Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holiness the Key to Overcome Abuse Scandals

I belong to a wonderful international Catholic mothers email group. One of my friends there, Susan, saved an important article from 2002 that has deep meaning today. I thought I would share it with you.

When your friends, family and co-workers disparage the Church, insult you, keep telling you priests are all phonies, or how they left the church because of the scandals. Remember this article.

A Catholic Response Amid the Sex-Abuse Scandals
Holiness Is the Key, Says a Priest in Massachusetts


BOSTON, Massachusetts, MARCH 6, 2002 (Zenit.org).- To put perspective on the pedophilia scandals involving priests in the Boston Archdiocese, ZENIT is publishing an adapted excerpt from a recent homily by Father Roger Landry.

Father Landry delivered it Feb. 3 at Espirito Santo, a parish church in Fall River, a city in a nearby diocese of the same name.

* * *

The headlines this past week did not focus on the Patriots? march to the Super Bowl, or on who would QB, Drew or Tom, or even on the president?s State of the Union address and his comment that there are many al-Qaida operatives in the U.S. like "ticking time-bombs." None of these was the top story. The headlines were captured by the very sad news that perhaps up to 70 priests in the Archdiocese of Boston have abused young people whom they were consecrated to serve.

It's a huge scandal, one that many people who have long disliked the Church because of one of her moral or doctrinal teachings are using as an issue to attack the Church as a whole, trying to imply that they were right all along.

Many people have come up to me to talk about it. Many others have wanted to, but I think out of respect and of not wanting to bring up what they thought might be bad news, have refrained, but it was obvious to me that it was on their mind. And so, today, I'd like to tackle the issue head-on. You have a right to it. We cannot pretend as if it didn't exist. And I'd like to discuss what our response should be as faithful Catholics to this terrible scandal.

The first thing we need to do is to understand it from the point of view of our faith in the Lord. Before he chose his first disciples, Jesus went up the mountain all night to pray. He had at the time many followers. He talked to his Father in prayer about whom he would choose to be his Twelve Apostles, the Twelve he would himself form intimately, the Twelve whom he would send out to preach the Good News in his name.

He gave them power to cast out demons. He gave them power to cure the sick. They watched him work countless miracles. They themselves in his name worked countless others.

Yet, despite all of that, one of them was a traitor. One who had followed the Lord, who had had his feet washed by the Lord, who had seen him walk on water, raise people from the dead, forgive sinners, betrayed the Lord. The Gospel tells us that he allowed Satan to enter into him and then he sold the Lord for 30 pieces of silver, handing him over by faking a gesture of love. "Judas," Jesus said to him in the garden of Gethsemane, "Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Jesus didn't choose Judas to betray him. He chose him to be like all the others. But Judas was always free, and he used his freedom to allow Satan to enter into him, and he ended up betraying God and getting him crucified and executed.

So right from the first Twelve that Jesus himself chose, one was a terrible traitor. Sometimes God's chosen ones betray him. That's a fact that we have to confront. It's a fact that the early Church confronted. If the scandal caused by Judas were all that the members of the early Church focused on, the Church would have been finished before it even started to grow. Instead, the Church recognized that you don't judge something by those who don't live it, but by those who do. Instead of focusing on the one who betrayed, they focused on the other Eleven, on account of whose work, preaching, miracles, love for Christ, we are here today. ...

The media almost never focus on the good "Eleven," the ones whom Jesus has chosen who remain faithful, who live lives of quiet holiness. But we, the Church, must keep the terrible scandal that we've witnessed in its true and full perspective.


Scandal is unfortunately nothing new for the Church. There have been many times in the history of the Church when the Church was much worse off than it is now. The history of the Church is like a cosine curve, with ups and downs throughout the centuries. At each of the times when the Church hit its low point, God raised up tremendous saints to bring the Church back to its real mission. It's almost as if in those times of darkness, the Light of Christ shone ever more brightly. I'd like to focus a little on a couple of saints whom God raised up in these most difficult times, because their wisdom can really guide us during this difficult time.

