Lecture to cover not only #HowToDad but #WhyToDad

Paul Vitz, Ph.D., senior scholar at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Va.

Paul Vitz, Ph.D., senior scholar at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Va.

The hashtag #HowToDad was trending on social media recently following a Cheerios’ commercial with a positive message about being a good dad and how “awesome” it is. Last week a blog post from software CEO Max Schireson, explaining that he is stepping down his demanding job to spend more time with his family, went viral. These are two examples demonstrating the importance of fatherhood, and that the role of dads is on people’s minds.

The 2014-2015 Archbishop’s Lecture Series will also focus on fathers when Paul Vitz, Ph.D., delivers his lecture “The Great Importance of Fathers for Families—and How Mothers and Others Can Support Them” at 7 p.m. Sept. 2 in Bonfils Halls on the St. John Paul II Campus in south Denver.

In his talk, Vitz will cover the large body of social science research on the importance of fathers for the family, as well as the many ways this can be encouraged in the present situation.

“Catholics along with the culture at large have lost sight of the importance of fathers,” Vitz said. “This important issue needs to be brought to the attention of all Catholics and Christians, and we need to consider what to do about it—in particular how to give fathers the support they need and deserve.”

Vitz is a senior scholar at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Va. Prior to that he served many years as a professor of psychology at New York University. His teaching and research has been focused on the integration of Christian theology, especially Catholic anthropology, with psychology. Vitz’s books include: “Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism,” “Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship” and “The Self: Beyond the Post-Modern Crisis.” He is currently studying topics such as the psychological importance of fathers, the psychology of hatred and forgiveness, and the psychology of the virtues.

“Dr. Vitz is an expert on the family in light of what social science can teach about it,” said David Uebbing, chancellor and special assistant to Archbishop Samuel Aquila. “His talk will highlight how important fathers are for the stability of the family, and contribute to the lecture series’ overall theme.”

During the upcoming year, Uebbing said, the entire series will focus on the family because the broader Church is focusing on the family in 2014-2015. The unofficial year of the family kicks off with the bishops’ synod on the family called by Pope Francis at the Vatican Oct. 5-19, 2014, and ends with the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015.

“To keep our local Church focused on the same important theme, the Archbishop’s Lecture Series will focus on where the family is today,” Uebbing said, “and breathe the life of the Church’s teachings into the situation.”

Additional topics to follow in future lectures are expected to include the mother’s role in the family, cultivating family life with a missionary spirit, and a panel discussion with families engaged in mission work. Speakers will be announced when they are available.

The St. John Paul II Center campus is at 1300 Steele St. The lecture is free, open to the public and does not require advance registration. For more information, email info@archden.org or call 303-715-3230.

Archbishop’s Lecture Series Kick Off

Speaker: Paul Vitz, Ph.D.
Lecture: “The Great Importance of Fathers for Families—and How Mothers and Others Can Support Them”
When: 7 p.m., Sept. 2
Where: Bonfils Hall, St. John Paul II Center, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver
Questions:info@archden.org or 303-715-3230
Sign-up: Not required; first-come, first-seated

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.


Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash