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Kresta in the Afternoon-December 15th, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 15, 2014

4:00 – Kresta Comments: Responses to the Torture Report
Last week’s Direct to my Desk segment on the CIA report generated great discussion on the nature and definition of torture. Al recaps some of the main points and responds to some letters he has received on the topic.

4:20 – Islamic Violence: The Year in Review
Meriam Ibrahim. The Boko Haram girls. The beheading in Oklahoma City. And of course, ISIS. Those are just some of the major stories on Islamic violence from this year. Robert Spencer is here with a review of the major stories from the past year, with a specific focus on the rise of ISIS and the ongoing fight against the terrorist group.

5:00 – Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty
Judge, scholar, bestselling author, and Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew P. Napolitano is back with a shocking chronicle of America’s descent from a free society to a frightening surveillance state. In Suicide Pact, Napolitano details a long, sordid history of governmental—and especially presidential—encroachments on liberty, enacted in the name of protecting America but which serve instead to undermine national security and erode the nation’s founding freedoms. Blending fascinating history with fresh reporting and analysis on contemporary issues such as drone warfare and executions, NSA surveillance, and secret federal courts, Suicide Pact casts a vision beyond hollow rhetoric to common-sense solutions for returning sanity to our shores. Judge Napolitano joins us.

5:20 – Kresta Comments: Responses to the Torture Report
Last week’s Direct to my Desk segment on the CIA report generated great discussion on the nature and definition of torture. Al recaps some of the main points and responds to some letters he has received on the topic.

5:40 – Exodus: The Movie and History-Fact or Fantasy?
Exodus: Gods and Kings took the top spot at the box office this weekend with ticket sales of more than $24 million, and it is expected to surge through the holiday season. Al has his own thoughts on the film, and also sits down with Steven Greydanus to discuss the film’s value, both artistically and as an interpretation of Scripture. Also in this segment, Al discusses the historical and archaeological support for the events recounted in Scripture.

Kresta in the Afternoon-December 12th, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 12, 2014

 4:00 – Exodus: Gods and Kings movie review

Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale and directed by Ridley Scott, premiers this weekend. Al and Nick Thomm have already seen the film and discuss both its cinematic and religious value. Is the film faithful to the story told in the Old Testament? What artistic liberties were taken? How does the Old Testament account compare to archaeological evidence? Al and Nick discuss these questions.

4:20 – Direct to My Desk: Catholic Reactions to the CIA Torture Report

We’re continuing our discussion on the CIA torture report, and we want to hear from you. What is your reaction to the Senate’s findings? Do they diminish the US’s mission to spread peace and justice? How should we treat enemies who have devoted their lives to destroying our most important values? Call us with your thoughts and questions at 877-573-7825. We look forward to hearing from you!

5:50 – Exodus: Gods and Kings movie review

Kresta in the Afternoon-December 11th, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 11, 2014

4:20 – Miracle Man

Every near-death experience is account is extraordinary, but “Miracle Man” is amazing on an entirely different level. The story takes the reader on a spiritual excursion through Bernie Klein’s riveting journey to heaven and back. After experiencing multiple organ failure and spending six weeks comatose and on life support, Bernie came back from the dead to share his dramatic encounter with Jesus, earning him the name “Miracle Man” among the hospital staff. Bernie’s experience gave him extreme clarity on what truly matters. Judy Klein, Bernie’s widow, joins us today to tell her husband’s story she has learned to place her trust in God.

5:00 – Mediations on Vatican Art Angels 

Open your heart to the presence of angels, God’s holy messengers and protectors. In Meditations on Vatican Art Angels, you can reflect on stunning depictions from the Vatican Museums and contemplate angelic encounters in Scripture. Following his acclaimed first book, Fr. Mark Haydu, international coordinator of the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums, serves once again as your spiritual guide for a breathtaking journey through time, meditation, and the Vatican art collections. Meditations on Vatican Art Angels offers you a deeper understanding of your own spiritual journey as you follow Fr. Haydu’s explanation of the battle between the fallen angels and the faithful angels and God sending His angels to watch over you. The book’s splendid reproductions of major works represent ancient through contemporary periods in art. Fr. Haydu is with us today to help us open our hearts to angels’ existence and their desire to keep you from harm and guide you to God.

Kresta in the Afternoon-December 10th, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 10th, 2014

Today’s schedule will be posted soon.

Kresta in the Afternoon-December 9th, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 9th, 2014

4:00 – A Quick Word: What do our Most Popular Searches Reveal about our Culture?

