Jesuitical podcast


America Media

Welcome to Jesuitical, a podcast for young Catholics hosted by two young, lay editors at America—Zac Davis and Ashley McKinless. Each episode features a guest who offers a unique perspective on faith, culture or current events. We also bring you some of the top (and maybe more obscure) Catholic news of the week. And we'll ask: Where do we find God in all this?

210 avsnitt

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    Life after the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history


    On Oct. 27, 2018, 11 people attending Shabbat services at the ​​Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg were killed in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history. In the weeks and months that followed, when the public’s attention moved on, journalist Mark Oppenhiemer didn’t look away. He made over 30 reporting trips to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood to understand how the oldest Jewish community in America was seeking to heal after the massacre. He shares the lessons he learned in the new book Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood. We talk to Mark about how this horrific attack affected the Jewish community throughout the country and why the media often fails to cover anti-Semitism in America. In Signs of the Times, Zac and Ashley discuss Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s recent meeting with Pope Francis. Plus, Pope Francis has cleared the beatification of Pope John Paul I, who, if canonized, would become the fifth 20th-century pope to be named a saint. We ask: Should we be canonizing so many pontiffs? Links from the show: Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood Pope Francis receives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in private audience Pope Francis clears the way for the beatification of Pope John Paul I Papal Saints What’s on tap? Cajun Bloody Mary’s, recipe courtesy of Kevin Acord Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Toni Morrison’s Black Catholic Novels


    “Can we consider Toni Morrison a Catholic novelist,” Nadra Nittle asked in an article for America in 2017. Since Morrison’s passing in 2019, Nadra has been exploring that question in more depth, and the result is her new book: Toni Morrison's Spiritual Vision: Faith, Folktales, and Feminism in Her Life and Literature, out this month from Fortress Press.  Zac and Ashley talk about why Morrison isn’t typically thought of alongside the usual lineup of Catholic novelists, how her experiences as a Black Catholic infused her novels and where someone who hasn’t read any Toni Morrision should start.  During Signs of the Times, the hosts unpack the release of a new report on sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church as well as an unprecedented meeting of religious leaders at the Vatican to issue a statement about climate change.  Links from the show:  Toni Morrison's Spiritual Vision: Faith, Folktales, and Feminism in Her Life and Literature The Ghosts of Toni Morrison: A Catholic writer confronts the legacy of slavery ‘This is a moment of shame’: Pope Francis says the church has failed to center abuse victims for too long Pope Francis and 40 faith leaders call for urgent action to combat climate change: ‘Future generations will never forgive us’ Zac’s attempt at TikTok (be nice) What’s on tap? Strawberry Margaritas Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Pope Francis said women need more authority in the church. He still has work to do.


    In the first major interview of his papacy, Pope Francis said, “The challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church.” Eight years later, has the place of women in the church changed—and is it enough? This week, we talk to Colleen Dulle about the rise of women leaders at the Vatican. Are their voices being heard at the highest levels of the church? Do they feel empowered—or limited by the “stain-glassed ceiling”? And in Signs of the Times, we speak with America’s chief correspondent Kevin Clarke about the latest crisis at the border and why Catholics should care.  Links from the show: Women are rising to new heights at the Vatican. Could they change the church forever? by Colleen Dulle Horrified by images of Border Patrol abusing Haitian migrants? Blame decades of dangerous immigration policy by Kevin Clarke Catholic women feel called to be deacons. The church should listen to their stories. by Casey Stanton What’s on tap? Aperol Spritz Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Meet a Catholic woman who feels called to be a deacon


    The debate about whether the Catholic Church should ordain women to the diaconate often focuses on theological and historical arguments. Rarely, though, do we hear from women who themselves feel called to this ministry. Meet Casey Stanton, co-director of Discerning Deacons, a project to engage Catholics in the active discernment of the church about women and the diaconate. We talk to Casey about how and why she feels like she’s called, and how she tempers feelings of frustration with a commitment to staying in the church.  Links from the Show:  America’s special women in the church issue Avery Dulles on women and the priesthood (from 1996) Learn more about Discerning Deacons. And read their new study: Called to Contribute: Findings from an In-depth Interview Study of US Catholic Women and the Diaconate What’s on tap? Hope Punch: The church is a pomegranate–service to the many in the one Rum for fortification Champagne for joy in the midst Lemon with sugar to balance the pastoral with the prophetic Garnished with thyme and the patience to wait and to insist on justice now knowing you will the eschaton Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Why Catholics should study the Classics


