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Kresta in the Afternoon – February 9, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on February 9, 2015

4:00 – Kresta Comments: Was Chris Kyle Called or Driven?

Chris Kyle, the hero of American Sniper, survived four tours of duty in Iraq before setting up a gun range to help military veterans with PTSD. He was killed in 2013 by one of the people he was trying to help. Was Kyle’s life a response to a calling he heard to protect and help the innocent or was he simply driven to do something impossible? Al has some thoughts.

4:20 – Obama and the Crusades

On Friday we took calls about Obama’s ignorant and misleading claim that Christians shouldn’t be too quick to criticize terrorists because the Crusades were done in the name of Christ. We follow up on this topic with Steve Weidenkopf. Steve is an expert on Church history and has more reasons why there is no comparison between the Crusades and the ongoing scourge of ISIS.

4:40 – Death with Dignity is Eliminating the Suffering, not the Sufferer

Advocates of euthanasia, or “Death with Dignity,” say their cause is all about reducing the suffering of a sick person and their family. They argue that by allowing patients to die “on their own terms,” euthanasia eliminates the suffering of all involved. Wesley Smith disagrees. A true dignified death can be realized by eliminating the suffering, not the sufferer. He’s here to discuss how to do this.

5:00 – Brian Williams: When Exaggeration becomes Lying

NBC’s Brian Williams has decided to take a leave of absence from the network. Williams is facing harsh criticism for falsely claiming he was on a helicopter hit by an RPG in Iraq. In his apology Williams claimed that he was simply confused, since the incident happened more than ten years ago. Analysis of how his story has changed since the incident suggests otherwise. Al discusses the evolution of Williams’ story and what leads people in trusted positions to embellish their stories.

5:20 – The Best Lent Ever

Steve Lawson invites you to join Matthew Kelly and the Dynamic Catholic team on a life-changing journey through your Best Lent Ever. Participants in this special email course will receive weekly videos and inspiration that explain the genius of Catholicism to empower them to become the best version of themselves. Steve joins us to preview this program, which is sure to enrich your faith life and help you get the most out of your Lenten journey.

5:40 – Papal Smackdown! Did Pope Francis Recommend Spanking?

The latest Francis Frenzy in the media? His statement that it is permissible for parents to spank their children provided certain criteria are met. Some feel he is supporting proper discipline, while others say he is out and out endorsing child abuse. More2Life’s Dr. Greg Popcak joins us with some insights into what Francis really said and gives a Catholic viewpoint on spanking.

American Sniper is About Frustration

Anyone who thinks American Sniper justifies rage and vengeance hasn’t seen the movie. Anybody who thinks American Sniper is a simple God, country, family movie oozing patriotism and virtue hasn’t seen the movie.

American Sniper is about frustration. Everybody except the Kyle children live lives of frustration just east of, but unable to enter, contentment.

This movie is about the ultimate futility of war and the broken humanity of the warriors. In the film, nobody who is touched by the war is better off because of it. Not Kyle, his wife, his brother, his buddies, the servicemen at the Veterans Administration hospital. When I finished watching it, I thought of the John Paul II’s statement that “war always speaks the failure of humanity.” Yes, there are just wars and just actions within war but war is a result of human failure, sin. Catholics are called to be peacemakers. Sometimes that will require protecting the innocent through the use of lethal force. It is always tragic. We must guard against the temptation that promises solutions to enduring human problems through violence. The problems don’t get solved. They get pushed to another venue to be resolved later.

Nobody watching this movie confuses the glory and honor of battle with high-minded celebrations or the frivolous joy that accompanies your favorite teams whipping of your state rival. Glory, in the biblical sense, has nothing to do with the giddy froth of triumphalism. “Glory”, in this sense, must mean, as it does in the Old and New Testaments, weightiness, the moral significance of war. Like marriage, it is not to be entered into lightly. Marriage brings life. It is, dramatically speaking, a comedy. War brings death. It is, dramatically, a tragedy. Both require the turning over of our humanity to be transformed for good or ill by the experience, the story.

