Category Archives: Catholicism

Mathing Up the Faith (Review: “Arriving at Amen”)

I love a good conversion story. I’ve made a few attempts at writing my own, but I have never found quite the right angle of approach. It’s not the struggle to find something other than God in which to place my happiness, like it was for Jen Fulwiler. It’s not the attempt to make up my own system of belief and finding that the system already existed, like it was for G.K. Chesterton. After reading this most recent conversion story, I am convinced that I need to find my own schema for describing my journey toward God. For Leah Libresco, online atheist to newbie Catholic, it was a series of scaffolds between the worlds she knew so well and the traditions she slowly came to embrace. She shares her metaphysical bridges in Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers That Even I Can Offer.

It is no hyperbole to say that I am not into math or science. I studied engineering in high school, and I continue to befriend engineers, so I can speak the lingo, but my forays into the field are child’s play compared to Leah Libresco’s. Hers is the most intellectual story of finding God that I have ever read. It was a challenge to my mind and my soul to identify with her on the journey.

I felt my heart breaking as she explained her inability (at first) to accept the idea of mercy, preferring a cut-and-dry system of rule-breaking and punishment. I find kindred spirits in literature, too (although mine are not from Les Misérables; what a classy favorite!) I have taken up social dancing, so I can understand the process of internalizing that rhythm as a springboard to Rosary-guided contemplation. I struggle with Reconciliation as rationalization; I also find healing in acknowledging my brokenness.

Review of "Arriving at Amen," by Leah Libresco

Leah Libresco describes herself as still just “flailing toward Christ.” But she can dance, so it might look like this.
(Image CC0 from BossFight.co)

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

From Old Adam to New in 7 Easy Sketches (Review: “Bible Basics for Catholics”)

A "walking" globe toy on the story of Noah.

You can learn the story of the Bible in seven easy stick figures. Several summers ago, I took a weekly crash course on salvation history. It absolutely changed the way I see the Bible. Have you ever heard the prophets or psalms talking about Israel and Judah as though they’re separate places and been very confused? That was me. A little Bible study changed that. For me, it took some long drives to Lakeway and Jeff Cavins. You can learn the same Bible storyline using the easy-to-read, info-packed Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History, by John Bergsma. You won’t regret it.

I’ve written many times about how Catholics don’t read the Bible and how the lack of Catholic biblical literacy is terrible. My standard suggestion is to start by reading through the lectionary, even just on Sundays. Once you have that under your belt, though, it helps to know what the Bible is all about.

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

My Thoughts for Pope Francis, Part Eight: Families and Faith

synodmarriagefamily

Intro | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight

I’ve almost made it! I started this series in September and by golly, I’m going to finish it before the next synod starts in November. Ideally, I would have finished a series on the preparation for the next synod by the time it starts, but I will take the victories I can achieve.

It is unlikely that Pope Francis will ever actually read my thoughts (although, considering his actions, you never know), but it has been extremely fruitful for me to work through them. When people complain that the Church is too hierarchical, too top-down, or not applicable to adult singles, I’m going to point them this way. I encourage you to think about your own responses to these questions and what you can do to enrich the Church in terms of marriage, family, and evangelization.

On to the final section of questions!

The Relationship Between the Family and the Person

a.k.a. How Families Lead Us Toward or Away from Christ

Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the human person. How can the family be a privileged place for this to happen?

We Christians are all trying to be like Jesus. He was community in and of himself (as one person of the Holy Trinity), and he formed a community of apostles and disciples to create the Church. Family is a tiny version of the Church—or, at least, it’s supposed to be. As I heard a priest put it at a house blessing recently, the father is the family’s pastor, and the mother is the director of religious education. Their primary goal should be to get each other and all their children to heaven.

I’m not sure how often that is a real goal, though. I’ve never been a parent or even a spouse, and I’m the only religious person in my family (besides maybe my grandmother), so the only ones helping me specifically to get to heaven are my guardian angel, the holy souls I have helped free from purgatory, and me. It might always be that way.

I have goals for my quasi-family and future family, though, God willing. I pray for my godsons, my sister (I was her Confirmation sponsor), and my family all the time. I don’t change who I am to suit who they might want me to be, so they’re stuck with their Jesus-freak godmother/sister/daughter/granddaughter/cousin whether they like it or not. I hope my example will help bring them to Jesus, too.

