Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 31, 2019
2019 Countdown Day 8
4:00 – #14: America’s Newest Blessed Was Martyred for his Faith
Over the last few weeks there has been considerable attention given, deservedly so, to the expected beatification of Archbishop Sheen, especially after it was unexpectedly delayed. An unfortunate consequence has been that Brother James Miller’s beatification on December 7 went to the wayside. Brother Miller, who grew up in Wisconsin, was martyred for his faith in Guatemala and was in many ways an “all-American holy neighbor.” Fr Roger Landry tells his story.
4:20 – #13: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity
The false notion that man is the measure of all things has permeated the culture and even influenced Christian thought. It reduces the faith to an inordinate concern for “social justice,” radical political change, and an increasingly fanatical egalitarianism, stripping it of its transcendental reference points. Humanitarians, secular or religious, confuse peace with pacifism, equitable social arrangements with socialism, and moral judgment with utopianism and sentimentality. Daniel Mahoney joins us with a counter to this type of thought.
5:00 – #12: Kresta Comments: “Leaving Neverland” and Michael Jackson’s Battle against Reality
HBO has released an in-depth documentary that features two men who accuse Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them when they were young. Al discusses the story and takes a look at the life of Michael Jackson and his battle to create an image that was outside reality.
5:20 – #11: Hope, Healing and Growing with God amidst a Tragic Pregnancy
Sarah Williams had a successful career, a happy marriage and two loving daughters. Her family was overjoyed when they learned another baby was on the way. But they soon received a tragic diagnosis: their daughter had a lethal skeletal disorder and birth would be fatal. Her doctors and colleagues recommended she terminate the pregnancy. But during those nine months Sarah discovered new things about love, her faith and herself. She joins us.
Full List So Far
#35: The Theology and Symbolism of Cathedrals
The fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame brought to mind for many the importance of the Cathedral and how its exquisite beauty has impacted so many. There’s a real intentionality behind many of the elements of a Gothic Cathedral – they serve symbolic and theological purposes beyond their practical functions. To step inside a Gothic cathedral is to step inside the visual essence of the Christian faith. Dr William Cook takes us on a tours of the great Cathedrals and their importance to the Faith.
#34: Cultural Differences and American Freedom
There is a truth about Western culture, especially American culture that is often ignored: the US sees itself as an individualist society whose people seek to realize personal goals in the world, while most of the non-West has a more passive, deferential temperament. In other words, the West sees life as a project while many others are simply trying to survive rather than achieve. This serves as a massive obstacle for those trying to assimilate in America and will be a challenge to the country. Dr. Lawrence Mead joins us to examine these cultural differences.
#33: Kresta Comments: The Origins of the “Achieving Individual”
Al follows up on our discussion with Dr. Mead, looking at the origins of the Western concept of an achieving individual.
#32: The End for ISIS?
Just a few years ago, ISIS was a dominant force in the Middle East that controlled vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. This spring, its fighters made their last stand. What happens now? We talk with Joby Warrick.
#31: Get Out Now: The Moral Failings of our Public School System
Almost overnight, America’s public schools have become morally toxic. They promote “progressive” social causes and have gone all-in on the transgender movement. Parents’ first duty is to their children, so what should they do about their kids’ education? Mary Rice Hasson explains why the only solution is to get out.
#30: The Shaping of America’s Faith
In April 1966 Time Magazine published a cover boldly asking if God was dead. More than 50 years later, we can certainly see how Western society has become more and more secularized. But the continued influence of religion, especially Christianity, on American history and culture has been profound. We take a look with Thomas Kidd.
#29: How the Tragedy of Columbine Forced me to consider God
Sr. Mary Gianna was a Sophomore at Columbine High School in 1999, the year of the massacre. She usually spent her lunch period in the library but on that fateful day, she suddenly had an overwhelming urge to leave the building. Up to that point, she had never really considered the existence of God – but the tragedy forced her to ask why she was spared. She joins us with her story.
#28: Spiritual but not Religious?
