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.
Our Eucharistic God, with Jonathan Ciraulo
36:18God 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 Eucharist. My guest today wrote an essay under the title “The Key to Understanding God” in which he brings forward the Eucharistic thought of the Russian Orthodox theologian Sergius Bulgakov and the Roman Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. In both, we find the concerted effort to apprehend the entire Christian life, including the intellectual life, from and toward the Eucharist. The Eucharist, in other words, is the key to understanding all things, including and especially who God is and how God is. These are deep matters with surprising relevance, which together we are going to seek to understand and consider better. Our guide and my guest is Jonathan Ciraulo, assistant professor of theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. His essay, “The Key to Understanding God,” appeared in the Church Life Journal in April 2022, and his new book with the University of Notre Dame Press is The Eucharistic Form of God: Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Sacramental Theology.
(rerun) Maureen Condic on When Human Life Begins
29:46This 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 appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life, a distinguished group of physicians, scientists, and theologians from the international community whose mission it is to study questions and issues regarding the promotion and defense of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective. Three years later, in 2018, Dr. Condic received a Presidential appointment to the National Board of Science, the oversight body for the National Science Foundation. Her research focuses on the development and regeneration of the nervous system, spinal cord repair and regeneration, and embryonic development, while she cultivates a strong commitment to public education and science literacy. In June 2019, she delivered the St. Albert Award Lecture at the annual convention of the Society of Catholic Scientists.
(rerun) The Church’s Call to Foster Care with Holly Taylor Coolman
29:24This 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 begin to see the enormity and beauty of our own vocation as Christians.” This at the very heart of what it means to be “pro-life” Those are the words of Holly Taylor Coolman, who invites and challenges us, as Christians, to heed the central call of the Gospel to provide care to the suffering, to offer hospitality to those who need, and to build communities that are indeed “pro-life”, through and through. Dr. Taylor Coolman is assistant professor of theology at Providence College, where she also serves as chair of the department of theology. She is here to talk with me about foster care, in particular, which was the subject of an essay she published in our Church Life Journal, and a call she has heeded in her own life.
(rerun) Mary O’Callaghan on Disability Selective Abortions
28:12This 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 question: how much is too much when it comes to trying to know who our children will be? My guest is Dr. Mary O’Callaghan, a developmental psychologist who, among other things, studies, writes about, and teaches on “disability selective abortion” and issues of human dignity.
(rerun) Tricia Bruce on How Americans Understand Abortion, Part 2
28:35This 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 attitudes in the United States. Dr. Bruce is joining me for the second of a two-part interview on her report “How Americans Understand Abortion.” Dr. Bruce’s study was conducted in partnership with the McGrath Institute for Church Life and you can download a copy of the report for free at mcgrath.nd.edu/resources. I’m Leonard DeLorenzo, this is Church Life Today, and you can find part 1 of my interview with Dr. Bruce on our Church Life Today podcast. ------ Live: www.redeemerradio.com Follow Redeemer Radio on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @RedeemerRadio Follow McGrath Institute for Church Life on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @McGrathND
(rerun) Tricia Bruce on How Americans Understand Abortion, Part 1
28:40This 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 actually very quiet about abortion.. This is part of what Dr. Tricia Bruce and her team of researchers discovered in their groundbreaking and comprehensive interview study of abortion attitudes in the United States among “every Americans.” The report of their study was released in mid-July 2020 under the title “How Americans Understand Abortion.” This study was undertaken in partnership with our McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, and you can download a copy of this report for free at mcgrath.nd.edu/resources. Today Dr. Bruce joins me, Leonard DeLorenzo, for a two-part interview to discuss her report and to offer us some observations and insights about American attitudes towards abortion. This is part 1 of our interview, while part 2 will air next week on Redeemer radio or, if you are listening on our podcast, part 2 is the very next episode. ------ Live: www.redeemerradio.com Follow Redeemer Radio on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @RedeemerRadio
Will They Return to Mass? with Hans Plate
30:33If 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 numbers to confirm the perceived drop in participation, but many of the rest have hunches or our own unscientific observations. Regardless, for everyone who notices and is concerned about the decrease in Mass attendance, the question of whether or not those who are not there will come back lingers. Thanks to a new report from Vinea Research, we now have survey data to support or challenge our assumptions, and to give us some reliable predictors about future Mass attendance, as well as church giving, faith in God, and prayer. My guest today is Hans Plate, founder and president of Vinea Research, which seeks to support the Church by helping it better understand those it serves through expert market research and insights. He joins me to discuss the findings of his team’s study on “The Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Catholics.”
Forming an Intentional College Culture, with Joe Wurtz
31:16In 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 evangelizing mission of the Church, including offering an “education in a faith-context that forms men and women capable of rational and critical judgement and conscious of the transcendent dignity of the human person.” I wonder if you might agree that Catholic colleges and universities that seek to form young adults holistically and intentionally in this manner are perhaps more important today than they ever have been. My guest today carries the responsibility of helping provide just such a Christocentric formation in an intentional college culture. Dr. Joe Wurtz is Dean of Students at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Gregorian Fellows. A graduate of Benedictine himself where he earned a BA in philosophy, he also holds a master’s degree in Higher Ed Administration from the University of Kansas, and a doctorate in Higher Ed Administration from George Washington University. As Dean of Students, he oversees programs and activities involving residence life, student development, intramural programs, student health services, counseling, student activities, and career development at Benedictine. He joins me to talk about the vision of student formation at a Catholic college in our day and age.
Claiming the Mission of Easter (Special Episode)
30:28Christ 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. The true measure of Easter joy is the degree to which the disciples of the Risen Lord indulge in the good of others. The celebration of Easter is ordered to communion, so much so that Easter works centrifugally through Christ’s disciples: we move the joy outwards. Using Pope Francis’s beloved term, Easter is the season for “missionary disciples.” The heart of the mission is Christ, the source of the mission is his Resurrection, and the power of the mission is the Holy Spirit he imparts to us. With this mission, we, his disciples, bring him to others and work to unite all in him. This is a special episode of Church Life Today. Only very rarely do I create an episode without a guest, but when I do it is usually to offer a special seasonal episode like this one where I try offer a series of reflections that, I hope, are of some interest or use to you in your prayer, in your life, for your imagination. So today I want to spend this time with you asking, How do we embrace and live out the mission of Easter? The short answer: By heeding the Gospel and then exercising our own “missionary creativity” to become the disciples Christ frees us to be. And what I want is to offer is some in exploring this more fully by talking about four ways to fulfill our Easter mission––one way from each of the four Gospels.
The End and Beginning of Life, with Noreen Madden McInnes
31:47With 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 and spirituality for the Diocese of San Diego and author of the book Keep at It, Riley! The title of the book is a saying passed down through generations of Noreen’s Irish Catholic family––the Maddens––who never quit in the face of challenges in life and never quit on each other. In her testimony of journeying with her father and her mother toward their deaths and, ultimately, into the love of God, that resolve and resilience is shown to be a profound commitment to the dignity and beauty of the aged, the infirm, and the dying. Noreen’s book is part of the Magenta series from New City Press, which is committed to healing the ills of polarization by uplifting visions that heal and unify, especially for and in the Church.