The papacy is one office, not many men with their own ideas. What one pope teaches about doctrine, all popes teach about doctrine. The continuity of the papacy is not like the continuity of the US presidency. The teachings don’t change. So if one pope teaches that Marxism is evil (which, BTW, [is] the reason for yesterday’s feast day), ALL popes have taught it.
The mere fact that the pope spoke in honor of St. Joseph the Worker yesterday was, in itself, a smack down of Marxism & statism. The feast day was set for May 1 as an answer to the removal of God from people’s lives for some “workers’ cause” by Marxists.
This unspoken truth must be taken at the same time as Francis’ admonition to the world not to take advantage of workers.
Also, keep in mind he wasn’t merely speaking to us self-centered Westerners. He is the pope of *everyone*, not just the US & Europe.
He doesn’t need to cover every side of what he discusses in 1 sitting. He’s not Fox News. Very often, papal audience discussions last YEARS! Look, for instance, at John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. It was over years of Wednesday audiences that he spoke on this topic. If you pulled out 1 address, you’d be lost. You have to take the Church’s teachings as a whole, keeping in mind all prior teachings as well.
The pope never teaches for the moment. He teaches for eternity, with the understanding that all prior teachings apply here, as well.
Category Archives: Culture of Life
Our culture constantly pushes the idea that things need to be exciting. An ad for a credit card features a man whose girlfriend breaks up with him for being “boring,” which he cures by spending money on taking world-wide trips, buying backstage passes at concerts, taking cooking courses, and more – all in an effort to prove to himself (and perhaps the ex-girlfriend) that he’s not really boring.
Our theme parks are constantly pushing the envelope on excitement, making roller coasters go faster, turn harder, and be more extreme. Rides are more frightening than they used to be, and they must be to keep up with the thrill-a-minute movies they are based on. Who wants to ride a carousel when you can ride a roller coaster that does this?
And if that’s not exciting enough, why not be the car on a roller coaster?
Skydiving is so passe, when you can pretend to be a flying squirrel.
All of this is a part of our culture’s addition to excitement.
But to have real excitement, you don’t need to jump off planes, dive off cliffs, ride a roller coaster that puts enough strain on your body to injure your back, or even buy backstage passes to an Alicia Keyes concert. The real adventure is in the exact thing our current society tells you to put off as long as possible, and then, if you dip your toe in, don’t go full-on and get carried away with it.
Real excitement, real fun, and definitely-not-boring life is to be found within a family.
I heard Philip Rivers in an interview on EWTN Radio last month, in which he commented on his home life, where he and his wife Tiffany are raising their six children, “It’s never dull!” I read Simcha Fisher’s columns at National Catholic Register or on her blog and laugh out loud at her family’s hilarities and doings. I look at pictures of my friends’ families – I know a lot of large, Catholic families – and see people who bring excitement with them everywhere you go!
Granted, not all the excitement is happy; spending time in the ER with your child because of some awful injury is exciting in the wrong kind of way. However, just being together is fun and exciting, and someone can always come up with an idea of something to do when you put enough people together.
Our culture has this idea that you have to put off marriage and a family until you’ve done what you want to do in life. Take care of what you want first! (And those of us who see matrimony as the top thing we want to do are looked at as a bit odd.) Do for yourself! Cross off that bucket list! Travel! Experience! Find excitement!!
Basically, our culture is telling young people to be selfish first, then try to stop being selfish – maybe – and get married. Then, when you and your spouse are done doing your couple-things and doing what you want together, then it’s okay to maybe have your 2 kids. (If there’s time. Biological clocks are a pain that way, not really changing how they work to fit this new model of life we’ve come up with.)
I remember reading a post by Jennifer Fulweiler recently about her anniversary and the discovery that she and her husband are expecting again. It was so full of awesome that I printed it out and carried it to my daughter’s dance class to re-read it. (I left my copy there – oopsie – where someone else might see it.) This is the part that made my just full-out cry:
It didn’t take long to see that there was nothing to fear. Immediately upon our conversions, our marriage experienced an explosion of life: we became open to life, which led us to see children completely differently than we did before. Not only did we start having more kids, but we were surrounded by the people of our parish, our diocese, and the entire Body of Christ. Our new suburban house suddenly became a hub of activity, with kids and friends and neighbors in and out all the time — none of which would have ever happened in our old life. It was loud. It was chaotic. It was messy. It was more work than I’d ever had to do in my life. It made us wish the original owner of our house had not installed white carpeting. But, interestingly, we never yearned for our old way of life. Not once.
