Here comes a 2-for-1 post.
1) I had a great time at my alma mater at the Jesuit School of Theology last Thursday. I had a very good meeting with the new GTU president, Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, to hear the projects the GTU is moving forward with. I also got to meet with a first-year doctoral student; look for Porsia’s work on sociology of Catholicism soon! Later that evening I had a beautiful experience at the liturgy remembering the lives of the four American churchwomen. Then I presented, to new and old friends, on studying and ministering to young adult Catholics. The following day I took the train to the Santa Clara Faith Formation Conference and got to give two presentations on my book. Thanks for sponsoring me for this, Paulist Press!
2) If you are a fan of podcasts, NCR just finished a great series on Jewish perspectives of Catholicism. I was included as a sort of capstone of this, weighing in on what an outsider’s perspective can offer, as well as some concluding thoughts on polarization among U.S. Catholics. My interview begins at 25:20.
Happy to see my article, “Why are we at each others’ throats? Healing polarization in our church” in this morning’s National Catholic Reporter. Polarization is getting worse in our society and it is affecting US Catholics. The article provides data on this as well as steps for your congregation or diocese to help heal the fissures that polarization has caused. Here is a pull quote:
We need to grow charity in ourselves, in our parishes and in our world. Charity will help to rebuild the personal and social trust that has slowly eroded.
Hopefully we can start to realize we’re all in this together and remember James Joyce’s words in Finnegan’s Wake: Here comes everybody.
The National Catholic Reporter has been offering ample coverage of the recent resignation of an LGBTQ minister in the Diocese of San Diego. Today they published my theological analysis, “Standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ community is a pro-life issue.”
Happy All Souls’ Day!
Dr. Michele Dillon of the University of New Hampshire had her Postsecular Catholicism: Relevance and Renewal come out earlier this year. I was invited to critique this at the Association for the Sociology of religion in Philadelphia this August and found it was a brilliant read. I cannot say enough good things about the book and recommend it for anyone asking serious questions about Catholicism’s impact on American society. Especially pertinent now is her chapter on the Synod on the Family; the issues she raises–particularly gender–are gaining attention at the current synod on young people, faith and vocational discernment.
I also reviewed it for America. An excerpt reads, “Dillon’s familiarity with both a postsecular landscape and her fluency in Catholic concerns and interests allow her to cogently illustrate the overlap between Catholicism and the broader social world as well as the tensions that are inherent to a postsecular Catholicism.” We’ll be reading it in my Ministering to American Catholics course later this semester; I can’t wait to hear the great discussion it will generate!
Happy Feast Day of Blessed John Henry Newman, patron of Catholic Campus Ministry in the United States. In honor of this, the USCCB has just released a report on the state of Catholic campus ministry in the United States. The respondents include over half of the 1,911 identified campus ministers, providing very robust findings.
I, along with principal investigator Dr. Brian Starks of Kennesaw State University, co-authored this report and we’ll be presenting the findings to the USCCB this November.
My thanks to all the ministers who participated in the survey. I also appreciate the efforts of everyone who helped look for the themes within the data and shared these with practitioners, bishops and others at the 2017 symposium at the University of Notre Dame.
The Way of St. Francis is a publication of the Franciscans of the Santa Barbara Province. I have authored a piece for their current issue entitled “Caring for Creation: Franciscan strategies for solutions.” Found on pages 14-15 and 24, this is a short article that examines climate change from a perspective of justice and the Franciscan tradition.
The whole issue, in fact, is devoted to creation; I hope you enjoy it!
Paulist Press just released a book on the pastoral application of Amoris Laetitia. Edited by Thomas P. Rausch, SJ and Roberto Dell’Oro, Pope Francis on the Joy of Love: Theological and Pastoral Reflections on Amoris Laetitia is an insightful and practical book for parishes and dioceses looking to bring The Joy of Love into their marriage and family ministries. I am very happy to have contributed a chapter to this book: “Preparing Couples for Marriage.”
The description of the book on Paulist’s website reads: Pope Francis’s document, Amoris Laetitia, is first and foremost a pastoral message aimed at transforming parish culture. Through this document, the pope calls parishes to consider seriously their practice of hospitality and how they reach out to people in their communities.
Given this consideration, this book examines the pastoral dimension of the document—examining practical aspects of implementation, singling out issues each parish may need to flesh out—and provides end-of-chapter pastoral questions to guide parish communities in responding to this call.