordained, she says. Other topics explored in the episode:

  • a female diaconate — threat or menace?
  • and those four conservative cardinals pressing Pope Francis to clarify whether people who divorce and remarry without first getting an annulment are adulterers. What to make of Francis’ silence?
  • finally, do we liberal Catholics — along with the mainstream press — love Pope Francis too unconditionally?

Click here to read the National Catholic Reporter column which prompted our conversation:

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The four-year fight ahead and other topics, with Father John Baptist Pesce

Click below to hear the episode:


Passionist Fr. John Baptist Pesce, 93, of Holy Family Monastery and Retreat Center in West Hartford, CT, was the inaugural guest of Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith when the program launched in 2012. Known to his flock for his urgent, progressive-minded wisdom, he has been an occasional guest since then. Today, he takes up five subjects: parish-shopping; Pope Francis’ end-of-the-year message; Father John’s own Christmas homily; obedience; and finally, our responsibilities over the next four years. Father John offers Mass at the monastery Monday through Saturday at 7 a.m.

Here is a link to Pope Francis’ end-of-the-year message:

And here is the text of Fr. John’s Christmas homily:

He came.
He entered space and time and suffering.
He came, like a lover.
Love seeks first of all and above all
Intimacy, presence, togetherness.
Not happiness.
“Better unhappy with her than happy without her” – that is the word of a lover.
He came.
That is the salient fact, the towering truth,
That alone keeps us from putting a bullet through our heads.
He came.
Job is satisfied even though the God who came gave him absolutely no answers at all to his thousand tortured questions.
He did the most important thing.
He gave the most important gift: himself.
But it is a lover’s gift.
Which means it can be … tragically many times it is, refused!
But the fact of history is he came.
Out of our disconcerting tears, our restless waiting, our impenetrable darkness, out of our agonized aloneness, out of our inescapable confusion, our weeping and wondering, our of our cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
He came all the way, right into that cry!

Except for sin, he knew the human condition (you name it) not as an abstraction or a philosophical problem but in the reality that it is in all its dimensions.
The Word became flesh!  “Flesh” the Greek word sarx to counter any suggestion of make believe, appearance or semblance.
Not a clever piece of divine play-acting. Here the familiar words apply: what you see is what you get, the reality in the flesh is the flesh.

The Son of God, becoming flesh, summons, invites, incites, challenges us to a revolution of tenderness, as Pope Francis expresses it.

He came to bring about a nonviolent revolution of love. Instead of competition, he seeks to have us cooperate, rather than conduct ourselves as rivals, as one above the other, he motivates us to contribute to the common good.
And betterment of all.
He came, as he stated his mission, that we might have life and have it more abundantly…that more abundant life – not a matter of quantity! – but over and above the natural – that which belongs to him as God he shares with us by grace.

To believe that the Son of God assumed our human flesh means that each human person has been taken up into the very heart of God…It is to believe that, as the Church prays, in virtue of the Word become flesh – the mystery that we celebrate and share – God sees and loves in us what God sees and loves in the One who came. There is our identity with him.

I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me!

Imagine that! No, don’t imagine. Accpt it as the reality, the God-given gift that it is. Christ in you, the hope of glory. He came!
Jesus brings about this marvelous exchange which the Church thanks God for in her prayers during these days.

O marvelous exchange!
The Creator of the human race has become man,
born of a virgin.
We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

That sums it up admirably. All the rest is commentary! As when Paul the apostle writes, I live now not I,
But Christ lives in me! No euphemism. No exaggeration. Christ lives in me!
The Lord Jesus continues his life – he is in the world, right now.
At this moment … as close to you and more intimate to you than you are to yourself! Or than I am to myself! This is what we celebrate!

There is an old saying based on the mystery we are celebrating. “Through his union with one of us, the Word has taken up his abode in all of us!”
Pope Francis proclaims this truth by quoting his predecessor Pope Benedict.
Listen carefully to the words of Pope Francis: “I never tire of repeating those words of Benedict XVI which take us to the very heart of the Gospel:  ‘Being a Christian is never the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, who gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.’”

This is precisely what the Son of God become the Son of Mary does today in every child born into the world.

There was a 17th-century priest, poet and mystic named Angelus Silesius. He was so taken up with the meaning of the mystery of God become flesh that he preached to the common, ordinary people of his day: “Should Christ be born ten thousand times anew, desair, O Man, despair, O woman, unless he’s born in you!” With the experience of Jesus being born in him and with the Spirit-boldness of someone who had experienced God in his life, Angelus even dared to preach, “I am to be another Mary and bring Christ to the world.”

What prevents us from claiming that call from God to do the same? Is that not the mission of the Church? And are we not the Church? Whom we honor as the Sacrament of Christ, the visible sign of the invisible Lord?

