I'm excited to share today's blog interview of... Lino Rulli, Emmy-award winner for "Generation Cross," bestselling author of Sinner, The Catholic Guy's Funny, Feeble Attempts to Be a Faithful Catholic, not to mention the great host of the "Catholic Guy" on Sirrus/ XM Radio. Lino is the latest person to graciously answer far too many e-mailed questions from yours truly. A big thank you to Lino for taking the time from his hectic schedule to provide such thoughtful answers--on far too many questions!
1. For those who may not be familiar with your new book, Sinner, what made you decide to tell your story? What do you hope readers take away?
What made me write the book was...well, the advance! Money makes a person do crazy things: like write a Catholic book. And I really hope readers take away the reminder that we're all sinners. We're all struggling. Hopefully they can have some laughs at my expense and realize they're not the only ones who aren't perfect.
2. What's its release date, and will it be available in Kindle format?
It was released September 1 and is a paperback, kindle, audio cd, and audiobook. No excuses to not buy it! It's everywhere...
3. I really enjoyed reading the preview of a portion of the first chapter ("Monkey Boy") on Amazon. As a guy who played McGruff the Crime Dog as well as Reepicheep in the late 1980s, I think I can sympathize with the costume... Did the monkey suit work give you an introduction to performing in front of people that appealed to you--or did that really come later?
Yeah, it certainly helped. But more than anything, it gave me an example of the need to be different. My dad took a different path in life, and that encouraged me to try and do the same thing.
4. When did you decide to pursue a career in
I always loved media. Just before graduating college, I decided to get "serious" about Catholicism - and thought that a practicing Catholic shouldn't be involved with trivial media stuff. But a few years later, God literally put me back into the media world. So it seems like He decided for me.
5. As the Catholic Guy on Sirrus XM Radio, you've had the opportunity to visit many exciting places. What are a couple of your favorites--Rome? On the opposite end of the spectrum, any places where you probably would like to avoid a second visit?
Rome is the best. I'm Italian, though, so I might be biased. The show has brought us a lot of cool places, but you can't beat Rome. I can't think of anyplace I wouldn't visit again!
6. Are you exploring any new directions or format changes to your show in the coming years?
I'm a big believer in the idea that if you're not changing, you're stagnant. So I don't have any specific directions or format changes to announce here :), but I'm always working on it.
7. Do you plan on writing more books in the future? Any topics of interest? Ever considered fiction?
I've gotten a few publishers contacting me to write another book, so with any luck I'll be writing again soon. I don't think I'd do fiction, however, because I think life is stranger than fiction.
8. What were some of the highlights that will stay in your memory from World Youth Day Madrid?
The Saturday Night Vigil, nearly 2 million people, the Pope is there, and a rainstorm hits! We had an absolute blast out in the rain. Then, it stops raining, the Pope continues talking, and we're having Eucharistic Adoration. 2 million people praying. Complete silence. Then, after the Pope left, it started raining again. It was great.
9. What do you see as one of the major challenges facing the Catholic Church in the United States at this time?
Wow, that's a tough one. I think the major challenges facing the Church is credibility and a sense of being relatable. A lot of people are turned off by Catholicism, and we have to try to win 'em back...
10. Was there a particular point in your life as a young man where you made a conscious decision for Christ, a "Second Conversion?" (As converts from the Evangelical tradition, this is an area of interest. I'm going to try to usually ask this question in the future interviews.)
I've had a few times in my life where I've had a "Second Conversion" like experience, but the truth is I'm a guy who was born and raised Catholic, and I need to be converted every day!
11. Have you spent much time in western Oregon? Any upcoming visits to our neck of the woods in the near future?
I've been to 6 of the 7 continents. 48 of the 50 states. And never Oregon! Sorry. Would love to visit sometime.
12. I remember listening to one of your shows in late June when you were talking about co-ed dormitories at Catholic universities. We recently visited a school in the Seattle area with our daughter where men and women were rooming right next door to each other. It seems to run counter to common sense as well as Catholic morality and modesty, creating an environment where the occasion to sin is present unnecessarily. I just don't see why we have to burden our kids with these temptations. Do you think more and more Catholic institutions of higher learning are taking a second look at this?
I think the idea of Catholic identity is becoming more and more important at all sorts of Catholic institutions. And that's a good thing. Some things, like co-ed dorms, are just a crazy idea.
13. Technology has so changed the face and voice of media over the past decade, or so. What do you see as some of the challenges for print and broadcast media in the future?
Media is becoming more and more splintered, and it's a challenge to build and maintain an audience with so many options. I think the biggest challenge is having a sizable audience - and making money! Everyone likes making money.
14. Is there a saint or two for whom you share a special affinity or appreciation?
Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII. JPII because he was a hero for so many of us, and I got a chance to meet him. I was there at his funeral and there at his beatification. And John the 23rd, because he was Italian and had a great sense of humor.
15. We recently were dealing with a family member battling a serious illness, and I was curious how your faith helps you personally handle those more difficult times in your life? For instance, what does redemptive suffering mean to you?
I'm sorry to hear that. And as for faith helping during difficult times, I'm not great with redemptive suffering...but when I have nowhere else to turn, God is there. And I find comfort in that.