I believe this is the most believable and honest anti-war movies I’ve seen. It is about the human drama inside the warrior, not the justification of war. The heroism of Chris Kyle is never wallowed in. Nor is it regarded as an unalloyed good. He’s got “issues” as they say. He’s had “issues” all his life. He knows this and this keeps him from basking in the glitter of his “heroism.” He’s just doing his job. He’s just protecting his fellow soldiers rather than exporting high-minded principles. There are no lofty speeches about freedom or human dignity. The bad guys are savages but we aren’t too far removed from them.

God’s plan and sense of personal calling well established at the beginning of the movie runs silently and deeply throughout. In the end, however, Chris Kyle acts as though he is driven rather than called. He imagines he can protect every soldier out there and that is what eventually kills him in the end.


Kresta in the Afternoon – February 6, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on February 6, 2015

 4:00-6:00 Direct to My Desk: American Sniper, Brian Williams and Religious Violence

We’re opening the lines today to talk to you. Our topics will include the controversy surrounding the hit movie American Sniper, NBC’s Brian Williams’ false claim that he was in a helicopter hit by an RPG in Iraq and Obama’s claim that violence has been done in the name of Christ, so Christians must avoid chastising terrorists. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Kresta in the Afternoon – February 5, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on February 5, 2015

4:00 – National Prayer Breakfast Speakers include Mother Teresa, Ben Carson, Tony Blair and…Darrell Waltrip?

Attendees at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast included President Obama and the Dalai Lama. Previous notable keynote speakers at this event have included Mother Teresa, who spoke harshly against abortion, and Ben Carson, who slammed the Affordable Care Act with President Obama sitting just a few feet away. This year’s speaker was something different: Darrell Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR champ. Al discusses the event and asks why Waltrip, of all people, was chosen to speak.

4:20 – The Grace of Yes

Beloved Catholic blogger Lisa Hendey explores eight spiritual virtues that she believes are foundational to the Christian life. In opening windows to pivotal moments of her own spiritual journey, she helps readers learn about belief, generativity, creativity, integrity, humility, vulnerability, saying no, and starting over, and shows how these virtues lead to generous living and the ability to joyously say yes to God. Hendey reflects candidly on real-life struggles: the identity adjustment of leaving a blossoming career to become a stay-at-home mom; the temptation of Divahood as her online celebrity grew; the freedom and opportunities of empty-nest status versus the middle-aged body’s pull to slow down; her encounters with spiritual community during treatment for cancer; and the contrast between the profound lingering grief she confronted at a Rwandan genocide memorial and the astounding willingness of survivors there to forgive. Readers encounter Hendey’s own struggles and successes while soaking up her characteristic warmth and good advice. Hendey provides questions for personal reflection and a prayer to close the exploration of each virtue. 

4:40 – Reactions to ISIS’ Latest Atrocities

ISIS’s graphic execution of a Jordanian pilot has been dubbed by some as a “tipping point” in the war. Jordan has responded with renewed vigor against the terrorist group, while the United Arab Emirates has withdrawn from the anti-ISIS coalition entirely. We talk with Raymond Ibrahim about how the Muslim world is responding to the latest developments.

5:00 – Obama: “US is a Beacon of Religious Liberty”…Just Ask Hobby Lobby

At today’s prayer breakfast, Obama emphasized the importance of religious freedom around the world and proudly proclaimed his commitment to its defense. What would the hundreds of religious organizations fighting the HHS mandate have to say about that? Al certainly has plenty of thoughts.

5:20 – Sr. John Dominic


5:40 – Random Stuff that Matters

We’ve gathered a large stack of tidbits from the news and culture and Al has a few quick thoughts on all of them. On this inaugural edition of “Stack of Stuff,” Al looks at a study of words spoken by women in the Bible, the money being paid to Conestoga Wood for their HHS Mandate victory, a Vatican report that allegedly says cosmetic surgery is a burqa made of flesh, a magazine cover proclaiming Tom Brady’s road to immortality and the news that Harper Lee is publishing a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird.”






