4:10 – Eric Garner’s Wife: “I don’t feel like it’s a black and white thing.”

Protests continue across the nation after a New York police officer was not indicted for the chokehold death of Eric Garner. Many professional athletes, including Lebron James, printed the words “I Can’t Breathe” on their warmup jackets and sneakers during this weekend’s games. It has been suggested that Garner would still be alive today if he were white. His wife Esaw has a different opinion. She said in an interview that she doesn’t think her husband’s death was racially influenced. Al has his reaction to Esaw’s comments.

4:20 – What Are the Girls on The Sisterhood Discerning?

Last month we interviewed the Mother Superior of a Kentucky convent that is being featured on the new Lifetime show The Sisterhood. The show follows five young women to three different convents as they try to discern whether they are being called to religious life. How did the show find the five girls? Were they seriously discerning the religious life before going on the show? We talk to Francesca DiPaola, one of the five girls, about her experiences.

4:40 – Rescued from Prison: An Innocent Man Accused of Murder Fights to Protect Others

When Jeffrey Deskovic was 16, he was accused of raping and murdering a classmate. He was questioned without a lawyer present and threatened until he made a confession. Despite DNA evidence at his trial that should have exonerated him, Mr. Deskovic was convicted and spent the next 17 years in prison. The case was eventually reopened and he was freed in 2007 after DNA evidence was linked to another prisoner who later confessed to the murder. After he was released, he founded the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, which fights to free wrongfully convicted prisoners and help them integrate back into society. Jeffrey joins us.

5:00 – A Quick Word: What do our Most Popular Searches Reveal about our Culture?

5:10 – Eric Garner’s Wife: “I don’t feel like it’s a black and white thing.”

5:20 – Delivering Food, Shelter and Hope to the Poorest of the Poor

Cross-Catholic International Outreach is a charity that provides food, medical services, education and other forms of aid to poverty-stricken people around the world. A donation of $30 provides a family with two goats for food and income, and a donation of $15 can feed a child for 30 days. Jim Cavnar, the president of Cross Catholic International, joins us.

5:40 – Living Advent: The Infancy Narratives

The four Gospels each include different details on the story of Christ’s birth. How are they connected? How are they different? What unique revelations does each Gospel account contain? Dr. Ed Sri, professor of theology and Scripture at the Augustine Institute’s Master’s in Catechetics and Evangelization program, is here to talk about the birth of Christ as it is told in the Gospels.

Kresta in the Afternoon-November 17, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on November 17, 2014

4:00 – Obama’s Immigration Order: How Should Catholics React?

President Obama has threatened for months to issue an Executive Order on immigration if Congress was unable to reach a satisfactory decision. Recent reports have indicated the Order will be announced on Friday, leading to intention speculation as to what the Order may contain. We ask Kevin Appleby, director of the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services office, about the potential details of Obama’s Order and what they mean for Catholics.  

4:20 – Another Beheading and yet another Sign that ISIS thinks it is a Nation State

Americans awoke yesterday to news that has become tragically familiar: another innocent man has been brutally executed by ISIS. The victim this time is Abdul-Rahman Kassig, formerly known as Peter. Kassig’s death is unique because he claims to have converted to Islam more than a year before his death. ISIS announced his death in a video that also featured the murders of a dozen Syrian soldiers. The terrorist group has also announced it will begin minting its own currency, which it calls the Islamic Dinar. This is yet another sign that the leaders of ISIS consider the so-called Islamic State to be a legitimate independent nation. Robert Spencer joins us to discuss the latest developments in the war against ISIS.



4:40 – Kresta Comments: Talking about Church Politics is not Spreading the Gospel



5:00 – How Important was Harry Blackmun’s Abortion Ruling?

Last week marked the anniversary of the birth of former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. To phrase that under Blackmun’s own logic, it was the day on which a clump of parasitic cells survived its mother’s rights to privacy and to choose what to do with her body, and became its own “person” with the rights bound to those lucky enough to be born. Blackmun is best known for authoring the Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, and his execrable and intellectually dishonest decision doomed millions of his fellow human beings to death. Clarke Forsythe joins us with his thoughts on this deeply flawed decision that changed America so drastically.



5:20 – Scientists Land Probe on Comet: What’s the Significance?

A team of European scientists has successfully completed the first landing of a space probe on a comet. The Rosetta spacecraft continues to conduct experiments and analysis on the comet, which is located between Mars and Jupiter. Fr Robert Spitzer of the Magis Center for Reason and Faith tells us about the significance of this achievement.



