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A Canticle for Leibowitz

February 14, 2022
The Sixth Hour Program No. 461

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

"Theater of the Mind" is back and continues all this week, as Brian and Sally bring you the radio drama version of Walter M. Miller Jr.'s epic sci-fi classic, A Canticle for Leibowitz. Originally produced in 1981 by John Reeves at radio station WHA at the University of Wisconsin, it was formatted as a radio serial in 15 installments. The math is easy. Three parts per night and we get the whole production done for you in five nights. The book is required reading if you do RCIA with Chaplain Phil. He says it is both the most and least Catholic book you will ever read, and that it accomplishes both at once suggests more participation by the Holy Spirit in the project than Miller Jr. might have suspected. He was a convert, you know. Often times that allows one to see the Church in different ways and with a certain awe that often escapes those born Catholic. The Catholic Church without God is an institution that transcends human history. With Him, it transcends human existence. Miller gets the first part but misses the second, and that's where the infernal dryness in his book comes from. When one injects God into his story, it blossoms like the Rod of Aaron; like the Utah desert when it rains before a good nuking.        

February 15, 2022
The Sixth Hour Program No. 462

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Welcome back! We continue tonight with Walter M. Miller Jr.'s epic tale of dystopia and despair, A Canticle for Leibowitz. Who exactly is Leibowitz? Your curiosity will be satisfied tonight, as the story dislodges itself from its desert time warp and begins to press forward towards... Well, after all, that's why you tune in, isn't it? Join Brian and Sally as they present the next three installments in this week-long pilgrim's journey through  this sci-fi classic. It was a different kind of tale back in 1960, even more so nowadays. Rather than blaming the Catholic Church for causing the Dark Ages, as so many revisionist historians are wont to do, we see here an example, set in a fictional future, that demonstrates why the Church should, instead, be more appreciated for lifting the world out of history's nastiest quagmire. Fair is fair, and Miller Jr. gives the Church that much credit, sans any kind of divine intervention. And where is God in all of this anyway?           

February 16, 2022
The Sixth Hour Program No. 463

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Here continues the chronicle, set down daily by the brethren. The brethren of Isaac Edward Leibowitz, in their abbey in the desert of the southwest. And so continues our presentation with Parts 7, 8 and 9 of A Canticle for Leibowitz, done as an old time radio serial, and done pretty darn well at that. Time marches on and progress slowly tags along behind, only to catch up later in the most frightening of ways. Technology has always been a two-edged sword, even back in the day when that itself was the latest innovation. Human civilizations are built upon the corpses of the conquered, whereas the Church is built upon the living souls of the martyrs of Jesus. There's a big difference. To see the latter only through the lens of the former captures but a grim and pointless portrait of the reality of human life, for it can only see the earthly. If Christ's kingdom is not of this world, then neither is ours, and if the true light that beckons us home is from heaven, then that last flash that sends us there is surely nothing to fear. On with the show!

February 17, 2022
The Sixth Hour Program No. 464

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Part 10, Part 11, Part 12

As our story now rounds third and heads for home, we realize that the more things change the more they end up the same. Man's love affair with high technology never ends well it seems. Always the jilted lover; always seeking to be as the gods; always falling back into the very dust from which he was created. Never is man more capricious than when following the urge for better living through alchemy, building his latest Tower of Babel, or seeking to journey to the stars to spread his error and cancerous sin to the cosmos. I suppose, in the end, that is reason enough why he must always be stopped, and so the game is rigged to self destruct. Or rather man is. Yet out of this ugly parade are sorted those souls which belong to God, while those lacking this affiliation destroy each other in the process of rebelling against His authority. The genius is in the simplicity. And to those who so belong, the tariff has already been paid upon that cross that these future fake Catholics are always processing with. The price is free, but there is one catch: it costs you your life. Of course, when you consider that you're going to die anyway, it's the best deal out there. And only available for a limited time!    

