I first interviewed Lino Rulli, host of SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s “The Catholic Guy,” for the May 2008 issue of St. Anthony Messenger. It was an experience I found hilarious and, to my surprise, wholly edifying. For over an hour, he cracked jokes—mostly about himself—and offered his unique perspective on everything from uptight Catholics to Church Law to his respect and admiration for SIRIUS colleague Howard Stern. It remains one of the most exhilarating interviews I’ve ever composed.
Fast-forward a few years.
Lino spent three days in May of 2011 at the offices of St. Anthony Messenger Press in Cincinnati, Ohio, to record the audio for his book “Sinner” to be released by Servant Books in September 2011. In the brief 10 minutes we spoke, I found his energy, humor and verve still very much intact.
Here are eight random questions for Catholicism’s premier funny man.
Why tackle the topic of sin for your first book?
Because I tackle sin every day in my real life. If I’m writing a book about me, the first thing that comes to mind is sin. And honestly because I’m not this great, pious religious figure. So if you want me to write a book, I want to beat people to the punch and say, “Listen, I’ve got a big nose. I’m single. And I’m a sinner.”
Do you find confession uncomfortable?
Confession is the most uncomfortable thing. You could have 19 heavy people sitting me and that would seem more comfortable than going to confession. It never, ever, ever gets easier. The only way confession would be any easier is if I didn’t sin at all or if I had one slightly venial sin. That’s the only way confession would be easier. Otherwise, it never does.
Who’s your favorite saint?
I don’t have one. There are saints that I like. I’m not a guy who’s got these great devotions. And the irony is I ask that question to people all the time and I’m always curious about their answer. Wait—can I count Blessed John Paul II? He was my favorite pope; now he can become my favorite saint.
Which do you like better: your hometown of Minnesota or New York City where you now live and work?
An impossible question to answer! My friends and family are in Minnesota, so obviously I prefer New York City.
Biggest pet peeve?
People who won’t slide down the pews in church. These people are animals. Who do these moron-animals think they are that they don’t need to move down the pew and hang on to the end?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Dead. No, I have 20-20 vision except for when it comes to my life. Five years ago, I was very happy doing television. I had a television production company. I was traveling all over the world—producing, hosting. I was having a blast. I would never have guessed hosting “The Catholic Guy” is where I’d be five years from then so I never guess where I’ll be five years from now. It’s a complete waste of my time.
What music can we find on your iPod?
It’s very simple: Foo Fighters—greatest band on the face of the earth. More Foo Fighters. And then Eminem, Bruce Springsteen, then more Foo Fighters and some podcasts like Adam Carolla.
What is your advice for rampant sinners?
This sounds like I’m at an AA meeting. The first step is acknowledging you have sinned. No matter how deep or far or out-of-control sinners are, the first thing is to say, “Whoops! I’m screwing up. I have to get right with God.” And then to say, “Ok, I’m going to resolve to not sin again.” Get to confession, ask God’s forgiveness and then try to sin less and build it up from there. You can’t go from pure craziness to pure holiness in one day. It’s not possible.