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… 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… Read more

Three Reasons I Hate Mothers Day, and the Holidays We Need Instead

  It’s that weekend again, and people, nice people, have already started wishing me happy Mothers Day.  I’m generally a good sport, but if this holiday fell off a cliff into the abyss, I’d be okay with that.  Specifically, I’d like it to fall off a cliff and be replaced with of multitude of much better holidays. MD Evil #1: People expect you to do things. I have four children.  I am expected to do things all the time.  The… Read more

Is there a Christian Answer to the Transgender Problem? How about BIID?

I’ve written on the topic of transgender Christians before, see the last two links in the list below.  Today I want to answer a few questions that came up in the course of a private conversation concerning both gender dysphoria and body integrity identity disorder.  The two are related in that both involve a sense that one’s (otherwise ordinary) body is profoundly wrong-as-created.  The two are also related in that the moral (and thus physical) response to both conditions is… Read more

Don’t Kill People with Disabilities. Especially Family. @BADDtweets

I’m reminded by Ruth at Wheelie Catholic that May 1 is Blogging Against Disablism Day.  My message this year is real simple: Don’t kill innocent people.  Specifically we’ll talk this year about the people in your family. Do not kill them. 1. Don’t kill your children.  Even the disabled ones. If you are hoping to have a child, do not make plans to kill that child if he or she isn’t good enough for you.  That’s fake parenting.  There are… Read more

Help a Widow and Two Orphans

I’d like to invite those of you with the means to do so to contribute to the fund for Emma Esherick and her two children, one yet unborn, both freshly orphaned.  Sadness and shock, that’s all I can say.  It sucks being a writer who has to go around sounding like a cliche, but “at a loss for words” sums it up. I can vouch for Emma and her family that they live out the Gospel values of simplicity, devotion,… Read more

What’s Wrong with Age-Bracketed Sacramental Prep?

In a private conversation I found myself writing, “This is why I despise, and I do mean despise, age-bracketed sacramental prep.”  I’m referring to the practice, nearly universal, of giving all the Catholic seven-year-olds First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion, and then setting another age — could be seven, or nine, or fourteen, or seventeen — when we round them up again and give out Confirmation.  RCIA is more of the same, if we count “age” in terms of “months spent… Read more

About that Food Stamp Thing

Here’s Simcha Fisher writing about her food stamp experience, and her experience should disturb you, but not the way combox losers huff and puff: And we followed this plan for many months. I salted away savings, and I strolled past the meat freezer in the supermarket, lusting after the trays of meat, scorning the shameless slobs who stopped and filled up their carts on the taxpayer’s dime. Freeloaders. Scum. Oh lord, look at that steak. Stop looking. Now go get some spaghetti…. Read more

Chronicle Ad Spawns Plethora of Open Letters: Fire My Bishop, Too!

Readers at this blog, inspired by the knowledge that Pope Francis is just as likely to read Patheos as he is to read The Chronicle, have been inquiring whether they can place advertisements addressed to the Holy Father concerning their bishops, too.  I’m not strictly sure whether my contract allows me to accept payment for such things, so I’m running a few for free.  As you can see, there are many, many bishops guilty of offenses along the same lines as… Read more

Are You Smarter than a “Prominent Catholic?” Archbishop Cordileone Rocks the Gospel.

The trouble with being Catholic is that there’s not a quiz at the door.  One can thus rise to “prominent Catholic” status without knowing anything much at all about the Catholic faith, as readers of The Chronicle will have observed in the advertisement taken out by San Francisco citizens deeply concerned that Archbishop Cordileone is acting like a Catholic. It’s not a particular surprise that the signatories are confused about their faith, since they also seem to think Pope Francis reads their… Read more

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