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Church Life Today

Church Life Today

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Hosted by Dr. Lenny DeLorenzo, Ph.D., of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, Church Life Today features conversations with pastoral leaders and scholars from around the country and covers issues that matter most to Church life today.
 
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“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The Lord Jesus proclaimed this mission of his in the midst of a mixed crowed, surrounded by both skeptics and his disciples. To know this gift of life that he brings is to encounter in him the fullness of life. It is a life not of convenience nor a life measured strictly by accomplishments, …
 
As you may have heard on recent episodes of Church Life Today, Ignatius Press just released a new volume called The Chronicles of Transformation: A Spiritual Journey with C. S. Lewis. I am the editor of that volume, for which seven other scholars in theology, literature, and the arts joined me to write contemplative, spiritual essays on Lewis’ Chro…
 
What you read goes a long way toward shaping the kind of person you become. At the same time, the kind of person you have become goes a long way toward determining how you read what you read, what you think about and how, and the ways in which you interpret the world around you. This mutual shaping of what and how you read, and the kind of person y…
 
Fr. Michael Ward is a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. He is the author or editor of several books, including Heresies and How to Avoid Them, The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis, and After Humanity: A Guide to C. S. Lewis’ ‘Abolition of Man’. But it was another one of his books that Walter Hooper, the e…
 
C. S. Lewis published the first of the Chronicles of Narnia in 1950, followed by six others. Over the decades since, parents have read these books to their children as bedtime stories, and children have read them for themselves when they got a little older. That is a very profitable way to explore Narnia. But can grown-ups return to Narnia, finding…
 
Salvation comes from the Latin word “salus”, which means “health” and “well-being”. Illness and sin are therefore both, in different ways, a lack of the health and well-being that is intended for us. We might even say that we are created for wholeness just as we are created for holiness, and that growing in one means growing in the other. Salvation…
 
Each year, the so called “June Court” decisions from the Supreme Court garner quite a lot of attention, but few in recent memory have received close to the same level of attention as Dobbs v. Jackson, which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. By this point, everyone knows about this decision, though fewer of us know as much as we might about the ac…
 
Cases with issues of religious liberty regularly make their way before the Supreme Court, and this year was no exception. In the decisions that the Court rendered in summer 2022, there were at least four cases where questions of religious liberty were adjudicated. If you have been listening to our show for some time, you may know that we regularly …
 
The Christian life is a life of creativity, the creativity to receive the Good News of Jesus Christ and allow him to transform every dimension of who you are, every aspect of how you live, wherever you find yourself in life. That’s the theory, but how does this happen in practice? Most especially, how does this happen in the business world, in the …
 
The theology of the Eucharist in St. Thomas Aquinas may seem complex, but that complexity is conformed to the tremendous mystery of Christ’s gift of himself in the sacrament. There is growth ahead for us not primarily in understanding the Eucharist as if we could ever achieve something like conceptual mastery, but especially in growing in love for …
 
St. Augustine’s Eucharistic theology is more controversial than you might think. It is controversial because throughout the Christian tradition, rival theological camps have appealed to Augustine to further their own arguments and Christian practice. It would not be uncommon for Augustine to be arguing against Augustine in these debates––at least i…
 
God is Eucharistic. That is a bold and profound claim. It is different from only saying that God gives the Eucharist or that Christ is made present in the Eucharist. To say that our God is a Eucharistic God has profound consequences for, well, everything… including how we revere and adore the Eucharist now, and how we come to know God through the E…
 
This week we bring you another past episode from June 2019 with Maureen Condic. Do you want to know when human life begins? And how to explain that to other people? That's what I'm going to ask our guest today, Dr. Maureen Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah Medical School. In 2015, Dr. Condic was appoi…
 
This week we bring you another past episode from February 2021, with Holly Taylor Coolman. “We have to imagine a people so deeply committed to their neighbors that they would risk their lives for them—and risk their lives perhaps not even to save them, but simply to be present and perhaps to speak to them of another life. As we imagine that, we beg…
 
This week we bring you a past episode from December, 2020 with Mary O'Callaghan. Every child is a mystery, but as scientific advances in prenatal testing grow, so does the temptation to know more and more about our unborn children. Will they be healthy? What are the chances they will have a disability? With questions like these comes another questi…
 
This week we bring you 2 past episodes from July of 2020 with Tricia Bruce. This is Part 1. American do not talk much about abortion. That’s sounds strange, doesn’t it? We seem to hear a lot about abortion in the news, in politics, in relation to the Supreme Court, but in terms of everyday Americans in their interpersonal conversations, we are actu…
 
