Ruminations Episode VIII: What an Excellent Day for an Exorcism

For our Halloween-themed episode, the Ruminations team talks about the Catholic Rite of Exorcism and the movies that have made it famous. Learn the differences between demonic infestation, oppression, and possession, what it’s like to talk to a 90-year-old exorcist IRL, and why even modern Hollywood can sometimes treat Catholicism respectfully!

(In order to get Episode VIII out in time for, you know, Halloween, our show notes will be posted at a later date. Stay tuned!)

Episode VII Show Notes – COMING SOON

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Ruminations Episode VI Show Notes

Scavi Tour

  • The exclusive Scavi tour must be booked months in advance because it fills up very quickly–only 250 people go through the necropolis under St. Peter’s each day. Some additional tips on how to snare tickets can be found here.
  • The Fisherman’s Tomb: The True Story of the Vatican’s Secret Search (2018) by John O’Neill is a breezy read on the secret excavations that occurred under the Vatican in the 1940s, a project that was entirely financed by a Texas oil baron!
  • A brief overview of the Scavi was featured as the June 2019 cover story of the Knights of Columbus’ Columbia magazine.
  • It appears chief archaeologist (and identifier of Peter’s bones) Margherita Guarducci’s entire 1960 book The Tomb of St. Peter can be found online.
  • St. Peter’s remains were first displayed publicly by Pope Francis in November of 2013.
  • Check out Illume for more information about the tomb and necropolis. These diagrams are helpful in picturing the layout of the necropolis and the placement of Peter’s grave.
  • Jesus without a beard? Here is Christ as Sol Invictus from Mausoleum M, also known as the Tomb of the Julii.

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel

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Ruminations Episode VI: Urbs Aeterna

Ruminations is back with its most historical episode yet! In Episode VI, Chris and Steve recount their April trip to Rome, the Eternal City, highlighting the history and splendor of St. Peter’s Basilica, the glory witnessing the Capitoline Wolf and Augustus of Prima Porta statues in person, an unexpected visit to an actual medieval castle, and more. This episode is a bit on the long side, folks–if you make it through the first 45 minutes, you’ll at least be rewarded by two superb anecdotes that practically had the hosts in tears!

Stick around until the end and check out our show notes full of historical tidbits, book recommendations, and lots of pictures!

Episode VI Show Notes

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Ruminations Episode III Show Notes

Quo Vadis (1951)
– The opening scene of Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor) entering Rome is one of the main inspirations for the opening of the Coen brothers’ 1950s Hollywood-set caper, Hail, Caesar!.
– Peter Ustinov’s Nero is one of cinema’s great villains, and one whose “genius” (to use his word) is immensely under-appreciated. As referenced in the podcast, Nero is all about the theatrics, composing while being pampered, “composing while he sings” at a party, and dramatically unveiling his plans for a new palatial complex, one that would replace much of Rome, leading to…
– The Great Fire of Rome (which also involves some imperial singing.)
– Christ speaks to St. Peter (Finlay Currie) on the road outside of Rome, saying through a child that he will be “crucified a second time” in Rome. Realizing what this means, Peter returns to the city to inspire the Christians about to be killed in the arena, ultimately leading to his own condemnation and crucifixion.

Kingdom of Heaven (2005) 
– The Crusades, which occurred over two centuries, can be difficult to follow. Here is a brief summary of all 9 Crusades, plus the “People’s” and “Children’s” Crusades.
– This article breaks down all the differences between the maligned theatrical cut and the 45-minutes-longer director’s cut.
– Harry Gregson-Williams’ incredible score is by far the best part of this movie. Here is all 3 hours of it.
– Godfrey (Liam Neeson) sardonically tells Balian (Orlando Bloom) and the Hospitaller (David Thewlis) that he once fought 2 days with an arrow through his testicle.
– Leprous King Baldwin’s face is finally revealed when Sibylla (Eva Green) mournfully looks on her dead brother’s corpse and removes his mask. The music playing over this scene is “Vide Cor Meum,” an aria composed by Patrick Cassidy for Ridley Scott’s earlier film Hannibal.
This speech by the Hospitaller destroys the aura of the film as it’s chock full of modern convictions about the dangers of zealous religious beliefs.
– After the Muslim army has taken Jerusalem, Saladin shows his respect for the Christians when he sees that a crucifix has been thrown to the floor. He respectfully picks it up and puts it back on a table, an act that had modern Middle Eastern filmgoers rising to their feet.
Game of Thrones‘ Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont) appears at the film’s end as Richard the Lionheart. Here, Balian repeats the line “You…continue until they speak something else” regarding the way to the Holy Land.