Nor is that the only such hard-to-believe witness we have to such a stunning reality. We have among our ancestors in the faith a theologian and founder of religious order of priests in the Church, Saint John Eudes. The society of priests which he established are in charge of St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vermont. Some of you may even be graduates of that institution or know those who have graduated from there. He preached the true Catholic faith with these words: “It may be truly said that a Christian who is alive with the life of Christ and united to him as a member of his body completes and accomplishes in every action he performs in the spirit of Jesus, the same action which Jesus Christ performed during his lifetime on earth. For the Christian life is nothing other than the prolongation and the completion of the life of Christ in every one of us!”

Because, through no fault of your own, you may never have had the mystery we celebrate – the Word made flesh – put before you in this stark, and perhaps disturbing fashion – does not make it any less true and applicable to you, to all of us who belong to Christ and adore him as the Word become flesh.

No, He came and revolutionized our lives to make them the continuation and the prolongation of his own. Or what could he have meant when he told us, “As long as you did it to one of these the least of my brothers or sisters you did it to me”?

We can “characterize” – that is, make a character of God – and we, all-too unfortunately, frequently do – that is, make a character of God, as if God were a sort of divine paymaster. That we perform a good deed that is tallied up and, ultimately, after our death, we receive a comparable reward.

But the unassailable truth is that God has one desire, one single purpose – the one-track mind, or the single heartbeat, the “blood pulse” of the divine heart whose single intent is to enrich, stun, amaze, discombobulate us with nothing less than the gift of divine selfhood … beyond expression, imagination or conception! We say precisely, ineffable!

God’s one preoccupation is to be our happiness! How often has that been preached? Has it been preached? God wants to be our happiness! Imagine how we have to seemingly exaggerate: God’s pleasure is to make us happy, to be our happiness! … To communicate His happiness, what makes God to be God, to be for us that source of ecstatic joy, to bring us out of ourself into the embrace, the selfhood of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

You may well shake your head and be thinking, saying to yourself, “I don’t understand! I don’t’ understand!” Indeed! How proper! And if you did understand, where would the quality of transcendent surprise be? What kind of God would that be? A God measured according to our created, limited dimensions? That would not be anything like the God revealed in the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ revealed in the Gospels!

We have only the Word of God. Only the Word of God. Take that easily, slowly. The Word of God, living and effective (Heb 412), not any kind of verbal articulation, which passes us by, like a puff of breath, but the Son of God in the flesh, who kept that Word most manifestive of His love and most  difficult to keep. “And on the third day I will rise again and be with you until the end of the age.” The Word of God who gives us the assurance that rules out any reason to envy, resent, or consider ourselves at a disadvantage to the contemporaries of Christ, but make us His contemporaries, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed!” (Jn 20:29)

Come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord! Let us succumb to this mystery ineffable of the Word made flesh, the God who on the celebration of His birth as human makes the fit of Himself as one of us to each of us that we might continue His divine mission of glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to all of good will!




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Their eyes are on the sparrow — tree sparrow, song sparrow, white-throated sparrow, house sparrow — and more than 70 other birds

Click below to hear the episode:

Following a tradition dating back to 1900, a team of hardy souls in Stratford, CT, is among the many throughout the Americas who take part in the Christmas Bird Count. To learn more about this longest running citizen science program, go to and team member Scott Kruitbosch’s website:

The watchers:

Top row, l-r: Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, Frank Mantlik and Patrick Comins, Frank, gearhead
2nd row: Patrick, Patrick with Alfred Green
3rd row: some of the team, Tom Murray, Alfred and Talisha Ortiz, Ross Allen

The watched:


Top row, l-r: orange crowned warbler, eurasian widgen
Row 2: bufflehead, snow goose
Row 3: hooded merganser, greater yellowlegs
Row 4: raven, snow bunting

Photos from

The complete day’s list (from team captain Frank Mantlik’s report):

Birding team included Patrick Comins, Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, Tom Murray, Ross Allen, Scott Kruitbosch, Alfred Green, Talisha Ortiz, Maria Johnson. Other birders in our sector were Aiden Kiley (and mother), Bruce Finnan (and wife). FM owling in Stratford & Shelton 4:30-6:15 am (1.75 hour and 19 miles by car). Daylight coverage, 7am-5:15pm (3 hours and 44 miles by car; 12 hours and 3 miles on foot). Weather seasonal: clear and chilly to start, warming but clouding over by noon, with occasional light rain showers mid-to late afternoon. 27-42F. Wind NE at 8  – 12 mph. Also seen: 4 White-tailed Deer, numerous Gray Squirrels; Corrie saw a possible Palm Warbler, among flighty sparrow flock, at Stratford Greenway.

76 species (+3 other taxa)

Snow Goose  4    Adults on Short Beach ballfields; one with a missing  right foot. Photos of group.