This week we bring you 2 past episodes from July, 2020 with Tricia Bruce. This is Part 2. Americans do not talk much about abortion, but we can under the right conditions. This is one of the conclusions that Dr. Tricia Bruce and her team of researches posit in the report on their groundbreaking and comprehensive interview study focusing on abortion…
 
If you attend Mass regularly, maybe you’ve thought that your parish is a little less full than it had been before the pandemic. Or, maybe you’re someone who has noticed that you yourself haven’t been attending Sunday Mass quite as consistently as you did before. Some parish and diocesan leaders have some evidence about their own Mass attendance num…
 
In his apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, St. John Paul II wrote that a Catholic university or college is “a living institutional wtiness to Christ and his message, so vitally important in cultures marked by secularism.” He continues by saying that everything in these Catholic institutions should be conducted in harmony with the evangelizin…
 
Christ did not rise from the dead so we could gorge ourselves on marshmallow Peeps. Gorging is an act of singular enjoyment, and it only takes a moment to look around our world to see how disastrous it is when people just fill themselves with what they want… besides, it would be just gross if all we wanted was to be stuffed with marshmallow Peeps. …
 
With the right kind of care, support, and attention, the last days and months of an aging loved one’s life can become a source of new life for those who draw near to them. My guest today witnesses to this splendid, glorious truth in her new book about accompanying her father through death into life. Noreen Madden McInnis is the director of liturgy …
 
When we, as Christians, engage in evangelization that seeks to transform our culture, what metaphor tends to inform our thoughts and actions? Frequently, we land on the metaphor of “war”––we are engaged in a “culture war.” Have we thought, though, about the implications of that metaphor, about what it might do to us and what it might do to “the oth…
 
It’s your friends who break your heart. That’s the title of the article by Jennifer Senior for The Atlantic. It is an incisive and enlightening piece that also made me laugh out loud. Friendship doesn’t get the kind of attention that other forms of relationship tend to get. It is not studied as much in psychology. It is not examined like family rel…
 
When you hold a position of authority in Catholic education and you believe that the #1 goal of Catholic schools is to evangelize, then that affects everything you do. It affects who you hire and why, what your priorities are, how you think about curriculum and culture, and what you value in the hard decisions you have to make in times of trial or …
 
Do you or someone you know feel burned out by work? Have you questioned the place of work in your life, and how it balances with everything else? Do we work to live? Do we live to work? Do we reach for and sometimes touch value that is in our work and also somehow beyond our work? What is the meaning of work? Here’s another question: Can philosophy…
 
Missionaries venture to sites unseen, to open up the Gospel in new ways. The hard to get to places are the special province of missionaries, who exercise both creativity and commitment to get where others have not thought to go. We might think of missionaries sailing across seas or hiking across mountains, but a missionary’s vision and aim can take…
 
Catholic schools extend and make present the life of Christ in his Church. Yes, Catholic education serves the students who are nurtured in its classrooms, but as we know the parents and families of those students are also often nurtured and even newly evangelized through the school. Catholic schools can be one of the most important ways in which th…
 
“A woman who knows she’s loved can do anything.” This fundamental belief animates the ministry of the Sisters of Life, who dedicate themselves to building up a culture of life and who work with the Lord to drive out the contempt for life in our world. It all begins with restoring the belief in one’s own belovedness before God. In collaboration with…
 
In countries with underfunded health systems, surgical care is often ignored and widely inaccessible to the poor. Local facilities lack appropriate supplies and equipment, medical professionals do not have the benefit of training in the latest techniques, and few can afford the high cost of surgery. An organization responding to this gap in healthc…
 
Does purgatory matter? Does it matter later, as in after we die? How about now? Does purgatory make a difference to who we are now as Christians, how we live now, what we are responsible for now, and our relationship to the dead now? My guest today has been researching and writing on purgatory for some time. Dr. Brett Salkeld is no stranger to the …
 
When people speak of “gender fluidity,” what is the understanding of the human body that is at play? When a researcher analyzes a dead body, are they seeing a still frame of what the body really is? How do we best conceive of––maybe even wonder about––the human body, and what does that mean for gender theories, feminist concerns, and biological sex…
 
How would an authentically Catholic feminism both dialogue with and meaningfully differ from secular feminism? This is the focus of a new program from The Catholic Woman. The program is called “Cultivating Catholic Feminism.” It seeks to establish a framework for Catholic feminism through lesson and story and, from that framework, to engage with se…
 
Who am I when I’ve forgotten who I am? What does it mean to love God and be loved by God when I have forgotten who God is? These are the two main questions of John’s Swinton’s book on Living in the Memories of God, and these are the kind of questions that Xavier Symon is trying to explore in developing a more robust theology and philosophy of demen…
 
