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Cathleen Falsani
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Cathleen Falsani is a veteran religion journalist and former religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Orange County Register. She is the author of five non-fiction books including the critically acclaimed memoir, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, and co-author of Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Rascals.. She is at work on a book examining the global popularity of Pope Francis and what it means spiritually, theologically, and culturally.

Entries by Cathleen Falsani

Paul Simon's Spiritual Fascination: 'Stranger to Stranger' and Sonic Inspiration

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2016 | 3:31 PM


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.

"I want to see what's going on," Simon said, recalling his visit to the Casa de Dom...

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U2's Songs of Transcendence

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 4:03 PM


Sunday evening I did something I haven't done in close to 30 years: I went to an actual record store and bought a brand-new U2 album on vinyl, took it home, pulled out the turntable, put on my headphones, sat on the floor,...

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The Immigrant Lands Close to Home

(1) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 4:31 PM


When she was 20 years old, she traveled from her home in Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan, Ireland, to Liverpool, England, where she purchased a second-class ticket and boarded The Baltic ocean liner.

Eleven days later, on Dec. 19, 1920, she arrived at New York's...

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Nadia Bolz-Weber: She Is Not Your Grandmother's Pastor.. Or Is She?

(48) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 6:58 AM

PASADENA, Calif. (RNS) 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.

Then they talk about how tall she is (6...

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'Breaking Bad' Philosophy: The Hit TV Show That's Also A Morality Play

(67) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 9:06 AM

(RNS) Whither Walter White?

How the morality tale of a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who transforms himself (first by desperation and then through sheer hubris) into a cold-blooded, Machiavellian drug kingpin will end is what legions of fans of AMC’s Emmy-winning “Breaking Bad” want to know.

But after the first episode...

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Thomas Merton Movie: Trappist Monk's Love Life To Feature In Upcoming Film

(75) Comments | Posted August 9, 2013 | 7:06 AM

Don’t sing love songs, you’ll wake my mother

She’s sleeping here right by my side

And in her right hand a silver dagger,

She says that I can’t be your bride.

— from “Silver Dagger” by Joan Baez

(RNS) It was their song — the young, winsome brunette and her...

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Mumford & Sons' Hootenanny For The Soul

(4) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 6:14 PM

By Cathleen Falsani
Orange County Register

(RNS) “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 Theatre at UC Berkeley for the second...

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'Girl Rising:' Changing The World, One Story And One Life At A Time

(12) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 12:16 AM

By Cathleen Falsani
Religion News Service

(RNS) In her 1968 poem, “The Speed of Darkness,” the late American poet Muriel Rukeyser penned the line, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”

While the medium is different, a new feature-length documentary, “Girl Rising,” also bares witness to the...

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Religion And Humor: God Won't Mind If We Laugh At Ourselves

(36) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 5:28 PM

IRVINE, Calif. (RNS) In more than 30 years as a believer, I’ve attended enough “Christian conferences” to expect at least a few of the speakers to be talking out of their … um … butts, if you will.

But Hollywood director Tom Shadyac was the first to do so literally...

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Cole 'Raahi' Jacobs, Yoga Prodigy, Kundalini Teacher And 'Believer In Christ'

(330) Comments | Posted May 4, 2013 | 4:57 PM

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (RNS) Class began at dusk in a dimly lit studio facing Pacific Coast Highway as the yoga teacher appeared, adjusting the shawl draped around his shoulders, and took his seat on a quilted meditation pillow.

Because the sun was setting behind him, the teacher appeared in silhouette....

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Top 10 Things I Learned From the Wild Goose

(3) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 11:14 AM

1. Tune in. Log off. Let go.


Darting fireflies supplied most of the light that pierced the rural darkness when I arrived at the Wild Goose Festival site on a farm in Shakori Hills, N.C., late last Wednesday night. I left my...

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Justin Bieber's Ecce Homo

(7) Comments | Posted January 12, 2012 | 4:10 PM

Now, before you sprain an optic nerve rolling your eyes, let me begin by saying, "Yes."

Yes, I realize that the vast majority of HuffPost readers do not fall within young Mr. Bieber's target demographic.

Many of you likely are asking yourselves (perhaps out loud, as we adults are wont...

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An Invitation to The Great Conversation

(13) Comments | Posted January 7, 2012 | 12:26 PM

In 1943, in the throes of World War II and one of the most fraught times in contemporary human history, the psychologist Abraham Maslow published a paper explaining, as he understood them, the five basic, motivating needs common to all of humankind.

They are:

* Physiological (air, food, water,...

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Thanks(giving) Be to God

(21) Comments | Posted November 23, 2011 | 2:55 PM

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. Even as a child, with the prospect (and visions) of sugar plums and bundles of wrapped Christmas presents dancing in my imagination, it was our annual family gathering, a food-a-palooza in November that claimed the preeminent spot...

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'The Mighty Macs' is Mighty Marvelous

(12) Comments | Posted October 27, 2011 | 5:38 PM

Rarely do I leave a cinema and feel the urge to tell everyone I know to run out and see the film I've just watched.

But that is precisely how I felt after a recent screening of "The Mighty Macs," an outstanding new independent film with a subtle yet powerful...

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#OccupyWallStreet: Without a Vision, the People Will Perish

(26) Comments | Posted October 19, 2011 | 4:10 PM

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a month old.

Now what?

On Sunday afternoon, I stood in Zuccotti Park with several thousand other folks trying to take in the veritable circus that is the Occupation site sandwiched between Wall Street and Trinity Episcopal Church.

Who is working here? Who is...

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Roger Ebert and "Life Itself"

(3) Comments | Posted September 23, 2011 | 8:11 AM

"The conditions of my life are precarious," film critic Roger Ebert wrote last week in a posting on his online journal titled, "Fall from Grace."

Ebert, 69, perhaps the pre-eminent film critic in the United States and a longtime colleague of mine at the Chicago Sun Times newspaper,...

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Belieber!: Fame, Faith and The Heart of Justin Bieber (EXCERPT)

(41) Comments | Posted September 21, 2011 | 11:14 AM

The idea behind "Belieber!: Fame, Faith and The Heart of Justin Bieber" was to peel back the veneer of celebrity and take a closer look at Justin as a person and as a cultural phenomenon. At 17, Justin's reach and influence is international, vast and unprecedented. As someone who watches...

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Kevin Smith's 'Red State': Masterful, Spiritually Powerful

(3) Comments | Posted September 9, 2011 | 4:36 PM

Don't believe most of what you'll hear about Kevin Smith's new movie, "Red State."

It is not an angry tirade against religion, nor is it an attack on Christianity guised as a horror flick laden with gratuitous violence.

Smith has described "Red State" as a horror film, and it is...

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10 Years After 9/11, the Question Remains the Same

(6) Comments | Posted September 2, 2011 | 8:01 AM

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was standing in the bathroom of my apartment outside Chicago, about to hop in the shower, when I heard the phone ring and then my husband call my name.

"It's Roger from the desk," he called, sleepily, invoking the name of the...

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