What critical situations in the family today can obstruct a person’s encounter with Christ?

In Part Six, I wrote about the struggles of teaching children about the Faith when they don’t have any good examples of how to live as a person of faith. That’s the biggest obstacle. When the only adults you know don’t go to church, then going to church doesn’t seem all that important or necessary. When other families talk about being “done” with having children, then being open to life sounds like outdated, wishful thinking. When every other family at church rushes past yours, talking loudly, while you try to kneel for an after-Mass Hail Mary, putting in the effort seems like an exercise in futility.

The most critical situation obstructing a person’s encounter with Christ in family life is a family (or other families) that don’t live as though they have encountered Christ.

To what extent do the many crises of faith which people can experience affect family life?

I’d imagine this is a big problem in families that have faith life connected strongly to family life. When one family member decides not to go to church, that makes church seem less important to everyone else. This is especially important when the father is not involved in the family’s religious life: if dad doesn’t go to church, why should the kids have to go?

On a larger scale, this is true for special occasions: weddings and funerals. Any number of people could tell you a sob story about being mistreated (or just feeling mistreated) at a Catholic wedding or funeral. Those fall on both sides of the aisle, so to speak: from people wondering why they can’t receive Communion and demands for special music/readings/eulogies that are incompatible with the liturgy to priests refusing to give Communion on the tongue and homiletic insistences that the deceased is definitely in heaven. Special occasions bring out deeply-held beliefs that people cite as their make-or-break moment of faith.

Gay family members can also be an occasion for a crisis of faith. The nuances of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality can seem too burdensome, bigoted, “homophobic,” or just “not nice” when the love of a family member gets involved. It’s much easier to say that you just won’t be a Catholic anymore if your sister or brother can’t have a same-sex wedding recognized by the Church.

What other challenges or proposals related to the topics in the above questions do you consider urgent and useful to treat?

In the preparatory document, this was actually Question 9 all by itself. What I’ve broken up into several questions per post for this series were composed as multi-part questions. Thus, the prompt says “the above questions,” meaning “all the questions.” I think I’ve spoken my piece already, though, so I’ll end here.

To conclude, I have some thoughts about the final document issued by the synod. It’s called the relatio synodi. You might remember the media debacle that ensued when the rough draft of that document (the interim relatio) was released to the media. I’m not going to open that can of worms again. What’s done is done. The important thing now is to look forward to the World Meeting of Families in Philadephia, Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. during that meeting, and the upcoming extraordinary synod that will continue the work and discussions from last fall.

I think Pope Francis said in best in asking for prayers, not gossip, concerning the upcoming synod. Let’s join him:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate
The splendor of true love.
We turn to you with confidence.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
Make our families, also,
Places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
Authentic schools of the Gospel,
And little domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth
May our families never more experience
Violence, isolation, and division:
May anyone who was wounded or scandalized
Rapidly experience consolation and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the upcoming Synod of Bishops
Reawaken in all an awareness
Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family,
Its beauty in the project of God.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Hear and answer our prayer. Amen.


How has your family life influenced your faith, for better or for worse? What plans do you have for your current and future family’s faith life? What are your hopes, expectations, and worries about this fall’s events? Share your thoughts in the comments!

My Thoughts for Pope Francis, Part Seven: Open to Life

synodmarriagefamily

Intro | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven

My last installment of this series was in January, but just like I said then, I am not a quitter! I maintain that you do not “need a theology degree” to be able to express your opinions about marriage and family life in relationship to evangelization and the Gospel. I have never been married, but I grew up in a family. I don’t work for the Church anymore, but I evangelize, and I know the Gospel. The questions take some effort to dig into, but if you made it out of high school without learning to read and think critically, American public education is worse off than we thought.

As always, I invite comments, questions, and responses on your own blog (if you have one). We can disagree charitably, right?

The Openness of the Married Couple to Life

a.k.a. What Happens When People Don’t Read

What knowledge do Christians have today of the teachings of Humanae Vitae on responsible parenthood? Are they aware of how morally to evaluate the different methods of family planning? Could any insights be suggested in this regard pastorally?