What should our reaction be then? Two great saints who lived during difficult times can guide us in this our own difficult time.

Once, St. Francis de Sales was asked to address the situation of the scandal caused by some of his brother priests during the 1500s and 1600s. What he said is as important for us today as it was for his listeners then.

He stated, "Those who commit these types of scandals are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder," destroying other people's faith in God by their terrible example. But then he warned his listeners, "But I'm here among you to prevent something far worse for you. While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder, those who take scandal -- who allow scandals to destroy their faith -- are guilty of spiritual suicide."

They're guilty, he said, of cutting off their life with Christ, abandoning the source of life in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. He went among the people in Switzerland trying to prevent their committing spiritual suicide on account of the scandals. I'm here to preach the same thing to you.

Another great saint can help us further. St. Francis of Assisi lived in the 1200s, which was a time of terribly immorality in central Italy. Priests were setting terrible example. Lay immorality was even worse. St. Francis himself while a young man even gave some scandal to others, by his carefree ways.

But eventually he was converted back to the Lord, founded the Franciscans, helped God rebuild his Church and became one of the great saints of all time. Once one of the brothers in the Franciscans asked him a question. The brother was very sensitive to scandals.

"Brother Francis," he said, "What would you do if you knew that the priest celebrating Mass had three concubines on the side?" Francis, without missing a beat, said slowly, "When it came time for holy Communion, I would go to receive the sacred Body of my Lord from the priest's anointed hands."

What was Francis getting at? He was getting at a tremendous truth of the faith and a tremendous gift of the Lord. No matter how sinful a priest is, provided that he has the intention to do what the Church does -- at Mass, for example, to change bread and wine into Christ's body and blood, or in confession, no matter how sinful he is personally, to forgive the penitent's sins -- Christ himself acts through that minister in the sacraments.

Whether Pope John Paul II celebrates the Mass or whether a priest on death row for a felony celebrates Mass, it is Christ who himself acts and gives us his own body and blood. So what Francis was saying in response to the question of his religious brother that he would receive the sacred Body of his Lord from the priest's anointed hands is that he was not going to let the wickedness or immorality of the priest lead him to commit spiritual suicide.

Christ can still work and does still work even through the most sinful priest. And thank God! If we were always dependent on the priest's personal holiness, we'd be in trouble. ...

And so, again, I ask, "What should the response of the Church be to these deeds?" There has been a lot of talk about that in the media. Does the Church have to do a better job in making sure no one with any predisposition toward pedophilia gets ordained? Absolutely. But that would not be enough.

Does the Church have to do a better job in handling cases when they are reported? The Church has changed its way of handling these cases, and today they're much better than they were in the 1980s, but they can always be perfected. But even that is not enough.

Do we have to do more to support the victims of such abuse? Yes we do, both out of justice and out of love! But not even that is adequate.

Cardinal Law has gotten most of the deans of the medical schools in Boston to work on establishing a center for the prevention of child abuse, which is something that we should all support. But not even that is a sufficient response.

The only adequate response to this terrible scandal, the only fully Catholic response to this scandal -- as St. Francis of Assisi recognized in the 1200s, and as countless other saints have recognized in every century -- is holiness!

Every crisis that the Church faces, every crisis that the world faces, is a crisis of saints. Holiness is crucial, because it is the real face of the Church. There are always people -- a priest meets them regularly, you probably know several of them -- who use excuses for why they don't practice the faith, why they slowly commit spiritual suicide. It can be because a nun was mean to them when they were 9. Or because they don't understand the teaching of the Church on a particular issue -- as if any of these reasons would truly justify their lack of practice of the faith, as if any of them would be able to convince their consciences not to do what they know they should.

