Colbert, Cardinal Dolan to Match Wits in Comedy Slam

Colbert and Dolan. Photo by Kevin Mazur via Getty Images.

Colbert and Dolan. Photo by Kevin Mazur via Getty Images.

NEW YORK — So who is the funniest Catholic in the Western world: New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan or Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert?

It's a tough call for anyone who has followed either man's impressive record of rim shots, but we may finally get an answer to that urgent question when the cardinal and the comedian team up for a panel on faith and humor this September at Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y.

“I’m looking forward to a great conversation with a terrific theologian and a gifted comedian. They are both,” quipped the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and popular author. Martin will be moderating the Sept. 14 event, titled “The Cardinal and Colbert: Humor, Joy, and the Spiritual Life.”

Martin’s recent book, Between Heaven and Mirth, explores the relationship between humor and faith, and the priest said that the panel wouldn’t be just a couple of Catholic tummlers yukking it up for the audience – or distracting the public from the many controversial stories about the church.

“This is just what the Catholic Church needs,” said Martin, who has been on The Colbert Report so many times that he is called the official chaplain of the Emmy-winning news parody program. “Being joyful does not mean that you overlook suffering or pain or even scandal.”

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: April 30, 2012

Aussie grandma performs The Black Keys on spoons -- LA riots appear on Twitter 20 years later -- Stephen Colbert and Jack White meet again on The Report -- TED and NPR team to deliver new podcast -- a capella renditions of pop songs -- the interactive scale of the universe -- and The African Queen steamboat (of Bogart/Hepburn fame) is rescued from the junk heap. Read this and more on today's Links of Awesomeness...

The Jesuit Jester

Between Heaven and Mirth by the Rev. James Martin

Between Heaven and Mirth by the Rev. James Martin

For years, I've liked to call the Rev. Jim Martin, author of the new book Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life, "my favorite Jesuit."

I'm certainly not alone in my fondness for Martin and his wry spirituality.

Stephen Colbert is so enamored of the exceptionally clever cleric's wit and wisdom that he made Martin the official chaplain of the Colbert Nation. (Click HERE to see some of Father Jim's past appearances on "The Colbert Report.")

Martin, culture editor of America magazine and a prolific writer whose previous books include My Life With the Saints, A Jesuit Off-Broadway and last year's The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life, has an uncommon gift for making faith — and even religion — both accessible,  genuinely hip and if not fun, exactly, at least enjoyable.