US Catholic Faith in Real Life

How church teaching demands tidy—and unrealistic—gender roles

Church teachings give parents conflicting messages about the best balance between work and family.

By Jacob Kohlhaas |
Article Lifestyle

“Havoc” may best describe the lives of many Midwestern families this winter, as Mother Nature brought unrelenting wind, rain, snow, ice, and record-setting chills. For families like mine, balancing professional lives, parenting, and maintaining a household are demanding enough without becoming the object of nature’s merciless torments. Nonetheless, despite all the challenges that the conflicting demands of work and family introduce in our lives, this living on the edge of chaos is exactly what we chose. Most American parents want to work beyond the household, and most are doing so. 


Transgender and Catholic: A parent’s perspective

A deacon’s personal account of parenting a transgender child.

By Deacon Ray Dever |
Article Your Faith

Fifty years ago this year, the church restored the permanent diaconate, opening the doors to married clergy who brought and continue to bring with them all the joys, sorrows, and complexities of family life to ordained ministry. In the case of my family, that included first-hand experience with LGBT people. In the fall of 2013, at the beginning of our oldest child’s sophomore year at Georgetown University, she came out as transgender. With that news, my family found itself plunged into questions and issues that surround families of faith with LGBT children. 


How the women’s movement turns anger into hope

Righteous anger brings hope, not despair.

By Jessica Mesman |
Article Culture Justice

On election night 2016, hands full of dirty dinner dishes, I tripped over a slightly ajar cabinet door and fell hard on my left knee, my right leg overextended at an ugly angle behind me. Two friends ran in to assist me when they heard the plates clatter to the floor. They propped me up against the refrigerator, immobilized with a bag of frozen peas on my knee, while they watched the returns in the next room, and I listened in disbelief as what I’d thought was impossible happened. The phrase “adding insult to injury” comes to mind. 


What’s the problem with women deacons?

Nothing, says this scholar of women’s ordination in the early church.

By Phyllis Zagano |
Article Your Faith
At least 25 years ago the late Archbishop of New York Cardinal John O’Connor told me there were secret discussions in Rome about restoring women to the ordained diaconate. The problem, he said, was that they could not figure out how to ordain women as deacons and not as priests. 

The confusion remains. One priest, a convert to Catholicism, wrote me recently:  “It seems somewhat disingenuous for an expert in women’s ordination to the diaconate to then insist that there is no connection with women priests.”


The Bible through her eyes

Scripture scholar Barbara Reid says women have something powerful to offer when interpreting the Bible.

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
Article Your Faith

Scripture scholar and Dominican Sister Barbara Reid took her first Bible course when she was a junior in college. It was an elective. “I was just so amazed at how it opened up a whole world for me,” she says. “I was also a little angry and thought, ‘Why didn’t anyone ever teach me anything about the Bible?’ ” 


Being a man in the Korean American church

How can Korean American Catholic communities address the gap between men’s and women’s work?

By Hoon Choi |
Article Your Faith

My first child was born in January and, as I hold him in my arms, I often think about how my wife and I will pass on our Catholic faith to him. However, almost immediately, my mind goes in a more negative direction. I find myself agonizing about the obstacles that he is going to face within our faith community. I wonder about how to teach my son to navigate gender roles and his own maleness within our Korean American Catholic faith community.