The Busted Halo Show with Catholic priest Father Dave Dwyer, CSP, is an informative and entertaining take on the Catholic faith. Father Dave and team answer your questions of faith and tackle current issues in our world while having some laughs along the way! This podcast features excerpts from the show on The Catholic Channel -- SiriusXM, channel 129.

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June 2024
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Syndication

Friend of the show, Jesuit priest, author, and editor-at-large of America Media Father James Martin stopped by Father Dave’s radio studio to discuss his recent meeting with Pope Francis, what it was like being at the Vatican with a number of famous comedians, and more. 

On Friday June 14, Pope Francis met with a number of comedians from multiple countries including Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, and Jim Gaffigan to name a few.  The meeting, according to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, was intended to “establish a link” between the Catholic Church and such artists and aimed to "celebrate the beauty of human diversity ... [and] promote a message of peace, love and solidarity." 

LISTEN: Catholic Comedian Judy McDonald on Humor in Difficult Times

Father James Martin is a consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and explains to Father Dave how he became involved.  “I knew about the comedians thing about two months before they met with the pope,” Father James says.  “It was organized very quickly.  They wanted to do it before the Synod in October. The Dicastery for Culture and Education put it together, and I helped them out with the U.S. comedians.”

Father Dave asks, “So they are over there in Rome and they think to themselves, who knows comedians over in the states? Boom, Father Jim Martin.” “Pretty Much!,” Father Jim replies.

Father Jim explains that the Dicastery for Culture and Education initially sent him a long list of over 50 comedians and humorists and asked him to narrow it down. “I talked to Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan, who I know, and I said help me pick the people who are really kind of the most respected among your peers because we had to narrow it down, and then the Vatican approved it.”

Father Jim adds that there was no litmus test for the comedians who were picked.  They did not have to be Catholic; it didn’t matter if they had said negative things about Pope Francis or the Catholic Church.  It was more about the biggest names who are most respected in their field. 

RELATED: Misheard During Mass: Parents Shared 

Despite the gathering’s quick organization, Father Jim was very happy with how it all worked out. “One of the things that was very moving for me was everyone was really honored and happy to be there.  Comedians can be a little cynical sometimes, but they were really happy to be at the Vatican meeting with the Pope and were all quite moved.”

Father Jim also spoke with Father Dave about his one-on-one hour-long meeting with the pope while he was in Rome.  “We talked about two things which I can say. We talked about his comments about gay priests, which were very much in the news, and we talked about the U.S. Church.”  

Father Jim continues, “We had a very open and honest conversation about his comments about gay priests and one of the things I wanted to share was at the comedians meeting, everybody went up and shook his [Pope Francis’] hand and I went up to him, and I posted a video of this, and I said, thank you very much. And he pulls me back and he says, ‘Thank you for that conversation the other day. I really appreciated it.’ And I thought, now that's really unusual, like, thank you for a conversation that was difficult and challenging. He didn't have to say that. So I just think that's a sign of how open he is. He's learning. He listens.”

Direct download: Podcast_FatherJamesMartin.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:09pm EDT

Father Dave welcomes author John Stansifer to the show to talk about Father Emil Kapaun, the most decorated chaplain in U.S. military history. John has written over 20 screenplays, specializing in biopics and historical true stories. He spent six years in the Kansas Army National Guard as a mortar gunner and served alongside Vietnam War veterans, whose stories further developed his interest in military history. His latest book is called “No Bullet Got Me Yet: The Relentless Faith of Father Kapaun.” 

“No Bullet Got Me Yet” is a collection of letters written by, to and about Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest and army chaplain in the Korean War. Archived by the Father Kapaun Guild, the letters comprise the record of Kapaun's heroism in the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea in the summer of 1950, and the sacrificial service he provided fellow POWs after he was captured by Chinese troops in November. He died at POW Camp in 1951 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in 2013.

RELATED: Spirituality and the Soldier

Father Kapaun, John explains, had been a priest for about a year when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, and joined the Chaplains Corp in the aftermath. He served as an auxiliary chaplain at a military airbase in the United States for two years, and after D-Day, June 6, 1944, decided he wanted to serve overseas alongside American soldiers. He was sent to the China-Burma-India Theater of the war in 1945. 

Father Dave asks, “What do you think, having investigated his life, was so compelling for him about serving in the military as a chaplain? Why was he so attracted to that?”

“He felt like he needed to protect his boys in a spiritual way,” John responds. “And he was aware of martyrs and proto-martyrs, and he had been training for the Church since age 7, so it was obvious where his life was going to lead.”

After World War II, Father Kapaun obtained a master’s degree in education at Catholic University before rejoining the military as a chaplain in 1948. He was eventually sent to Korea in 1950. “It was the rise of communism that spurred him on," John says, “He thought the Nazis were nothing. He thought that communism was going to be the bigger threat. Turns out he was correct.”

