NCR In Conversation

In Conversation is an in-depth look at the week's Catholic news as seen by the staff at National Catholic Reporter. Hosted by NCR engagement editor Brittany Wilmes, In Conversation features the top thinkers and journalists who report on the life of the Catholic church in the world. National Catholic Reporter is an independent newspaper based in Kansas City, Missouri. Read more at
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NCR In Conversation

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Oct 13, 2017

NCR Bertelsen intern James Dearie makes his podcast debut to talk about the winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Later, NCR correspondents Josh McElwee and Heidi Schlumpf talk about what they're reporting on and who they're watching in the U.S. and abroad.

Oct 6, 2017

In this episode, NCR contributor Julie Bourbon explains kriya yoga and the Assisi Institute's inaugural kriya yoga conference. Devotees and teachers say that practicing this form of meditation can bring one into deeper relationship with God. Then, a conversation with theologian Deanna Thompson on her book “The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World.” Deanna talks about how a journey through illness led her to embrace her digital connections as a vital example of the body of Christ.

Sep 29, 2017

NCR's Tom Roberts and David Gibson of Fordham University discuss an unsettling pattern of Catholic writers and scholars being disinvited from speaking engagements and adjunct positions due to intimidation from far-right Catholic groups.

Sep 22, 2017

In this episode, former NCR editor and publisher Tom Fox discusses Ken Burns' documentary series "The Vietnam War." Tom attended a screening of the series in Kansas City where Ken Burns and Lynn Novick spoke, as well as John Musgrave, a veteran prominently featured in the series. Tom also talks about his time serving as a civil volunteer in Vietnam during the war and the lessons he learned there.

Sep 15, 2017

Pope Francis on September 9 released Magnum Principium, a document announcing new canon law for liturgical translations. Msgr. Rick Hilgartner, former executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Office for Divine Worship, talks about what this means for the church. Later, NCR editor Dennis Coday and Celebration editor Denise Simeone discuss the historical perspective on liturgical changes and the importance of language in Catholic prayers.

Sep 8, 2017

NCR intern Maria Benevento discusses her recent article on Catholic peacebuilders and their ideas to bring stability to Afghanistan in the wake of the Trump administration’s announcement to drastically change U.S. strategy in the conflicted country. Later, Fr. Roy Donovan with the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland talks about his statement asking the Irish bishops to put a hold on the permanent diaconate until Pope Francis makes a decision on allowing women deacons.

Sep 1, 2017

NCR contributor Jonathan Luxmoore breaks down Cardinal Pietro Parolin’s visit to Russia. Michael Sean Winters explains what to look for as Congress resumes session on Tuesday. Global Sisters Report national correspondent Dan Stockman shares updates from sisters in the Houston area and how they’re reaching out to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Aug 25, 2017

Theologian Christopher Pramuk joins host Brittany Wilmes to talk about race relations, how art can help people connect, and where Catholics might go from here. Later, Catholic sisters Tracey Horan and Larretta Rivera-Williams discuss their own experiences of race and solidarity and places where they find hope. 

Jul 7, 2017

In this final episode of season one, retired NCR editor and publisher Tom Fox speaks about NCR's legacy as he accepts the Bishop John England Award at the Catholic Media Conference. 

Jun 30, 2017

In this episode, NCR Bertelsen intern Shireen Korkzan and playwright Patty McCarty discuss McCarty's play "This Other Love," about the life of Dorothy Day. Later, Tom Roberts and Sr. Joan Chittister discuss the state of American politics and the role of the media. 

Jun 23, 2017

In this episode, Brittany talks to GSR contributor Tracy Barnett, who's reporting from Panama on an eco-spiritual retreat called Web of Life. Run by the Maryknoll Sisters, the retreat weaves together science and spirituality to explore the interconnectedness of all life. Peter Feuerherd and Dan Morris-Young join the show to talk about The Field Hospital, NCR's blog series on parish life in the U.S. and Canada. 


Jun 16, 2017

In this episode, Josh McElwee checks in from the Vatican, where the Council of Cardinals have ended a recent meeting. Josh shares what the cardinals discussed and talks about the consistory taking place later this month. Heidi Schlumpf shares some interviews with theologians who attended the annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America in Albuquerque June 8-11. They talk about what it means to be a theologian in a time of Trump. Brittany talks to Young Voices columnists Mike Jordan Laskey and Christian Mocek about fatherhood and faith.

