13906753 10153932494445819 4054003175981401440 n (2) copy (1)

Cathleen Falsani

Journalist

Location icon United States

Portfolio

A SELECTION OF PROFILES & INTERVIEWS

Religion News Service
03/29/2019
Richard Rohr: The 'universal Christ' changes everything

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (RNS) - Richard Rohr believes the predominant theme in Scripture and tradition is grace, which he describes as a kind of divine spackling compound that God uses to fill in the gaps between everything in all of creation. Rohr's latest book, 'The Universal Christ,' recently hit the New York Times best-seller list.

The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People by Cathleen Falsani (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006)
Barack Obama: 'I have an ongoing conversation with God'

"I have a deep faith. I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people, that there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and that there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived. I probably spent the first forty years of my life figuring out what I did...

Chicago Sun-Times
5/5/2006
There's no crying in journalism, except ... (Jean Vanier)

Sitting on the floor of a lecture hall at Chicago's Catholic Theological Union, dutifully taking notes in the flip book on my lap as I listened to Jean Vanier deliver an address to a standing-room-only crowd earlier this week, I disintegrated into a sniveling puddle. Right there in front of all the other reporters and God and everybody else, like a big ol' weepy marshmallow instead of the detached trained observer that I suppose I'm supposed to be.

The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People by Cathleen Falsani (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006)
Bono: 'I'm not a very good advertisement for God'

“The idea that the same love and logic would choose to describe itself as a baby born in shit and straw and poverty is genius. And it brings me to my knees, literally.”

Chicago Sun-Times
05/23/2004
Divorced dad finds calling as priest

The day before his ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood, Tom Mescall seemed to be wrestling with some old ghosts. "It's the biggest regret of my life, that it happened, and that we were unable to get it reconciled," Mescall, 56, said. "I didn't want it. I opposed it. I wanted to get back together. . . . But you know, it's time to get on with my life." He's talking about his divorce, 23 years ago, from his wife, Mary Molina Mescall.

Sojourners
10/03/2012
The Pastor's Message

RECENTLY HAVING REACHED the inauspicious age of 42, no longer a kid but not yet feeling entirely grown up, I find myself in a decidedly reflective mood. I've been taking stock-spiritual, emotional, relational, vocational-as I stare with some trepidation at the unchartered future. Obviously, my experiences of late, while not quite universal, are hardly unique.

Sojourners
06/06/2016
Paul Simon's Spiritual Fascination

While he waits for the Brazilian faith healer to arrive, Paul Simon is supposed be meditating quietly with his eyes closed. Instead, he's peeking.

The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People by Cathleen Falsani (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
03/07/2006
John Mahoney, Actor

John Mahoney’s God is a kind God. But that’s not the God he knew as a child. “My original idea of God was an extremely vengeful, powerful God. Love never entered the equation,” he says. “If I had children, what I would mostly want them to understand is exactly the opposite of what I was taught when I was a kid. I’d want them to know that they will always be forgiven, that they will always be loved, that they will always get a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance, and a fifth chance...

The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People by Cathleen Falsani (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006)
Sandra Cisneros: 'We're just rough drafts'

“You don’t have to go to the ashram or go up the mountain or into the desert to experience spirituality. It happens every day if you’re open to it.”

Sojourners
11/17/2014
Lila Pays It Forward: Helping LGBT Refugees Find a New Home, Life

Currently, 78 nations worldwide criminalize same-sex relations; of those, seven may impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex conduct, according to ORAM. In Uganda, for instance, where there has been capital punishment for homosexual activity in the past, homosexuality currently is considered a criminal act punishable by a 14-year prison sentence.

Orange County Register
08/26/2013
Sam Phillips: Stubborn grace and pushing buttons

For no reason at all When life circles around And you can't see straight - from "Can't See Straight" by Sam Phillips "Push Any Button," the first physical album in five years from singer-songwriter Sam Phillips, is a blithe, fetching exploration of life's flip side - after the flush of youth, after the heartbreak, after the bottom falls out and the road bends and you head in a wholly unexpected direction that turns out to be exactly where you need to be.

