My friend, Christina, said something to me that has been bouncing around in my head for the last few days:
There's something about a fire that doesn't seem to burn you. [This] issue had fire written all over it and you just jumped on in like it was a bubble bath.
Ah... the story of my life.
Last week, when I wrote that "Alone" entry, I got several follow-up messages from the person the entry was originally about. He gave me permission to post his story here, because I honestly think it's something that folks should be aware of, especially those of us who are active on Christian blogs / forums.
While I was chatting with some folks on a Christian forum, a young man timidly asked for advice with an issue he'd been struggling with. We happily agreed to hear him out. He identifies himself as homosexual, he's 19, and he still lives home with his "strict Christian parents." He loves his parents dearly, but he hasn't "come out" to them, yet. He was looking for advice on how to best do it without having them disown him.
Within minutes the thread was lighting up with comments like:
"It's a phase." "Keep that to yourself until you get it fixed."
"You'll go to hell!" "You SHOULD be disowned."
"Homosexuality is a disease." ETC...
Seriously. I was absolutely FLOORED. I immediately jumped in to dispel the notion that his sexuality was a one-way ticket to hell that needed to be exchanged through a one-night stand with a woman (suggested by a particularly vulgar member who, until that point, had been the most proper one of the bunch!). I then pointed out that the various responses were less than Christian in content.
You'd think I stumbled upon a hellmouth or something. Not only was I trying to defend this person against attacks, I was on the receiving end, myself, with no hope of respite. To say anything contrary to "Gays are evil, hell-bound freaks of nature" was tantamount to painting yourself with a bulls-eye and handing out arrows during open season. I felt HORRIBLE because all that viciousness simply caused this young man to pull away, completely embarrassed, ashamed and hurt by the torrent of verbal abuse. Worse, he assumed that response was a unanimously Christian one because no one took a stand against it!!! Heaven forbid!
For the record:
Condemning a person is NOT CHRISTIAN CHARITY.
Suggesting that they commit a mortal sin in order to "reverse" another perceived mortal sin is NOT CHRISTIAN CHARITY.
Responding to a plea for help with vitriol and wishes for the emotional distress of family abandonment is NOT CHRISTIAN CHARITY.
This gentle young man and I have been blessed to have several discussions on this now. He now understands that regardless of his sexuality, he is a body and soul created and loved by God. He understands Catholic teaching on homosexuality, and though he doesn't agree with it, at least he doesn't believe Catholicism teaches he's got a sure-ticket to hell just for being attracted to other men. He also feels better about talking to his parents about this. After all, a parent's duty is to love above all else. Heck, our job as humans is to love above all else. Loving doesn't mean accepting the sins of another, but it DOES mean accepting the person for who they're made as and helping them carry the crosses uniquely granted by God to help them on their path towards Heaven.
Keep folks like this in your prayers. It takes a lot of courage to be upfront about your deepest struggles, especially when you've got the whole world ready to rip into you.
And this is why I tend to step into the fire with seemingly little regard for the flames. On the other end of the verbal assault, someone is feeling the effects. On the other side of the computer screen, someone is being made to feel subhuman. When these hot-button conversations ignite, there is someone, somewhere being given a very incorrect view of Christianity through the poor examples of those who laud themselves as being the epitome of Christian practice. I can't help but feel my own heart break for them.
So yes. I frequently involve myself in these types of conversations and threads because if I don't, who will? Be the change you wish to see, right? If I had kept my mouth shut and just allowed them to steamroll this person, what type of image would he have of Christianity? Would there be no nugget of hope regarding coming out to his parents?
And what of the people who could easily have offered their own "Likes" or commentary to mine? Instead of private messaging, they could have helped this young man feel something of the love of God. Instead, he was left with a very bitter taste in his mouth, spoon-fed by supposedly loving Christians.
Our duty is not to stand by and allow such ill-feelings to spread. Our duty as Christians is to love God by loving one another - not silently... not ashamedly... not timidly. We are called to live our love out loud.
If that means dancing in the fire, bring on the flames.
I found this through Spirit Daily this morning. It's taking all the charity I have within me not to start spewing horrible, nasty things about this pea-brain of an "artist."
He claims he made popsicles using the Blood of Christ after a priest "inadvertently" blessed it during a Mass.
For the record, a priest cannot "inadvertently" bless anything. He either does or he doesn't. The corporal isn't just there to act as a napkin to catch fallen particles. It's also a boundary for items that need to be included for consecration.
So in order for this fool to obtain the Precious Blood, he'd've had to do one of two things:
1) Sneak a cruet of wine onto the corporal (which is direct center of the altar) in the middle of Mass (since the priest opens and places it after the Liturgy of the Word), then somehow steal it away before Communion without ever being detected.
2) Steal the consecrated wine through taking a chalice that's being used during Communion (which would create some sort of commotion, I'd assume), or accepting the Precious Blood via Communion and instead of ingesting, commit an even greater sacrilege by spitting the now consecrated wine into a vial or some other container for later use.
It's not like he could hold his little bottle of wine under his pew during a Mass and have it consecrated (which is what he stupidly thinks he did). It's not like he could drive by a chapel and suddenly the wine in his cooler becomes Christ's Blood.
Seriously - how foolish does he expect people to be???
