Reese, Father Tom — Pope Francis & the Catholic Church: A Discussion with a Priest, Part One

 In recognition of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September 2015, Radio Curious presents a series of visits with Father Tom Reese, a member of the Society of Jesus.  In this first of two visits, we discuss his view of Pope Francis, the role of prayer, changes within the Catholic Church’s view of marriage and the possibility of opening the priesthood to women. 

Father Tom Reese entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained in 1974.  Currently he is a senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter. He was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. 

Our guest host for this visit with Father Reese is Martha McCabe, a retired higher education legal counsel and civil rights attorney.  She holds masters’ degrees in history and creative writing.  Brought up as a Roman Catholic, she graduated from Jesuit Santa Clara University. As a novelist, she was a guest on Radio Curious in 2006. 

When Martha McCabe visited with Father Tom Reese by phone on August 14, 2015, they began when she asked him what the election of a Latin American Pope Francis indicates about the future direction of the Catholic church and the papacy.

The book Father Tom Reese recommends is “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on climate change

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Pico, Pio & Garza, Robert — Meet the Last Mexican Governor of California

Radio Curious goes back into California history about 165 years, and visits with the last Mexican governor of California, Pio Pico. Born at the San Gabriel Mission in 1801, Pico was of Spanish, Italian, Indian and African ancestry. Both as a politician and as an entrepreneur, he espoused the views of many native-born “Californarios” over distant seats of government.

As the last Mexican Governor of California, he presided over the secularization of the missions, and turned over their vast land holdings to private hands. Although he fled California during the American takeover, Pio Pico returned to build the first major hotel in Los Angeles. Later, he served on the Los Angeles City Council.

I met with Pio Pico, portrayed by Roberto Garza, in February of 1998.  When Pio Pico and I met in the person of Roberto Garza we began when I asked him to tell us about his life.

The book Pio Pico recommends is “Pio Pico, A Historical Narrative,” by Pio Pico. Roberto Graza recommends “Pio Pico Miscellany,” by Martin Cole and “The Decline of the Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846-1890,” by Leonard Pitt.

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Franklin, Benjamin – Archbold, Ralph — Two Visits with Benjamin Franklin Part Two

We continue with the second of two archive visits with Benjamin Franklin, as portrayed by Ralph Archbold. Archbold has made a career of interpreting Benjamin Franklin for over 30 years.  

In part one of this series we discussed Benjamin Franklin’s early life, his inventions, his role in the secession from England and in the formation of the Confederation and later the United States of America.

This second part was recorded in July 1994, at the City Tavern, as it has been called since it opened in 1774.  It quickly became a center of political events of the times.  Paul Revere went there to announce the news that the British government closed the Port of Boston.  Many influential people in the colonies gathered in Philadelphia to decide on a response to the British government’s closing of Boston’s port and other acts.  When John Adams, who later became the second President of the United States, went to Philadelphia in August of 1774 to attend the first Continental Congress, he was greeted by leading citizens and immediately taken to the City Tavern.  He characterized it as “the most genteel tavern in America.”  For the next decades, the City Tavern would be a familiar sight to leading figures of the American Revolution.

When Benjamin Franklin, as portrayed by Ralph Archbold, and I visited at the City Tavern over lunch, we considered many aspects, past and present, of American life.   We began our conversation when I asked Benjamin Franklin about the history of the City Tavern.

The book Benjamin Franklin and Ralph Archbold recommend is “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.”  

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DeWitt, Jerry — From Pentecostal to Atheist Part One

The freedom to think and the freedom of religion are constitutional keystones and givens in the United States.  However, when those freedoms lead a Pentecostal pastor to come out as an atheist, he is shunned by some and praised by others.

Jerry DeWitt, whose ministry began when he was seventeen, is the author of “Hope After Faith:  An Ex-Pastor’s Journey From Belief to Atheism.” He’s our guest in this two part conversation about his 25 year dialogue with faith, his early beliefs, his evolving skepticism and his embrace of free-thinking humanism.

As it is for all of us, early life experiences are most often taken for granted and form the basis by which we compare subsequent experiences and develop new understandings. 

So when Jerry DeWitt and I visited by phone from western Florida on December 13, 2013, we began the first part of our conversation with a description of his early childhood.

Jerry DeWitt’s website provides information about his book and links to the resources and topics discussed in our program. 

The books Jerry DeWitt recommends are those written by Joseph Campbell.

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Wagner, Sally Roesch — Suffragist, Matilda Gage, Almost Jailed for Voting

This program is about Matilda Joslyn Gage, who lived from 1826 to 1892 and was a vibrant and leading figure in the suffragist movement of that century.

