Archive for the ‘Catholic’ Category

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...]

What schism? Sexuality issues rarely create serious conflict in congregations

For all the furor whipped up in denominational politics and cultural debates over issues such as same-sex marriage, little evidence exists that they make a critical difference in the vast majority of local congregations. Studies indicate that disputes over gay rights are not a major source of conflict in local churches. Those worshipers for whom issues of sexuality are a major concern tend to gravitate toward houses of worship that embrace their views, researchers note.

[Read Full Column...]

Catholic churches most likely to be on the front lines of issues from abortion to poverty

The nation’s largest religious body is also by far the most likely to have its congregations take to the streets in public demonstrations or lobby the halls of power on moral issues, a new study finds. While Catholics were most active on the abortion issue, they also were more likely than other groups to lobby and demonstrate on a wide range of issues, from combating poverty to advocating for immigration reform.

[Read Full Column...]

How can secular and religious individuals share the same public space? Humility, humility and humility

Lifting up the virtue of humility may seem anachronistic in an age that extols self-adulation. But for Tomas Halik, a Czech priest and philosopher who won the 2014 Templeton Prize, the willingness of religious and secular individuals to engage in dialogue and learn from one another is essential to a civil society. “We must learn to share public space,” Halik declares.

[Read Full Column...]

Racial power vs. divine glory: Why desegregation remains an elusive goal for U.S. congregations

It is tempting to think of America as a nation that is transcending an historic racial divide. But a developing body of research is revealing just how pervasive racial differences are in one of the nation’s most powerful voluntary institutions — the houses of worship where people gather for spiritual and moral guidance and fellowship.

[Read Full Column...]

What price a religious calling? Record seminary debt shows need for financial as well as divine guidance

Record seminary debt and rising tuition costs are forcing both prospective clergy and theological schools to reconsider the price of a religious calling. More than a quarter of students graduating in 2011 with a Master of Divinity degree had more than $40,000 in theological debt and 5 percent were more than $80,000 in the red, a new study found. Many of these students discovered that not only they or their spouses had to moonlight to make ends meet, but some had to choose another job besides the ministry to pay the bills.

[Read Full Column...]

Finding the next T.D. Jakes or Joel Osteen: Keys to a successful pastoral CEO search

Pastoral transitions may lack the drama of networks choosing their next host of late-night talk shows. But saying goodbye to a longtime leader and deciding on a new spiritual CEO pose special challenges for congregations, where clergy and members bond through some of the most difficult and joyous moments of the life cycle.

[Read Full Column...]

As black-white gap widens, Americans do not want to talk about race

New findings from the second wave of a major study on religion and race lay bare the dramatic and growing gap in racial attitudes and experiences in America. We do not live in a post-racial nation, the 2012 Portraits of American Life Study suggests, but in a land of two Americas divided by race, and less willing than ever to find a common ground of understanding.

[Read Full Column...]