I wish more people (Catholics especially) would actually read Humanae Vitae. It’s free. It’s been out since the 60’s. As far as encyclicals go, it’s tiny: about eight pages, including footnotes (so really six and a half). Contrast that with Laudato Si’, which is over 180 pages. You do have to get past the “royal we,” but you are rewarded with actual Church teaching. Not hearsay. Not Christopher West (because some people really dislike his style). Not the rich but dense speeches from St. John Paul II that make up the core text of the Theology of the Body.

But I would say that most Catholics have never read Humanae Vitae, even if they have heard of it. I heard a homily on its anniversary once, given by a youngish Dominican priest. I hear references to it in just about every discussion of Church teaching on marriage, children, and sexuality. Yet talking about it is no more like reading it than seeing a photo of the Grand Canyon is like being there.

So, no, I do not think Christians are aware that there is a moral aspect to family planning, and they are wholly unaware of the details in Humanae Vitae. I can think of two notable examples of women whose minds were changed when they first considered family planning a moral issue: Kimberly Hahn and Jen Fulwiler.

Kimberly Hahn, wife of well-known Catholic convert and theologian Scott Hahn, shares her story in their book Rome Sweet Home. When she and Scott were in Bible college, she led a study group in researching the historical Christian teachings on contraception and family planning. She had always assumed that every church except the Catholic Church supported it. Discovering the truth shocked her.

Jen Fulwiler, also a well-known Catholic convert, explained that when she brainstormed a list of conditions under which it would be a good idea to have sex and conditions under which it would be a good idea to have a child, they were completely different. Yet that is a modern separation. They used to be the same list. When you’ve separated out marriage from children, of course contraception seems like a basic human right. That was never supposed to happen, though.

Both of their conclusions are underscored in Humanae Vitae. We’ve got to get that actual text in front of more eyeballs! Women’s, men’s, young adult, and marriage enrichment groups would be ideal audiences.

Is this moral teaching accepted? What aspects pose the most difficulties in a large majority of couples’ accepting this teaching?

The teaching is not broadly accepted, but it’s publicly accepted by more people than before. It’s slowly becoming more common to see large, happy families. Helpfully, it’s also more common to hear about the pain of infertility, the high prevalence of miscarriage, and the desire of couples to have more children than they can or do. After decades of treating pregnancy like a terrible curse or an optional part of marriage, people are beginning to see and realize that children are a gift and never ever guaranteed. I’m also hearing couples openly admitting that they don’t use contraception. Although that’s none of my business, it is so good to have real voices in the discussion.

I think social pressure causes couples to ignore or reject the teaching more than theological disagreement. So many people believe in the myth of overpopulation or consider large families a drain on social resources. It’s very uncommon to have more than three children, so large families stick out. It’s so common to use contraception that everyone assumes that everyone else is doing it (even those who are not and are actually suffering through infertility or miscarriage; “can’t have kids” looks the same as “won’t have kids” from the outside). Couples who don’t use contraception seem like they’re religious fanatics, kidding themselves, or just plain crazy. It’s hard to stick to the truth against those odds.

What natural methods are promoted by the particular churches to help spouses put into practice the teachings of Humanae Vitae?

(Note: In this case “particular churches” means parishes and conferences of bishops in each country.)

This varies by diocese. I’m most familiar with the Diocese of Austin because I didn’t have any personal or professional interest in locally-approved NFP methods when I lived in any other dioceses (so far Washington, Military Services, Fort Wayne–South Bend, Birmingham, and Mobile). The Diocese of Austin NFP page has an up-to-date list, with the Family of the Americas method (ovulation-only) being the most recently approved. Most dioceses also approve the Creighton FertilityCare method (sympto-thermal) and Billings method (ovulation-only).

What is your experience on this subject in the practice of the Sacrament of Penance and participation at the Eucharist?

I am openly celibate and have never been pregnant, so my firsthand experience is basically nonexistent. I have some conjectures and hearsay, though, for what it’s worth.

I think everyone is aware that churchgoing, Eucharist-receiving couples include those who are using contraception. It’s sad, but it definitely happens. Based on the lines I see for Confession, many more people receive the Eucharist than go to Confession even once or twice a year. The groups must overlap, so that the aforementioned contracepting couples are receiving the Eucharist even though they shouldn’t be.

