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The Dunces' Corner

Religion & Spirituality Podcas

Theology professors and their students talk about faith, reason, and culture. The conversation is sometimes erudite, sometimes humorous, not explicit though usually mature, always authentic. B-Side episodes give a closer look at people in the local community who give flesh to the topics discussed. *Views expressed belong solely to the speaker and, sometimes, only temporarily.


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Theology professors and their students talk about faith, reason, and culture. The conversation is sometimes erudite, sometimes humorous, not explicit though usually mature, always authentic. B-Side episodes give a closer look at people in the local community who give flesh to the topics discussed. *Views expressed belong solely to the speaker and, sometimes, only temporarily.






Dr. Joe Vukov and A.I. vs. Meat Computing Machines

Dr. Vukov/Feast of St. Francis/A.I. and Humanizing Technology or Technologizing Humans/A.I. vs. Meat Computers Dr. Joe Vukov ( from Loyola Chicago visits the Dunces' Corner to talk all things Artificial Intelligence and Technology. Josh and Ben join the show. Dr. Vukov shares his conversion from Protestant to atheist to Catholic and the harrowing story of how he became a philosopher. The Dunces talk about whether A.I. is actually intelligent and if the human brain is a mere meat computing machine. Finally, Dr. Pedraza and Dr. Vukov put Rachael, Sr. Ref, Josh, and Ben to the test against Does A.I end up terminating humanity in this catechizing competition? You'll have to find out. Props to the people at This desctiption was not made with A.I. but might have been better if it were. Come with me if you want to live. Special Guest: Dr. Joe Vukov.


18: TFE 2023

TFE 2023 Live Show/Ask Us Anything/Buc-ee's The Dunces record a live show at The Franciscan Experience 2023. Rock Star high-schoolers ask about the Immaculate Conception, why the authorities at the time of Jesus decided to kill him, God and gender, the problem of evil, the ethnicity of Jesus in artwork, and why angels aren't depicted in art as they are in the Bible. Hunter and his hair return from grad school. Julia the theo minor becomes a high school proxy. The original Dunce, Bl. Scotus, proves his worth. Surprise, surprise, Dr. Whidden and Hunter bring up St. Anselm. Bucc-ee's doesn't sponsor this episode but they should. Still, snaps all around. TFE is a one-of-a-kind high school theology institute that introduces students to the riches of the Catholic faith through communal life, mass and liturgy of the hours, academic theology, service to the poor, and daily prayer. See Shout out to Noah Slate and his random unofficial Bucc-ee's anthem ( Shout out to Hunter's hair.


17: The Eras (Cosmic History) Tour

Eras of Church History/Tay-Tay vs. Mayer/Mouth Sounds You think Tay Tay's tour is big? Just you wait. Through the powers of the Dunce DeLorean, Catherine takes us to her cave in the desert and drops some St. Anthony on us; Rachael steals some pears with St. Augustine; Dr. Whidden gives you a double dose of monasticism and the One which nothing greater can be conceived; Matt almost dies then riffs on St. Francis and Sister Death; Cameron asks about the good and the difficult with the Angelic and Common Doctor; Dr. Pedraza takes us down the river of doctrinal development with Cardinal Newman; and Jadyn learns patience from Bishop Sheen. Episode includes theology as Taylor songs and a lot of mouth noises.


16: Vulnerable before the Vulnerable God, w/ the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

Becoming Men and Women of Communion/Vulnerability and True Community/Either-Or Game The end of Lent was Lenty. Dr. Pedraza went to a symposium on formation. Rachael talks about her NET community in Ireland. Sr. Ref gets real about the Lord doing work. Matt dropkicks instagram and fake friends. Then the CFRs bring the holy fire about community life and how to break free from shame and isolation. Br. Mariano is "sorry" that the Dominicans only have 2 doctors of the Church while the Franciscans have 3. Fr. Mark Mary gives us a lesson in the physics of communion and the anthropology of fatherhood and motherhood. And he gets some nachos. Shout out to Postulants Mike and Ross! "Happy Happy Game Show" and "Sneaky Snitch" songs courtesy of Kevin MacLeod, from Special Guest: The CFRs.


