***DISCLAIMER*** I don't believe all men are effeminate, but I definitely think there is a tendency for popular society to pigeonhole men into being seen as aggressive monsters or metrosexual children. Given I married a man who is neither, I obviously understand that not all men are effeminate. That being said, there are glaring problems with the way society tries to feminize men (and coax women into masculinity). For most of this entry, I'll be focusing on the gents.
I know you folks are likely burned out on all the hullabaloo about Fifty Shades. Truthfully, I haven't read any articles on Fifty Shades because I'm incredibly disinterested in the entire thing. However, a male friend of mine pointed something out that started what I felt to be an interesting discussion.
Someone posted a photo of the actors portraying the main characters in the upcoming film adaptation. There were comments from women (and a few men) commenting on the "hotness" of Jamie Dornan (the actor portraying Christian Grey).
Someone mentioned something about the movie (and book) being porn for women. Magic Mike (another soft-porn, mainstreamed movie) was also brought up and then the conversation veered into "Why the sudden interest in porn for women?"
I'm relatively certain that most of my readership would agree that Magic Mike, Fifty Shades and its contemporary ilk are pornographic in nature. That's not the point of this entry.
I pointed out that the reason this sort of porn is taking root amongst women is due to the concerted effort to confuse, diminish and transpose traditional gender roles.
In other words, society is telling women that they should be more masculine while simultaneously telling men they need to be more feminine.
I personally know men who use more makeup and hair products than I do. It's fine for guys to thoughtfully put themselves together in the morning, but when they start insisting on getting waxed eyebrows, mani/pedis and plumping their lips with a touch of gloss... lines are crossed.
I get the term "metrosexual" is thrown around a lot, but that's simply a politically correct way of saying:
And it's not just a physical change. Due to the feminist movement that seeks to butcher boys instead of raising up women, things like "Girls Rule and Boys Drool" or the "Boys are Stupid" mindset have turned men into caricatures of petty neanderthals. Not only does society treat them as perennial little boys who are incapable of mature thought or action, but men, themselves, take on this view and don't realize the rut they've been thrust into.
And since men don't realize that they've slowly given up the respect due to them as men, women don't feel the need to give it to them. After all, why respect a man who is no man at all?
It's yet another reason we've got an epidemic of boy-men who live in a quasi-fantasy world that is free of most adult responsibilities, adult goals, and adult consequences. Women, in turn, get frustrated because they can't find men with solid male traits, but in reality, we've brought this on ourselves by attempting to become masculine in how we operate.
This goes beyond the "assertive / bossy" dilemma. I'm all for equal rights and gender not standing in the way of one's ability to get a job done. However, women are becoming increasingly aggressive in their treatment of others. This overcompensation stems from a deep-seated insecurity about their strength and place within a patriarchal framework (and let's be honest - we do have a patriarchal framework in the US workforce).
In order to keep up or get ahead, women admit that they try to be "more manly" because of its social and professional benefits.
Again, this reinforces the gender-bending dysphoria present in our social fabric.
So what does all of this have to do with Fifty Shades, you ask?
I believe the current role-reversal of men and women makes traditional male and female roles a fetish.
I realize that might seem silly at first, especially since most of you wouldn't concede to BDSM (present in the Fifty Shades series) being traditional, but give me a chance to explain...
Currently, society is telling us this:
Obviously we know better, but this is the picture society is attempting to paint for us (with alarming success).
As a result, a book like Fifty Shades becomes popular not just because BDSM is a fetish. The fetish (and why I think women enjoy it so much) is that the roles are swapped into their traditional (if highly denigrated) roles.
But what is a fetish if not the warping of something natural?
Christian Grey is an intelligent, successful, confident man. Ana Steele is an innocent, quietly supportive woman who is also intelligent but not nearly as confident as Grey. In fact, from what I understand, she's actually portrayed as being highly insecure.
Christian makes it known that he's interested in Ana. He wants Ana and revels in her feminine qualities. He appreciates her femininity. She, in turn, appreciates his thoroughly masculine characteristics.
BDSM is a warping of the connection between male and female love, but again, I don't think that's the biggest thing that matters in this case. Women, today, are craving men - REAL MEN - and our options are few courtesy of the contraceptive movement (<---- that's a great video!).
As a result, women are getting their fix for the socially taboo "traditional man" by finding him in the pages of an erotic book. They can fantasize of the real man they envision for themselves... a strong, confident, savvy man who knows what he wants and takes it.
Grey is not the stammering guy in class who is unsure how to ask a girl for her number. Grey would never wonder when the right time to kiss a girl would be. Grey certainly wouldn't be found in his mother's basement or fiddling away on XBox until 3 in the morning.
No no. Grey would appreciate the beauty of the woman standing in front of him. He'd instinctually know her wants and needs and willingly rise to the challenge of meeting them. He'd provide for her, take care of her, and make her feel loved, appreciated and above all, wanted.
THIS is precisely what women today do not get from men. This is what they want. This is why they go looking for it in pornography, because in our topsy-turvy world, pornography is somehow more socially acceptable than expecting our men to be men.
Again, I obviously don't believe all women fall victim to this given that I don't even fit this mindset. However, it's incredibly easy to see how and why so many women fall into this trap given the terribly difficult time we have finding men who have the potential to be suitable life-partners and dependable fathers for our children.
Frankly, women don't put long-term stock in a guy who wears more eyeliner than she does. Women don't trust that a guy who lives in Mommy's basement can provide for a family. Women understand that a guy who spends more time caressing a game console than they do the curves of her body doesn't have his priorities in order.
So yeah - I believe the current satiation women are finding in socially acceptable forms of pornography is symptomatic of a much larger, deeper and socially threatening issue. When the gender norms are blurred to the point where folks have a legitimately difficult time knowing if someone is a man or a woman, it's time to reevaluate - everything.
I have no idea if you guys have seen this or not, but when I read this article, I felt sick to my stomach.
Some anonymous women got together and petitioned the Vatican to allow priests to marry because they are already in relationships with priests. They basically played the victim in crying over their secret lives as mistresses.
Ya know what, ladies? You're not victims. There is no real way to "accidentally fall in love with a priest."
You see a collar, you move on. That's common sense. However, much like those women who ignore wedding rings and then complain when their lovers don't leave their families to continue shacking up with them, common sense doesn't really come into play, does it?
Obviously the priests who participate in these sorts of relationships are also at fault, but as a woman, I am always so angry when I hear of other women being stupid enough to do this sort of thing (with married men, priests, etc).
I mean, c'mon now. This is like running a red light because you thought the cops weren't looking. You've officially caused a five-car pile up because you were too selfish to care about anyone else, and now you're demanding that the officer change the law so that the injury and pain you caused is somehow no longer your fault.
My mind is officially blown by such arrogance.
In their letter, they wrote "Very little is known about the devastating suffering of a woman who is deeply in love with a priest."
