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The Catholic Culture Podcast

Religion & Spirituality Podcas

Thomas V. Mirus explores Catholic arts & culture with a variety of notable guests. A production of


United States


Thomas V. Mirus explores Catholic arts & culture with a variety of notable guests. A production of




156 - Can music be sad?

It's universally acknowledged that music effects our emotions. But does it actually make sense to talk about music "expressing", emotions in any intrinsic sense (that is, can music itself be happy or sad)? And even if it does, should we treat emotional expression as the essential purpose of music, or the criterion by which we judge musical beauty? If music doesn't literally contain emotions, how does it still manage to affect our feelings so powerfully? And what is music expressing,...


155 - Pilgrimage to the Museum - Stephen Auth

For decades, Steve and Evelyn Auth have been giving tours of NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art. When Steve (who last appeared on this show talking about his book The Missionary of Wall Street) had a reversion to his Catholic faith 20 years ago, that tour soon enough became a Catholic tour of the Met. Since there is now so much demand for that tour that they can't give it to everyone, they have written its essence in their new book, Pilgrimage to the Museum: Man's Search for God. Steve joins...


154 - To Muck We Shall Return - Jane Clark Scharl

Jane Clark Scharl discusses her play Sonnez les Matines, in which a young Ignatius of Loyola, Jean Calvin, and Francois Rabelais, together in 1520s Paris, find themselves implicated in a murder. Publisher's description (from Wiseblood Books): One Mardi Gras night in 1520s Paris, college students Jean Calvin (founder of Calvinism and autocratic ruler of Geneva), Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Counter-Reformation Catholic religious order, the Jesuits), and their bawdy friend Francois...


153 - The Lost Radical History of the Pro-Life Movement - Randall Terry

One might assume abortion has always been a hot-button topic in American politics since the Supreme Court ruling legalizing it in 1973. But that is not the case. The US pro-life movement was so non-robust for many years that by 1987, abortion was not even one of the top 10 issues for American voters. Then suddenly, in ABC's 1988 election exit poll, abortion had shot to the number one issue for voters. What made abortion into a political litmus test so suddenly? Operation Rescue was what...


152 - The most Catholic opera: Dialogues of the Carmelites w/ Robert Reilly

Author and music critic Robert Reilly joins the podcast to discuss one of the greatest operas ever composed, Francis Poulenc’s 1957 Dialogues des Carmélites, which host Thomas Mirus recently saw at the Metropolitan Opera. Based on the true story of sixteen Carmelite nuns who were martyred in the French Revolution (famously singing the Salve Regina as they went to the guillotine), the opera is an adaptation of Georges Bernanos’s play, which in turn was adapted from Gertrud von le Fort’s...


151 - Liberal Women & Drag Queens - Darel Paul

What's behind the increasing popularity of drag queens and drag shows in America? Why is half the audience of RuPaul's Drag Race now composed of young liberal women? How has the drag subculture, originally intended as a frivolous and self-consciously artificial deconstruction of masculinity, paradoxically become one of progressivism's most potent symbols of earnest and authentic self-expression? Darel Paul, professor of political science at Williams College, joins the podcast to discuss his...


150 - Solemnities and How to Celebrate Them - McNamara & Carstens

Denis McNamara and Christopher Carstens, co-authors of the new book Solemnities: Celebrating a Tapestry of Divine Beauty, join the podcast to talk about the upcoming solemnities of Christmas; Mary, Mother of God; and Epiphany. The book (co-authored with Alexis Kutarna) covers the Church's 17 solemnities. For each, there is a discussion of its theological and spiritual significance, a reproduction and analysis of a great artwork related to the solemnity, and tips on how to observe the...


149 - Duns Scotus, Minstrel of the Incarnation - Thomas Ward

Blessed John Duns Scotus (1265-1308), the Franciscan friar known as the "Subtle Doctor", is one of the most important theologians and philosophers of the Middle Ages, yet over the centuries he has fallen into disrepute, or at least neglect, by comparison with the "Angelic Doctor", St. Thomas Aquinas. Interest in Scotus has revived somewhat in part due to his beatification by Pope St. John Paul II, who called him the "defender of the Immaculate Conception" and "minstrel of the...


148—Being Is Better Than Not Being—Christopher Mirus

Christopher V. Mirus, your host’s older brother, is a philosophy professor at the University of Dallas, and author of the new book Being Is Better Than Not Being: The Metaphysics of Goodness and Beauty in Aristotle. In this episode he discusses being a philosopher in the Aristotelian tradition, compares Aristotle’s intellectual and pedagogical approach with Plato’s, and touches on some themes from his book. How does Aristotle identify goodness with the ability to be contemplated – even in...


