topleft05.jpg (18208 bytes)RESOURCES


This webpage provides up-to-date resources about Catholic living that I have suggested or recommended on occasion. Topics include:

V Catholic news and information
V Scripture and Catechism
V Prayer
V The Sacrament of Penance
V The Sacrament of Marriage and Family Life
V Catholic parenting
V Catholic motherhood
V Catholic fatherhood
V Divorce and annullments
V Vocations
V Women and the Church
V 100% Pro-Life
V US Catholic history and the laity's experience
V Being Catholic in the workplace

Click on the topic or scroll down through the page to the place where the topic appears and descriptors are provided for each website.  To visit a website, double-click on the button.

If you should discover a link that does not work, please send me an email and I will fix the link (some of which periodically change).  To send an email, scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the "blinking mailbox."



TOPIC: Catholic news and information (return to top of page)

Are you traveling?  This website lists the times for masses at many parishes throughout the United States and some in foreign countries.  Now, there's no longer an excuse to "miss mass"!  When preparing for a trip, simply click on this icon and navigate to the location by name or zip code, and the times for masses at surrounding parishes will be listed by distance to travel.


My sister always complains that the Catholic Church has no "marketing sense" citing, as evidence, the tremendous outreach effort on the part of many Protestant denominations to evangelize people.™ provides an excellent resource for news and features from a decidedly Catholic perspective. A weekly (or, better yet, daily) visit to this resource offers Catholics all of the information they need to be up-to-date about matters pertaining to the Church's faith and practice.


Read a daily newspaper?  The following sites offer provide daily, weekly, and monthly news of interest to Catholics:


St. Anthony's Messenger Press offers a website that includes daily features (Minute Meditations, Catholic News, Daily Catholic Question, and Saint of the Day), seasonal features, a prayer intentions area, free e-greetings, Q/A about Catholic faith and practice, as well as e-newsletters.


For those who are interested in reading primary text theological documents, the Intratext Catalogue is the online place to go.  This website, containing more than 850 documents, not only features primary source text by Catholic authors but an extensive array of non-Catholic primary sources.


The InternetPadre is a website providing an exhaustive listing of Catholic information.  Among other things, the wide offers glossary of terms, biographies of saints, the Catholic encyclopedia, a review of Catholic books, and links to more than three dozen topics.


Catholic Online offers multiple links to topics of interest to Catholics.  In addition to Catholic news, media, Catholic life and traditions, daily readings, a bible search engine, and an online interactive forum, Catholic Online offers a Catholic shopping center and bookstore to browse through.


The Nazareth Resource Library provides an extensive array of links to websites providing information about what Catholics believe.  It is a good place to start when someone has a question as it opens up lots of other areas once one begins the search.


Your Catholic Voice is a movement of lay Catholics who intend to motivate, educate, and activate Roman Catholics for political and social involvement as a response to their baptismal vocation and the call of the Church to live as faithful disciples.  The goal of Your Catholic Voice is to build a "culture of life" where otherwise a "culture of death" would go unchallenged.  The website provides multiple opportunities for Catholics to influence the political and social spheres (for example, stem cell research, school vouchers, protecting children) through petition drives and lobbying Congress.


TOPIC: Scripture and Catechism (return to top of page)

Here's a short book that explains for non-specialist readers the basic dimensions of a Catholic approach to reading and interpreting the Bible.  For those who are looking for substance in Catholic Bible study, this book will inform and spark much thought concerning the Church's major documents regarding the topics of biblical interpretation, canonicity, revelation, inspiration, and inerrancy as well as the difference between Catholic and Protestant Bible study.


The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology promotes life-transforming Scripture study in the Catholic tradition. The Center serves clergy and laity, students and scholars, with research and study tools―from books and publications to multimedia and on-line programming.  Our goal is to raise up a new generation of Catholics who are equipped to enter into the heart of the living Word of God and to be transformed and renewed by this encounter.  We read the Bible from the heart of the Church, in light of the Church’s Liturgy and living Tradition. In this way, we hope to help people experience the heart-to-heart encounter that Jesus’ disciples experienced on that first Easter night, when they knew Him in the breaking of the bread: “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us...while He opened to us the Scriptures?” (see Luke 24:13-37 )


The Great Adventure is a Catholic Bible learning system that makes the complex simple by teaching the story (the narrative) of the Bible. Every day, more and more people are encountering God’s Word through the methods taught in The Great Adventure.  The Great Adventure is a remarkable system designed to give the average Catholic a solid foundation for a lifetime of Bible reading. Parishes around the world are finding renewed faith and increased involvement among parishioners whose lives have been changed by this exciting study series.


