KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz Jägerstätter

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Slippery Slope of Sexual Immorality Continues

Following the lead of the Episcopalians, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently voted to allow their clergy to be in "committed, lifelong, same-gender relationships." This did not sit well with Reverend Debra Haffner, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. She objects to the requirement for the relationships to be committed and life-long:

All of this is excellent news for same-sex couples, of course, but the emphasis on "committed, lifelong relationships" leaves out the single minister, the divorced minister, the widowed minister -- whether gay, straight, or bisexual -- who must still adhere to a standard of celibacy unless their partner status changes.
I've long believed that the major sexuality problem denominations face is that they are unable to acknowledge that celibacy until marriage doesn't apply to most single adults. There are more than 75 million American adults who are single -- more than at any time in history. We are marrying later, divorcing at high levels, and living longer, so more of us will be widowed. And as a whole, we're having sexual relationships when we aren't in marriages.


As Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, Reverend Haffner thinks celibacy and chastity are overrated:

The Religious Institute has long called for a new sexual ethic to replace the traditional "celibacy until marriage, chastity after." This new ethic is free of double standards based on sexual orientation, sex, gender or marital status. It calls for sexual relationships to be consensual, non-exploitative, honest, pleasurable and protected, whether inside or outside of a covenanted relationship. It insists that intimate relationships be grounded in communication and shared values.


Take a look at this Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. Then take a look at the list of endorsers for this document. They include:

  • Sister Eileen Brady, Roman Catholic, Manchester, NH
  • Natanael Mateus-Ruiz, Campus Minister, Roman Catholic, Stratford, Ontario
  • Rev. Edward J. Shields, Roman Catholic, Seattle, WA
  • Rev. Gary Southerton, Roman Catholic, Seattle, WA
  • Father Edward J. Dietrich, Roman Catholic, Palm Springs, CA

There are also several endorsers who claim to be Roman Catholic although they do not list themselves as holding leadership positions in the Church.

It seems to me that the bishops have a responsibility to discipline those members of the Catholic Church, especially those who hold a title of leadership or responsibility, who endorse such a radical sexual morality. At the very least, the bishops must speak out when priests and religious preach in error in the Church's name. Yet I have Googled these names and found nothing to indicate any formal objection from the episcopate. Is it because they do not know of this scandal? What should a faithful Catholic do?

How to become a Catholic

In addition to school and CCD classes, most parishes are also beginning RCIA classes. Here is a quick summary about how to become a Catholic.

Speaking of CCD, I can guarantee you that your parish religious education office is in need of teachers and other volunteers. If you are reading Catholic blogs, you are already light years ahead of most Catholics in the pews. Remember God does not call the equipped. He equips the call. Pray about it, then respond to His call.

Friday, August 28, 2009

One

It's Friday. I don't want to write a rant today so let's just watch this and laugh to keep from crying:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

National Endowment for the Arts Assembling a Propaganda Machine?

I love the arts but I really think they should be funded more by private philanthropy than by the government. Patrick Courrielche participated in an interesting NEA conference call that appeared to be pushing for NEA grants to artists that would create work to further the Obama Administration agenda:

The NEA is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts. That is right, the largest funder of the arts in the nation - a fact that I’m sure was not lost on those that were on the call, including myself. One of the NEA’s major functions is providing grants to artists and arts organizations. The NEA has also historically shown the ability to attract “matching funds” for the art projects and foundations that they select. So we have the nation’s largest arts funder, which is a federal agency staffed by the administration, with those that they potentially fund together on a conference call discussing taking action on issues under vigorous national debate. Does there appear to be any potential for conflict here?

Discussed throughout the conference call was a hope that this group would be one that would carry on past the United We Serve campaign to support the President’s initiatives and those issues for which the group was passionate. The making of a machine appeared to be in its infancy, initiated by the NEA, to corral artists to address specific issues. This function was not the original intention for creating the National Endowment for the Arts.

A machine that the NEA helped to create could potentially be wielded by the state to push policy. Through providing guidelines to the art community on what topics to discuss and providing them a step-by-step instruction to apply their art form to these issues, the “nation’s largest annual funder of the arts” is attempting to direct imagery, songs, films, and literature that could create the illusion of a national consensus. This is what Noam Chomsky calls “manufacturing consent.”

