Faith, Spirituality, Belief, Religion…What’s the Difference?

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Conventionally, we tend to use words like, "faith", "spirituality", "belief" and "religion" interchangeably and, generally speaking, there isn't anything wrong with that. But it may interest you to know that for those who study the psychology of religion, these words do have different meanings.  More than just an academic distinction, these differences can actually be quite enlightening and helpful for you in making clearer sense out of the different aspects of your own faith journey.  Let's l … [Read more...]

Pope St. John Paul II & Pope St. John XXIlI: Partners in the Universal Call to Holiness

It surprises many people that the Church will be canonizing both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II this Sunday, April 4/27.  Most of the commentary I've read sees this in political terms. That is to say, the perception by many secular observers seems to be that the Church is throwing a bone to liberals by canonizing their guy while the Church throws a bone to conservatives by canonizing their guy.   I doubt there is much to this political angle, but I think there is a deeper, much more si … [Read more...]

Attachment and Faith Style: How Parenting Affects Your Experience of God

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Yesterday, I linked a study reporting that 40% of US children suffer from insecure attachment.  To the degree that anyone thinks about attachment at all, most people tend to think of it in terms of its psychological and relational ramifications.  What fewer people realize is that, because attachment style predicts people's attitudes toward all their relationships, it also impacts our experience of God.  Let's take a look at four of the most common attachment styles and how each influences our fa … [Read more...]

Predicting Addictions/Eating Disorders By Age Four: What Parents Need to Know

Pope Francis has been beating the drum for more affectionate connections in families, again and again urging parents to "Be close to your children."   Two new  studies show the practical import of Pope Francis' words.First,  new research from the University of Adelaide shows that disturbances in the development of the child's oxytocin system (aka "the love or bonding hormone") predicts later drug use.  Newborns do produce some oxytocin, which facilitates the biological foundations of bond … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: “Thinking Out Loud” About Church?

This week, Pope Francis raised some eyebrows when, in an interview, he discussed the possibility of the Church endorsing "civil unions" for homosexual partners.  He asserted that marriage was indeed for men and women only, but seemed to propose a more open minded and pastoral approach to the question of homosexual relationships than some would expect from the Church.  His comments, as they often do, have caused some degree of consternation among many faithful Catholics who are fearful that Pope F … [Read more...]

NY State Bishops Pen Pastoral Letter on Mental Illness.

Praise God for this incredibly important step toward better pastoral care for all Catholics--and all people--with mental illness. It's very brief but completely worth the read.  I hope you'll take a moment to look it over and then meet back here to discuss it.  My thanks to Deacon Greg for alerting us all to the exciting things happening in his neck of the woods. Here's a sample....Our society has made great strides in our understanding and treatment of mental illness. But in many cases the l … [Read more...]

The Antidote to DIY Catholicism (Part II of Guest Blog by Dave McClow, LMFT, LCSW)

(Read Part One Here)The Catechism and FatherhoodWhat gets in the way of knowing this love deeply?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church knows the power of parents.  In the section on the Our Father, it states:2779 Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord's Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn "from this world." … The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural his … [Read more...]

Why Johnny Can’t Pray– Why Catholic Religious Education is Doomed to Fail.

Over at Egregious Twaddle, my fellow Patheosi, Joanne McPortland, has a provocative post about What's Really Wrong with Catholic Religious Education?  You should go read it.  Chances are, it will do two things.  First, I suspect,  it will piss you off.  Then, I suspect, you'll find yourself agreeing with it.  At least, that's what happened to me.Her argument is essentially that the academic model of the religious education of children is a completely wrongheaded approach that should be scrap … [Read more...]


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