I don’t know what to do about that. I’m sure they’re aware that they shouldn’t be contracepting. Even non-Catholics know the basic teaching. I’m slightly less sure that these couples know they shouldn’t be receiving the Eucharist if they have used contraception (without receiving Reconciliation and stopping usage before receiving). So many people see receiving the Eucharist as just “what everyone does” at Mass, like standing and kneeling. But that’s not true.

I have heard two older women (as in, at least 60 years old now) tell me their stories of looking for a priest to say, in the confessional, that using contraception was okay and they didn’t have to stop, or that they “already had two children,” so they couldn’t be expected to remain open to life. They found those priests. Those priests’ attempt at good counsel isn’t true, either, but the blame for that lies on those priests and their teachers, not the women. I hope that’s not happening anymore, but based on some of the discussions I’m hearing about communion for the divorced and remarried, it probably does. We can’t stop at converting the lay faithful; we need all the clergy behind us.

What differences are seen in this regard between the Church’s teaching and civic education?

I never heard about any method of family planning or pregnancy avoidance in public school other than abstinence and contraception. Abstinence was always mentioned, with a solid shout-out to its effectiveness… and a solid base of disbelief that anyone would ever do such a thing voluntarily. No surprises there.

The thing is, I didn’t learn about NFP until college. I remember seeing a small ad in the church bulletin when I was in 8th or 9th grade (the only time my family went to church weekly) about classes for married couples on the “new, scientific” method that replaced the “old rhythm method.” To be fair, I think I only set foot in a church about twice before I came back for good when I was in college. Then I got the details, and now that I’m an adult, I can’t even begin to describe how useful that knowledge would have been when I was younger.

Currently, the secular world has adopted its own form of NFP. This can only be good news for the Church. Their term is “fertility awareness method,” which is arguably more accurate. It’s the same scientific concept as NFP without the religious foundation, and it allows barrier methods instead of requiring abstinence during peak fertility. It appeals to the no-chemicals, natural, “green,” highly-informed sensibilities of contemporary Americans. There is potential for the NFP community to do some ecumenical crossover work there. Cassie Moriarty’s short film “Miscontraceptions” is a step in the right direction.

How can a more open attitude towards having children be fostered? How can an increase in births be promoted?

The tough thing about dramatic social change, such as couples having fewer children, is that it takes time for those decisions to bear fruit (pardon the pun). Social Security may be gone when my generation retires because there are not as many workers contributing as retiring; the retirees didn’t have enough children. Catholic elementary schools built to hold the Baby Boomers are now closing because the children of Boomers are fewer in number or went to public school. (The schools that survive are enrolling Hispanic students as that population explodes.) Women were told to pursue education and careers before childbearing, and when they did, they had fewer childbearing years left and more difficulty conceiving later in life.

There are two aspects that can help promote child-rearing. First is the understanding that children are the quintessential fruit of marriage. When marriage is all about the love between adults, children become an accessory, and there are fewer of them. Second is the understanding that children are a gift. When couples at least believe they deserve children—and whenever they want them—they are less willing to accept “surprises,” “imperfect” babies, or any more once they are “done.” Changing a culture takes time, but it is possible.


I did my best not to go off on any tangents there and to stick most closely to what I know. Do you see differently? Have you read Humanae Vitae? How do you think we can evangelize the culture with the gospel of marriage and family life?

A Response to “What Sucks about the Catholic Church”

Every spring brings the Church a batch of shiny new Catholics, and every year I see the same list of complaints. No, not the ones about people “taking your pew.” The ones about the niggling weaknesses in the Church. Many adults who enter the Catholic Church, especially those who were members of other Christian traditions first, are confident that they have found the truth, but they see persistent problems here. For Albert Little, a newly confirmed Catholic, this takes the form of a particular list: “What Sucks about the Catholic Church.” Mildly vulgar language aside, he makes three primary points that caused me to reflect on some blind spots remaining in our faith.

A Response to "What Sucks about the Catholic Church," at AustinCNM.com

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

Single Life Is Not a Vocation

One of my grad school friends teaches middle school religion. She also has a blog, but hers is a lot more about teaching (her job) than mine is ever about construction admin work (my job). She posted recently about her joyful experience teaching her students about the priesthood. It’s part of the vocations section of her curriculum (produced by the Congregation of Holy Cross, who run Notre Dame, where we went to grad school), and she mentioned that they were covering four vocations.