Faithandleadership
Music connects a diverse community of people in Orange County, California

When St. John's Compton Presbyterian Church on the outskirts of Los Angeles closed in the late 1960s, the mostly white congregation designated a portion of its residual funds for a black church to be planted in Orange County someday. "Someday" came nearly 40 years later in the form of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Orange, California.

The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People by Cathleen Falsani (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006)
Elie Wiesel: 'No faith is as pure as a wounded faith'

“Doubt is there all the time,” he says, softly. “The questions are there, and all my questions are stronger than all my answers.” And yet you continue to wrestle with God? “I continue because what is the alternative?” he says. You could walk away. “And do what, really?"

The Atlantic
03/26/2014
The 'Terror' of Noah: How Darren Aronofsky Interprets the Bible

The controversial director talks about his lifelong fascination with Noah's ark and why it's the messages of biblical stories-not the historical details-that matter. When a seed is planted in the mind of a child, it's impossible to predict accurately how it might take root and blossom in years to come.

Sojourners
01/13/2012
Robert Duvall: The Sojourners Interview

Many cinephiles have a short list of virtuoso actors who are so graceful and true we'd watch them read a phone book. For me, the list includes Jeff Bridges, Helen Mirren, Diane Keaton, John Mahoney, Christopher Plummer and that great icon of American cinema, Oscar-winner Robert Duvall.

Chicago Sun-Times
4/7/2004
Senator Dick Durbin: 'We're sent here to help others'

''I think I'm always looking for answers,'' he said when asked to describe himself spiritually. "There are things that happen in this world that trouble me....The question is not, why is this human condition so bad? But what are you doing about it? Just to observe it and lament the bad outcome, I just don't think that's enough."

Orange County Register
01/10/2014
Falsani: Pete Holmes, devilishly angelic

"I don't feel like I belong in comedy," Pete Holmes says at the start of "Nice Try, The Devil," his 2013 Comedy Central special. "I like to think there are millions and millions of different universes, each slightly different from the last, and this universe - the one we're living in currently - is the only one where I'm not a youth pastor."

ChristianityToday.com
03/01/2003
Bono's American Prayer

"The world's biggest rock star tours the heartland, talking more openly about his faith as he recruits Christians in the fight against AIDS in Africa."

U2
U2 > News > 'America's Illustrator-In-Chief'

'My calling, my work is to speak about things I see that are injustices. It's the artist's responsibility to keep making art that is authentic and honest.' You may not know his name, writes Cathleen Falsani, but you probably recognize Edel Rodriguez's work-bold, satirical posters, magazine covers and illustrations tackling injustices and lampooning political figures (most notably the 45th President of the United States) that have earned him the nickname, 'America's Illustrator-In-Chief.'

U2.com
12/01/2017
The Joshua Tree: 'Coming Full Circle'

She remembers it as if it were yesterday: the ancient record player in a corner of her grandmother’s apartment; the stack of vinyl albums, several of them by U2; her father picks one out, puts it on the turntable, places the needle at the start of the third wide groove, and sits back down on the couch to watch his daughter’s reaction as the song begins to play.

The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People by Cathleen Falsani (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006)
Tom Robbins: 'Paradox is the engine that runs the universe'

“We live in hell because we take ourselves too seriously. If there’s any one message that’s permeated my literary output, I guess that’s it: Stop taking yourself too seriously, which is not the same thing at all as living a life of frivolity. There is nothing whimsical or frivolous about it,” he says. “When I fall out of grace, which is a great deal of the time, sooner or later I realize it’s because I’m taking myself too seriously.”

The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People by Cathleen Falsani (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006)
Dr. Henry Lee: 'Science doesn't always have the answer'

“Do I have a mission? Yes, I have a mission: To be a good, faithful scientist. That’s my mission, and I’ve done everything I could do to fulfill my mission,” he says, sounding very official. “Every day I feel accomplished. Every day I take one more step.”

Chicago Sun-Times
7/21/2006
Tom Robbins: 'It's kind of interesting not being able to write'

"And when you come to the point where you don't have to say that any more, where that is so ingrained in you that you just gaze in the mirror and you don't have to say it to know it, at that point you can start saying, 'It's all about me.' Because it is," he said, laughing. "Because it's all about you and me and everybody else on a non-ego level. Because there is only one us, ya know?"

