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Voice of the Vatican: Legatus and the Eternal City

29 Oct

a319c-upclose-with-patrick-novecoskyROME (Oct. 29, 2016) — Legatus, the world’s premier organization for Catholic business leaders, had its origin in Rome, the editor Legatus magazine told Shalom World TV‘s Ashley Puglia Noronha during an interview at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

Patrick Novecosky told Noronha on an episode of Voice of the Vatican that business leaders–presidents, CEOs and other executives–have great influence. Catholic business leaders have a great responsibility to set the ethical bar high for many reasons. Employees will rise or lower their ethical behavior after the model set by their company’s leader. Also, he said, ethically run businesses thrive and can weather storms that others cannot.

voiceNoronha asked Novecosky about Legatus magazine and its purpose. The magazine, he said, exists to help Legatus members to learn, live and spread their faith. Once they do that, their impact is virtually unlimited. He pointed to Tim and Steph Busch, California Legatus members who are helping build the business school at the Catholic University of America.

Novecosky also pointed to Pope St. John Paul II’s influence on Legatus and its mission. CLICK HERE to watch the entire interview. 9 minutes 28 seconds.

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EWTN’s Morning Glory: Legatus editor interview

28 Oct
Patrick Novecosky and Matthew Bunson

Patrick Novecosky and Matthew Bunson

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28, 2016) — Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog, was an in-studio guest on EWTN Radio’s Morning Glory program this morning.

Also in-studio were Morning Glory guest host Dr. Matthew Bunson, producer Alyssa MurphyFather Aquinas Guilbeau  from the Dominican House of Studies, and co-host Gloria Purvis.

MorningGloryDuring the 11-minute segment, the hosts asked Novecosky about Legatus and its newly chartered Washington DC Chapter. Bunson asked Novecosky ethics in the workplace and how Legatus helps form apostles for the New Evangelization.

CLICK HERE to listen to the entire interview (11 minutes 27 seconds)

Legatus, Tom Monaghan and his French horn

15 Sep

MorningGlorySEPTEMBER 15, 2015 — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog and Editor-in-Chief of Legatus magazine, was a guest on EWTN Radio’s Morning Glory program, broadcast live around the world from EWTN studios in Washington, D.C., this morning. Novecosky spoke to Morning Glory host Brian Patrick and his team of co-hosts Gloria Purvis, Fr. John Barry, and producer Alyssa Murphy.

They asked him about Legatus and its founder, Tom Monaghan, before moving on to talk about the importance of faith-filled business leaders for our highly secularized culture.

CLICK to listen to the entire interview (9 minutes 18 seconds).

EDITOR’S NOTE: One clarification: Tom Monaghan actually plays a B-flat alto horn, a close relative to the French horn.

morning-glory-team

Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie, ISIS, a film called WOODLAWN, and me

14 Sep

Pursuit of happiness 2

by Patrick Novecosky

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. (Sept. 14, 2015) — Good movies get me pumped — especially guy movies. James Bond, Indiana Jones, Rocky Balboa, and Chris Gardner (deftly played by Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness). These are characters that make me want to get off the couch and save the world — or at least make it a better place.

For me, few sports films fit into that category. Exceptions: the first and last in the Rocky franchise (Creed, releasing in November looks promising), Rudy, Chariots of Fire, Miracle, and Field of Dreams. Despite the fact that most professional athletes are men of faith, there are relatively few faith-focused sports films. Recent years have given us When the Game Stands Tall (Jim Caviezel), Facing the Giants, and Soul Surfer.

woodlawn_xlgWoodlawn

Last night (Sunday), I finished a press screener for a film that should rank as the best sports faith film of all time — and perhaps challenge as one of the best sports films (secular or Christian) to ever hit the silver screen.

Woodlawn (Jon Voight, Sean Astin, Nic Bishop) tells the true story of Tony Nathan, a superbly talented running back in 1973 playing for the newly desegregated Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Ala. The future Alabama Crimson Tide all-star went on to play for the Miami Dolphins from 1979-1987.

As cross burnings and riots erupt in the city, Tandy Gerelds, the Woodlawn Colonels’ football coach, struggles to ease racial tensions between his players. It’s only when Gerelds allows Hank, a self-styled evangelist, to speak to his team that real change begins.