It was the strength of the Israelites that scared the Pharaoh. You learn that in the first several verses of the Book of Exodus. The rest of the Book is about the journey to freedom: first the liberation from Egypt, then the training in freedom through the years in the desert. The whole journey concerns Israel’s growth as God’s own people. Since 20…
 
If you wait for certainty before acting, you will rarely ever act. More often, it is action that leads to certainty. We might expect to find a saying like that on an inspirational poster or as the takeaway from a motivational talk. But we might be surprised, challenged, and invigorated to consider such wisdom when approaching discernment, especiall…
 
More than 8,000 miles separate students at the University of Notre Dame from students at St. Bakhita Vocational Training School in Northern Uganda, but a course in innovation and design thinking brings them together. The creator of that course is Wendy Angst, teaching professor in the Medoza College of Business at Notre Dame, where she also serves …
 
On more than a few occasions on this show, we have hosted experts in media and technology, or education and family life, to talk about young people and the effects of digital and social media on their relationships and development. Today, I want to do something a little different, not in terms of content but in terms of conversation partner. That’s…
 
There is nothing not to like about today’s episode. Advent music, Christmas movies, and obsessive concern with “progressive solemnity,” with both well-reasoned and unfounded opinions mixed in.Joining me today is Carolyn Pirtle, program director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. She’s going to take us through the sounds Advents, the films of Chr…
 
The sin of racism disfigures and hides the truth of the human person. The healthy response to sin is conversion, and conversion begins with begging the Lord for healing. That healing, though, provokes and necessitates change. My guest today is committed to helping to develop a Catholic response to the sin of racism, along these very lines. Gloria P…
 
“Catholic Christans came into my community and they helped us with education, they helped us with healthcare, they helped us to find our self-respect and to realize our capabilities when the world had told us for so long that we were nothing and would amount to nothing. And I wanted to be part of that effort. That’s radical Christianity, that’s rad…
 
It is Thanksgiving week and we want to celebrate that here on Church Life Today. I am going to do different kind of episode to mark the occasion. This episode is called “Eucharist Means Thanksgiving” and what I want to do is share with you quotes, passages, even a poem that invite us to deepen our appreciation for and wonder about the gift of Chris…
 
Praying for the dead. This is a spiritual work of mercy, but does it really do anything? Do our prayers matter to the dead? Do the dead matter to us? I wanted to find us some help in understanding this practice of the Christian faith, and so I have invited Prof. John Cavadini to talk with us about his own practice of praying for the dead, the love …
 
It is easy to bemoan the problems in the Church; it is harder to take the initiative to heal and renew the life of the Church, and to sacrifice for that renewal with all your own creativity and passion. But that is exactly what the Our Sunday Visitor Institute for Catholic Innovation is calling forth from leaders in the Church today. They want to h…
 
Meg Hunter-Kilmer has no time for bland, stale stories of saints. She is too busy reveling in the wild and diverse beauty of holy people. When their stories have not been told well, she seeks after the heart of their story and waits to see the drama, the glory, the full-fledged humanity that others have missed. And then she tells their stories. Meg…
 
​​There was a time before the Second Vatican Council, and there is a time after. The time before is old, outdated, stodgy, stale, and lifeless. The time after is modern, progressive, adaptive, active, and alive. Out with the old and in with the new. That, at least, is the way Vatican II has often been portrayed, as a breaking point between liberals…
 
A good number of the students I have taught in theology courses at Notre Dame have gone on to medical school. Many of these students feel called to the practice of medicine, and would even speak of their professional pursuits as a vocation. But I often hear from the graduates a grave sense of disappointment in what they encounter in medical school.…
 
What happens online does not stay online. The borders between the digital world and the flesh and blood world have become rather porous. The ways we think, speak, and act in the digital environment bears meaning for how we think, speak, and act offline, and vice versa, at least to some extent. When we search around in media for Catholic voices, or …
 
​​“O God, smash the teeth in their mouths!” “Make their eyes so dim they cannot see.” “May his children be fatherless, his wife, a widow.” Who prays like that? Well, we do: Christians. Those petitions––those curses––that I just recited come from Psalm 58, Psalm 69, and Psalm 109. But we don’t hear them very often: not in the public liturgy as at Ma…
 
What does it take to create a world? Well, you might think it requires you to be God. So why don’t we ask the question about a literary world, but nevertheless a complete world, with a comprehensive vision, an atmosphere and a history and languages, customs, and traditions. We might think few people are capable of creating such things, and we are d…
 
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