Read the entire article. Then ask yourself how this initiative differs from government propaganda.

(H/T Jay Anderson)

Feast of St. Monica Blessings!

Happy Feast of St. Monica to you. I received the Sacraments in a rather unconventional way so I was confirmed at age three. There was no preparation. My mother just took me to the church, I knelt at the communion rail, and the bishop eventually came by and gave my face a little slap. About all I remember is that my hat fell off when the bishop slapped my face.

Because of this, I never did pick out a Confirmation name. But if I were to choose one now, it would be Monica. I refer to St. Monica as the patron of nagging mothers since she followed St. Augustine to Rome and then to Milan and kept after him for seventeen years until he became a Christian. She is a constant reminder that the ultimate mission of every mother is to first and foremost pray for our children and then to do everything within our power to help them get to Heaven.

Fortunately, none of my children has caused me the heartache that Augustine caused Monica. Whenever I am feeling my maternal efforts are inadequate, I think of the perseverance of St. Monica. With the grace of God, all things are possible.

Read more about St. Monica here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Follow the money

The Perfect Reflection on Ted Kennedy

Senator Edward Kennedy died last night. I feel a great deal of conflict when I reflect on what Senator Kennedy represented to America and to Catholics. I think The Anchoress offers the perfect reflection:
I expect, though, that beyond health care, and beyond the inevitable hagiography and histrionics in the press (and the competition between the Clintons and the Obamas as to who can best-use this moment) Ted Kennedy’s death will do what every Kennedy death does: shine a spotlight on Catholicism, its rituals and rites and rubrics. There will be lots of people -both Catholic and non-Catholic- who will declare themselves “shocked and scandalized” that Kennedy would be given a Mass of Christian Burial. Some will declare that he should have been “thrown out of the church” a long time ago; others will insist that his Funeral Mass brings shame to us.

Some will focus on his personal sins -the assumed repentance or lack of same (of which they will likely have no real knowledge, just hunches) and some will presume to know the state of his soul, but those will be the inveterates, working from long-habit. Most Christians will, I think, understand that “the favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies not over and done” and will simply pray in hopes that Kennedy had made a contrite and humble confession of his failings and sins.

Others, of course, will suggest that Kennedy’s pro-abortion positions, in and of themselves, should damn him forever in the eyes of God.

Thankfully, God knows more, and sees more, than the rest of us, because eventually we’ll all need to count on his mercy, as we face his justice. For all that we know of Kennedy, there is much we do not know. A family member who works with the very poor once told me that when he was in a real fix and unable to find help for, for instance, a sick child in need of surgery, a phone call to Kennedy’s office would set the “Irish Mafia” of professional people -doctors, lawyers, pilots and such- into brisk motion. I think an examination of the life of every “great” person (and I mean “great” in terms of power and influence) will expose deep flaws and surprising episodes of generosity.

Perhaps the most appropriate thing any of us can do right now is pray.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Notre Dame Commencement Controversy is not over

Bishop D'Arcy makes it clear that the controversy surrounding President Obama receiving an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame during last May's commencement ceremonies is not over. Read more here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

VA offers look at Federal Government end-of-life counseling

The Veterans Administration has reinstated the use of a controversial end-of-life care guide that asks injured veterans to consider under what circumstances their lives would no longer be worth living. Read more here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How to find Mass

I've covered the topic of finding Mass several times on this blog. I just included it in the Catholic Living 101 series on my Examiner.com column. This is a pretty non-controversial column so hopefully my cyber stalker commenter can leave it alone. It would be comical if it were not so sad that no matter what I publish, this guy feels the need to leave a personal insult in the comments section. It is a shame that some people are so offended by Church teaching.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Catholic Identity

I just published a brief account of the Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the 35th anniversary of the Diocese of Arlington. It really was a beautiful Mass. But what struck me most were the words of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He gave the Diocese of Arlington three tasks as it goes forward. The first task is to establish a solid Catholic identity. Know what it means to be a Catholic. The second was to establish a sense of community. Understand the importance of belonging to the Church Universal. Finally, seek excellence in all aspects of your lives, not for the glory of the world, but for the Glory of God.

