Michigan State criminal justice professor Thomas J. Holt, found that about one in four children said they were pressured by their friends online to talk about sex when they didn’t want to. The study included 439 middle- and high-school students aged 12 to 16. “This is not to downplay the danger of pedophiles acting online, but it does draw attention to the potential threat of child sexual victimization by the people our kids are closest to, the people they spend… Read more

For the study, 555 Palestinian adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 were presented with a classic “trolley dilemma” that involved a Palestinian man being killed to save the lives of five children who were either Jewish-Israeli or Muslim-Palestinian. The participants responded from their own perspective and then again from Allah’s perspective.  The results showed that although Muslim-Palestinian participants valued their own group’s lives over Jewish-Israeli lives, they believed that Allah preferred them to value the lives of members… Read more

Why children MUST be welcome at church HuffPo has an article praising parents who bring their little ones to church.  It is generating a lot of heat so I thought I’d revisit a post I did on this topic back when a very passionate debate erupted at Patheos about this very issue. For those who are interested, Lisa and I offer a TON of practical help for families who wish to worship together in our books, Discovering God Together: The Catholic… Read more

Four steps to graceful change in the new year.   Whether or not you’ve made any New Year’s Resolutions, this is a natural time to reflect on the changes we might like to make in our lives. Unfortunately, a lot of efforts to change are driven by self-recrimination.  We try to shame ourselves into the changes we’d like to make.  “What’s wrong with me?”   “What can’t I just do this already?” The Role of Guilt Guilt can play a part… Read more

In a visit to St Joseph Parish in Rome, Pope Francis stated,  “Babies cry, make noise, go here and there. But it annoys me when a baby cries in church and there are those who say he needs to go out. The cry of a baby is God’s voice: never drive them away from the church!” We’ve discussed this a lot on the blogs.  You can check out my post, The Contraceptive Sanctuary:  Why You SHOULD Bring Your Baby To Church” … Read more

In a recent interview, “Domestic goddess” Nigella Lawson takes on what she refers to as the current cultural obsession with “clean eating.” To put it bluntly, $10 cold-pressed green juices and quinoa bowls are a lifestyle choice — it doesn’t make you virtuous. “There is a way in which food is used either to self-congratulate — you’re a better person because you’re eating like that — or to self-persecute, because you will not allow yourself to eat the foods you… Read more

How do you know when it’s OK to keep bringing something up? As a marriage and family therapist, hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear a wife ask if she is  “being a nag” or hear a husband accuse a wife of the same.  (Curiously, I rarely hear husbands worry about this or hear wives accuse husbands of this “crime.”) Nagging Defined. To be fair, there are times when a person can be a nag.  For instance, if… Read more

Pope Francis has declared this to be a Year of Mercy but…so what?  What does it mean to be merciful?  And what difference does this year make to families? The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy illustrate that mercy means treating others in a way that allows them to see their worth in God’s eyes. We Are All Royal We are all God’s children and baptism enables us to be prophets, priests, and royals.  The Works of Mercy remind us… Read more

            Why are “nones” on the rise?  The answer might surprise you. I recently gave a radio interview about the latest Pew Center finding that “nones” (unchurched/”spiritual not religious”) are the fastest growing demographic on the religious scene.  The interviewer asked me if I thought the increasingly secular culture was responsible for both the loss of faith and the breakdown of the family.  I surprised him by saying that the research suggests it just might be… Read more

In light of the recent tragedy in San Bernardino, the New York Daily News and other outlets (notably, HuffPo) have challenged believers by, essentially, saying, “spare us your prayers.  God isn’t going to fix this.” As a pastoral counselor, I hear different versions of this all the time.  Specifically, “What good is prayer if I have to do all the work anyway?” Many people have an incomplete–and frankly, disordered–understanding of the purpose of prayer.  They engage in prayer as if… Read more


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