Tag Archives: Catholicism

The Jason Jones Show: John Paul II Changes the World

25 Mar

KAPOLEI, Hawaii. (March 25, 2020) — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog, was a guest on The Jason Jones Show podcast today.

During the 70-minute podcast, host Jason Jones asked Novecosky about his new book, 100 Ways John Paul II Changed the World, which commemorates Pope St. John Paul the Great’s 100th birthday, coming up on May 18, 2020. They discussed the 25th anniversary of both men’s favorite papal encyclical — Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), which Novecosky calls “the Magna Carta of the pro-life movement.”

CLICK HERE to listen to the entire interview. (70 minutes)

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

For U.S. Catholics, it’s time to stop the bleeding

15 Jun

by Patrick Novecosky

The Catholic Church is bleeding.

It’s wounded from decades of abuse and neglect — sexual abuse, financial misconduct, cover-ups and the failure to adequately teach the faith, not to mention failure to live it. There’s enough blame to go around. Both laypeople and the clergy have done their part to break trust with the faithful.

As a result, the Church is hemorrhaging. Badly. For decades, the in-joke among Protestants and Catholics has been that the second-largest denomination in the United States is ex-Catholics. What was once a trickle is quickly developing into a massive flow.

Last year, a Georgetown study found that millennials leaving the Church stopped identifying as Catholics at a median age of 13, long before they ceased attending a parish.

A Pew study reports that more than half of adults who were raised Catholic have left the Church. “A significant minority of them returned, but most (four-in-ten of all those raised Catholic) have not.”

You get the picture.

Broken Trust

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Jose Gomez at a Nov. 12, 2017, presentation in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

As the U.S. Bishops meet this week in Baltimore for their General Assembly, they’ll discuss a host of issues. The abuse scandal is dominating the headlines, but the real underlying issue they should examine is broken trust. Catholics need to have confidence in their priests and bishops. Joe Catholic needs to know and see that Church leaders — priests, bishops and laypeople — are living the faith they profess to believe.

Catholics are rightly outraged when news breaks that prelates like West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield are spending a thousand dollars a month on liquor. Having fresh $100 worth of fresh-cut flowers delivered to their offices daily. Dropping $350,000 in gifts to priests, bishops and cardinals across the country and at the Vatican. Not to mention Bransfield’s sexual harassment of priests and seminarians under his authority. I hardly need to mention the now-laicized former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Bishop Michael Bransfield resigned last year, but an investigation showed accusations of homosexual harassment were credible and it detailed the bishop’s extravagant spending.

At the same time, the Associated Press reports that attorneys general across the country have gathered hordes of evidence on clergy sex abuse, seized through search warrants and subpoenas at dozens of archdioceses.

Hanging on by a Thread

Many have had enough. A Gallup poll in March showed that 37 percent of adult Catholics are considering leaving the faith. Who can blame them? It’s a terrible time to be Catholic. So why stick around when other denominations are more transparent and welcoming? But scandal has dogged other Christian (and non-Christian) churches as well. The Southern Baptist Convention — also meeting this week — is itself confronting the issue of sexual abuse.

A Time for Saints and Heroes

Other say this is a great time to be Catholic. Throughout its 2,000-year history, God has raised up saints to steer the Church right again during times of scandal, abuse and misconduct on the part of its leaders.

Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish priest who gave his life for a fellow prisoner at Auschwitz, on Aug. 14, 1941.

The response to the Protestant Reformation gave us great saints like Teresa of Avila, Thomas More, and Ignatius of Loyola. In our day, we have stalwarts like Pope St. John Paul II, Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, and Maximilian Kolbe. More saints are born out of troubled times than any other period in human history. Our day is no different.

The challenge for the bishops — and lay Catholics as well — is to rebuild trust. Jesus founded the Catholic Church, so we who believe that he is the Son of God need to amend our lives to conform to that belief. That’s the call of every baptized Christian.

Rocky Soil?

Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed is applicable here. A farmer scattered seed, and some fell on rocky ground while other seed fell on good, fertile soil. The seed that fell on rocky ground sprouted, but its roots failed to go deep. The plant withered and died. The seed that fell on good soil blossomed and produced a bountiful harvest. A faithful witness rebuilds trust and helps create that fertile soil for others to believe as we do.

