Friday, 26 May 2017

165: Spiritual Demography of a Parish

Spiritual Demography (from prefix demo- from Ancient Greek δῆμος dēmos meaning "the people", and -graphy from γράφω graphō, implies "writing, description or measurement") is the statistical study and analysis of populations according to the criterium of Spiritual Life. Spiritual Demographics are quantifiable spiritual characteristics of a given population. “Spiritual Demography of a Parish” is the statistical analysis and study of the Spiritual Life of the Faithful in a given Parish.

How do we “measure” and discern the Stages of Spiritual Life?

First and foremost we need to be aware of the existence of a Journey of Growth that starts with Jesus’ Call to follow Him and that leads to Holiness. The Doctors of the Church like St Bernard, St Bonaventura, St Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross,… studied and presented the different levels of growth in spiritual life and the criteria to establish them. We cannot afford to neglect that effort. It is by having a clear understanding of the stages of growth that we can understand what “Spiritual Demographics” mean.
The Church is Mother and Mistress, and what interests her is to help us reach the fullness of our vocation, in following Jesus to union with him and to the fullness of Love.

The following video explains how we could implement "Spiritual Demography" using the masterpiece of St Teresa of Avila: "The Interior Castle".

The Six-Minute Video

The goal of the following video is to trigger a different way of thinking and planning Pastoral work:

1- It opens the horizon to the existence of an entire journey that leads to Holiness (avoiding the reduction of the individual Christian's spiritual life to two general elements: general random prayers, Sunday Mass, some charitable works).
2- It indicates that each stage in spiritual growth has its own needs, spiritual food and discernment.
3- It takes into consideration, within Pastoral work, the spiritual needs of each person.

4- It offers a greater impulse for motivating people to use the proper means in order to trigger growth.


Some might object that the different stages of growth of spiritual life are too artificial (excessive compartmenting) or that they should not be used in the discernment of what type of Pastoral to offer (type of teaching etc.).

To these objections one has to clarify some essential points about Spiritual Life:

1- The Church cannot on one hand claim to call everybody to Holiness and not be able to offer any explanation of how to go about reaching this goal: a- description of Holiness, b- an explanation of the stages to reach it c- presenting the practical means to reach it, d- offering the needed discernment to guide the persons in this journey of growth.

2- Claiming that these different stages of growth do not exist as St Teresa or other Doctors of the Church put them to us is a profound mistake as follows:

  1. What is then mortal sin and the need for Christian conversion?
  2. What is the need for an ordered and moral life?
  3. What are the duties of a Christian?
  4. What is Jesus’ personal Call to follow Him? (the Call for holiness becomes clearer at a certain point in one's life! What then is the “Second Conversion”?)
  5. What is a committed Prayer Life?
  6. What is Purification, Sanctification?

These few questions show that talking about stages of growth is not lacking in deep sense. It is just that we are not used to think this way. Hence the vital need for that renewed vision of Pastoral Life.
Pope John Paul II in his Pastoral Letter, “Novo Millenium Enuente” underlined (as mentioned in the video) the need to put holiness as the fundamental plan for Parishes. Very audacious, but coherent and in tune with the Universal Call to Holiness that Vatican II reminded us of.


In order to understand the different core aspects that are part of the Journey of Spiritual Growth, please find here a series of different articles, each one explaining a needed aspect that complements the explanation given in the Video. They help us make further steps in the study of pastoral analysis and planning.

The use of Spiritual Theology as a science that helps implement this Demography:

Different topics:

- Mapping Spiritual Life (with St Teresa of Avila)

- The Spiritual Journey (last of 11 very important Diagrams to understand the different stages of Spiritual Life in the Gospel).

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Integral Theology


Integral Theology formation
Jean Khoury and I propose to set up an Institute, under the patronage of Mary “Mater Theologorum”, in which Catholic teaching would be presented, in its entirety and with academic rigour, in a way that fully integrates theology and spiritual theology.
Until the early Middle Ages spiritual life and academic theology were inseparable, but have become distanced since then in a way that does harm to both. The combination of academic teaching and formation in spiritual life will make the Institute distinctive and new in the contemporary field.
Courses will be offered at different levels, from short units taught over a few weeks in a parish to first cycle degree level. It would be offered in suitably adapted forms to all those who are looking for formation: catechists, Catholic teachers, RCIA candidates, those being confirmed as adults, parishioners seeking more formation for themselves, parents,  those wanting to go deeper in the spiritual life, novice-masters/mistresses, those seeking formation as Spiritual Directors, and seminarians.
Teaching and formation would be offered in the five areas of: Bible, Dogmatic theology, Sacraments, Moral Theology, and Pastoral Theology For a schematic presentation and examples of how the integration between dogma and spiritual life would be achieved in each area, please see the accompanying sheets.
Validation will be sought for courses from appropriate institutions at each level.
Jean Khoury has a Masters in Theology from the Institut Catholique in Toulouse and the Teresianum, Rome, and is researching a PhD in Spiritual Theology at the Angelicum. He has written books and articles on prayer and mysticism, and is currently teaching spiritual theology at several venues in London and elsewhere. His website is: and he can be contacted on:
Mgr. Keith Barltrop is parish priest of St. Mary of the Angels, Bayswater, and is a past rector of Allen Hall seminary and director of the Bishops’ Conference Agency for Evangelisation. He can be contacted on:
Topics for a Formation in ‘Integral Theology’
Introductory course presenting “Integral Theology”.
Course on the “Call for holiness”.
 Inner line of formation
Outer line of formation
  • Theology of listening
  • Lectio divina
  • “Biblical Inspiration” and “Spiritual Life”
  • Christian Contemplation
  • Spiritual exegesis
  • Exegesis
  • Canon, Inspiration
  • Biblical Theology
  • Experience of the Trinity
  • Experience of Christ
  • Experience of the Holy Spirit
  • Experience of Mary
  • The spiritual experience of the Church
  • Trinity in Spiritual Life
  • Christ in Spiritual Life
  • The Holy Spirit in Spiritual life
  • Mary in Spiritual Life
  • Church and Spiritual Life
  • Trinity
  • Christology
  • Pneumatology
  • Ecclesiology
  • Mariology
  • Spirituality of Priestly Gift of the Faithful
  • Spirituality of Martyrdom
  • Lectio Divina
  • Prayer of the heart – Lift up the heart
  • Digesting the Sacraments
  • Rosary
  • “Fruitful Participation” to the liturgy.
  • Liturgy and Spiritual Life
  • Spirituality of Baptism
  • Spirituality of the Eucharist
  • Spirituality of Marriage
  • 7 Sacraments
  • Liturgy
  • Theological Acts (Faith – Hope – Love)
  • Ups and downs in SL
  • Synergy with the Action of the Holy Spirit – Presence of God
  • Moral Theology and Spiritual Theology
  • Confession and Spiritual Direction
  • Perception of sin in the examination of conscience
Moral Theology
  • General MT
  • Special MT
  • Discernment – Counsel – Government
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Spiritual Pastoral
  • Being fruitful
  • The Holiness of the Priest/minister in his ministry
  • Pastoral techniques under the light of Spiritual Life.
  • Pastoral orientations in the light of the Spiritual Journey.
Pastoral Theology
  • Pastoral Theology
  • Evangelisation
  • Canon Law
Mgr Keith Barltrop
Jean Khoury
Pdf version (click here)