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Showing posts from April, 2008

Journalistic Integrity?

I’ve written several posts about the HPV vaccine. I think the vaccine is ethically sound and has the potential to be a very good strategy for combating the spread of HPV and its sequela, cervical cancer. However, I am firm in my belief that the decision to use this vaccine belongs in the hands of the parents or the patient herself if she is of age. The state has no place in this decision making process.

Michelle at Rosetta Stone shares my opinion on this. She has also blogged a few times on this topic. However, her most recent post offers an even bigger topic. She was interviewed by an ABC news reporter who read her HPV blog posts:

I don't have a problem with a parent making that choice for their child (although I do fear that parents are overly trusting and ignorant of the risks, including death). I'm not saying my children will never receive the vaccine, and I can think of reasons why they should get it. My problem is with governmental interference and the use of my children a…

The Most Confusing Sacrament--This Was A Surprise!

I haven’t written too much about my 7th grade CCD class this year. It is actually going pretty well. The joint sessions with the parents have gone great. The kids have been a bit rebellious at times, but nothing unexpected for middle schoolers.

Yet, the last two weeks have weighed heavily on me.We just finished covering the seven sacraments in detail. Which sacrament do you think was the most confusing for my students? About which sacrament do you think they had the most erroneous ideas? It wasn’t the Eucharist. They really didn’t blink an eye when I told them about the True Presence. They had no questions about how what appears to be bread could actually be the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. There were no problems with Confession either. In fact, several of them enthusiastically witnessed to the great feeling of relief and joy following the Sacrament of Reconciliation. No. The sacrament that caused the most consternation was Holy Matrimony.

The students had a very hard time…

Pope Benedict's Secret

The National Catholic Register has a very good piece by Fr. John Bartunekthat looks at the amazing appeal Pope Benedict has for Catholics. He is a quiet man. He doesn't have the dramatic flair of Pope John Paul II. Yet he is irresistible. Why? Consider this:

If every Catholic hoped as deeply as he does in the power of God’s grace, and if every Catholic strove as valiantly for that same unbreakable integrity between belief, word, and action, then the Church itself would begin to exercise a power of attraction strong enough to draw forth from this turbulent, secular age, a renewed, vigorous, and truly Christian, culture.

Thy Kingdom Come

Last week was an exciting time to be Catholic in the United States. Pope Benedict’s visit energized the faithful. Now what? Well, in addition to rereading and reflecting upon his various sermons and addresses, the Pope has asked us to pray. And he was very specific about how he wants us to pray:

The Pope urged the more than 58,000 people gathered in Yankee's Stadium today for the last major event of his five-day visit to pray "in the Lord’s own words: 'Thy Kingdom come.'"

"This prayer needs to shape the mind and heart of every Christian in this nation," he said. "It needs to bear fruit in the way you lead your lives and in the way you build up your families and your communities.

"It needs to create new 'settings of hope' where God’s kingdom becomes present in all its saving power."

Imagine if every Catholic household gathered every day to pray the Our Father together. Pray it as part of your grace before meals. Pray it as your bedtime…

Man the Life Boats!

A frequent occurrence in my life is that lessons from multiple sources will converge into a common theme. The most recent convergence began last week as I read Fr. Robert Araujo’s response to Fr. Thomas Reese’s essay on reforming the Vatican. Fr. Araujo responded in such a cordial manner to Fr. Reese’s suggestions that the Vatican needed to operate more like a secular institution. He clearly refuted Fr. Reese’s many errors, but it was always done with an abundance of charity. I was humbled by his generous spirit.

This morning I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Midwest Conservative Journal (MCJ). This is an orthodox Episcopal blog that chronicles the trials and tribulations of today’s Episcopal Church as it strays from the Faith handed down from the Apostles. I read this blog because it is well written and the criticisms are often laced with an unbeatable sense of humor. It is important to keep an eye on the happenings of the Episcopal Church because it is a harbinger of what happe…

Welcome to the USA and Happy Birthday Pope Benedict XVI

Thanks to Esther for this graphic!

I am so excited! The Pope arrived safe and sound yesterday evening. Don't forget to offer a prayer of thanksgiving and continue to pray for the Pope's journey. May his words touch many hearts in spite of the barrage of Catholic naysayers. I will not be attending any of the papal events, but my daughter will be attending tomorrow's Mass at the Washington Nationals stadium. I truly believe the impact of this visit will unfold over many years. There will be conversions. There will be discernment. Pray that many souls will be open to Christ's graces and blessings.

Aggie Catholics has the transcript of the Pope's address to President Bush and to the American People at today's welcoming ceremony.

Hope to Begin Again

Hence there are also disputes, disagreements, and controversies among saints. And I find this very comforting, because we see that the saints have not “fallen from Heaven.” They are people like us, who also have complicated problems.

Holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again and, especially, for reconciliation and forgiveness.--Pope Benedict XVI discussing the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas in his book, The Apostles

Actually, what I find quite comforting is that Pope Benedict finds this quite comforting. If the Holy Father is seeking solace for his imperfections I shouldn’t feel too bad that I don’t feel like I have it all together either.

The past few days have been pretty harried. Nothing too major. A home improvement project is sputtering. A child came home with that dreaded announcement: “I have a school project”. The dog is alternating between acting like a two-…

Doctors of Life in a Culture of Death

This article at First Things resonates loudly with me.