Audio Clips 2/5/15

  1. M Teresa NPB   2:25
    1. Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast 2/3/1994
  2. Darrell Waltrip NPB :16
    1. Not a brain surgeon, not a politician, perfect guy
  3. Obama High Horse :25
  4. Obama Humility :40
  5. Obama Truth :56
  6. Obama Freedom 1:03

Kresta in the Afternoon – February 3, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on February 3, 2015

4:00-6:00 – Direct to My Desk

We’re opening up the phone lines for the full show today. We have a wide variety of topics we’d like to hear your thoughts on.

We have a list of five lies the culture tells us every day. We want to know if you think they’re accurate and if there are other lies for the list.

obama wheel of fortune

We also want to hear what happens when pro-life Democrats “grow up” and how far someone will go to make Obama look bad.

Our final question concerns why Obama isn’t calling Islamic terrorism by its real name, even when Egypt’s president is.

We want to hear your thoughts on all these topics as well as any other questions you may have. Call us at 877-573-7825. We’re looking forward to speaking with you!

Kresta in the Afternoon – February 2, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on February 2, 2015 

4:10 – Kresta Comments: Super Bowl Review

Sports fans across the nation are going to be talking about last night’s game for weeks, especially the controversial play call that led to one of the most dramatic endings in years. We’re here to discuss other aspects of the game. Malcolm Butler, the rookie cornerback whose incredible interception in the end zone won the game for his team, had some amazing comments after the game. He told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya that he “had a vision” he was going to make a big play and credited his faith for his success. Al has some thoughts on Butler’s comments. Also in this segment, we talk about some of the more memorable Super Bowl ads and the messages they did-or didn’t-get across.

4:20 – A Terrorist by Any Other Name

The White House has now issued multiple statements claiming that the Taliban is an “armed insurgency,” not a terrorist group. It classifies al-Qaeda and ISIS as terrorist groups but claims the Taliban falls under a different category while acknowledging the Taliban’s terrorist activities. Why would a group responsible for countless terror attacks be classified as anything but a terrorist group? On a related note, Al-Jazeera, a leading Arabic news network, has banned the words ‘terrorist,’ ‘Islamist’ and “Jihad’ from its airwaves. Al discusses why the world is so obstinate in its refusal to acknowledge terrorism for what it really is.

4:40 – Why Thomas Aquinas Still Matters

Last week was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. Although he’s been dead for nearly 800 years, Aquinas’ teachings still ring true in the modern world and are beginning to gain an even stronger following. We’ve asked Dr. Peter Kreeft to join us and explain why Thomas Aquinas still matters.

5:10 – Kresta Comments: Super Bowl Review

Al has more thoughts on Malcolm Butler’s interview and the most talked-about ads from last night’s game.

5:20 – 50 Shades of Wrong

50 Shades of Grey premiers in less than two weeks. The film aired a new trailer during the Super Bowl touting its popularity and asking if viewers were “curious.” We cannot stress enough how this story glorifies violence and abuse against women and is harmful to society. Dr. Miriam Grossman joins us with a medical professional’s viewpoint on what makes the story so dangerous.

5:40 – Kresta Comments: 50 Shades of Wrong & Classifying the Taliban

Al follows up our discussion with Dr. Grossman with his own thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey. How can we know the story is bad if we haven’t actually read it? Isn’t it just a movie? What’s all the fuss? He also has some closing thoughts on the White House’s comments on the Taliban and why so many people are reluctant to call out terrorism.

