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Subject Matters

Host Sebastian Gomes sits down with authors and editors to discuss books of interest – from pressing political and cultural issues to questions and debates about the supernatural – in hopes of reigniting interest in the art of the written word and sparking the imaginations of a new generation of book lovers.
Subject Matters

Trailer | Subject Matters

S1 E1 | Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.

Nothing sparks more religious debate today than questions surrounding the historical Jesus. This book examines six holy objects that some say can be traced back to Jesus himself. Finding Jesus is the best of modern science and faith. And we’re exploring it on Subject Matters.

S1 E2 | Rebuilding Your Message: Practical Tools to Strengthen Your Preaching and Teaching

Authors Tom Corcoran and Fr. Michael White emphasize that how a parish communicates its message matters. Their book, Rebuilding Your Message, offers practical tools for effective communication from the pulpit and from the pews. It’s a clear and honest assessment of what works and what doesn’t.

S1 E3 | Experts in Humanity: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing

How do we best understand others? This is one of the big questions posed in a new book by Josephine Lombardi. Experts in Humanity: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing blends rich Catholic spirituality with the most up-to-date behavioural science.

S1 E4 | The Vatican Prophecies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age

Whether you believe in miracles or not, countless claims of supernatural events have been submitted to the Vatican for authentication. In his latest book, religious journalist John Thavis investigates the most compelling and controversial of these phenomena.

S1 E5 | Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII

Since World War II, Pope Pius XII has been at the centre of a vociferous moral debate. Did he, as the leader of the Catholic Church, speak out enough against the Nazis and their horrific crimes against European Jews? Author Robert Ventresca argues that counter-claims have been misled for too long.

S1 E6 | Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and the Church

When Pope Francis called for a more incisive female presence in the Church, debate ignited. But what exactly does an incisive presence of women look like at the Vatican and throughout the Catholic Church? Mary Hasson and a group of women scholars and writers have proposed some paths forward.

S1 E7 | A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve

Mother Teresa notably called for accompaniment and service to the poorest of the poor. Her postulator says that enacting mercy is what she was all about. Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk is the editor of a new book of unpublished writings which reveal Mother Teresa’s rich and practical wisdom.

S1 E8 | The Rising Laity: Ecclesial Movements Since Vatican II

The Second Vatican Council sought to empower laypeople in the Catholic Church. But how has that materialized over the past 50 years? Church historian Massimo Faggioli points to the new lay movements as the key to answering this question; he examines how exactly they embody the spirit of Vatican II.

S1 E9 | The Catholic Church and Argentina’s Dirty War

When a violent revolutionary movement overtook Argentina in the second half of the 20th century, the Catholic Church was caught in the middle. Sociologist and Argentine Jesuit, Gustavo Morello has carefully studied his country’s dirty war. So what did it mean to be Catholic amidst the chaos?

S1 E10 | Blessed Among Us: Day by Day With Saintly Witnesses

Are the saints really as distant from us as we think, or is it time to re-evaluate our understanding of holiness? Author Robert Ellsberg has compiled an eclectic cloud of witnesses, past and present, that challenge us to do just that. The communion of saints is much bigger than we think.

S1 E11 | The Guardian of Mercy: How an Extraordinary Painting by Caravaggio Changed an Ordinary Life Today

Above the main altar in an unassuming church in Naples sits a masterpiece of Italian art. Caravaggio’s Seven Acts of Mercy painted in 1607 tells a much deeper story than may first appear. Terence Ward merges history, memoir, and investigative journalism in this stirring and remarkable dual narrative.

S1 E12 | Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science

Everyday science leads to new and groundbreaking discoveries. So what does it mean to understand and celebrate these discoveries through the lens of faith? Faith scientist and theologian Stacy Trasancos believes that discussing the matter in a reasonable and effective way requires the right tools.

S1 E13 | Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis

When Pope Francis arrived on the scene in 2013, many asked: Who is this man? Mark Shriver, a lifelong Catholic, travelled to Argentina to find out for himself. The result? Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis.

S2 E2 | Power From the Margins: The Emergence of the Latino in the Church and in Society

With growing tension around US immigration policy, a large and diverse Latino community holds its breath. Almost half of all US Catholics are Latino — presenting unique social challenges. Retired Bishop Ricardo Ramírez, CSB, believes empowering Latino Americans reflects radically Christian ideas.

S2 E3 | Ageless Wisdom: Lifetime Lessons From the Bible

What’s the relationship between age and wisdom? Does wisdom automatically increase as we age? The Bible may be the wisest place to look for answers. Christopher Bellitto ventures into the world of scriptures, hoping to uncover a roadmap for our journey.

