The Crux of the Matter: Catholics and Contraception–A Challenge to Margery Eagan.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.  Used with permission.

Over at Crux News the other day, Margery Eagan posted a column indicating that she was "devastated" that Pope Francis crushed her hopes for reform on pelvic issues by affirming Pope Paul VI'scourage in promoting Humanae Vitae.  A snippet: "Although he has not lived it himself, I had thought he understood something about good people living real lives in real marriages. I had thought he even understood something about the beauty of sex in marriage, the need for sex in marriage.  I was wro … [Read more...]

Pope Francis & Pope Emeritus Benedict Agree on Annulments

From a recent interview with Pope Francis.The family is so beaten up, young people don´t get married. What´s the problem? When they finally come to get married, having already moved in together, we think it´s enough to offer them three talks to get them ready for marriage. But it´s not enough because the great majority are unaware of the meaning of a lifetime commitment. Benedict said it twice in his last year, that we should take this into account in order to grant nullity, each person´s fai … [Read more...]

What Douthat & Martin Miss: Reflections on the Ongoing Synod Discussion

NYT columnist, Ross Douthat,  and America Editor-at-Large, Fr. Jim Martin, are having a very interesting conversation about the fallout from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.  I applaud them on their civility, but I do think they are missing some important points.So Who Asked You, Anyway?Although they haven't asked my opinion, I did want to offer a few thoughts because as a full-time marriage and family minister who has written more than 20 books promoting the Catholic vision of m … [Read more...]

Want Faithful Kids? These 4 Secrets Will Make It Happen

Commonweal, has some bad news  for Catholic parents.  (But hang on, I've got the good news for you after this brief interlude.)Here's the bad news for Commonweal readers, and we may as well get right to it: Just over half the young people raised by parents who describe themselves as “liberal” Catholics stop going to Mass entirely once they become “emerging adults”—a new demographic category that means either prolonged adolescence or delayed adulthood, defined here in Young Catholic America as … [Read more...]

The Extraordinary Synod on the Family–Processing the Explosion

The Catholic world exploded the other day with the release of the Relatio,  the summary document intended to highlight the progress of the Synod Fathers so far.  There is another week ahead of course, and then the Synod will adjourn until next October when the conversation will pick back up up again with the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family.  But the first week was, depending upon whom you ask, either the absolute end of the world, or nothing much to write home abo … [Read more...]

Australian Couple Releases Full Text of Synod Speech


I'm friends with Byron and Francine Pirola, the son and DIL of Ron and Mavis Pirola, the Australian couple who presented to the Extraordinary Synod.  Byron and Francine run the Australian Marriage Resource Center which was founded by Ron and Mavis.  They have been getting  a lot of comments about the speech and they wanted to release the full text of Ron and Mavis' talk to help clarify any confusion.  They asked if I would help spread the word.We've had a number of colleagues contact us hav … [Read more...]

When Mercy Hurts: Cdl. Kasper and the Soft Clericalism of Low Expectations.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the need for the Church to be merciful in the application of its teachings. That's hard to argue with.  In fact, I heartily agree that finding ways to be both positive and pastoral when articulating the teachings of the Church--especially as it relates to the difficult topics of sex, marriage and family life-- is of paramount importance.  As someone who is responsible for conducting/supervising over 10,000 hours/year of pastoral counseling services fo … [Read more...]

Family Synod Update

Two stories grabbed me about the opening of the Synod.The first is about a discussion that asks if there is a better way to explain Church teaching than by using such negative, loaded language as "intrinsically disordered"  "grave" "intrinsically evil" etc.The second is a story of how the Church might help families live and pass on the faith.What do you hope the Synod will address?  What recommendations would YOU make if you were one of the advisor couples? … [Read more...]