Actually, quite a lot is known. Ya know why? Because your ridiculous sob story is the same exact one that's played out in every other marriage plagued by adultery. You are "the other woman." Just because he's a priest doesn't make this fact any less true. You purposefully went after someone who was off-limits. Maybe he even made it easy. Maybe he pursued you. I don't care. You're still wrong for allowing yourself to become entangled in such stupidity. You are no better than the woman who knowingly sleeps with a married man (or the man who sleeps with a married woman). You're both committing adultery and you're both causing one another to be unfaithful to yourselves, your communities, and God.
You will find no sympathy from me in this regard. What you are doing and what you have allowed to happen is evil. You are a pliable pawn being used by satan to take down God's representatives on earth. You should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves.
Maybe one day the Church will allow Her priests to marry. Until then, be mindful of the incredible sacrifices that these men make on your behalf and be charitable. Do not let yourself be a temptation to them- no matter how innocent your supposed intentions are.
Ugh. Seriously. Just... ugh. You love him, you say? Then respect the fact that he took vows and support him upholding every last one of them.
Pray for your priests, people. And pray for women like this.
Remember this article? I feel like it was the one that started them all.
Little boy wants to dress up like Daphne from Scooby Doo and his mom posts, in the title of her entry, that this implies he's gay.
But no worries, because in the body of the entry, you realize that was simply a bait. She then writes "Or he's not. I don't care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don't want to know you."
I remember when I first read that feeling offended for her. How could ANYONE dare to have a problem with this? Who would think to be so callous as to spout anything negative at a little boy who just wants to dress up for Halloween? Even if it is a little odd.
Now that the feeds have been absolutely SATURATED with stories like this, I've learned to put my critical reasoning skills to better use.
She, like every other blogger after her, sets the stage for inevitable conflict. They want the conflict; it drives stats. I refuse to post the litany of these articles because I refuse to give them a bump in referral hits.
Now I just roll my eyes and pass on them. They're all the same. Each demanding respect for allowing their boys to dress as girls and play with My Little Pony dolls, or steering their girls away from pink things and more towards "boy toys" like race cars and Legos. We've all seen them. It's just...
Instead of trying to dictate what our kids play with in an attempt to show how forward-thinking we are about gender-stereotypes, how about we just let them be kids who like to play with toys of any sort?
And how about we stop patting ourselves on the back for going out of our way to confuse the very clear distinctions between the two sexes. No matter how many bags of lip gloss your son wants to have, he's going to be a little boy. No matter how many Wrestlemanias your daughter begs to go to, she's still going to be a little girl.
And no matter how many times you allow your son to dress in skirts or your daughter to pull on boxers, their biology will remain unaltered. That includes sex change operations and hormone injections.
Also, this sort of gender confusion does not necessarily mean your child is gay. But again, throwing that into the mix is a great way to solicit a jump in stats.
We need to have open, honest communication on this topic. Blog posts like those I reference above are not helpful. If anything, they're harmful because they seek to divide. They seek to cause in-fighting and paranoia (everyone's out to get me and my son because we're different!). There are children in serious jeopardy because of this confusion, and patting ourselves on the backs for the bang-up job we're doing with this saturation of gender confusion is not the right course of action. It's just not.
I don't have the answer on how best to respond to this growing trend, but I just can't take the constant stream of articles that decry any sort of acknowledgement that boys and girls (and thus, men and women) are different; they are. Does that mean that they are not equals? No; they have equal dignity. But they are inherently different from one another. Consistently ignoring that (and worse... teaching our children to actively ignore it) is a
Kids growing up in this climate are the reason we've got fifty billion "genders" on Facebook, men waging legal war against a woman's right to use a private bathroom, and young kids (and their PARENTS) fighting to dictate biology without bothering to think of long-term health consequences.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Trying to blur the lines between male and female have led folks to be hyper-aware of not only gender, but sexuality and thus, sex.
Methinks that's why textbooks like this exist. It's also why lessons like this exists.
We are hurting our children way, WAY more than we are helping them. That much is apparent. We are teaching them it's okay to disregard facts - scientific facts - and create an alternate reality that they then expect everyone else to go along with. I can't imagine that being a good coping strategy for such a real, all-areas-of-life entrenched problem.
I just don't have clue one where to begin, or even how to protect my son from falling victim to this sort of confusion. It's like parents are expected (and even bullied into) encouraging this sort of behavior.
I was recently invited to a birthday party with my son in which the parent informed me the boys would be dressing up as princesses alongside the girls.
No thank you. I opted to decline that one. Vince is curious about women's clothing sometimes (my veil and bras come to mind), but I would not actively encourage him cross dressing, ESPECIALLY at such a young age.
I'm just... ay.
What the heck ever happened to kids being kids?
Last night, John and I were watching the latest episode of HIMYM (again, if you don’t want spoilers, STOP READING THIS). I’ve always loved the characters of Marshall and Lily. For those of you who don’t know the show, Marshall and Lily are college sweethearts who consistently exemplify unconditional and sacrificial love. They really are the perfect example of what marriage should look like, and I love that the writers have always been dedicated to the success of that relationship.
I’ve always related to Lily’s character. She is a strong woman with very maternal instincts. She loves her husband deeply, adores children, is brutally honest when necessary, and is fiercely loyal to her friends. She's even a teacher! Lily is me with red hair and a much hotter body.
Anyway, in last night’s episode, we come to find out that Lily has been harboring a secret. I immediately said to John, “She’s pregnant!”
Turns out I was right. The way the writers allowed the story to unfold was beautiful. Marshall, upon learning he was going to be a Daddy again, rushed to Lily’s side and confronted her with the news. However, he didn’t confront her angrily. Instead, he was emotional – 120% caught up in anticipation, hope, joy, and above all, love. Love for Lily, love for his son, and love for the new life he and Lily had created.
And when Lily said she “just felt like” the baby was a girl, I was instantly a wreck. I chewed my lip to the point of bleeding trying to keep myself from openly sobbing in front of John, but he saw I was upset and came to sit next to me on the couch to hug me. He probably thought I was crying over Myla.
In truth, I sorta was, but my tears were lamenting more than miscarriage.
Marshall said something that stabbed my heart. The exchange came after a very emotional argument Marshall and Lily had regarding moving to Italy vs. staying in the States (pitting Lily’s dreams against Mashall’s dreams). Marshall selfishly wanted to stay in the States and made the decision without ever asking Lily’s input. Lily, rightly hurt by this, angrily demanded to know why her dreams weren’t considered as important as Marshall’s. The argument ends with Lily sacrificing her dream of Italy for the sake of the family she loves, and Marshall apologizing for allowing his selfishness to come before his love for her.
However, upon learning that Lily is carrying their 2nd child, Marshall exclaims:
“Lily, we have to [go to Italy]! You’re gonna live in Rome, and you’re gonna get your dream because you’re giving me mine, again.”
Cue tear cascade.
