CSPRI now on Twitter

For all of you readers who have twitter accounts and “tweet.”  At the suggestion of David Yamane (Wake Forest), I have pushed forward and created a twitter account for CSPRI:


For now, I will be tweeting blog posts on this account, and if you use Twitter, you can follow us either through the link above or by clicking on the “follow me” bird now showing up on the side of our blog.

If readers have additional suggestions for CSPRI and/or the blog, please e-mail me.  Also, I am compiling an e-mail list for when CSPRI sends out research reports and summaries.  If you would like to be on this list, please e-mail your address to bstarks@nd.edu and simply ask to be added to our list.

(Lack of) Support for Women’s Vocations among Lay Catholics

As I mentioned in my last blog post, women religious have been a popular topic of late, with numerous Catholics and non-Catholics alike expressing their support for nuns and sisters in the U.S. in wake of the LCWR doctrinal assessment and the “Nuns on the Bus” tour.  Despite the popularity of women religious among many Americans, data show a relative lack of support for  women’s religious vocations.  Below, I provide a chart detailing attitudes of American Catholics with regards to encouraging young Catholic women to enter religious life.  Data come from the Spring 2006 Contemporary Catholic Trends SurveyContinue reading

The Popularity of Women Religious in the U.S.

Since the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its doctrinal assessment of the LCWR in April, women religious in the U.S. have been the subject of a plethora of news stories.  Such attention has come not only from Catholic media sources, but has pervaded the secular media as well.  A quick online search reveals well over a thousand news stories, and now there is even a website dedicated to disseminating coverage of American women religious.  Similarly, the recent Nuns on the Bus campaign by the liberal Catholic organization Network has drawn much attention from both mainstream and Catholic media, even seeing support from numerous members of the U.S. Congress.  Network’s Executive Director, Sr. Simone Campbell, has likewise made appearances on major media outlets, including the popular Colbert Report.  Women religious have suddenly gained the attention of many. Continue reading

Question: Ministry “burn out”

Today, I was speaking with an FJV (Former Jesuit Volunteer) who volunteered with me in the Midwest province back in 2003-04.  He’s in town for ND Vision as a youth minister and is serving at a thriving parish in Ohio.  We talked about many things, but one item that came up was the issue of “burn out” in youth ministry.  In his eighth or ninth year of youth ministry now, he suggested that the average tenure of youth ministers is something closer to 2 years and that in order to keep going he had been forced to learn how to get past being “burned out.”  This made me wonder, is there any good research on burn out among youth ministers?  I know there’s research on clergy burn out, but have not heard of anything that examined youth ministers.

So, I am asking here on The Catholic Conversation–do you know of any good research on burn out in youth ministry (or ministry generally)?  Even beyond research, are there any good practical books about dealing with burn out in youth ministry?


Why We Should Think About What We Buy and What We Drive

One of the most difficult tasks a pastor, pastoral associate, or director of religious education faces involves dealing with social justice topics. Objections quickly multiply to their inclusion in congregational life: “It’s all too political!” “Everyone has their own personal opinion!” “It’s too hard to respond to such issues.”

And if social justice is difficult to embrace when we are discussing local concerns, it can be even harder when we try to speak of global concerns involving “distant others.” These are the people who make our clothing, pick our fruits and vegetables, and immigrate as economic changes eject them from their countries. Continue reading