In the Face of Such Evil, the Only Thing Left is Hope

For those who know what such a thing is, the theme around my corner of the Catholic world over the past few weeks has been Spiritual Warfare 101.  I don't have any particular talent for that fight, so it ends up about as unlovely as any other battlefield.You may be finding yourself on similarly unlovely territory just now.Despairing.  What is the point? How to continue in the face of this latest news, that latest turn of events? *** Meanwhile, my monthly Gospel reflection ran earlier t … [Read more...]

Something Lovely: Newly-Written Traditional Country Music

In this ironic age, in which everything is a riff on something else, it's hard to let go of the cynic and just enjoy something beautiful and good.  In this case, a lonely-hearted traditional-style country music love song from a kid who isn't wearing the hat and overalls as a costume. Those are the clothes Matt Curley wears when he works behind a horse-drawn plow.  (He wears them for other less glamorous farm chores as well.)The montage looks like a home video shot in a mid-20th-century Catho … [Read more...]

Follow-up: Catechesis for Teens, Year-by-Year Benchmarks, and a Rant

In response to my post the other day, I had a few comments from friends in the catechetical world.On the topic of good resources for teens, Charity Horinek writes: When Mark and I taught high school for six years, we used these books, and *I* think they are awesome:We did the first three in three-year cycles, then repeated, but used the fourth as a framework for discussing issues of morality that arose quite frequently since the teens in our group (anywhere from 26 to 33 kids at a t … [Read more...]

Something Fun: The Secrets of the Southern Appalachians Unveiled

New book out from one of my college friends* and her trusty colleague:Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests: An Ecological Guide to 30 Great Hikes in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia by Stephanie B. Jeffries and Thomas R. Wentworth. A few excerpts from an interview with the authors:CR: What makes your “ecological guide” different from other hiking books?TW: Many other hiking books are focused on the details of a trail as a way to get from point A to point B. This is n … [Read more...]

Good Cause: Help Catholic Kids Stay in Catholic Schools

From my inbox:Hello! This is John McNicholYou may or may not remember me, but if you are receiving this email, you and I have had positive dealings in the past. Please help me raise money for Our Lady of Lourdes School Endowment Fund.  The fund is intended to provide financial stability for the students' education.  This page is intended for Susanna, Chris (red Shirt) and James (Hobbes costume) to help continue their excellent education at a wonderful school, Our Lady of Lourdes in … [Read more...]

What Religious Ed Textbook for Teens Who Want More than the Fluffy Stuff?

A friend asked for a high school textbook recommendation, and it came to my attention she might not be the only one with a such a need.My go-to textbook series for teens is the Midwest Theological Forum's Didache Parish Edition series.  I've looked through a handful of these, and am pleased to report they hit that perfect balance between approachable and readable, but scholarly and never, ever, dumbed-down.I like the Parish Edition because it's manageable for weekly one-hour ge … [Read more...]

Annulments, Divorce, Remarriage: We’ve Got it All Backwards

The Synod for the Family is coming up, and one of the vexing problems it hopes to address is the situation of Catholic bigamists and polygamists.Vocabulary review:Digamy is the act of marrying again after one's spouse has died, and is a topic that comes up among the early Church Fathers with respect to clergy marriage.  It's a non-issue for the laity (us normal people who aren't ordained), but it's fun to say out loud, so everyone should know what it means. Bigamy is the act of m … [Read more...]