    "The classics" have been in the news recently—and not always in a good way. From colleges shutting down classics departments as students flock to more “practical” majors to criticisms that books written by “dead white men” cannot be separated from the legacies of slavery and colonialism, works that have stood the test of time are being tested anew.  This week’s guest, Jeremy Tate, argues that not only are the classics worth studying for their own sake but that abandoning the Western canon will have disastrous effects for our (already toxic) public discourse. And he has some advice for continuing your classical education—even if you’re out of school. In Signs of the Times, Zac and Ashley give their first reactions to Pope Francis’ recent comments on the debate over the Eucharist and pro-choice politicians.  What’s on tap? Kim’s Grapefruit: 1.5 ounces Empress Gin, .5 ounces St. Germain elderflower, juice of half a grapefruit, sugar-rimmed glass. (Modification: Don’t like—or can’t find—grapefruit? Use an orange instead!) Links: Pope Francis: ‘I have never denied Communion to anyone.’ Jeremy Tate's article in America Magazine: In defense of a classical education Ashley's reported story from Wyoming Catholic College: A visit to the rural Catholic college that has 171 students, 12 horses and zero textbooks Learn more about The Classic Learning Test Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    ​​Father Greg Boyle is becoming a mystic with the help of former gang members


    If you attended a Jesuit university or high school in the last decade, you were most likely at some point assigned Father Greg Boyle’s first book (and a New York Times best-seller—so, you didn’t need to have attended a Jesuit school to encounter it) Tattoos on the Heart. Father Boyle is a Jesuit priest, the founder of Homeboy Industries and the author of the a new book, The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness, which is scheduled to be released this fall. Ashley and Zac talk to Father Boyle about how Covid and the pandemic restrictions affected his sense of identity and Homeboy Industries’ work, what he’s learned looking back on his years in ministry, and why he is becoming more mystical as he gets older. To support Jesuitical and access all of America's content, get a digital subscription today! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    How Dr. Paul Farmer put Catholic social teaching into medical practice


    On our season finale, Zac and Ashley talk to Dr. Paul Farmer, the co-founder and chief strategist of Partners in Health (PIH). Founded in 1987, PIH has pioneered an approach to medicine that actually resembles Catholic social teaching’s preferential option for the poor. They talk about the challenges of bringing the Covid-19 vaccine to the poorest and sickest countries and how to salvage hope in desperate times.  In Signs of the Times, we break down exactly what is happening with the U.S. Bishops and the debates around whether or not President Biden should receive Communion. What’s on tap: Duckhorn Chardonnay  Links from the show: Take the Jesuitical Listener Survey! Partners in Health Dr. Farmer’s latest book: Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Bonus: What's going on with the Bishops and Joe Biden?


    Zac and Ashley break down a story that’s been dominating headlines inside and outside of the Catholic Church this week: The U.S. bishops overwhelming vote to draft a document on “eucharistic coherence,” and what it does and does not mean for President Joe Biden and other politicians.  This is an excerpt from this week’s full episode. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Her mom went to prison. Now she fights to free others from life sentences.


    This week on Jesuitical, Zac and Ashley talk with Brittany Barnett about unjust sentencing laws, the experience of visiting her own mother in prison and her work fighting to get clemency for men and women sentenced to life without parole for drug offenses. Brittany is an attorney and the author of the Christopher Award-winning book A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom.  Links from the show: A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom Sign up for your free trial of Wondrium! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Gloria Purvis on why the pro-life movement has been silent on racial justice


    This week, Ashley and Zac are joined by Gloria Purvis, the host of America Media’s latest podcast “The Gloria Purvis Podcast.” They discuss conversations about racism in Catholic spaces, the consistent life ethic, her hopes for the podcast, and more. During Signs of the Times, they examine the discovery of 215 bodies buried on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School run by the Catholic Church and unpack why Cardinal Marx of Germany asked Pope Francis to accept his resignation (since the time of recording, Pope Francis has declined Cardinal Marx’s request).  Links from the show: The Gloria Purvis Podcast Pope Francis calls for abandonment of colonial mentality after discovery of buried Indigenous children in Canada Pope Francis rejects Cardinal Marx’s offer of resignation, calls on all bishops to take responsibility for the abuse crisis Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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