Hank (Sean Astin), who had a radical conversion to Christ during a Billy Graham event a year earlier, tells the players a “better way” is possible through following Jesus. More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives to Christ. A ripple effect challenges the entire team, school, community and opposing teams.

The film culminates in high school football history. An estimated 42,000 fans turned out to watch the No. 1-ranked Banks Jets defeat the No. 4 Woodlawn Colonels 18 – 7 at Legion Field in Birmingham on Nov. 8, 1974. Woodlawn featured running back Tony Nathan and Banks had Jeff Rutledge at quarterback. Woodlawn features some real footage of the historic game.

Jon Voightvoight-woodlawn2

If you’ve read this far, you have questions. Why is Jon Voight in the headline and why is the dateline Beverly Hills? In Woodlawn, Voight plays legendary University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant. Although his is a relatively small role, he lends his sizable talent to a film that has few big-name stars. The other being Sean Astin.

Stay with me. Last year, a conference I was assisting with had booked Gary Sinise. At the 11th hour, Sinise and two other notable celebrities bailed. Left in a lurch, our team started making calls. One of the names that surfaced was Voight’s. After making a few calls to Hollywood friends, I got an e-mail address and agency contact info. I passed it on to our organizing committee. Nothing came of it because Voight was working on a film.

Voight2015This morning, still thinking about Woodlawn (which I finished watching the night before), I spotted Voight’s e-mail address in my contacts list. I shot him a quick two-sentence email:

Jon: I just saw a preview of WOODLAWN. Thanks for lending your talent to such an impressive and important film. You remain in my prayers,

And I included my full contact information. Almost exactly 90 minutes later, my cell phone rang. It came up as a 310 area code in Beverly Hills. I’ve been getting pre-recorded calls that are apparently from my “cell phone provider,” so I almost let it go to voicemail. I’m glad I didn’t.

“Hi. This is Jon Voight. Do we know each other?” he asked.

Yeah. I almost dropped the phone to the floor … right beside my jaw. It’s not often (NEVER) that a Hollywood legend rings me up, let alone an Academy Award-winning actor (he won Best Actor Oscar for his role in Coming Home, 1978).

I regained my composure and explained who I was and how I got his e-mail (which I expected would go right to his publicist). He asked where I saw the film, and I told him. I also mentioned that I had met Woodlawn writer/producers Jon and Andrew Irwin on the set of Moms’ Night Out a few years ago. We chatted about Woodlawn and the rise of recent faith films like War Room and 90 Minutes in Heaven.

ANGELINA JOLIE testifies before the House of Lords in London on Sept. 8, 2015

ANGELINA JOLIE testifies before the House of Lords in London on Sept. 8, 2015

Almost 10 minutes into the the call, he asks, “So, how’s your life. How are you?” Jon Voight was interviewing me now! Wow. I told him a few of my greatest blessings: My wife, five children, remarkable job.

Then I interjected and told him that I was quite impressed with his daughter. Yeah, he’s Angelina Jolie‘s dad. She testified before the House of Lords in London last week, blasting ISIS for its systematic rape of women in its reign of terror.

“The most important thing is to understand what it’s not: It’s not sexual. It’s a violent, brutal, terrorizing weapon and it is used, unfortunately, everywhere,” she said.

I told her father that he should continue to encourage her to bravely stand up for important issues like this. He assured me that he would. And I assured him that I’d keep him in my prayers.

Who knows, maybe we’ll bump into each other again sometime. After all, as I just learned, the world is a really a pretty small place.

WOODLAWN OPENS NATIONWIDE ON OCTOBER 16. See it. You won’t be disappointed.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is a speaker, Catholic journalist, editor of this blog, and the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine.

 

Whether you like it or not, we’re at war

1 May

by Patrick Novecosky

MAY 1, 2015  — In case you haven’t noticed, we’re at war. We’re at war with radical Islam and we’re in the midst of a fierce culture war — a war of ideas over the culture-warsbest way to live.