Lily had already given up her dream of Italy to support her husband and their (now growing) family. That was a very, VERY difficult thing for her and she knew she’d wrestle with that baggage for the rest of her life. But she did it. Why? Because she loves Marshall and their family enough to sacrifice of herself.
And in that instance, Marshall realized his erroneous thinking. The whole season, he was focused solely on how he could convince Lily to make the sacrifice because his dream was, selfishly, what he wanted.
Until news of the baby. News of the baby's existence caused Marshall to instantly realize his priorities were skewed. A judgeship was not his dream. It’d be a nice goal to reach, but Marshall’s dream was, and always has been, to have a big family, the same as he’d grown up surrounded by. Family is Marshall’s true dream, and he recognized that Lily had known (and been working towards) this all along. Lily had always sacrificed for their shared dream of family, while Marshall simply enjoyed the fruits of that sacrifice.
Realizing this, he took responsibility for sacrificing. He wanted Lily to have the same opportunity to grasp her dreams because it’s what she’d always done for him. He loved her and their family to the point of sacrificing the biggest goal he’s ever set for himself: judgeship. He pushed his fear of leaving New York aside and trusted that his love for his family would be sufficient to weather the journey.
They are like the married couple in O. Henry’s story The Gift of the Magi. Lily willingly handed over her hair (Italy) and Marshall gave up his watch (the judgeship). Deep, personal sacrifices in both cases that were gift wrapped in love.
And Marshall only understood this lesson after rearranging his priorities into their proper order: Lily first, family second, self third. What caused the paradigm shift? News of the baby and his overabundance of love and excitement.
THAT is why my body rocked with sobs. Marshall’s response was what I’ve always envisioned for myself as a child – my future husband being just as excited and joyous as Marshall at news of a pregnancy… my future husband seeing these children as dreams come true. I had visions of him jumping up and down in the bathroom with me as two little pink lines surfaced from a plastic stick.
I cried because my husband was so diametrically opposed to Marshall in this.
There was no moment of joy when he learned of Myla. There was no realization that his priorities were misaligned. There was no moment of clarity in which he appreciated the terrible sacrifice I make on a daily basis so his dreams can be sought after. Instead, there was disgust, fear, annoyance and frustration.
How that wounds my heart.
My dream, from my very first memories, revolve solely around a family. Myla was, in many ways, my final chance at that family. So when I mourn for Myla, I fully understand that I’m mourning for her and all the other children I’ve been denied.
And I was angry. Frustrated. Jealous. Desperate. All because of a television series that showcased the response I long for but will never have. Not even with Vincent. On both counts, John’s first reaction was fear and annoyance. Disbelief.
Never love. Never joy.
And that is what absolutely kills me.
I felt so unappreciated that I free-fell into an intense depression. My mind wondered if John even loved me at all. How could someone who loves me simultaneously seem to hate me so much?
Do I think John hates me? Of course not. But in that moment, it felt that way. Maybe because I hated myself being in this situation. I don't know. It's easier for me to turn the upset feelings inward rather than outward.
Anyway, after the show finished, we watched a 30 minute comedy to lighten the mood. It worked well enough for John to think things were okay. I was sour, though. The self-loathing, anger, jealousy and despair were percolating in my mind the whole time. So instead of watching another show, I went to bed. Not that I was going to sleep. Lord knows I wouldn't be doing much sleeping. But at least I could shut myself off in the dark.
John came up after me. He grabbed me close in bed and snuggled there. He's a snuggler. I hate snuggling. Loathe it. It's okay for all of three seconds before I get annoyed and want my space back. However, I allowed it because I knew that was his way of trying to make me feel better. I knew he needed to feel like he was helping. Maybe that's all he thought he could do. After all, John responds to touch, so it makes sense why he'd think I would react the same.
Honestly, though, I wanted no parts of myself let alone any parts of him.
I'm terrible, aren't I?
Anyway (and really, Mom, if you're reading this, just go ahead and avert your eyes), I realized in that moment that I did need John. I needed to feel loved, because there was a part of me (the logical side?) that understood he loved me, but my heart was so full of hurt and grief that I couldn't feel it. I couldn't process that he could love me given the broken and hurting state I was in.
So I kissed John. I wanted him to kiss me back, to give me some tangible sign that he loved me. He dutifully kissed me, but laid back on his pillow. I pulled his face back to mine and whispered, "No. Make love to me."
I don't normally do that. I'm not the romantic type who whispers sweet nothings into dusky skies as my hair whips gracefully in a gentle breeze. But in that moment, I recognized the marital act of making love as the only balm to soothe the aching desolation in my heart. I needed my husband to love me. I needed him to physically, emotionally and spiritually LOVE me, and a few pecks on the cheek weren't going to cut it. Not when I was feeling so incredibly unloved.
That was the first time I've ever "needed" sex. I've enjoyed sex, sure. I've wanted sex, definitely. But I can't remember a time in which I urgently needed to give the fullness of myself and receive the fullness of my husband in the way that only married love can do. Sex isn't just some repetitive thrusting based solely on biology. That we, as a people, have turned it into so base a commodity is a travesty. Looking at sex as a means to better know and understand the love of my husband... it was eye-opening for me.
Fr. Levi over at The Way Out There posted another article regarding the slipping of society as it falls further into the cesspool of degradation and disorder it seems hellbent on creating for itself.
The article deals with the "plight" of pedophiles who are demanding to be accepted as normal in the same way that homosexuals are now deemed "normal." Incredibly, there are psychologists who want to help this along by removing Pedophilia from the list of mental disorders they list in their version of the Bible - the DSM.
In an attempt to make people more aware that this was happening, I posted the link (along with the following commentary) onto my Facebook page:
'Cause no one saw this coming...
NAMBLA has been attempting to push for declassification of pedophilia for a while. So has IASHS. Homosexuality issue aside, this is severely disturbing that anyone in their right damn mind thinks it's even remotely okay to declassify this as a mental disorder.
Adults wanting to have sex with children is mentally disordered. There's simply no other way of looking at it.
"Oh, but these poor men and women who abused children must live with the stigma attached! They've gotta warn parents when they move into the area! They've gotta have 'the talk' with potential employers!"
Oh flippin' well. What about the children whose lives you shattered? What about what THEY are forced to endure for the rest of their lives?
You get to deal with moments of social awkwardness every now and again. They get to deal with shattered innocence, a void of trust, a shamed self-image, and the stigma of having endured your barbarity.
Your whining behind is lucky we don't still brand people on the forehead. Stop attempting to justify your mental disorder and just accept it for what it is so you can seek help to protect those children who you seek to harm!
BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE DOING! I don't care how much you think you love these children, you're outta your dang mind.
About 30 seconds later I got a "like" and an "AGREED!" comment (both from a family member of mine). Another minute or so later, my good friend posted a video of the South Park parody that deals with NAMBLA's insistence that pedophilia is normal. Otherwise, there was complete radio silence.
