Are Gay Parents Magic? New Doubts About “No Difference” Hypothesis Between Gay and Straight Households

Image Credit: Shutterstock. Used with permission.

Image Credit: Shutterstock. Used with permission.

In academic psychology it is simply accepted that gay parents are “just as good” as heterosexual parents and that children raised in gay households turn out “just as well” as children raised in married, heterosexual households.  Although I do not dispute that there are plenty of bad heterosexual parents and that homosexual parents can be perfectly competent, the assertion that “there’s nothing to see here and everything is JUST FINE.” when it comes to children raised in homosexual households jut doesn’t pass the smell test for several empirically-based reasons namely; the outcome research that currently exists on the well-being of children of divorce, adopted children, and donor-conceived children. In fact, in light of the available research, in order to make that claim, one would almost have to attribute magical qualities to gay parents that wouldn’t be fair or reasonable to attribute to anyone.  Here’s why.

The More You Know….

Let’s step away from the gay family debate for a moment to consider what we know about  children raised in non-normative heterosexual family environments.  We know, for instance, that children from divorced heterosexual households perform worse, on average, on every measure of health, mental health, and relational and educational well-being when compared to intact heterosexual households. Second, research has found strong evidence of an “adoption paradox” whereby adopted children (including children born through surrogacy)–although raised by parents who are, on average, better educated and more financially well-off than other parents–tend to have significantly greater emotional and behavioral problems than children raised by biological parents with similar educational and socio-economic status.  Finally, research shows that donor-conceived children also tend to struggle with surprisingly high rates of emotional problems including delinquency than naturally conceived children.  Keep in mind, all this research on the poor health outcomes of children raised in these non-traditional circumstances  have all been done on heterosexual households. Research consistently shows that if you want to raise a healthy child, the gold standard is for married, heterosexual parents to conceive a child naturally and raise that child in an intact household.

But What About Gay Parents?

Now, let’s turn back to gay families. Gay couples are not able to conceive children naturally.  The only ways a gay couple can get a child are either through divorce (in which a previously heterosexually married member of a homosexual couple shares custody with the estranged spouse), adoption (including surrogacy), or donor-conception.

Gay Parents…Magical?

Think about this.  Based on the available evidence of the outcomes of divorced, adopted, and donor-conceived kids, to claim that children raised by homosexual parents are “just as healthy” as children raised in traditional, intact, heterosexual households is nothing short of magical.  To say this is to claim that not only are gay parents as good as heterosexual parents, it is to say that there is something so wonderful about gay parenting that it completely obliterates the negative effects usually experienced by children who come into households the only ways gay couples can acquire children–through divorce, adoption or donor conception.  If this is really true, then gay parents aren’t just as good as heterosexual parents, they are truly magical.

New Study Casts Doubts on “No Difference” Claims

Finally, a new study, published in the highly respected, peer-reviewed journal Psychological Reports looks critically at the “no difference” hypothesis in light of the available evidence.  In addition to the points I raised above, this comprehensive, 120 page report authored by Dr. Walter Schumm of Kansas State University notes that in order for the “no difference” hypothesis to hold true, gay households would also have to exhibit the same level of stability as married, heterosexual households.  This is simply not the case.  He also notes that contrary to popular opinion, the data do show higher rates of emotional problems and substance abuse by children raised in LGBT households.

Schumm maintains an open mind–he writes well and impartially, leaving open the possibility that the “no difference” hypothesis could yet be proved true–but he argues that the case is far from closed, stating, “All of these concerns with the limitations of research concerning LGBT issues should raise red flags about any attempt to achieve scientific consensus prematurely, even if for a good or noble cause. If anyone is motivated to avoid a rush to judgment or a rush to consensus, it should be scientists including social scientists.”  (For an excellent summary of Schumm’s study, go here).

Science is Far From Settled

The point is, the science is simply unclear on whether or not gay households are “just as good” as traditional, intact, heterosexual households.  Moreover, there are strong, empirically-based reasons to doubt claims that they are.  It may yet turn out that this is the case, but in light of the experience of children raised through divorce, adoption, or donor-conception by heterosexual couples, gay households have a very high bar to clear.   Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply not being honest with themselves or you.