There will doubtless be many people these days -- and you will probably meet them -- who will say, "Why should I practice the faith, why should I go to Church, since the Church can't be true if God's so-called chosen ones can do the types of things we've been reading about?" This scandal is a huge hanger on which some will try to hang their justification for not practicing the faith. That's why holiness is so important. They need to find in all of us a reason for faith, a reason for hope, a reason for responding with love to the love of the Lord. The beatitudes which we have in today's Gospel are a recipe for holiness. We all need to live them more.

Do priests have to become holier? They sure do. Do religious brothers and sisters have to become holier and give ever greater witness of God and heaven? Absolutely. But all people in the Church do, including lay people! We all have the vocation to be holy and this crisis is a wake-up call.

It's a tough time to be a priest today. It's a tough time to be a Catholic today. But it's also a great time to be a priest and a great time to be a Catholic. Jesus says in the beatitudes we heard today, "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you falsely because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward in heaven is great."

It's a great time to be a Christian, because this is a time in which God really needs us to show off his true face. In olden days in America, the Church was respected. Priests were respected. It?' not so any more.

One of the greatest Catholic preachers in American history, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, used to say that he preferred to live in times when the Church has suffered rather than thrived, when the Church had to struggle, when the Church had to go against the culture.

It was a time for real men and real women to stand up and be counted. "Even dead bodies can float downstream," he used to say, pointing that many people can coast when the Church is respected, "but it takes a real man, a real woman, to swim against the current." How true that is! It takes a real man and a real woman to stand up now and swim against the current that is flowing against the Church. It takes a real man and a real woman to recognize that when swimming against the flood of criticism, you're safest when you stay attached to the Rock on whom Christ built his Church. This is one of those times. It's a great time to be a Christian.

This is a time in which all of us need to focus ever more on holiness. We're called to be saints and how much our society here needs to see this beautiful, radiant face of the Church. You're part of the solution, a crucial part of the solution. And as you come forward today to receive from this priest's anointed hands the sacred Body of your Lord, ask him to fill you with a real desire for sanctity, a real desire to show off his true face.

One of the reasons why I'm here in front of you as a priest today is because while I younger, I was underimpressed with some of the priests I knew. I would watch them celebrate Mass and almost without any reverence whatsoever drop the Body of the Lord onto the paten, as if they were handling something with little value rather than the Creator and Savior of all, rather than my creator and savior.

I remember saying to the Lord, reiterating my desire to be a priest, "Lord, please let me become a priest, so I can treat you like you deserve!" It gave me a great fire to serve the Lord. Maybe this scandal can allow you to do the same thing.

This scandal can be something that can lead you down to the path of spiritual suicide, or it can be something that can inspire you to say, finally, "I want to become a saint, so that the Church can show your true face, O Lord, to the world, so that others might find in you the love and the salvation that I have found."

Jesus is with us, as he promised, until the end of time. He's still in the bark of Peter and will prevent its capsizing. Just as out of Judas' betrayal, he achieved the greatest victory in world history, our salvation through his passion, death and resurrection, so out of this he may bring, and wants to bring, a new rebirth of holiness, a new Acts of the Apostles for the 21st century, with each of us -- and that includes you -- playing a starring role.

Now's the time for real men and women of the Church to stand up. Now's the time for saints. How do you respond?
 

Understanding What is Really Going On in the Latest Abuse Scandals

Every Holy Week the hounds of hell come out to cause trouble for the Church. This year the secular press, especially the New York Times, has tried without fail to pull down the Church, and tie the Pope to the abuse scandals in Europe and the latest scandal here. They have printed numerous articles but have not even contacted people who would best know the facts. Or like MSNBC they makeup headlines such as the one this week that said “Pope Describes Touching Boys: I Went Too Far,” even though the article is not even about the Pope. They had to retract that one.

Here are some articles to help you make sense of what is going on with these latest scandals.

First, I want to refer you to the last post I wrote about this: Every Catholic Should Read This. I note this specifically because the Vatican did not even have juridical responsibility about abuse cases until 2001. Local bishops did. Then Cardinal Ratzinger then was flooded with cases that were sent to him from around the world through 2004. He went through each and every case, and justice became swift, most without a trial because the evidence was overwhelming.

