How To Offer Community Without Communion

I'm over at First Things today, talking about why people may want to drop barriers to Communion out of fear of excluding the people who most need strength and support, and offering suggestions for other ways to see, know, and love our pewmates:Communion is often the sign of acceptance that people seek—not just because it’s at the heart of the faith, but because it may be the only form of love that people know how to ask for or see offered at their parish. In many parishes, it’s easy to atten … [Read more...]

It’s Hard To Be A Priest In America, Spread Thinner Than Ever

I've got more popebloggery at FiveThirtyEight, this time, looking at Pope Francis's guidance to his brother bishops on pastoral care, and how the demographics of American Catholicism make his call hard to live up to:In his final exhortation to his brother bishops in Washington, Pope Francis urged them to find ways to encourage the spiritual growth of priests, “lest they yield to the temptation to become notaries and bureaucrats, but instead reflect the motherhood of the church, which gives bi … [Read more...]

A Dominican Invitation to Witness [Saints Bookclub]

In 2015, I’m reading and blogging through Ronald Knox’s collection of sermons on Christian exemplars, Captive Flames: On Selected Saints and Christian Heroes.  Every Monday (kinda), I’ll be writing about the next portrait in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.Maybe I wouldn't have been slow to get back into blogging through Knox's sermons on the saints if I had noticed that the next chapter was on St. Dominic -- after all, I owe a lot to the Dominicans in DC. … [Read more...]

Running the (Terrible for Catholics) Numbers on Conversion

The Pew Religious Landscape Survey gave the chance to write some code and run the numbers on religious churn, retention, and conversions for my day job at FiveThirtyEight.  Here are a few highlights: Evangelical Protestants Are The Biggest Winners When People Change Faiths The numbers presented by Pew help describe current patterns, but they don’t tell the whole story of which denominations are most attractive to people who might be looking for a new one. Gain and loss numbers can wind up sk … [Read more...]

Using N-Dimensional Spaces to Learn to Think About God

I had a great time speaking about Arriving at Amen at the Catholic Information Center last night (especially during the Q&A section -- there were a couple I'm still mulling) and the audio from that event should wind up online eventually.Plus, you can see me live (and ask questions of your own -- the last one at the CIC was about transhumanism) in NYC on May 26th and Boston on June 2nd.In the meantime, EWTN News Nightly put up the clip of my interview, if you'd like to hear me talk … [Read more...]

How Do We Talk About Heaven and Sin? [Radio Readings]

You can listen to “Fights in Good Faith,” my weekly radio program, streaming today at 5pm ET and tomorrow (Sun) at 1pm  The episode is now available to download and stream.Every week, I put up a “Radio Readings” post, so you can track down the books, articles, and (this week) adorable experiments that I cite on the show. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m talking about this week.  "Deny the Cat and Refuse Thy Nature..."  From G.K. Chesterton's Ort … [Read more...]

Christ is an Outlier and Should Have Been Counted [Pope Francis Bookclub]

In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along. In the second to last chapter of Open Mind, Faithful Heart, Pope Francis draws heavily on the letter to the Hebrews as he discusses Christ's role as priest to his people.  In fact, I think most of the chapter is simply quotatio … [Read more...]