One day we looked around and saw that our museum was gone. All the stuff that we’d arranged so carefully to suit our tastes had had to be rearranged to accommodate other people’s tastes. The hustle and bustle of so many other people running through our lives meant that things got knocked down, broken, and moved. Life was no longer about just us anymore; we had to consider other folks’ comfort in addition to our own. And it was a wonderful feeling when we realized that our museum was no longer there…because it had been transformed into a home.
Tomorrow night Joe and I will probably celebrate our nine years of marriage with a quick toast, in the approximately four minutes we will have between when the last kid goes to bed and when one or both of us falls face-down on the floor from exhaustion. And when we do we’ll toast to the good life, and thank God that we finally found it.
(Okay, I am crying now again. Thanks, Jen.)
Here’s the funny thing: our culture has it completely backwards.
Excitement – the kind that’s good for us – comes from what we create in our homes. It comes from our family. It’s when your first child takes her first step, or when your next one stops crying because her sister sings a song to her that you used to sing when she cried.
It’s when you see your husband running alongside a bicycle, and he lets go and your child keeps on going, shrieking in delight at the accomplishment. It’s when you save for a vacation and bring your kids to Disney World and they see Cinderella and vibrate with happiness. It’s when you can’t take a big vacation so you stay home for a week and play board games and make cookies together.
It’s when you borrow a movie from the library that you grew up loving and share it with your kids for the first time. It’s when you see the world through their eyes, and you suddenly see wonder if a bunny hopping across your lawn. It’s when you take them to the town’s Christmas tree lighting and you look at their faces instead of the tree.
This is exciting. This is life.
When my husband and I were preparing for our tenth anniversary celebration, we made a Power Point slideshow with music. We struggled to find pictures of the two of us – five years’ worth of marriage – for the first of three songs, but then struggled to fit in all the pictures of our second five years, which started with the birth of our first child.
I looked at the pictures and said, “It’s as though our lives didn’t begin until they came along.”
And that’s the truth. Life begins when we open up to it. Once you open yourself up to life, it pours in and fills the voids in life. And that’s pretty exciting.
Please join me at 3 PM in praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet for the souls lost in Connecticut this day. Don’t forget to pray for the shooter.
For information on how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, head over here to EWTN’s page on the devotion.
Don’t worry about the exact time (though the 3:00 hour is the Hour of Mercy because it’s when Our Dear Lord died), and feel free to pray in your time zone if you’re not on Eastern Time like me.
For her religion class this week, my 11 year old read a chapter about respecting life. Her assignment for the chapter is to write in her journal about her experiences with 40 Days for Life, which she plans to do; however, before she did that, she asked to write a letter to our vice president, Joe Biden. Knowing that Biden was raised Catholic and claims to be Catholic to this day, she’s saddened to know that he supports abortion openly.
I gave her no input at all (except to confirm that Mr. Biden does, indeed, have children), and the medical information, while it can be found at any pregnancy information site online, was found in a 1999 pamphlet from Focus on the Family called “The First Nine Months.” (This link is to their updated version of the pamphlet.) Her letter brought me to tears, and I asked her if I could share it with people. With her permission, here is her letter (with her personal information redacted). The picture is the one she put on the letter, with the same caption.
Mr. Vice President Joe Biden,
My name is *****, and I am Catholic. I am eleven years old and very strongly pro-life. I understand that you are a Catholic. But are you really a Catholic? You support abortion, which is a very harmful act. This letter is on the topic of abortion.