In the US the latest despicable scandal is of Fr. Lawrence Murphy of Milwaukee who abused possibly as many as 200 deaf boys. Murphy died during his trial. Unfortunately, local police authorities, when notified when the abuse happened refused to prosecute. Here are articles to help you understand what happened:

Setting the record straight in the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Fr. Lawrence Murphy
by Fr. Thomas Brundage, JCL who was the judge in the Fr. Murphy case but was never contacted by the New York Times even though they "quoted" him.

Cardinal Ratzinger an Evil Monster? by Jimmy Akin at the National Catholic Register

The Vatican Statement on "Murphy" Case by NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

Scoundrel Time(s) by George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, and the author of The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church," among other books.

These articles are about the general abuse crisis and the coverage by the press:

The Holy Office Speaks at Whispers in the Loggia

To Whom Shall We Go? by Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

The Courage Not to Be Intimidated at Whispers in the Loggia.

There are many other articles but these are the most noteworthy. I hope you will take the time to read them so that you can be informed.

Update:  It is scary when Pravda understands more of the truth than the New York Times:  To Confuse the Wood With the Trees

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Sharp-Edged Sword

This morning I was reading the Mass readings from Isaiah about the Suffering Servant.  Four passages in Isaiah are designated as "Servant Songs." These are poems which the early Christians saw was a foreshadowing of Jesus.  They are Isaiah 42:1-7, 49:1-7, 50:4-9, and 52:13-53:12.  In this case, I was reading Isaiah 49: 1-7.

1 2 Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
2
3 He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me.
3
4 You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory.
4
Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.
5
For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength!
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5 It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
7
Thus says the LORD, the redeemer and the Holy One of Israel, To the one despised, whom the nations abhor, the slave of rulers: When kings see you, they shall stand up, and princes shall prostrate themselves Because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.
I was particularly struck by verse 3:   "He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me."

A sharp-edged sword.  It's not what we usually think of Jesus.  Loving, gentle, guiding Jesus.  Our light.  This Jesus is a polished arrow, a sharp-edged sword....a King.

Usually, when I picture Jesus I see the Sacred Heart or the Divine Mercy, which are "soft," gentle pictures - but really he is a strong figure.  He is more like the "Pantocrator" above, which is a 6th Century icon from Mt. Sinai in Egypt.  I have this picture, on wood, in my home and it is my favorite picture of Jesus.

If I think of Jesus as a strong, confident King - along the lines of King David - I find that I have a greater reverence to Him.  It seems to be easier to follow this Jesus.  He has everything in order.  His battle plan is ready.  He is my leader and I am in his service.  He has a mission for me that only I can do.  One that He has created from before I was born.  I need to be faithful and strong in the face of the enemy.  I also need to show honor, reverence and adoration to my King.

It is hard to follow a wimpy Christ, but when I think of my Savior and my King as he is - the Creator of the world, who holds the world and it's creatures in the palm of His hand - I know that I have a strong leader.  A leader who I can follow, and to whom I am also accountable to.  It is harder to try to escape my duties or make excuses to a King who is a Sharp-Edged Sword.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Being Catholic With Infertility

Like many couples, my husband and I suffered with infertility. Our first child was conceived easily, but it wound up being 8 years before we had another child. During that time we underwent most of the standard tests and encountered the usual problems, such as doctors who casually recommend IVF as if it was no more problematic than having your tonsils removed.

I dismissed it immediately because I knew the Church teachings, but even my non-religious protestant husband thought it was wrong. "It is just the wrong way to bring a child into the world," he said. He instinctively knew IVF was an affront to human dignity, although he did not phrase it that way. I wish we had known about NFP and charting and also some of the links below.

Many Catholics have absolutely no clue as to what the Church teaches about fertility, infertility and all the "reproductive technologies" like In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Many don't really want to know either, if they suspect it may not allow them to do whatever they want.

