Marriage is Not a Purchase, Your Spouse is Not Your Slave

Unclear on the concept is abounding these days.  Michelle Arnold shared the link to this terribly twisted approach to marital relations and all I can say is no.  Just no. For a clear-headed discussion of the patriarchy movement in general, here’s those wild liberals at HSLDA stepping up to disown this nonsense.  Christianity is not about this.  Just no, never, no way no how, end of story. What is marriage?  The free gift of self between husband and wife.  It’s faithful,… Read more

Unclear on the Concept, Teachers Sexting Edition

A friend passed on this article, about a public high school coach who texted her students a photo of a man licking the teacher’s ear.  You can read the article if you want to know more about the contents of the image.  Here’s the part we want to talk about here: “This picture is extremely inappropriate,” Mafes said. “If she had on what I have on and he was licking her ear, it would still be extremely inappropriate.” Mafes doubts… 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…. 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 periods… Read more

The Shame that Breeds Helplessness is Destroying Our Parishes

There was some debate among internet-Catholics about the recent findings by the Pew Research Center concerning the growing departure of young people from the faith – any faith. Some were asking whether the statistics were accurate. I had an impulse: How about an informal poll?  My parish youth program has a private Facebook group, and I figured we had a good pile of parents of older children — kids in that target 18-30 age range.  Maybe our youth director keeps tabs on… Read more

Why I Love Facebook Ads

I was clicking through Facebook this morning and of course there were lunch boxes everywhere.  Certain children of mine have been campaigning for shiny new lunch boxes and leaving up browser tabs full of end-of-season clearance choices so that I’m sure to stumble across the good deals.  Facebook knows. Facebook knows when I buy shoes, and gamely suggests I buy another pair just like the ones I bought.  Facebook knows when I am in the market for a new pair… Read more

Survey Results: What Would Make it Easier for Families to Learn About the Catholic Faith?

The responses to the first Listen to Me survey have been astounding so far.  If you are charged with the care of souls, could I recommend you do this?  It takes about twenty minutes to whip together a Google form, and then you have a free, confidential way to ask open-ended questions that let people tell you what they are really thinking.  Even the shy people.  Even the people you think you have pegged, but really you don’t. Do this, guys…. Read more

If Your Ministry, Apostolate, School, or Parish is Failing . . . It’s Probably You. – Updated

Updated to preface the comments below with responses to two readers who scrupled in various directions. 1. For a clear understanding of what it is we humans actually do 99% of the time, read Simcha Fisher’s seminal work on the topic, “Go Forth and Get Me Butter, Says the Lord.” 2. When you get down to the reality-check paragraph, here’s the expansion pack comment: There are a lot of reasons a ministry might not “succeed,” and one of them is… Read more

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

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