Kresta in the Afternoon – January 30, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 30, 2015 

4:00 – St. Odd: The End is His Beginning

In Dean Koontz’s latest novel, Odd Thomas is back where it all started . . . because the time has come to finish it. Since he left his simple life in the small town of Pico Mundo, California, his journey has taken him to places strange and wonderful, mysterious and terrifying. Across the land, in the company of mortals and spirits alike, he has known kindness and cruelty, felt love and loss, saved lives and taken them—as he’s borne witness to the greatest good and darkest evil humanity is capable of. Again and again, he has gone where he must and done what he had to do—for better or worse—with his courage and devotion sorely tested, and his soul forever changed. Every triumph has been hard won. Each sacrifice has taken its toll. Dean joins us to discuss his new book.

4:20 – College Ratings Plans and Free Tuition: Will This Punish Religious Colleges?

The Obama Administration has unveiled a ratings plan intended to punish colleges that raise tuition rates too quickly. This comes in conjunction with Obama’s plan to provide two free years of community college. Is this yet another example of government overreach? We ask Anne Hendershott about these plans and what they mean for religious colleges. 

4:40 – At my Funeral, Please do Not Say…

We’ve all thought about how we will be remembered after death. What will our tombstone say? What will people say in our eulogy? How will we be remembered in the years after our death? Fr. Pat Egan, chaplain of Ave Maria Radio, is here with a different question. What’s the one thing we don’t want said at our funeral? Fr. Pat’s answer may surprise you.

5:00 – Kresta Comments: Fifty Shades of Grey is now the Fastest-Selling R-Rated Movie in Fandago History

“Fifty Shades” isn’t due out until Valentine’s Day, but it has already sold thousands of tickets online. Why is this story so popular? Our culture abhors rape, beatings and sexual assault, so why are so many people infatuated with a story that revolves around these themes?

5:20 – In Defense of Christians

In Defense of Christians is an organization that works to promote awareness and advocacy of religious freedom and persecution around the world. IDC does not exclusively focus on Christians; it seeks to protect the human rights of people of all faiths, and even those who profess no faith at all. The rights are universal and applicable to all human persons. We speak with Joe Cella, a senior advisor for the IDC, about his organization.

5:40 – What did the Saints Say about Islam?

In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis said, “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” The ongoing atrocities committed by ISIS, Boko Haram and other groups make this statement increasingly difficult to accept. What did the saints have to say about Islam and its teachings? Andrew Bieszad, an expert on Islamic relations, joins us with some examples.

Kresta in the Afternoon – January 29, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 29, 2015

4:00 – Catholic Schools Produce Better Citizens

We celebrate Catholic Schools Week by talking to Nicole Garnett. Nicole is the author of “Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America.” She details how Catholic schools promote the development of social capital—the social networks and mutual trust that form the foundation of safe and cohesive communities. She also demonstrates how the loss of Catholic schools triggers disorder, crime, and an overall decline in community cohesiveness.

4:20 – Kresta Comments: Is Julianne Moore her Own Creation? & Do Catholics Value Life More than God? 

Acclaimed actress Julianne Moore recently said that she doesn’t believe in God and that structure is imposed. “We impose order and narrative on everything in order to understand it. Otherwise, there’s nothing but chaos.” She also attributed her success to her ability to “be at the center of your own narrative and create your own life.” Would Moore feel this way if she weren’t a glamorous and successful actress? Al has some thoughts. Al also discusses the US Bishops’ recent statements on the death penalty as well as the significance of the death penalty’s inclusion in Mosaic law.

4:40 – Thomas Merton should have been a Franciscan

Saturday would have been the 100th birthday of Thomas Merton, also known as Fr. Louis. Merton’s autobiography, “The Seven Storey Mountain,” sent scores of readers flocking to monasteries and was included on National Review’s list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the 20th century. Merton was a Trappist monk, but within his teachings there is a distinct Franciscan influence. We speak with Dan Horan about why Merton should have been a Franciscan.

5:00 – The Church Rests on Peter

In the Book of Matthew, Jesus tells Peter, “You are rock, and on this rock I will build my Church.” Dr. Tim Gray is here to explain how St. Peter is the cornerstone of Catholicism.