In November 2007, the Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published Committee Opinion # 385 entitled, “The Limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine.” The committee opinion sought to “maximize accommodation of an individual’s religious or moral beliefs while avoiding imposition of these beliefs on others or interfering with the safe, timely, and financially feasible access to reproductive health care that all women deserve.”

Unfortunately, the balance struck by the committee between the right of conscience of physicians and the reproductive health care of women so emphasizes patient autonomy that it turns physicians into medical automatons forced to act against their best ethical and medical judgment. As pointed out on March 14, 2008, by Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt: “The ACOG ethics report would force physicians to violate their conscience by refer…

Papal Visit Drinking Game

Image via Catholic Cartoon Blog
Last Sunday our parish priest warned us the Mainstream Media would be pulling out all the major dissenters to provide commentary on Pope Benedict's visit to the United States. We could almost make it a Catholic drinking game: Everyone has to down his glass and pour another round whenever a major media outlet trots out Fr. Thomas Reese, Fr. Richard McBrien, Fr. Andrew Greely, or Sr. Joan Chittister. We can probably at least take a sip whenever we hear from the spokesperson for Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, or Womyn Priests.

Update: As Paul points out in the comments, the rounds of this game could go by fast and furiously. Therefore, you may want to consider a non-alcoholic beverage. I thought about shots of espresso but that would probably keep me wired until Pentecost. So I may be chugging orange juice. Also, before you drain your glass, remember to say a prayer for the success and safety of the Po…

My Kind of Earth Day Shirt

After writing this post and then listening to all the environmentalists supporting voluntary extinction for the human race in order to save the planet, I just love this T-shirt.

You can find it at Promo Presto.

(H/T to Creative Minority Report for the link)

Catholics Come Home

Catholic News Agency is reporting on a new lay apostolate, Catholics Come

In less than three weeks, 3,000 Catholics returned to the Church in the Diocese of Phoenix due to the effort of a new lay apostolate, The program consists of a website and commercials aired on local television that effectively portray the truth and goodness of the Catholic Church.

In an interview with CNA, Catholics Come Home, Inc. founder and president, Tom Peterson explained that the ads are designed to take people to the website,, where they can find answers to questions about Church teachings, and also to put them into contact with their local parish to be led home, back to the Catholic Church.

Intrigued, I went to the web site for Catholics Come You have got to check out this site. Watch their two commercials, “Epic” and “Movie”. They both brought tears to my eyes. Then share this site. Most especially, share it with a lukewarm or lapsed Catholic…

Peter Kreeft: The GK Chesterton of Our Times

Peter Kreeft is one of the most gifted Catholic writers of our time. Fortunately, he is also one of the most prolific. My husband suggested that Peter Kreeft may very well be the G.K. Chesterton of our time. I don’t think that overstates this man’s potential influence. David Hartline at The Catholic Report links to one of Dr. Kreeft’s recent lectures. It is a sobering analysis of our current culture, a clarion call to action, and a message of hope that the culture war can be won if we turn to our faith and ask for and accept God’s grace.

We should challenge ourselves to give Him fifteen minutes a day in totally focused prayer, and gradually work our way up to even more prayer time. It will change our lives. We need to stop doing and just be. But, it is difficult, for we are addicted to our "time-saving" ways.

The enemy fears prayer as much as Dracula fears the crucifix. Dracula takes blood; Christ gives His Blood. Dracula focuses on "my body;" Christ gives His Body i…

Do You Assist At Mass?

Did you assist at Mass this weekend? When you read that question, did you think I was asking if you were an altar server, a reader, an usher, or an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist? Truthfully, we are each called to assist at Mass. We are called to pray the Mass reverently. We are called to offer our own sacrifices with the sacrifice on the altar. We are called to receive Holy Communion if we are properly disposed. From the EWTN teaching library:

363. How should we assist at Mass?

We should assist at Mass with reverence, attention, and devotion.

(a) There are different ways of assisting at Mass devoutly: using the missal to follow the priest, saying the Mass prayers as found in a prayer book; singing hymns; and the like.

364. What is the best method of assisting at Mass?

The best method of assisting at Mass is to unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice, and to receive Holy Communion.

(a)It is evident from the words of the priest himself that we do unite with him in offe…

You've Got to Be Kidding

Since we became dog owners a couple of months ago we have discovered just how many different ways you can spend money on your dog. Now I want my dog to be healthy and happy so I will happily spend money on a good quality dog food and necessary meds like heartworm prevention and flea control medicine. I also like to keep my furniture and shoes intact so I make sure she has a good supply of chew toys. However, you will never ever see me splurging on a wig for my dog. Apparently some people do. You can get wigs, hair extensions, and hi-lites for your canine coiffure.

Fur Elise

Athena, our labradinger, is full of surprises!

It is Tough to Be Catholic

Please take the time to read this post from Red Neck Woman and this post from Erika and the comments from this post. Take your time. I’ll wait.

Then consider my experience a couple of weeks ago. I was attending a social gathering of ladies. I would consider most of those attending more of acquaintances than close friends. One woman was discussing a recent wedding. She was perturbed that the priest was adamant during the rehearsal that the readers bowed as they came up to read. I merely commented that the priest felt compelled to ensure proper reverence was given especially if the tabernacle was located in the sanctuary. She didn’t think the priest needed to be so picky. Well, this unleashed a diatribe of mean priest stories. Interestingly, most of those offering stories call themselves Catholic. I had no idea so many in this group were Catholic. We heard about the Baptism where only one of the parents was Catholic and the other was Jewish. The Jewish in-laws were present at the Baptism…