Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

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Freemasons are said to be ‘in a state of grave sin.’ Why?

Click below to hear the episode:


Warren's ringWarren's car insigiaWarren Packer is a 3rd-degree Freemason in his Manchester, CT, lodge. Here, he displays the ring and car insignia featuring the “square and compasses,” symbols harking back to medieval craft guilds. For reasons Packer says are incorrect, Pope Benedict has declared Freemasons to be in a “state of grave sin” and therefore unworthy to receive holy Communion.

Reminding you that WESU-FM’s spring pledge drive is in full swing. Please go to and give what you can. Keep independent, community-supported radio strong! Now more than ever, it matters!

For a donation of any size, I’ll add to WESU’s way-cool pledge gifts your choice of an autographed book by one of three authors who appeared recently on “Reasonably Catholic”:
If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse: Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times, by Gina Barreca
Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Answers in Jesus for Those Who Don’t Believe, by Tom Krattenmaker
I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer, by Rev. Donna Schaper

Just include your choice on your pledge form or contact me through this website. Thanks in advance!

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What he saw at a conservative Catholic gathering at the Trump Hotel; plus, a visionary gets his due

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John GehringJohn Gehring, Catholic program director for the DC-based Faith in Public Life, a strategy center for the interfaith community, attended a $1,250-a-plate gathering of conservative Catholics at the Trump Hotel in DC. He brought back a full report for The Washington Post and talks about it in the episode. Here’s a link to the Post piece:


msgr ryanart m picMsgr. John Augustine Ryan was ahead of his time in calling for social reforms that became part of FDR’s New Deal. In writing a book about Msgr. Ryan, Arthur Meyers, retired director of Middletown’s Russell Library, is making it his mission to bring the good padre to a wider audience. 


heart book coverconfessions-coverIf You Lean In

Support WESU’s spring pledge drive! For a donation of any amount, I’ll send you an autographed copy of your choice of the above books by authors who’ve appeared on Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith! Thanks!

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Everybody dance now! … Well, not everybody …

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Victoria Scottmarianne-dbJim Bransfield pic

Today, we consider one Catholic high school’s decision to show no mercy when it comes to girls taking girls to the prom. The all-girls Mercy High in Middletown, CT, landed  in the news recently when a student circulated an online petition seeking to take a girlfriend to the prom, which is scheduled for the end of this month. Though the administration compelled the petitioner to withdraw her demand, the repercussions linger on. We’ll talk with three people who favor lifting the ban on same-sex prom attendance: Victoria Scott, a Mercy High alum now studying at SUNY who’s taken up the cause; Maryann Duddy-Burke,  executive director of the organization Dignity, which serves LGBT Catholics; and Jim Bransfield, lifelong Middletown resident who covers sports and writes a popular column for the Middletown Press. Jim, who happens to be gay, devoted a recent piece to the controversy.



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UCC minister ❤s Francis and his ❤ for Earth

Listen to the audio by clicking on the link below:

heart book coverrevdonnaThe Rev. Donna Schaper, pastor of the historic Judson Memorial Baptist Church in New York City, talks about her latest book, I ❤ Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer. She will be speaking about the book at 7 p.m. on May 1 at Hartford Seminary. Details at

Here’s a photo of the “self-fluing log,” a metaphor she explores in our interview.

self-flueing log


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He’s giving up sexism for Lent

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Chris HaleChristopher Hale is executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and a contributor to, The Huffington Post, and Fox News.

Here is his essay, “I Want to Give Up Sexism for Lent”:

Since the President’s election last November, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the harsh realities of sexism that plague both our nation and the Christian community and my participation in it in the ways I’ve acted in my personal and professional life.

I think shame is a necessary part of the faith journey. Shame isn’t a matter of discrediting one’s self-worth, but of penetrating, to its fullest depth, our heart and to take charge of the mystery of suffering and pain that has tied humanity down since the dawn of creation and each of us since the moment of our conception.

On the precipice of Lent, the challenging words of the prophet Joel ring loudly in my ears: “rend your hearts, not your garments!”

This Lent, I want to have an effective gesture that will in some way alleviate the pain of so many of those who suffer around me—oftentimes as the result of my own failings.

St. John Chrystodom is right: “No act of virtue can be large if it does not also benefit another. Therefore, no matter how you spend the day fasting, no matter how you may sleep on a hard floor, and how you may eat ashes and sigh continuously, if do not do good to others, you do not accomplish anything great.”

Here’s a specific way I want to do better this Lent and confront the great sin of sexism that too often dominates my life.

I want to use the privileges life has afforded me to amplify work of young women of faith in public life.

Too often men with good intentions—myself included—crowd out the great work of women who promote the greatest demands of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the public sphere.

Pride, vanity, selfishness—the litany of reasons why this happens is endless.

I’ve been a big part of the problem, but I too want to be a part of the solution.

I admittedly don’t know yet how this plays out specifically in the context of my own life, this organization, and the broader community, but I’m open to ideas.

If you’re able and willing, I hope you’ll offer me tangible ideas on how to move forward on this Lenten project.

I’m excited to begin this Lenten journey with you, a path that will include suffering and the cross, a path that will challenge me to change and transform, and a path that will be narrow, but never fruitless.




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A minister and an imam walk into a radio station…

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revandimamRev. Cathy Rohrs, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Middletown, and Imam Sami Aziz, Wesleyan and Quinnipiac’s Muslim chaplain and the founder of Common Ground Institute and Services, talk about the developing connection between their two flocks.


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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: