Archive for December, 2012

James Felak on Vatican Council II

We are now in the midst of celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Second Vatican Council, which began in the fall of 1962 and lasted three years. Why was Vatican II called? What happened during this monumental gathering of Catholic prelates? And what impact has VCII had on the contemporary Church? Prof. James Felak, a popular guest on the show, returns to answer all of these questions and more. We explore the historical nature of Church councils and where Vatican II sits in the list of important councils.

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Adam English on the Real Santa Claus, St. Nicholas of Myra

On Christmas Eve, what better time to explore the life and times of the “real Santa Claus,” St. Nicholas of Myra. Prof. Adam Engish (Campbell University) discusses his new book “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus.” We learn about the true charitable bishop of Myra and his most famous act of charity, how that became transformed into our modern representation of Santa Claus, and many other details about this extraordinary individual who lived during an important era of Christian history. This podcast also includes a link to a cookie recipe provided by Prof. English. Click “read more” to find out those details.

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Jon M. Sweeney on “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Who doesn’t love the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life?” Author Jon Sweeney explores the spiritual themes of temptation, resurrection, and salvation that are found in the town of Bedford Falls. We walk through this epic film focusing on certain “turnkey” moments in George Bailey’s life leading up to the second half of the film wherein Jimmy Stewart’s character faces temptation, prays for relief, and experiences a resurrection. Jon Sweeney adds a twist to the familiar story, though, by talking about a little noticed aspect of the final scene involving the character of Sam Wainwright. This is a great primer for those folks who are about to see the film for the first time, and it is allows experienced viewers look at the storyline with fresh eyes. Grab a glass of mulled cider, curl up by the fire, and share this fascinating podcast with a good friend.

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Michael Medved on Religion and Hollywood

Film critic, radio talk show host, and cultural crusader Michael Medved joins us to discuss how religion is portrayed in Hollywood. We focus on Michael’s life story and the accidental manner in how he became a movie critic. Our main focus, though, centers on how Hollywood went from partraying religion in a positive light in movies such as “The Bells of St. Mary” and “Going My Way,” to casting clergy and churches as corrupt. We cover Michael’s role in the critic scandal surrounding Mel Gibson’s epic “The Passion of the Christ” and also tackle the question of why Hollywood has not been making more faith-friendly movies considering the box office success these films garner. There are many more insights in this lively interview.

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William Inboden on Religious Liberty, Foreign Policy, & the Arab Spring

With events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East changing rapidly, we take a look at how the issue of religious liberty is taking form in countries touched by the Arab Spring (or Arab Awakening). Prof. William Inboden of the University of Texas, and a former policy advisor, explains what the Arab Spring is, how it came about, and how issues of religious freedom play into the political changes we are witnessing in that region of the world. We also discuss whether the US should be promoting religious liberty in its foreign policy as a means of limiting extremism and violence.

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