147 - The World Is Falling Away - Jane Greer

Catholic poet Jane Greer joins the podcast to read from her third collection, The World As We Know It Is Falling Away. She discusses the spiritual challenges that came with the great success of her previous book, Love Like a Conflagration, connecting to a major theme of her new book: fallen man’s thwarted desire to exceed divinely ordained limits to earthly delights, in the face of death and apocalypse – along with the real beauty of the gifts God has given us to enjoy in this...


Highlights: music & spirituality, the common good, Mary's river

This episode contains clips of highlights from episodes 33, 56, and 57 of the Catholic Culture Podcast. Links 33: Structure and Freedom in Music and in Christ – Mark Christopher Brandt 56: Vindicating Authority – Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P. 57: River of the Immaculate...


146 - 40 Days for Life Co-Founder Shawn Carney

Though prayer, fasting, and public presence, 40 Days for Life has been very successful in reducing abortions, closing down abortion clinics, and even saving the souls of women who intend abortion and abortion industry workers. Co-founder Shawn Carney joins the podcast to discuss their work and the current situation post-Roe. Topics include: Links 40 Days for Life Shawn Carney, What to Say When: The Complete New Guide to Discussing Abortion...


145 - Catholic Imagination Conference poetry reading

The Catholic Culture Podcast Network sponsored a poetry reading session at the fourth biennial Catholic Imagination Conference, hosted by the University of Dallas. Thomas Mirus moderated this session on Sept. 30, 2022, introducing poets Paul Mariani, Frederick Turner, and James Matthew Wilson. Paul Mariani, University Professor Emeritus at Boston College, is the author of twenty-two books, including biographies of William Carlos Williams, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Hart Crane, Gerard...


144 - The Obedience Paradox in Marriage - Mary Stanford

St. Paul’s admonition for wives to submit to their husbands as the Church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5) is one of the most uncomfortable teachings for modern Catholics. But it’s not just obedience in marriage that moderns find objectionable–and it’s not just liberals who can’t stomach it. Across the political and religious spectrum, even among self-described traditionalists, we find all kinds of excuses to avoid obedience. Deeply embedded in the post-Enlightenment consciousness is the...


143 - The Sacrament of Church Architecture - Denis McNamara

"Architecture is the built form of ideas, and church architecture is the built form of theology." Denis McNamara joins the show to give a crash course in the underlying principles of Catholic church architecture, and make the case for classical architecture as the method that should be used by today's sacred architects. McNamara is an Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Beauty and Culture at Benedictine College, architectural consultant, and author of multiple...


142 - The Genesis of Gender - Abigail Favale

Abigail Favale returns to the show to discuss her new book, The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory. Topics include: Abigail Favale, The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory This podcast is a production of If you like the show, please consider supporting us!


141 - Libertarianism, Jazz & Critical Race Theory - Edward Feser

Catholic philosopher Edward Feser joins the podcast to discuss his new book, All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory. But before getting to that, he and Thomas discuss their similar paths away from libertarianism, and their shared appreciation for the music of Thelonious Monk. Timestamps 1:50 Libertarianism 14:57 Jazz 38:24 Critical race theory Links All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory...


140 - Let's Get Real - Joshua Hren

Joshua Hren, author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, editor-in-chief of Wiseblood Books, and co-founder of a new Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, returns to the podcast to discuss his recent essay, Contemplative Realism: A Theological-Aesthetical Manifesto: As ever, but especially in our present age of raging post-truth unreality, we ought to heed Pope Benedict XVI’s summons to “ask rather more carefully what ‘the real’ actually...


139 - Response to Fr. Gregory Pine: Movies, Music & Contemplation

In a recent video on the Pints with Aquinas channel, Gregory Pine, O.P. voiced his concern that mass entertainment, particularly music and movies, is often an obstacle to achieving the heavenly end of contemplation for which we are made. What is noteworthy is that unlike the typical Catholic commentary on pop culture, Fr. Pine does not focus so much on the moral content of music and movies as how their very form affects us bodily, psychologically and spiritually. In this discussion inspired...


138 - Drawing in Clay - Christopher Alles

Catholic sculptor Christopher Alles joins the podcast for an introduction to the art of sculpture, especially in its formal qualities. Alles mostly does commission work for the Church, and the theoretical points in this conversation are illuminated by references to some of his recent works, including a work-in-progress Pieta and his monumental sculpture of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death. Topics include: Links Watch this interview on YouTube...