As you know, the Fifth Commandment of God is: Thou shalt not kill. This goes for everything, including little tiny ‘clumps of cells’ inside a woman’s body. Are you aware of the fact that a baby’s heart is beating at the age of 3 weeks in the womb? At five weeks, you can begin to see tiny fingers and toes, and the eyes are darkening from pigment produced. At week 8, the embryo is called a fetus, which is Latin for ‘young one’ or ‘offspring.’ In this week, everything is present that we have now, only it is small. The heart has been beating for more than a month, and many other things, such as the kidneys, have already started their work. The eighth week is when most abortions are performed. In the fifth month, it is easy to tell that it is a baby: he/she has visible fingers and finger nails, eyes, lips, and nostrils. How can you say this is not a baby?
Besides the fact that it is a crime to kill someone (‘someone’ counts as a tiny baby not even out of its mother’s womb), it is not our job to decide when life begins or ends. God alone decides it. If you murder someone, you are committing both a crime and a mortal sin.
Even just supporting abortion is a mortal sin. Would you kill your child? You saw how precious they were when they were first born. A baby in the womb is already a whole person, only littler.
I know someone who has recently had a miscarriage. They were very unhappy when the baby died. Would they be unhappy if it was just a clump of scar tissue and cells, and not a child?
So you see, if you really were a Catholic, you would recognize these things. I hope this letter helped you spiritually.
“Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that eternal life abides in no murderer’s heart.” -1 John 3:15
At the first link, you’ll find some things I’ve taken pictures of in the form of notecards, etc., but I just added some iPhone and iPod Touch cases. Here’s a sample of something I’ve put together.
The second shop is my Pro Life shop, and I plan on adding this image to some iPhone cases, too.
If you’re of the mind to, please stop by my CafePress stores and pick up an item or two! (Some things are available in multi-packs.)
(Cross-posted at Catholic Soccer Mom)
This is amazing and beautiful, and I hope more people take advantage of Adoration. (And that includes me!)
[hat tip: Ignatius Scoop]
Fr. Longnecker has a beautiful post up about what he calls “supernatural normalcy” and how it is incredibly frustrating to the Devil. I absolutely love it! He explains that what really ticks off Old Scratch is the idea that we can live our lives with a holiness, a humility, and a certain kind of hidden-ness that shows God’s graces in our lives.
It reminds me of St. Therese and her Little Way, not to mention the many, many saints who follow a similar path. Even Opus Dei teaches that your life is a path to sanctification and that we can become holy through our everyday activities. My holiness might not be in doing great things out in the world. My holiness will come through living my vocation – wife, mother, homeschooler – to the best of my abilities. I might not be able to march against injustices or be out giving speeches, but I am able to hug my children when they are sad, iron a shirt for my husband, wash the pots and pans after dinner, do laundry for my children, cook a meal … these are the things that make me a holier person when I do them with love.
And our family, just by existing, drives Satan mad. That my husband is loving and faithful, that he is working to be a better Catholic (and, therefore, a better man), that he is a good example to our daughters of what kind of man they should marry … these things fight against the darkness that is enveloping our world.
Father Longnecker also gives us a perfect example: Mary:
This way of ‘supernatural normalcy’ is the way of the Blessed Virgin. She doesn’t jump out from the pages of the New Testament as some sort of Superwoman or Heroic Saint. That’s because she is ordinary. She if ‘full of grace’ and therefore she seems to be totally and utterly natural and real. She is all that she was created to be and therefore she does not seem to be extraordinary. She is as natural and beautiful as a morning in May. She is as natural and virginal as a virgin forest.
It therefore takes a discerning spirit and a finely tuned spiritual sense to find such souls. They are difficult to find not only because they are humble and hidden, but because they are ‘normal’. If you told them they were holy and that you wanted to sit at their feet they would laugh and tell you they are not holy and that you have made a mistake. They don’t seem extraordinary, and yet for those who have eyes to see they are very extraordinary indeed.
This is what I need to remember when I feel badly that I can’t get to 40 Days for Life more often, or when I have to miss the March for Life, or when I cannot go to a weekend of uplifting talks given by leading theologians. I need to remember that my little life, hidden here in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, is my path to holiness. That my path is made more perfect when I live my vocation, that I am sanctified by the duties of my life that, frankly, can seem dreary at times.
But when I do them with love, and do them to give glory to God, who gave me my vocation, sanctification comes! Graces are given!
