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This week Jim McDermott, S.J., joins Tim Reidy, Kerry Weber and Zac Davis in conversation about how to respond to moral crises in Charlottesville and beyond.

“Charlottesville is another moment when… there is so much surprising stuff happening, and it creates such a strong response that it becomes difficult to parse…. Outrage is like a fire—once it starts it burns everywhere.”

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The podcast’s guest this week is Mark Singel, former lieutenant governor and acting governor of Pennsylvania from 1987-1995. His recent article for America is called “I pardoned a convict who killed again. Here’s why I still believe in mercy.

Singel discusses his decision to commute the sentence of Reginald McFadden in 1992, when he was chairman of the State Board of Pardons. After McFadden was freed, he committed another murder and a rape. Singel’s political opponents were able to “take that incident and turn it into a potent political weapon,” he says. “I had, in fact, voted and made a judgement call to give this individual a second chance,” Singel admits, “and he betrayed that public trust.”

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Our guest this week is Simcha Fisher, a contributor to America and the author of The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning. Her recent article is called “I thought Good Catholics didn't need therapy. Then I went.

For Fisher, therapy turned out to be a “tool” that helped her draw closer to God: “I thought that a lot of the things that were wrong with me were spiritual problems, but it turns out that a lot of them were really psychological problems that were impeding spiritual growth.”

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This week’s podcast features Elizabeth Bruenig, a contributing writer for America. Her recent article is called “How Augustine's Confessions and left politics inspired my conversion to Catholicism.” 

“I was always interested in Christianity. Even as a kid I was active in my church,” Bruenig said. But what was lacking in her Protestant upbringing was the “interpretive tradition that accompanies Scripture.” This desire for theological conversation was one reason Bruenig later converted to Catholicism. 

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This week’s podcast features John Jenkins, C.S.C., the president of the University of Notre Dame. Father Jenkins recently wrote a cover story for America marking the 50-year anniversary of the Land O’ Lakes Statement, a seminal document on Catholic higher education in the United States.

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Our guest this week is America’s national correspondent, Michael O’Loughlin, whose recent article is: “How Catholic health care is fighting against the campaign for physician-assisted suicide.”

“[Physician-assisted suicide] is legal in about a half dozen states, and supporters say they hope to take the campaign to about a dozen other states in the next two to three years,” O’Loughlin explained. “It is something that is becoming a reality for millions of Americans.” In light of this reality, he asked: “What does this mean for Catholic hospitals?”

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Our guest this week is Nathan Schneider, a contributing writer for America and the author of “Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and The Case Against Philanthropy As We Know It,” which appeared in America’s June 26th issue.

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Our guest this week is Eileen Markey, the author of A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sister Maura. She is also the author of America’s most recent cover article: “The Spirit of Standing Rock.”

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Our guest this week is Stephanie Slade, a managing editor at Reason magazine and contributing writer at America. Her latest article explores the legal challenges launched by the American Civil Liberties Union against Catholic hospitals.

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This week’s guest is Nichole M. Flores, an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia and contributing writer at America. She recently wrote an article for America titled “In Jefferson’s Shadow: Can Catholic theology thrive at a public university?,” which explored the challenge of teaching theology at a university founded by Thomas Jefferson, who once famously called for a “wall of separation” between church and state.

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