What this all means, when you get right down to it, is that we are in a war for souls. The devil knows his time is shorter now than it’s ever been, so he’s hard at work trying to distract us from the reality of Christ’s victory on Calvary. Satan’s first trick is to convince people that God isn’t real. When that lie takes root, his Culture of Death spreads like wildfire.

Read more the rest of the article by clicking here.

CBS’ Blue Bloods: Dissenting in prime time

13 Oct

By Judy Roberts

OCT. 13, 2014 — For a season and a half, my husband and I were fans of the CBS television series Blue Bloods, starring Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, head of a New York City law enforcement family.

bluebloodsWe liked, for the most part, the way the show reflected some of our Catholic practices in its portrayal of the Reagans, mixing the excitement of a cop show with a light message about the importance of family and faith.

We saw Commissioner Reagan gather each Sunday with his widowed, ex-police commissioner dad, two sons who were on the force, and his prosecutor daughter along with their kids and one spouse for a family dinner at which everyone said grace — some making the Sign of the Cross. We even saw Frank go to Confession and son, Jamie, seek solace in a church and the counsel of a priest after the death of a fellow officer.

Amid this, we noted, but were willing to overlook, story lines that suggested several adult characters, including widowed Frank, single son Jamie, and divorced daughter Erin, were engaging in occasional extra-marital sex. The married characters — detective son Danny and his wife Linda — remained faithful to each other.

Aleteia’s English edition spirituality editor, Susan E. Wills, has called the show “the most affirmingly Catholic, high-quality weekly drama in memory.” That probably says more about the dearth of good television than it does the quality of Blue Bloods, but still, for a time, the show’s good points made it worth watching and allowed us to look past its weaknesses.

Moral nosedive

Things, however, began to deteriorate last season when Erin had a little heart-to-heart with teen daughter Nikki about premarital sex. Their chat had been precipitated by Mom finding her daughter in a disheveled state of dress while supposedly studying with a male friend.

After Nikki reassures Mom that she is not having sex “yet,” Erin expresses confidence that her daughter will make a good choice. The only requirement governing that choice seems to be whether Nikki loves the guy, and she isn’t sure about that.

Although we didn’t expect Erin and Nikki to pore over the Catechism of the Catholic Church or watch a Theology of the Body DVD together, it seemed to us that Blue Bloods could have done better. Instead, Erin chooses this moment to let her daughter know she wasn’t a virgin when she married her dad, freeing the daughter to follow in Mom’s faltering footsteps.

After that episode, we decided to say, “Bye-bye, Blue Bloods,” and didn’t watch it again until a few weeks ago when one of the story lines involved Erin inviting a male colleague to spend the weekend with her while Nikki was out-of-town.

Little did we know that the show was about to take a nosedive into distortion of the Catholic faith. The Oct. 10 episode, which has unleashed a torrent of comments on the show’s Facebook page, focused on a gay cop who is “outed” when he tries to prevent a beating outside a gay bar.

In the aftermath, the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is misrepresented and the clergy caricatured. Commissioner Reagan responds to a reporter’s question about the “anti-gay” Catholic Church condemning homosexuality as a sin, not with a clarification of the statement and the teaching, but with “Well, I do believe that the Church is a little behind the times on this.” In a curious non sequitur, he adds, “But then I still miss the Latin Mass.”

Later, the commissioner is shown kissing a cardinal’s ring after dining with the cleric in an opulent setting, advancing the stereotype of Church leaders as rich, pompous and out of touch. Finally, the show wraps up with a nun confessing to Frank that when she entered the convent decades ago, she had to say good-bye to her “partner.”

Viewer outrage

Fortunately, many fans have reacted strongly on Facebook by defending Catholic teaching in postings like this one: “Your episode tonight has lost you a loyal proponent because you misrepresented the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Your writers, obviously, have an agenda, and it has nothing to do with the truth.”

Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) and his family pray before a meal on the CBS series Blue Bloods.

Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) and his family pray before a meal on the CBS series Blue Bloods.

I applaud those who have defended the faith so valiantly on Facebook — as I do the friends who first told us about the series and have written to Leonard Goldberg, executive producer of Blue Bloods.

But what more can we do when our faith is presented so inaccurately — and blatantly so? Should we stop watching such shows altogether or continue to monitor them so we can speak out when they depart from the truth? Can we spend our time more profitably by reading or viewing more wholesome films and programs?