Now I'm not upset that I didn't get "likes" or "comments." That's not why I post things. I post them to educate... to make others aware. However, I have to admit being slightly unsettled by the lack of feedback regarding this particular post. Typically things this upsetting in nature solicit SOMETHING.
My first thought was "Folks are steering clear of this because of the connection with homosexuality. It makes them uneasy."
Well of course it does. No one likes to look at the truth of this logic because it's somewhat similar to the crazy folks out there shouting that once we accept homosexuality, we'll accept people marrying goats, sheep or dinosaurs.
However, the fact remains that when a minority of folks force others to accept disordered conduct as a product of "It's just the way I am" then other minorities are able to do the same. They're able to use the same arguments and the same tactics because from a logical standpoint, they've got accepted precedence.
So I chalked it up to the fact that the majority of my friends are very pro-homosexual marriage and were bristling at the idea that I was advocating homosexuality and pedophilia being on the same wavelength (which I'm not... but people tend to automatically assume that about those of us who disagree with homosexual unions).
The next morning, though, I got two supremely disturbing messages through Facebook from a family member and an acquaintance I had gone to school with. The first was from a family member who is both a woman, and a mother. A MOTHER. Keep that in mind. The second was also from a woman (though she has no children).
Both stated very similar things, so I'll give you a quick summary.
Gina, I would've posted this on your thread, but I didn't want to look like I condoned molestation. The psychologists make a good argument for why pedophilia should be removed from the disorder list because they (the pedophilies) really can't help themselves. It's unfair to be stigmatized for your entire life because of feelings you can't help. They shouldn't have to suffer so cruelly just because they have strong affection for children. They're good people, and they really try to love everyone. There are chemical imbalances that make them aroused around children, and with the proper medicines, they could live out normal lives that don't involve harming children.
One even went so far as to suggest that children SHOULD be allowed to make the decision for themselves by the time they're 12 because "by that age, I was fully capable of deciding who I should or should not have sex with."
Go ahead and let that digest a little bit.
This person was 12 years old and already felt capable of deciding who she should or should not have sex with. This means she was ALREADY deciding she SHOULD have sex with some folks (note that 'folks' is plural) at 12 years of age.
Below is exactly how I felt upon reading those two letters. I wanted to blast myself off the Earth because no... there is just no way that people can really, truly feel this way. I simply do not want to live in a world that wishes to allow such perversion to walk around unabated because it's "just how they are." NO. My SON lives in this world, and allowing these folks to just "be who they are" without needing to warn ANY of the surrounding families leaves him open to some terrible, terrible things!
I promptly wrote back (with less charity than I should have, I'm ashamed to admit) that they were part of the problem.
I was so taken aback by the mother who agreed with this declassification. She has children! How would she feel if we just allowed these people to move from town to town completely undetected so they could harm more children? If her son or her daughter were abused by a pedophile who was disordered to the point of thinking the abuse is not only OK, but DESIRED by her child, how would she feel when this person was allowed to move on to a new city to begin the process again? How would she feel knowing her child could have been protected had society treated pedophilia as the mental disorder it is???
She wrote back that people do take pedophilia seriously. No one wants to see children hurt by adults in any manner. There were ways to control those desires, she said.
I agree. There ARE ways of controlling those desires, but ya know what's a great deterrent? Knowing that everyone is keeping an eye on you.
And the only way that folks really learn you're a pedophile is when you get caught... which means that you've already abused someone in the past in some way. So guess what? Punishment is that you get marked going forward as someone likely to harm a child. Ya know why? Because studies have shown that much like homosexuality, pedophilia isn't something that can be "cured." It's simply a disorder of the brain. It is a lifelong cross for those who bear it.
Does that make pedophilias horrible, awful people? No. Not at all. Much like the rest of us, they've got a particular cross to bear, and this is it. It's a terrible one. But considering how much danger they pose to children - the most innocent among us - this cross NEEDS to be public. It NEEDS to be shared, because it is only in sharing this cross that they will be given the proper direction and support necessary to shoulder it properly. The public NEEDS to help them, and that help will arrive in the form of policing their activities. Not necessarily in an over-bearing "Who are you seeing today?" sort of way, but in an "We know you have an issue and we want to make sure that no temptations come your way... and if they do, you are able to handle them in the proper way because you know we're looking out for you" sort of way.
The only way for us to be able to "look out" for them is through knowing they've got an issue. Knowing they've got a disorder is the only way we know to remove the temptation should it arise.
Bah - I'll have to write more coherently later. I just wanted to get that out there because I've been meaning to write about it for a while. It's been banging around in my head since first reading it, and I can't help but feel completely unsettled that there are folks out there trying to push for this declassification.
Anyone have experience with this? Any words of wisdom on language to use to counter-act this line of thinking?
Names were changed. This is the transcript of a conversation I had with a man who underwent gender reassignment surgery (and hormone therapy) to become a physical woman. He is still struggling with it (even after completing it several years ago).
I felt this conversation important to post publicly because it's a conversation we should all be ready to handle as issues of gender dysphoria seem to be more common. People who struggle under the weight of this cross deserve love and respect. We each have our crosses, but we must support one another to carry them with dignity.
For an easier read, just click "Fullscreen" on the tab below. :)
A poor peasant in China has shamed the country that has discarded and murdered its own through inhumane laws that seek to stamp out innocence and liberty.
Over the years, she has found and saved 30 abandoned babies - victims of China's one-child policy and the ever-growing disregard for the validity and sacredness of human life.
Bless her, and bless her children. Keep them all in your prayers.
No doubt this living saint has a special spot in Heaven all her own.
Read her story here. However, please use caution as this story is connected with an abandoned baby girl who was viciously harmed. She is now safe in a hospital and will hopefully be available for adoption to a loving home soon. So even though it's graphic, the ending could be happy yet!
Laws no longer protect but intimidate.
Thanks to Catholic Vote for seeding. This article details the plight of a young photographer who refused her services to a lesbian couple looking to have photos taken of their commitment ceremony (since homosexual unions aren't recognized or legal in New Mexico).
Instead of simply finding another photographer, these miscreants took Elaine (the photographer) to court. Apparently their poor little feelings were hurt because Elaine didn't want to take pictures of their ring-exchange. So what's any rational couple to do?
Silly me, if faced with such a decision, I'd simply type "photographer" into Google.
Apparently it's way more entertaining to sue the person. With this being the great country of America, it's incredibly easy to do considering we don't understand our own Constitution!
*Grumble grumble grumble*
As I said, the homosexual lobby is attempting to manipulate laws into forcing folks to accept their lifestyle choices. Instead of simply finding another photographer to take photos of their "special day," they wanted to drag this woman through the mud to make an example of her in order to put pressure on others who would deny services to protect their consciences.
Since when did people become so entitled to having the world conform to their opinions? Are they so really so insecure and desperate for acceptance that they're willing to stoop THIS LOW in order to intimidate folks into a false posturing of agreement?
