How to Protect Religious Freedom? Practice Your Religion

I was surprised the other day to learn that the Episcopal church had just voted to allow same-sex weddings.  The surprising part wasn't the "Episcopal" the "same-sex" or even the "voted."   I was surprised that this was news.  I thought the Episcopalians had decided to go this route ages ago.  I had no idea -- I mean seriously, no idea -- that such questions were still being debated as recently as a week ago.The reason I was surprised by this vote was because I don't follow Episcopalian int … [Read more...]

10 Things Christian Kids Need to Prepare for an Uncertain Future

In a private conversation Elizabeth Scalia posed a question, and I'm going to paraphrase it wildly: If you are the parent of young children, are you afraid for what the future holds for them?It's a question people are answering this week whether it's been asked or not: What does the future hold for faithful Christians in a culture that despises our faith?My answer is, very bluntly, is that whenever I've had my head on straight, I've always been terrified and I mean that in a good … [Read more...]

The Terrible Problem with Laudato Si’

"Living our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork is essential to the life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience."Laudato Si' 217 The difficulty, the dreadful, unspeakable, shield-your-eyes difficulty with the Pope's new encyclical on the environment comes down to one nasty problem: The man is right.For the popular press, hoping all this time that Pope Francis would be something new and different, created in the image of The Today Show, t … [Read more...]

Transvestites and Conservative Christians Meet Minds at the Cult of Prettiness

Being pretty has never come naturally to me.  I like the concept in theory, but I don't have the patience for it.I grew up immersed in that world where gender-equality was translated as prove you can do everything a boy can. The going entertainment-industry trope was the odd-couple pairing of the pretty girl who was beautiful but whiny and useless with the tomboy who got things done and then got a makeover at the end of the movie.That culture breeds misogyny.  Given my natural spread of s … [Read more...]

That Perpetually Lost and Confused Feeling is not a Bug, it’s a Feature

The headline sets aside the question of pre-Fall living, which none of us are doing.  It's the 16th of the month, which means I'm pre-prayed.  Naturally I completely forgot and re-prayed this morning, which you're allowed to do.  I can't remember what thoughts I had this morning, but here's where my thinking went last time I reflected on today's Gospel: Lord, I don’t understand everything. I’m struggling with difficulties that are leaving me feeling completely lost and maybe even abandoned. Help … [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...]

Preaching: What Works? Why Does it Matter? – Updated

Father Longenecker* writes about his frustration as a homilist here, and he raises a good question: Does good preaching matter?  And if so, what kinds of homilies (or lectures) are effective, and what effect do they have?I'm going to answer as someone who teaches the Catholic faith outside the pulpit, who's been subject to the very best and very worst of Christian preaching and teaching, and who spends an awful lot of time with Catholic lay people who say the things they don't say around … [Read more...]