The Catholic Church’s bleeding won’t stop any time soon. It will only begin to heal once our shepherds and other professed Catholics start living what they profess to believe.

Patrick Novecosky is a Florida-based media relations professional, founder of this blog and NovaMedia. This article originally appeared on June 15, 2019, at The Stream.

Deep Adventure Radio: The exclusive Novecosky interview

21 May
Bear Wosnick (left) interviews Patrick Novecosky on Deep Adventure Radio

Bear Woznick (left) interviews Patrick Novecosky on Deep Adventure Radio at the Catholic Leadership Conference

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (May 21, 2014) — Deep Adventure Radio’s Bear Woznick took it out into the deep water today, interviewing Patrick Novecosky — editor of this blog and editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine — for his AdventureCast program, heard on stations across the country.

Woznick asked Novecosky about his snap decision to run the Rome marathon a few days after Pope Francis was elected in March 2013. They then discussed Legatus, the membership organization for Catholic business leaders founded by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan.

In the third segment, the two talked about the cultural and political challenges for Catholic and other Christian business leaders, most specifically the Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate. Legatus members are leading the fight to overturn the mandate. They also talked about the influence of business leaders and their responsibility to be steeped in the virtues.

BearswavecompodcastartBear Woznick is a two-time Masters World Champion tandem surfer. He is featured in TV’s “Clean Break” reality adventure series, has a weekly four-minute “Deep in the Wave” radio segment and posts weekly podcasts, blogs and video logs at BearsWave.com. Woznick lives on the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii, and is married to his Swedish bride Talin and is the father of four: Fawn, Jeremiah, Shane, and Joshua.

CLICK: Listen to the entire interview.



Bob Newhart: A stand-up guy

22 Nov

NOVEMBER 22, 2013 — Bob Newhart didn’t need another award. The 84-year-old actor and comedian has enough trophies to fill a warehouse. But when he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy earlier this year, nobody thought he would win — including Newhart himself.


Bob Newhart guest stars as Professor Proton on THE BIG BANG THEORY

“It was a pretty tough category,” he said from his home in Bel Air, Calif. “When they said my name and I walked up, they gave me a standing ovation. It was especially powerful because it was from my peers.”

Newhart was up against the likes of Justin Timberlake, Louis CK, and Nathan Lane at the 65th Prime Time Emmy Awards on Sept. 22. He picked up the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series award for his role as Arthur Jeffries/Professor Proton on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. It was his first Primetime Emmy.

Catholic upbringing

Born and raised on Chicago’s west side, Newhart was brought up Catholic and attended parochial schools, including St. Catherine of Siena grammar school in Oak Park and St. Ignatius College Prep (high school) where he graduated in 1947.

“I went to Loyola University in Chicago, which is a Jesuit school,” he said. “Ever since my success in comedy, I’ve always credited the Jesuits for the somewhat twisted way I have of looking at life.”

Two of his sisters still call the Midwest home. In fact, one of Newhart’s three sisters is a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “She’s about two years older than I am,” he said. “She’s a computer whiz. She’s just a whiz at everything she does.”

11th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

Bob Newhart poses with an Emmy in a promo shot for the 11th Emmy Awards, which aired on May 6, 1959

As a young, budding comedian, Newhart served a stint in the Army during the Korean War before scoring a recording contract with Warner Brothers Music in 1959. The only problem was that he had never played a comedy club. Newhart patterned his act on the deadpan style of popular comedy duo Bob and Ray. He and a friend had worked out a routine, but never took it beyond their circle of friends.

“I always had this bent toward comedy, but never really thought anything substantial would come of it,” he explained. When the record company heard his work, they offered him the contract and set him up at a comedy club in Houston.

bob-newhart-the-button-down-mind-strikes-back“I was absolutely terrified,” he said of his first performance. “You learn very quickly if you’re going to do stand-up comedy, you can’t show fear because it makes the audience nervous. They sense it. So with all the bravado I could muster, I tried to pretend I knew what the hell I was doing.”

Newhart’s debut comedy album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, topped Billboard’s album charts in 1960, sailing past Elvis Presley and The Sound of Music soundtrack. It was the first comedy album to ever hit No. 1 on Billboard. The album won the 1961 Grammy Award for Album of the Year and Newhart won Best New Artist.