The Young Pope (2016-2017)
– We debated the nature of Lenny Belardo’s flawed-but-holy character, which can be perfectly summed up by this line from Guardians of the Galaxy. For the sake of time (because the entire show can basically be posted here), below are a few clips to get a taste of Pius XIII and the humor of this glorious, insane series:
All Along the Watchtower
Ketchikan, Alaska!
The Pope’s snack
The Pope as Banksy
The kangaroo
LMFAO
Pius XIII enters–nay, is carried into–the Sistine Chapel
The Pope vs. the Prime Minister
The Africa speech and Halo
The Popes offer some advice

Honorable Mentions
Ben-Hur: We liked, but didn’t love, Ben-Hur, the 1959 Best Picture winner that also won 10 other Oscars including a Best Actor award for Charlton Heston. The rowing scenes are cool (Steve rowed in high school) and its famed chariot race lives up to its reputation–with one major caveat: we’d seen it all before in 1999’s Star War Episode I: The Phantom Menace. (George Lucas blatantly ripped it off for his podrace sequence, but as 7-year-olds, did we really know any better?) And, oh, look, it’s Peter from Quo Vadis, here playing Balthazar, one of the three wise men.
The Passion of the Christ: Mel Gibson’s magnum opus is bloodier than any movie version of Christ’s crucifixion that’s come before it and will probably come after it. Whatever you want to say about Gibson’s personal life, The Passion of the Christ is a profound piece of cinema; Jim Caviezal’s performance is a godsend (pun intended) and the movie was a roaring success despite its ultra-violence. For at least a decade, it was the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever, making over $600 million at the box office. Lastly, more movies should have characters speaking Aramaic and Latin.
The Passion of Joan of Arc: Steve watched the 24fps version of Carl Th. Dreyer’s 1928 masterpiece, which has French subtitles and is accompanied by Richard Einhorn’s 1994 oratorio, “Visions of Light.” Chris, on the other hand, watched the slower 20fps Danish version, which is accompanied by a more low-key piano score by Mie Yanashita that better fits Dreyer’s vision of the movie. This review compares the two versions. (Incredible fact: the long-lost Danish version was discovered in the closet of an abandoned mental hospital in Oslo, Norway in 1981.)
Rome Open City: There aren’t too many clips on YouTube, but here is one of the 1945 film’s most famous scenes, in which a woman is gunned down by Nazi soldiers.
Spotlight: 2015’s Best Picture winner is still (unfortunately) relevant. Trailer here.
Doubt: John Patrick Shanley’s 2008 adaptation of his own play has fantastic performances from 3 Oscar winners and also Amy Adams, all of whom were nominated for Academy Awards. This includes Viola Davis, who only appeared in a single scene (and it’s flippin’ great). Steve reviewed Doubt way, way back when he first started this blog, which can be found here. (Please be kind, it was his first ever review.)

Podcast Mentions
– In his ranting(s) about Pope Francis, Chris mentioned the Taylor Marshall Show, a superb podcast by Dr. Taylor Marshall, a former Episcopalian priest who converted to Catholicism and has 8 children. Dr. Marshall has several informative YouTube videos on the current crisis in the Catholic Church, all definitely worth watching.
– Steve mentioned the exponentially lower-brow SSEU Podcast, which initially started out as a podcast based on another podcast but has now morphed into a bunch of Twitter friends interviewing one another about movies, joking about stool samples, and reading poetry about gas station food. (Full disclosure: Steve appeared on Episode 8, The Cactus and the Giant, which also had some pretty good show notes.) Their last episode was a direct inspiration for this one.

Image credit:
Poster for Quo Vadis, 1951 / Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Ruminations Episode III: Catholic Films Through the Ages

In honor of Lent, we are back to discuss three Catholic themed movies for our third episode. (Well, not all of them are movies, and not all of them are Catholic, but we explain what we mean by that in the podcast.) We tried to think outside the box on this one, focusing our discussion on three ages of Catholicism: antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times.

Below are show notes with a bunch of clips, and they’re all worth checking out. Seriously. We hope you enjoy!

Episode III Show Notes

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