Infertility is inherently a painful, stressful time in couples lives. But it can also mean a time of growth and a time of learning to trust God completely. That is what happened with us. After all the years waiting, crying, prayers and licit procedures, we finally decided to stop trying. I told God that if He wanted us to have another baby I will trust that He will send us one, but that I needed to go on with my life. I could not continue to go on like this. And that is what we did. Several years later, we discovered we were unexpectedly pregnant. It was all in God's time, not our time. We wanted kids 2 years apart. God had other ideas.

I thought I would share with you some articles and resources to help you and your spouse if infertility is in your lives.

Perfect Work at InsideCatholic.com

The Pope Paul VI Center uses the Creighton Model and NaPro Technology to help couples conceive naturally. There are doctors trained in this technology all over the country. If you are having trouble conceiving, this should definitely be one of the places you check out. Read one couple's experience with NaPro at CatholicInfertility.org

Here is a series of articles from Catholic Exchange about
The Gift of Infertility: Part I, Part II, Part III & Part IV by Dr. Jameson and Jennifer Taylor.

You might also be interested in Catholic Infertility Resources


7 Quick Takes - Vol. 5


Well, this has been a busy couple of weeks or so.  I've been dealing with tonsillitis that won't go away - but apparently is "just" a virus - therefore no antibiotics for me, a kid with an almost-broken arm, another kid being a pain, a husband with a car that refuses to stay fixed, and a general feeling of depression/incredulity/anger at all the political nonsense going on.  BUT...I have rallied and have another fine (at least to me) selection of Quick Takes.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do....

1.  This is why I'm excited about the iPad:



The apps will be so cool and could revolutionize the way we do so many things.

2.  And while I don't want books to go away for kids, here's another reason to like the iPad:  Are Kids Destined to Grow Up With Tablets?   I could see this as an excellent tool for middle school and up.  It is a lot easier to carry a little iPad then a back-breaking bag of books.

3.  Have you ever wondered how to make a great bowl of soup?  Read what the Soup Peddler has to say.  Be sure to look at the interview he mentions at the beginning and then read the rest.

4. I found an interesting YouTube video yesterday - the Litany of the Saints from Pope John Paul II's funeral.  I remember being so impressed by it at the time.  I'm not sure why...maybe just the prayerful repetition... but it is beautiful.


5.  Have you ever tried to color Easter eggs the old fashioned way?

When I was a kid my mom used to color the eggs with onion skins and beet juice.  I was not happy because we did not use the cool tablets they sold in the supermarket.  How old fashioned to do it with scraps!  While the eggs don't come out real even like with the tablets, it is neat to try to color eggs with natural products, at least once.  I do not remember the techniques my mom used, but Mother Earth News has a great article to show you how:  How to Color Eggs With Natural Dyes.

6.  My resolution this Lent is to pay more attention to my kids and not give into frustration at interruptions.  Here is a ready made article about this.  If you are not in the corporate world you need to adapt it a bit, but it is helpful:  Nine Ways to Handle Interruptions Like a Pro.

7.  On a related note, here is a good article about 10 Reasons Why You Aren't Done Yet.  This is about getting your stuff done and focusing.  It is also very helpful. 

Have a great weekend and skip on over to Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Every Catholic Should Read This


The sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church has been difficult for everyone.  The American church has been rocked for years, and now this has spread to Ireland and parts of Europe.  This has been a boon to those who hate the Catholic Church, especially the media who try their hardest to link any scandal directly with the pope, no matter how farfetched it is.

Unfortunately, many people cannot separate those priests and bishops who have done evil, from the Church herself.  This has caused many to lose their faith in the Church and in Christ.  Others have used the crisis as an excuse to leave.  An excuse to not even attempt to pursue a life with Jesus.

The secular press continues to give the impression that the Church is doing nothing but covering up the problems, but many changes have been made and that will continue into the future.  I want to call to your attention an article in the National Catholic Reporter entitled Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present? - The Pope and the Sex Abuse Crisis. 