Chicago Sun-Times
06/25/2006
The Rev. of Rock 'n' Roll: WXRT's spiritual DJ in tune with lyrics, rhythms of faith

"I've always been interested in the common ground that all mysticism, from various disciplines seems to have. The idea of, from a line in one of T.S. Eliot's poems: 'Teach us to care and not to care.' That whole notion of to care enough to achieve some mystical union with God is to take on the pride that would prevent you from having that kind of awareness," he explains.

Medium
11/29/2016
RU Experienced - Nonce & Happenstance - Medium

Chicago Radio Icons Terri Hemmert & Lin Brehmer of WXRT on the Spiritual Power of (Live) Music Editor's Note: Lin and Terri are great people and good sports, so they agreed to meet and chat. Also joining us for lunch was my best friend, What follows is the transcript of our conversation, edited gently for flow, wherein I go by my nickname, "God Girl."

Sojourners
05/09/2012
Bare Feet and Dolphins: Rob Bell's Return

The sounds of the Pacific crashing on the shore mix with a reggae tune playing on the outdoor stereo of the bar next door as the speaker, a 41-year-old former pastor and bestselling author, resumes his riff on categories of consciousness and the spiritual practice of meeting people exactly where they are.

A SELECTION OF INTERNATIONAL REPORTING

Sojourners
10/19/2016
Haiti, After Hurricane Matthew

It's been three weeks since I returned from Haiti and a fortnight since Hurricane Matthew made landfall along the southern coast of the Caribbean island, bringing its Category 5 devastation to the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. And in the time that has passed since my first visit to Ayiti (as they say in Creole), I can't stop thinking about her.

Sojourners
08/29/2018
Pope Francis Apologized to God for Church Abuses. Catholics Need an Apology to Them

BANBRIDGE, Northern Ireland—...But, like so many others, the hurdle erected by one act of unkindness that becomes emblematic of a systemic problem in the body of Christ, takes effort to clear. And when you’re exhausted and there are too many hoops to jump through … maybe you stop jumping. Maybe you don’t bother any more.

Sojourners
10/09/2012
Ethiopia: Motherhood is Powerful, Precious

Sunday afternoon, after us ONE Moms dropped our luggage at the hotel, piled into our chartered bus, and drove to the outskirts of the city to the Mary Joy Aid Through Development Association, I met my Ethiopian sisters who are speaking out for those who cannot, advocating on behalf of the destitute, judging with righteous wisdom, and defending the rights of the poor and the needy.

Religion Dispatches
05/15/2015
Ministries of Presence: A Report from Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal-The Boeing 737 loaded with relief supplies and caregivers touched down at Tribhuvan International Airport six days (nearly to the minute) after the first of two cataclysmic earthquakes wrecked havoc on the tiny Himalayan nation of Nepal.

Sojourners
08/25/2018
Amid Church Abuse Crises, Pope Francis Speaks to a Transformed Ireland

DUBLIN, Ireland - When Pope Francis steps off of his chartered Alitalia flight from Rome at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, he will be walking into a country that is in some ways barely recognizable from the last time he visited the Irish Republic nearly 40 years ago.

Orange County Register
06/10/2013
Falsani: A pill brings life, hope to Africa

LUSAKA, Zambia - "Paint those pills red, white and blue if you have to, but they're the greatest advertisement for the U.S. you're ever going to get." As the story goes, that's what Bono told President George W.

Orange County Register
06/04/2013
Falsani: Africa rises against AIDS, poverty

On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2002, I climbed aboard a bus in Nebraska to join a feisty Irish rock star on a tour of the Midwest. I was a young reporter and the rock star was Bono, lead singer of the ...

Orange County Register
06/11/2013
Falsani: Africa's future looks strong, happy, healthy

LIVINGSTONE, Zambia - Vasco's voice wrested me from awe-filled reverie as I stood on the lip of a gorge high above the Zambezi River, gazing into the massive, thundering maw of Victoria Falls. "God's creation is amazing!" my son shouted over the roar of the enormous waterfall - the largest on Earth.