Apparently exactly as foolish as they are. This article ran on CNN and he's planning to sell them during NY's Design Week. Disgusting.
May God have mercy on us. We have no idea how tragic we are unto ourselves.
This has been rattling around in my head since the middle of last week. A new mother was a bit frazzled because she was planning a baptism for her daughter. In the course of the planning, she tried to solidify paperwork for the baby's godparents. The godfather wasn't Catholic, but the godmother was. She just couldn't get a letter from her pastor because she no longer practiced.
Now before any of you start rolling your eyes and stamping your feet with irritation, take a deep breath and let it go. She's a good mom and wonderful person, but like many Catholics anymore, regular practice isn't "normal."
We can't punish the child by refusing baptism because the adults in her life are negligent in their Catholic responsibilities. Baptism is still an avenue of grace for her, so every effort should be made to ensure she is able to obtain a proper Sacrament.
So again - no coming down on this woman. It's not her fault our current pool of potential godparents is miserable.
Anyway, as I was talking to the new mother about this, she and I agreed that it was darn near impossible anymore to find practicing Catholics our age to trust as godparents. She said something, however, that made me kind of stop. She said, "Who goes to Mass anymore? I know I don't. Do you? It's just so old-fashioned."
I responded, "Yes, actually, I do go to Mass every Sunday. All those days of obligation, too." I then added with a laugh, "I guess that sorta makes me old-fashioned, huh?"
Now mind you, there was no animosity at all during this conversation. She made a valid point that I hadn't given much thought to before. It really is considered "old fashioned" to be a practicing ANYTHING anymore (when it comes to religion, anyway). Religion has become antiquated in the minds of youth... a relic of a past era where science had not yet 'made sense of the world.'
I dunno. When you see novenas, pilgrimages and even your own weekly Mass being attended by mostly elderly parishioners, it's hard not to think you're the odd man out. However, things like World Youth Day and the upswing in Pro-Life activism from people my own age are remarkable. They're strong signs that the youth of Catholicism aren't to be discounted just yet. I also have to admit that through blogging, I've come to meet other like-minded Catholics (my age, even!) which has done wonders for my own feelings of loneliness regarding the practice of my faith. Though we aren't members of the same parish, we're members of the same Church. We may be young, we may even be "old-fashioned," but last time I checked, Truth and Morality never go out of style. Loving and praising the Father who created me can never really be considered outdated.
I don't believe that the end of the world is going to be this crazy Armageddon of fire balls, alien invasions or even zombies (jury's still out on sentient robot armies - ha).
Nope. I believe it's going to be something much more innocuous, and I also believe we're seeing the creepings of it in the push for politics like this.
Being a Catholic, I believe that there will be a time in which Christ comes back to judge the living and the dead. It's right there in our Creed. It's right there in our Bible. Jesus promised to return in glory at the end of the ages in order to usher in an era of peace in which He reigns as King.
However, He won't be back until the Church is thoroughly decimated by a necessary cleansing (and I do mean decimated - read the definition here). Oddly enough, we seem to be entering into the beginnings of some sudsy action right now!
Times are not only changing... they're coming to a head. For as much of a crazy woman as this will make me sound, I am convinced we are living on the cusp of these "end times."
We've seen a complete betrayal of faith (both in the Catholic community and elsewhere). Religion has become something to be ashamed of. The name of Christ is only uttered by those too "unenlightened" to know any better. Morality has been skewed so beyond recognition that we accept the murder of innocence as "choice." We've already begun our trip down the proverbial "slippery slope" and evil is already working at desensitizing us to its perversion.
There are those within our own ranks that are calling for the abolition of firmly held dogma. These wolves in sheep's clothing are, in my opinion, the work of evil attempting to tear us down from within . It will be from them that the trumpets of Armageddon will sound, and yes... I have no doubt that even the chair of St. Peter will be corrupted. One day in the not-too-distant future (yes, maybe even in my lifetime), a pope will be "elected" who will make it his nefarious goal to destroy the Church.
I pray for Pope Benedict, because I wonder where we'll be after his pontificate ends. Will we luck out with another strong and brave leader that is willing to stand in staunch defense of our faith? I fear not, and I fear the day that the teachings of our previous popes go ignored. I honestly dread the day in which homosexual marriages are taught as a natural right of equality... when abortion is accepted as a social justice... when women are "ordained" as Catholic priests. All done, of course, under the guise of "charitable acceptance."
I have no doubt that these things are to come, and as they do, those true Catholics who can still discern the work of satan will be persecuted beyond endurance. We'll understand that the sacraments are being slowly siphoned away from us (after all, women priests are not priests at all, thus consecration providing us with the Eucharist is impossible... confession... confirmation... all our greatest avenues of grace will be denied!).
I've been saying for the last two years that our beloved Church is headed for a schism. With all the dissent, misinformation, and bad catechesis running rampant within our ranks, the only true way we'll purify ourselves is through an ugly split. Folks who don't truly understand / believe what the Catholic Church has taught for the past 2,000 plus years can move on and create yet another protestant denomination that thinks they've got it all figured out.
The remnant Church (fragmented though she may be) will have successfully been purged of all those who are seeking her destruction. Then, and only then, can we expect Christ. No one knows the day or hour, but we can be assured that our Church must endure the aforementioned chastisement for allowing the follies of her members to spread with such alarming apathy.
