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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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Teaching Teenagers Logic is Practically Cheating

I received a very flattering compliment about my recent post on teaching logic to teens, and I don't wish to quibble with the kind soul who bestowed it on me.  But there's a secret I must reveal:Teaching teenagers is easier.What we are studying is the art of identifying bad arguments and replacing them with good ones.  One of the tricks used in the book, and that I use in the class as well, is to assert things that are true, but which are asserted poorly.  In other words, I might be ri … [Read more...]

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How to Teach Kids about the “Straw Man” Fallacy

Point them to the internet.In class this morning, the kids got their formal introduction to Mr. Straw.  We're working through The Fallacy Detective, and the way we do most chapters is that the kids read the text at home, we discuss the definition of the fallacy, and then the kids each contribute an example they've either invented or endured.  We do assorted exercises to practice identifying the various fallacies we've studied and to distinguish them from legitimate arguments.Because of th … [Read more...]

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Don Bosco on Recess Consultants and Playing Tag

The National Review has a snippet-article about "Recess Consultants" whose job is to improve the playtime experience for school children.  Circulating elsewhere are reports of schools banning games of Tag, latest casualty in the war on scraped knees and egos. Before we get too wrapped up in our self-righteous huffing and puffing, let's talk about Don Bosco.The background is this: St. John Bosco started schools for boys from the bad parts of town.  Boys who weren't growing up in loving homes w … [Read more...]

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