Orange County Register
06/04/2013
Falsani: In Africa, evangelicals join war against AIDS

LUSAKA, Zambia - "Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." The words of King David from his Psalm 133 - a "song of ascent" - greet visitors to the headquarters of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, the mother body of Christian denominations, churches, parachurch organizations and missionary agencies founded here in 1964.

Orange County Register
06/04/2013
Falsani: Couple sow seeds of hope for Malawi

The Grower of Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming, whose hands reach into the ground and sprout, to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.

Orange County Register
06/04/2013
Falsani: Mom, son find joy in visit with his Malawi family

BLANTYRE, Malawi - Look for a billboard on the right and a sign for the Ngumbe CCAP on your left. There's a dirt road. Turn there. In this part of the world, most of the streets - if there are actual streets - have no names.

Sojourners
11/27/2012
Weaving a Hopeful Future

In the West, machines do most of the commercial weaving, not people. In Ethiopia, and elsewhere in the developing world, handloom weaving is most often an occupation for men and one that isn't usually heralded for its artistry. Weaving isn't a prestigious job and, by and large, those who weave are the working poor.

Sojourners
10/23/2012
Ethiopia: How Foreign Aid Has Helped a Generation

LALIBELA, Ethiopia -- You know the images you have in your mind of Ethiopia from 27 years ago? The ones from the nightly news reports on TV about the famine in the Horn of Africa as the death toll mounted and horror stories grew more unfathomable by the day.

Sojourners
10/17/2012
Ethiopian Orthodoxy, Tawahedo, and 'Being Made One'

LAKE TANA, Ethiopia - We finally returned to the boats, where the rest of our group was waiting patiently, and on our journey back to Bahir Dar, I began thinking about pilgrimage and how, perhaps, what you believe (or don't) actually doesn't matter. It's the journey itself that makes it sacred.

Sojourners
10/06/2012
Ethiopia: God Is Even Bigger Than We Think

My flight's about to board for Ethiopia. I'm not looking for anything or anyone. I'm going with an open hand and heart. And I know - more than I ever could express in words - that God is even bigger than we think.

Orange County Register
03/21/2013
Falsani: Can Pope Francis live up to St. Francis?

ASSISI, Italy - "Francis." The name Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose as his nomem pontificalem has a long history in my family. My Irish grandfather was a Francis, although he was an orphan so we've never known why my great-grandparents chose his Christian name.

Orange County Register
03/20/2013
Falsani: Pope Francis employs power of simplicity

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis arrived in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday morning a half-hour before his inaugural Mass was set to begin wearing papal whites, an enormous smile, and black - not red - shoes. He also left the Popemobile behind in the Vatican garage.

Orange County Register
03/18/2013
Falsani: This is a New World pope

VATICAN CITY - An hour after sunset, the wait in St. Peter's Square had become thoroughly miserable. The rain was relentless. It was cold. And the mood had grown increasingly grumpy as those waiting for smoke to rise from the Sistine Chapel's chimney jostled and bumped each other with their umbrellas Even the sea gull perched atop the smokestack had ceased to be amusing.

Orange County Register
03/18/2013
Falsani: Pope blesses the ink stained

VATICAN CITY - As a person of faith, the work I do as a journalist is more than just a job. To me it is both a vocation (in the spiritual sense of that word) and, in some sense, a ministry. B...

Orange County Register
03/18/2013
Falsani: 'Sacred echo' presages pope choice

Forgive me for beginning a column about the new Roman Catholic pontiff with a quote from a Baptist preacher, but more than a century ago Charles Spurgeon found the words I've been searching for but could not muster: "We are all, at times, unconscious prophets."

Orange County Register
03/13/2013
Vatican City: Where faith, curiosity meet

VATICAN CITY - When black smoke billowed from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel around 7:41 p.m. Tuesday, many among the thousands who had poured into St. Peter's Square awaiting word from the papal conclave greeted the news with groans and disappointed shouts. Nera! La fumata e nera! Nera!

Orange County Register
03/11/2013
Picking a pope: Big sandals to fill

Tuesday afternoon in Rome, 115 cardinals clothed in red will walk from the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, through the Sala Regia with its frescoes depicting other moments in history when the church has stood at a crossroads, toward the Sistine Chapel.

