The 2nd Commandment is Like It: The US Bishops Face Their Boko Haram

In thinking about the massacres in Nigeria, my train of thought ran like this:How can anyone bear to be associated with this?  I was thinking about the whole Muslim world.  You want to be part of this? No. Of course not.One of the rare pleasures of being me is that thus far every faithful Muslim I've gotten to know has been a gentle, God-loving person.  The kind of person who would have nothing to do, ever, with the atrocities of their coreligionists.We on the outside of the Mu … [Read more...]

Christian Community Renewal for Ordinary Moms

This story is for Melanie Bettinelli, who is far more thoughtful than I am, and her house is in better order.So just before Thanksgiving this year, me and another mom got an invitation.  We had a new friend who we'd met because our daughters played sports together and liked each other.  And she said, "I'd like to have you over to do a Thanksgiving craft with us."We said yes, even though we were not really looking for Thanksgiving crafts, but we knew that friendship and community life is i … [Read more...]

Liturgical Living: What Does It Look Like At Your House? – Updated

UPDATED with the bit about Fridays and Solemnities.Melanie Bettinelli writes about the awkwardness of trying to observe the Catholic holidays throughout the year when you have no community and no traditions for doing so.  Interestingly, I knew right away what the story was with the tangerines, though I was scandalized to learn there are people who don't love them. More for us, I suppose.Prompted by Melanie's post, I thought I'd run through what our typical year of feasting looks like. … [Read more...]

You Know Catholic Education Has Serious Problems When . . .

. . .  Father Barron can drop a quote like this: To see how quickly this transformation can happen, take a good look at the philosophy department at many of the leading Catholic universities: what were, in the 1950’s overwhelmingly theistic professoriats are today largely atheist.  And it's just some passing fact. The kind of thing everyone knows. A tidbit we mention in order to demonstrate some larger point.When the philosophy department is run by atheists, it's not Catholic education.  If … [Read more...]

Single-Solution Christian Formation is Guaranteed to Fail

In the on-going conversation on what works, and what doesn't, in youth ministry, here are two threads, seemingly disparate, that share what I propose is the #1 fallacy we Catholics cling to when it comes to Christian formation:Richard Becker argues here for changing the age at which we administer the sacrament of Confirmation.  It's the kind of article I'm inclined to like, for all sorts of good reasons. Meanwhile, Fr. Peter Daly in the Archdiocese of Washington was able to track down … [Read more...]

A Youth Group Story You Need to Hear

My recent post on my own youth group experience (when I was the "youth") has generated a pile of enthusiasm and a modest amount of panic.  So I'm going to tell you a story, brand new, that you need to hear.I'm chatting with a fellow mom this weekend, whom I'm just meeting for the first time ever, and it's not in a professional-Catholic context so she doesn't know what it is I do here, or really anything else about me other than that I'm another mom like her, dealing with the same … [Read more...]

How My Parish Youth Group Helped Me Leave the Catholic Faith

Every week at Mass, I see this really nice couple.  I think we first met in about 1990 or so, because their daughter was part of the crowd I ran with in high school.  She and I were in our Catholic parish's youth group together, and we had mutual friends at school.  I went to their house once for a post-dance party.  I met the parents again a few years ago -- we'd both long since moved from our old town, and now happened to run into each other at our current parish.  And the news was this: Their … [Read more...]