Category: Profundities of Particular Interest


I’m praying that 2013 won’t be for marriage and family what 1973 was for babies and parents: the start of legally-protected destruction on a mass scale. I am not optimistic, but there is always hope, even in America.

Under our present laws, you are free to have sex with any consenting adult you wish. You are free to give him or her access to your heart or your house, your children or your legal rights. What you are _not_ free to do under our Constitution is force Catholics, or anyone else who does not share your moral values, under penalty of law to call what you have chosen “good” or “marriage,” or — even less — to force them under legal penalties to “marry” you or accommodate your choices in their business decisions (from wedding cakes to hotel rentals to insurance benefits). This is how freedom works in most parts of America, for the time being.

Of course, under our Constitution, I am free to say that thousands of years of societal misery have shown that sex and childbearing outside of a marriage ordered to protect spouses and their children is unhealthy and even dangerous to your body, mind, heart, and soul, and even more so to those of your children. I am free to conclude therefore that choosing to have sex and children outside of marriage is a colossally bad idea, one that I disapprove of and will not allow to be modeled to my children. You are free to disagree, even if it offends me. I am free to pray for all of those caught in unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles, that they will find their way to health and happiness, with whatever help I can offer. You are free to do what you will, even if it makes you miserable. That is how freedom works here and how it should work.

May it remain so.

This post was originally my post on Facebook during the arguments before the Supreme Court. Below are some excerpts of my responses to others’ negative — and, dare I say, stereotypical and Web-ubiquitous — comments in reaction to my post, including one from a childhood friend who is in a gay relationship with children:

Not surprisingly, I am also wholeheartedly against throwing marriages away; I believe that marriage is indissoluble and that abuse is one of the few reasons for legitimate separation (not divorce) between properly-married spouses. As for your second comment, race is wildly different from sexual choice. There is nothing biologically or morally different about people of different races, and so there is no impediment to marriage, but there are obvious differences between men and women that make true same-sex marriage impossible. (Of course, the race issue is a very emotional red herring in this debate. Unsurprisingly, I personally know no traditional marriage advocates who would have any problem with interracial marriage, and I know of many who are in fact in such marriages themselves.)

Regarding Prop 8, which is much closer to home, I agree that it is complex and unlikely to yield a clear resolution. Abortion law as we know it now (virtually no restrictions at any time) is the result of at least three Supreme Court cases (Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey), so I have good reason to believe that even if this case doesn’t work the destruction to traditional marriage I dread, a decision or two down the line will finish the job.

[Friend], though I clearly wouldn’t make the same choices you’ve made (or vice versa, I’m sure!) and we always had our disagreements, I respect your right to live as you choose, and wish you and your loved ones well. I also support gay people having the same individual legal rights/protections as anyone else — just not special protections that infringe on my rights, such as to fine/imprison me if I peacefully speak against the gay lifestyle, or my friend if he refuses to accommodate it in his business, or my priest if he refuses to perform a wedding or arrange an adoption. We’ve seen in other places that this is where gay rights are headed. I’d like to live and let live; is this possible? If you lived next door to me, I’d chat with you or your partner at the mailbox and bring a plate of marzipan at Christmas. I have closeted and out gay family members — my gay cousin and her partner caught the bouquet at my very Catholic wedding! — and we are all friendly. They don’t force their sexuality on me, nor do I force mine on them; that’s private, just like it is with my straight friends and family. I know many family and friends disapprove of my large/homeschool family lifestyle and would never choose it, and of course I wish that weren’t so, but they have those rights; all I ask is that my family’s religious rights be equally respected and that our choices not be a source of enmity. Have a good evening.

I shudder to think where I’d be if I hadn’t been given the grace by God — with my folks, may God richly bless them, of course! — of being raised Catholic. If Catholicism were not true, believing in it would be far, far worse than treating a fairy tale as real; it would be utter destruction — absolutely nothing would make sense, from suffering to math (but, I repeat myself, for I have never really “gotten” math! ); it would be the most devastating cheat ever devised.

