The Curious Catholic Podcast

The Curious Catholic Podcast

Pilgrimaging through the Catholic Imagination. Each episode is an encounter with the personalities, ideas, and movements that have shaped and embodied the dynamism of the Catholic vision. If you're ready to "go further up and further in," come join the pilgrimage that is the Curious Catholic Podcast.

Episodes

October 20, 2021 69 min

We've made it to the heights of the Empyrean—Heaven—with Dante and Beatrice. Surprisingly, we are met at this late stage by yet another guide, Bernard of Clairvaux.   

With Bernard we will praise the Blessed Mother, all the while preparing ourselves for the vision of God enjoyed by the blessed in Paradise.

This vision—all too much for human language and craft to communicate—is masterfully envisioned by Dante the poet. We see Hea...

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In this installment, we continue ascending with Beatrice and Dante through his "Paradiso." At the outset we find ourselves upon the Sun, encountering two 13th-century theological masters: Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure.

Interestingly they each courteously sing the praise of the other's spiritual father. Thomas the Dominican celebrates Francis of Assisi, while Bonaventure the Franciscan lauds Dominic.

Within these odes of...

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Now having ascended the heights of Mt. Purgatory, we are propelled by our love and desire into the Heavens as we enter the realm of Paradise with Dante and Beatrice, his guide.

In this episode, we consider what Dante is up to in his imaginative conceiving of Heaven, some general themes of the Paradiso, and how we are meant for glory, both God's and our own.

Then we consider the nobility of our freedom and the paradoxical way we v...

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Having moved beyond the obstacle that is pride, we now continue our journey up Mt. Purgatory. To aid our ascent and understanding, Virgil discourses on the nature of love, how we are by nature lovers, and how our love can go awry. That is, how it is that we sin.

Before long, though, we get swept along--with Dante and his guide--by a bustling pack of the slothful who are making up for wasted time and lazy love. Ultimately, we make i...

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Having washed off the soot of Hell, it's time to enter Purgatory. But not without humbling ourselves at Peter's Gate. The door is readily opened, we just have to humble ourselves before the angel guarding the way, expressing our contrition and sorrow for sin.

Once on the inside, it's time to make our crooked loves straight. The first to uncrook is our pride. The purgation isn't easy. Here we find the proud bowed low...

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The good news is that we've made it out of Hell. The even better news is that we are now ready to begin our ascent of Mount Purgatory.

In this episode we join Dante and Virgil by the sea, taking in the fresh air,  the birdsong, and the warmth of the sun. We can breath free and deep. But we can't remain content with where we stand, we must begin our journey upward.

To do this we must first meet Cato, something of a guardian ...

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Not that we've made our way through the Gates of Hell, today in our Lenten Dante Series we consider with Dante and Virgil the chosen fate of the denizens of the Inferno. This also happens to be a way for us to face, uncomfortably, the hellish tendencies hiding within ourselves.

More specifically, in this episode we visit those characterized by their attachment to carnal sins--sins of the flesh--especially those swept along by t...

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Today we continue our Lenten journey through Dante's Divine Comedy as we approach the Gates of Hell, which bear the famous and harrowing inscription: "THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE CITY OF WOE, THROUGH ME THE WAY TO EVERLASTING PAIN, THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST . . . ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE."

Now, we among the living, along with Dante the pilgrim in the story, need not leave hope at the door. But, we do ge...

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Come join us on a Lenten journey through Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy, one of the most celebrated works in the Catholic imagination, and for all of us, an invitation to spiritual transformation.

This first installment finds us, with Dante, waking in a Dark Wood, midway in our life's journey. Unaware as to how we arrived there, we seek the way forward, fearful, though not without some semblance of hope. Turned back fro...

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We've recently been considering briefly some of the contemporary Catholic poetry scene by conversing with poet A. M. Juster, and the Editor-in-Chief of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, Mary Ann Miller. 

Today we'll wrap up this three-part series by speaking with poet Jane Greer, whose new collection of poems, titled Love Like a Conflagration, is a must-read, and I don't throw that phrase around loosely.  

Jane foun...

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We recently had an episode featuring a discussion with award-winning poet A. M. Juster. In it we discussed his new collection of poems, titled Wonder and Wrath, as well as the craft of poetry in general.

We'll continue this theme today as we get to know Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, which, as the journal's title suggests, is an annual publication dedicated to poems written within the Catholic sacramental vision of ...

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As we look forward to the end of this week, we see Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, and I don't know about your neighborhood, but mine is marked by all sorts of spooky sights, decorations and what have you. It's become commonplace this time of year to conjure ghoulish scenes meant to give one a sense of the eerie, or fire the latent gothic imaginations of both young and the not so young. 

And what's a Catholic to think o...

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"The aim of poetry is to awaken us to a fuller sense of our own humanity in both its social and individual aspects. . . . Poetic language . . . is holistic and experiential. Poetry simultaneously addresses our intellect and our physical senses, our emotions, imagination, intuition, and memory without asking us to divide them."

-Dana Gioia, "Poetry as Enchantment"

This episode begins a short run devoted to poems and th...

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"I look up at your heavens, shaped by your fingers,
At the moon and the stars you set firm—
What are human beings that you spare a thought for them,
Or the child of Adam that you care for him?"

Psalm 8

This psalm is surely not the only time we find a biblical author marveling at the mystery of man. Wondering as to what exactly the human person is, and why it is that God the Creator would pay us a moment's notice. And surely ...

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"WHY DID THE INCARNATION OCCUR?" If you were to ask many a Christian this question you'd get the answer: because of sin. To redeem us from our sin. 

But what if sin had not been committed? Would we have Jesus? Many would say with St. Augustine: "If man had not sinned, the Son of Man would not have come." 

What if, though, contrary to the just mentioned answer, there is an alternative, more persuasive account? Such...

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This installment begins a short series of three episodes devoted to the life and work of the Franciscan, Blessed John Duns Scotus, a woefully under attended-to philosopher and theologian of the High Middle Ages. So we're going to try and remedy that in some small way here. 

Today we’ll get something of an introduction to Duns Scotus by looking at some themes of his writing and thinking. We'll consider his working through the...

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"Well known is the motto that Newman formulated for himself as cardinal and placed in his cardinal's coat of arms: cor ad cor loquitur. With this motto Newman seems to say that he has always wanted to speak from the heart, and has always wanted to reach the hearts those whom he addressed. . . . [Newman] obviously does not neglect high-level intellectual communication. But he always sought to communicate at a deeper-than-int...

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According to St. John Henry Newman, the human person is "his own centre . . . he has a depth within him unfathomable, an infinite abyss of existence."

Today’s episode centers around John Henry Newman and what can be called his personalistic thought. In other words, his reverence and appreciation for the human person in all its depth, richness, interiority, and openness onto the world and other persons. 

In the introduction to...

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Is the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception--dogmatically defined only in 1854--simply a pious superstition cobbled together by the Catholic mind? Or, thinking of the Eucharist, is the doctrine of Transubstantiation, a term found nowhere in Scripture, a corruption of gospel-purity by the medieval adoption of ancient Greek philosophical terminology and conceptualizations?

Such questions draw the Catholic mind to the notion of the de...

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The newly canonized John Henry Newman is fascinating in many respects. One such feature of the interest he garners is his being Newman the Catholic convert. He was raised in an Anglican home, eventually becoming a well-known and highly influential clergyman in the Church of England. Yet, at the height of his influence and public notoriety, Newman came into communion with the Church of Rome, becoming a Catholic. He would in time be ...

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