What Teens (and Everyone Else) Want: Serious Discipleship Time

In conversation with Devra Torres, she commented: I'm starting to think that the habit of EVER addressing persons in clumps is a terrible idea, even though it seems so efficient and realistic. In fact, that's one of the main points of personalism, but one that's taking a while to sink in for me. Her remark couldn't have been better timed.  One of my challenges lately has been explaining to bystanders that what often looks like a "club" or a "clique" in a parish may in fact be a very effective … [Read more...]

Marriage is Not a Purchase, Your Spouse is Not Your Slave

Unclear on the concept is abounding these days.  Michelle Arnold shared the link to this terribly twisted approach to marital relations and all I can say is no.  Just no.For a clear-headed discussion of the patriarchy movement in general, here's those wild liberals at HSLDA stepping up to disown this nonsense.  Christianity is not about this.  Just no, never, no way no how, end of story.What is marriage?  The free gift of self between husband and wife.  It's faithful, it's fruitful, it's … [Read more...]

Letter to a Discouraged Evangelist

I wrote the following in response to a "What would you say?" question from Sherry Weddell, who shared in a private forum the comments she'd received from a discouraged-but-faithful Catholic.  The details hardly matter. We all know the territory.  Here's my answer, and couple follow-on comments come after. *** Dear Friend in the Field,You're absolutely right. Catholics are horrible and evangelization can drive you mad. It's pretty common for people who are serious about the faith to go through p … [Read more...]

The Shame that Breeds Helplessness is Destroying Our Parishes

There was some debate among internet-Catholics about the recent findings by the Pew Research Center concerning the growing departure of young people from the faith - any faith. Some were asking whether the statistics were accurate.I had an impulse: How about an informal poll?  My parish youth program has a private Facebook group, and I figured we had a good pile of parents of older children -- kids in that target 18-30 age range.  Maybe our youth director keeps tabs on what becomes of the pro … [Read more...]

Survey Results: What Would Make it Easier for Families to Learn About the Catholic Faith?

The responses to the first Listen to Me survey have been astounding so far.  If you are charged with the care of souls, could I recommend you do this?  It takes about twenty minutes to whip together a Google form, and then you have a free, confidential way to ask open-ended questions that let people tell you what they are really thinking.  Even the shy people.  Even the people you think you have pegged, but really you don't.Do this, guys.  You'll be stunned at what you learn.FYI, survey s … [Read more...]

If Your Ministry, Apostolate, School, or Parish is Failing . . . It’s Probably You. – Updated

Updated to preface the comments below with responses to two readers who scrupled in various directions.1. For a clear understanding of what it is we humans actually do 99% of the time, read Simcha Fisher's seminal work on the topic, "Go Forth and Get Me Butter, Says the Lord."2. When you get down to the reality-check paragraph, here's the expansion pack comment: There are a lot of reasons a ministry might not "succeed," and one of them is that you are doing exactly what God asked you to … [Read more...]

Survey Now Open: Listen To Me, Catholic Mothers Edition

I've lost my patience with church people who just won't listen to the real stories of the Catholics and not-quite-Catholics they are supposed to be serving.  So I'm starting a survey series, and survey #1 is for Catholic mothers.  If you're a mother and you consider yourself Catholic, then you're part of that group, even if you're not a very good Catholic.  (As you'll see, the questions reflect this.)You can find the form here.  The only required question is whether you are willing to have yo … [Read more...]