I am pleased to announce that Hugh McNichol is our blogger of the month. He has written many articles for us, but there was one in particular that caught our attention, ‘The New Seven Deadly Sins‘. I have known Hugh for only a few months, but I have been impressed with his writing, he has a great writing ethic. I decided to find out a little more about Hugh. Of course he bent my ear 🙂

So Hugh, you are our Blogger of the month. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. As a kid I went to Saint Gabriel Catholic Grade School, then Bishop Neumann High School, here in Philly. My original plan was to join the church and studied at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia where I studied philosophy in college and theology in graduate school. I also did a stint at Saint Joseph’s University sprucing up on my German knowledge, and Neumann College, Aston, Pa for my grad work, in pastoral theology. I now live in Wilmington, Delaware , with my wife Alisa and my daughter Kathryn.

Your articles certainly lean toward the Catholic religion, Catholicism has gone through a bit of a bashing in the last decade. How much damage was actually inflicted, and how has the church bounced back?

I write very often on Catholic topics because Catholic theology is my background. Initially my career was to be a Catholic priest. However, career paths change. Over the years I have taught Catholic theology on a secondary level, and German studies on a secondary level. I volunteer teaching CCD for a local parish.

The Catholic Church in the United States has especially has its problems over the last 10 years. However, the problems it has experienced from all aspects are great motivational factors to develop and establish a new Church that is stronger as a result of the mistakes of the past. The Church will endure the problems it is presented, it just needs to be more openly transparent about all of it’s internal mechanisms and both preach and live a consistent message of faith. The damage inflicted by the sex scandal in the U.S. has strongly influenced the Church. However, it most evidently shows everyone that these concerns are pervasive in our society and we need to restore a strong sense of communal and individual morality.

Many would argue that in this wired world religion is an irrelevancy unless you are a fanatic. And the fanatics that spring to mind are the followers of Osama Bin Laden. As the saying goes, ‘All terrorists are Muslims, but not all Muslims are terrorists’. Throughout history religion has been the spark to ignite the fire. How do we keep religion and remove the ‘spark’?

Unfortunately, most people that society sees as concerned with religion are branded as fanatics. I really think it is because we have as a society lost our innermost sensibilities towards an appreciation of the notion of “Sacred.” 20th century secularism and modernism have really victimized the esoteric pursuit of God’s identity for most people. Unfortunately, even when some read this , they will consider me a religious fanatic. However, I am really not. I just love the ancient traditions and religious heritage of my Catholic faith. The notion that international terrorism is mostly associated with Islamic followers is based on the religious extremism the world is experiencing in the Middle east and most especially in Europe. Terrorists are equal denominational opportunists, they all seek to spread global fear and destruction. That’s why the understanding and tolerance for religious freedom is so important. The global community is large enough to give all religious groups space…they all have to be directed towards peaceful results…that are not fanatical religious extremism.

I understand that you have Press Credentials for the Papal visit to the US, what kind of coverage are you planning?

I recently received my press credentials to cover the Pope’s visit to the United States. I initially filed for these credentials thinking if I decided to go to Washington, D.C. or New York for the visit, it would help my writing exposure. It was sort of a, “ oh by the way” idea. Now I am covering the event for Catholic News Agency and I will be reporting for them from the Papal events. My coverage will include the events of the Pope’s visit, behind the scenes stories and daily blogs. Recently I was offered the chance to write a daily column for Catholic News Agency. I called it, “Nothing Left Unsaid!”

So keep me in mind as I board the Amtrak to Washington and New York. I am covering my first journalistic event….it should be exciting.

Rumor has it that you have a book deal in the works. Can you tell us a little about it?

I do have a potential deal in the works for a book. The topic is going to focus on the “Religions of the World.” Every day new details are happening…so as a result it changes everyday. I have also finished a book about the area of Philadelphia where I grew up. It is called, “Gray’s Ferry, the road to American Independence!” I am looking for a publisher ….hopefully one will come around.

I know that many of Blogger News’s writers will be reading this interview, so I have to ask the question. Where do you get your story ideas from?

My writings are based mostly on my American Catholic urban childhood with a immigrant Irish-American twist. So I write on that familiar topic. Also, I write about events that affect Catholics on a daily basis. It always just pops into my head, based upon the world news, I pick a topic and write about it.

I started writing at my own blogsite, and spread to BNN and now to Catholic News Agency. My goal is to write professionally and spend time teaching, doing volunteer work and enjoying my daughter.

I write because I read. Reading drives my passion. What drives you?

Life itself drives my passion to write. I had a professor in college that always quoted Socrates, “ The unexamined life is not worth living!” Well, I think this is very true for everyone, especially modern Catholics with a global realization of our common humanity. Really, I write as a challenge for myself to examine my life daily and reflect on my actions and implications. Hopefully, I challenge my readers to examine their own lives and activities and inspire them to….well…get out there and ….make a difference!

OK, enough of the frivolous questions, lets get on with the really serious stuff. Who is the best looking editor at Bloggernews Me, Jan, or Devon (and I will give you a clue, I am married to her)?

I have to point out that Hugh opted not to answer this question, so I invented his answer. Oh, thats an easy one, Jan wins every time!

All of us here at Blogger News wish you all the best in your endeavors, and we are proud to have you as one of our writers.

Simon Barrett


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