15: It's a Man's World... and That Kinda Stinks

Dr. Angela Franks on Misogyny and the Feminine Genius/Gender in a Man's World/Which is the Worse Penance? The Dunces welcome Dr. Angela Franks from St. John's Seminary to talk about her article, "Why Does Higher Ed Throw Women Under the Bus?" and then open up about church jobs, the femine genius, and the spiritual motherhood of religious sisters. Dr. Franks gives a teaser for her bioethics lectures on gender. Rachael tries to dunk on Dr. Pedraza, and Sr. Refugio joins the show for the first time. Matt joins for the first second time, whatever that means. The show ends with a rousing game of "Which is the worse penance?" Special Guest: Dr. Angela Franks.


14: The Divine Physician with Dr. Kristin Collier

Dr. Collier on the Christian Renewal of Healthcare/Lenty Lent/Worse Penance Game The Dunces are back. Trey and Catherine have average news. Hunter mustache you a question. Rachael is having a Lenty Lent. Dr. Collier shares her story, talks about how to let the Divine Physician go to work in healthcare, and helps men avoid mansplaining when it comes to women's health. Then everyone plays a hilarious game of "Which is the worse penance?" Get ready for bioethics, baked goods, crochet, and, of course, T-Swizzle. Special Guest: Dr. Kristin Collier.


13: The Franciscan Option

The Franciscan Option/The Secret of Franciscan Poverty/Emptiness and Humility/Trivia The Dunces welcome special guest Fr. Agustino Torres, CFR, to shed some light on what St. Francis can teach us about renewing the Church and the world today. Dr. Meinert asks about the secret to Franciscan poverty, Avera wants to know how best to empty herself so that God can fill her, and Catherine asks for tips on becoming humble. Fr. Agustino drops copious wisdom on all of us, so buckle up. At the end, the Dunces play a small game of Franciscan Trivia, which comes down to a final championship round. Humiliation is then manifested, and maybe a little humility, too. "No Frills Salsa - Alternate", "The Descent" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Special Guest: Fr. Agustino Torres, CFR.


12: Going on Vocation

SNES vs. N64/What is a Vocation/The Counsels and the Married Life/Advice for Discerning Vocation The Dunces try to release some steam for those caught in the vocation discernment pressure cooker. Brady tells us the glories of his newfound married life and gets video games wrong. Catherine discerns a vocation and lives to tell about it. Elise cracks open a can of Edith Stein. Topics include the relationship between general vocations and the states of life, whether the religious life really is superior to the married life, the "Jacob" style of discernment, and practical advice for finding your vocation. "Nowhere Land" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License


11: The Scary but Not So Scary End of the World (aka the Halloween episode)

Musings on the Last Things/Saints and Martyrdom/The Halloween Candy Power Ranking The Dunces tackle topics related to eschatology and get you ready for All Saints, All Souls, and the Candy Triduum. Daniel takes Hell seriously. Catherine has an existential crisis and wonders who or what the Anti-Christ is. Avera gets shook by the young saints God is raising up. Dr. Meinert tells us why endurance is more primary than attack. Dr. Pedraza asks if we should fear death and judgment. Then Dr. Meinert trash talks Daniel and Catherine in the ultimate Halloween Candy showdown.


10: The Election Apocalypse

The Political Landscape/Principles to Guide Our Engagement in Politics Dr. Meinert's growing peas. Catherine's engaged. Daniel and Avera join the show. Highlights include: Catherine and Daniel lamenting political discourse in our country; Avera on the black Catholic experience of political, spiritual, and mental slavery; Dr. Meinert on the idolatrous aspects of political discourse dettached from transcendence; Dr. Pedraza on liberalism as fractured and the Church's teaching on the Common Good. Ends with a discussion on what to do when voting for candidates who support both good and evil, and the Church's teaching on cooperation. Listen during the day. Then talk religion and politics over dinner.


9: Coming Soon (2nd Season Preview)

A preview of our first episode of the sophomore season, which will be dropping soon!