THE DUDE ABIDES
04/12/2016
Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Nepal

With 36 hours left in our too-short sojourn in Nepal earlier this month, I yearned to escape the " strange, bewilderin' time " of Kathmandu and its cacophony of humans, motorbikes, sequined lorries, tuk-tuks, rickshaws, giant hens and cockerels, wandering bands of ill-tempered goats, dozy cows, and incessant beeping that together comprise the intoxicating, maddening heartbeat of the capital city.

SELECTION OF OTHER REPORTAGE AND COLUMNS

Religion News Service
11/15/2018
Lutheran comfort dogs bring compassion, care during disasters - Religion News Service

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (RNS) - Early on the morning of Nov. 8, Bonnie Fear awoke at her home in Colorado to a two-word text message from Rich Martin, director of K-9 Ministries for Lutheran Church Charities in Chicago. "Call me." Something terrible had happened, and Fear knew she was about to be deployed to wherever it was.

Religion News Service
11/09/2018
Lutheran school in Thousand Oaks learns how to grieve after losing one of its own - Religion News...

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (RNS) - "Sovereign God, hear this lament: Why, Lord, has evil seemed to get its way?" So began the litany of prayers offered by grieving students, faculty, friends and family who packed the chapel at California Lutheran University Thursday night, not quite 24 hours after a mass shooting in a nearby country and western bar claimed the lives of a dozen people, including 2018 Cal Lutheran graduate Justin Meek.

Religion News Service
11/02/2018
A TV God for the age of anxiety - Religion News Service

(RNS) - Even in our present "golden age" of television, with the number of scripted programs on network, cable and streaming channels expected to top 500 this year, shows that feature religion or faith are scarce. Rarer still are spiritually themed series that successfully find an audience, if not critical acclaim, amid the thrum of hundreds of other viewing options.

Religion News Service
10/09/2018
When the Good Place gets too good for comfort - Religion News Service

"Forever," the dramedy series that premiered last month on Amazon, is the most spiritually intriguing new TV show you should be watching this fall. Starring SNL alums Maya Rudolph as June and Fred Armisen as her husband, Oscar, the eight-part series, which dropped in its entirety in September, does a deep dive into the meaning of life by exploring what happens when it ends.

Sojourners
04/11/2018
'Summer in the Forest' a Moving Picture of Love and L'Arche

"This is how the world is meant to be." That's what Randall Wright, director of the exceptionally powerful new feature-length documentary Summer in the Forest, said he thought the first time he visited one of the L'Arche communities founded by Jean Vanier that are the subject of his film.

U2
U2 > News > Going Global

'There's all this human activity that's occurring on our planet, and unlike your typical day-to-day experience where you're very isolated in what you see or what you do, when you see this continually over a span of months, it definitely gives you a feeling of how integrated and connected we are.'

U2
U2 > News > Resurrecting MacPhisto

This is the tale of how Batman helped Mr. MacPhisto find his way to eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE. Cathleen Falsani reports. Artist and digital experience designer Marc Wakefield was 13 years old when Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever debuted in the summer of 1995.

U2.com
11/10/2017
HERSTORY

From Maya Angelou to Patti Smith, and from Begum Rokeya to Michelle Obama, the dazzling mix of image and song in Ultraviolet has become one of the most talked-about moments of the show. Cathleen Falsani reports on the trailblazing women of herstory and why #povertyissexist.

U2.com
09/26/2016
What Do You Have to Lose? U2 in the Year of Election

'Some friends know us better than we know ourselves. They're our biggest fans, the ones who see us as we are, and, more importantly, who we are meant to be. And when we miss the mark or sell ourselves short, those friends—the very best kind—call us on it. For America, U2 is that friend.

Washington Post
Perspective | Make America benevolent again

As President Trump and his administration create their first budget request for Congress in the coming weeks, they have an opportunity to fund fully the U.S. international affairs account - a decision which is not only the smart choice, but also the benevolent one.