It is only through this chastisement that we can really prepare ourselves for the Second Coming.
I realize all of this makes me sound like a crazy person... maybe even as crazy as Harold Camping's rapture predictions.
However, I'm not suggesting anything outside the Bible. I'm simply following our current path to its logical end. More and more we can see religions being persecuted (specifically Christians), and more and more of our own religious are turning away from dogma (Fr. Z just compiled a great list of the sisters that served as catalyst for the Vatican "crackdown").
This is not a matter of the Church "finally changing with the times." Dogma CANNOT "change." It's what makes our faith so steadfast, reliable and holy. When folks start tinkering with the divine, there will be consequences... and we're feeling those consequences with a lack of vocations, a lack of reverence, and a lack of dignity in the public sphere.
May God have mercy on us.
Geez, I'm on a roll today.
Just stumbled across this article summarizing one man's journey through a whirlwind taste-test of 12 different faiths.
He and his wife suffered the trauma of miscarriage. Wife, Heather, finds solace in the Baptist Christianity and husband, Andrew, spends a few years hating the idea of a god who could so cruelly take away the miracle of life they'd participated in creating.
When Andrew finally hits a wall where his hatred threatens to destroy him, he develops the idea for what he calls Project Conversion (complete with its own Facebook page). He took it upon himself to follow 12 different faiths for 12 months, spending half the month learning and half the month practicing these new faiths.
In theory, this is a fairly decent idea. He was reaching out to God in the only way he knew how - to sample the various faiths and see which one fit him the best. I know a lot of hard-line Catholics will razz me for that (considering that faith should not conform to you, but you to the Truth), but I think it's very important for someone with no real religious background to do a bit of digging. It's important for cradle Catholics (or cradle Buddhists, Muslims, etc) to broaden their perspectives, too.
I'm not advocating trying to practice other religions, mind you. I'm suggesting learning about these different theologies and cultures because, as Andrew Bowen found out, there truly is something to be gained from each.
I've always believed the idea of God to be similar to a mountain. God is at the top of the mountain, and our journey to Him can take us through many paths. Some may find their way to Him through Islam. Others may find their way to Him through non-denominational Christianity. Others, still, might find their way to Him by virtue of their defense of all that is good in the world. I believe Catholicism offers the straightest path to God, but I don't discount the virtues in other faiths.
I think that's what this guy was trying to get at as he made his way through the cycle of religions.
However, I wish the author of the article pointed out that it is impossible to even skim the surface of these religions - many (though not all) of which date back thousands of years.
I also take the statement "But this was no reality TV stunt" with a grain of salt. Considering the pictures that accompanied the article, it was obvious that from the start he was looking to do something with this "Project Conversion." Also, you don't start calling something a "Project" unless you've got an idea in mind of what you plan to accomplish. Ha ha ha.
But that's fine. He's now looking to write a book about his experiences, and more power to him if he cashes in. It's a great idea that could very well have a very positive impact!
However, I still wish that you can't "immerse" yourself in any religion within the confines of one month. There simply isn't enough time, and no mentor (no matter how brilliant) could possibly cover the nuances of the various faith sets.
Regardless, it's an interesting experiment, and I'm curious to see where it will lead. Thought you folks might be interested, too! :)
Father Z (WDTPRS) brought to my attention to a recent statement by the US Bishops regarding the importance of Catholic bloggers and the role we play in the current "struggle for religious liberty." As Father Z highlights, they specifically request us to join them in the front lines.
That's an incredibly welcome sign, in my opinion, sing it trumpets that our Church is mobilizing in a big way. I think folks are finally waking up to the battle we are on the cusp of, and our bishops are rightly calling on us to ready ourselves for it.
There is so much disinformation regarding faith, theology and politics that it's important to have trusted, well-reasoned folks fighting back with with the truth. That's where bloggers come in.
For many of us, we hopped on-line to utilize the blogosphere for a variety of reasons. Some of us needed a creative outlet, some of us wanted to share our secrets of parenthood. Some wanted a way to document their struggles with infertility or adoption, and others wanted to find a soapbox with which to decry the evils of Mets fans (I kid, I kid). Still others were looking for feedback on recipes and more realized they could network with other like-minded individuals who agreed that needlepoint is cooler than crocheting.
Point is, all of us came here for different reasons, but in the end, we all share information with one another. We all write and most (if not all) read the content of others. Information travels ridiculously fast through Catholic circles, and much of the credit is due to Catholic bloggers.
I can't even tell you how many times I've come across gems from folks like Father Z, Cam over at A Woman's Place, or Devin over at St. Joseph's Vanguard. The Deacon's Bench is like a revolving door of news, and places like Spirit Daily summarize all sorts of interesting tid-bits.
This is all highly important work (though it may not seem like it at first glance). Education is key to winning this battle because we need to be fully aware of the situation at hand. Being kept abreast of the various bills floating around, the sentiments being publicized by our politicians, and the calls to action being made by our Church leaders all need to be in the forefront of our mind.
Bloggers from all over the world are able to give very unique insights to these issues. They're also able to alert others to what's going on in different parts of the country / world - things that very rarely make the highly secular news networks.