This idea of Catholic identity has been playing out in my head for a while now. As I approach the upcoming year of religious education, I hope to put a renewed emphasis on Catholic identity. I teach the seventh grade Confirmation preparation. These students are preparing to complete their initiation into the Catholic Church. What does that mean? I hope that as I cover the nuts and bolts of the faith I can show them what this means for their daily lives. What is different because they are Catholic? What does it mean to be a Catholic girl or Catholic boy? What does it mean to be a Catholic teenager, a Catholic student, a Catholic soccer player, or a Catholic friend? Being Catholic is not something we can compartmentalize. It must infuse every fiber of our being. Say a prayer that I will be able to communicate this to seventh graders.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Loyal Friend and Visitor Award

Here are the rules:
1. Copy the loyal picture above and post it on your blog.
2. Pass it on to who you think who is/are deserving.
3. Leave a message to them
4. Pass as many as you want.
5. Message back or leave a comment to the owner.

Dear sweet Rosemary has nominated me for a Loyal Friend and Visitor Award. I could certainly return the honor. Rosemary's blog, A Catholic Mother's Thoughts, is a lovely faith-filled spot in the blogosphere. She is just so full of joy and offers smart, thoughtful, and charitable reflections on Catholic family life and the culture around us.

I must say that I really needed this pick-me-up. As some of you may have noticed, my writing has branched out to include a column at Examiner.com. When you step out of the Catholic blogosphere and start offering a Catholic perspective in the secular world, you have to be ready for the hostile response. I really love it when my blog friends stop by my Examiner.com site and leave a supportive word because several of my columns have elicited comments that amount to nothing more than personal attacks. I do not have the option to moderate the comments before they are published though I can delete comments after they are published. I leave up most of the ones that disagree with me, but some are just so hateful I have to remove them. Therefore, I really appreciate the many loyal visitors and commenters here at my blog.

So let me offer this award and recognize:

Barb SFO. I have had the great pleasure of meeting Barb and love to hear from her. Her comments are always well thought out. Her own blog, SFO Mom, gives a great perspective on being a Catholic wife and mother. She offers a solid example of Franciscan spirituality. I would also like to ask for prayers for her father-in-law who is in the hospital.

Michelle at Rosetta Stone is a fellow Catholic mom and military wife. We have also had the good fortune of meeting and exchanging meals of mercy on occasion. Therefore, I can attest that she is a great cook as well as a great writer.

Ebeth at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars is another Catholic mother that shows us how to swim against the cultural tide and keep our families oriented towards Heaven. Let me also say that she is one great Avon lady. Even though we live hundreds of miles apart I can shop her Avon site and get great service.

Actually, thanks to all my loyal readers. Know that you are in my prayers. Even when we disagree, I hope we can disagree with charity. It is never about winning an argument. It is about finding the Truth. Caritas in Veritate.

Soup for One


Usually, I subjugate my food preferences to those of the rest of my family. I really enjoy good fish and seafood but most of my family wants meat. I can get some of them to occasionally eat shrimp. When we do go meatless, it is usually an egg and cheese meal. However, right now I am at the peak of my home grown tomato crop. I absolutely love gazpacho. The rest of my family turn their noses up at the idea of cold soup. Too bad. I used four of my lovely red tomatoes and whipped up a batch of gazpacho. I guess I'll be eating it for lunch for the next week, but that is okay. This is so yummy!

I used the recipe for roasted gazpacho from my favorite all-purpose cookbook, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. This is one of those recipes that you don't have to follow exactly. It gives you the basic principle and then you work with what you have. Basically, put four unpeeled whole tomatoes in a roasting pan. Add in about ten peeled cloves of garlic. Then add onion, zucchini, squash, and eggplant (whatever you have handy) cut into large chunks. I used one large onion, two small zucchini and two small squash. I didn't have any eggplant. Drizzle 1/2 cup olive oil over the vegetables and roast in a 400º oven for about 30 minutes until the squash and zucchini are soft.