And I fight back against the Devil.
The USCCB has come out with a new translation of the New American Bible (NAB), which will be for personal use and will not be replacing the already-in-use translation that is proclaimed during Mass. Some of the translations, it’s being reported, are more accurate to the original languages, especially in the Old Testament. But other changes are more a reflection of the times.
An example of the former is the use of “young woman” instead of “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14; I’ve read many times that the more correct translation of the Hebrew “almah.”
But many of the changes that I’ve read about are more in answer to our culture. ”Holocaust” is being changed to “burnt offering,” which does, indeed, tell what a Holocaust is in the Old Testament. But the change is being made so as not to confuse people by using a word that has come to mean the systematic killing of Jews during World War II. ”Cereal” is being changed to “grain” because most Americans think of Cap’n Crunch before they think of barely or wheat.
Honestly, I sometimes wonder at these kinds of attitudes from the bishops. There were some bishops who were voicing opposition to some of the new Mass translations, saying that the typical person in the pew wouldn’t know what “consubstatial” might mean, among other things. This might be harsh, and maybe unwarranted, but I think it’s lazy to change the translation to match the (presumed) dumbed-down society rather than teaching us the meaning of things we hear in the readings during Mass. How hard is it to say, “Holocausts were the burnt offerings made to God; think about this meaning when you next hear about the Holocaust during World War II. There’s a reason that term was applied to the gas chambers. There’s a reason we called the mass burnings of Jewish dead in concentration camps a holocaust,”? How difficult is it for anyone to make the connection that we call breakfast cereals that name because they’re made from grains? My fourth grader is learning about nutrition and the food pyramid and she’ll likely make the connection on her own.
But the worst substitution, and the one I wish they had left alone, is the elimination of the word “booty,” as in:
Immediately David’s servants and Joab came, after having slain the robbers, with an exceeding great booty: and Abner, was not with David in Hebron, for he had now sent him away, and he was gone in peace. [Douay-Rheims, 2Kings 3:22 - now called 2Samuel]
What the US Bishops have decided to do is replace “booty” with “plunder” or “spoils of war.” This, to me, is a huge mistake and it throws away an important teaching moment that could have major implications in the battle against the Culture of Death.
How, you might ask, could keeping the word “booty” in the Bible make a difference in that way? Let me tell you how I did battle in my own home against the Culture of Death.
I was reading passages about Saul conquering another army to my nine-year-old, while her older sister, who is twelve, sat nearby doing a math page. I got to the part when God instructs Saul to practice the ban, destroying everything and taking no booty for himself. This, naturally, led to giggles from my children who, despite our best intentions to shield them from a culture that seeks to destroy their innocence, cannot keep it all out. They’ve heard friends – and family, even – use the term “booty,” though, gratefully, they have yet to hear someone use the phrase “booty call.”
“Why are you laughing?” I asked, feeling frustrated that I was getting giggles from a Biblical reading about war and obedience to God.
“You said … booty!” squealed my nine-year-old, dissolving into a fit of laughter and dragging her sister into said fit.
I answered her with something I can only say was inspired. ”Do you know what ‘booty’ really means?” She stifled her snickering and shook her head. ”It means something that is taken from someone you conquered. It means that you conquer someone and then take this thing from them.” I glanced at my twelve-year-old, making sure she was also listening to this. I wanted this lesson, which had only sprung into my head – in full – moments before.
“How do you feel about boys talking about girls that way? That they are things to conquer and take?”
Their faces changed gradually as they considered this idea. Their smiles were gone, replaced by a worried look. ”That’s not good,” answered my younger daughter.
My older daughter was looking more perturbed about this idea. ”That’s really bad!” she gasped.
Our lessons about their inherent dignity, that they are precious and not objects to be gawked at or used, have not been in vain.
I wanted to gently lay it to rest, but, at the same moment, wanted to stress it one more time. ”When someone uses that word – booty – to describe a girl, that’s the meaning behind it. That she’s a thing, an object, to conquer, to take. And that’s why we’ve never let you use the word.”