February 18, 2022
The Sixth Hour Program No. 465

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Part 13, Part 14, Part 15

And so it is tonight our journey through the long, dry, high desert that is A Canticle for Leibowitz concludes. If Christ was coming He would have been here before now is the implied teaching of the future Church, though the name of Our Lord and Savior has yet to be mentioned. Makes you realize that Walter M. Miller Jr.'s Catholic formation back in the 50's wasn't much better than that of today, though one can scarcely imagine that. He gets the Church part just fine, but the God part is nowhere to be found, and that's too bad because God actually adds a lot wherever He goes. Our world gives Him a bad rap, but in Miller Jr.'s imaginary world, He's downright non-existent. That's not a criticism, mind you. Perhaps he just anticipated the future Church that Pope Francis has set course for: the Catholic Church of the future that blasts off from the ruins of Earth to seek out Teilhard's "Cosmic Christ" in person. Francis would approve. I'll bet he keeps a copy of A Canticle for Leibowitz on his nightstand, right next to his Machiavelli.   

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RNJ Staff

Chaplain Phil

Chaplain Phil grew up listening to alternative points of view, and the underground perspective, that characterized late night AM and shortwave radio in the 1960's.  In the cold winter months following the events that transpired in Dallas on November 22, 1963, he came to realize that the death of President Kennedy represented an even deeper and more profound tragedy - the death of the nation. In the summer of 1964, he read None Dare Call It Treason by John Stormer and understood how this had come to pass.  He was 10 years old.

Through the ensuing years, he has followed the flow of free information, as what we now call the "mainstream media" banished independent Christian broadcasting, and honest political thought, from the AM band to shortwave, then to the internet, and now, in the face of internet censorship, back to shortwave.  After a lifetime of listening, he now feels the time has come to speak.  His message is simple.  We are living in a godless false reality created for the purpose of destroying most of us and enslaving the rest.

The time of Revelation is here. Take heart.  For what is being revealed is the eternal truth of Jesus Christ.

Brian Helix - News Director

As one of the BBC's "Young Lions," Brian Helix was known for his honest reporting and take no prisoners attitude towards the truth.  He is an expert on conspiracies and the theories thereof, both modern and classic, and a top flight investigative journalist.  He brings these talents along with his many others to the post of News Director here at RNJ.


Sally Belle-Époque - Production Manager

Sally Belle-Époque made her mark in both video production and A.I. research with the famed Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong, and now brings her varied talents and unique skills to bear as Production Manager at RNJ.  Sally is a no nonsense professional with all the Left Coast flair and style her background as a "Valley Girl" would suggest - a Silicone Valley Girl.   


Catholic Pirate Radio

What is Catholic Pirate Radio?

Pirate radio or a pirate radio station is a radio station that broadcasts without a valid license.  Catholic Pirate Radio is broadcast without the official sanction or approval of the Catholic Church, any of its connected agencies or organizations, or any member of its hierarchical structure (bishops, cardinals, pope, etc.).

Queen of Catholic Pirate Radio
"You see, God expects His people to do the ridiculous so
He can do the miraculous." - Mother Angelica
Father Coughlin
Father of Pirate Radio

    Mother Angelica: Queen of Catholic Pirate Radio

Mother Mary Angelica founded the EWTN television network, and, more significantly for my purposes here, WEWN, a global shortwave broadcast service with transmitters located in Irondale, Alabama.  In the 1990's, Mother Angelica became one of the most dominant Christian voices on the shortwave bands, and WEWN a torch that beamed her message of the truth of believing and faithful Catholicism across the nation and the world.  She was a major influence concerning my conversion to the Catholic Faith in 2002, and it is truthful to say that my formation as a Catholic took place with her over many nights of listening to the most powerful voice on 41 meters.  She gets much credit for her pioneering work in Catholic television, while her savvy for international shortwave broadcasting goes largely unheralded and is just as significant.  It made her a worldwide voice for the faith rather than just an American phenomenon, and paved the way for the globalization of EWTN.

Mother Angelica earned the title of Queen of Catholic Pirate Radio when she publicly took on and disputed the apostate Archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Cardinal Mahony, concerning the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  While Mahony was unleashing his wrath upon Mother all the way to Rome, it should also be noted that he retreated quickly and issued a statement taking offense at her for daring to question his belief in the Real Presence.  Thanks to Mother's widespread and profound media influence, I'm sure a lot of bishops, cut from the same cloth as Mahoney, also thought twice about peddling the "Spirit of Vatican II" nonsense in an overt way that might end up on TV.         

