Pope Francis — not for the first time — features prominently in this month’s episode of The 15th Station. He’s going to examine the possibility of ordaining married men to help address priest shortages in some remote parts of the world and he has also challenged us to be more generous in the way we respond to those who are asking for our charity. Back in New Zealand, plans have been unveiled for an Archdiocesan Synod in Wellington, to be held later this year, looking at the present and future of the Church there. In the US, Catholic bishops and ministry leaders remain deeply concerned about President Trump’s approach to refugees and asylum seekers. But a “Franciscan” dog might be able to bring a smile to our faces to wrap up the show. James and Gavin welcome a new podcaster, Anna, to this episode. Enjoy the show!
It’s been a manic first (almost) month in the Trump presidency, and the US bishops have been both praising and criticising the President. In Australia, the bishops have been more focused on repentance, as damning statistics emerge about the extent of sexual abuse in the Church there. Back in New Zealand, there’s more analysis of the changing religious landscape and, internationally, there’s conjecture about a new translation of the Mass. But what would Jesus tweet? Catholic comedian Stephen Colbert offers his thoughts. Join Don, James and Gavin for the latest episode of The 15th Station.
Pope Francis has expressed optimism that 2017 can be a good year while also acknowledging the deadly start to the year in Turkey and the challenge of people embracing peace and rejecting hatred. The Pope has also called for bishops to redouble their efforts in stamping out child sexual abuse in the Church. The Vatican is looking to strengthen ties with China, but China has its own views of how the Church should be allowed to operate in the Communist country. Cardinal John Dew wants to strengthen the Church’s ties with young people, showing them what a life in service of others can offer. In Sri Lanka, a Christmas carol service offered something a bit different, with the wrong Hail Mary lyrics printed in the hymn booklet. Join Don, James and Gavin for another wide-ranging episode of The 15th Station.
Two big stories from New Zealand lead off the Christmas episode of The 15th Station. Following the surprise resignation of Prime Minister John Key, Bill English became the latest Catholic to hold the position, saying his faith is a big part of his life but won’t dictate his public policy. Another famous Catholic who spent a long time in Wellington, Mother Suzanne Aubert, was also in the news, as she was declared Venerable by Pope Francis, recognising her life of service among the poor and marginalised. Pope Francis’s comments on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics and his ongoing support for the plight of refugees also grabbed headlines. But a new Catholic app hopes to grab people’s hearts and souls and encourage them back to the sacraments. Join James, Don and Gavin for a bumper episode to round out 2016.
The remarkable and unexpected election of Donald Trump highlights this month’s episode, with stories about the voting patterns of Catholic and Evangelicals and the hope for shared priorities with the Catholic Church and the President-Elect. Pope Francis’s affirmation of the Church’s teaching on women’s ordination and the news that the Christchurch Cathedral could be fully restored — at the cost of $100 million — also feature on the show. But the big question of the month is “What happened to a New Zealand teddy bear at the Vatican?” Enjoy the show.
The longest — and most negative — presidential campaign in history is coming to a close. Don, James and Gavin talk about the Pope’s advice for US voters: Study the policies, pray and vote your conscience. Where does that leave voters? The panel also discuss a new bishop in Australia, who’s actually a New Zealander, the new group of cardinals and what that says about Pope Francis’s vision for the Church, and also the ecumenical efforts of Anglican and Catholic leaders, including two Kiwi bishops. And this month’s light story isn’t all that light; in fact, it’s pretty dark. Does the world have enough exorcists? Enjoy another diverse episode of The 15th Station.
The canonisation of Mother Teresa — now St Teresa of Calcutta — was the big news story of the month, and it takes top billing in this episode of The 15th Station. But news of two Popes isn’t too far behind, after an interview with Pope Benedict was released, prompting a flurry of media stories. For Pope Francis, it was him being chosen as the world’s most inspirational leader by former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark and his meeting with Mark Zuckerberg that features on the show. And, with less than two months until the US election, Democrat VP candidate Tim Kaine raised eyebrows with his prediction the Catholic Church might eventually join the ranks of those who support same-sex marriage. Find out if Don, James and Gavin disagree.
It’s the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady — so that means it’s our birthday. The 15th Station celebrates nine years of podcasting with a show that opens with the shocking story of an elderly French priest’s murder at the hands of cowardly terrorists. As hard as it is to proceed from such horror, the Holy Father’s comments at World Youth Day and some forthright words from a seminary formation director help to refocus on the positivity of the Catholic faith. To show the joy of that faith, the Church needs great witnesses. And Pope Francis wants parish secretaries to be part of that number. Enjoy our birthday show!
Somewhat recurrent themes on The 15th Station — clerical abuse and the state of the US presidential race — show their face again in this month’s episode. Pope Francis has taken steps to make the removal of negligent bishops more straightforward, despite some counter-productive efforts in the US on statutes of limitations. Former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark says the country offers a model for religious tolerance at about the same time Donald Trump is accused of lacking in that virtue. The holiness of a French priest who served in New Zealand and the humour of Jim and Jeanne Gaffigan might save us.