Religious Education

The Sri Lanka Terrorists: Martyrs or Murderers?

More than 290 are dead and 500 wounded in an Easter Sunday jihad massacre in Sri Lanka. The terrorists targeted three Catholic Churches and three luxury hotels frequented by foreigners. Government officials blame the attack on “religious extremists,” though no group has claimed responsibility. The term “religious extremists” implies that the vast majority of Muslim [...]

A Remedy for the Catechetical Poverty of Our Time

Amidst the divisions and frustrations that mark the Church of our time, there are, quietly dispersed throughout the Mystical Body, clergy and laymen striving for the recovery and promotion of the Apostolic Faith. Their good work—and the renaissance it will bring about—is easily obscured, as it is rarely offered a proper place in the tired [...]

The Young Are Better Prepared with Earlier Confirmation

Later this month, the Vatican is hosting an international summit of bishops to address the clerical sex-abuse crisis. Based on comments Pope Francis has made to the press, the gathering will focus its attention on prayer and penance, but also educating the Church’s shepherds on what the issue is all about. As if the US [...]

The Church Needs Children

“Let the children be, do not keep them back from me; the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19-14) Recently in these pages, I wrote about a local traditional Latin Mass parish and a modern parish renewal program called “Rebuilt,” which was developed by a suburban parish outside of Baltimore. I noted [...]

The Home, the Cradle of Order and Wonder

Advent is the perfect time for beginning, or beginning again. We need a new beginning. It’s natural for parents to worry about their children’s development, but today the situation seems both hopeless and especially acute. I won’t go into the particulars—you know them very well, as we are recounting them to each other at an [...]

Survival Education: Islam in the Classroom

Should schools teach about Islam, and if so, how should they teach it? There’s a general consensus among educators that when dealing with controversial subjects, schools should maintain a distinction between teaching and preaching—between an objective presentation and advocacy. But some contend that line has already been crossed in regard to Islam in the classroom. [...]

Why Are You Catholic? 

Some people call me a street preacher. I’m not a street preacher. The label does roll off the tongue, but it also carries a fairly negative connotation. I could be more accurately described as a street questioner. I spend about a dozen Saturday mornings each year, standing on a street corner adjacent to the Farmer’s [...]

Sed Contra, Bishop Barron

Bishop Robert Barron’s work is the gold standard for Catholic evangelization. I met him while he was the theologian-in-residence at the North American College in Rome during my deacon year (2006-2007). He gave some outstanding conferences during his stay. I have read many but not all of his books and have seen quite a few of his videos. His [...]

On the Need to State the Obvious

One of the most subversive, dangerous, thankless, and necessary tasks is to state the obvious. Our mental filing systems tend to push things labeled as “obvious” into the back of our minds, leaving room in the front for more important and pressing matters. But things tend to get misplaced in that dark attic of our [...]

How to Save the Soul of Our Catholic Schools

“How can we make our school more Catholic?” This is a real question schools ask, some with perplexity. Is it a new curriculum? Better religion classes? Having the kids come to Mass? The answer is vital for the future of Catholic education. The sociologist Christian Smith notes, from his extensive research on the life of [...]

The Last of the Junior Seminarians

When one thinks of boarding schools, it’s easy to default to stereotype: a bunch of rich kids riding horses or playing lacrosse as they prepare for an Ivy League college and life as a senator or corporate executive. My experience a few decades ago (okay, a little over three) was vastly different, yet one I [...]

The Spiritual Roots of the Church’s Crisis

In the midst of moral and sacramental debates in the Church, it is easy to focus on ecclesial politics and to look there for solutions. Without denying the importance of such debates, it is also helpful to take a step back and to examine the roots of the crisis. The Church’s Cross: A Crisis of [...]

School Memories During the Turbulent Vatican II Years

Let me say at the outset that I am aware that people's recollections of Catholic high schools vary—but the following are some of the memories I have of the 1960s, at the cusp of the Conciliar era and my reflections may resonate with some readers. I attended Brigidine Convent school in Randwick in Sydney, Australia, [...]

Pokémon Go Is the Least of My Parish’s Problems

A couple weeks ago as my wife and I approached the entry doors to our parish’s “Gathering Space,” which leads to the church proper, the parish social hall, and the parish offices, we couldn’t help but notice the signs that were prominently placed on all the doors: “Please refrain from playing Pokémon Go while inside [...]

Teach the Faith, Please

While I generally find the profusion and milling-around of lay ministers of the Eucharist distracting and unnecessary, I found myself offering prayers of thanksgiving for one this past Sunday. We’ve recently moved and were attending a new and unfamiliar parish with a bewildering process for going forward to receive, including multiple lines of Eucharistic ministers [...]

Teaching the Faith in a Time of Crisis

It has been a depressing month. A few weeks ago, I had brunch with my brother, a loyal Sunday Catholic. He has a vacation home which he generously offers to our extended family, and during our meal he told me that our college-age grandnephew and his girlfriend had visited. The understanding was that they would [...]

Secularism as Religious Indoctrination

Australia has a program in its schools that, at first glance, you’d have to be crazy to be against. It’s called Safe Schools, and it is an anti-bullying campaign. Well, at least that’s how it has been promoted. In reality, Safe Schools has become a pro-LGBTQI indoctrination system designed by one academic Marxist with hopes [...]

What Christian Education is Not

A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.  ∼ G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908). Christian education cannot be utilitarian. In fact, it will only be Christian in as much as it ceases to be utilitarian. One of the most destructive myths in recent decades has been [...]

Friendship: A Pillar of Catholic Education

Editor’s note: The following address by Bishop James Conley was delivered to teachers of the Diocese of Lincoln, at a day of prayer and formation, on February 15, 2016. This morning, I’d like to talk with you about the virtue of friendship, as it relates to the mission of Catholic schools, and especially your work [...]

The Theological Foundation of Catholic Education

The annual Cardinal Winning Lecture on Catholic Education, sponsored by the St. Andrew’s Foundation, was delivered on February 6, 2016, at the University of Glasgow in Scotland by Tracey Rowland, the Australian theologian and Director of the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne. Rowland is the author of two books on Benedict XVI and of [...]

Give Me That Old-Time Evangelization

Recently, The World Over host, Raymond Arroyo, interviewed Cardinal Wuerl about the Synod on the Family and asked the cardinal, in various ways, whether the Synod was changing the Church’s teaching on reception of communion by divorced and remarried Catholics. Cardinal Wuerl identified the Synod as a manifestation of the “New Evangelization.” “We’re seeing different [...]

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