RELATED: Learning About Grace and Thanksgiving From a Veteran

John goes on to discuss Father Kapaun’s capture, heroics, and time in a Chinese POW camp in the winter of 1951 before his death. “The survivors that knew him,” Father Dave comments, “describe him as a joyful, faithful presence during those dark times.”  

“He never stopped.” John says. “He got up before dawn and scrounged for food — never for himself, it was only to share with other people.  He constantly offered prayers, helped other POWs with their wounds and sickness. He was tireless with it.”

Father Dave asks John about the title of the book, “No Bullet Got Me Yet.” 

“Father Kapaun was a frequent letter writer,” John says, “and in one of his last letters Father Kapaun actually wrote- ‘No bullet got me yet, although machine gunners sprayed us with bullets, but the prayers of our loved ones helped us escape.’ When I heard that phrase, ‘no bullet got me yet,’ I knew that was the title of the book — that represents to me a philosophy that you keep the faith until your enemy kills you, and you keep going until you achieve your goal.”

Direct download: BHS_JohnStansifer.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:27pm EDT

While Busted Halo Show producer Krista LePard is out on maternity leave, our temporary producer, “Maternity Leave Matt” has some questions of faith for Father Dave:

Matt asks, “When you became a priest, did you stop being Dave Dwyer and become [solely] Father Dave? Do your friends or family call you Father Dave or are you still Dave to some people?”

Father Dave first answers this question from a broader theological perspective. “The Sacrament of Holy Orders is for a deacon, a priest and a bishop; you'd have Holy Orders for all those three. We believe that, like the Sacrament of Baptism, it does make an indelible change.  So we would call it an ontological, meaning at the very essence of a human person, an ontological change, which cannot be undone or reversed.”

WATCH: Holy Orders in 2 Minutes

In other words, even if someone leaves the priesthood or if a layperson decides to leave the Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Sacrament of Baptism cannot be undone.  Father Dave adds, “The sacraments leave an indelible mark on the souls when we talk about Baptism and when we talk about Holy Orders; it’s an ontological change. So in some ways, yes, I ceased being the prior version of me and I'm now a different me.”

Father Dave is still, however, Dave to good friends and family members.  “In fact, my sister and my mother were really the only people in my adult life who called me David, because that's leftover from back when we were all much younger.”

Matt’s second question is, “What brought you to be a Paulist – and what’s the difference between Paulists, Jesuits, etc.?”

Father Dave responds, “The jargony word we would use in the Catholic Church is called “charism:” Each of the different orders have a slightly different way, mission, approach, origin story, and all that kind of stuff. In the same way that you might say, ‘What's the difference between all the superheroes?’ They all like fight crime and save the world, but they each get a little different origin story and a different uniform, and, you know, that kind of thing.”

RELATED: What Is a Charism? Understanding Our Holy Traditions

Father Dave gives a few examples of some of the different orders but reminds us that these are broad brush strokes.  Franciscans are living out the vow of poverty, Dominicans are the Order of Preachers and tend to be fairly academic and intellectual, and Jesuits usually work in universities and tend to also hold other roles, like professors, physicists, or astronomers, in addition to priesthood.   

The Paulist Fathers are missionaries who take a vow of stability, meaning they're going to stay in one place and stay connected and rooted there. Father Dave was drawn to the Paulists because of their reputation of working in media.  He’d been working in television and radio and wanted to continue doing that when he became a priest. 

Father Dave reiterates, “The charisms are really different ways in which people can serve the Church; different ways in which people can live out their Catholic faith. In the same way that Catholics who have not joined a religious community might prefer parish A over parish B, because parish A has a lot going on with social justice and serving the poor and parish B has a great music ministry and a Latin Mass – there are always going to be different things that are under the big tent of Catholicism that will connect or be more attractive to someone, whether you're talking about just a Catholic in the pews, or someone that's living out there life.”

Direct download: Q_of_Faith_Matt.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:49pm EDT

At the start of a recent homily, Father Dave addresses two things from the Gospel of St. Mark that Catholics and non-Catholics alike often have questions about.  

In the Gospel of St. Mark and in a few other places, we hear about Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Father Dave explains that those who translated Gospel texts from the original languages wanted to keep  faithful to the language. In the culture of Jesus' time, immediate and extended family were considered almost the same, to the degree that they would actually use the same word for “brothers” and “cousins” – two family members that we would have distinct names for in today’s culture.  

RELATED: Learning About Sacrifice, With the Help of St. Mark

The Greek term Adelphos used The by St. Mark in his Gospel is an ambiguous word that could mean either brother or cousin. This passage could actually say that Jesus had blood brothers and sisters, or it could refer to cousins or more distant relatives, common parlance in Near East family descriptions. 