“Time to Stop Celebrating ‘Bad Moms'” Says Self-Proclaimed, “Bad Mom Pioneer.”


Kira Davis in The Federalist writes…

 I am O.G.bad mom, and have been for nearly 15 years now. I was bad mom before bad mom became acceptable. Letting the TV babysit my toddler for hours? Check. Takeout instead of a healthy, home-cooked meal? Check. Doing everything at the last minute? Check. Half-assing just about every part of motherhood? Check.

I’ve never felt like I was acing this parenthood gig. When the “bad mom” bloggers started sharing honest portrayals of their shortcomings, I felt relieved. It felt so good to know there were other women out there struggling like I was….

As embarrassed as I am to say this, however, I think enough is enough. My social media is clogged with bad mommy bloggers nearly every day now. What began as giving moms like me permission to be honest about our struggles has ended in a weird sort of glorification of being a hot mess. In a way, we’ve begun to shame women who work at holding it all together.

We’ve gone from encouraging bad moms to encouraging women to be bad moms. Now the sentiment has flipped on its head, and I fear we may be leaving new and young mothers with a false impression of what motherhood should and can look like.

It’s time to get back to embracing all the incarnations of motherhood. It’s time to stop being commiserators and start being teachers again. We need to be lending our wisdom to the mothers coming up behind us, not scaring them with our horror stories of last-minute science project fails. We should be encouraging them to be better than we were.  READ THE REST


New Study: Patient’s Environment May Determine Effectiveness of Antidepressants

Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock

It is an open secret in the mental health profession that although antidepressant do have an impact on depression, a large number of depressed patients get little to no relief from antidepressants.  New research suggests a reason for that.   It turns out that the effectiveness of antidepressants may depend strongly on the patient’s environment.

The new study finds that antidepressants may not treat depression directly, but rather, makes the brain more amenable to change.  If a patient’s environment is positive, healthy, and affirming, SSRI’s like Prozac or Zoloft, etc. may “allow” the patient’s brain to more readily “recognize” and adapt to this healthy environment.  If, however, the patient’s environment is negative, unhealthy, or un-affirming, there is nothing for the brain to adapt to (except to reinforce the negative wiring that already exists) and the patient experiences little to no benefit.  Here is the how the study explains it.

simply… taking an SSRI, does not cause a recovery from depression, but puts the brain into a condition where change can take place. They believe the medication increases the plasticity of the brain, making it more open to being changed.

“In a certain way it seems that the SSRIs open the brain to being moved from a fixed state of unhappiness, to a condition where other circumstances can determine whether or not you recover,” said Poggini. According to the researchers, it is the environmental conditions you find yourselves in at the time of the treatment which determines whether you are likely to get better or worse.  READ MORE

This is why study after study asserts that despite the fact that most depressed patients are treated only with medication,  the best course of treatment for depression is a combined approach that involves BOTH medication AND ongoing psychotherapy.  If you, or someone you love, is depressed and only taking medication, there is a very good chance that they are not receiving the help they need to make a full recovery.  Psychotherapy can make all the difference. If you are looking for a faithful place to turn for professional help, I invite you to contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute (740-266-6461) to learn more about how our tele-counseling practice can help you find greater peace and joy in your life.  There is hope and healing after depression.  Getting the help you need is the key to a brighter future.



Over 500 Scholars Hold Press Conference to Promote Positive Value of Humane Vitae

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Image via Shutterstock

Today, Catholic University of America held a press conference announcing the release of a document drafted by dozens of Catholic scholars and co-signed by over 500 theologians, social scientists, lawyers, physicians and other academics who endorsed the positive impact, value, and continued importance of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s letter promoting a consistent, comprehensive, vision of sexual love.
The new document announced today  (click the link to review) is a direct response to about 130 dissident Catholic scholars, including Vatican-censured theologian,  Fr. Charles E. Curran, who sponsored an event at the UN attacking the Church’s teachings.
I was honored to be among the many scholars who contributed sections to the document supporting Humanae Vitae referenced by today’s press conference. Specifically, my efforts focused on the negative psychobehavioral and environmental impact of the hormonal contraceptives, but these were just two small parts of a very thorough and wide-ranging document that addresses both the problems with artificial contraception and the value of living the Church’s vision of love and sex.
Many thanks to Dr. Janet Smith for spearheading this effort and to all those who joined in to make this important event possible, in particular, Mary Hasson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Dr. John Grabowski, who is a moral theologian at CUA, and who, with his wife, Claire, is both a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family and a regular contributor to More2Life Radio. This document is a wonderful show of lay support for the incredible beauty and continued relevance of Catholic sexual ethics.  Please check it out!
NOTE: If you want to want the archived version of the press conference, it starts about at about the 12:30 mark.