8: The Dunces Do Netflix, part 2

The Dunces on the Good Place/"Guess the Plot" Game In the concluding half of the special double-episode, Dr. Pedraza, Dr. Meinert, Catherine, Brady, Elise, and Trey analyze the Good Place by giving out various awards including: the Atlas Award (for who carried the show), the Saul-Paul Award (best redemptive arc), and the award for the Best Theological/Philosophical Moment. The episode comes with a little nihilism (with a side of peeps and chili), and a few side orders of Kantianism and utilitarianism. The main dish is always virtue ethics. Finally, Dr. Meinert and Trey show off their movie trivia prowess in a game of "Guess the Plot" at the end. Part 2 of 2. Music Credits: courtesy of


7: The Dunces Do Netflix, part 1

How Catholics Should Approach Media/Our Favorite Movies and Shows Amidst procrastination, Catherine stumbles upon a video about how Catholics should approach movies and TV shows, and she, Dr. Pedraza, Dr. Meinert, Brady, Elise, and Trey talk about it. They dive into how their parents censored or did not censor what they watched, how to scrutinize culture when you're a part of it, and end by offering you some of the movies and shows that most impacted them. So add these to your watchlists and thank us with an iTunes review. Part 1 of 2. Barbara Nicolosi on Diagnosing Media: Music Credits: "Backbay Lounge", "Celebration" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


6B: I Will Not Leave You Orphans

B-Side: I Will Not Leave You Orphans Fr. Brad Doyle and priestly fatherhood during the coronavirus. Some people are worried that their shepherds have abandoned them. This story tears back the veil. B-Side episodes bring you a story that gives flesh to a topic talked about in a previous episode. See Episode 5, "We're All Lonely. Together." Pope Francis' Urbi et Orbi Address: The Quizzical Papist: Music Credits: "At Rest", "Comfortable Mystery 2", "Cottages", "Ever Mindful", "Rollin at 5" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


5: We're All Lonely. Together.

Life in the time of Coronavirus/The Loneliness Epidemic/St. Thomas and JPII on Community Dr. Pedraza, Dr. Meinert, Catherine, Elise, and Trey talk life in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, then share stories of loneliness and trying to form community. Dr. Meinert sheds a little wisdom via St. Thomas on friendship, and Dr. Pedraza sets the record straight on JPII's anthropology while emphasizing the pontiff's understanding of solitude and participation in community. Finally, the crew offers advice on how to live in these potentially isolating times. Note: recorded March 17th, 2020. City Journal on Loneliness: Cigna Study: Music Credits: "Investigations", "Loopster", "Your Call" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Bell sound by kwahmah_02 of


4B: A None Among Us

B-Side: A None Among Us Lanie and her journey. One of the first steps in addressing the rise of the nones is understanding their stories. Here's one from someone from our hometown. B-Side episodes bring you a story that gives flesh to a topic talked about in a previous episode. See Episode 1 on "Evangelizing the Nones." Bergoglio's Lecture: Music Credits: "A Very Brady Special", "Bittersweet", "Clear Waters", "Light Thought var 2", "Night Vigil", "Parisian", "White" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Correction: Lanie took summer classes at Mississippi College, not Mississippi State.


3: How to Get the Most Out of Lent (aka have an exce-LENT)

Lenten Penances/ Why You Can't Feast without Fasting/ Lenten Would-You-Rather Game Dr. Pedraza, Dr. Meinert, Brady, Catherine, Hunter, and Trey talk about how to do Mardi Gras, how to avoid haphazard Lenten plans, the four ways you can relate to created goods, and making Lent a training in love. Then they play a Lenten version of "would you rather." Episode comes with a dose of St. Francis and a side of fried squirrel. Oh, and Catherine wants to live in a cave. Dr. Meinert's article: Augustine on Holy Desire (see par. 6): Music Credits: "Loopster", "Monkeys Spinning Monkeys", "Sneaky Snitch" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


2: Dr. Abigail Favale Goes into the Deep

Dr. Favale's Conversion/ Student Questions/ Wives' Questions / Either-Or Game Dr. Pedraza, Dr. Meinert, Catherine, Ansleigh, and Brady welcome Dr. Favale to the show to talk about her journey from Protestantism to Postmodern Feminism to the Catholic Church. Then they force her to be a heretic. Dr. Favale's book: Some of Dr. Favale's articles: Music credits: "Hall of the Mountain King", "Happy Happy Game Show", "Thinking Music", "Wholesome" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Special Guest: Dr. Abigail Favale.


1: Evangelizing the Nones

Introducing the Dunces / How I Got into Theology / Bishop Duca / Evangelizing the Nones Dr. Pedraza, Dr. Meinert, Catherine, Elise, Ansleigh, and Ally talk about the "Nones," why they stayed in the Church when so many of their peers are leaving, and what to do about it. Bp. Barron's Presentation: Music credits: "Too Cool", "Wholesome" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0