However, our call to blog (as Catholics) should be tempered by the teachings of the Church, and a summit / council / whatever would be a great way to not only give a voice, but guidance, to those of us who want to answer the call. So consider this my vote of support for Father Z's petition. Please spread the word to other bloggers! Write to your bishops and see if we can't get others involved.
Or, you can do what Diane over at Te Deum Laudamus did (which I find to be absolutely hilarious): Start a Rumor! Ha ha!
He's not gone - he's in Canada!
Many of you are aware of the situation in Philadelphia's Archdiocese regarding the closure of schools. Surprisingly, this post won't be about them (though you can add that as yet another symptom of our increasingly-ill system of education). This is about Canada's battle with the homosexual agenda and how it's poised to affect their Catholic schools.
Parliament member Glen Murray (a homosexual himself), said in a public comment to Canadian bishops, "You can't teach that anymore" (meaning Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality).
He then went on to say "...can you imagine me describing a husband-and-wife relationship as inherently depraved?"
Sure I could imagine you saying it, Mr. Murray... same as I could imagine me telling you that the sky is yellow with pink polka-dots and that I cured 30 types of cancer while blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back.
All are ridiculous statements, and you're free to believe or not believe them to your heart's content.
Catholic teaching is one of those things you kinda KNOW you're getting when you enroll in a Catholic school. Parents who send their children to Catholic schools WANT the education that goes with it. They should all be very aware by now of what the Church teaches regarding abortion, contraception, the death penalty, and yes, even homosexuality.
Thus, your attempt to stick your nose into Catholic lesson plans is a gross injustice. How dare you attempt to stifle the religious liberty of your people? How dare you attempt to tell Catholics what they can and cannot teach?
I wonder if there'd be any confusion as to how wrong this is if the government were attempting to force Catholic schools to allow pro-abortion or pro-slavery clubs?
You can't force a religious institution (regardless of government funds received) to do something that goes directly against a well-documented set of beliefs, even if you find those beliefs to be contrary to your opinion on the matter.
That's the whole point of religious freedom - something folks tend to forget, especially when dealing with homosexuality.
Anyway, as this thread (which is on Facebook) stretched out a bit, I was reminded of a professor I had back in college. She was one of the most brilliant literature professors I've ever had, and I always walked away from her class feeling as though I'd learned something.
I took this professor twice. That first, basic Literature class was wonderful. I learned a lot, read a lot, and contributed a lot. I was very excited when I saw this same professor was offering a Women's Literature class. I thought, Wow! This is gonna be great!
Turns out she was a die-hard, ultra-liberal feminist who fully supported utilizing her required reading lists to advance an agenda in-line with her belief system, and Women's Literature was the perfect place to do that. Woe to anyone who sought to speak out against what she felt to be gospel.
It all kinda went downhill after she had us read The Vagina Monologues.
Now at this point, I was nowhere near my reversion to the faith. I was dating a bisexual man, my two close friends were in a lesbian relationship, I rarely went to Mass, and I was railing against what I decried as an inept, morally suspect government.
However, even being that far from identifying myself as a proper "Catholic," I cringed while reading the garbage that is TVM. Seriously - I'm not even going to bother linking that trash here. Suffice to say it actually sets the women's movement back about 20 years as the women portrayed routinely rely solely on sex and men to validate who they are as individuals. Bleck.
Anyway, the intro really irritated me. I forget who wrote the forward, but she attempted to compare a woman's vagina to a Catholic church. I tore apart her incredibly offensive (and shallow) analogy through the online discussion forum we were obliged to utilize. I thus found myself on the front line of a "The Catholic Church is evil" war in which I was the only soldier.
Several students responded, one who dragged Our Lady through the mud. I was so taken aback that I fired off a pointed response, effectively proving their misleading statements to be incorrect representations of Catholic teaching. This went on for about a week. Through it all, our professor remained absolutely silent.
Now for each class, she'd print off the responses and grade us on them. I'd get mine back with a check and no commentary. I honestly assumed that's how everyone got theirs back. Foolish, naive little Gina. I got mine back blank because she had nothing to say to me. Others in the class (two being friends of mine) showed me they would get responses all the time. Their responses typically fell in line with her opinions in class, so they were given all sorts of praise for their intelligence.
Me, on the other hand... probably the only person to actually quote from the prime source, the only one to seek outside support for my discussions, the only one to dissent from that which she set forth... I was met with silence.
And what's worse, I found out from one of my friends that she was reading my entries aloud to the class to mock me before I arrived. (I had to come from the South side of campus, so it took me the entire 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other.) It was then she confided to me that she understood through that mockery not to contradict this professor. She'd much rather regurgitate lies than speak the truth and be treated like me.
While I understood her sentiments, I really felt very alone and unsupported.
Yet I was undeterred. I continued to speak out against the vicious rhetoric directed against Catholicism (because no one could let up on beating the Church down). After all, much of what she chose as reading specifically brought up the Church as an example of all that's wrong in society, so it was a little hard to steer clear from the discussion. Finally I was called into her office. She basically told me to stop talking about Catholicism because it was offensive to other students.
I pointed at the Crucifix which hung in her office (why it was there, I honestly don't know because she had stated several times that she finds the Catholic Church to be full of deceit and hypocrisy). I said, "You do realize you teach in a Catholic University, right?"
I walked away absolutely disgusted.
