This is a blog I had forgotten about until I saw it linked on another blog.  This pair of stories reminded me why I loved it.


A wonderful story about a family from Texas making a pilgramage to see the Pope in DC.

I especially liked the end of the story when they get lost in Nortern Virginia and they call the only person they know in the area and he offers them his house on the spot.  Just a wonderful example of Christian living.

There’s going to a lot of coverage of all things Catholic in the week because of the Papal visit.  Check out this group blog put together by the New York Times.

BBC Radio has an interesting programme called In Our Time.  It discusses the history of ideas related to science, religion, philosophy, history and culture.  It usually has very interesting topics and knowledgeable guests.

This week’s topic is the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII.  You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or follow the link and listen to the lastest episode.


Christianity is a religion of new beginnings.  Jesus died for our sins, so that we may have new life.  A life that is not tainted by our past.  It’s not that our past doesn’t matter.  Our past must be confronted and dealt with but Catholics are given that all important sacrament of reconciliation.  As long as we deal forthrightly with our past we are not doomed by it.  Our life can have a new beginning.  Our future is not determined by our past.  He did not ask the fisherman if they were righteous, he asked them to drop their nets and follow him.  That is all Jesus ever asks of us, to follow him.

Health officials in the Philippines are asking — no, “strongly advising” — Catholics taking part in Easter self-flagellation rituals this week to first check the condition of their whips before lashing their backs.

Authorities worry that dirty whips could lead to tetanus and other infections, according to a report in the Manila Times newspaper Wednesday.

“We are not trying to go against the Lenten tradition here,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told the newspaper. “But this advice is important to make sure that no one will land in the hospital due to tetanus or other infections that penitents might get in the process.”

So be sure to check the condition of your whips. You don’t want to give yourselves tetanus or some other infection during holy week.

This is the second post on the Pew Forum’s Survey of the American Religious Landscape.  I said I was going to comment on the lack of converts and I eventually will, but this post is going to be about a sampling bias Pew found in their data.

On page 41 of the study Pew noticed that their Latino percentages did not match those found in a study they conducted a year earlier.  They had used different questions which may have introduced some bias but they believed and found by conducting an additional survey that the source of the bias was the lack of immediately bilingual questioners.  The Landscape Survey attempted to conduct interviews in English, if they could not complete the survey the household was contacted again by a Spanish interviewer.  In the fully bilingual surveys the Catholic chunk of the Latino population was 65 and 68%.  In the Landscape Survey it was 58%.  Incoporating those numbers into the total population would boost the Catholic percentage from 23.9 to 25.1%.  This falls in the line with other surveys of the American population that has found Catholic membership holding steady at 25% for the past two decades.

There are some interesting numbers that can be drawn from this error.  Pew stated that Latino respondants who completed the full English survey identified themselves as Catholic only 48% of the time.  According to a Pew Hispanic Survey from 2006 59% of Latino’s can speak English.  By doing some math with these numbers I found that of Spanish-speaking Latino’s 89-98% identified as Catholic.  Now I am willing to acknowledge that I using numbers from multiple surveys and that introduces many problems but as a general statement it can be seen that as Latino’s assimilate they are rapidly losing their Catholic character.

According to the 2006 survey 23% of first generation immigrants spoke English, 88% of second generation, and 94% of third generation.  So with a few caveats we can speak of the Spanish speaking cohort as mainly first generation immigrants and the English speaking cohort as later generations.  What this allows us to see is the disintegration of the ability to pass Catholicism onto the new generations once they have reached America.  Catholics are losing 46-51% of later generation Latinos.

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