What Might a Modern List of Spiritual Works Comprise?

Caravaggio, Seven Works of Mercy/Public Domain

The whole issue of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and evangelization is a thought provoking one.There are traditionally 7 works under the two categories of corporal and spiritual. The list seems to have changed over time. For instance, earlier lists (like the one in the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia) talk about "ransom the captive" which a couple of medieval orders took very literally, having been founded to ransom Christians taken captive by Muslim pirates.Our contemporary lists … [Read more...]

Hey, that’s Intentional Disciples, being talked about!

Forming Intentional Disciples

Playing our song, talking 'bout us!" . . .how do we make the Church thrive again?For my part, I think the best answers to these questions are presented by those who participate in the Forming Intentional Disciples movement. I call it a movement, because I believe it to be a holy work of the Spirit and not just a book or a program. Having worked in various levels of ministry, it is my absolute belief that the corporatization of the Church is leading to its demise. Sherry Weddell from the … [Read more...]

4 Points of Comparison: Pew results vs the GSS

clipart question mark

I've been pondering the differences in the Pew results from the General Social Survey (which CARA points to and found no decline in Catholic population). Here are some of the factors:1) GSS does most of their interviews in person (which magnifies the well-known tendency to somewhat exaggerate one's religious affiliation or practice to "look good") while Pew does almost all of theirs by phone.2) GSS interviewed slightly more Hispanics (17%) than Pew did (15%) - and of course Hispanics … [Read more...]

Do Not Become Part of the Abomination

Faith and the Future, Ratzinger's calm prophesy.

I have spent years listening to Catholics talk hopefully (or gleefully!) of certain groups of Catholics - whose theological or liturgical leanings they fear and despise - leaving the Church. Now, in light of the release of the grim Pew statistics, I am being asked by puzzled Catholics of great faith and good will, "were those who have left (and are leaving as I write these words) ever *really* part of us? Won't it just be better if we are a smaller and more fervent Church? Didn't Pope Benedict … [Read more...]

What God Will Do, Despite the Pew…Study…

Empty Basilica Santa Sabina, Image Elizabeth Scalia

I know that many of us have had the wind knocked out of our sails a bit by the fairly grim figures of the new Pew Study (see my "wee snapshot", here). But nothing that Pew found was not entirely predictable. I actually *had* predicted it 5 years ago and talked about these realities endlessly in my old blog. (For my readership of three people, one of whom was probably looking for Amy Welborn!)It is different to see it in black and white. But all we have lost are the remnants of our … [Read more...]

Thought-Provoking Interview with Austin Ivereigh

Interesting. … [Read more...]

Popčak on Douthat and Martin, Discipline & Doctrine

Dr. Greg Popčak has a must-read analysis of a discusson between the NYTimes' Ross Douthat, and Father James Martin.Returning to Fr. Martin’s analogy, Kasper’s idea is the equivalent of saying, “It will always be against the law to exceed the speed limit, but from now on, anyone who drag races on this strip of road will simply have to say, ‘I’m sorry’ to the police officer when stopped and then be allowed to continue on their way.”This is an example of a “pastoral practice” that undermines … [Read more...]

A House for a Cup of Water: Mother Cabrini in Seattle

On this feast of St. Frances Cabrini, I thought I'd tell this story:I had a kind of private shrine to St. Frances near where I lived in Seattle in my early days as a Catholic.My basement apartment was on the edge of a large park on Lake Washington with spectacular views of Mount Rainier. I used to rise early and walk the park at dawn and pray and there -- on a hill above me -- you could see what looked like a little castle but was, in fact, an old home that Mother Cabrini had purchased … [Read more...]

Burke’s Departure: Not Nefarious but Just…Normal?

Whatever you do, if you love conspiracies, DON'T READ THIS!What is interesting is the case of Cardinal George Pell -- who was also one of the authors of the pre-Synod book on marriage along with Cardinal Raymond Burke and is no one's idea of a liberal or even a moderate, and made his feelings known loudly and clearly at the Synod and was moved from Sydney by Pope Francis -- to serve as one of his closest collaborators, heading up the new Vatican Secretary of the Economy.But nobody is … [Read more...]

Food For Thought

An old Polish proverb that I'm adopting as my new mantra . . . … [Read more...]