Now, mind you, I’ve always felt uncomfortable about the word; I’ve always felt it was degrading, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Until that morning, when I suddenly realized – when God helped me see, really – that men have been using a word that dehumanizes women and reduces them to conquests. I can’t take credit for the whole idea hitting me then. I’ve prayed unceasingly since our children were born that I’d be able to help them see the beauty of the Church’s teachings on sexuality, especially since I failed so miserably to see them for myself until it was too late for me to make the right choices first (rather than repent and make them after seeing my errors). I truly believe that my sincere prayers pay off when, at the spur of the moment, I’m called into battle against the Culture of Death.
But now, the Bibles for home use will have the word removed so as to avoid confusion with the hijacked version the Culture of Death has been teaching our children. And, instead of fighting for us and our children, the bishops seem to be running from it, conceding the point, and turning away from a perfect moment to teach us something about how our society looks at women and girls.
And that’s a shame.
This week for history, Big Girl and I are going to follow up her lessons on the three branches of government with a lesson on Roe v. Wade and what the Church teaches about abortion. We’re actually starting with the Catechism so she’s got a better formation on the issue (though she is, as all children are, naturally pro-life). In preparation for it, I actually read the entire Roe v. Wade decision. I wanted to link to it from here, since it was in relation to our homeschool, but the entire post can be found at my other blog, The Catholic Soccer Mom, where I tend to leave my politics. Here’s a sample, in case you want to decide from it whether or not you’d like to read the whole thing. (I promise I didn’t put up the entire text of Roe, though I did link to it and used excerpts.)
… I’ll say right up front that I’m not a lawyer, I’m not trained in law at all, and I am reading this completely as a layman. I struggled to get into the actual decision and with the legal terminology at times. My eyes were glazing over in the first three sections. But once I got into the decision, that’s when I really felt like my brain was broken. I’d read that it’s a rambling decision, that it’s a real stretch for Blackmun to come up with this right to privacy, that he was really looking for a reason to overturn from the get-go. I honestly wondered if it was perhaps the people reading it (pro-lifers), even though I am staunchly pro-life myself. I tried to just read the decision, knowing that I would never be completely neutral on the issue at hand.
So what follows are my margin notes on Roe. I’ll copy and paste from the decision, then put my notes after each selection in red. The text I used for the decision was found here, though since it’s a Supreme Court decision, you can obviously find it in a lot of places. (I used that link because it had both the decision and the dissent, which I’m also planning on reading this weekend. Fun for me, huh?) Any underlining is my own emphasis.
We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires. One’s philosophy, one’s experiences, one’s exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one’s religious training, one’s attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one’s thinking and conclusions about abortion.
In addition, population growth, pollution, poverty, and racial overtones tend to complicate and not to simplify the problem.
How do these things relate to whether or not it’s constitutional? Pollution & poverty??
Our task, of course, is to resolve the issue by constitutional measurement, free of emotion and of predilection. We seek earnestly to do this, and, because we do, we have inquired into, and in this opinion place some emphasis upon, medical and medical-legal history and what that history reveals about man’s attitudes toward the abortion procedure over the centuries. We bear in mind, too, Mr. Justice Holmes’ admonition in his now-vindicated dissent in Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 76 (1905):
Attitudes are not in the Constitution —> This already breaks w/ what he’s said they’re about to do.
Jane Roe, 4 a single woman who was residing in Dallas County, Texas, instituted this federal action in March 1970 against the District Attorney of the county. She sought a declaratory judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were unconstitutional on their face, and an injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes.
From what I understand, Norma McCorvey actually was not aware of this case at first. It was filed “on her behalf” and yet without her knowledge. I could be remembering that incorrectly, and if so, please feel free to let me know; I’m recalling a story about it from her book Roe No More.
She claimed that the Texas statutes were unconstitutionally vague and that they abridged her right of personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. By an amendment to her complaint Roe purported to sue “on behalf of herself and all other women” similarly situated. …
…He alleged that, as a consequence, the statutes were vague and uncertain, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that they violated his own and his patients’ rights to privacy in the doctor-patient relationship and his own right to practice medicine, rights he claimed were guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
Wha…??? Here’s a summary I have of those amendments: …
The rest can be found here.