I went to seek out the student with whom I'd had the bulk of my discussions with regarding Catholicism. She's the one who had attacked the Blessed Mother. I wanted to know if this professor had contacted her in regards to how often she brought up religion (since I only ever spoke about it to defend it - never to just start a Catholic conversation in the middle of a Literature class - ESPECIALLY considering I was always the odd man out).
Imagine my complete surprise when I learned that she had no idea what I was talking about.
Of COURSE the professor didn't contact her. Why would she? This student was not only falling in perfect step with her belief system, she was actively advocating them. Me, on the other hand... my Catholic viewpoint was creating trouble and took precious time away from decrying how unfair it was for the patriarchal Church to ordain women priests or allow them administrative duties, or to utilize birth control / abortion.
The surprise was short-lived. It was my first taste of anti-Catholicism. I honestly didn't understand it well at the time, but I DID understand that what had happened to me was not only unjust; it was unconscionable. A respected professor at a Catholic institution was reprimanding a student for speaking out in defense of Catholic doctrine...
Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
And we wonder why Catholic education is suffering? We wonder why the government thinks it can dictate what we teach?
We've made quite the mess of things, haven't we, Lord?
Special thanks to Creative Minority Report for not only having the full ad, but the full text here.
Another special thanks to Nicole for dropping this off via FB. I'd seen it being talked about on a few blogs, but I hadn't gotten the full text until now!
I'll deal with the Catholic vs. Muslim NTY Ad issue at another time. Today I want to focus on the Catholic ad.
I'm all for free speech. I honestly don't mind that they paid for an ad that voiced their opinions. That being said, I'm unsurprised that they chose to exercise their freedom of speech by once again attacking Catholicism and seeking to muddy the real issues that surround US Catholics at present.
I'll take the text and respond - one at a time - to their ludicrous statements. My comments are in red.
Dear ‘Liberal’ Catholic:
It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church.
It’s your moment of truth. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages? Do you choose women and their rights, or Bishops and their wrongs? Whose side are you on, anyway?
Common ploy to polarize! You're attempting to juxtapose issues that don't actually exist. For example, in attempting to contrast our Bishops and "their wrongs" with women and "their rights" it appears that the two are at odds. In truth, Catholics are
attempting to continue
providing women with
the most comprehensive
And these are only a few examples - a very tiny sampling of the almost unfathomable amount of resources we dedicate to providing reliable, charitable healthcare to ALL people all over the world. But sure - this is simply a matter of us suddenly wanting to stop providing what is a vital part of our Catholic identity. Of course. That makes perfect sense. <sarcasm>
It is time to make known your dissent from the Catholic Church, in light of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ ruthless campaign endangering the right to contraception. If you’re part of the Catholic Church, you’re part of the problem.
I didn't realize that practicing my faith somehow trampled on your rights. In speaking out against this mandate, I'm not stopping you from purchasing condoms, pills or even abortions. I'm simply attempting to keep myself from footing the bill for your lifestyle choices, especially when those lifestyle choices go directly against my faith. Isn't this what you've always wanted? This is the Church attempting to stay out of your bedroom. Stay out of my wallet, k?
Why are you propping up the pillars of a tyrannical and autocratic, woman-hating, sex-perverting, antediluvian Old Boys Club?
Your proof for any of those completely fallacious statements is where? And that whole sex-perversion comment makes me laugh. We're upholding sexual intercourse to be a holy, beautiful and intimate bond between husband and wife. You folks are the ones attempting to make it a free-for-all that is free from emotion, respect, and responsibility.
Why are you aiding and abetting a church that has repeatedly and publicly announced a crusade to ban contraception, abortion and sterilization, and to deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers?
Because the Church is correct in attempting to stamp out that which is morally bankrupt. We're NOT attempting to refuse women the right to choose whether / when to become mothers. They're perfectly capable of doing that on their own. It's as simple as saying "No, honey, not tonight." Or are you attempting to assert that women are ignorant and incapable of understanding their own bodies well enough to address this issue themselves without the aid of harmful chemicals /invasive procedures?
When it comes to reproductive freedom, the Roman Catholic Church is Public Enemy Number One. Think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of the Church’s antiquated doctrine that birth control is a sin and must be outlawed.
Oh really? Reproductive freedom goes both ways, dear. How about we call it Reproductive RESPONSIBILITY. Folks don't want to accept responsibility anymore. It has nothing to do with freedom. It has to do with a refusal of responsibility. Freedom is as simple as saying "No, I'm not ready for a child, thus I'm not ready for the act that goes into creating a child" or even "I'm not ready (or willing) to have a child, thus I need to be aware of my body's signals that I'm fertile."
In the eyes of the Church, birth control, abortion and sterilization are mortal sins. Our doctrine on this is not something that can become "antiquated." So regardless of how much public opinion is influenced by your liberal thrust, the Church will remain firmly rooted in the Truth of the Teachings of Christ. Thus, call us outdated all you want. Truth is timeless, and no matter how many times you try to say 1+1=7, the Catholic Church will always discern your folly and seek to correct that folly for the good of Her people.
A backer of the Roman Catholic presidential candidate says that if women want to avoid pregnancy we should put an aspirin between our knees?
Apparently we must take his word for gospel because he's a Catholic. Good thing there haven't been any folks who parade themselves as Catholic and do / say some REALLY anti-Catholic things (Pelosi, anyone? Cuomo? I could go on).