For shame. For absolute shame.
Our 1st Amendment rights as US Citizens... for now.
I'm successfully irritated. My charity level is low to non-existent right now, so I apologize in advance.
There has been yet another striking blow to religious freedoms today... this time in Denmark. All over the world, governments are attempting to put religious freedom to death, and no one is any the wiser. Why? Because it's all being done under the guise of social justice.
Danish parliament has just passed a law making it MANDATORY for all churches in Denmark to provide homosexual marriage ceremonies.
Take a second and let that process (if you're not too busy hurling).
A government is attempting to FORCE entire religious communities to utilize their sacred houses of worship for a ceremony that goes directly against their religious beliefs as a people.
I'm beyond disgusted.
Once again the issue of religious freedoms is ignored because folks are too busy crying foul over the issue of homosexuality.
I don't care if two men want to get hitched through civil unions. Be my guest. I draw the line, however, when those two men attempt making a mockery of our Sacrament by committing such a sacrilege in front of the Blessed Sacrament in a Catholic Church.
As I said on Facebook, welcome to the reason I refuse to vote in favor of anyone trying to push this through our court system.
As I said in a previous entry, Australia is quickly following suit. The US won't be far behind.
I'm all for homosexuals getting hitched in churches that condone it. I am NOT okay with a government stepping in to force ANYONE to accept a union that cannot be recognized by aforementioned religion.
Catholic priests cannot "consecrate" a union that is considered abhorrent and inherently sinful. No matter how much a government wants to kick, scream and cry, a faithful Catholic priest cannot (and will not) call a blessing down upon that which is mortally sinful.
Even if one tried to, do you think God would say, "Ya know what? Alright... since you asked so nicely, I'll be sure to go against that which I've stated - repeatedly - and reward you for your impressively arrogant disobedience."
Again, Lord, mercy.
Hmmm... I had no idea this is what those "Harmony" shirts I've been seeing were all about.
Apparently folks are looking to boycott Target for it's current push to financially back the Family Equality Council (read: LGBT lobby). I was completely unaware of this until today!
I don't really have too much of an opinion on this just yet. Thus far, I don't see the donations as horrible because in order for me to participate, I'd have to be directly purchasing these "Pride" items.
I'd be happy if they'd offer something like Soaps for Life in their stores as a worthy cause to get behind. I doubt there would be a conservative call for boycott with something like that. The liberals might boycott, but the point is, if you don't support a cause, you're not being forced to purchase the items in question in this case. If Target was donating a portion of ALL sales to the FEC, I'd be singing a different tune. But they're not.
That being said, I expect to see well-placed signs and tags on these items so I can steer clear of them if I were to enter a Target. I don't want to mistakenly donate money to something that goes against my belief system - same as I'm sure a pro-abortion person would balk at seeing any of his or her money go into an ultrasound truck that sits in front of a Planned Parenthood for mothers who are on the fence. So long as signs and tags are visible and plenty, I wouldn't boycott Target itself so much as the particular line of products.
Kinda like boycotting a particular brand of make-up because they do animal testing, ya know? Obviously not the same level of morality, but my point still stands.
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 love stories like this.
I'm no fan of Westboro Baptist Church, and I honestly feel terrible for the cultish mentality that the children of that family are an unwitting part of.
However, this entry isn't about WBC so much as it is about a brave young man armed with a pencil, paper and love.
Upon seeing the demonstrators rallying with their anti-homosexual posters and signs, this young boy requested permission to write a sign of his own. Playing off their typical "God Hates ..." signs, little Josef simply wrote "God Hates No One."
Amen, little Josef! Amen!
We'd all do well to remember this.
No matter the lifestyle choices, no matter the faith preference, no matter the grievous list of sins we souls have committed, God still loves each of us and wants nothing more than to embrace us in His arms. Search out that love in yourself, as God is a part of you. Search out that love and extend it to everyone you meet.
This is a toughie for me. Still not exactly sure where I stand.
Keaton Fuller, a senior at a Catholic High school in Iowa, was awarded a $40,000 scholarship by the Eychaner Foundation. The award, named the Gold Matthew Shephard Scholarship, caused an uproar because of it's overtly homosexual basis. Originally, the bishop had refused to allow this award to be given publicly during commencement, fearing it would cause confusion and scandal among those present.
However, after speaking with the Eychaner Foundation, he reversed his decision with the caveat that the Superintendent read the script for presentation instead of a member of the foundation.
Here are the things I don't have a problem with:
The Eychaner Foundation has a Scholarship award that falls in line with its core mission to promote acceptance and tolerance of the LGBT community. Common sense.
Fuller, a student of a Catholic school, successfully applied for this award with the help of faculty members. Scholarships are open to anyone regardless of where they're from, and considering the basis for this scholarship isn't the promotion of something that goes against dogma, faculty members were not at fault for putting him at risk for supporting heresy. In fact, this scholarship aims to curb bullying and promote the love and acceptance of people who are homosexual - something that does fall in line with Church teaching.
The Eychaner Foundation desiring to publicly award this scholarship to Fuller at his commencement. Can't fault them for realizing the marketing victory this would be for them.
There being public pressure put onto the Bishop to reverse his decision. Free speech, after all, is still supposedly free in this country.
The Bishop agreeing to speak with the Eychaner Foundation to reach an amicable solution. This is, after all, how one responds with love, especially when his own flock is so up in arms about the issue. In all honesty, I believe (from the quotes) that he responded graciously, thoughtfully, and with charity.
Here are the things I DO have a problem with:
The Eychaner Foundation expecting to force its way into a private school's commencement ceremony. Asking politely and accepting a decline is normal behavior. Getting pushy and demanding you gain entrance as a SPEAKER is ludicrous.
The Bishop reversing his decision. I got several scholarships / awards upon graduation. Plenty of other students did, too. No one ever came to speak about these things considering they're private awards. We had our various scholarships listed in the program, I think, but there wasn't any singling out of students because the commencement was for ALL of us. Unless you were the valedictorian (or saludictorian), there was no real singling out for random awards. It'd've taken forever.
I'm all for this young man being recognized for his achievements. I really am. I have no issue with how he got the scholarship, what the scholarship represents, or even the faculty responsible for helping him apply. That's all well and good.
I am a little iffy on having that recognition overshadow the entire commencement ceremony due to all the protests, pressure and talks. I mean, are any of the other students having speakers for their scholarships? Would anyone have even cared if two or three of these speakers were turned away? Doubtful. The only reason this issue became an issue is because of the push by the homosexual agenda to be accepted everywhere and anywhere.
Once again, this isn't an issue of homosexuality. It's an issue of common sense. Most speakers for high school graduations consist of faculty, students and a particular person who is brought in to reflect on success and opportunity for ALL those graduating. This person was brought in to highlight the achievements of a homosexual student for academics and his work in promoting peace and tolerance for homosexuals. While that's a noble thing for sure, why must we have a commencement speaker highlight this as opposed to the student who raised funds to help a no-kill shelter survive? A student who raised awareness for those with Down-Syndrome? A student who stood outside her local Planned Parenthood every Saturday afternoon, rain or shine, to wage a silent war with her rosary in hand?