Transition to television

With his career on the fast track, Newhart made the leap to television in 1961 with a 60-minute comedy variety show on NBC. While the show garnered several awards, it only lasted one season.

The transition from stand-up comedy to acting was a rough one for Newhart. “I was fine in the monologues, but I was very uncomfortable with the sketches,” he explained. “So when the show only lasted a year, I had to learn how to do that.”

“It was well-received,” he explained, but “we got an Emmy, a Peabody and a pink slip from NBC all in one year.”


Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette starred in THE BOB NEWHART SHOW from 1972-1978

It would be another 12 years before the comedian stepped in front of the television cameras again when he launched his first sitcom, The Bob Newhart Show. He starred as dry psychologist Bob Hartley, with Suzanne Pleshette playing his wryly loving wife, Emily.

“I think I was the first male comic to transition from stand-up to a situation comedy,” he said.

Then in 1982, he starred in the CBS sitcom Newhart, playing Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon. The show ran for eight seasons, two years longer than his first sitcom.

Since Newhart left the airwaves in 1990, the comedian has continued working as a stand-up comedian. He still does 20 shows per year. He makes regular guest appearances on television and takes small film roles — including his hilarious turn as Papa Elf in Will Farrell’s 2003 Christmas comedy Elf.

Then came The Big Bang Theory. As Newhart tells it, the show’s creator and producer, Chuck Lorre, calls him every year to offer him a role in one of his sitcoms. Newhart turned down every one — roles on Cybil, Roseanne, Two and a Half Men and Grace Under Fire.

In January of this year, Newhart said, Lorre called him saying, “‘OK. I’m ready for my annual turn-down.’ So I said, ‘I’ll tell you what. First of all, the show has to be done in front of a live audience because I don’t know how to do a show without an audience. And it has to be a recurring role on The Big Bang Theory because I think it’s really wonderfully written.’ He agreed, and that’s how it came about.”

Faith and family


Bob Newhart as Papa Elf in the 2003 comedy ELF

Newhart admits that he and his wife Ginnie are somewhat of an anomaly in Hollywood because their marriage has lasted more than 50 years.

“Being Catholic has a lot to do with it,” he said. “You work a little harder. You don’t just have your first fight and walk out the door.”

Faith has sustained the octogenarian throughout his life, but never more so than when Ginnie was diagnosed with cancer.

“During the week, I’ll go to church twice a week,” Newhart said. “My wife had liver cancer. She had a liver transplant four years ago. She’s in the prime of health now. I kind of go and thank Him for that. That was a very emotional time.”

Catholicism has also shaped Newhart’s work, he said, especially when he was tempted to depart from clean, family-friendly comedy.

“There were times along the way over 50 years — mostly in the ’70s — when there was the temptation to maybe get a little bluer in my stand-up act,” he explained. “It just never felt comfortable. It was like a sweater that never felt right, you know. There was something wrong with the shoulder. I’ve talked with Jerry Seinfeld, who isn’t Catholic obviously. He’s Jewish. We talked about doing a clean show, the way we feel about it at the end of it, you feel good about it.”

If you see Newhart on stage these days, you can certainly anticipate a clean show, but you may also get a good dose of Catholic humor.

“Being a comedian, I have a lot of Jewish friends, and they always talk about the Jewish religion,” Newhart said. “I thought, one day, ‘You know it’s kind of funny growing up Catholic.’ So I do a whole thing on being Catholic and it’s been very well received — especially if you get a bunch of Catholics together.”


Bob Newhart and his wife Ginnie attend the 2013 Emmy Awards

Unlike many of his fellow celebrities, Newhart acknowledges that his most important success has come away from the bright lights of Hollywood.

Asked what has brought him the most joy in his life, he didn’t hesitate. “My family, obviously. I have four kids and 10 grandchildren. We just had the latest — five months old, a girl. I’ve always said: I don’t care how successful you’ve been in this business, if you haven’t had a good family life, what have you really achieved? Not an awful lot. You can be the richest man in the world and look back at your marriages that were disasters and what have you really accomplished? That’s the way I look at life.”

Newhart’s take on life may be dry, but it’s always profound and often spiritual. “I think God has an incredible sense of humor,” he said. “All you have to do is look around the world. There’s no question that He has an incredible sense of humor.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog.