The Politics of Modesty

I usually really appreciate posts at Vox Nova, which is why I put the site on the Catholic Conversation’s blog roll.  So, when I feel they’ve gotten something wrong, even if it is only in tone and style rather than in substance, I feel the need to call them out on it.  And that is what this post does!

In highlighting recurring gender double-standards associated with the virtue of modesty, Kyle Cupp conducts a detailed interpretive analysis of a you-tube video entitled “Virtue makes you Beautiful” that has recently gone viral.


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“Intelligent, Courageous, and Full of Love”: The Conversation around Catholic Marriage and Family Life Continues

Pope and Cardinal SodanoMany of you may recall the buzz on both The Catholic Conversation and other media over the past few months regarding Pope Francis’ call for global input in preparation for the October 2014 Extraordinary Synod on “the pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelization.” Brian Starks discussed the practical issues surrounding the use of scientific vs. non-scientific survey methods to gather responses. Linda Kawental followed the lively discussion in both secular and Catholic media outlets “over what exactly the Vatican questionnaire means and how Catholics are to interpret it.”

Then earlier this month, two countries, Germany and Switzerland, published summaries of responses to the Vatican’s 38 survey questions regarding how the Church’s teachings on marriage and family are understood in their dioceses and how pastoral care regarding key marriage and family issues takes shape there. Their summaries are quite fascinating and worth reading in the original before looking to the manifold media interpretations of these summaries, such as a Catholic News Service (CNS) article after the German and Swiss summaries and Reuter’s interpretation of Germany’s findings.

And now, just this past week (February 20-21), roughly 150 cardinals gathered with Pope Francis in Rome for two days to preliminarily discuss pastoral challenges around marriage and family, focused particularly on three themes: the Christian vision of people and family life; essential pastoral programs to support families; and ministry to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. An overview of their discussions was been made available to reporters by Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesperson, and are summarized here. It is unclear how much the German and Swiss survey summaries influenced these discussions, but the Pope’s call that the Church’s pastoral approach to Christian marriage and family be “intelligent, courageous, and full of love,” his selection of retired German cardinal Walter Kasper to give the opening talk, and the Pope’s simple gesture of arriving before cardinals and greeting each one warmly at the door to the synod hall (video footage available here) may offer clues.

“I Love to Teach”

Feature ImageBob Butz passed away Feb. 5, 2014 at the age of 92.

“I love to teach.”  That was Bob Butz’s simple response to a question from a reporter, asking why he was still teaching in his late 70s, long after others had retired.  And it was the title given to the article written about him that I posted outside my door as an Assistant Professor at Florida State University.

Or was Mr. Butz in his 80s at the time of the article?  I guess I need to go back and find that article in my memory box, because in reading various tributes to Mr. Butz recently, I saw that he finally retired from teaching at age 88.  I still remember taking Etymology with him in high school and partaking of his joy in uncovering the hidden roots of a word. Continue reading

Is There Really a Priest Shortage in the Archdiocese of Detroit? (AOD)

JohnVianney

St. John Vianney- Patron Saint of Parish Priests

I think there is a common misconception in the Archdiocese of Detroit that there is a priest shortage!  When I compare the number of priests to the number of parishes in the Archdiocese, it seems clear to me that there is not a priest shortage.  If I am right, sociologists would call “the priest shortage” a mythic fact, myth in the sense of statistically not true.  Let me explain. Continue reading

The Social Dimension of the New Evangelization

socialI would like to thank Sarah Moran for her insightful blogs (3 of them) on “The Social Dimensions of Evangelization,” even though I am late in responding.  Stressing the social dimensions of Pope Francis’ thought in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is important and timely.  In stressing a social dimension Pope Francis is not diverging from the thought of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but, he is “emphasizing” something different than they.  And it is not just an emphasis on the poor that makes Francis different; it is his systematic treatment of the “social” dimension, particularly as it relates to the poor.  Paragraph 57 of his exhortation is shockingly “social” in my estimation in arguing that what you and I have (money) is already the poor’s, it is not like we are giving them something of ours:  “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood.  It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs.” Continue reading