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Episode 8: Marie Collins and Massimo Faggioli on Clerical Sex Abuse, Vinson Cunningham writes about hell, and Staffers on Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim Museum

FEBRUARY 15

EPISODE NOTES:  Dominic Preziosi sat down with Commonweal contributor Massimo Faggioli to get his thoughts about the upcoming bishops’ summit on clerical sex abuse, which gets underway at the Vatican on February 21st. Contributor Paul Moses, speaks with Marie Collins, a former member of Pope Francis's papal commission on clergy sexual abuse, about her experiences and insights on the issue. Associate editor, Matthew Sitman, interviews New Yorker staff writer Vinson Cunningham, and associate publisher Meaghan Ritchey and assistant editor Griffin Oleynick discuss the paintings of Swedish abstractionist Hilma af Klint, whose work is now on exhibit at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. 


Each episode of The Commonweal Podcast features a mix of interviews, profiles, and compelling conversations on topics at the intersection of politics, religion, and culture. Hosted by Commonweal editor Dominic Preziosi, and featuring the magazine’s editors and contributing writers, the podcast takes you beyond the pages of the latest issue to shed fresh light on the news, books, movies, music, and political developments spurring debate and deserving of reflection. We invite listeners to join us as Commonweal journeys into audio-storytelling.

Listen to edited episodes below. For extended versions of all of our segments, click over to the segment page. 

"There are international standards for the rights of the child, safety of the child, and the welfare of the child. The Church has universal doctrine. It has universal canon laws. I don’t see why it can’t have universal safeguarding policies...It’s actually a pity to see the Church leadership really tearing itself apart with these internal wars when we want to see them dealing with real problems, and particularly problems of children being harmed, and their lives being destroyed.”  — MARIE COLLINS

Pilot Episode: The Inaugural Commonweal Podcast

SEPTEMBER 17, 2018

EPISODE NOTES:  In our pilot episode, editor Dominic Preziosi interviews Massimo Faggioli and Kathleen Sprows Cummings about recent developments in the sex-abuse crisis, Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell discuss Jonah Goldberg's book Suicide of the West, Anthony Domestico interviews Micheal O'Siadhail about his book The Five Quintets, and several Commonweal staff discuss the recent Alberto Giacometti exhibit at The Guggenheim. 

“Until we have public acknowledgment of bishops’ culpability in this larger scandal, I have doubts that we are going to see any of the wholesale reform I think is necessary. This is the time to come to terms with the gravity of this crisis, and before we can move forward, there has to be an admission of guilt, of collective guilt.” 

      — KATHLEEN SPROWS CUMMINGS 

Episode 2: Paul Griffiths on Roger Scruton's book on Brexit, Christine Emba on a Moral Economy, and Cole Stangler on French Politics  

SEPTEMBER 23, 2018

EPISODE NOTES: In our second installment, the Commonweal staff discusses the shape of future podcasts. Matthew Boudway talks with theologian Paul J. Griffiths about Roger Scruton’s latest book and Brexit. Griffin Oleynick sits down with Christine Emba to talk about the issues raised in "A Moral Economy—Faith and the Free Market in an Age of Inequality," a conversation between Cardinal Tobin and Jeffrey Sachs. And Matthew Sitman speaks with Cole Stangler about the populist turn in French politics.

I think it's intrinsic and proper to being Catholic that one's loyalties (here below, that is, prior to the eschaton) can never be exhaustively accounted for by loyalty to a nation-state. That is to say, Catholics are members of Christ's body and therefore members of a transnational church. The Catholic church is the largest transnational entity there is, by most measures, and so there's always a sense of limited loyalty. And nation-states typically don't want limited loyalty, they want all of it.

      — PAUL J. GRIFFITHS 

Episode 3: On the Kavanaugh Hearings, Liturgical Music, Immigration, and the Wojnarowicsz Restrospective at The Whitney 

OCTOBER 4, 2018

EPISODE NOTES: In our third episode, the editors of Commonweal discuss Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court and the subsequent hearing with Dr. Blasey Ford. Contributing writer Paul Moses chats about U.S. immigration policy with Donald Kerwin, Director of the Center for Migration Studies. Senior editor Matthew Boudway and Alan Jacobs discuss his new book, The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis. Assistant editor Griffin Oleynick and Julian Revie, a composer of sacred music at St. Thomas More, the Catholic Chapel at Yale, have wide-ranging conversation about liturgical music. And Commonweal staffers discuss the David Wojnarowicsz exhibition at The Whitney, which just closed.

 "If I’m not careful, righteous anger becomes vindictive pettiness, that cardinal sin of pride.... I worry about indiscriminate female rage precisely because the moment is important, and self-righteousness makes it harder to speak convincingly, logically, justly, turns political power to mere personal animus."