“So we're left with a big shrug, right?” Father Dave says. “Which is why many of our Christian brothers and sisters would adhere to the fact that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth, but not necessarily after that, whereas we, from our sacred Tradition, have always believed and always taught that Mary is blessed Mary ever virgin, and that she did not give birth to any more children. So for us, our faith always comes with a balance of Scripture and Tradition. And tradition isn't simply, well, we've always thought that so I guess it must be right. It is, we believe, Holy Spirit- inspired sacred Tradition, in a similar way, that the Scriptures are inspired.  So for us, if we take those two together, we know that we must be talking about cousins, and not literal brothers and sisters here.”

The second question Father Dave answers comes from the Gospel of St. Mark when Jesus refers to the ‘Unforgivable Sin.’’  He begins with Jesus’ own words, “All sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness.”  

LISTEN: Are Any Sins 'Unforgivable’?

“What does that mean?” Father Dave asks.

Father Dave notes that St. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical about the Holy Spirit specifically addresses this concept.

“Scholars and official Church teachings have been unable to really pinpoint exactly what Jesus means by that. St. Pope John Paul II said that it really emanates from God's gift of free will –that God desires that all be saved and offers forgiveness. But he doesn't ever force it down our throats. So in that sense, John Paul II defined this ‘blaspheming the Holy Spirit’ as a complete, utter rejection of God with our own free will. So it's not that God can't, but that God won't force it on us.” 

Father Dave goes on, “So is there an unforgivable sin? Is there some secret list somewhere, like the secret menu at a fast food place? No. There's not something that you can utter by mistake or even intentionally that will cast you away from God if you seek God's forgiveness, which is what we're encouraged to do all the time. There's also not one particular thing you or I could ever do, that God wouldn't forgive if we asked.”

Direct download: Podcast_06-12-24_AdamWhereRU-long.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:33pm EDT

Eric Groth, president of ODB Films and executive producer of “Wildcat” stops by the show to talk about the film about the late Catholic author Flannery O’Connor. ODB Films is an award-winning not-for-profit Catholic film company whose mission is to foster an encounter with Christ through artfully made, spiritually rich films.  Their newest movie, “Wildcat” was written and directed by Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke and details O’Connor’s struggle to publish her first novel. 

Flannery O’Connor was a devout Catholic living in the Jim Crow Era south in the 50s and 60s.  When she was 23 years old, she began writing, hoping to leave her home in Georgia and see the world. At age 25, she was diagnosed with Lupus. Over the next 14 years O’Connor wrote “A Prayer Journal,” more than 30 short stories and two novels. 

Eric explains why he believes her writing was so important.  “She was addressing a very contentious, racist south.  As a Catholic, she was really calling out a lot of Protestant brothers and sisters -- she was calling out the church that would be worshiping Jesus on Sunday and wearing the Ku Klux Klan hoods on Monday, and the culture of white supremacy that was masked as Christian ethics.”  

“She wrote a lot about grace and her stories were tough, because we want heroes in stories and in her stories, [we wonder] ‘Who's the protagonist? Who's the antagonist?’” Eric continues. “But she showed how God delivers grace, however God wants to deliver grace, and we as humans often resist grace because it can be painful.”

Father Dave and Eric discuss the origins of this movie and how it began 10 years ago with Ethan’s daughter, Maya Hawke.  “This really started with her,” Eric says. “She was 15 and going to Catholic school in New York and she read Flannery’s “A Prayer Journal” and fell in love with this woman.” Maya would later go on to ask her dad to write and direct a movie about O’Connor that she could star in.  Eric and ODB films were eventually approached for financing and a producing partnership.  Eric tells Father Dave what attracted him to the film: “I love my Catholic Faith. I Love our stories and telling great stories and she [O’Connor] was a bit of a mystery.”

“This film was super special for a lot of reasons,” Eric says. “Flannery was a devout Catholic, so we could bring the beauty of the Catholic faith naturally and organically in telling the story without ever having to force it in any way.”

Direct download: BHS_Podcast_061124_EricGroth.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT

Father Dave welcomes Clare McCallan, founder and creative director of St. Joseph’s Home for Artisans, TV and podcast host, and spoken word poet, to the show to discuss her new book, Courage to Create: Unleashing Your Artistic Gifts for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.

In her book, Clare and her artist friends ask the question, “How do you own your identity as an artist for Christ?” Through a series of stories and lessons, they share their wisdom for overcoming obstacles in the creative life to help artists fulfill their callings and serve the Lord.  

Clare begins her discussion with Father Dave by highlighting the final three words in the title of her book: “Truth, Beauty and Goodness.” Clare defines each term by posing a reflection question. “Truth – is something in accordance with reality? Beauty -- does it point to the divine and eternal? And goodness - "does something accomplish its purpose?”  She goes on to say, “Art as just mere self expression is really the lowest kind, but art that meets those metrics of truth, beauty and goodness, are really the only thing worth accepting in and outside of religious spaces.” 

