Is Your Catholic School Any Good?

The other week a friend was sharing in a private discussion group about how her child was being bullied over at the local public school.  She asked for advice and prayers, then added, "I'm hoping we can get financial aid for Catholic school for next year."That comment caused another member of the group to say, "You know, it was at Catholic school that I was bullied all those years.  I begged my parents to take me out, but they wouldn't."About that same time, another friend, in a c … [Read more...]

Traps for Catechists and How to Avoid Them

It's new-catechist season, and if you know such a person, I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you about the book you want.  It's Classroom Management for Catechists, by me.  It's cheap, short, readable, and gives you a 101 on how to avoid all the stupid things I did as a new religious ed teacher, and instead go directly to putting together a decent class even if you aren't a genius with magical superpowers.There's a Spanish version, too.  If you are buying in bulk for your parish or diocese, call … [Read more...]

Whom Does Modesty Serve?

I've got sex on the brain, and before I start into that conversation, I want to lay out a few comments about the limits of modesty.Here's a quick working definition: With respect to chastity, modesty is the collection of actions we take in order to safeguard our purity.  Modesty includes not only the way we dress, but the way we interact with others.There are of course other areas where modesty applies -- with respect to our wealth, our accomplishments, and so forth.  For your homework, y … [Read more...]

Lent in the School for Evangelization

We Catholics like our programs.  Love our programs.  So here's this program we have starting this month, and the whole Church is enrolled.  It's called "Lent" and it features prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  That's the theory, anyhow.During Lent your parish is likely to take on some kind of other program as a sort of evangelization-thingie.  Small groups (I approve), or a parish mission (ditto), or some other worthy pursuit.  These things are good.  But what if your parish isn't doing one of … [Read more...]

What My Dog Knows About the Immaculate Conception

Every evening at nine, Fitz kids and parents gather in the living room and talk to each other for an hour, and then we go to bed.  It's not a rule, it's a thing that happens.  There are usually two or three cats present, and always one dog.The dog is not my dog, and I almost never provide any particular dog care.So I was puzzled one evening a few years ago when I realized the dog was standing in front of me, paws firmly planted in a ready-for-action stance, gaze even, silent, still, wa … [Read more...]

When You Want to Understand that Marriage Thing

Two links and a note:The best summary of the theology behind the Great Communion Debate of 2015 is over at Darwin Catholic. A snippet from the conclusion: Given all of that, to say that a divorced and remarried couple (unless they have decided to live together celibately) may receive communion necessarily means that you disagree with one of the following teachings of the Church:- That someone in grave sin may not receive the Eucharist - That having sex outside of marriage is a grave … [Read more...]

Catholic Life Hacks: Truly Last Minute Saint Costume

If you have a group of children who need a saint costume, stat, ask if anyone can lend you some red lip gloss.In the hands of a skilled teenager, you can have a company of martyrs of the French Revolution in no time at all.  Hint: A white t-shirt is maybe not the best combination, when you are going for the freshly-decapitated look.  Thank goodness for bleach. ***Of course for pure All-Hallow's-Eve report-giving pleasure, you want a martyr of the Roman Empire.  No really: When she said a … [Read more...]