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...]

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...]

Scantily Clad Teenage Dancer Friends on Facebook

From the inbox, a question re: Discussing Modesty from a friend who said he'd be willing to see it answered on the blog.  Here's the original question: Hi Jen,Being of a similar mindset on Faith and parenting (and having the common Family Honor reference point between us), I have a question for you (and your husband)? I have a Catholic friend who is a marginally-involved Catholic who has a daughter who is VERY into dance. She's 13, tours the country in various dance competitions, and all this … [Read more...]

Piety Police on Patrol: Try Some Civil Disobedience

In a private forum we're discussing a sad and decidedly personal (so no, I'm not going to link to it) article by a woman who was seeking God in her native Catholic faith, and was told at every turn, "Quit acting so holier-than-thou!"  It is no surprise that, isolated and mocked for practicing the very religion she'd been reared in, she eventually decided it was not the place for her.I wish I could say hers was an unusual case, but it isn't.  I've known families who won't tolerate relatives w … [Read more...]