Does stewardship work?

There is a common perception among leaders in the Catholic Church, both clerical and lay, that the promotion of stewardship is highly desirable. In addition to stemming from a positive theology, this perception is based upon the assumption that stewardship makes an important difference in the life of a parish, resulting in an increase in time, talent, and treasure. There is a dearth of solid methodological research, however, that addresses the key research question: Does stewardship actually work at the parish level? Continue reading

Commitment to the Poor: One of The Fruits of Eucharistic Celebration

This morning, I was at a talk given by Jen and Brian Suehs-Vassel entitled: “The Fruits of Eucharistic Celebration.”  The talk was part of the Center for Liturgy’s Summer Symposium, “The Eucharist:  Become What You Receive, Receive What You Are.”  Using the wonderful imagery of the disciples encountering Christ on the road to Emmaus and this leading them to return to Jerusalem out of love, they asked if we are Christbearers in our own lives.  Do we bear Christ to the world with love? Continue reading

Stereotyping? We all do it, and you do it all of the time…

Julia Smucker, at Vox Nova, correctly points out that in critiquing bishops, we need to avoid stereotyping them.  Skipping to the end, her key point is that:

“there is an important distinction to be made between specific critiques and blanket stereotypes.  To suggest that the bishops may be mistaken or misguided on a particular point is sometimes justified, but to suggest that they are the enemy of social justice or of lay involvement or of women, or whatever other sweeping accusations are being thrown in their direction, is wildly inaccurate and divisive.

The bishops are not the enemy.  Partisan polarization is.”

BTW, Vox Nova is a new site I’ve begun reading, and I have put on the blogroll.  It’s worth checking out!

Fr. Greg Boyle’s Thought for the Day

Fr. Greg Boyle, Homeboy Industries:




This video made me think of a just-graduated student whose research interests in ex-gang members first introduced me to Fr. Greg Boyle and his Homeboy Industries.  Yes, Adriana, that’s you!  I hope you enjoy the video and are doing well back home in LA!

–hat-tip Mark Gordon at Vox Nova

News and Congratulations

I thought I’d share some personal good news with readers, and also give a shout of congratulations to one of our contributors- Lucas Sharma.

First, I wanted to brag about my new niece– Corinne Christine Roche (pictured with her mom)- who was born last Monday.  She weighed in at 8 lbs. 1 oz, and both mom and baby are home now and doing well.  According to Andrew and Yoli (the new parents), she is sleeping very well (which has left Jen and I very jealous).

Second, I wanted to congratulate Lucas Sharma on being accepted by the Oregon Province Jesuits.  Lucas told me that he will begin the novitiate in LA in August.    They are blessed to have him.  In fact, in his e-mail, he indicated that he was currently down in LA for ordinations– maybe he will post some pictures for us on the CC.

Lucas, we will keep you in our prayers and  hope that you will do the same for us.  Anytime you want to check back in at the Catholic Conversation with a post, you are welcome to do so.  Keep us updated!  Thank you for answering God’s call to grow deeper in your own vocation.  We need priests and religious who can witness to the transforming power of Christ.

Homosexuality in the Parish: The Example of St. Mary Magdalene Parish

Gary Adler recently mentioned his research finding that a majority of Catholic parishes in the U.S. allow full membership for openly gay and lesbian couples in a committed relationship. He ended his post with two points for consideration– first he noted how his research suggests many parishes are open to homosexuality “in a way that is in tension with Vatican teaching,” then he added that gay and lesbian couples may still not feel fully welcome in most parishes. He asked followers of the Catholic Conversation to reflect on this in light of their own experiences and asks how they have seen sexuality addressed in local parishes. Continue reading

Counting Catholics: A Comparison of 3 Methods

Last time: The Catholic Research Forum method of estimating the Catholic population was described. This method makes use of the percentage of babies that are baptized, and the percentage of people that die and receive Catholic funerals. In this article the Catholic population derived from this methodology is compared to the results from The Official Catholic Directory and telephone polls.

Continue reading