Archive for the ‘Catholic’ Category

‘Nones’ are ‘someones’ in vibrant U.S. religious landscape

The end is not near for religion in America – or elsewhere in the world. What analysts are trying to divine, however, is the mystery of whether the evidence fewer people are identifying with specific faith groups heralds a long-term loss of religious beliefs. While jeremiads of the decline of religion get a good deal of press, scholars said at a recent symposium, there is also evidence Americans are “living in one of the most religious countries on the face of the Earth.”

[Read Full Column...]

Latin American perspective on Papa Francisco reveals genuine leader dedicated to change

BUENOS AIRES — The election of Pope Francis is raising spirits and hopes throughout the Catholic Church. But what has been the impact on the ground, and what are the prospects of a makeover for a church that often measures changes in terms of centuries rather than days and months? Many of the people who know Pope Francis best, leading Latin American journalists, scholars and religious leaders, say the genuine faith of the Argentinian pope is making a difference with people in the streets and in the pews. Convincing Catholics in high places, however, may be his greatest challenge.

[Read Full Column...]

Why faith matters in battling global smoking epidemic

In addition to legal and social activism, there is another potential powerful tool in addressing a global smoking epidemic: Faith. New studies are adding to a growing body of evidence that religion may help deter smoking, particularly among marginalized groups that have the greatest health risks.

[Read Full Column...]

Older seminarians, especially minority women, face tough job market with rising student debt

Pursuing a clerical career in their 40s and 50s can be a dream come true for many women and men, a chance to follow what they consider God’s call and do meaningful work in their later years. But the realities of a shrinking clergy labor market, and seminary tuition costs outpacing inflation, leave some facing debts of $80,000 or more trying to find work in a relatively low-paying profession, researchers state. The burden is falling particularly hard on prospective minority clergy with the fewest resources.

[Read Full Column...]

5 ways faith may promote healthier marriages

Comedian Henny Youngman observed, “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” But several new studies indicate that cultivating practices such as selfless prayer, spiritual intimacy and compassionate love can help keep couples happily together through the challenges of marriage, from becoming parents to caring for one another amid the infirmities of old age.

[Read Full Column...]

Not just gay issues: Why hundreds of congregations made final break with mainline denominations

Changing stances on gay ordinations and same-sex marriages were a key factor in the exodus of several hundred churches from mainline Protestant denominations. But new research into why congregations decided to leave reveal differences on sexuality issues were only part of a much larger divide.

[Read Full Column...]

Parents No. 1 influence helping teens remain religiously active as young adults

The holy grail for helping youth remain religiously active as young adults has been at home all along: Parents. Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.

[Read Full Column...]

Language barriers: Orthodox, Catholic churches face delicate balance in meeting needs of ethnic ministries

Dividing congregations along ethnic lines has allowed many immigrants throughout the last two centuries to find familiar spiritual homes in the United States. But it also left a legacy of many declining congregations or closed churches as parishes failed to adapt to the needs of succeeding generations and changing neighborhood demographics. Many churches serving new immigrants today are also making efforts to integrate them into the larger parish community.

[Read Full Column...]

Forgiveness in its own time: How faith communities can help trauma survivors heal

Forgiveness is linked to better mental and physical health. And religious traditions generally uphold the practice as a great virtue. But forgiveness is also a deeply personal act, one that can harm trauma survivors if it is coerced or demanded before they are able to come to terms with their pain and suffering, experts note. “The first thing is to surround the people with care and compassion,” one researcher says.

[Read Full Column...]

7 ways congregations can embrace people with special needs

Faith communities appear to have fallen behind the larger society in their understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities. But research is revealing several ways – beginning with attitudes of love and acceptance – that just about any congregation can be more inclusive.

[Read Full Column...]