5:40 – Another Beheading and yet another Sign that ISIS thinks it is a Nation State

Kresta in the Afternoon-November 7, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on November 7, 2014


4:00 – Christian Suffering: Why Does it Happen, and How Do We Cope with It?


Even the most faithful followers of Christ lead lives of hardship. Their loved ones die. They lose their jobs. They cope with fires, tornadoes and other disasters. They struggle to support their families. They face increasing persecution for their beliefs. Why does this happen? If Christ really is the Son of God, why is it so hard to follow Him? Al sits down with Dan Burke, the executive director of the National Catholic Register, to discuss the reasons for Christian suffering and the methods for coping with it.   


5:00 – Biblical and Theological Foundations of the Family


Biblical and Theological Foundations of the Family argues that the family has a constitutive nature and a specific theological purpose, which God reveals in the church. Joseph Atkinson investigates the principles of the doctrine of Creation which inform the family “from the beginning”; the vital way the family functions as “carrier of the covenant” in the Old Testament; and the critical aspects of Hebraic anthropology, especially corporate personality, upon which the family is based. Joseph joins us. 

Kresta in the Afternoon-November 5, 2014

Today on “Kresta in the Afternoon,” we review the midterm elections. What do the Republican victories in the House, Senate and at the state level mean for America? What do they suggest Americans feel about President Obama and his policies? What happens now in Washington? Will Obama be willing to work with a Republican-controlled Congress? What can we expect from the final two years of his presidency? Most importantly, what does all this mean for Catholics? We answer these questions and more on a special midterm elections edition of “Kresta in the Afternoon.” And if you need a break from the political talk, we’ll also be talking to Steven Greydanus about two of the latest Hollywood blockbusters.


Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on November 5, 2014


4:10 – Republicans Cruise to Victory in Midterm Elections 


Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review online is our first guest as we review the midterm elections.


4:20 – Key Victories Hand Senate Control to GOP


Ave Maria Radio’s own Deal Hudson is our next guest in the midterm discussion. Deal is the host of Church and Culture radio show and the president of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture.


4:40 – Kresta Comments: Should Catholics Take Heart in the Election Results?


Al answers the most important question from the midterms: what do the midterm results mean for Catholics? What can we expect in the areas of the sanctity of life, definition of marriage and religious freedom?


5:10 – Republican Dominance Shows Rejection of Obama’s Policies


The final guest in our midterm discussion is Gary Bauer, a leading voice in the pro-life and pro-family movement and the president of American Values.


5:20 –Kresta Comments: Should Catholics Take Heart in the Election Results?


5:40 – Steven Greydanus Interstellar & Big Hero Six

Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan, is a sci-fi adventure film that has received very positive reviews. Disney’s latest animated feature, Big Hero Six, is due out this weekend and has received rave initial reviews. Steven Greydanus joins us to review these films. 

Exorcisms, ESP and the Occult in movies – What’s a Catholic to do?


Today we’re talking to Steven Greydanus of DecentFilms.com and Patrick Coffin of Catholic Answers Live about exorcism, ESP and Occult movies. Read this article from Steven before the show and don’t forget to tune in!

via DecentFilms.com 

by Steven Greydanus

steven greydanusOver 40 years after The Exorcist, the subgenre of exorcism films pioneered by William Friedkin’s 1973 landmark film is still going strong.

Not that exorcism was unknown in movies prior to The Exorcist. But The Exorcist spotlighted the phenomenon of possession and deliverance in an unprecedented way.

In a way, The Exorcist is a pivotal film — the indispensable link between the Catholic-inflected piety of Golden Age Hollywood and the demonic world of latter-day horror. More than this, it is the source or channel of much of our culture’s awareness of and ideas about possession and exorcism. Real-world exorcisms in both Catholic and Protestant milieus proliferated in the film’s wake, and its impact continues to be felt in recent films.

The form of exorcism familiar from The Exorcist is that of the Roman Ritual of 1614, which remained unchanged until it was updated in 1999 and again in 2004. The film’s depiction both of the rite and of the phenomenon of possession, though sensationalized and exaggerated, is fairly authentic. Notable elements include the demon’s resistance to being exorcised and other ambiguities. For example, the young victim writhes in pain when a priest sprinkles her with water — though it is not blessed holy water. Placebo effect? Or is the demon deliberately casting doubt on the reality of the possession, the effectiveness of the Church’s arsenal, or both?