“Catholicism is true, yet most people and even many Catholics don’t believe all the truths of Catholicism. So for me my real answer is Because of grace and that Catholicism is true.”

… when used to avoid pregnancy — and to achieve pregnancy, despite infertility issues! See the data in chart below:

nfpvivfreinfertilityHere’s a chart of the effectiveness of contraceptive/natural methods to avoid pregnancy.

And, here’s a medical story about how natural methods are as effective as the Pill.

One key to effective natural fertility methods is reading the female body’s signs; if you’re having trouble reading your fertility signs (especially mucus, that trickster!) because you’re a newbie, or are nursing/caring for a newborn, or your body just doesn’t send you the signals it’s “supposed to,” here’s a cheap, easy aid.

Once you learn the basics of Natural Family Planning (NFP) — signs and rules — and your own cycle, you’ll only use a few ovulation tests strips a month, max.

There is absolutely no problem on earth that abortion does not make much worse:

  • You’re not ready to be a mother? Have an abortion and you will almost certainly suffer post-abortion syndrome — and be a grieving mother.
  • You’re poor? Have an abortion and you will almost certainly suffer post-abortion syndrome — and be several hundred dollars poorer.
  • You’re in an abusive relationship? Have an abortion, probably coerced by him, and you will almost certainly suffer post-abortion syndrome — and still be with an abuser.
  • You’re a rape victim and are (very rarely) pregnant? Have an abortion and you will almost certainly suffer post-abortion syndrome — and still lack healing for the emotional and physical pain of rape.
  • You’ve been told that your baby may have a birth defect/health challenge? Have an abortion and you will almost certainly suffer post-abortion syndrome — and grieve a person worthy of your love and meant bless you in a special way in return, and who quite possibly had nothing whatsoever wrong with her body to begin with. (“Most individuals called positive by screening are false positive. That is, although the screening test is positive, the diagnostic test will be negative for the condition.” Yet, the “genetic counselor” is quick to pressure you into an early abortion!)
  • Etc.

 

Abortion hurts women! Various medical sources cited in one article indicate that:

  1. Abortion increases risk of maternal mortality. A 13-year study that included the entire female population of Finland, ages 15-49 years of age, showed that the maternal death rate of abortion is 3 times higher than childbirth. The study is published in the American Journal of ObGyn. This finding is confirmed in other studies showing that in similar regions of the world, countries in which abortion is illegal have a much lower incidence of maternal mortality than do countries where is it legal.

  2. Abortion increases risks for future pregnancies, including premature birth and cerebral palsy. Meta-research, examining 37 other studies, shows significant correlation between abortion and subsequent risks to low birth weight, premature birth and cerebral palsy. This risks rise dramatically with multiple abortions. Multiple abortions cause a 93% increase in the risk of future premature births. A Mayo Clinic doctor confirms this and explains how abortion can weaken the cervix and cause scarring on the inside of the uterus.

  3. Abortion increases risk of breast cancer. Research published in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology shows that abortion increases risk of breast cancer 66%. Incidence of breast cancer in China has increased 39% in a 9 year period, subsequent to the One Child Abortion policy.

  4. Abortion increases risk of mental health disorders. A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that abortion provides no mental health benefits and some women have an increased risk of depression, substance abuse, thoughts of suicide, and other mental health disorders by 30%. A study published in the Medical Science Monitor indicated that 65% of American women suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following an abortion, and the women attributed the PTSD to the abortion itself.

  5. Abortion increases conflict in primary relationship. Published in the The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (TOG), a study indicated that 30% of women who had a second abortion were in an abusive relationship. Another study found that abortion increased the frequency of arguments about money, relatives, jealousy, and drugs.

  6. Legalized abortion provides greater opportunity for women to be manipulated and coerced. A study published in the Medical Science Monitor indicates that 64% of women who had an abortion, felt pressured or coerced to do so. Greater than 50% felt rushed or uncertain about the decision, and greater than 80% felt that they received inadequate counseling prior to making the decision.

