73 episodes

Musician and writer Thomas V. Mirus explores Catholic arts & culture with a variety of notable guests. Dedicated to the Holy Family. An extension of CatholicCulture.org.

The Catholic Culture Podcast Thomas V. Mirus, CatholicCulture.org

    • Christianity

Musician and writer Thomas V. Mirus explores Catholic arts & culture with a variety of notable guests. Dedicated to the Holy Family. An extension of CatholicCulture.org.

    Ep. 71 - Thick Skin, Weak Stomach - Timothy & David Gordon

    Ep. 71 - Thick Skin, Weak Stomach - Timothy & David Gordon

    Timothy and David Gordon join the show to discuss their new book Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left. It’s a reverse-Alinskyan playbook for conservatives and Christians who are sick of being outmaneuvered at every turn by the forces seeking the destruction of the Christian faith and the natural foundations of the social order.
    The Gordon brothers want us to stop falling for the left’s tactics, which take advantage of the timidity, and false humility of today’s conservative Christians, and start turning the radicals’ own tactics against them as much as possible within the bounds of Christian morality.
    [1:21] Remarks on the beginning of a dialogue
    [6:11] Egalitarianism as the beating heart of radical leftism
    [9:17] What is a retrograde?
    [12:45] “No truth is ‘off-limits’”: Don’t censor your thoughts for fear of consequences or optics
    [21:05] Admission of sin’s wickedness a prerequisite for mercy
    [23:01] “Always be on offense”: why a defensive position leads to failure; it should fall to those who advocate wickedness to be on the defensive
    [28:21] “Risus est bellum”: The best response to an absurd or evil claim could be laughter or rebuke rather than dignifying it with an argument
    [30:38] Virtue-signaling Christians who try to curry favor with the left by throwing retrogrades under the bus; mod-cons vs. militant mods
    [33:32] Ways that leftist conditioning affects even staunch conservatives
    [37:50] “Be coarse but never crass”—have “thick skin and a weak stomach”; how the hierarchy of virtues gives us moral perspective in politics (civility is relatively low on the virtue totem pole)
    [45:23] The degree to which Alinsky’s tactics may be used against the left; the rules of swordsmanship vs. the ends for which you fight
    [50:57] Why prayer was not discussed in Rules for Retrogrades
    [55:38] “For radicals, the issue is never the real issue”: ex., pushing maternity leave is a pretext to normalize being a working mother
    [59:46] The importance of the order in which the rules were arranged
    [1:01:34] “The root of cultural decay is feminism: end feminism to end radicalism”
    [1:07:00] Follow-up comments by Thomas on the importance of prayer

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Facebook Discussion Group Announcement

    Facebook Discussion Group Announcement


    • 1 min
    Ep. 70 - The Flannery-Haunted World - Joshua Hren, John Emmet Clarke

    Ep. 70 - The Flannery-Haunted World - Joshua Hren, John Emmet Clarke

    This episode features two young Catholic publishers who are doing cutting-edge work to preserve and carry forward the Catholic literary legacy, building on the accomplishments of the great Catholic writers of the 20th century in particular.
    The first guest is Joshua Hren, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wiseblood Books. Wiseblood's focus is on cultivating and publishing new works that maintain a high standard of literary quality and Catholic vision: featuring up-and-coming writers alongside established successes like Dana Gioia, Samuel Hazo, James Matthew Wilson, and Michael O’Brien.
    Besides introducing us to the Wiseblood catalogue, Joshua talks about his own fiction and non-fiction writing and his calling as an editor. He and Thomas discuss issues in Catholic fiction such the danger of a narrow preoccupation with modern neuroses, and flaunting the secular taboo of “cultural appropriation” (e.g., the idea that white authors cannot write black characters).
    The second guest is John Emmet Clarke, Editor-in-Chief of Cluny Media. This family business is preserving and reintroducing forgotten Catholic classics of the 20th century, bringing to the surface the submerged lineage of many of our favorite authors—republishing crucial writers like François Mauriac, Charles Peguy, and Romano Guardini.
    A recurring theme in both interviews is the influence of Flannery O’Connor. Wiseblood Books is, of course, named after her first novel, though that doesn’t stop Thomas and Joshua from throwing some slight, friendly shade at her dominance over the discussion of 20th-century Catholic “literary” fiction. Meanwhile, John Emmet Clarke says that if she described the South she portrayed as “Christ-haunted”, the Cluny catalogue could be said to be “Flannery-O’Connor-haunted” in a reverse sense, as they publish many authors who influenced her.
    Joshua Hren
    [4:11] The upcoming Colosseum Summer Institute, a workshop for poets and fiction writers given by Josh Hren and James Matthew Wilson
    [9:25] The necessity of “cultural appropriation” in fiction
    [12:59] The mission of Wiseblood Books: “Wide-eyed for continuities of beauty and truth”
    [15:55] Using short-form publications to generate interest in the Catholic literary heritage
    [18:10] Dana Gioia’s crucial support and encouragement
    [21:48] Michael O’Brien’s writings for Wiseblood about the Apocalypse and sexual abuse
    [24:59] Wiseblood’s newest novel: Samuel Hazo’s If Nobody Calls, I’m Not Home
    [27:20] Wiseblood’s residency program bringing promising works-in-progress to fruition
    [32:22] Apologia for the role of a fiction editor
    [42:43] Joshua's conversion and marriage story
    [50:41] Joshua’s fiction writing: Stream-of-consciousness, poetic prose, people under pressure
    [1:05:30] Examining “Christ-haunted fiction” in his How to Read and Write Like a Catholic
    [1:13:43] The dominance of Flannery O’Connor in our awareness of 20th-c. Catholic fiction and the need to rediscover other great writers like J.F. Powers
    [1:18:24] Is there a narrowness to O’Connor’s focus on uniquely modern neuroses? Contrasts with Tolkien and Manzoni
    John Emmet Clarke
    [1:26:18] The mission of Cluny Media: promoting the 20th-century Catholic literary tradition
    [1:29:46] The process of republishing out-of-print works
    [1:32:39] Showing the hidden lineage of well-known Catholic authors; Mauriac’s fiction; writers who influenced O’Connor; Fulton Sheen
    [1:41:10] Scholarly works of Ven. Sheen
    [1:42:21] New works published by Cluny
    [1:44:09] Cluny's connections to the Dominican Order
    [1:46:18] A family business; looking to the past for directions for the future
    [1:49:06] Cluny's distribution partnerships with parishes
    Cluny has made a discount offer available to Catholic Culture Podcast listeners. To receive the discount co