5:20 – Kresta Comments: Is Julianne Moore her Own Creation? & Do Catholics Value Life More than God?

5:40 – Kevin Costner: “’Black or White’ is a Film Made for Our Time”

“Black or White” is the story of a grandfather who is suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter. When her paternal grandmother seeks custody, the little girl is torn between two families who love her deeply. Both families fight for what they feel is right and are soon forced to confront their true feelings about race, forgiveness and understanding. Star Kevin Costner joins us with his experiences from a story where nothing is as simple as black or white.


Kresta in the Afternoon – January 28, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 28, 2015

4:00 – Tiny Blue Lines: Reclaiming your Life, Preparing for your Baby and Moving Forward with Faith in an Unplanned Pregnancy

When Chaunie Marie Brusie stared down at the pregnancy test her senior year of college and saw two tiny blue lines–a positive test–she knew the road forward would be filled with difficult decisions, but she rose to the challenge. Brusie graduated from college, got married, and became a labor and delivery nurse and vocal advocate for the millions of young women who experience unplanned pregnancies each year. In her debut book, Tiny Blue Lines, Brusie offers coaching to young women, reminding them that their plight is near to the heart of Mary and that there is healing to be found in such Catholic practices as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Brusie provides lists, resources, humor, anecdotes, and spiritual inspiration to help women gracefully navigate this challenging terrain. Chaunie joins us today.

5:00 – Zealous: Following Jesus with Guidance from St. Paul

On Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. In honor of this feast we talk to Mark Hart, coauthor of Zealous: Following Jesus with Guidance from St. Paul. Mark gives us a contemporary look at the basics of spiritual life through the lens of St. Paul’s epistles. Mark takes us on a deeper dive into Scripture to find answers to our faith’s timeless questions and internalize what God’s truth means for us.

5:40 – My Personal Conversion Story

Okan Kulan, a Turkish tour guide who works with Steve Ray, joins us in studio all the way from Istanbul. Okan has just entered full communion with the Catholic Church. He tells us his conversion story.

Kresta in the Afternoon – January 26, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 23, 2015

4:00 – Kresta Comments: Does Saudi Arabia Matter? 

4:20 – The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today 

People often imagine that the Church Fathers looked like their icons and smelled of incense, heroic figures wrapped in fine liturgical vestments of silk and lace, engulfed in billows of smoke from their golden censers. Yet, truth be told, even in their writings they resemble more the tattered cloak of Jesus or the dusty sweat-soaked habits of the early Desert Fathers and Mothers. Theirs is an utterly incarnational spirituality. It is heaven-sent, but it moves forward with both feet on the ground of the earth. Author John Michael Talbot joins us with the story of how these men deeply influenced his spiritual, professional and personal life. Coming to the Christian faith as a young man during the turbulent 1960s, he soon grew a fond of the Church Fathers, including St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and Gregory the Great and found guidance, reassurance and wisdom on his path to Jesus. He says, “The early Church Fathers represent the first rows built upon the foundation of the Apostles. And that sacred building project continues throughout history to our time today. But it rests on the Fathers. It depends on them.”

 5:00 – Kresta Comments: Why the US is Stuck with Saudi Arabia

The death of Saudi King Abdullah raises questions about the US’s future in that region. The US has always considered Saudi Arabia to be a strong ally, despite deplorable human rights violations in that country.  As the world continues to ally against ISIS and Yemen descends into chaos, Al discusses why the US is ‘stuck’ with Saudi Arabia.

5:20 – Why the New Evangelization Needs a Focus on Fathers 

So many problems in our society can be traced back to the lack of a solid father figure. Countless studies have shown that kids who grow up without a positive relationship with their dads are much more likely to drop out of school, be arrested, use drugs and experience other problems. Despite their importance, fathers are regularly mocked in our popular culture and advertisements. Steve Wood of Family Life Center International joins us to talk about the critical role of fathers in the New Evangelization.

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