August 21, 2015

OK. Here, finally is the demographic portions US Catholic Family Study that came out earlier this summer. Most parish leaders and anyone focusing on the evangelization of children, teens, or families as a whole need to crunch these numbers. Some thought-provoking findings: 1) “Among U.S. adult Catholics starting families in the twentieth century, those of the Lost (born 1883 to 1900), G.I. (born 1901 to 1924), and Silent (born 1925 to 1942) generations were more likely to have five or... Read more

June 19, 2015

The whole issue of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and evangelization is a thought provoking one. There are traditionally 7 works under the two categories of corporal and spiritual. The list seems to have changed over time. For instance, earlier lists (like the one in the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia) talk about “ransom the captive” which a couple of medieval orders took very literally, having been founded to ransom Christians taken captive by Muslim pirates. Our contemporary lists usually... Read more

June 4, 2015

Playing our song, talking ’bout us! ” . . .how do we make the Church thrive again? For my part, I think the best answers to these questions are presented by those who participate in the Forming Intentional Disciples movement. I call it a movement, because I believe it to be a holy work of the Spirit and not just a book or a program. Having worked in various levels of ministry, it is my absolute belief that the corporatization... Read more

May 14, 2015

I’ve been pondering the differences in the Pew results from the General Social Survey (which CARA points to and found no decline in Catholic population). Here are some of the factors: 1) GSS does most of their interviews in person (which magnifies the well-known tendency to somewhat exaggerate one’s religious affiliation or practice to “look good”) while Pew does almost all of theirs by phone. 2) GSS interviewed slightly more Hispanics (17%) than Pew did (15%) – and of course... Read more

May 14, 2015

I have spent years listening to Catholics talk hopefully (or gleefully!) of certain groups of Catholics – whose theological or liturgical leanings they fear and despise – leaving the Church. Now, in light of the release of the grim Pew statistics, I am being asked by puzzled Catholics of great faith and good will, “were those who have left (and are leaving as I write these words) ever *really* part of us? Won’t it just be better if we are... Read more

May 13, 2015

I know that many of us have had the wind knocked out of our sails a bit by the fairly grim figures of the new Pew Study (see my “wee snapshot”, here). But nothing that Pew found was not entirely predictable. I actually *had* predicted it 5 years ago and talked about these realities endlessly in my old blog. (For my readership of three people, one of whom was probably looking for Amy Welborn!) It is different to see it... Read more

December 26, 2014

Interesting. Read more

November 19, 2014

Dr. Greg Popčak has a must-read analysis of a discusson between the NYTimes’ Ross Douthat, and Father James Martin. Returning to Fr. Martin’s analogy, Kasper’s idea is the equivalent of saying, “It will always be against the law to exceed the speed limit, but from now on, anyone who drag races on this strip of road will simply have to say, ‘I’m sorry’ to the police officer when stopped and then be allowed to continue on their way.” This is... Read more

November 13, 2014

On this feast of St. Frances Cabrini, I thought I’d tell this story: I had a kind of private shrine to St. Frances near where I lived in Seattle in my early days as a Catholic. My basement apartment was on the edge of a large park on Lake Washington with spectacular views of Mount Rainier. I used to rise early and walk the park at dawn and pray and there — on a hill above me — you could... Read more

November 11, 2014

Whatever you do, if you love conspiracies, DON’T READ THIS! What is interesting is the case of Cardinal George Pell — who was also one of the authors of the pre-Synod book on marriage along with Cardinal Raymond Burke and is no one’s idea of a liberal or even a moderate, and made his feelings known loudly and clearly at the Synod and was moved from Sydney by Pope Francis — to serve as one of his closest collaborators, heading... Read more

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