Jun 9, 2017

Brittany talks to Jordan Denari Duffner of Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative. They discuss Islamophobia, how Jordan's friendships with Muslims have given her a renewed appreciation for her own faith, and steps the Catholic Church is taking to improve Muslim-Christian relations. Amir Hussain of Loyola Marymount University explains Ramadan and Muslim contributions to American society. Jamie Manson describes a play that tells the stories of Mary in Christian Scripture and Maryam in the Quran. 

Jun 2, 2017

NCR publisher Caitlin Hendel and editor Dennis Coday take over this episode to talk about current stories on, discuss how we determine news stories and editorials, and to ask for your support in NCR's mission of providing quality independent journalism.

May 26, 2017

Brittany is joined by Tom Reese, SJ, to discuss Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia. Later, Melanie Lidman shares her experience reporting on Trump's visit to Israel, and Maureen Fiedler muses on Trump's meeting with Pope Francis.

May 19, 2017

In this episode, Brittany talks to Sr. Rose Pacatte about the new Netflix documentary series "The Keepers," which focuses on the unsolved murder of a Catholic sister in Baltimore in 1969. Later, NCR contributor Nicole Sotelo and editor-at-large Tom Roberts talk about the Knights of Columbus and their immense financial influence in the Catholic sphere.

May 12, 2017

In this episode, Sr. Rose Pacatte comes on the show to talk about The Handmaid's Tale, media literacy, and sisterhood. Later, Brittany talks to NCR's Caitlin Hendel, Stephanie Yeagle, and Amy Morris-Young about motherhood and faith.

May 6, 2017

In this episode, host Brittany Wilmes talks to NCR Vatican correspondent Josh McElwee about Pope Francis' recent trip to Egypt. Later, Brittany is joined by GSR editor Gail DeGeorge and Sr. Michele Morek to discuss Global Sisters Report's upcoming feature "The Life."

Apr 28, 2017

Brittany Wilmes discusses the Arkansas executions with NCR Bertelsen intern Kristen Daniels. Catholic Mobilizing Network Executive Director Karen Clifton explains why her organization advocates for an end to the death penalty. Later, Brittany talks to NCR's Michael Sean Winters and Tracy Abeln about Trump's first 100 days in office.

Apr 21, 2017

NCR Senior Analyst Tom Reese talks about how Laudato Si' inspired him to take on some home improvement of his own, then Brittany Wilmes interviews Tomás Insua of the Global Catholic Climate Movement about this weekend's Mercy2Earth initiative. Later, students and faculty from Cheverus High School explain how the Ignatian Carbon Challenge is changing their campus culture.

Apr 13, 2017

In this episode, editors Gail DeGeorge and Dennis Coday join Brittany Wilmes in studio to talk about the anniversary of the Rwanda genocide and Pope Francis' recent apology on behalf of the Catholic Church. Later, Brittany talks to GSR Africa correspondent Melanie Lidman about her visit to Rwanda and how the country is healing. Celebration editor Denise Simeone stops in for a quick chat about Holy Week.

Apr 7, 2017

In this episode, host Brittany Wilmes chats in studio with Sr. Michele Morek about symbols of peace in Kansas City and at the United Nations in New York. Later in the episode, Brittany interviews peace activist Jack Gilroy and conscientious objector Logan Isaac.

Mar 31, 2017

This week, Brittany Wilmes talks environmental issues with NCR's Brian Roewe and Michele Morek, OSU, North American liaison for Global Sisters Report. Then, an interview with freelance writer Tracy L. Barnett about an indigenous tribe's fight to save their sacred lands from hydroelectric development in Panama.

Mar 24, 2017

This week, Brittany Wilmes talks to parade viewers at one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country and catches up with Irish journalist Sarah Mac Donald about the holiday's meaning in Ireland and its particular emphasis on support for immigrants. 

Mar 17, 2017

In this episode, host Brittany Wilmes speaks with Catholic author and journalist Austen Ivereigh, based in London. Austen and Brittany talk about Francis' papacy, the reform he is bringing to the Catholic Church, and his emphasis on mercy and discernment.

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