Can Christians Have “Healthy Shame” about the Body? (The Answer Isn’t What You Think).


Lisa Madrid Duffy posted a blog about the new sex ed curriculum published by the Pontifical Council for the Family.  (And to be honest, before you ask,  I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly review it yet. That said, although I understand there are some who have expressed concerns, my cursory view is that it is probably more appropriate than any other off-the-rack sex-ed program that exists, but stay tuned for more when I get a moment).


Regardless, in that post, she mentioned  that the program–whose English translation is….clunky–discusses the need to have a healthy sense of shame about the body and sexuality.  LMD rightly takes issue with this phrase insofar as she understands it to mean that we should somehow be ashamed of our bodies or our sexuality.  She rightly notes that no Christian should ever be ashamed of his or her body or sexuality. In fact, I’ll go one further and point out that being ashamed of either our body or our sexuality is, in large part,  the heresy known as Jansenism.

Even so, there is another sense of “shame” that every Christian should know about and is actually both healthy and appropriate.


In Love and Responsibility, which is the book Pope St. John Paul the Great wrote as a kind-of pre-cursor to the Theology of the Body, he argues that shame, as an emotion, is a gift from God like all the emotions.  In essence, it belongs in a similar category as guilt, or fear.  Each of these feelings, when it is function according to its godly purpose, is a protective emotion in that they protect us from real or possible harm.   Healthy guilt (as opposed to scrupulosity) protects us from threats to our moral or relational self.  Healthy fear (as opposed to anxiety) protects us from threats to our physical well-being.  So, what does “healthy shame” (as opposed to self-hatred) protect us from?

Simply put, healthy shame protects us from being used.  We are created by God to be loved.  That is the fundamental raison d’être of the human person; to love and be loved. To love someone is to work for their good, to help them develop into their best selves, to help them be the best person they can be.  The opposite of love–argues TOB, is not hate, but use.  To use someone is to turn a person into a thing, something that can be employed to some other end and then disposed of.  To be used is to be treated in the exact opposite manner that a person should be treated. Where love always makes us into even better persons if we accept it, use always depersonalizes us even when we allow ourselves to be used.


Shame then, rightly understood and healthily employed, is the emotion that allows us to know if someone is trying to use us or we are allowing ourselves to be used.  It is intended to warn us away from people or situations that are not looking out for our best interest and want to treat us as an object or tool.  Along with healthy fear, and healthy guilt, healthy shame (again, as opposed to the unhealthy alternative, self-hatred) serves as a warning light on the human dashboard that lets us know that either someone or something is threatening an important aspect of our overall well-being.

Having a healthy sense of shame our about our body or our sexuality, then, does not mean that we hate our body or our sexuality or are somehow suspicious of them. It means that we love our body and sexuality so much that we never intentionally place ourselves in situations where will be used by others or allow others to use us.  It means that we treasure ourselves and expect to be treasured by others.

I agree with Lisa Madrid Duffy that this needs to be better explained in the English text of the PCF’s sex ed program, but now, at least, YOU know what the truth is. For more help in living out the Catholic vision of love check out my book, Holy Sex!  Or, to effectively convey the Catholic vision of love to your kids, check out Beyond the Birds and the Bees.

Major New Research Finds 40% of US Kids Are Poorly Attached–Middle Class Families Included.

–New study reveals why parenting is THE social justice issue of our time.–

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

In a study of 14,000 U.S. children, 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds — what psychologists call “secure attachment”  

Written by researchers from  Columbia University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, the report uses data collected by the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative U.S. study of 14,000 children born in 2001. The researchers also reviewed more than 100 academic studies.