In my mind, this is a ploy to once again push the homosexual agenda onto Catholic schools in a very publicized, marketable way. Fuller is a perfect poster-child for something like this, and I can't help but wonder if that isn't at least part of the reason he was chosen. Maybe it's all those years of public relations courses that has jaded me, but I can't help but think if I were in their shoes, I'd've chosen him as well. He'd provide the perfect excuse to gain entry to a plethora of conflict that could very well kick the dust up at the Catholic Church.
I really hope they make the full script available as I'm curious to know what, exactly, the bishop signed off on.
Two young women from a Catholic High School were barred entrance from their prom because they arrived as a homosexual couple. They could have easily shown up with two male friends and bypassed this entire controversy, but no... they wanted to make a statement. Apparently that statement went a little something like this:
We go to a Catholic school that expressly teaches that homosexual unions are not in line with Catholic teachings. We know this. We understand this. However, we want to whine and complain anyway when said school (which is only following the dictates of its well documented, 2000+ year faith) refuses to be a party to us going directly against the same Catholic teaching that we've paid to learn.
Entitlement and a complete lack of common sense. But people will eat it right up because no one sees logic - they're too busy fawning over the "civil rights issue" when in reality - there ISN'T one. It's as basic as "The invitation says black tie. Don't show up in jeans and a T-shirt."
Mattie, a reader, started an avalanche of thought for me last week. Ever since, I've kinda been on the hunt for answers to the many questions that've come from her simple, "Can ya just go get IVF?"
The short answer is No - for a variety of reasons.
IVF is considered immoral by the Church. Every child deserves the right to begin life at conception through the loving embrace of both parents who are in a stable, dignified and ordered marriage. In fact, a beautiful quote from the Church in Her DONUM VITAE states as much:
The child has the right to be conceived... to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.
That, my friends, is true respect. That is dignity. To acknowledge the right exists, even before this tiny person comes into existence, for a loving, sacred and nurturing place of refuge proves the respect and care Catholics take in our role as stewards of life.
This is why the Church so staunchly defends marriage and sexuality. These two unalienable gifts from God are the building blocks of healthy procreation. It is through the ordered marriage relationship that true sexuality reaches fulfillment - that fulfillment being the union of husband and wife and thus the creation of the physical, living sign of their love - children.
These children, having been created in the ordered and sacred manner in which God decreed, will be blessed to grow up in an ordered, loving household in which their own development can best be discovered, ordered and reach fulfillment.
This is not to say, however, that children from single-parent households, children of rape, children of adoption, etc cannot grow up to reach their full, ordered potential. Through the grace of God, anything is possible, and He certainly loves these cherished souls as much as those co-created in the marriage embrace. However, He desired that we order ourselves in the aforementioned manner because it is through this ordering that we afford our children the best chance for emotional, psychological and spiritual stability.
Thus, IVF (specifically the act of joining a sperm and an egg in a laboratory setting) is considered immoral because it removes this dignity and order from the person(s) created.
Credit: Glassanos - Click image for info
However, this leaves a really big question wide open, and the Church has yet to get entrenched in the details.
After answering the above question for Mattie, my mind traveled down the rabbit hole a bit farther. Since IVF has already been utilized countless times by infertile couples looking to have children, what happens to all the embryos created that are simply frozen in time?
There's no easy answer for this - and I've looked!
I've taken several key folks to task over this. Priests, two professional theologians, an incredibly smart and spiritually sound couple, and a smattering of ordinary lay-Catholics who have been touched by issues of infertility, adoption and even eugenics. None were able to provide a concrete answer because as of yet, there simply isn't one.
The married couple, however, provided the best resource I've yet seen on this! My special thanks to them for their incomparable knowledge and willingness to share that knowledge with others. I link it here for your own illumination.
In it, you will find two heavy-weight Catholic ethicists duke the issue out at a bioethics conference late last year.
Though I take issue with the attempt of Father Pacholczyk to denigrate the discussion into one of spousal rights (since this isn't so much about fertilization so much as adoption of a life that's already been created), what he says about causing us to tumble down a slippery slope is certainly a concern I agree with.
However, most of what Dr. Smith relays (comparing this to adoption / breastfeeding) falls right in line with my own views.
As a person who believes that God opens a window every time we close the door on ourselves through sin, I can't help but wonder if embryo adoption is God's way of answering the problem we created through the sin of IVF.
This is a question that, as of yet, has no real answers. As one of the women I talked to put it, though, I'd be hard-pressed to condemn a married couple who bore a child in this manner. Granted, I'd be hard-pressed to condemn anyone for anything, but I digress.
I can't help but wonder if God allowed infertile married couples to exist specifically so they could answer the call of these poor children stuck in a frozen limbo.
by Ron DiCianni (click for info)
I just read a heartbreaking story. I'll link it here with the warning that the image is painful to view. While the child is most certainly at peace, her little body enfolded in the burial shroud while her agonizing mother openly grieves her will sear your soul.
Jesus... have mercy on us.
Please offer your prayers for this woman and all families who are faced with this violence. There are still so many cultures throughout the world that do not value women... so many that cruelly neglect, hurt and murder innocent female children simply because of their sex.
Again, may God have mercy on us. We are victims of ourselves with no way of obtaining relief.
This is Divine Mercy weekend. If you're not already aware, please take the time to learn about the Promises of Divine Mercy Sunday. Make a good confession, and accept Christ in the Eucharist while praying for entry into His Compassionate Heart.
Join us in the Divine Mercy Novena.
Humanity - we truly need His Mercy. We are lost if not for His Grace.
This sculpture is the first (and as yet only) piece of art that has ever made me weep. I came across it in my travels, and the reaction was instantaneous. The tears were coming before I even understood what it was I was looking at.
The tender love and comfort extending from the child as she reached out to touch her agonizing mother is intense. That flood of intensity was then made into a deluge of sadness as I realized the child was "invisible," the symbolic soul of a child this mother lost. Then, when I realized what the title of the sculpture actually was, I just about died of a broken heart.
Though this sculpture doesn't necessarily have to speak of the post-abortion grief many woman feel, that was what I took it for at first glance. Then I realized this grief could easily be felt by women who suffered miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, or even hysterectomies before fulfilling their vision of a family. This sculpture could also encapsulate the grief of a mother denied children through birth control, social pressures or infertility... maybe even a mother who lost her child to illness, violence or trauma.
Such ceaseless pain is perfectly juxtaposed with undescribable love. This ghost child is peaceful, seeking no solace for itself; she is only looking to comfort her stricken mother. The mother, overcome by her emotions, cannot feel the touch of this angel. She wants to... she yearns to... but she cannot.