Single life is not a vocation. I'm single, and I'm okay with that.

Four vocations. That caught my eye. As far as I am concerned, there are only three vocations. I asked a few questions in the comments section1 to clarify and draw out the discussion. She kindly replied to my comment, but my follow-up response got so long2 that I decided to turn it into a blog post instead.

The first three vocations in her vocations unit are the same ones every Catholic recognizes: marriage, priesthood, and religious life. I’m on board with that.

The fourth is single life. That is where I have a totally different point of view. The broader sense of vocation (i.e. anything God is calling you to do) has been mixed up with the narrower sense of vocation. I don’t think single life as a vocation belongs in the same category as marriage, priesthood, and religious life.

As I see it, there are vowed vocations, and then there are all the other kinds of vocations.

What Makes Vowed Vocations Different

Vowed vocations are marriage, priesthood, and religious life. You have to take a vow to enter any of those vocations, so I’m going to make an effort to call them “vowed vocations” from now own. It’s so clever, and everybody loves alliteration.3 None of those vocations become a binding commitment until you take the associated vow. At any point before you take that vow, you can slow down the formation process or completely walk away. Once you’ve take the vow, you’ve taken on a new state in life.

Furthermore, people in vowed vocations all commit to someone else by definition. You can’t get married, become a priest, or become a religious unless another person (your intended spouse, your bishop, or your superior, respectively) agrees that God is calling you to that vocation. Once you take the vow, that person is stuck with you (hopefully in a positive way).

Still furthermore, you can enter vowed vocations without needing permission to leave your current state, and you must have permission to leave them. My friend noted that she and her curriculum emphasize that vocations can change; that’s true, but you can’t just walk away from marriage, priesthood, or religious life. We are all born unmarried, not priests, and not religious (the noun, as in monks and nuns; not the adjective, as in spiritual). If you want to get married, be ordained a priest, or become a religious, you don’t need to be released from single life first. If you are already a spouse, priest, or religious, you will need permission to go back to being single or to take on another vowed vocation. For those reasons, I consider vowed vocations permanent. They last for a lifetime.

The Other Kind of Vocation

On the other hand, since “vocation” means “a call,” you can use the word “vocation” to apply to anything God might be calling you to be or do. If you have a profession or volunteer commitment that helps you grow in holiness and joy, you can call that a vocation. If that profession or volunteer position is made easier by your being unmarried and childless, you might conclude that God is calling you to stay that way. Dawn Eden, a Ph.D-level theology student, writer, and speaker, revealed in her new book that she has consecrated her celibacy to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for exactly that reason. You could also be called by God to be a theologian, writer, and speaker who is married and has children, though. Jason & Crystalina Evert, their six children, and the Chastity Project are my favorite example of that. You could be called by God to work in or run a completely secular business in a spiritually-informed manner. Those are all valid, licit, real, joyful, fruitful, pick-your-favorite-positive-adjective calls from God. In that sense, they are absolutely vocations. They bring life to the world.

That is where the similarity ends. In contrast to vowed vocations, non-vowed vocations don’t require you to take a vow (of course), and you can combine them with a vowed vocation. You can be a spouse and parent who does honest, faith-inspired tech work from a home office. You can be a priest who does public speaking. You can be a religious who grows coffee beans. You can be a never-married single person who is an author. You can be any of those and be a missionary evangelist. If you decide to stop doing tech work, speaking, growing, writing, or evangelizing in mission territory, you haven’t broken a vow, and you remain a spouse, priest, religious, or never-married single. They’re not inherently connected.

Continuing the contrast, a non-vowed vocation can be discerned by one person alone. You might need clients, an audience, customers, readers, or people to evangelize, but your pastor doesn’t need to agree that God is calling you to be a techie/speaker/farmer/writer/evangelist. You identify it, and then you’re in.4 No one is stuck with you as a fellow techie/speaker/farmer/writer/evangelist or your client/audience/customer/reader/student, positively or negatively.

