Under China’s one-child policy, girl babies were routinely aborted so that the parents’ one child would be a son. As a result, there are far more men than women in China. This “woman shortage” means that many men can’t find anyone to marry. So human traffickers are kidnapping women, particularly in Viet Nam, and selling them as brides in China. This is becoming a big business, as CNN reports, after the jump.
After much study and debate among the bishops, Pope Francis has issued a letter on the family entitled Amoris Laetitia (the joy of love). In wrestling with how to minister to gays, the problems of modern families in a time of sexual revolution, and whether or not to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion, the Pope is characteristically unclear.
He upholds traditional morality, pro-life ethics, and historical Catholic teaching on the family, and yet he speaks much about “individual conscience” (which is usually problematic in Catholic theology) and pastoral discretion. As usual, his pronouncement is controversial and is being taken differently by all sides. (See this and this.)
The best thing I’ve read on the document is from Ross Douthat, who says that Catholics have been upholding doctrine (pleasing the conservatives) while allowing great flexibility in actual practice (pleasing the liberals). He says that what is new in Amoris Laetitia is that the Pope is giving official sanction to that separation of doctrine and practice.
I would add that this is not just a Catholic phenomenon. We certainly see this in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod when it comes to official insistence on, for example, closed communion, even as many congregations ignore that teaching in practice without any official consequences. (Can you think of other examples in non-Catholic churches?)
Is this a necessary accommodation in a fallen, complicated world? Or is it evidence that churches don’t really believe their own teachings? [Read more…]
A professor at the University of Florida is forbidding her students to use words like “husband,” “wife,” “dad,” and “mom” as being insufficiently inclusive. [Read more…]
Go to church together. Pray together. According to a new study, couples who do those things have stronger and more satisfying relationships.
Read the whole article by Rachel Lu in The Federalist, linked to an excerpted after the jump. She also ties this research into that Swiss study that found that when the father goes to church, the children will go to church when they are adults (and vice versa).
Vocation is in the here and now, and it’s something all Christians have. It doesn’t mean just “job” but refers to the arenas God brings us to for love and service to our neighbor. So teenagers aren’t just preparing for a vocation in the future; rather, they can love and serve now.
Scott Keith, at the Jagged Word (a multi-author blog you should keep up with, affiliated with 1517: The Legacy Project), has written a great piece about his daughter Autumn and her service (to which I have a personal connection), along with misunderstandings people have about a teenager’s vocation. [Read more…]