Peel the tomatoes and put everything in a large bowl. Add four cups of water and four slices of stale bread that have the crusts cut off. (I used a large hunk of focaccia bread that had gotten a little stale.) Add 1/4 cup of wine vinegar. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Put every thing in your food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper as desired. Pour it through a strainer to remove bits of seed and skin. Serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with finely chopped tomato, cucumber, or cilantro.

I am open to sharing this with my family, but if they don't accept the offer I will just enjoy this little self-indulgence.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Love Equals Sacrifice: Simple but Profound



I had the opportunity to review this book by Michael Stidham. You can read my thoughts here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tell Senator Reid that actions speak louder than words

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel states a lack of shared values hinders health care reform

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel understands that his ethical principles are not the same principles held by his critics. His utilitarian view of human beings is definitely contrary to Catholic moral teaching. So the question as we go forward with health care reform is which voices will be heard. Will the Catholic voice influence the health care debate?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

You mean eating organic foods doesn't make you an automatic Obama supporter?

This is kind of funny in a strange sort of way. The CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, published an article in the Wall Street Journal criticizing the Obama health care plan. The liberals are outraged. How could anyone who eats organic food disagree with President Obama? They are calling for a boycott of Whole Foods.

I don't shop at Whole Foods for all my groceries, but if I am making ice cream, it is the best place to find heavy cream that is not ultra-pasteurized. If you use ultra-pasteurized heavy cream the ice cream comes out more like Cool Whip. It is also a super place to buy spices. Many are much cheaper there than in the regular grocery store. Also, they sell a very good chai tea concentrate at a very reasonable price. I can also find a great selection of sausage links to cook on the grill. The apple sausage links are great for those who prefer mild foods and the chipotle sausages have a nice kick for those of us who like something a little spicier. Maybe I will stop in and make an extra purchase just to show a little support for Mr. Mackey.

You can read his article here.

Happy Feast of the Assumption!

Feast of the Assumption Blessings to you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care Reform bill sets up elderly to be pressured to refuse care

If you read the accounts of women who have given birth to children with Downs syndrome you will soon realize that our culture has moved from the idea of an option to abort these children to the idea of a duty to abort these children.

The end-of-life counseling in the current health care reform bill has the potential to do the same thing to the elderly. The option to refuse care will evolve into a duty to refuse care. Read more here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Obama health care adviser advocates denying care to elderly and disabled

Add Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel to the list of rather creepy Obama advisers. Dr. Emanuel is the brother of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and the top health policy adviser to the Office of Management and Budget. (OMB) He is also a member of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (FCCCER). Under the current health care reform legislation, he will be advising the Health Benefits Advisory Council on who should get care and what kind of care they should get. He is on record as advocating the denial of care to the elderly and the disabled.

Unfortunately, this dramatization may not be too far off the mark.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Candidate Obama put abortion at the "heart and center" of health care reform

Just in case there is any doubt that President Obama views abortion coverage as essential to health care reform, watch this video (provided by Americans United for Life):

Abortion becomes an issue in Virginia gubernatorial race

Democrat R. Creigh Deeds has made his opponent's adherence to Catholic teaching on abortion a campaign issue.

Thoughts on proper Mass Attire

I've been doing a fair amount of traveling and noticed that all over the country Sunday bulletins are including a note about proper clothing for Mass. More here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting ready for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Just because this year's Feast of the Assumption of Mary is not a holy day of obligation, does not mean it is not a holy day. Make it a holy day of opportunity and plan on celebrating this important teaching of the Church.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Classroom teachers may not be the real burden

The cover article of today's Washington Times Sunday Read section includes a long article chronicling the woes of teachers being laid off due to the economic downturn. The cover picture in the print edition is not included in the online version, but it shows angry teachers in SEIU t-shirts protesting the lay-offs. If teachers want support, they might want to downplay their SEIU connection considering the actions of SEIU thugs in St. Louis. (H/T The Anchoress)

Of course, it is the classroom teachers who are getting the pink slips. Perhaps we could save more money and improve our educational system if we got rid of the high paid administrators who come up with all the social-engineering educational theories and politically correct curricula. Maybe our schools would once again become havens of true education instead of dens of indoctrination. (See here and here)