Matilda Joslyn Gage, an outspoken leader for women’s rights, and an advocate to abolish slavery and religious bigotry, became historically invisible in pursuit of her liberty to think and speak as she thought proper.  She was threatened with jail for voting in New York in 1871, and later was inducted into the Iroquois nation after publicly declaring Christian theology to be a primary source of the oppression of women.

Historian and chautauqua scholar Sally Roesch Wagner, who portrays Matilda Joslyn Gage, brought Gage into the limelight by creating the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, based in Fayetteville, New York.  The Gage Foundation is dedicated to educating current and future generations about Gage’s work and the power of her work to drive contemporary social change.

I met with Sally Roesch Wagner in the studios of Radio Curious in December 1996.  Our conversation began when I welcomed Matilda Joslyn Gage to Radio Curious.

The book Matilda Joslyn Gage recommends is “The Secret Doctrine:  The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy,” by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

The book Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner recommends is “Women, Church and State,” by Matilda Joslyn Gage.

This program was recorded in December 1996.

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Cohen, Jeff — When Journalism is Neither Fair or Accurate

Who gets to be in the media and who doesn’t?  That’s the topic of this edition of Radio Curious in a conversation with Jeff Cohen, co-founder of FAIR-Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

A commentator on Fox news, CNN and MSNBC, Cohen offers an insider’s critique of mainstream media today.  He is the author of “Cable News Confidential, My Misadventures in Corporate Media,” published in 2006.  We spoke in the studios of Radio Curious March 13, 2012 and began our conversation when I asked Jeff to discuss the subterfuge that exists in media today.

Jeff Cohen’s website is

The book he recommends is Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”

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Krol, Debra — Native American Art of the Southwest at the Heard Museum

Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum’s mission is dedicated to educating people about the arts, heritage and life ways of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, with an emphasis on American Indian tribes of the Southwest. Committed to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures,  the museum successfully combines the stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art, showcasing old and new hand woven baskets, kachina dolls, other art and cultural objects.

The museum showcases the art and regalia of Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, and Yaqui, to name a few.  More than 2000 items make up the museums exhibition.  Artwork ranging from pottery, baskets, beadwork, dolls and paintings are on display.

Our guest is Debra Krol, the communications manager who shared portions of the Heard Museum with me on December 10, 2011.  We began our conversation with Krol when she introduced us to the Heard Museum and the unique features that reflect the evolution of south western Native American art.

Debra Krol recommends two books: “Ishi’s Brain,” by Orin Starn, and “Indians, Merchants and Missionaries: The legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers”, by Kent G. Lightfoot. Our interview with Orin Starn may be found here.

The Heard Museum website is

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Katz, Leo — Why Our Law is so Stupid and Perverse

Have you ever asked yourself ‘why is the law so perverse? Why is it directed away from what is right or good?’ This program is about the why the law is sometimes called stupid, irrational or perverse in a conversation with author and Pennsylvania law professor, Leo Katz.

His book, “Why the Law is So Perverse,” presents the multiple conundrums based on legal consequences that are sometimes unintended. We visited by phone from his home in Philadelphia, PA on November 27, 2011, and began our conversation when I asked him to describe, using the examples in his book, how the legal system in the United States evolved to create conundrums, contradictions and unintended consequences.

The book Prof. Leo Katz recommends is, “The Assault,” by Harry Mulisch.

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Socrates & Ron Gross – Socrates of Athens, in Conversation

Socrates’ Way: Seven Masterkeys to Using Your Mind to the Utmost

Socrates of Athens, who lived before the Common Era, is respected as one of the greatest independent thinkers of all time. Socrates himself refused to be recognized as a teacher. Instead, Plato, his well-known student and reporter of Socrates’ dialogues, tells us he asked to be seen as a “midwife of ideas.” Socrates’ passion to achieve self-understanding, and the proper ways to live, continues to be studied and emulated to this day.

Socrates recommends “The Trojan Women,” by Euripides. Ron Gross recommends “The Clouds,” by Aristophanes.

Originally Broadcast: January 13, 2003

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Basta, Michael — Relationship Warning Signs

Why some couples get along and others don’t, sometimes to the extent of terminating their relationship, is a curious question, the answer to which is likely to bring both pleasure and unhappiness to each of us. Michael Basta has been a licensed clinical social worker based in Sonoma, County California, since 1988. He is trained and certified as a Gottman Couples’ Therapist. This training identifies the traits and behaviors of couples that are useful to predict how long their relationship will last. Michael Basta visited Radio Curious on May 21, 2010, and began by describing the negative traits and behaviors that indicate a dark future for the relationship.

The book Michael Basta recommends is “The Female Brain,” by Dr. Louann Brizendine.

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