RELATED: How Artwork Opens Me Up to God’s Handiwork

Father Dave invites Clare to share a little bit of her own journey as an artist and asks what ultimately led her to writing this book.  She explains that she went to school at Franciscan University and ended up in Calcutta with the Missionaries of Charity.  While in India, she became very sick.  While she was bedridden, she discovered spoken word poetry and decided that when she returned to the United States, she would move to New York City and give it a shot. “And so I moved to New York,” she says, “I got on the scene, and you’ll find in the book a lot of my stories of starting out as a fledgling artist with no guidance, no roadmap, which is really what this book is intended to be - the roadmap that I needed at 22.”

Father Dave says, “Maybe some of our listeners are thinking, ‘Sounds like a book for artists - I know some artistic people, but that’s not me.” Clare responds, “You're a craftsman made in the image of the creator, and so if you are created in the image of God, you have those creative qualities and talents, and so it's up to you to find it. You don’t need to be fantastic at painting or writing. It's much larger than that.”

Father Dave points out that often in society, artists are not looked upon the same way as a doctor or lawyer, and we often get messages that suggest having a backup career or only pursuing art as a hobby.  “How do you address those that have felt discouraged from using their gifts?” Father Dave asks. 

RELATED: Using Art as a Path to the Holy Spirit

Clare responds, “I think that that's going to be a paradigm shift that we're going to see, especially as Catholics start to mourn a culture that maybe used to serve us in our beliefs, but doesn't anymore. And we can see that we really need to be making active changes in the culture. And those shifts in culture that we want to see are going to come from arts, and so it's very important that we're basically missionaries to truth, beauty and goodness.”

Father Dave asks if every Catholic who is an artist needs to produce exclusively Catholic or ‘Gospel-ly’ looking or sounding art. “No,” Clare says, “I would actually say that in the current climate, it's probably more powerful and effective to create allegories and to dabble in storytelling.  What I tell everybody is if you are regularly receiving the sacraments, it will be infused in your work.”

Direct download: BHS_Podcast_060624.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:55pm EDT

Do you remember the last conversation you had that challenged your way of thinking or inspired you to act? A conversation that changed your mind, your heart, or maybe even your life?  To help us have more meaningful conversations more often, Father Dave welcomes Dr. Christopher Reed to the show.  Dr. Reed has a Ph.D.. in human communication and believes that dialogues that transform hearts and strengthen relationships are sacred and he shares a blueprint for having more meaningful interactions in his new book, “Sacred Conversations: How God Wants Us To Communicate.”

Dr. Reed begins by explaining his “Sacred Conversations Model to Father Dave:” The model itself is laid out like an Ikea set of instructions, do step 1 before you do step 2 and the components are invitation, we can open ourselves to those invitations, we can open ourselves to the spirit, invite people into them. Intention, what is the aim of the conversation.  Inquiry, very powerful, Jesus was a master of inquiry.  Illumination and integration. And at the center, the sixth component is love. It all starts with love and compassion for the other person, the face of Christ that we see in them right in front of us. If we start with love, we can't go wrong.”

RELATED: 7 Steps for Navigating Crucial Conversations

Dr. Reed explains that part of the reason he wrote the book is because there are many secular books on having tough conversations, but there haven’t been any simple, accessible, well-researched books on Catholic dialogue and how Christians should engage in dialogue with one another.  He says, “Sacred Conversations” is a “blending of science and Scripture” that can be used for all of life’s moments. 

Father Dave points out that the book is also drawing on the Word of God, sacred traditions and Jesus’ model of living.

Father Dave and Dr. Reed go on to discuss the chapter called “Rules of the Road” which highlights some of the rules of sacred conversations, like having compassion and not forcing a conversation. Father Dave asks about the rule, “follow through on your good intentions.”

LISTEN: Jonathan Merritt on Sacred Language

“Commit to the process,” Dr. Reed responds. “See it through. A sacred conversation is a ‘helping’ conversation; it’s a build-your-brother or- sister-up conversation…and so all other intentions beyond that should be questioned and reflected upon, and then once we commit to that ‘helping’ or ‘seeking’ conversation, follow the process through, see what emerges, ask for guidance (which is another rule).  Then, when we get to that moment of grace, follow it through - what do you want to do with that? What small steps could you take toward a better outcome, a better version of yourself, a better relationship?

Father Dave wraps up by wondering what happens if the other person in the conversation doesn't want to give anything, “Doesn’t it take two to tango?” he asks.

“This is a conversational dance. It's like improvisational jazz,” Dr. Reed explains.  “But we have to learn how to play our scales before we can truly gracefully improvise together. You know, we have to learn the basic steps of a dance before we can, chacha and Samba and move fluently together.”

Direct download: Podcast_BHS_060424_SacredConversations.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:37pm EDT