The second episode of Field Hospital is released!

In this episode of Field Hospital, Jeannie Gaffigan and I speak to journalist Kathryn Joyce about the rise of extremism within the US Catholic Church. Kathryn began reporting on the increasing visibility and influence of nationalist and alt-right currents within the Church in a an in-depth article in Vanity Fair in 2020. She has continued to follow and cover this phenomenon ever since. We discuss her career as a religion journalist, including her reporting on movements within Protestant Fundamentalism and how she discovered the reactionary anti-Francis movement in Catholicism in 2019. Kathryn also shares her thoughts on the way this movement has affected US Catholicism by promoting hostility to Pope Francis and spreading conspiracy theories in order to achieve its political aims.

In our open and wide-ranging discussion, Kathryn, Jeannie, and I talk about about how extreme positions have now become mainstream in certain parts of the Church, how the rise of Catholic fundamentalism mirrors what is happening in the rest of US society, and how—and if—we can start moving toward unification and healing. It was very interesting to discuss these topics with a non-Catholic observer, who provides a unique perspective, from the outside looking in, on matters that can be difficult to assess from inside the Catholic bubble.

Kathryn is currently working as an investigative reporter at Salon, and she is the author of two books: The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption and Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. 

Don’t forget to check out the books and articles mentioned in the episode, including:


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Mike Lewis is a writer and graphic designer from Maryland, having worked for many years in Catholic publishing. He's a husband, father of four, and a lifelong Catholic. He's active in his parish and community. He is the founding managing editor for Where Peter Is.

Podcast: US Catholics and political extremism
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