Lino and I wanted to have some fun with this interview, which took place at an exclusive balcony overlooking St. Peters Basilica an Italian pizza spot in Georgetown, DC.
Kidding aside, I wanted you to get a taste of Lino’s wit and (hidden, in a good way) wisdom and I figured no better way then to just shoot some questions at Lino and see what he comes back with. (And for those of you who are wondering, “Papist” magazine doesn’t actually exist … yet).
So, here you go, ten quick questions with Lino Rulli:
AmP: “Sinner.” Was that your first title? Why “Sinner?”
LR: I wanted to call the book “The Holy Bible”, but the publisher vetoed it. Still not sure why. So we went with Sinner because, well, when you think sin, think Lino. It’s a topic I know quite a bit about.
AmP: Seriously, you have a hotmail account? What’s up with that? Is that some sort of hat tip to the old evangelization?
LR: I love my hotmail account. And you can’t be surprised…I’m Catholic. I keep it old school. Scripture. Tradition. Hotmail.
AmP: You met Blessed Pope John Paul II, does that make you a second class relic? third? fourth?
LR: A second class relic? That’s the only time I’ve ever been accused of having class. But without a doubt, meeting JPII was a highlight of my life. Every day I look at the rosary he gave me and say to myself “How cool! The Pope gave me that!” And yes, I know I should say: “Hey, I should pray the rosary and actually, you know, use it for its intended purpose.”
AmP: You have 10 seconds to give advice to a young Catholic struggling with keeping their faith, what do you tell them?
LR: You kids nowadays and your short attention spans. Only 10 seconds? Well…wait, how much time do I have left? Ok, here we go: We all struggle. You’re not the only one with doubts and fears. Being Catholic isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.
AmP: You’ve traveled a bunch of places. Besides Italy, where have you found the most vibrant faith?
LR: Israel had a pretty vibrant Jewish faith. I met some pretty devout Muslims in Egypt. But you’re probably talking Catholicism, right? [I am --AmP] Poland, no doubt. A random Sunday Mass was so packed there were people outside the church wanting to get in. I’d never seen something like that before.
AmP: You talk about confession in the book, what’s the best advice you’ve ever heard about how to have a good confession?
LR: Here’s my advice – even though no one gave it to me: Go. Be honest. And open strong… Don’t sandbag with a few venial sins and sucker punch the priest with a mortal sin halfway through.
AmP: Would you ever go back to television? Do you see a future in writing?
LR: Television will always be my first love [He's won multiple Emmys. He's too humble to bring it up, but I'm not --AmP] Then again, I’m almost 40 and never married…so what do I know about love? Every year or so I get an interesting television offer. Most recently, CBS offered me something that would have taken me out of the country for awhile. I think my friends put them up to that one just to have me far away. But I love doing radio. And anyway, I’m just doing this writing thing until my career as a waiter takes off.
AmP: If someone asked you if you were a papist, you’d say?
LR: As long as they pronounce “papist” properly, I’d say absolutely [right answer --AmP]. Drives me insane when people don’t say Catholic words right. [Me too. Okay, I'm interjecting too much --AmP].
AmP: Besides me, who would you most like to interview you next?
LR: Your dad. I love answering questions about Canon Law. Maybe we could even talk about Jude Law. [Good luck with that. Okay, no more interruptions I promise --AmP].
AmP: Something all the ladies ask me about … can you cook?
LR: I don’t know how to cook, but I’m amazing at ordering food. Seriously, I know pride is a sin, but I’ve got crazy good ordering skills. I pretty much always order the right thing at a restaurant, and I live in New York, so I can order delivery with the best of them. If I ever get canonized, I should be patron saint of non-cooks-who-eat-well. (Pretty specific, I know, but we Catholics have a patron for everything.)
If you’re reading to this point, you’ve consented and agreed to a contractual obligation to go buy Lino’s book and check out his website. (Though I would strongly recommend not opting for the “read book by text-message” option — my phone is completely spazzing out with all the messages.)
Bottom line: Lino’s written a wonderful book in “Sinner.” I enjoyed it and would recommend you read it and give a copy to a friend who’s not sure about the whole Catholic thing. Or send them here to get a taste of the Real Rulli. (And as for launching “Papist” magazine, I’m entertaining offers…)