James Martin
Jesuit Priest and Author of “The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything”
01:43

In Stephen Colbert’s Hot Seat

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As one of the show’s regulars, the priest talks about what it’s like behind the scenes.

James Martin

The Rev. James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, and is the culture editor of America, the national Catholic magazine. Father Martin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1982, where he received a bachelor's degree in finance. After working for six years in corporate finance and human resources with General Electric Co., he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1988. On Nov. 1, 2009, he pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit.

Father Martin is the author of several books, the latest of which is called "The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything." His bestselling memoir "My Life with the Saints" was named one of the "Best Books of 2006" by Publishers Weekly. He also wrote "A Jesuit Off-Broadway: Center Stage with Jesus, Judas and Life's Big Questions," which was named one of Publishers Weekly's "Best Books of 2007."
Transcript

Question: What’s it like being a regular on The Colbert Report?

James Martin: Sometimes you’re on shows where people are aggressive or are confrontational and it’s important to remember to always to be charitable because you know when I’m talking it’s not just representing me or talking about my book.  I’m also for better or worse representing the church and so if I come off as being argumentative or mean or snappish or whatever then people will say look, the Catholic church you know once again you know they’re being whatever, so charity is the first thing and I sometimes get nervous about the topics that people choose to bring up.  You never know what they’re going to bring up, but on Colbert it’s a lot of fun.  I mean he himself is a Catholic, so I know that he understands what I’m talking about.  He is funny.  One of the great challenges of being on that show is just not laughing.  I mean he is so outrageous sometimes and so unpredictable that the things he says just make me laugh.  One time I was on and we were talking about the recession and how people find God in the midst of difficult times and I said that we’re sometimes more open to God’s activity in our lives when we’re more vulnerable, which is true because you know when our defenses are down we can let God in more easily, which happens when people are sick or when they’re you know going through difficult times and he said, “You make God sound like an opportunistic disease.”  And I thought I guess I do, but it was hard not to laugh because it was so silly, but yeah, I really enjoy being on the show. 

Recorded on March 26, 2010

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