Their analysis shows that about 60 percent of children develop strong attachments to their parents, which are formed through simple actions, such as holding a baby lovingly and responding to the baby’s needs. Such actions support children’s social and emotional development, which, in turn, strengthens their cognitive development, the researchers write. These children are more likely to be resilient to poverty, family instability, parental stress and depression. Additionally, if boys growing up in poverty have strong parental attachments, they are two and a half times less likely to display behavior problems at school.

The approximately 40 percent who lack secure attachments, on the other hand, are more likely to have poorer language and behavior before entering school. This effect continues throughout the children’s lives, and such children are more likely to leave school without further education, employment or training, the researchers write. Among children growing up in poverty, poor parental care and insecure attachment before age four strongly predicted a failure to complete school. Of the 40 percent who lack secure attachments, 25 percent avoid their parents when they are upset (because their parents are ignoring their needs), and 15 percent resist their parents because their parents cause them distress.

Susan Campbell, a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, said insecure attachments emerge when primary caregivers are not “tuned in” to their infant’s social signals, especially their cries of distress during infancy. “When helpless infants learn early that their cries will be responded to, they also learn that their needs will be met, and they are likely to form a secure attachment to their parents,” Campbell said. “However, when caregivers are overwhelmed because of their own difficulties, infants are more likely to learn that the world is not a safe place — leading them to become needy, frustrated, withdrawn or disorganized.  The researchers argue that many parents — including middle-class parents — need more support to provide proper parenting….  READ THE REST HERE.

Detachment is the atomic level of the Culture of Death.  We cluck about the immorality of our culture, about poverty, crime, violence, and porn.  And these are all horrible things.  But we fail to see the foundation for all these social evils that Satan is building right under our feet and in our own homes. It’s easy to fuss about “the media” and “the culture” etc.  But it is hard, genuinely, really, really hard, to go pick up that crying baby when we already feel drained. And yet this the great spiritually transformative work that lies at the heart of The Corporal Works of Mommy and Daddy.

Am I saying that exhausted mothers should torture themselves to meet everybody’s needs all by themselves?  Absolutely not.   Every person needs help and has a right to get whatever help they need to be their best selves.  That should go without saying.

Attachment: The Root of Social Transformation

But every time Satan convinces a mother or father to remain consistently deaf to the cries of their children because it is somehow “bad” or even “unnecessary” or “ridiculous”  to respond to those cries, he is laying the foundation for all these other social evils. As Catholics, if we want to evangelize the culture, if we want to beat poverty, make children resilient against the evils of our fallen world, decrease  the crime rate, drug usage rates,  incidence of promiscuity, and pornography rates,  the single most important things we can do are 1) respond to our babies cries promptly, generously, and consistently, 2) shower our children with extravagant affection, and 3) use gentle guidance approaches to discipline that teach our children how to behavior virtuously instead of simply punishing bad behavior and crossing our fingers that they’ll figure out how to do what’s right on their own through the process of elimination.

Oversimplification?  Survey says…

I realize that this strikes some people as a ridiculous oversimplification.  I remember the editor of the new edition of Beyond the Birds and the Bees saying to me, incredulously, “It’s like you’re saying that the way to make our kids more moral is to hug them more.”  And, although that is a bit of an exaggeration, yes.  That is more or less exactly what I am saying.  Or rather, that is, more or less, what hundreds of studies of tens of thousands of children over the last 60 years are saying.  Over and over and over again.

And why should this come as such a surprise to us?  Our Church tells us over and over–and especially in Pope St John Paul’s theology of the body–that we were created for communion.  The family is the “icon of the Trinity” the most intimate communion that ever existed!  And we are made in the image of that intimate communion. Relationship IS the very essence of our being.  When we try to escape that reality, or ignore it,  limit it,  or tamp it down, bad things happen–to our kids, our families, and our world.  We think that having children need us is somehow crippling.  The exact opposite is true. Creating communion with our children is the most liberating thing we can do both for ourselves and for them.

Want To Change The World?

Are there lots of social ills?  There sure are.  But the cure really is pretty simple.  As St. Teresa of Calcutta put it, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your families.”   It turns out,  there’s a lot of research to support that pithy, but powerfully world-changing, sentiment.

If you want to discover more ways parents can change the world through love, check out Parenting with Grace: The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids and Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First 3 Years of Parenthood.



You Don’t Need a “Trigger Warning.” You need Treatment.