Exorcism, of course, didn’t begin with the 1614 ritual — and movie exorcism didn’t begin with The Exorcist. Casting out demons goes back to the ministry of Jesus, and in the movies it goes back to the Jesus films of cinema’s silent origins. The 1912 film From The Manger to the Cross depicts Jesus healing a demoniac. Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 silent The King of Kings opens with Jesus dramatically delivering Mary Magdalene of her seven demons, here representing the seven deadly sins.

Although the Devil and satanic cults surfaced in films prior to The Exorcist, possession and efforts to cast out demons were rare. Edward Dmytryk’s 1962 biopic The Reluctant Saint climaxes with a dramatic extended exorcism scene featuring Ricardo Montalban as a Franciscan friar — an exorcism that fails because the exorcee, St. Joseph of Cupertino, isn’t possessed!

By the late 1960s, the pious certainties of Golden Age Hollywood had crumbled, and a jaded, sophisticated ennui prevailed. Mia Farrow, carrying the devil’s child in Rosemary’s Baby, flips through the Easter 1966 issue of Time magazine with the cover question “Is God Dead?” … and by the end neither God nor his agents has intervened, and the Devil is victorious. The Omen, made after The Exorcist, likewise ends with heaven essentially defaulting while hell triumphs.

Even when the slews of Exorcist imitators embraced the war of good and evil, they seldom approached their inspiration for authenticity or quality. A 1972 Italian horror film, Lisa and the Devil, was liberally reworked for its 1975 US release with added scenes of pea-soup vomiting and clerical chanting (and retitled House of Exorcism). The 1974 blaxsploitation flick Abby brought a syncretistic bent, blending Christian and West African Yoruban religious elements. Amityville II: The Possession added a possession/exorcism twist to its predecessor’s tale of demonic terrorism — directly ripping off the climactic twist of Friedkin’s film.

Like these knockoffs, the Exorcist sequels failed theologically as well as artistically to match the original. Exorcist II: The Hereticfloated a number of bizarre ideas: The Catholic Church’s leadership distances itself from belief in the existence of Satan, while the late Fr. Merrin seems to have been posthumously transformed into a New Age disciple of the censured Jesuit mystic Teilhard de Chardin. In The Exorcist III, the demon of the first two films takes further revenge against Fr. Merrin by reanimating his body with the soul of a murderer!

Even when these post-Exorcist possession films retained the Catholic trappings of Friedkin’s film, the religious vision of the original was largely lost. Rather than spiritual warfare, exorcism was depicted in essentially magical terms.

Only Dominion: Prequel To the Exorcist even attempts to match the spirit of the original. Directed by Paul Schrader (a Calvin College alum who wrote the screenplay for The Last Temptation of Christ), it recounts Fr. Merrin’s first encounter with the demon in Kenya, where archaeologists unearth a fifth-century Byzantine church built as a prison for the demon. Schrader’s pensive, theological approach didn’t match studio expectations, though, and the film was reworked by Renny Harlin as a more typical horror show calledExorcist: The Beginning. Both versions were eventually released, Reny’s in 2005; Shrader’s in 2006.

In those same two years, two films were released based on one real-life case (that of a young Bavarian woman named Anneliese Michel): Scott Derrickson’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) and Hans-Christian Schmid’s Requiem (2006). What distinguishes both of these sober, restrained films is their ambiguity: Is it demonic possession or mental illness? Derrickson takes a forensic approach, while Schmid uses a quasi-documentary style.

Taking the documentary angle further still, the 2010 mockumentary The Last Exorcism offered a Blair Witch / Paranormal Activitystyle spin on the material, with a disillusioned non-denominational pastor who no longer believes in God and agrees to participate in a documentary in order to expose exorcism as a sham. Unusual only for its non-Catholic milieu, it’s no more religiously curious than most films in the genre.

The 2011 film The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins, and The Conjuring are among The Exorcist’s few heirs to take spiritual themes and a Catholic milieu as seriously as The Exorcist. It’s a testament to the power of the original, and perhaps a lingering awareness of spiritual hunger in our society, that the genre remains vital 40 years later.

Kresta in the Afternoon – Sept 24

Talking about the “things that matter most” on September 24

4:00 – 6:00 – Direct to My Desk
Married to a Non-Catholic: How Can it Work?
What happens when Catholic marries a non-Catholic? What happens when a spouse leaves the Church? Does a drastic difference in belief necessarily spell doom or can these marriages work well? What is the role of respectful disagreement in building mutually enriching relationships? We talk about these questions and want you to share your stories, struggles, and advice for marriages which are “unequally yoked.”

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