    • 1 hr 52 min
    Highlights from the Archive #1

    Highlights from the Archive #1

    A look back through the Catholic Culture Podcast archive. This episode contains highlights from:
    Ep. 1 - A Working Actor's Working Faith - Tony Mockus, Sr. https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-1-working-actors-working-faith/
    Ep. 2 - The Largest Civil Disobedience Movement in American History - Bill Cotter, Phil Lawler https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-2-largest-civil-disobedience-movement-in-us-history/
    Ep. 3 - Native American Catholicism and the New Evangelization - Peter Jesserer Smith https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-3-native-american-catholicism-new-evangelization/
    Ep. 4 - The Marian Option - Carrie Gress https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-4-marian-option-carrie-gress/
    Ep. 5 - Hospital Dreams - Chris Baker https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-5-hospital-dreams-chris-baker/
    Ep. 9 - How to Start an Institutional Apostolate, Pt. 1 - Jeff Mirus https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-9-how-to-start-institutional-apostolate-part-1-jeff-mirus/

    • 1 hr 29 min
    Ep. 69 - Poetry of the English Martyrs - Benedict Whalen

    Ep. 69 - Poetry of the English Martyrs - Benedict Whalen

    In 1581, a young Englishman named Henry Walpole attended the execution of the Jesuit Edmund Campion. As Campion was hung, drawn and quartered, Walpole stood close enough to be spattered with his holy blood. Though Campion’s fame in England was already great, Walpole would amplify it further with a splendid, lengthy poem, which became enormously popular among English Catholics—so popular that the man who printed the book had his ears cut off as punishment.
    In his poem Walpole wrote:
    We cannot fear a mortal torment, we,
    This martyr’s blood hath moistened all our hearts,
    Whose parted quarters when we chance to see
    We learn to play the constant Christian’s parts.
    This was more than wordplay: Two years after Campion’s death, Walpole became a priest, and was himself hung for the faith in 1595.
    St. Henry Walpole was not the only martyr who wrote poems. The 16th and 17th centuries produced a number of men whose courageous faith was accompanied by prodigious learning and literary talent. St. Thomas More wrote poems while languishing in the Tower of London. Another Jesuit martyr, St. Robert Southwell, powerfully influenced the later movement of “metaphysical poetry”, including the greatest Protestant poets of succeeding centuries—such as George Herbert and John Donne.
    The poetry of the English martyrs has been collected in an anthology called Lyra Martyrum. Benedict Whalen, the editor of the second edition, joins Thomas to discuss these authors, with Catholic Culture Audiobooks’ James T. Majewski performing several of their works.
    [2:08] The historical/literary/educational circumstances that gave us a period of martyr-poets
    [7:23] Their influence as poets in the succeeding centuries
    [10:26] St. Robert Southwell’s Prefatory Epistle on the purpose of poetry
    [12:58] All the poets in the first edition of the anthology have since been beatified or canonized
    [14:29] The martyrdoms of the Jesuit Saints Edmund Campion and Henry Walpole
    [17:43] St. Henry Walpole, “Upon the Martyrdom of M. Edmund Campion”
    [30:23] The tradition of meditating on the Four Last Things
    [33:08] St. Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, “Meditation upon Heaven”
    [37:43] St. Thomas More's early poems written for courtly occasions
    [40:11] More’s poems written in the Tower of London: “Lewis the Lost Lover” and “Davy the Dicer”
    [44:17] The theme of Fortune in medieval and Renaissance philosophy and poetry
    [47:12] The influence of Latin classics on English verse
    [49:16] More’s influence on English prose
    [51:29] The life and work of St. Robert Southwell
    [54:36] St. Robert Southwell, “The Burning Babe”
    [59:39] “A Child My Choice”
    [1:05:27] Southwell’s conceptual and sonic density: excerpts from “The Nativity of Christ” and “Look Home”
    [1:09:13] “I Die Alive”
    [1:12:52] “Mary Magdalen’s Complaint at Christ’s Death”
    [1:16:30] The remarkable story of St. Robert Southwell’s martyrdom
    [1:26:10] The appendix of this edition of Lyra Martyrum   
    Lyra Martyrum https://www.clunymedia.com/product/lyra-martyrum/
    Benedict Whalen https://www.hillsdale.edu/faculty/benedict-whalen/
    Catholic Culture Audiobooks https://www.catholicculture.org/audiobooks