Orange County Register
12/30/2013
Falsani: O.C. labyrinths invite internal exploration

"First you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril. Mm-hmm. You shall see thangs, wonderful to tell .... I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the obstacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward.

Orange County Register
11/18/2013
Falsani: Her Guardian Angel, Mary J. Blige

In her book "The Funny Thing Is ...," Ellen DeGeneres describes being invited to God's house for wine and cheese. When the Almighty walks into the room, Degeneres describes God this way: "I would say she was about 47, 48 years old, a beautiful, beautiful black woman. And we just immediately hugged.

Orange County Register
11/04/2013
Falsani: Author's uncommon message catches ear

The first thing most people mention when they talk about the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber is her tattoos. She has many - most of them religious in nature, including a large icon of Mary Magdalene covering her right forearm.

Orange County Register
10/28/2013
Falsani: Speaking grace to power

When the leader of the free world is in the market for pastoral care, he can turn to any number of ecclesiastical superstars for prayer and spiritual guidance. But the pastor President Barack Obama chose to shepherd him daily throughout his first five years in Washington, D.C., was the opposite of a big shot.

Orange County Register
10/28/2013
Falsani: No turning away, or back, from "12 Years"

Tanner was in the habit of reading the Bible to his slaves on the Sabbath... The first Sunday after my coming to the plantation, he called them together, and began to read the twelfth chapter of Luke.

Orange County Register
10/12/2013
Falsani: The spiritual pull of 'Gravity'

The moon's thin crescent hung like a street light in the dusky sky last week as I exited the cinema and wandered into the parking lot feeling discombobulated and a little bit lost. It took me a full five minutes to find my car. I walked past it at least twice before recognizing it.

Orange County Register
10/07/2013
Falsani: Get real, 'Preachers of L.A.'

Expecting authentic insight into the lives of pastors from the new reality show "Preachers of L.A." would be like turning to "The Real Housewives of Orange County" for parenting advice. As with most shows in the genre, there is very little "real" in either "reality" show.

Orange County Register
09/20/2013
Falsani: With Pope Francis, kindness is the new black

"I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person's life. God is in everyone's life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else-God is in this person's life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life.

Orange County Register
09/14/2013
Falsani: I have a crush on the Pope

He is the theological Ed Sheeran to my inner tween. When I see him smiling on TV or on the cover of a magazine in the checkout line at Ralphs, I get the warm fuzzies. I follow him religiously on Tw...

Orange County Register
09/03/2013
Falsani: Seamus Heaney knew how to give

One of my favorite stories to tell is about the interview I wanted most, but didn't get. It was 2005 and I had just signed a contract to write what would be my first book - a collection of profiles of mostly well-known people with whom I'd spent time talking one-on-one, face-to-face about their spiritual lives.

Orange County Register
08/30/2013
Falsani: Prepared for the Buddhas

ARLEE, Mont. - For as long as I can recall, I've loved a good road trip. As a child, August usually was the time when my family would take our summer vacation, piling into the station wagon to head to Cape Cod, Maine, the Hamptons or my grandmother's home in New Hampshire.

Orange County Register
08/17/2013
The Gospel According to 'Breaking Bad'

Whither Walter White? How the morality tale of a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher compelled first by desperation (and then sheer hubris) to transform himself into a cold-blooded, Machiavellian drug kingpin will end is what legion fans of AMC's Emmy-winning morality-play-cum-uberseries "Breaking Bad" want to know.

Orange County Register
07/15/2013
Falsani: Something in the air: Grace

Moments before I left Laguna Beach to drive to Long Beach one recent Friday afternoon, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved its stay on gay marriages, giving county clerks permission to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time in more than five years.

Orange County Register
06/27/2013
Falsani: Christian hears ruling, gives thanks

The first thing I did when I read the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 was offer a silent prayer. It was short - just two words. "Thank you," I told God.

Orange County Register
06/17/2013
Falsani: No need to worry about Mumford

"Listen to the words," the young woman behind me stage-whispered to her chatty date. "Are you listening?" He wasn't. But I was and so was most of the rapt, standing-room-only crowd that crammed the Greek Theater at UC Berkeley for the second of three sold-out Mumford & Sons concerts late last month.