"Daily Gospel" sends a daily personalized electronic mail containing the text of the Gospel of the day according the calendar fixed by the Catholic Church.  This free service is provided by an international team of lay Catholics and volunteers eager to spread the Gospel as much as possible.


This isn't your childhood catechism or the one your grandparents would recognize. The official Catechism of the Catholic Church has been designed for adults at the dawn of the New Millennium who are serious about inquiring into the faith and practice of the Catholic Church.  This particular website has a search engine that allows you to study the Catechism by topic.


TOPIC: Prayer (return to top of page)

One of the renewals of Vatican II involved daily prayer. Previous to Vatican II, the official daily prayer of the Church (called the "Divine Office") was prayed primarily by monastic communities and secular priests. Meanwhile, many laypersons used "prayerbooks" and other devotional aids for daily prayer. Magnificat® represents a major advance, one that makes it possible for the laity to participate in the official daily prayer of the Church given all of the other activities and involvements that are part of their day but not of monastic and parochial schedules.

In addition, there is Magnifikid® which is more than just a complete missal for young people between the ages of 4 and 12.  It is also a personal guide that invites them each week to make their lives a true spiritual adventure by following the example of Jesus Christ.  Each issue starts off on Sunday and then helps a child remain with the Lord each day throughout the week.  Magnifikid® is an excellent way for parents, grandparents, godfathers and godmothers, or simply those who are close to a young person to help that individual to grow in faith.  An annual subscription includes 57 booklets (one per week, plus special inserts for the major feast days) that are mailed to the recipient.  The subscription price is $29.90 (USD) and can be purchased by calling 1-866-273-5215.


TOPIC: The Sacrament of Penance (return to top of page)

For a variety of reasons, many people are afraid of going to confession.  Crucial to the Sacrament of Penance is making a good examination of conscience.  This little guide is by no means exhaustive; it is merely meant to help you people started on (or jump-start) a fruitful exercise of the Sacrament of Penance.  Through your own reading and the advice of your priest or spiritual director, you can find more complete guides. The key to a fruitful living of this sacrament, however, is not in the right guide to examining your conscience; rather, it is in your decision and constant effort to live in communion with God through a vital and personal friendship with Christ, developed using all the other means dealt with in this handbook. In that way, confession becomes an intimate encounter of love, a moment of reconciliation and renewal in a living relationship, not just an empty formality, a pious duty performed out of a vague, impersonal sense of obligation.

Examine Your Conscience


Anger in its many forms is one of most frequently confessed sins.  It is also one of the most misunderstood and feared, whether anger is present in ourselves or others.  But, anger is as natural and good an emotion as any other, carrying with it a lot of energy that, if it is not acknowledged and dealt with, can go deep within the person, leading to its expression in irrational hostility, rage, and even hatred.  We need to face our anger and deal with it so that we, with God's grace, can move toward forgiveness.



TOPIC: The Sacrament of Marriage and family life (return to top of page)

Many Catholic couples have expressed interest in learning what the Church teaches as this relates to marriage and family life.  Pope John Paul's 1981 apostolic exhortation, On the Family, written after consultation with the worldwide Synod of Bishops, provides an in-depth treatment of value for couples preparing for marriage as well as for couples who want to reflect upon their marriage and family life from a distinctively Catholic perspective. One note of caution: Many couples have found the background materials presented in the first third of the document "rather tough going." They suggest, however, not skipping over these materials but "wading" through them as the document builds on this base in the ensuring two thirds of the document where, these couples have told me, "the pay off is worth the labor."


This is the best site for research about marriage, family, and couples. Find out what the facts are concerning divorce and its effects, how to rescue marriages before they fail, the truth about cohabitation before marriage and its effects upon marriage.  Parents should study these materials and discuss them with their teenage children. Be forewarned: This site isn't for the fainthearted because the research indicates that the Church and our parents were correct all along! Check it out...


