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...]

Extraordinary Synod on the Family Round-up

The Extraordinary Synod on the Family begins this weekend.  Here are some of the posts I've written over the last few months on the synod.  To see more great writing on the Synod by my fellow Patheos bloggers, go here!The Synod: What is it?  Who Cares? Pope Francis Calls Extraordinary Synod on the Family Why Is the Family So Important Anyway?– The Catholic Channel Symposium on the Extraordinary Synod for the Family. Sesame Street Tells Lies that Hurt Kids (OR, Why “Any Group of People / Li … [Read more...]

Yes, There IS a Catholic Way to Parent. Here’s Why.


Is there a Catholic way to parent?It really depends upon what you mean by the question.  If you mean, "Is there an approved list of preferred parenting methods the Church requires that we use for child rearing?"  Well then, of course the answer is "certainly not!"But if you mean, "Does our Catholic faith ask parents to have a mindset about parenting that reflects the Church's unique vision of family life and make choices that are mindful of that vision?"  Then the answer is, "u … [Read more...]

Cardinal Kasper and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea (and A Better Solution–If I Do Say So Myself)

In preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, many people of good will are floating a lot of different ideas about how the Church should approach various challenges like annulments. (To read my own previous writings on the annulment issue, including my recommendations for improving the annulment process, go here, here, and here.)Cardinal Kasper, former President for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, recently waded into the debate with his own suggestion about … [Read more...]