Brant (Atlantic)  13    Small numbers seen at Short Beach & Stratford Pt in afternoon by Patrick C, Tom M, and Scott K.

Canada Goose  362

Graylag x Canada Goose (hybrid)  1    Continuing hybrid goose among Canada Goose flock. Larger than CANG, with pinkish bill and orange legs, darker cheek patch and small amount of white around base of bill. Well photographed previous to today. Seen well at Short Beach by FM, PC and others.

Mute Swan  10

Gadwall  57

Eurasian Wigeon  1    Continuing male, among large flock of AMWI, ABDU, and GADW, seen well by all in Cove at north side of Stratford Point. Photographed previous days.

American Wigeon  72

American Black Duck  249

Mallard  63

American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid)  2    Two males among dabbling duck flock in Cove off Wayne’s Walk in morning.

Blue-winged Teal  1    Continuing female among dabbling duck flock feeding in creek (sewage plant effluent) at south side of Birdseye St boat ramp lot. Photos by FM and AK.

Northern Shoveler  6    All at Birdseye St boatramp in morning; specifically feeding in creek just south of lot.

Northern Pintail  1    Continuing female at Birdseye St boatramp creek.

Green-winged Teal (American)  5

Canvasback  2    Frash Pond

Lesser Scaup  6    1 male, 5 female at Frash Pond

Surf Scoter  4    At least three in choppy seas off Stratford Pt and one off Russian Beach

White-winged Scoter  2    Females together off Russian Beach

Long-tailed Duck  9

Bufflehead  24

Common Goldeneye  2

Hooded Merganser  48

Red-breasted Merganser  67    Including 53 on Frash Pond in morning.

Wild Turkey  1

Red-throated Loon  3

Common Loon  16

Pied-billed Grebe  1    Seen well by FM on Ferry Creek (near Stratford Marina), viewed from Broad St bridge.

Northern Gannet  1    Adult flying NE off east bluff of Stratford Pt at 09:30, first spotted by FM and seen by all

Great Cormorant  6

Great Blue Heron  2    Flying over marsh on Milford side, views from Knapps Landing

Black-crowned Night-Heron  3    TMu saw them in late morning in pool behind 611 Access Rd office bldg. ( out of our sector, but within the count circle ).

Northern Harrier  3    Including adult male Strat Pt, and two brown birds- Short Beach & Nells Is marsh.

Sharp-shinned Hawk  1    Flew west past Ldsp Seawall, seen by our group.

Cooper’s Hawk  2    Adult seen by Tom M near Frash Pond outfall. Another first spotted by Patrick from Strat Pt, in flight over Riverdale. Same adult? Imm seen at Strat Marina by FM in afternoon.

Red-tailed Hawk  1

American Coot  11    Birdseye St boat ramp. Max count late afternoon by FM of 7+2+2.

Black-bellied Plover  7    Flock in cove at Stratford Pt, seen by Scott (and others); flew in and landed on concrete Reef balls. Flock has been present for 1-2 weeks.

Sanderling  32

Dunlin  40

Greater Yellowlegs  6    3 in ditch at east end of airport, later seen on Short beach lagoon flats; additional 3 see in marsh behind Animal shelter.

Ring-billed Gull  215

Herring Gull  116

Great Black-backed Gull  10

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  130

Mourning Dove  23

Eastern Screech-Owl  1    Gray morph heard and seen 04:30 by FM at Wooster Park (out of my area).

Barred Owl  2    Two, possibly 3, found by TMu at Roosevelt Forest (out of our territory) at mid day.

Belted Kingfisher  1    East end of airport

Red-bellied Woodpecker  1

Downy Woodpecker  5

American Kestrel  1    Male perched at east side of airport

Peregrine Falcon  1    Fly by seen by B Finnan & wife at Strat Pt

Monk Parakeet  10

Blue Jay  5

American Crow  5

Fish Crow  4

crow sp.  2

Common Raven  2    Pair flying SW over Frash Pond in early morning.

Horned Lark  30    On reconstructed east end of airport; seen by Corrie and others.

Black-capped Chickadee  8

Tufted Titmouse  5

White-breasted Nuthatch  3

Carolina Wren  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1    Found by Tom Murray at sewage plant area. Later seen by others and photos.

American Robin  11

Northern Mockingbird  10

European Starling  480

Snow Bunting  35    Flighty flock at Short Beach in morning

Orange-crowned Warbler  1    One seen well and photographed by several of us at sewage plant area of Beacon Point Rd.

American Tree Sparrow  32

Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  95

White-throated Sparrow  12

Song Sparrow  33

Northern Cardinal  4

Red-winged Blackbird  10    Tom M saw flock drop into phragmites marsh along Access Rd at 4:10pm

House Finch  8

American Goldfinch  10

House Sparrow  82


View this checklist online at