Catholic politicians are urging that the right to contraception should be left up to states?
Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court upheld contraception as a privacy right, we’re going to have to defend this basic freedom all over again?
Back to that whole "Truth is timeless" point. Just because the SC said something's A-OK doesn't mean we have to agree. We'll keep plugging away until all life (even that within the womb) is viewed with the respect and dignity it deserves.
You’re better than your church.
Correction - we ARE the Church.
So why? Why continue to attend Mass? Tithe?
To worship God in a way He specified was holy and good.
To join together as a community to renew our covenant with God as His family.
To listen to the Word of God and participate in His Death and Resurrection.
To partake of the Blessed Sacrament - something no other religion has.
To bear our petitions before the Throne of the Lord on the wings of our angels.
To unite ourselves more fully to the Church Triumphant, Penitent and Militant.
To express thankfulness for the blessings we've received through Divine Providence.
Annnnd, this list could seriously go on forever.
Why dutifully sacrifice to send your children to parochial schools so they can be brainwashed into the next generation of myrmidons (and, potentially, become the next Church victims)?
Of course it's seen as brainwashing to you. And that's fine - no one's asking you to send your kids to Catholic school. However, I know I intend to send mine to a Catholic school so they gain a firm foundation for TRUE Catholic teachings - not the misinformation you spread as fact.
I also appreciate the comfort of knowing Catholic education does a much better job of helping children succeed academically than its secular counterpart. And for the record, that information was compiled using the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
For that matter, why have you put up with an institution that won’t put up with women priests, that excludes half of humanity?
This simply shows your ignorance of Catholicism. ALL people are part of the royal priesthood (men and women alike). However, only men can belong to the ministerial priesthood through Ordination, and that's because women are NATURALLY able to become vessels of life. Men can only gain that gift through the vocation of priesthood (in bearing Christ to the people through Consecration). But since folks like you can't seem to grasp that dignity is not something measured by things you can pat yourself on the back for, just read this and learn why we believe women cannot be priests.
No self-respecting feminist, civil libertarian or progressive should cling to the Catholic faith.
Again, you're attempting to polarize things that honestly have no reason being a part of this discussion. You're attempting to shame folks into leaving the Church because you view it as anti-feminist, stifled and archaic. The Church is none of these things. We respect our women, we revere tradition, and we are able to grow in spirituality courtesy of the Holy Spirit. Just because we aren't willing to fall into the muck you call "progress" doesn't mean we can't be progressive. We just think your version of "progress" is highly suspect and can be likened more to humanity slipping BACKWARDS into slime and filth.
As a Cafeteria Catholic, you chuck out the stale doctrine and moldy decrees of your religion, but keep patronizing the establishment that menaces public health by serving rotten offerings.
You have completely misunderstood the concept of Cafeteria Catholic, haven't you?
Your continuing Catholic membership, as a “liberal,” casts a veneer of respectability upon an irrational sect determined to blow out the Enlightenment and threaten liberty for women worldwide. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.
I agree that Cafeteria Catholics have to stop, but I think we differ on the reasons why, as these folks do nothing to cast ANY sort of respectability upon those of us who are faithful Catholics. And as for your talk of Enlightenment... well... that's obviously hogwash as Catholicism is a beacon of truth in your sea of folly. As much as you want to claim we're threatening women's health / liberty, we're probably the last bastion they've got that is willing to provide them the compassion and dignity they desperately need.
If you imagine you can change the church from within — get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem-cell research — you are deluding yourself.
For any Catholic that thinks they can change that stuff, you're not understanding the concept of dogma, and I'd agree with the statement of "you are deluding yourself."
If you remain a “good Catholic,” you are doing “bad” to women’s rights.
Not only is a non-Catholic attempting to tell me I'm being "bad" but an atheistic one who HATES Catholicism. No conflict of interest there, right? Excuse me, waiter... can I please have a heaping serving of salt to go with this garbage?
You’re kidding yourself if you think the Church is ever going to add a Doctrine of Immaculate ContraCeption.
I bet you thought you were hilarious with that one, didn't you? *Shakes head* That's pathetic.
It is disgraceful that U.S. health care reform is being held hostage to the Catholic Church’s bizarre opposition to medically prescribed contraception.
No, what's disgraceful is that the current administration is attempting to dismantle our 1st Amendment rights and a portion of the population is perfectly content to stand by because they don't understand / care what's going on.
No politician should jeopardize electability for failure to genuflect before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Again, while I'm sure you thought your imagery was hilarious, you fail to make any sort of substantial point. No one is expecting politicians to genuflect before a bishop. We (meaning faithful Catholics) want politicians to uphold the office they were elected for. We want them to hear our voice and protect our right to freedom of religion. If they fail to uphold the dignity of their office, we'll be sure to give them a good old-fashioned boot come next election.
(Question to ask your Bishop: Does he hold up an umbrella against the rain? Isn’t that just as “unnatural” as using a condom or diaphragm?)
Again, this foolish question makes no sense, but it betrays your view of sex. For Catholics, sexual relations are a renewal of wedding vows. It is the total giving of self by husband to wife (and vice versa). Exactly what sort of loving, self-giving exchange is occurring between a human being and rain?
Your Church hysterically claims that secular medical policy is “an assault against religious liberty.”
It's not a hysterical claim, but I know you're trying with increasing fervor to make others believe that's all it is. This is a proclamation of TRUTH.
You are savvy enough to realize that the real assault is by the Church against women’s rights and health care.
I see what you attempted to do there. I know you're attempting to stroke my ego and make me go "Yeah! I AM smart enough to realize the Church is really anti-women!"
Unfortunately for you, I'm actually much more intelligent and knowledgable about my faith than you are. So how about you back off with attempting to tell me what my religion stands for and you go about your business of trying to prove to yourself that there is no higher power awaiting you at death.
As Nation columnist Katha Pollitt asks: Is it an offense against Jehovah Witnesses that health care coverage will include blood transfusions? The Amish, as Pollitt points out, don’t label cars “an assault on religious liberty” and try to force everyone to drive buggies. The louder the Church cries “offense against religious liberty” the harder it works to take away women’s liberty.
Mark Shea answers this way better than I ever could, so just read this.
Obama has compromised,
No, no he didn't. In fact, he outright lied.
but the Church never budges, instead launching a vengeful modern-day Inquisition.
Yup. And I'm quite pleased that She's finally mobilizing the Church Militant in defense of Truth!
Look at its continuing directives to parish priests to use their pulpits every Sunday to lobby you against Obama’s policy, the Church’s announcement of a major anti-contraception media campaign — using your tithes, contributions and donations — to defeat Obama’s laudable health care policy.
Have you actually been to any churches on Sunday? That's an obvious "no."
The Church has introduced into Congress the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, ” a bill to place the conscienceless Catholic Church’s “rights of conscience” above the rights of conscience of 53 percent of Americans. That the Church has “conscience rights” to deny women their rights is a kissing cousin to the claim that “corporations are people.” The Church that hasn’t persuaded you to oppose contraception now wants to use the force of secular law to deny contraceptive rights to non-Catholics.
Wow - to be quite honest, you lost me at "conscienceless Catholic Church." Also, what is this "53 percent of Americans" you're referring to?
But is there any point in going on?
Plenty, as you've yet to give me any solid reasons to leave what I know to be the fulfillment of God's promise for salvation. We have the Sacraments, we have true, moral guidance, we have a community of good, charitable people who seek to extend their hands to help Divine Providence along. We have the Church Triumphant and the Church Penitent pulling for us, and we've got the guidance of the Holy Spirit to navigate us through your treachery.
You've got what? Pills and condoms? Moral bankruptcy? A hopeless future in which life amounts to nothing more than personal gratification and selfish ideas of how others can be utilized for your own ends?
Yeah... no thanks.
After all, your misplaced loyalty has lasted through two decades of public sex scandals involving preying priests, children you may have known as victims, and church complicity, collusion and coverup going all the way to the top.
Ah, there it is... I was waiting for this to rear its head. Yes, we've had our share of fallen leaders, same as everyone else. There really isn't much we can do to rectify all the hurt and pain we've caused, but good luck to the world in attempting to pay us back for all the good we've done. We are a sinful people, but in the end, our track record is much more golden than tarnished. Though this is an ugly scar we will bear forever (and rightly so), it doesn't diminish the humane, holy, and charitable good we've done all over the world.
Are you like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go?
Really? You seriously went with THIS imagery? I guess you're really trying to bring home your whole "the Church hates women" argument. Again - very sad.
But we have a more welcoming home to offer,
Like all those wonderful things I mentioned above??? Again - no thanks!
free of incense-fogged ritual,
Also free from holiness, blessings and God
free of what freethinker Bertrand Russell called “ideas uttered long ago by ignorant men,”
Apparently free from common sense and knowledge of what Catholicism actually teaches, too.
free of blind obedience to an illusory religious authority.
And to top it off, free from absolutes, tradition and reality. Again, no thanks!
Join those of us who put humanity above dogma.
You're confusing humanity for personal gratification and immaturity - a life free from responsibility, meaningful relationships, and most importantly, God. Pardon me if I don't come rushing over to sign up.
As a member of the “flock” of an avowedly antidemocratic club, isn’t it time you vote with your feet? Please, exit en Mass.
Again, I realize you think you're hilarious, but wow. It's like your puns get more cringe-worthy with each passing paragraph! I'll continue voting with my feet straight up the Communion line where I can kneel before my Lord and my God to accept Him with love and joy, content to bear Him forth to others.
Amen, dear Lord - never allow me to tear myself away from Your Heart.
So this happened yesterday. I'd been holding off on blogging about it because I was hoping for a clarification / apology from them, but no luck (at least not yet). They've been quiet little church mice since this thread spiraled out of control.
To date, there have been almost 240 comments. I did a quick "stick tally" and found that an overwhelming majority of respondents were Catholic women who were very hurt by such an arrogant and thoughtless comment. Their customer base immediately began shrinking as folks not only removed themselves from the page, but cited their refusal to purchase from them and their refusal to advertise for them through blogs and personal references.
I immediately wondered if Garlands of Grace realized they had so many Catholic customers. If they didn't before, they most certainly do now!
Seriously, though... this comment was completely unnecessary. A simple "We're not Catholic, but we do espouse Christian beliefs" would have sufficed. Instead, they had to go and take it a step further with "I am burdened for all who stand with the Catholic Church and would plead with you to come out and believe the Word of God."
I do believe this business just accused me of not believing in the Word of God.
I also believe Garlands of Grace attempted emotionally martyring itself for my benefit.
Let me go ahead and pull the emergency brake on that one.
First of all, as I mentioned in the GoG thread that spawned on FB, not only do Catholics fully believe in the Word of God, we fully believe that Jesus Christ IS the Word of God incarnated.
As such, being the Church that Christ founded and all, we don't need a Protestant denomination martyring itself for our salvation. Thanks for your concern for my immortal soul and all, but as a faithful, fully-vested Catholic, I've got that covered. I don't need your condescending pity for my supposed ignorance to save me from hellfire.
That being said, I've made the decision to stop patronizing this business (which breaks my heart because all my favorite veils are from them!). Until they rectify their stance (which has successfully alienated about 100+ of their previous customers) I simply cannot reconcile supporting a business that views my faith as a burden.
And for the record, I was purchasing from them knowing full well they weren't Catholic. I didn't care one way or the other about their religious beliefs. I still don't. I do, however, care about being belittled and and being condescended to simply because I'm Catholic.
From my experiences in dealing with the women of GoG (they're sisters), they seem to be wonderful, loving and highly talented individuals. They have families, friends, and trials the same as the rest of us. They are dedicated to their mission of spreading love of God through veiling, and that's great. I wish them all the best. However, I cannot - at this time - be a party to what I see as a sad and hurtful attack on some of their best customers simply on the basis of our faith.
I sincerely hope and pray these women come to their senses and retract what was obviously a hurtful and ignorant comment.
*** Blog Responses ***
I read two blog responses yesterday that I really loved - posting them here for your benefit!
Liturgical Time (She makes beautiful head coverings as well)
A Woman's Place (Eh, you guys know I'm a huge Cam fan)
Joann Jordan is the founder of Garlands of Grace Ministry, a separate organization that goes by the same name as the sisters who create head coverings.
These are not the same groups, so please don't confuse them. Garlands of Grace Ministry is a cross-faith women's Bible study program.
In this particular entry, I'm specifically referring to the Garlands of Grace company that creates head coverings.
Click the pic for the link to FB
So I came across this on my Facebook page through several Catholic friends of mine. The newsfeed was buzzing with this picture, so I followed a link to the page that originated it.
Considering that I, too, am appalled by this ridiculous mandate, I willingly reposted my support of the opposition to my page.
In the past, I've used Facebook as a means to inform folks about everything from politics and social issues to zombie make-up and adorable kittens. As my husband became increasingly embarrassed by my outspoken tirades (usually of the political / religious variety), I had agreed to abdicate my "soapbox" (his words, not mine) in order to make him feel less embarrassed by his outspoken and passionate wife.
However, with the advent of this threat against the faith that I hold dear, I reasserted my rightful place as Newsfeed Nancy, willfully blasting my opinion to anyone who would hear me. A few friends commented, a few more messaged me, and one actually left a nasty note on my wall that I had to delete (my mother, nephew or young cousins could've seen it - eeps!).
Anyway, the prevailing consensus with these comments (both in the thread and the messages sent to my inbox) was that this wasn't a big deal and the government wasn't actually trying to force anything on anyone. Catholics could simply "not take advantage" of birth control and all would be well.
It would force the Church to pay for the option... it's akin to forcing us to buy a gun for someone we know aims to kill a child. After all, the Church doesn't only hire practicing Catholics.
Besides, this is about forcing us to participate in something that goes against everything we teach. This isn't as simple as just "preaching against" birth control or suggesting folks not "take advantage."
We'd still be footing the bill for abortions (abortifacients). That is against the Catholic faith, and to be forced by a government into abiding by such a thing is against the 1st Amendment.
Much as in other countries, it would force Catholic institutions to shutter as opposed to stoop so low as to adhere to this grave offense.
My belief is that is part of our government's intent, anyway. They were successful with Catholic adoption agencies that refused to cater to homosexuals, in Germany with the entire Church for refusing to marry homosexuals, and now they're attempting it here through subversive laws that aim to cripple our institution in the eyes of everyone else who doesn't seem to think there's anything even remotely wrong with their actions.
_"It's not a big deal" they say. "It's just birth control" they say. Yeah, and already look at the wide-reaching consequences of this being "not a big deal." And if they're willing to start with an issue "so small" that reaches its tentacles out so far, what next? I shudder to think of the rights they are eying to siphon from us next...
And again, by "us" I don't simply mean Catholics. I mean anyone with the intelligence and decency to realize we're being quietly bent over a barrel to feel the steel end of someone's rifle up our behinds...
And again, the Catholic Church doesn't only cater to Catholics - they serve non-Catholics, too... and as the Catholic institutions shutter as they refuse to be a party to this nonsense, there are going to be a ton of people who lose their jobs and even more people who go without healthcare / education / work that they would otherwise have access to.
If Obama had stuck by his promise to allow religious institutions a pass on paying for this stuff, I wouldn't be opening my mouth against him. But since he went back on his word, and is now opening the door to all sorts of persecution against us for simply living our faith and not expecting to pay for things that go directly against it... he should be absolutely ashamed of himself. This goes against the 1st Amendment... DIRECTLY. Shameful.
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