Now, normally I would not recommend anything from the National Catholic Reporter, of which the kindest thing to be said is that it is the main dissenting Catholic newspaper in the United States.  Let's just say it really lacks any fidelity to the Church.  The paper's one bright spot though is the reporter John L. Allen, Jr. who shows us in this article that Pope Benedict, who is now arguably the most knowledgeable person in the Vatican on the sex abuse issue,  is on a serious crusade to rid the Church of the "filth" that has invaded it. Here is an excerpt:
Though it didn't look like it at the time, the turning point in Ratzinger's attitude came in May 2001, with a legal document from John Paul II titled Sacramentum sanctitatis tutela. Technically known as a motu proprio, the document assigned juridical responsibility for certain grave crimes under canon law, including sexual abuse of a minor, to Ratzinger's congregation. It also compelled diocesan bishops all over the world to forward their case files to Rome, where the congregation would make a decision about the appropriate course of action.
In the wake of the motu proprio, Ratzinger dispatched a letter to the bishops of the world, subjecting accusations of sexual abuse against priests to the authority of his office... the motu proprio triggered an "avalanche" of files in Rome, most of which arrived in 2003 and 2004. Eventually... more than 3,000 cases worked their way through the congregation.

By all accounts, Ratzinger was punctilious about studying the files, making him one of the few churchmen anywhere in the world to have read the documentation on virtually every Catholic priest ever credibly accused of sexual abuse. As a result, he acquired a familiarity with the contours of the problem that virtually no other figure in the Catholic church can claim.

Driven by that encounter with what he would later refer to as "filth" in the church, Ratzinger seems to have undergone something of a "conversion experience" throughout 2003-04. From that point forward, he and his staff seemed driven by a convert's zeal to clean up the mess.

Of the 500-plus cases that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dealt with prior to Benedict's election to the papacy, the substantial majority were returned to the local bishop authorizing immediate action against the accused priest -- no canonical trial, no lengthy process, just swift removal from ministry and, often, expulsion from the priesthood. In a more limited number of cases, the congregation asked for a canonical trial, and in a few cases the congregation ordered the priest reinstated.

In my humble opinion, this cannot come too soon.  Let's find the priests or bishops that engaged in this evil and get rid of them as soon as possible.  Out.  Out.  Now.  Let's rid the Church of this evil, clean up this mess, help the victims, support the majority of priests that have been demoralized and spat upon because of the few, and get on with spreading the teachings of Christ.

You need to read this article to see how far we have come and what is actually being done to solve this problem.

UPDATE:  Here is another article by the same author you may want to read as well:  
Keeping the Record Straight on Benedict and the Crisis.
and you might be interested in Fr. Dwight Longenecker's commentary at Standing on My Head

It Is Still Lent

It seems sometimes that Lent lasts forever, or maybe it is just the trials everyone seems to be going through this Lent, that it appears that way.  Since Lent feels like it is lasting a long time, I thought I would give you a few more Lenten resources that could be helpful to you:

Eric Sammons at The Divine Life blog posted this wonderful speech given by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Houston/Galveston at the Convocation of Houston Baptist University
What is great about this is the excellent unpacking of John 14:6 (”I am the way, the truth, and the life.”)  I found his scholarship and faith riveting and enjoyed watching it very much.

Edward Pentin at the National Catholic Register has a link to a beautiful panoramic virtual tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the church that marks the place of Christ's death and resurrection.  The detail and clarity of the tour is marvelous and you might find it helpful in meditation.



I wish I could remember where I found this in my travels online, but here is a link to the National Gallery of Art in Washington where they have a beautiful exhibition until the end of May called "The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600–1700"  Click on Exhibition Highlights to see a beautiful slideshow of this sacred art.  These stunning works would also be wonderful for meditation and each has a brief explanation that is very helpful.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Priest


This is a great video by a priest in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Fr. Gjengdahl, at his blog, Voice of the Vicar.  He is a definite hockey devote.  I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What the Girl Scouts Are Up to Now


Gee, they persecute the Boy Scouts for discrimination, etc. but what do you think the press says about what the Girl Scouts are doing?...pretty much nothing.

