Your thoughts

Okay, peeps.  I know you’re out there, and I know you’re reading my blog. But I rarely get comments.  I don’t take it personally, although I do occasionally wonder why some blogs get oodles of comments and other blogs get none. Perhaps I need to blog about more controversial topics, like vaccines or something.  But I’m not that desperate for comments.

A few months ago, I blogged about the controversy surrounding the Synod on the family.  One thing that struck me (but not surprised me) was how the hot-button issues of communion for the remarried and homosexuality received all the attention, when there’s so much more we need to be discussing about the family in the world today.

Another thing I noticed, when speaking about the synod with people or reading articles about it online, was that we in the Church can get really focused on what we think is important and possibly miss some issues that people living the life think are important.  And I’m not talking about the old “what does a celibate man in Rome know about marriage…”, but rather about myself. As a person who works for the Church and thinks and speaks about the Church every day, I might have a completely different view of things from the average person sitting in the pew.  It’s the whole “inside baseball” problem.  When I get together with coworkers or people who work in other dioceses, we have a whole host of things we think are issues… but are they really?  And are we missing something because we’re so focused on the ad intra problems in the Church?

That being said, this is a honest question for my readers — and I know that you’re out there, even if you don’t comment!  What would you like to see come out of next year’s Synod?  (Remember, we’re doing this all over again next fall!)

What are some issues you would like to see discussed?  What are your thoughts about family life in the United States?  About family life in the Church in the United States? Is there something you think might be ignored because it’s not “hot-button” enough?  Or are there positive things you think aren’t celebrated enough?

I would honestly like to hear from you — as people in the pew … or as people who aren’t in the pew!  If there’s going to be honest and fruitful discussion happening, those of us who work for the Church need to hear what you all think.  After all, you are the Body of Christ.

So here’s my desperate plea… not just for comments, but for thoughts and feedback.  If you don’t want to comment publicly but have something to share, feel free to head over to the contact tab.


 Photo by Jimmy McIntyre


  1. something that’s on mind my a lot lately is that the family is disintegrating. 80% of black children in the US are born out of wedlock. The number is lower but steadily rising for white children. I don’t know the numbers for other parts of the world but I think the trend is almost everywhere. So many children grow up without a father in the home. I’m convinced this is the root of 95% of our social ills. . . . I guess the issue comes down to promoting and strengthening marriage. What can we do about it?

    That’s what I’d like to see the Church focus on.

    1. Thanks, Laura! This is exactly what I mean. There are so many issues that are harming children and thus society. I don’t know the answer, but it would be nice to see them even talking about it.

      1. A follow-up thought: the priest who did our marriage prep took a unique (I think) approach. He took the answers on the dreaded FOCUS test where we scored the “lowest” and had us talk through them over and over and over. He met with us multiple times and it was painful. We were like, “Are we failing? Are doomed? Do you think we shouldn’t get married?” And he said, “No, you’re fine, because you’re willing to do the work.” But he explained he saw his job as trying to keep us from getting divorced. I’m not explaining it very well, but he made it his personal responsibility to look at us personally and help us work on our weak areas before we got married. I wish every couple could get the same type of marriage prep.

        Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2015 01:12:24 +0000 To:

  2. The biggest topic in my mind is how to serve single parent families. In particular for the kids, they are missing an example mother or father and that interaction between them that helps form one’s understanding of how to love and relate to the opposite gender. For parents, there’s a level of isolation that can come from being on one’s own, both due to responsibility and social factors.

  3. What are some issues you would like to see discussed? What are your thoughts about family life in the United States? About family life in the Church in the United States? Is there something you think might be ignored because it’s not “hot-button” enough? Or are there positive things you think aren’t celebrated enough?

    Perhaps it’s the diocese I live in, but I feel like the Church in the US has special interest groups for every group except for those of us in the trenches, trying to live the teachings of Holy Mother Church on marriage and family.

    I don’t expect a badge because I’ve birthed five babies, not at all, but I’d sure like someone to let me know that the struggles I have aren’t unusual. Good, solid family retreats wouldn’t/shouldn’t be too hard to plan, but they just don’t seem to happen. (And I’m talking solid retreats that aren’t cheesy.)

    But honestly, the biggest thing missing from family life in the US today is focus on the sacraments. If we are going to have a real discussion about who can receive communion, maybe we should have a real discussion about what exactly we are receiving. For as much concern as there is around who can receive communion, you seldom hear who can go to confession and why you should. And I’m 99% sure I’ve never heard a homily about who can marry in the Church and the reasons for that. (During the most recent gospel on divorce and remarriage, our deacon skipped the part where Jesus chastised the woman for having seven husbands, why is that part even “optional”?) If our ordained ministers can’t/won’t live their vocations, how can we in the pews be expected to know how to live ours.

  4. I’d like to see the next synod deal with the family in two complimentary ways. The first is to make clear that the family is the building block of society. Today the default assumption is that the individual is the building block. And these blocks are kind of like Tetris in that there are many different shapes beyond the few that are getting most of the attention. Based on numbers and difficulty of life I’d guess that families headed by single mothers have been the most neglected by the current synod. There are so many different forms of families and we all have our own struggles in life.

    Rod Dreher has used the phrase ‘Sacramental Factories’ to describe how many parishes (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) function today. And that helps lead to an attitude of sacramental entitlement. While the sacramental life is very important first we must have a real living relationship with Our Lord. Without that relationship we can’t really receive the ‘all the reality and power of the sacrament’. And I accuse myself first of all.

    So how do families become the domestic churches to form intentional disciples? And how are these differently formed building blocks used to build up the parish or other groups or even society to make new intentional disciples or make old ones better? That’s my two cents.

  5. I would like to see the Synod be encouraging to young people, to give them hope that marriage is good, that it is do-able, that it can make them truly joyful. Too many young people have no positive role models or cultural messages about marriage. Our Church has a wonderful gift to offer, and we need to make sure that people see that!

  6. Positive encouragements are great to encourage people to choose marriage. But I would also like to see the Synod actually use the word “sin” to make a simple, clear affirmation of Church teaching on what is a sin and what is not a sin. The vague, please-everybody language they tend to use in their statements emboldens heretics, fuels speculation by those with an agenda, and frustrates and discourages the faithful. Not to mention that vague statements containing nothing but platitudes about the family are a big waste of time, because nothing comes of it but a forgotten document to be filed away. A document that calls people to repentance and conversion in clear language could matter in getting some souls to heaven. It could, for example, cause some couples who are receiving Communion while cohabiting to actually examine their conscience, stop cohabiting, and then get married, IF the Church will quit looking in the other direction and muster enough spine to tell them in clear language that “it is a sin.”

  7. I have two ideas why you might not get comments. 1) You don’t write in a manner that allows room for someone else to hold a different opinion. you write very authoritatively. 2) And, you write clearly enough (which is rare) that there is no need for further clarification on the subject.

    Either way, I think lack of comments are based on your writing style (which is awesome I might add). Not on the subject matter.

    Hope this helps!


  8. Much as apostles travelled, perhaps we should invite our bothers and sisters to share their faith with a new parish for 9 consecutive Sundays in conjunction with a Novena asking for the growth of their whole diocese.

    I’m a huge proponent of eyes closed celebration/study of the Word and liturgical music. Give your eyes a rest and experience an altered exchange.

    It’s an interesting study in perception.

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