Orange County Register
04/24/2013
Falsani: A shopping spree to save Earth

Many evangelical Christians seem to be taking to heart the words often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (even if he likely never said them): "Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words."

Orange County Register
04/14/2013
Falsani: Our very living pope

While chatting with the Rev. James Mulford, a Catholic priest and publisher of Zenit News Agency after Pope Francis' first official audience with members of the news media in Rome last month, he told me a story about the early days of the late Pope John Paul II's papacy that got me thinking about the personality of the new pope.

Orange County Register
03/30/2013
Falsani: New pope might modernize gender roles

What must have been going through her mind as the old man knelt before her in his white cassock, poured water over her sockless toes, dried them gently with a hand towel, and then, bowing his head even lower, kissed her foot? She is a young Muslim woman incarcerated in Rome's Casal del Marmo juvenile detention center.

Orange County Register
05/02/2013
Falsani: Director strong in faith, loose with language

In more than 30 years as a believer, I've attended enough "Christian conferences" to expect that at least a few of the speakers to be talking out of their ... um ... butts, if you will.

Orange County Register
03/29/2013
Falsani: Struggling with the Christian label

Labels can be helpful when, for instance, applied to cans of soup or barrels of toxic waste. But they are less so when affixed to human beings - particularly when said label is meant to summarize, indelibly, one's spiritual identity.

Sojourners
05/03/2012
I Fell in Love with a Nun

This is a love story. An unlikely love story, perhaps, but a true love story just the same. Not 10 minutes after meeting her for the first time in the shadow of a 33-foot-tall metallic statue of the Virgin Mary at a convent in the Rust Belt suburbs of Chicago's south side, Sister Annunziata told me she loved me.

Harvard
Judge Not Celebrities!

Cathleen Falsani If you say a modern celebrity is an adulterer, a pervert and a drug addict, all it means is that you've read his autobiography. -P. J. O'Rourke Perhaps I was naïve to think I could thank a celebrity publicly for something she did that was a source of epic blessings in my life.

Washingtonpost
The Worst Ideas of the Decade

by Cathleen Falsani In the Gospel of Saint Matthew, we are told that Jesus said, "You cannot serve both God and money" and, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Jewcy
10/09/2009
The Coenmandments: Thou Shalt Take It Easy, Man - Jewcy

While marked by murder, mayhem, deception, and all manner of chaos, there is an order-a moral order-to the world depicted in Joel and Ethan Coen's films. That's the good news. The bad news is that when the moral order is ... Read More

Jewcy
10/05/2009
The Coen Brothers: Serious(ly Funny) Men - Jewcy

Cathleen Falsani is the religion columnist for the Chicago Sun Times and the author of The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers. She is guest blogging on Jewcy all week, and this is her first post. ... Read More

Jewcy
10/06/2009
Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski: One of the Lamed Vovnik? - Jewcy

In the Book of Genesis, the author tells the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities destroyed by God's wrath for their unrepentant lasciviousness. Before hellfire and brimstone rain down on the twin towns, Abraham, God's chosen dude, argues with ... Read More

COVERAGE FROM VATICAN CITY AND PAPAL VISITS

Sojourners
08/29/2018
Pope Francis Apologized to God for Church Abuses. Catholics Need an Apology to Them

BANBRIDGE, Northern Ireland-I am seated on a train as I write this, slowly making my way north from Dublin to see family in Northern Ireland, the verdant Irish countryside rolling by on my left, the gray, glimmering Irish sea on my right, and acedia's first whispers buffeting my mind like a tiny, malevolent gale.

Sojourners
08/26/2018
Pope Francis Begs Forgiveness for Sins of Church Abuse

KNOCK, Ireland-Standing just a few feet away from where many Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared in 1879 to a dozen denizens of this bucolic corner of western Ireland at the height of a famine, on Sunday morning Pope Francis begged God's forgiveness for the abuse of countless innocents by priests and other members of the Catholic Church.

Sojourners
08/25/2018
Amid Church Abuse Crises, Pope Francis Speaks to a Transformed Ireland

DUBLIN, Ireland - When Pope Francis steps off of his chartered Alitalia flight from Rome at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, he will be walking into a country that is in some ways barely recognizable from the last time he visited the Irish Republic nearly 40 years ago.