It’s human nature for us to yearn for something beyond this world. But many people today are skeptical of organized religion and declare themselves to be spiritual but not religious. How can we find meaning in a material world? Why are we attracted to things beyond? We talk with Fr. John Bartunek.
#27: The Mission to the Aucas – a Story of Martyrdom and Redemption
In January of 1956, five young evangelical missionaries were speared to death by a band of the Waorani people in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Two years later, two missionary women–the widow of one of the slain men and the sister of another–with the help of a Wao woman were able to establish peaceful relations with the same people who had killed their loved ones. The story has becoming a defining moment in the history of modern American evangelicals. Kathryn Long joins us with more.
#26: What does the Bible Say About Mary?
Some Biblical scholars like to question how much the New Testament can tell us about the Blessed Mother. She doesn’t appear much and speaks on limited occasions. Is there really reason to believe what we do about Mary? We talk with Ed Sri.
#25: The Jewish Roots of Christianity Revealed in the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947 and are some of the most well-preserved ancient documents, and a new study at MIT examined how they were written and why they have been preserved for so long. What is written on these ancient texts? What does it reveal about the Jewish roots of Christianity? We talk with John Bergsma.
#24 The Feast of St Steven
#23: Spiritual Care for the Dying
What happens to a person at the end of their life? What do they go through as they prepare to leave this earth? Kathy Kalina has served as a hospice nurse for more than 30 years and has been with countless people in their final hours. She joins us with a look at how the power of prayer can be a guide in ministering to a dying person and how people prepare to leave this earth.
#22: Reason, Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization
The genius of Western civilization is its unique synthesis of reason and faith. But today that synthesis is under attack—from the East by radical Islam (faith without reason) and from within the West itself by aggressive secularism (reason without faith). We talk with Sam Gregg.
#21: Dear Troubled Catholics, Continued
Last summer, as the stories of McCarrick and Vigano were beginning to break, Ralph Martin wrote a letter to his fellow “troubled Catholics” offering advice on how to handle the scandals. He joins us with more thoughts as the Church continues to grapple with the Mess.
#20: My Journey from Atheist to Catholic
Though she didn’t have any kind of religious formation growing up, by the time she’d reached middle school, Leah Libresco Sargeant was interested in philosophy and virtue, specifically stoicism and the thought of Immanuel Kant. As she got older, she found that pieces of her ethical orientation seemed to match up with the Christians she was meeting. She admired the internal consistency of Catholicism, but didn’t yet believe in God, until a breakthrough in a late-night conversation with a friend that seemed to put all the pieces together for her.
#19: My Journey from Tehran to Rome
On July 26, 2016, Fr. Jacques Hamel was murdered during the celebration of Mass by an ISIS jihadi. Sohrab Ahmari saw the news online and a few hours later tweeted “#Iamjacqueshamel. In fact, this is the right moment to announce I’m converting to Catholicism.” Some understood this as a Muslim converting to Catholicism, but the story is much more complicated. How did someone raised in Iran who had long since rejected any idea of God get to this point? Sohrab joins us.
#18: Kresta Comments: Reflections on Auschwitz
During his pilgrimage to Poland Al had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz and Birkenau, arguably the most recognizable symbol of the most infamous act of evil from the 20th century. Al reflects on what he saw there, drawing from the memoirs of survivors.
#17: A Miracle I Didn’t Know I Needed
Marygrace Tucker was 23 years old, on the verge of her senior year of college, when she discovered she was pregnant. She responded to the doctor’s congratulations with a blank look – how could this be a good thing? She wasn’t sure what to do but was able to lean on her parents for strength and support. She shares her story.
#16: Can Life’s Best Things be Bought?
They say the best things in life can’t be bought. Is this true? As an advisor to some of America’s richest families, Richard Watts has seen the reality of being super rich and the unavoidable complications money brings. He joins us with “fables of fortune” to discuss how you may be far richer than you think.
#15: Alienated America: Understanding the Americans Who Voted for Trump
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump proclaimed, “The American Dream is dead,” a message that resonated with disenfranchised voters across the country, especially in the Midwest. Tim Carney says that Trump is right, but the death of the American Dream is a social phenomenon, not an economic one. He joins us.