    • 1 hr 26 min
    Ep. 68 - What I Learned From Making Music With Mark Christopher Brandt

    Ep. 68 - What I Learned From Making Music With Mark Christopher Brandt

    Thomas recently had the privilege of playing piano on the latest album by Catholic composer Mark Christopher Brandt. The Butterfly consists of a suite for string quartet and piano, plus two solo piano pieces. The suite, which uses the butterfly’s transformation as an allegory of conversion, was described by the Catholic poet Dana Gioia as “fresh, inventive and alive”.
    In this episode you will hear the beautiful Butterfly suite in full, followed by a no less beautiful conversation in which Thomas shares what he learned from Mark during this project, and Mark (as always) shares much wisdom about music and the Christian life, peppered with examples from his journey in both.
    Central to the conversation about music is the continuum of artists throughout history, and the deeper continuum for Christian artists: that our work transcends history because our first audience is the heavenly court, regardless of what welcome our art finds in this world.
    [2:51] Accompanying text to The Butterfly
    [4:38] The Butterfly suite
    [21:09] Why Mark wanted another pianist (Thomas) to play on this project
    [23:22] Granting the string players more room for individual creativity than is usual in the classical world
    [28:06] What Mark taught Thomas in the studio: making a mistake is not a sin
    [36:54] Benefits of documenting the results of one’s practice in order to move forward
    [41:59] The timeline of the album, spanning decades of Mark’s journey as a composer
    [47:09] The historical ‘continuum' of music and being a part of its progress
    [52:38] Mark’s counsel for those beginning to study composition
    [1:02:41] Contemporary pop has lost its connection to what came before it
    [1:07:17] Christians who are joyful are misunderstood as being naive
    [1:12:52] When Mark first became aware of how following Jesus was transforming him
    Purchase The Butterfly:
    Physical copies https://markchristopherbrandt.com/the-butterfly---store.html
    iTunes https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-butterfly/1488059624
    Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Mark-Christopher-Brandt/dp/B081K8Y1C7
    Purchase the score and/or parts https://markchristopherbrandt.com/the-butterfly-scores-and-parts.html
    Previous interviews with Mark:
    Episode 33: Structure and Freedom in Music and in Christ https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-33-structure-and-freedom-in-music-and-in-christ-mark-christopher-brandt/
    The Nightingale https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/uncaging-nightingale-mark-christopher-brandt-interview/
    Other Resources
    Mark’s website https://www.markchristopherbrandt.com/
    Mark’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA0Qk_D2aaELp23GYb9xocg
    Manassas String Quartet https://www.manassasquartet.com/

    • 1 hr 18 min

Customer Reviews

baskeballisfun ,

In depth great convos. And awesome Tolkien eps.

Awesome guests. Great host. In depth and insightful convos about important cultural topics.

Also - highly recommend both Tolkien episodes!

Pius Aeneas ,

You talk too much

The host dominates the conversation to a highly unwelcome extent. I tune in to hear the guests but receive an hour of self-involved soliloquy. This is simply immature performance wasting the presence of interesting guests. This is very disappointing.

jennyshalo ,

This Episode is An Early Christmas Present

Eavesdropping on my intellectual betters as they shared insights on books I’ve read as well as others I want to read or will never read was a thorough delight. I’m a first time listener who can’t wait to go back and listen to the 5 most popular podcasts of the year.

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