Most of us who try to hold to the truths of the faith in a decaying culture and a divided Church are weary and battle-worn these days, and it is difficult to know where to best direct our energies.

We must continue to speak out when we see or hear our faith being misrepresented, even if we don’t expect our objections to bring about change. Indeed, CBS executives are likely more pleased than distressed with the furor created by this latest episode of Blue Bloods because of the attention it has drawn to the series.

That said, we may not be able to change CBS, but we can change how we use our time. For my part, that means no longer spending an hour each week on a show that has begun conveying lies instead of truth.

Lately, I have heard two priests in two different parishes — one rural and one urban — preach about turning off the TV. One reminded us of Mother Angelica’s pronouncement of the television as “the devil’s tabernacle.”

As her description is increasingly being proven right, perhaps we would do well to employ our time in quiet or by reading or viewing content that nourishes our minds and souls. We are admonished by St. Paul in Philippians to fill our minds with “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious” (Phil 4:8).

For a while, Blue Bloods entertained us with programs that contained some of these qualities. Sadly, the writers of the series seem to have sacrificed those in the interest of advancing a lie.

JUDY ROBERTS is an Ohio-based freelance writer. She is a staff writer for Legatus magazine and a correspondent for the National Catholic Register.

Desperate times for Iraqi Christians

21 Aug

AUG. 21, 2014 — We live in difficult times. Others live in desperate times. Despite the 24-hour news cycle, most Americans are seemingly unaware that terrorists are wiping out Christians in Iraq — Christians with roots going back to St. Thomas the Apostle.

Christians flee Mosul earlier this summer

Christians flee Mosul earlier this summer

Under Saddam Hussein, the brutal dictator driven from power in 2003, radical Islam was held at bay and anti-Christian violence was minimal. However, after Saddam’s regime fell, Christians have been under fierce attack. Millions have fled and many thousands have been killed, often brutally.

Proclaiming a caliphate (a new Islamic state) straddling Iraq and Syria, radical Islamists have swept across northern Iraq, pushing back Kurdish regional forces and driving tens of thousands of Christians and members of the Yazidi religious minority from their homes.

The sign of genocide

The sign of genocide

With the rise of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) over the summer, anti-Christian violence has gotten worse. Christian homes have been painted with the Arabic letter ن (nūn) for Nassarah (an Arabic word for Christian) and a declaration that they are the property of the Islamic State. On 18 July, the jihadists announced that all Christians would need to leave or be killed. Many have been slaughtered, often beheaded. Today, there are no Christians left in Mosul for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.

The situation is so bad that Pope Francis told reporters on the plane back from South Korea last week that force is necessary to stop the progress of the insurgents. Reporters asked the Pope if he approved of U.S. strikes against ISIS.

Journalists asked Pope Francis about the situation in Iraq during his trip back to Rome from Korea

Journalists asked Pope Francis about the situation in Iraq during his trip back to Rome from Korea

“In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor,” he said, stopping short of calling for bombing or all-out war.

Being so far removed from the violence, most Americans are more concerned about the national economy, the upcoming mid-term elections and their own personal issues — whether that be health, employment, finances or family problems. In a country with a relatively stable political environment, it’s hard to wrap our heads around the situation in Iraq. But we must for two important reasons.

First, Jesus made it clear that his followers make up his Body, the Church (Rom 12:5-6). When one part of the Body of Christ is threatened, we are all threatened. We must be in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world, praying for them and with them.

Cowardly terrorists prepare to murder journalist James Foley

Cowardly terrorists prepare to murder journalist James Foley

Second, military analysts say that the U.S. is more vulnerable to attack now than before 9/11. ISIS is armed, wealthy, and determined. Their leaders have made it clear that they have no intention of stopping with Iraq and Syria. They intended to ride the wave of violence all the way to North Africa, perhaps further. Jihadists beheaded American journalist James Foley in a video released earlier this week, and they say that America is on their hit list.

The bottom line is that it’s sackcloth and ashes time. Christians in America must repent and turn back to the Lord with all their hearts or the prospect for peace will remain out of reach.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog and the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine.