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 J├Ągerst├Ątter

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A different sort of Christmas

My oldest is celebrating in Afghanistan. He already called after getting out of "Midnight" Mass. It began at 3:30am Afghanistan time which corresponded to midnight in Poland. He is on a Polish base. During Mass, a Polish general in Poland addressed the troops in Afghanistan via a video conference set up. Interesting that he assumed the Polish troops would be at Mass.

My daughter-in-law and granddaughter are in Texas with her parents for Christmas. Our home is so quiet. There are only five of us here--well five people and four dogs. My son's two dogs did not join his wife and daughter in Texas. Normally, my parents would be with us for Christmas. My mother's death this past February has left a gaping hole in the Christmas season. My father was here for Thanksgiving so he stayed in Texas and visited my sister for Christmas this year.

Still, there is joy. I heard my son's voice today so I know he is safe. Miles cannot diminish love so even family members who are not in my home are in my heart. And it is still Christmas with so many familiar sights and sounds--a Christmas tree, cookies, and carols.

Most importantly, there is Mass. We always go to Mass on Christmas Eve, but this year my son drew the 7:30 am Christmas morning Mass as an altar server. So we will go to Mass before we open presents. Another difference this year. I love Christmas Mass. The joy of welcoming our newborn Savior wells up within me. It fills all the niches of sorrow and loss. There is Faith. There is Hope. There is Love.

Wishing each of you a Christmas filled with Faith, Hope, and Love. Know the greatest of these is Love.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Ordering"' a child

In these days when the order for a cup of coffee specifies the size, flavor, ingredients, and country of origin for the coffee bean, it is not surprising that some parents think they can do the same thing with their children. "I want one healthy male, intelligent with no genetic diseases, and no prospect of serious diseases in the future, please." When the child doesn't arrive exactly as ordered, some parents are taking legal action. See my latest article at Zenit:

WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 21, 2011 ( Imagine gazing at your child and coldly declaring, "You should never have been born." Yet parents are doing exactly that in courts around the world as they bring "wrongful life" or "wrongful birth" lawsuits against doctors and fertility clinics.

These very sad cases are variations on the classic "wrongful death" medical malpractice suit. The twist is that the plaintiffs are dissatisfied because the patient -- in this case a child -- lived instead of died. Usually these children suffer from a serious disability or genetic disease. In a "wrongful birth" suit the parents allege that if they had been given a prenatal diagnosis of the child's condition they would have aborted their child. They seek compensation for the care of their child and punitive damages for having to live with a disabled child.

Continue reading here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A hit piece masquerading as a medical report

The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, just published a commentary that was nothing more than an attack on the Catholic Church masquerading as a medical recommendation. I responded in this piece over at HLI America:

On December 8, the Solemn Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the British medical journal, The Lancet, published a most puzzling commentary, in which a clarion call is issued for the Catholic Church to provide all nuns with oral contraceptives in order to prevent cancer. Australian researchers Kara Britt and Roger Short make their recommendation based on the increased risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer associated with nulliparity, the condition of having never been pregnant:

Today, the world’s 94,790 nuns still pay a terrible price for their chastity because they have a greatly increased risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers: the hazards of their nulliparity.

While nuns almost always carry this risk factor, many lay women are also nulliparous. Why are the authors limiting their recommendation to women religious? It seems that these researchers are trying to cast the Church hierarchy in a negative light by claiming they are not addressing a significant health issue of their women religious:

If the Catholic Church could make the oral contraceptive pill freely available to all its nuns, it would reduce the risk of those accursed pests, cancer of the ovary and uterus, and give nuns’ plight the recognition it deserves.

Continue reading here.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Telling the truth is not propaganda

A recent news article claimed that publicizing a medical study that suggests a link between abortion and breast cancer is a form of propaganda. I answer that charge at HLI America:

Which of the following is likely to be motivated by ideological bias: Reports on independent medical studies that show a link between a commonly chosen medical procedure and rates of a certain type of cancer, or news stories that ignore the latest scientific evidence and rely on a single, controversial, and now-debunked report to make the case in favor that the medical procedure?

In a, to put it charitably, questionable news article, The Daily Caller suggests that pro-life medical and research experts, dubbed “advocates,” are motivated by a political agenda after statements on recent research that showed a nearly 3-fold increase in breast cancer in women who had an abortion. The headline, “Pro-Life Advocates: Study shows link between abortion and breast cancer; cancer institute: no way,” suggests that this is an ideological battle rather than a debate in which almost all relevant research points in a specific direction. In fact, The Daily Caller claims the “experts” deny a link between breast cancer and abortion, while the “advocates” say the link exists.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

How fast can two weeks fly?

It seems like just yesterday that we were picking Wesley up from the airport. Now it is time for him to return to Afghanistan.

We had everyone home for Thanksgiving Day so we took advantage of the opportunity to do a family picture. We even had my dad and my husband's parents visiting from Houston.

Please say a prayer for my son and his family. He has another three months of deployment to go.

Can you believe my granddaughter is already a year old? It is such a blessing to be able to spend so much time with her and her mom.

Hope your Advent is full of joy. Count your blessings and prepare for the coming of the Lord!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Let a nation of faith and justice begin with me

A strong city have we; he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us. Open up the gates to let in a nation that is just, one that keeps faith. A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in you.
(Is 26:1-3)

I would like to live in a nation that keeps faith; a nation where God is not banned from the public square; a nation whose laws are consistent with God's law. Such a nation begins first with individuals who keep faith. These individuals form families that keep faith. These families form communities that keep faith. These communities will build a nation that keeps faith.

So as individuals and families, do not be afraid to publicly live your faith. Bow your head and say grace before you eat in a restaurant. Wish your friends and neighbors a "Blessed Advent" and then a "Merry Christmas".

Remember that Christ said, "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock." (Mt. 7: 24) Share your bounty with those in need. Reach out to the lonely. Offer love and forgiveness to those who have hurt you.

It is easy to point out the faults of those around us. But turn that examination inward. Advent is a penitential season. Humbly acknowledge your sins and seek forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

We used to sing "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." Perhaps our song should now say, "Let us be a nation of faith and justice, and let it begin with me."