Also check out:


Thinking this to be one of those "How to spice up your marriage" tabloids readily available at supermarket checkout counters, I didn't have much of an interest in looking through Marriage Partnership.  But, the magazine's cover promoted a survey I was interested in reading about and, as I read through the magazine, I was delighted to find something for married couples.  Styled like one of those supermarket tabloids, Marriage Partnership is an excellent resource that promotes marriage as a sacrament with timely articles and very detailed information about "How to spice up your marriage."  Marriage Partnership is a magazine that can benefit any married couple from newlyweds to elderlyweds.  Don't overlook Marriage Partnership...check it out!


Perhaps nothing is more crucial to strengthening marriage and family life than adequate preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage.  And perhaps nothing is more crucial to building a strong marriage and family life than continuing education about the Sacrament of Marriage.  This website provides engaged and married couples links to several excellent websites and resources aimed at deepening one's understanding about and commitment to the Sacrament of Marriage.


The Philadelphia Natural Family Planning Network is dedicated to promoting Natural Family Planning (NFP). The Network's mission is to explain NPF practice, its effectiveness, its benefits and its underlying moral principles as understood and taught by the Roman Catholic Church. Since NFP is in accord with God's order of creation, the Network's member believe couples who practice NFP have stronger, healthier, and more permanent marriages.  Consider NPF by studying the Network's resources.


The Pastoral Solutions Institute is dedicated to Catholics interested in finding faithful answers to life's difficult questions.  The Institute seeks to assist Catholics overcome the marriage, family, or personal problems that stand between them and the person God is calling them to be. Providing a licensed professional who is also a faithful, knowledgeable Catholic, find out how cutting-edge technologies and the wisdom of the Church can be combined to experience greater joy, deeper understanding, and personal fulfillment.


On and off, people will complain to me that there are no "real people" who have been canonized.  What these people mean are "husbands and wives" as well as "mothers and fathers" who have demonstrated heroic virtue by living out their personal vocations.  While this assessment is accurate generally speaking, that is, most canonized Saints have come from the ranks of religious men and women, Pope John Paul II was instrumental fostering the causes of and in raising to the "honors of the altar" more "real people" in order that husbands and wives as well as mothers and fathers may identify with, learn from, and emulate these women and men.  One such woman is Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, canonized in 2004.  As a a physician, a working mom, professional women, and a loving wife, St. Gianna represents all mothers and can inspire them as they endeavor to fulfill their personal vocations in today's world with all of its challenges.


On October 21, 2001, Pope John Paul II beatified the first married couple. Other couples have been beatified separately for their heroic witness but the married life of Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini vedova Beltrame Quattrocchi provides heroic witness to inspire other Catholic spouses to do the same.  Click on the picture of the Blesseds to read Pope John Paul II's homily about the Quattrocchi's marriage as a form of heroic witness.  Click here for a resource of prayers, devotions, and a novena to the Blesseds, for spouses in both good and difficult marriages.



TOPIC: Divorce and annulments (return to top of page)

Millions of Catholics are in the position of having been divorced and are looking for help within the Church in order to stay Catholic and to regain lost happiness.  Lisa Duffy and Vince Frese provide a helpful resource toward this end, a paperback book and a workbook entitled Divorced, Catholic, Now What?  Originally a successful program used in parishes, the authors provide answers to the difficult questions that Catholics face when they divorce, practical tools to help move past the pain and loneliness, and hope for the future. Testimonials state this book will change your life.


The Catholic Church expects certain qualities and capabilities to be present in those getting married. These need to be present in order for the marriage to be sacramental and valid. The Catholic Church teaches infallibly that once a marriage is a sacramental marriage, there may never be another, unless one of the partners should die.

When a couple marries, they intend to stay together for life. Their future hopes and dreams are very much linked together. As time goes on, they can find that marriage is very difficult indeed. They can grow apart over the course of time, to the point that one or both of the partners no longer works on the marriage commitment. Divorce can be the result.

The Annulment Process is an investigation to determine whether the marriage was a sacrament from the very first day. An annulment does not say there was never a marriage or that children born of the union are illegitimate. It simply deals with the sacramental character of the marriage. If an annulment is granted, that means the person would be free to marry within the Catholic Church.

Below are four resources concerning annulments and the annulment process.  Each resource provides information about annulments and the annulment process from a different perspective.  The fourth resource, in particular, is a transcript from a PBS newsweekly.  The piece features real Catholics whose experience upholds not only what the Church is attempting to safeguard but also the challenges this presents women and men who are attempting to deal with the reality of divorce from a perspective informed by faith.

