In the Face of Such Evil, the Only Thing Left is Hope

For those who know what such a thing is, the theme around my corner of the Catholic world over the past few weeks has been Spiritual Warfare 101.  I don't have any particular talent for that fight, so it ends up about as unlovely as any other battlefield.You may be finding yourself on similarly unlovely territory just now.Despairing.  What is the point? How to continue in the face of this latest news, that latest turn of events? *** Meanwhile, my monthly Gospel reflection ran earlier t … [Read more...]

Annulments, Divorce, Remarriage: We’ve Got it All Backwards

The Synod for the Family is coming up, and one of the vexing problems it hopes to address is the situation of Catholic bigamists and polygamists.Vocabulary review:Digamy is the act of marrying again after one's spouse has died, and is a topic that comes up among the early Church Fathers with respect to clergy marriage.  It's a non-issue for the laity (us normal people who aren't ordained), but it's fun to say out loud, so everyone should know what it means. Bigamy is the act of m … [Read more...]

Greed, Human Suffering, and Catholic Social Teaching – Links Worth Your Time

Linking around on human rights & Catholic social teaching:Brandon @ Siris debunks a few myths about the Church "changing" it's teaching on usury.  Summary: The answer is still no and will always be no, but maybe that word doesn't mean what you think it means.  H/T to Darwin for the link. Nestle, Cargill & ADM get to go to court in California on charges of using slave labor.  Thank Simcha Fisher for pointing me to that one. I just finished reading Factory Girl, which follows the ( … [Read more...]

What Happens if Sacramental Confession Ceases to be Secret?

Why are some secrets worth dying for?  The Jesuit Post blog has an excellent piece up on the case from Louisiana headed for the Supreme Court. If you read nothing else, go read that.  Regular readers will recall I commented on similar lines in my review of I Confess earlier this summer.They say hard cases make bad law.  Hard cases also force us to think seriously about what makes good law.  Let's look at possible outcomes if the Supreme Court rules that priests and penitents can be compelled … [Read more...]

Get Young Adults to Join Your Parish in Two Easy Steps, Guaranteed.

The question came up at Sherry Weddell's Intentional Disciples discussion forum: How does one attract and keep "young adults" in the parish?  I've been that young adult and I've spent a fair bit of time talking with the faithful Catholic young adults who don't show up at the St. Moribund's of this world, so I've got a pretty good grasp on the dynamic.  I'm sorry to report the answer is exceedingly simple:1. Be serious about following Jesus.2. Get out of the way.Don't believe me?   … [Read more...]

Discipleship. You hear the word. What does it mean?

Up at New Evangelizers, I answer the question, "What exactly is this discipleship thing we keep hearing about?"  It's a tricky question because it's both far simpler than we make it out to be, and far more demanding than a simple answer would suggest.Our Catholic reflexes are hopelessly bureaucratic anymore, so I begin by explaining a few things discipleship is not:It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything Christians do needs to happen under the auspices of a formal pro … [Read more...]

Confession Primer: Forgetting to Confess a Mortal Sin

H/T to my friend John Hathaway for sharing this classic image from the Sacrament of Confession Facebook Page, and hosting a discussion to go with:Here's the scoop on how the sacrament works when you've got an unconfessed mortal sin:1. If you are aware of having committed a mortal sin, make an act of contrition right away.  (That means: Pray to God and tell Him you are sorry.)  At your first opportunity, go seek out a priest and make a sacramental confession.  Refrain from presenting you … [Read more...]


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