Now, I know individual Girl Scout chapters that are run by wonderful Christian women, and the girls are not subjected to this, but this is what the top leadership is doing. And why are the Girl Scouts involved in this? Perhaps "Little Flowers" or "Heritage Girls" might be a better choice.

Friday, March 12, 2010

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 4

 

1.  So, last week I told you we were going to a concert with the Moody Blues. It was very nice and my husband and I, and our 6 year old enjoyed it.  It was a bit cold though, being outside and on the grass.  I wore my silk long winter underwear, turtleneck, sweater, coat and as a final touch the cashmere gloves & hat my mother gave me for Christmas.  I never get to wear those.  It is a bit much for a warm climate in March, but this is the coldest, longest lasting winter we have ever had here.  I'm enjoying it immensely.

7 Secrets of the Eucharist

2. One of my favorite books is 7 Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn.  It has really helped me appreciate, and understand better, the Eucharist.  I just learned that a new study guide has come out that would be great for groups or individually.  Go to the Mercy Song website for information.

3.  Speaking of Mercy Song.  I love Vinny Flynn and his family's song for the Divine Mercy Chaplet on EWTN.  It sticks in my head whenever I hear it, and when I think of the Chaplet, that is what I think of.  I found one decade of it on YouTube.  

4.  This article is interesting How to Easily Cut Your Calories - Eat Slowly   I believe this.  My husband's grandmother was a firm believer of chewing slowly, and was thin as a rail her whole life.  She recommended chewing each bite of food 50 times!  That is a lot!  There are some very interesting bits in this article.

5.  If you grow tomatoes this might be a great article for you from Mother Earth News  The Best Tomatoes to Grow Where You Live 

 

6.  A friend of mine has been sick and wondered what medicines she could take since she is breastfeeding.  This can be a serious problem if you especially need drugs long term, like for high blood pressure, asthma, etc. or if you need cancer drugs.  Mostly moms want to know if they can take cold medicines or antibiotics, etc.  When I was breastfeeding, my lactation consultant recommended Dr. Thomas Hale's website Breastfeeding Pharmacology.  Dr. Hale is the guru of what drugs you can take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  He is a professor of pediatrics at Texas Tech University.  Honestly, most doctors and nurses, and even pharmacists, do not know this information and will just tell you not to take the drug, or worst of all to quit nursing.  They do this to cover their butt from lawsuits, not because the drug really is in the breastmilk.  This is my pet peeve - because it was my experience that most every drug reference, especially for lay people, would say to just about every drug, to quit nursing to take it, or just that they just did not know if it was in breastmilk or not.  In fact many, many drugs are OK, you just need to know the ones that are not.  So if you know a nursing mother, tell her to go to Breastfeeding Pharmacology and click on Breastfeeding & Medication Forums.  Under no circumstances should you quit nursing until you check this out.  And have your doctor buy his book, Medications and Mother's Milk.

7.  I love most all things Google.  My favorite tech writer, Harry McCracken, has a great article: The Undiscovered Google: 7 Services You Need to Try.  Go to his blog Technologizer for other great tech stuff too.

Now, check out Jennifer's 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

100 US Anglican Parishes Joining the Catholic Church


Please pray for the members of the 100 US Anglican Parishes Converting to the Roman Catholic Church.

In November, the Pope Benedict XVI issued the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which invited traditional Anglican parishes around the world who would like to come home to the Catholic Church, to join en masse.
The Anglican Church in America (ACA) will now enter the Catholic Church as a block, bringing in thousands of converts along with their own bishops, buildings and even a cathedral.
They will worship according to Anglican rubrics, and use the Book of Common Prayer, but they will be in communion with the Pope, recognising him as their leader.
This is not the first group to take up the Pope's offer.  Sixteen parishes in Australia have joined the Church, and there could be 200 parishes in Britain that will do so as well.