About annulments




TOPIC: Catholic parenting (return to top of page)

In Building Catholic Family Traditions, Paul and Leisa Thigpen present hundreds of practical suggestions for building meaningful customs in Catholic homes. These step-by-step strategies for creating secular and sacred traditions for modern Catholic families are both time- and budget- friendly. Pick and choose the options that best suit your needs and desires. Easily adaptable to both large and small families, Building Catholic Family Traditions will assist you in designing activities that will nurture the spiritual and emotional health of you and your children now and for years to come.


A child's development of true self-esteem requires both relationships that support the ability to solve problems as well as the lived experience of overcoming actual challenges.  In The Growth of the Mind and the Endangered Origins of Intelligence, Stanley Greenspan identifies and describes the seven irreducible needs of childhood.


No matter what trendy notions permeate parenting today, reality always wins. Discipline still is critical to character. It still is a loving, durable gift that lasts a lifetime. And it still is something parents instinctively know is good for their children. Nevertheless, even the best of parents are confused. Indeed, no area of child rearing causes more day-to-day uncertainty, guilt, and frustration than discipline. In Parenting Tips, Dr. Ray Guarendi who is the father of ten, a psychologist, a speaker and an author, approaches parental discipline from the perspective of a person of faith.


Simplify family life with the help of your Catholic faith. Part magazine, part newsletter, Take Out: Family Faith on the Go , is a brand new, one-of-a-kind combination activity guide and support tool designed and written for busy families. This 8-page, monthly mini-magazine offers insightful, creative solutions to real life issues and interesting, fun ideas for living your faith. Start making new family connections with a positive approach!



Catholic Kids Net is a fun and exciting National Club for Catholic kids 6-12. It helps kids fulfill their baptismal commitment to Know Jesus, Love Jesus,  and Share Jesus!  CKNet offers Catholic formation and fun in two ways: 1. The K4J Mission Pack! Each registered CKNet Kid receives the monthly K4J Mission Pak. 2. The K4J Team! As a K4J Team Leader, you can guide a group of 5 to 10 children in fun, theme-oriented activities supplied by Catholic Kids Net! Team Talk offers creative and concrete ways to teach each Mission Pack's catechetical lesson, virtue, and apostolic act in a group setting. Kids have fun, learn their faith, and experience the joy of sharing it with others!


Gregory Popcak's Parenting With Grace: Catholic Parent's Guide to Raising Almost Perfect Kids is an excellent resource that challenges Catholic parents to envision a long-range plan for raising their children within a family unit that is seeking to be a community of love.  Many parents might find the chapters dealing with disciplining a child especially helpful as Popcak relates these important matters to that overall vision.  His follow-up volume, Beyond the Birds and the Bees: The Secrets of Raising Sexually Whole (and Holy!) Kids, offers many helpful insights into how parents might broach and discuss the topic of human sexuality with their children from a Catholic perspective. 



Many parents find it difficult to talk with their teenagers about prayer.  Pratt and Homan's book, Here I Am Lord (volume 1) is a prayer journal for Catholic teenagers that is designed to guide them in prayer.  Here I Am, Lord (volume 2) presents stories, prayers, questions, and inspiration to enable teens to pray about their personal concerns, their families and friends, and for the world. Topics for prayer include: goodness, humility, beauty, faith, and courage.



Teenagers need to be taught about love and responsibility and the Church's wisdom about these matters.  For parents especially, as the primary educators of their children in the areas of faith and morals, this is an imperative.  This website offers insight into the Church's wisdom about the human body, love, and responsibility that parents can use to focus their teaching.  This website also offers an extensive list of links to other Catholic websites.


In a question-and-answer format, Catholic Answers apologist and author, Jason Evert, discusses every aspect of chastity.  He emphasizes that "saying no" to premarital sex is "saying yes" to authentic love.  Using anecdotes from the stories he and his wife have heard when speaking to teenagers and in their own experience, Evert writes clearly and persuasively about the questions of dating, relationships, sexuality, and chastity that young people have asked wherever they speak.


