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Don’t Spare the Rod

I teach in the most crime-ridden neighborhood in my city. I am not the best teacher in the building—they won’t make any Hollywood movies about me—but I am a good one. One administrator described my classes as a Jekyll-and-Hyde affair. There may be utter chaos elsewhere, but when my . . . . Continue Reading »

Helping to Break the Cycle of Family Instability

Can people in bad, poor areas break out of the cycle of family instability that puts children at risk academically, economically, socially, and emotionally—a cycle currently working its way through the working class? As we describe in our 2014 report for the National Marriage Project, “Facilitating Forever,” community organizations receiving federal funding approved by both Democrat and Republican administrations have attempted to foster stable marriages and families in at-risk populations for over a decade. The voluntary educational programs are multi-pronged: They promote wiser relationship and marriage choices among less-educated youth, help engaged couples approach marriage realistically, assist married couples overcome the vicissitudes of life together, and work with cohabitating couples aspiring to marriage to achieve that goal. Continue Reading »

The New Focus on Children’s Rights

What do donor conception, surrogacy, divorce, and adoption have in common? According to the newly-founded International Children’s Rights Institute (ICRI), they are all practices which violate the rights of children to be born free, to be raised by his or her biological parents wherever possible, and to have a knowledge of the heritage of his or her biological parents. Dubbed “Bonds that Matter” for its focus on these beginning-of-life issues, the ICRI’s inaugural conference gathered scholars, activists, and students from around the country to Simi Valley, California last Friday to discuss the various ways in which these four practices violate children’s rights. Continue Reading »

Not Your Dad’s Laffy Taffy

Tour this selection of religiously-themed Halloween candy at And I’d be curious to find out: 1. Do you celebrate Halloween at all? Why or why not? 2. If you don’t, do you just ignore it, or do you do something alternative instead? In the interest of transparency, we do do . . . . Continue Reading »

eBaywatch: Guardian Angels

Tuesday we celebrated the Holy Archangels; today it’s our invisible guardians whom we feast. Herewith, some stuff: Okay. If you were going to buy wings for the Christmas pageant, you could go ahead and get them today. Not great art or theology or anything, but little kids like dressing up, and . . . . Continue Reading »

The Feast of Saint Therese

I didn’t know it until I started googling around this morning, but right now the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux are touring the United Kingdom. Today she’s at York Minster; more about the itinerary here.Swine flu fears aside, if you’re in the neighborhood, go and say a prayer . . . . Continue Reading »

Top Baby Names 2109

With the emergence of Jedi as an organized religion, I can’t help wondering whether good old saints’ names, already sorely besieged by Madison, Ava, Parker and Holden, are going to find even more competition in an entirely new breed of religiously-inspired names. If the lunch-table . . . . Continue Reading »

Catechesis 102

As I’ve mentioned here before, this year it’s fallen to me to teach the First Communion class at church. Three weeks into the experiment, and already I’m realizing afresh what I knew going in: I am not a classroom teacher. I know how long it takes one kindergartener and one second . . . . Continue Reading »

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