Oh my heart. I'm actually writing this entry with my "window" scrolled up just enough that the image is not visible on my screen. I can do nothing but weep when I see it.
May the Lord grant us mercy for our transgressions against these innocent babes. May those who seek reconciliation find peace, and may the Holy Spirit alight in the hearts of those who don't understand that life begins at conception.
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.
Judas, too, was ordained a priest.
So the entry from yesterday was a lot more venomous than I had originally meant for it to turn out. I guess I was still a lot more angry and disgusted than I thought.
Anyway, a comment on one of the articles gave me pause. The woman wrote, "Jesus gave Communion to Judas, even knowing that he had betrayed Him, didn't He?"
He did! And He most certainly knew that Judas had already betrayed Him. In fact, as I mentioned before, Louisa Piccarretta described this scene in The 24 Hours of the Passion. As Jesus knelt before Judas to clean his feet, His Heart was torn in agony as He foresaw the end Judas would meet because of his stubborn refusal to ask forgiveness. In Judas, Christ saw all priests who would fall away from their callings. Yet still, He persisted in His blessings, He persisted in allowing Judas to partake of the Eucharist.
Soon after reading this comment, I came across one of Maria Valtorta's visions in which Jesus appears to 500 followers after His Resurrection. Sts. Peter and John are present, and Jesus teaches them the importance of obedience and perseverance. He says to them:
"And remember also that I did not refuse Myself even to Judas of Kerioth… A priest must try to save, by all possible means. And let love always prevail, among the means used to save. Consider that I was not unaware of Judas' horror… But, overcoming all disgust, I treated the wretch as I treated John [the Beloved Disciple]... One must work even then… always… until everything is accomplished."
Honestly, I have no idea how I came across that particular passage save for Divine Providence. In my own arrogance, I had also disregarded Church teaching by reacting with such anger towards Johnson. I think Christ wanted to remind me that I needed a bit more humility and a lot more charity if I wanted to fancy myself a follower of His.
Well played, Good Sir, well played.
So while I'm still disgusted by Barbara Johnson's actions (those actions being her willful attempt to commit a sacrilege and her subsequent lambasting of Father Guarnizo), I no longer wish that she and her hoard of supporters drop off the Catholic radar. Instead of praying for an early bout of Spring Cleaning that sees them all ostracized or relegated to protestant denominations, I should be praying that the Holy Spirit alights in their hearts so that they can see the error of their ways and return to the faithful, Catholic fold.
After all, in the same vision, Jesus stated to the crowd:
And those that for any reason should separate from the Mother Church, would be members cut off, no longer nourished with the mystic blood that is Grace coming from Me, the divine Head of the Church. Like prodigal sons, separated through their own will from the paternal house, in their short-lived wealth and constant and graver and graver misery, they would be blunting their spiritual intellects by means of too heavy foods and wines, and then they would languish eating the bitter acorns of unclean animals until they returned to the paternal house, saying with contrite hearts: "We have sinned. Father, forgive us and open the doors of your abode to us". Then, whether it is a member of a separated Church, or an entire Church - oh! if it were so, but where, when will so many imitators of Me arise, capable of redeeming these entire separated Churches, at the cost of their lives, to make, to remake only one Fold under only one shepherd, as I ardently wish? - then whether it is only one person or an assembly that comes back, open the doors to them.
And may they all feel the Light of the Spirit. May their minds be opened to His Wisdom, and may their egos be enveloped by His Glory. May mine, too.
However, let not this testimony give anyone the opinion that I will no longer strike out against such folly in the future. I still stand behind my opinion that this woman should be barred from the Eucharist until she reconciles herself to the Church through means of a true confession. I still stand behind my opinion that the priest did exactly what he should have done in preventing the sacrilege to occur. I also stand by my opinion that the superiors who shot out an apology should be ashamed of throwing their brother under the bus when he was only acting in the way our Church teaches he must (in protecting the Eucharist from sacrilege and by refusing to allow the public to be led astray by erroneous pastoral example).
May this brave and blessed priest ever feel the smile of Our Lady upon him, and may his superiors learn the error of their ways, seek forgiveness, and move forward with greater faith and solidarity.
So the last couple days have been a flurry of media activity regarding Barbara Johnson and her incredibly presumptuous attempt to partake of the Eucharist at her mother's funeral.
Unsurprisingly, almost every single news outlet paints Father Guarnizo as a heartless bigot who sniffed a gay and decided to make a political statement.
This woman then went on to whine about how she and her neice couldn't both eulogize her mother and how mean Father Guarnizo was by leaving the Church before she could finish waxing philosophical for her audience.
Pathetic - on so many, many levels - pathetic.
1 - You had just met this priest (for the FIRST TIME according to all accounts), and introduced him to your "partner." In two private accounts, supposed witnesses claim you used the word "lover." Considering you're self-proclaimed "Catholic upbringing" you know full-well living in an active homosexual relationship is a mortal sin. Don't be surprised when he bars you from Communion.
2 - The fact that you'd just met this man for the first time surprises me in and of itself. For being such a "devout" Catholic, how exactly did the funeral get put together without seeing him at least once? Sure, mom could've put arrangements together before her death, and sure, the funeral home may have gotten in touch with Fr. Guarnizo in order to ensure he was scheduled for the Mass, but really? You didn't attempt to meet with him beforehand to go over things like readings, share memories of your mother (for homily purposes) or express your desire for more than one eulogy (since eulogies aren't even a part of Catholic Funeral Masses except in cases where the pastor feels generous enough to allow one)?
3 - You attempt playing the martyr who really loves the Church but was just cruelly treated by one of her members in stating "I have gotten email upon email saying, ‘I’m not going back,’ and I say, ‘Please go back, because that man does not represent the Catholic Church.’"
Let me go ahead and stop you right there. This priest is more representative of the Catholic Church than you will ever be. He is not only representative of the Church, he is a hand-selected representative of Christ! He upholds the dogma of our Church and does not attempt bending the rules to suit his lifestyle choices, opinions or feelings. You'd do well to follow HIS example and not that of your own selfish, arrogant and misguided brain.
I wouldn't be nearly as angry with this if she was a non-Catholic. Non-Catholics wouldn't know any better and may very well assume that being in the Eucharistic line is just "what you do."
This woman KNOWS better but arrogantly defies Church teaching because she simply doesn't believe that her lifestyle is mortally sinful.
Fine - don't believe it. No one is forcing you to. But no one is forcing you to be in the Communion line, either. Find a church that opens its doors to perversions, untruths and errors. Don't expect the Church to bend Her teachings to give you warm fuzzies just because you don't agree with Her 2,000 + year old dogma.