This particular book, in my opinion, is a must read for Catholic teenagers, especially young Catholic women. In A Return to Modesty, written by Wendy Shallit (herself a Jewess) argues that her generation has been sold a pack of lies, namely, that modesty is bad, sexual license is good, and you're a fool if you don't give up you modesty and your virginity as soon as possible. Using articles gleaned from popular women's magazines and transcripts of popular women's talk shows, Shallit exposes the truly sad effects this anti-modest ideology has upon women, especially as it contorts their minds into the false belief that being virtuous is somehow "with it." But, achieving "withitness" comes at a very high personal costs that are oftentimes left undisclosed.  Shallit's insights identify the anti-virtuous expectations and burdens that contemporary culture places upon young women (and young men). This is a book that Catholic mothers and fathers should discuss this book with their teenagers, especially their teenage daughters.



The New York Daily News editor, blogger, and Christian convert has written a book targeted at a specific audience: single women ready to admit that premarital sex is not making them happy or helping them find the husband they desperately seek.  Contrary to popular opinion, Christians don't think sex is dirty or evil; no, Christians believe sex outside marriage is wrong.  Chastity is more than simply refraining from premarital sex; it's an attitude, a way of life, and open rebellion against a culture charmed by secularism, materialism, and consumerism.  The Thrill of the Chaste encourages single women to focus on sharing God's love with others and growing in grace rather than putting "the goal of meeting a husband at the center of…thoughts, actions, and dreams."  Eden has found fulfillment in chastity, and she's using her God-given gifts to help others find fulfillment, too.


I'm not one for what is called "Hip Hop" music because of its obscene and profane lyrics.  (I also don't believe it to be music but a rant.)  Yet, "Holy Hip Hop" exists to take the Gospel to the streets through the world-wide proliferation of spiritually-enlightening Holy Hip Hop ministry, music & entertainment to glorify the Lord.  The product is very similar to secular "Hip Hop" but the lyrics are very Christian.  I guess it's better than nothing and much better than the other!™ provides an excellent resource for young Catholic adults.  Its "Twentysometing" column provides timely information about a variety of topics, including among others: courting; campus political and social news; humor and insights on life with an edge; Catholic feminism; life athletes; finding real love; a Catholic dating service.


Read the following reviews and you'll find that many people are neither happy nor pleased with what "Dr. Laura" has to say about the way many people have chosen to live their lives.  For my part, I believe Dr. Laura offers a biblically-based and psychologically-sound critique of many contemporary attitudes that emerge in immoral behavior. These books provide material for men and women of all ages to examine their lives and choices as well as an inspirational "kick in the behind" to "get back on track" for anyone whose choices may have led them along a spiritual detour.  Do you want to build a virtuous life steeped in character, conscience, and courage? Click on a book to read the reviews:




Doctor Laura also offers some valuable insights about parenting, once again steeped in sound theology and psychology.  I particularly like Why Do You Love Me? because Dr. Laura reminds parents, in general, and Catholic parents, in particular, that a child is a gift of God (not a choice) carrying with it profound responsibilities that are oftentimes not given the support they deserve in post-Roe v. Wade America.  Click on a book to read the reviews:



Parenting presents moms and dads many challenges.  The Claretians sponsor a website that provides spiritual assistance not only for moms and dads but also for other family members.  There are weekly meditations, lessons for handing on the faith to children, suggestions about how to develop a "family spirituality," and other resources to help Catholic parents become better Catholics and parents!


Claire Smith has written a meaningful, subversive, and very useful Christmas gift that parents can give to their non-practicing (and practicing, too!) children.  In Catholicism: Now I Get It, Smith explains everything she wanted to know about Catholicism when she was growing up but was never told.  She believe these insights into the faith would have made her 20s more coherent and, hence, herself a more coherent and confident Catholic.  Learn about Claire Smith's journey as a Catholic from her website: http://www.still



TOPIC: Catholic motherhood (return to top of page)


Founded in April, 2006, the Catholic Nursing Mothers League seeks to provide opportunities for Catholic mothers to gather in homes and parishes to learn about breastfeeding and mothering, to give and receive spiritual and emotional support, and to reach out to parishes and communities to educate about the many physical and relational benefits, and about the long-standing Church teaching in support of, maternal breastfeeding.

Catholic Nursing Mothers League


In Prayerfully Expecting Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle offers a pregnancy journal imbued as with Scripture, exhortations from Pope John Paul II, wisdom from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, as well as traditional and original prayers.  It reminds expectant mothers that what they are experiencing is sacred.  O'Boyle challenges expectant mothers to change their focus from focus upon themselves to one of heavenly focus, and taking the nine months of pregnancy and transforming them into a novena, a series of prayers, which has the power to make the expectant mother's bond with my baby and my Savior completely different.  O'Boyle provides readers hope...not just for a healthy baby or a great pregnancy, but hope for the world.