As I noted above, you can have a vowed vocation and a non-vowed vocation. A non-vowed vocation doesn’t usually require you to be married, divorced (with or without an annulment), widowed, a priest, a religious, or a never-married single. It may be easier in one of those states of life, but it’s rarely required. (I was a never-married single facilitating marriage prep. Your oncologist doesn’t need to be a cancer survivor.) Thus, you don’t need to leave your current state in life to enter non-vowed vocations. If you want out of your non-vowed vocation, you might have to find another means of financial support or something else to do with your time, but you don’t need the Church’s permission. You can change jobs or volunteer in another field at any time. Non-vowed vocations come with great freedom.

What to Do with the Singles

Looking at history, most people get married eventually. Some become priests or religious later in life after having never married. But we currently have a larger population of never-married Catholics who aren’t also priests or religious than ever before (at least in the U.S.), and we’ve blurred the line between vowed and non-vowed vocations in an attempt to figure out what to do with them. Some (like Dawn Eden) are intentionally remaining single. They feel called by God to a non-vowed vocation and do not feel called by God pursue any vowed vocation.Some have made promises, consecrations, or private vows to solemnify that decision to remain single for life.5 That is awesome, and I’d imagine it gives them an incredible sense of purpose, clarity, and peace. It does not, however, give them a vocation on the level of priesthood, marriage, or religious life.

The problem is that many never-married people do feel called to a vowed vocation and do not feel called to intentionally remain single. You can be single but plan to (or hope to) be ordained a priest, get married, or become a religious; thus, you’d be single but not feel called to remain so. You could even be living a non-vowed vocation and still be waiting for the day you will take a vow. This is my life. I live in the “already, but not yet.”

I do not feel called to religious life, and I do not feel called to remain single. This is not the time for that story, but trust me; I’m pretty sure. I do feel called to be a reader, writer, and teacher. This blog and my professional and volunteer activities answer that call. I don’t think you can be called to marriage in general, though; you can only be called to marry a specific person. (If you’re already married, that person is your spouse.) So, although I never identify myself as being called to marriage, I hope I will hear that call someday. I don’t have a vowed vocation, but I want to.

This opinion admittedly doesn’t bring much encouragement, but I think it carries much more logic and realism than the other point of view: insisting that being single means you are called to it as others are called to priesthood, marriage, or religious life. It remains possible that I will never marry despite my desire to. It remains possible that I have a “missed vocation.” (I’m still working out my thoughts and feelings on that.) But trying to shove my single self into a sphere where I don’t belong is not going to help. Identifying just three vocations is fine by me.


  1. Hers is usually very quiet, but comments are not dead. I still leave comments. 
  2. Don’t be that person who posts a huge wall of text as a comment. If you need more than one 5–7 sentence paragraph to make your point, be more concise or post it on your own blog. 
  3. The “clever” part is sarcastic. I’ve also heard them called “permanent vocations,” or “states in life” as opposed to just “vocations.” 
  4. Religious communities can be a little stricter. For example, some communities are teaching orders, so if you can’t teach, you might not be accepted into that community. 
  5. You might be wondering about consecrated virgins. That is a public, vowed vocation. Consecrated virgins must be female (as far as I can tell) and either never-married or widowed (a.k.a. free to marry). If they later wish to marry, they must be released from their vows. 

Love Seeking Justice and Mercy (Review: “Change of Heart”)

I do not support the death penalty. I don’t think any Catholic ought to, although I respect the option Catholics have within our tradition to do so. The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that, in the modern world, sufficient means exist to contain dangerous criminals indefinitely without ending their lives, so the cases in which death is the only way to ensure public safety must be few (see paragraph 2267). I don’t have any personal experience with death row, though, and I can’t even begin to try to place myself in the shoes of the perpetrators of capital crimes, their families, and the victims’ families. It’s a blessing that I can’t relate to them.

Change of Heart: A Review at AustinCNM.com

Jeanne Bishop can, though. In 1990, Bishop’s brother-in-law Richard Langert, sister Nancy Langert, and their unborn child were shot in their home in an affluent Chicago suburb. Their murderer, David Biro, was arrested shortly thereafter; he was a high school student whose family Bishop’s knew. Although she had every reason to write him off to his death sentence and go about her grief and her life, she found herself discovering new faith in Christ and embarking on a difficult path to true healing, forgiveness, and working for justice. She details her story in Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer.

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

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