H/T NYTimes.

According to Harvard Psychologist, Dr. Richard McNally…

Proponents of trigger warnings are deeply concerned about the emotional well-being of students, especially those with trauma histories. Yet lost in the debate are two key points: Trauma is common, but P.T.S.D. is rare. 

Epidemiological studies show that many people are exposed to trauma in their lives, and most have had transient stress symptoms. But only a minority fails to recover, thereby developing P.T.S.D. Students with P.T.S.D. are those most likely to have adverse emotional reactions to curricular material, not those with trauma histories whose acute stress responses have dissipated. 

However, trigger warnings are countertherapeutic because they encourage avoidance of reminders of trauma, and avoidance maintains P.T.S.D. Severe emotional reactions triggered by course material are a signal that students need to prioritize their mental health and obtain evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral therapies that will help them overcome P.T.S.D. These therapies involve gradual, systematic exposure to traumatic memories until their capacity to trigger distress diminishes. 

Rather than issuing trigger warnings, universities can best serve students by facilitating access to effective and proven treatments for P.T.S.D. and other mental health problems.


The Two Shall Become One: Married People Become BIOLOGICALLY Similar, New Study Says.


In a study presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, University of Michigan researcher Shannon Mejia and her team looked at health indicators from 1,568 married couples across the United States. The couples were separated into two groups: those who had been married for about 20 years, and those who had been married for about 50 years. Overall, Mejia found that the couples had striking similarities in kidney function, total cholesterol, and grip strength.

Mejia and her fellow researchers found that there was similarity in the biomarkers beyond the race, education, and age factors that they statistically accounted for. The strongest example was in total cholesterol: The math says that 20 percent of the outcome for total cholesterol is attributable to couple membership.

The similarity between members of couples goes against what Mejia calls the “independence assumption” in the United States: Your health is thought to be individualistic. After all, it’s yourbody that the doctor investigates, not your partner’s. But as Mejia’s work indicates, environments matter.

Because of the nature of the data she’s working with — a large-scale longitudinal study — Mejia can’t really isolate the mechanisms of couple health concordance. She points to the work of University of British Columbia psychologist Christiane Hoppmann, who takes a more granular approach. Hoppmann zooms in on the mechanics of coupledom, finding, for instance, that members of couples who share greater intimacy have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.   READ MORE

When scripture tells us that, “the two shall become one” we often think of that in philosophical and spiritual terms.  Most people don’t take that verse literally, but the research consistently says we should.  In addition to the above research, other studies have found that the body responds to break-ups and divorce in the same way it responds to physical injury.  Divorce, in particular, has potentially very serious long term health consequences.

To learn more about having the kind of marriage that promotes health and well-being across every dimension of your life, check out For Better…FOREVER! A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage–2nd Edition Revised and Expanded.

Surprising (Negative) Effects of The Pill on Behavior, Dating, and Marriage

shutterstock--The Pill

I am working on a project about some of the lesser-known effects of the birth control pill on a woman’s psychological, relational, and behavioral well being. I came across some fascinating, high-quality research I thought I’d share a bit of what I found so far.

Although the psychological and behavioral impact of hormonal contraceptives has been a largely understudied area until recently, a review of scholarly research-to-date in the journal, Evolutionary Psychology, found significant cause for concern.  The author states, “Women who use HCs report higher rates of depression, reduced sexual functioning, and higher interest in short-term sexual relationships compared to their naturally-cycling counterparts. Also, HC use may alter women’s ability to attract a mate, as well as the mate retention behaviors in both users and their romantic partners. Some evidence even suggests that HC use alters mate choice and may negatively affect sexual satisfaction in parous women, with potential effects on future offspring” (Welling, 2013, p. 718).

Regarding the issue of mate attraction and retention, a subsequent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supported Welling’s (2013) earlier observations, finding that women are attracted to different types of men depending upon whether they are on or off hormonal contraceptives and that marital stability can be negatively impacted when a woman who was on HC’s at the beginning of their relationship subsequently discontinues HC use (Russell, McNulty, Baker, 2014).

For more about the truth about God’s plan for sexuality, check out Holy Sex!  The Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving.