Be sure to read the above article and pray for all those who are making this move, both clergy and parishioners.   A change such as this is bound to have hiccups occasionally, but this is such a joy to have our brothers and sisters join us in worshipping Christ, and we need to support them in prayer as much as we can.

Friday, March 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 3


1.  This week finds us in the midst of a strep throat mini-epidemic in our house.  The 6 year old was really sick last week.  His dad wound up going to the urgent care center on Sunday, and while they did not test him for strep he probably has it, plus double ear and sinus infections.  Today, the 14 year old has a sore throat... I'm just waiting for it to get me...we'll see.

2.   A friend of mine recommended this blog post to me and I found it to be so beautiful and profound.  It is about the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb which is a French contemplative order that enables girls with Down Syndrome to answer their vocation to Christ.  It is good to be reminded that those who are disabled in some way still are people, they are not a faceless victims of a disability that have no worth or meaning.  They are people who have deep feelings, and a soul with the capability of donating all to Christ.


3.  Discover the beauty of the earth with the new photo NASA Blue Marble.  If you click "All Sizes" on the upper left you can enlarge it and take in the lovely aqua water of the Caribbean, the beautiful mountains and deserts of the West, and the Polar icecaps.  What a marvelous planet.  You might also find the photos from the Goddard Space Flight Center breathtaking as well.

4. There are two new books out by Catholic blogging moms that you might want to check out.  CatholicMom.com Lisa Hendey's  The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul and Rachel Baulducci of Testosterhome has How Do You Tuck In a Superhero?: And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys.  Both sound lovely - by two lovely ladies.   Pull out your credit card right now!

5.  Back in November, a wife, mom and blogger in her 30's named Anissa Mayhew, suffered a stroke.  I first learned of her on Twitter.  She has been in the hospital or in a nursing facility since then.  This past weekend she finally came home.  I urge you to take a look at the blog Hope4Payton that her husband has used to chronicle their difficult journey.  This is an amazing family.  Her husband is a tribute to all husbands, and it is wonderful to see them all home again.

6.  Well, how is Lent going for you?  I'm trying to be more patient with the kids and not get annoyed when interrupted.  I find myself slipping, but catching it first is a challenge.  I have been reading more.  I have got a great deal out of Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel-On Prayer from Fr. Thomas Dubay.  Abstinence is not so great.  Last Friday, I completely forgot it was Friday and gratefully and happily accepted that bacon and egg on an English muffin my non-Catholic husband handed me.  Groan.  I realized it later.  So, if you do it unwittingly is it a sin?  I did not make a conscious choice to eat that bacon.  I forgot.  So, I'm figuring that is not a sin.  But I just completely forgot God that morning....yeah...real great, that one.

7.  I'm looking forward to a Moody Blues concert my husband is getting the four of us free tickets to.  Now, they were big when I was a toddler, but I'm sure they will be fantastic, as long as we don't freeze to death.  It is outside on the water I think (we do live in a warm climate, but lately it hasn't been so warm.)  Too bad it is not date night, cuddling on the bay while listening to great music would be very romantic.  Listening to complaining children...not so much.  But it will be nice to expose them to real live music.  Wish us luck.


OK, you've read my ramblings, now go see more 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Love Among the Ruins of Haiti

 

Death everywhere.  Cigarettes, rum, kidnapping, and thousands of corpses without a name.  Life in Haiti is never easy but now, after the earthquake, it is unbearable.  Fr. Rick Frechette ministers to the people of Haiti and the conditions are like a trip to Hell.  The Weekly Standard has an in depth and detailed story of what life is like for this priest and the people he ministers to.  Love Among Ruins is a difficult read, but it reaffirms how we need to support the dignity of all people in both life and death.