Here's some vintage Mother for you: 
I’m so tired of you liberal Church in America! And everything you’ve ever done has gone in silence. Nothing, nothing you’ve done – from your witchcraft to your enneagrams to your centering prayer to all this ‘earth spirituality’ to replacing holy water with sand to destroying our churches and closing churches that are viable and ready to go…no, this is not an accident. We’ve swallowed this now for thirty years. I’m tired of it. We have swallowed enough of your idea of God! You have, really, no God, no dogma, no doctrine, and no authority, because the only authority in the Catholic Church is our Holy Father and the Magisterium, and you have disclaimed that. You don’t believe in the Eucharist, you don’t believe in the Immaculate Conception, you don’t believe in the Virgin Birth, you don’t believe in Mary’s power of intercession, you don’t believe in religious life, you don’t believe in being a spouse of Christ! You do believe in teaching to little children in the third grade sex education, you do believe in forcing centering prayer and forcing inclusive language upon us, and now you depict Jesus as a woman?!  You’re sick!
Nothing to add to that.  As a layman, my duty as a Catholic is to point out these things just as it was Mother's duty as a religious - a Carmelite nun.  She taught me well.  It's time for Catholic Pirate Radio, the next generation.

    Father Charles Coughlin: Father of Pirate Radio

In 1926, Father Charles Coughlin first took to the airwaves on WJR radio in Detroit to denounce the Ku Klux Klan, which had recently burned crosses on the grounds of his parish.  Turning to politics in 1929, Father Coughlin quickly became a dominant and highly influential radio voice on the CBS network, with a weekly listening audience estimated at 30,000,000 during the peak of his popularity in the early 1930's.  While at first a fervent supporter of the policies and person of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his views became more controversial and his rhetoric more strident as the Great Depression lingered on.  By 1936, he was expressing a viewpoint that was anti-capitalist and anti-socialist, and invoked no little controversy by expressing a certain sympathy concerning the fascism of Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler.  He was accused of anti-Semitism based upon this and his searing critique of the European Jewish banking establishment, which he sought to qualify as follows: 

My purpose is to help eradicate from the world its mania for persecution, to help align all good men, Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile, Christian and non-Christian, in a battle to stamp out the ferocity, the barbarism and the hate of this bloody era. I want the good Jews with me, and I'm called a Jew baiter, an anti-Semite.

My point here is not to speak out for or against Father Coughlin and his political opinions, but merely to point to him as an early example of the efforts to censor and silence unpopular viewpoints.  He remains the textbook example of church and state teaming up to remove from public influence someone deemed too controversial to have his views heard by the great unwashed masses of the general public.  The Roosevelt Administration determined a priori that the First Amendment did not apply to radio broadcasting, and new regulations and restrictions were created specifically to remove Father Coughlin from the airwaves.  For the first time, public broadcasters had to obtain a permit and seek approval to speak on the air, and this was the impetus for those who refused to do so taking to the airwaves in protest: the birth of pirate radio.  While Father Coughlin was able to circumvent his banishment from network broadcasting by buying airtime on local stations, his reach and influence were drastically reduced.  In 1942 he was ordered to remove himself from public life by Bishop Edward Aloysius Mooney.  He complied without complaint and spent the remainder of his career as parish priest at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan.  He retired from active ministry in 1966.


Welcome to our broadcast facilities here at RNJ.  This is where Chaplain Phil and our crew make the magic happen.  Stars of the Show are a Sweetwater Studio Computer powering Jean and Ginger, two 1950 Canadian Philips Table Radios that serve as broadcast monitors. That's Ginger on the right channel, and Jean on the left. Auxilliary Computer is "Old Faithful," a 2009 Hewlett Packard (that's like about a 1930 model in American Tube Radio Years (ATRY). You'll also notice three communication receivers, two 1959 Hallicrafters S-108's and a 1947 National NC 57. Standby monitors include a 1937 Coronado 725 and 1953 Philco 53-960. It's all sorted out through a Behringer Xenyx 802 Mixer.  Our antenna array (not shown) is an 80 foot sloping copper long wire antenna, fastened to a Royal Palm and running from there to the studio.