Russel, V.M., McNulty, J., Baker, L. et al. (2014). The association between discontinuing hormonal contraceptives and wives’ marital satisfaction depends on husbands’ facial attractiveness.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. vol. 111 no. 48. 17081–17086  Retrieved September 11, 2016 at

Welling, L. (2013). Psychobehavioral effects of hormonal contraceptive use.  Evolutionary Psychology, 11(3): 718-742

Every Child Left Behind: “Smart” Atheism or “Stupid” Faith?


Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

            Catholic children as young as 10 years old are renouncing God and quitting Church, claims a new study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown.  According to lead researcher, Dr. Mark Gray, children are finding that faith is “incompatible” with what they are learning in school, and the older the child becomes, the more this is the case.  According to Gray, “this is a generation that is struggling with faith in ways that we haven’t seen in previous generations.”

This is disturbing news for faithful parents. Our children are being besieged with the message that atheism is “smart” and faith is “dumb.” But there is a more provocative challenge presented to Catholics by this dilemma. Namely; how long will we keep teaching our kids to have a stupid faith?

“Stupid” Faith?

By “stupid” faith I mean one that doesn’t make experiential sense. Faith is only “stupid”—and, therefore, susceptible to allegedly “smart” atheism—when a person has not experienced Jesus Christ in a real and personal way. An experience of Christ is even more essential than good catechesis. Why? Because if I have experienced Christ personally, I know he exists.  If Stephen Hawking wrote a book denying the existence of my mother, I wouldn’t have to be an expert in quantum physics to know that he was writing nonsense.

Of course, intellectual formation in the form of good catechesis is also critical.  The second component of a “stupid” faith is the inability to explain why we believe what we do.  Sadly, many Catholic kids are afflicted with this malady as well, but this is actually of secondary importance to experiential encounter with the person of Christ. If I have a Ph.D. in theology, but haven’t experienced God’s love personally, my faith is a house built on sand. Essentially, the only reason atheism seems so “smart” to today’s youth is that while most Catholic kids are sacramentalized, and some are even adequately catechized, very few are actually evangelized.  That job falls squarely on mom and dad.  The Church will baptize our kids, and Catholic schools may catechize them, but parents are best equipped to bring their children to a meaningful, personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

Every Child Left Behind

Because of this, the Church tells us families are the first “schools of faith.” Unfortunately, the vast majority of these Catholic “schools” are getting a failing grade. A separate study, also conducted by CARA, found that only 17% of Catholic families pray together and only 13% say Grace at Meals together. This research sadly shows that most Catholic families are not living their faith in any demonstrable way at home.  If 83% of kids came out of school unable to read we would, rightly, be up in arms. Well, 83% of Catholic kids are “graduating” as spiritual illiterates from their family schools of faith. What are we going to do about it?

What Happened?

            Our post-Christian culture has not caused this problem.  It simply shined a light on it.  It used to be that Catholic parents who did a poor job evangelizing their children could at least count on the culture to nudge their kids back to Church.  Maybe they wouldn’t be “Christian heroes” (as Cardinal Marx recently put it) but at least they would go through the motions and, in time, maybe they’d catch a deeper faith by marinating in the smells and bells.  This approach—which never worked well—is now hopelessly doomed.  The prevailing culture now sneers at churchgoing.  More and more, you will have to choose to go to Church—not because anyone will be disappointed if you don’t—but because you care deeply about the person you’re going to encounter when you get there (i.e., Jesus Christ in the Eucharist) or you won’t go at all.

Today, it falls more and more to parents to give their children a personal and meaningful experience of the love of God—not by simply dragging them to Mass and enrolling them in religious education–but by giving kids tangible evidence of God’s love in family life through meaningful family prayer, strong family rituals (e.g., specific times to work, play, talk, and pray together), casual but meaningful discussions about how God is impacting the family’s life, and an cultivating an intimacy within the home  rooted in each family member trying to love each other as God loves them.

A Call To Action 

            This latest CARA study is not a chance to impotently cluck about the godless culture.  It is a reminder to Catholic parents—and the whole Church–that if we want to raise faithful kids, we need to help our kids encounter Christ as the most important member of our families and the source of the warmth in our homes. If you’d like to discover more ideas for making this happen in your home, check out Discovering God Together: The Catholic Guide to Raising Faithful Kids.