      — KATHERINE LUCKY 

Episode 4: On the Poetics of Flyover Country, the Synod on Young People, and our Broken Jail System  

OCTOBER 31, 2018

EPISODE NOTES: This episode features editor Dominic Preziosi and assistant editor Griffin Oleynick in conversation about the Synod on Young People at the Vatican, specifically its treatment of issues related to immigration and displacement. Katherine Lucky chats with Meghan O'Gieblyn, whose essays on faith and life were recently been compiled into Interior States. Anthony Domestico talks to Emily Ruskovich about her debut novel, Idaho— a "wrenching and beautiful book" according to the New York Times. And Derek Jeffrey's expands on the themes of his new book,  America's Jails: The Search for Human Dignity in the Age of Mass Incarceration. 

 At the Synod on Young People, “the [sex abuse] crisis is not simply something hanging over everyone in the room. It’s not just a source of powerlessness. Because it’s such an elephant in the room, and because it’s so heavy, it’s something that can be dealt with immediately, so people are jumping right into it. People are walking through it.” 

      — GRIFFIN OLEYNICK

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Episode 5: the USCCB, Cultural Appropriation, Dan Barry on his book This Land

NOVEMBER 21

EPISODE NOTES: This episode features editor Dominic Preziosi in conversation with columnist John Gehring in which they wrap-up November's US Bishop's meetings in Baltimore. Our literary columnist Anthony Domestico interviews poet Katie Ford about her new collection If You Have to Go. Dominic Preziosi also chats with longtime New York Times writer Dan Barry about his collection of reported essays, This Land. And senior editor Matthew Boudway moderates an exchange on cultural appropriation between contributor Rand Richards Cooper and intern Nicole-Ann Lobo.

 “The bishops have lost credibility not only because of sexual predation and their inability to police themselves around the abuse crisis, but also, I think we need to think more deeply about a patriarchal culture, the inclusion of women—those big questions. Honestly, if anyone is going to save the church it’s going to be the laity. The question is: how much power do you concede to the laity?” 

      — JOHN GEHRING, COLUMNIST

Episode 6: "Why We Came. Why We Left. Why We Stayed.  

DECEMBER 12

EPISODE NOTES: On this episode,we highlight the issue of December 1, which included our special feature "Why We Came. Why We Left. Why We Stayed" — a collection of essays by converts, practicing cradle Catholics, and lapsed or ex-Catholics. Senior editor Matthew Boudway introduces the series, and we also spoke with three of our contributors: Ross Douthat, Helene Stapinski, and Dorothy Fortenberry. The December 1st issue also included our annual Christmas Critics roundup — four editors discuss the books they read in 2018 and recommend to you. Plus, a look at Cassandra Nelson's new essay about the lifeline that the liturgical calendar provides. 

 “There are things I get out of the Catholic Church that I don’t get anywhere else. And a lot of them also come from the bigness. A diversity in my parish that looks like the diversity of Los Angeles (and not the diversity of your average writers’ room). A heft that can be mustered on behalf of the vulnerable. A community that stretches all over the globe, which means that wherever I travel, I can—more or less—follow along when I go to Mass. A longevity that matters to me these days, maybe more than it ever has before. America is feeling extremely young right now. Democracy is feeling extra fragile.

      — DOROTHY FORTENBERRY 

Episode 7: Peter Steinfels on the PA Grand-Jury Report on Clerical Sex Abuse, Allan Lichtman on Voting Rights in the U.S., and poet Danielle Chapman with Tony Domestico

JANUARY 16

EPISODE NOTES: Peter Steinfels discusses his recent piece on the PA Grand-Jury Report, a document he contends is "inaccurate, unfair, and fundamentally misleading" in its characterization of how church officials handled allegations of abuse. Allan Lichtman, author of  The Embattled Vote in America, discusses the complicated history of voting rights in the United States and the ways in which the Constitution is actually responsible for many of our current problems. And Commonweal literary columnist Tony Domestico interviews poet Danielle Chapman about everything from metaphysics to John Ashbery to Tennessee, Chicago, and Shia LaBeouf, with Danielle reading her poetry throughout their conversation. 

"There has become an established script on how sex abuse, especially clergy sex abuse, is viewed and understood. That script arises from the fact that there’s a certain convergence between the desire of litigators to find some recompense for victims from the past, recompense which will only be found in the one source available—the supposedly deep pockets of the diocese and insurance companies—and on the other hand, the desire that has arose from the needs of the media. That has resulted in a single script that poses negligible and knowledgeable bishops versus the victims. That’s part of the story, but it’s only part of it.” — PETER STEINFELS