THAT is what drives me up a wall. And the fact that this wonderful priest is now being thrown under the bus by his own superiors (because God forbid we hurt the feelings of the homosexual population!) also drives me up a wall. This is NOT a pastorally insensitive thing to do. Nor is it misguided. His duty is to protect the sanctity of the Eucharist and that's exactly what he did. God forbid he gave her the Eucharist (which would be a sacrilege according to our faith). That would be three-fold sin. First, the woman would commit an even graver sin by sullying the Sacrament. Next, the priest would commit the grave sin of comission by being a party to this sacrilege. Worst of all, the priest would then be sinning by leading those who saw this exchange into moral confusion (because they might think this sacrilege to be perfectly acceptable).
Oh, for shame that folks don't realize that the priest protected not only this woman, but himself and all present at the expense of his own person. Shameful, shameful, shameful!
Instead, this ungracious woman lashes out at him to anyone who will listen. Why? Because her over-inflated ego was bruised. Better her ego than her soul and the souls of those would have witnessed it.
Honestly, I hope that anyone who stands in solidarity with her DOES stop considering themselves Catholic. These types of folks do more harm than the atheists or agnostics who rally against us openly. These "Cafeteria Catholics" are the WORST because they spread fallacy and scandal from the inside.
Our beloved Church is heading for a schism. The more that superiors bend to trash like this, the more we hurt ourselves. Pretty soon, there's going to be a reckoning in which true Catholics stand up and say "NO MORE." We need to clean house and rid ourselves of these cancerous members (laity and clergy included). I wish such a step weren't necessary, but there is no doubt in my mind that this will come to a head within 10-15 years.
We also need to do a better job teaching our members the TRUTH of our faith and punishing those who wish to bend that truth to fit their own warped agendas.
Okay - the premise of this article is as follows:
Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.
Pay close attention to the shifting of vocabulary. We're not calling it infanticide or murder. Instead, because those words carry severely negative connotations, they call it "after-birth abortion."
Why? Well because the word "abortion" has the connotation of CHOICE! It's got the connotation of women's liberation and sexual freedom!
Is there no hope for the world my son is now forced to grow up in?
If we are capable of this, this, or this, we're simply opening the door to allow even worse things to become commonplace (and LEGAL).
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world...
Religious Freedoms are in the Lions' Den right about now...
Gay marriage - this is one of those topics that John and I strongly differ on. There was a time in which I saw no reason for anyone to say "No, homosexuals, you can't get married." However, in coming to terms with what that actually spells out for religious freedom - I have a huge bone of contention now with "Gay marriage."
Upon solidifying my stance that homosexual marriage is morally wrong, I came to the concession that homosexuals could "marry" all they want so long as those who understood homosexual marriage to be morally deficient wouldn't be forced to be a party to it.
Well, apparently that's not good enough for folks in power as they're attempting to yet again stifle religious freedoms in the sake of "equality."
Can I go ahead and wave the BS flag wildly?
Much like in Australia, Washington State (in the US) just signed off on a marriage bill that would require Churches (or Synagogues, or Mosques, etc) to offer their buildings / services to homosexuals or face fines for being discriminatory.
Um, excuse me? I can be fined because I practice my religious beliefs in not participating in the sham of homosexual marriage? And that's EQUALITY?
Again - I don't care if homosexuals want to get married in churches that welcome their belief systems. I don't care if they want to get married in the middle of a McDonald's, jumping out of a plane, or in the middle of a park at dusk. More power to them. They're not infringing on my rights, and they're not forcing me to be a party to what I consider to be not only a farce, but a morally degrading and socially crippling sin.
So again - this has NOTHING to do with homosexuals getting "married." It has EVERYTHING to do with having my rights ignored and my very faith threatened. This is a religious rights issue, not an equality issue.
The government is attempting to force me, through threat of financial punishment, to open my doors / services to homosexuals. If the homosexual lobby wants to get even more asnine than they currently are, they could easily stir up bogus claims against a few churches in any given area, successfully crippling them due to fines / fees / etc.
That would effectively shut down still more Churches / Synagogues, etc. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how dangerous this move is.
Once again - homosexuals can get married all they want under law. I don't really care. What I DO care about is seeing any religious institution being forced to go against their beliefs just so these homosexuals can feel vindicated in their chosen lifestyle.
But yeah - let's keep sticking with the tired "We demand equality" shtick. Let's keep ignoring the fact that this has absolutely nothing to do with equality so much as 1st Amendment freedoms.
Again - for shame...
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.
Well, at least they're showing just how asnine they really are. I love how they label those of us who disagree with their agenda "anti-women's health groups." What a load of BS there. Pregnancy isn't an illness, though it's interesting to note that most BC actually causes illness... including the Pill.
But hey - admitting that would defeat their entire thrust to make money off the uneducated (or willfully ignorant).
***Read 3rd paragraph before clicking link!***
A friend of mine posted this link to my wall this morning coupled with this question:
Do Catholics still/did they ever believe that sex is only for pro-creation?
Now before you go clicking that link, I'd like to warn some of my more sensitive readers that you will be taken to a site that prides itself on being hip, irreverent and sexually charged. Of course, it's titled Jezebel. So be warned that the article, though it deals with a valid question many people, like my above friend, ask, it handles religion is an extremely arrogant, ignorant manner which even I (someone not easily offended) offense to. If you'd rather not click the link, keep reading for a basic summary.
The article she pointed me towards dealt with a growing trend in the adult entertainment business. Adult toy makers are apparently attempting to draw in the more religious crowd with shops titled "Covenant Spice," "Kosher Sex Toys," and "El Asira." These are not your typical "Adam and Eve" vendors. They are all G-rated in content (no vixens in sexually suggestive poses, item names are scrubbed of sexually charged words, etc), each site de-sexualizes reviews (and packaging!), and most rely on religious commentary to set potential customers at ease.
I assume this led my friend to ask about that nagging stereotype she'd heard so many times about Catholics believing sex is only for creating children, not for creating pleasure. As always, I thanked her for being one of the few to actually seek out clarification on this point, as it's something many Catholics are typically confused about. Since sex is such a taboo subject, stereotypes abound because no one wants to open their mouths to clarify on account of the subject matter.
Anyway, my answer was this:
Sex is NOT only for procreation, though that is one of the main aspects of it. Sex, to Catholics, is a constant renewal of wedding vows (our wedding vows being to give ourselves to one another freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully). Sex is the summation of those vows and a constant reminder that we sacrifice ourselves for one another, and if we sacrifice willingly for the happiness and pleasure of the other, good things happen to both of us - and to subsequent children.
Obviously this is as base an answer as possible, but hopefully it gets my point across.
As for vibrators, etc, typically the Church frowns upon those things as they can lead to masturbation (which harms healthy sexual functioning within a marriage) or a clouded view of sexual relations within a marriage itself.
HOWEVER, upon researching this particular question due to another friend of mine (like yourself) who posted something similar about a year ago, I learned that the Church does make allowances for things like this when used in a healthy way.
This link is one that I had come across in my research that I felt answered the question perfectly for me. So I leave it for all of you as well, since this truly is something that has befuddled many Christians. Sex really is OK to talk about in a mature and loving way. :)
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