Sojourners
10/07/2015
Why We (Still) Love Pope Francis

Non ricordiamo giorni; re ricordano momenti. "We do not remember days," the Italian poet Cesare Pavese said, "we remember moments." Pavese's words have come to mind often as I've thought about Pope Francis' historic visit to the United States, particularly when people have asked me what the "best part" of covering the papal visit was for me.

Sojourners
09/28/2015
Breaking In: Pope Francis in a Philly Prison

" I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. " -Jesus, in Matthew 25:36 On May 31, 1973, a group of inmates at Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison walked into the deputy warden's office to ask for the establishment of a special prayer room for Muslim prisoners.

Sojourners
09/26/2015
Bless Me Father, for I Have Sinned

"Brace yourself, Father," I said, taking a seat in a plastic chair facing my would-be confessor in Madison Square Garden's dimly lit Madison Bar on Friday, a few hours before the start of the papal mass. The bearded Franciscan priest in his dove gray vestments laughed and said, "No way.

Sojourners
09/24/2015
In U.S., Pope's Actions, As Usual, Tell a Richer Story

Two years ago, when he stood on the center loggia of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican to greet the world for the first time, Pope Francis spoke two simple words in Italian: "Buona sera," or, "Good evening."

Sojourners
09/23/2015
What the Pope Saw On His Drive Through D.C.

As Pope Francis' motorcade made its way from the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C., late Tuesday afternoon, it made a hard left from scenic Rock Creek Parkway onto Massachusetts Avenue, wending its way northwestward at a fast clip along the manicured thoroughfare known as Embassy Row.

Orange County Register
03/13/2013
Vatican City: Where faith, curiosity meet

VATICAN CITY - When black smoke billowed from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel around 7:41 p.m. Tuesday, many among the thousands who had poured into St. Peter's Square awaiting word from the papal conclave greeted the news with groans and disappointed shouts. Nera! La fumata e nera! Nera!

Orange County Register
03/18/2013
Falsani: 'Sacred echo' presages pope choice

Forgive me for beginning a column about the new Roman Catholic pontiff with a quote from a Baptist preacher, but more than a century ago Charles Spurgeon found the words I've been searching for but could not muster: "We are all, at times, unconscious prophets."

Orange County Register
03/11/2013
Picking a pope: Big sandals to fill

Tuesday afternoon in Rome, 115 cardinals clothed in red will walk from the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, through the Sala Regia with its frescoes depicting other moments in history when the church has stood at a crossroads, toward the Sistine Chapel.

Orange County Register
03/18/2013
Falsani: This is a New World pope

VATICAN CITY - An hour after sunset, the wait in St. Peter's Square had become thoroughly miserable. The rain was relentless. It was cold. And the mood had grown increasingly grumpy as those waiting for smoke to rise from the Sistine Chapel's chimney jostled and bumped each other with their umbrellas Even the sea gull perched atop the smokestack had ceased to be amusing.

Orange County Register
03/20/2013
Falsani: Pope Francis employs power of simplicity

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis arrived in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday morning a half-hour before his inaugural Mass was set to begin wearing papal whites, an enormous smile, and black - not red - shoes. He also left the Popemobile behind in the Vatican garage.

Orange County Register
03/21/2013
Falsani: Can Pope Francis live up to St. Francis?

ASSISI, Italy - "Francis." The name Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose as his nomem pontificalem has a long history in my family. My Irish grandfather was a Francis, although he was an orphan so we've never known why my great-grandparents chose his Christian name.

Orange County Register
03/18/2013
Falsani: Pope Benedict departs with grace

"Thank you, good night!" Those words, uttered in Italian (" Grazie, buonanotte!") from a balcony at Castle Gandolfo on Thursday, were the last Pope Benedict XVI spoke in public as shepherd to the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Orange County Register
03/18/2013
Falsani: Pope blesses the ink stained

VATICAN CITY - As a person of faith, the work I do as a journalist is more than just a job. To me it is both a vocation (in the spiritual sense of that word) and, in some sense, a ministry. B...