TOPIC: Catholic fatherhood (return to top of page)

Perhaps fatherhood is, in any generation, a very challenging vocation. But, perhaps none more so than this generation.  To address this vocation in these challenging times, Pope John Paul II wrote Guardian of the Redeemer: On the Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and the Church (Redemptoris Custos).  In this apostolic exhortation written in 1989, the Pope notes that St. Joseph was a quiet man who has very much to say about being a spouse, fatherhood, and being an evangelist.


Whether a seasoned dad, a new dad, a dad to be, or a single guy wanting to know more about fatherhood, the Knights of Columbus has designed a website that focuses upon the role only a father can fill and gifts only a father can give. In a culture that often does not favor fatherhood or masculine virtue, this website highlights the unique contributions of men, husbands and fathers.  Why? Men are different from women. They are wired differently, think differently. They have instincts and attitudes and physical strengths that empower them for tough-minded, sacrificial service to those people who count most in their lives, starting with their families.  It is a father’s mission, the challenge that brings out the best in him, to form in his children the powers and attitudes they will need to succeed in life, to strengthen them so they in turn can later protect themselves and their own loved ones.  A great father is a lifelong leader and teacher.  His protective, empowering lessons about right and wrong live on in the inner lives of his children, long after they’ve left home for good, and indeed long after he has passed to his eternal reward.  A great father never stops being a father, for he lives on as a great man in the hearts of his children.


Fatherhood presents such challenges to American culture that being a real father is actually countercultural.  The National Fatherhood Initiative is a project intended to assist biological fathers to become real fathers to their children.



TOPIC: Vocations (return to top of page)

This shortage of priests and religious sisters and brothers in the United States (as well as in many area of the world) is not due to a lack of vocations but, more likely, the effects of secularism, consumerism, and materialism which make evangelical generosity exceedingly difficult for young people in this generation.  Dioceses and Religious Orders/Congregations throughout the United States are seeking candidates to serve in ministry.


TOPIC: Women and the Church (return to top of page)

Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man's vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism's attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating. The Blessed Mother's role in the Incarnation points to the true privilege of being a woman. Both virginity and maternity meet in Mary who exhibits the feminine gifts of purity, receptivity to God's word, and life-giving nurturance at their highest.


Women for Faith & Family exists to assist orthodox Catholic women in their effort to provide witness to their faith, both to their families and to the world, to aid women in their efforts to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith, to aid faithful Catholic women in their desire for fellowship with others who share their faith and commitment, and  to serve as a channel through which questions from Catholic women seeking guidance or information can be directed.  Women for Faith & Family was formed to assist in distribution of Affirmation, to foster greater communication among faithful Catholic women, and to be helpful in communicating their concerns to the bishops and other Church leaders.  Those who belong to Women for Faith & Family are Catholic women of all ages, all states in life (single, married, mothers, religious), all educational and economic levels, and represent a broad political spectrum. They include homemakers, students, professional women (doctors, nurses, lawyers, university professors, teachers, writers, etc.).


TOPIC: 100% Pro-Life (return to top of page)

Debate over the use of the "morning-after" pill has often focused on the physical health of women.  Less discussed is the mental, emotional and spiritual health of women who use the drug, which can cause early abortions.  One specialist who does deal with the problem is psychologist Theresa Burke, the founder of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries.  She reports that many women suffer pain and regret from use of contraception and sterilization in her book "The Contraception of Grief: The Genesis of Anguish Conceived by Abortifacients and Sterilization."  Burke believes that when God's presence and spirit are expelled from the sexual union, it invites a distortion of the gift sexuality.  Furthermore, this split may result in a loss of intimacy and trust, a split she believes is "felt between an individual and their partner as well as between the individual and God. The mystery is removed and the capacity to join with God as co-creators of life is ended."


The International Post-Abortion Awareness Campaign sponsors "Her Choice," a website where one can listen to recordings made by people who have confronted the abortion question. These are real life abortion-related testimonies. These people talk about the pressures they were under, the paths they chose and the results of their choice. Some chose to have an abortion. Some chose to have their babies. The testimony suggests that there is only one honest choice.