S2 E4 | Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty

She was one of the most compelling Catholic figures in the 20th century — Dorothy Day, activist, passivist, and tireless advocate for the poor. Now her cause for canonization, opened by Kate Hennessy, her youngest grandchild, has made a remarkable contribution to her story.

S2 E5 | Towards Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue 500 Years After the Reformation

Catholic and Protestant churches have been split for 500 years. But today, the scandal of division is compelling all Christians to imagine and pursue the church united. Nicholas Jesson, an expert in ecumenism, is a part of a team that published an inclusive insider’s look at the current dialogue.

S2 E6 | Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics

Many Catholics have been hurt by other Catholics, or the institution of the Church. From lack of charity to horrendous experiences of sexual abuse, the pain is real and often hidden. Fr. Thomas Berg grapples with this reality and prompts the Church with a collective examination of conscience.

S2 E7 | Canada’s Catholics: Vitality and Hope in a New Era

Many Catholics say the Church is diminishing. But does this hold true, or is there another part of the story? Reginald Bibby, one of Canada’s most respected sociologists, recently conducted a major cross-Canada survey. The future is bright, he says, when you crunch the numbers on Canada’s Catholics.

S2 E8 | One Ordinary Sunday: A Meditation on the Mystery of the Mass

From the preaching of the Word to Eucharistic sacrifice, Christians continue to encounter Jesus in the celebration of the Mass. Reflecting on this familiar yet transcendent mystery, novelist and spiritual writer Paula Huston sheds more light on the Catholic Mass. 

S2 E9 | Conscience of a Nation: Jesuits in English Canada 1842-2016

You can’t tell the history of Canada without talking about the Jesuits. Infused with the spirituality at St. Ignatius, the Jesuits moved into Canada over the last two centuries. Now Fr. Jacques Monet, the eminent Jesuit historian, has added a third and final volume of the Jesuit history series.

S2 E10 | Jubilee: 50 Years of Solidarity

When Jesus began his public ministry, he proclaimed God’s liberty and healing to the poor. In 1967, that mission statement was revitalized into the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. Now celebrating their golden jubilee, Danny Gillis discusses Jubilee: 50 Years of Solidarity.

S2 E11 | Women Deacons

That women once served as deacons in the early Church is widely acknowledged by scholars today. But why did the practice of ordaining women to the diaconate fade by the 1300s? Leading expert in the field, Dr. Phyllis Zagano, was appointed to the pope’s new commission to study the matter in 2016.

S3 E1 | River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey

Few people can say that their ministry inspired an Oscar-winning film. One of them is Sr. Helen Prejean. But who was Sr. Helen before Dead Man Walking? And what ignited her advocacy for death row prisoners? Those questions and more have been answered in a new and intimate memoir.

S3 E2 | Convergent Knowing: Christianity and Science in Conversation With a Suffering Creation

That creation is suffering is undeniable. But what is the ultimate solution to this ecological crisis? Science and religion both have roles to play. But can they be brought together in a common ethical vision and in time to save the planet? Professor Simon Appolloni says yes in his latest book.

S3 E3 | Finding Jesus Among Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me a Better Catholic

Pope Francis often speaks about dialogue between Christians and Muslims. His powerful gestures have captured the hearts of people of both faiths, including Jordan Denari Duffner. An advocate for dialogue, she authored Finding Jesus Among Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me a Better Catholic.

S3 E4 | Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril

For thousands of years, Christians believed Jesus’ brutal death on the cross was necessary for the salvation of human souls — but what if this theology inherited from St. Anselm was just one interpretation, and potentially a misguided one? So says iconic theologian Elizabeth Johnson.

S3 E5 | Journeys to Justice: Reflections on Canadian Christian Activism

Christians have long engaged in struggles for social justice in Canada. From refugee resettlement to environmental protection, what the Gospel demands these activists have lived. Longtime leader in the field, Joe Gunn, is now reaching out to the next generation with lessons from the past.

S3 E6 | Reading, Praying, Living Pope Francis’s Rejoice and Be Glad

Pope Francis’ 2018 exhortation on holiness is one of his defining teachings. Gaudete et Exsultate says living a holy life is not only possible, it's the vocation of each and every person. To help explain this teaching, Liturgical Press has teamed up with popular Franciscan author Fr. Daniel Horan.

S3 E7 | However Long the Night: Making Meaning in a Time of Crisis

When the Vatican imposed the mandate for reform on the LCWR in 2012, American nuns were blind sided. What can they possibly do in the face of such an action and what does it mean for the future of religious life? Sr. Annmarie Sanders tells us how the sisters charted the path to peace.


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