Gay Marriage, Slack Parents, and Religious Ceremonies: An Even Simpler Solution

The usually sensible Fr. Longenecker proposes that the Catholic Church get out of the civil marriage business as a way to avoid being forced to officiate at same-sex ceremonies.There is a much simpler solution: We could decline to offer Catholic wedding ceremonies to couples unless at least one of the two is a practicing Catholic.We already try to do this, witness the massive hoops that Catholic couples are forced to jump through in order to get a church wedding as it stands.  We attempt … [Read more...]

Communal Life in the Parish and Making Time for Our Evangelical Mission

Josh Canning lays down the challenge here: How do we make time for evangelization in our lives?Half the battle is wanting to, of course.  That requires conversion and discipleship.But suppose you've experienced the conversion, and given your life over to a relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and do in fact want to answer that call of the baptized to go and preach the good news and make disciples of all nations?  Why is it so dang difficult?When I read this post at … [Read more...]

How You Get People to Behave at Mass: A Story About What Works and What Doesn’t – updated

Elizabeth Scalia writes here about the story behind the story of the slouches in the pews.  She's cranky and she's got it right.  I'm going to tell a story now, and if you were there that day kindly shut up about the who-when-where-why-how, because it could have been anywhere.  It's the story of what makes people respect the Mass, and what doesn't, and why Elizabeth has it right. *** So I'm at one of these social-moment Masses, and it doesn't matter what kind -- a funeral, a wedding, a first co … [Read more...]

Doesn’t get much more unqualified than this . . .

. . . That would be me, writing about "loving your enemies."  Ha.It's the 16th of the month, which means I'm all pre-prayed over at  One of those days when you have no choice but to lay it all out:One of my chronic frustrations is that it seems like my pagan friends are such better people than me. They are kinder and more merciful; they work harder – why can’t I be as virtuous as they are? Our Lord reminds me of that today, pointing out, “If you love those who love you, … [Read more...]

How to Start a Discipleship Group the Easy Way

Having just observed how desperate Catholics are for serious discipleship, I'd be remiss if I left you hanging on how to meet that need. Here's about fifteen years of experience with discipleship groups across a variety of contexts (evangelical, Catholic, young adult, grown-ups, mixed-generations, mixed-gender, single-gender, etc. etc.) summed up in a blog post that will, yes, actually tell you what you need to know.To start a discipleship group you need three things:1. A leader.2. … [Read more...]

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...]

Why Does the Ascension Matter?

This is my annual reminder of why we bother with all this Jesus business.  If you're not in it for this, I'm not sure what you're doing.  First ran at the Wine Dark Sea. *** We think of atheists as the people who actively deny the existence of God, but there’s a much more pernicious and widespread atheism among religious people today: Faithy-ism. We talk about God, and do God-themed activities, but we don’t really mean it.  It’s all just a metaphor.  Our spirituality consists of our deeply felt … [Read more...]