Post-abortion trauma is real and it hurts. If you've been struggling with the pain of a past abortion, please know that you're not alone. You can find healing. Project Grace offers creative tools to assist individuals and abortion recovery ministries in their journey to healing.


Many people fear death, an inescapable fact of human existence.  For people of faith, the resurrection teaches that death is not "an enemy" to be feared but, in reality, is "a friend" to be embraced.  In these fourteen homilies---written as he struggled with terminal pancreatic cancer---the late-Cardinal Bernardin reflects upon this paradox, explaining in simple language how faith enables us to embrace suffering and to discover new life in the resurrection of our Lord.


Senior Adult Ministry is dedicated to the lifelong faith development of today's maturing people of faith.  The urgent challenges is that all persons, and especially retired persons, need a personal service apostolate that stirs their soul and engages them in targeted adult spiritual education.

Senior Adult Ministry



TOPIC: US Catholic history and the laity's experience (return to top of page)

Interested in U.S. Catholic history?  Here are two fine books that provide a lot of food for thought about what's going on in the U.S. Catholic Church today.



In one homily, I quoted some statistics about the demographic composition of the U.S. Catholic Church.  In particular, I noted what people's children and grandchildren believe. Although many people were startled by the data, upon further reflection, several parishioners said that the data made sense. Here's the resource for learning about the three generations comprising the U.S. Catholic Church of the 1990s.


One of the best analyses of the post-Vatican II U.S. Catholic Church has been written by a layman, George Weigel, who chose the title "The Courage to Be Catholic" because he believes that is the way genuine reform always works in the Church -- through men and women with the conviction and the courage to be countercultural, to be genuinely, fully, joyfully Catholic.  The Church has never been reformed by "Catholic Lite," Weigel asserts, noting that reform always means a deeper, more thorough appropriation of the truths that Christ bequeathed the Church -- the truths that are its "constitution."

Not one to mince words, Weigel argues that in the post-Vatican II U.S. Catholic Church a culture of dissent took root in the Church. And by "culture of dissent," he doesn't mean simply men and women who were confused, or who thought that the Church should express its teaching more clearly.  By "culture of dissent" Weigel means men and women -- including priests, women religious, bishops, theologians, catechists, Church bureaucrats, and activists -- who believed that what the Church proposed as true was actually false. If you really think that -- if you really believe that the highest teaching authority of the Church is teaching falsehoods and is leading the Church into error -- you're not in full communion with the Church. And that has consequences, including behavioral consequences.

Find out what this means in The Courage to be Catholic.  A "must" read even if you disagree!



TOPIC: Being Catholic in the workplace (return to top of page)

Working for anyone presents a variety of challenges, arguably the most important of which involves possessing the courage not only to tell one's boss what that individual needs to hear but also to stand up for one's boss before one's peers.  Chaleff's The Courageous Follower: Standing Up To and For Our Leaders provides an excellent reflection upon these issues and the importance of virtuous followership.


For Catholics who are corporate managers, Robert Jackall's Moral Mazes provides interesting, unorthodox, and provocative insights into the reality of their daily work lives.  Readers will discover that much of what they do at work is disconnected from what they profess at Mass on Sunday. Jackall's book provides Catholic corporate managers an excellent examination of conscience.


Adams and Balfour confront their readers with a rather discomforting view about how evil makes its subtle yet steady incursions into modern bureaucratic organizations.  Especially disturbing, from a Catholic perspective, is how evil uses seemingly unimportant bureaucratic functions to effect its dastardly ends.  All the while, however, the people enacting these functions are very much like the civil servants in the Third Reich who proudly worker to insure that the trains ran on time but didn't conceive how their efforts made it possible to send millions of innocent women, men, and children to the death camps. Adams and Balfour examine several American government and corporate endeavors through this same lens with equally disturbing outcomes.


Alexandre Havard defines the classical human virtues most essential to leadership and demonstrates how these virtues promote personal transformation as well as the attainment of self-fulfillment. Havard also considers the Christian supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity, without which no study of leadership is complete. The book's final section, "Towards Victory," offers a methodology to achieve interior growth that is tailored to the needs of busy, professional people who are intent on imbuing their lives with a transcendent purpose. The aim of Havard's book, Virtuous Leadership, is ultimately practical: a guidebook in the quest for excellence as a Catholic leader.



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Richard M. Jacobs.
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Revised: April 24, 2009.