Home » Behind the Catholic Counter Podcast » Behind the Counter #18 Ralph Martin and Joseph Bottum

Behind the Counter #18 Ralph Martin and Joseph Bottum

Today I'll be speaking with Joseph Bottum about his new book The Christmas Plains that is a kind of a memoir about Christmas growing up in South Dakota. I'll also be speaking with Ralph Martin about his new book Will Many Be Saved?

This show is pre-recorded but you can still leave comments about this and upcoming shows on our comment line at 719-235-5045

You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes. Just search for the Behind the Counter under podcasts.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed the Story of the Other Wiseman on our radio show. We had company and family over which meant that there were about 20 people in the house and everyone was having a great time until our three year old threw up in the living room. Then one of my daughters decided that she didn't want dessert and went to bed. Then one of our visitors said she didn't feel well and Father drove her home. Oh, boy.

So instead of having a nice peaceful night on Christmas we got to deal with four cases of stomach flu and several loads of laundry. While cleaning up a set of sheets I looked up at the bathroom mirror and saw that one of our kids had stuck a window cling of the crucifixion on it. I know that some people see signs from God regularly. I don't, but that night I was clearly reminded of the saying “no creche without the cross”.

Today is January 5th, the Feast of St. John Neumann. John Neumann was born in Bohemia in 1811. In 1835 John Neumann expected to be ordained but his bishop decided that there were too many priests in the diocese so he halted all ordinations. Wouldn't it be nice to be faced with that problem today?

John Neumann searched all over Europe for a bishop to ordain him and was turned down everywhere. While waiting for ordination John worked in a factory with workers who spoke English and learned it in the process so he sent letters to all the bishops in America asking if any would take him. The bishop of New York agreed and ordained him for the diocese of New York in 1836. At the time the diocese had 36 priests serving 200,000 Catholics. Fr. Neumann's parish stretched from Lake Ontario in the North all the way to Pennsylvania in the South. His parish church didn't have a steeple or a floor but he spent most of his time traveling between towns saying Mass in kitchens and sleeping in taverns.

Because of his isolation from the rest of the diocese he joined the Redemptorists with his bishop's permission. In 1848 he became the Provincial Superior of the United States and was appointed the bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. He was the first bishop in the United States to organize a diocesan school system and during his time in Philadelphia he doubled the number of schools to 200. In order to help with a huge influx of immigrants he also embarked on an extensive church building project that produced about one new parish a month for the city.

If you sometimes think that the Catholic Church is besieged in this country today, in bishop Neumann's time he had to contend with the Know-Nothings – a violent anti-Catholic political party that set fire to convents and churches. Because of the violence, he petitioned Pope Pius IX to let him resign but the pope refused.

In 1854 he was present in Rome of for the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception.

In 1860 at the age of 48 Bishop Neumann dropped dead in the street while running errands. He died from a stroke.

He was beatified during the Second Vatican Council by Pope Paul VI in 1963 and was canonized in 1977.

You will usually see St. Neumann pictured in art wearing a red cape and sometimes holding a church or school.

This show is pre-recorded but you can still leave comments about this and upcoming shows on our comment line at 719-235-5045

Will Many Be Saved?
Will Many Be Saved?


The Christmas Plains
The Christmas Plains



  1. “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. [14] How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! [15] Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” -Matthew 7:13-15 of the D-R Bible

    Most people are in hell.

  2. The ecumenical Council of Florence said:
    “It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church. ”

    Infallible councils can’t contradict other infallible councils so salvation outside the Catholic Church is limited to people who have had a baptism of desire….etc.

  3. Jojo,
    Christ also told the parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins which argues for 50/50. The Apocalpyse has those who follow the Lamb as a multitude that cannot be numbered. Your Douay Rheims above does not follow perfectly the Vulgate which oes not have “few there are that find it” but has “quam angusta porta et arta via quae ducit ad vitam et pauci sunt qui inveniunt eam”…that go on it. Big difference…in the DR, old age conversion in the last moments of life are ruled out for the many foolish but in the Vulgate, the nuance is that mny are on the wrong road but that does not rule out death bed repentance.
    Also ask your pastor or a nearby Catholic college prof or a monk in a monastery as to their understanding of the baptism of desire…how inchoate might it be in a person and how does their concept line up with yours.

  4. Bishop Neumann dedicated my parish church which is located in North Eastern Pennsylvania in 1856. He made the 125 mile trip from Philadelphia on horseback.

  5. Scary stuff dear Jo Jo..
    I believe from what I have learned so far in my short Roman Catholic Life is that only those who want to go to Hell will end up there.
    God is full of mercy as we are told by Saint Faustina for one.
    Also I believe that praying for those who have died and who may be on the point of going to Hell is valid and may well count towards their reclamation.
    Wishful thinking? Maybe but this conforms more to my idea of an All Powerful and Almighty and All Loving and All forgiving God.
    and then there is another who never went to Holy Mass but just filled his life with helping others and being like Jesus to them….
    Which one would be righteous. I am just a simple bloke and I know who I would choose to be in my kingdom.

    • Don’t let Florence’s wording give you the blues. You’ll notice no Popes or Bishops quoting it because Yves Congar pointed out what to the hierarchy is common knowledge now…Councils are guided by the Holy Spirit not inspired by the Holy Spirit which means their wording can be true but woefully incomplete and Florence’s above passage cited by JoJo is the most incomplete in Church history. It even contradicts Christ when He said those will enter Heaven who have fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty etc….with no if ands or buts as to whether they entered the Church. The point is most people who do the works of mercy have a very inchoate baptism of desire while Catholic conservatives envision the baptism of desire as explicitly wanting to be Catholic. Vatican II implies in its comments on goodnesses outside the Church….that the baptism of desire can be widespread and inchoate or implicit. Since our sex abuse 40 year scandal offends millions of good non Catholics throughout the world even to our hierarchy’s lack of zeal in stopping it, it’s absurd to think God requires them to explicitly view us as the true Church since Christ said, “By their fruits you will know them.”. Catholicism is the true Church but after 2000 years, she has clouded that historically in certain periods like the Inquisition and the sex abuse period and has decreased the responsibility of those
      outside recognizing her. This was not the case in the early centuries of the Church.

  6. Maybe there are many who go to Holy daily mass and are just self righteous Hypocrites… What about them????.

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