  7. Legalized abortion puts pregnant women at greater risk for violence and homicide. Violence against pregnant women is increasing. In a New Auckland University study, it was found that 10% of pregnant women in the sample were victims of violence with 75% of that group having been physically beaten by the father of the child. Women who suffered violence were 3 times more likely to have an abortion. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the leading cause of death of pregnant women in the U.S. is homicide. A study published in Public Health, indicated that the risk of domestic violence increases by 196% in the primary relationship after an abortion.

  8. Abortion puts female fetuses at risk. In many cultures, it is preferred that boys are born, rather than girls. Sex-selection abortion is common throughout the world and is becoming more common in the U.S.

The alternatives are not easy, but they are full of hope. Mothers who choose to bear and raise their children, and mothers who choose to make an adoption plan for their children, find that help is always available!

If you or anyone you know is experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and need practical and emotional support, there is always an abortion alternative that will protect the health and well-being of both you and your baby, and there are always people who will stand by you!

To find pregnancy help in your area, you can visit the Website or call OptionLine or Birthright.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing post-abortion trauma, healing is always available and there are always people who will stand by you!

To find post-abortion help in your area, you can visit the Website or call Project Rachel.

Finally, you can always contact me for a friendly ear, a hand, and a prayer!

My requirements for my children’s First Confession and First Communion prep are above and beyond whatever the parish will require (first “victim”/guinea pig: AH, this coming Spring). I’m using as guideposts the many things that I wish that someone had taught me — or at least introduced me to — at that stage in my spiritual life, the many things that Catholics often get wrong as they mature, and — quite frankly — what Catholic children used to be taught before the mass confusion set-in. I’m finding it a satisfying exercise, but my husband took one look at my list before masking a grin, wrapping his arms around me, and telling me not to put too much pressure on myself. 🙂 No, I don’t expect to turn my smart, funny, sweet 7 1/2 year-old into a zealous 35-year-old Catholic woman by this summer — Heaven forbid! — but I do hope and pray that she will at least know the essentials, know what she doesn’t yet know, and know where to find it when she’s ready.

Here’s my first stab at it:

First Confession/First Communion Preparation

My child must recite and/or understand before his/her First Confession:

•    the definition of sin
•    mortal v. venial sin, especially as relates to the state of grace
•    why sin – even venial sin – is bad
•    The Ten Commandments
•    The Great Commandment
•    the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy
•    summary of the precepts of the Church
•    daily habits (examen, particular examen)
•    how to do an examination of conscience from memory
•    why and how to find good examinations of conscience
•    the importance of Confession
•    the rite of Confession (what to expect of the priest and what to say)
•    the penance, reparation and resolutions
•    handling forgotten sins and other problems
•    frequency of Confession
•    how to explain Confession

My child must recite and/or understand before his/her First Holy Communion:

•    Who we receive in Communion
•    why we receive Holy Communion and its benefits
•    the importance of being in a state of grace/when not to receive Our Lord
•    the source of the words of Consecration and of the Holy Mass
•    how to participate reverently at Holy Mass
•    preparation and thanksgiving for each Holy Communion (and examples of appropriate prayers)
•    how to receive the Body (and the Blood) reverently
•    what to do if the Host falls or if you observe something potentially sacrilegious
•    frequency of Holy Communion
•    Spiritual Communion
•    how to explain Holy Communion

My child must have general and at least some practical knowledge of:

•    the Trinity
•    the Bible, Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Tradition
•    basic events in salvation history (the Fall, Israel’s sin and repentance cycle, prophecies of the Messiah, etc.) and the life of Jesus (especially the 20 Mysteries of the Rosary)
•    the types of prayer (ACTS)
•    devotions (the Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration, meditation, lectio divina, etc.)
•    the name and importance of the seven sacraments
•    the saints and patronage
•    the basic structure of the Church
•    how to select good reading/reliable sources

Hi, friends. You’re invited to consider joining our Catholic ladies’ Scripture/book study group that is ideal for stay-at-home moms and anyone else who finds it hard to get to local church-based study groups – a phone-chat study group!

As a SAHM living with my husband and six small children in an outlying area, I’ve wanted to do something like this for awhile, and I’ve now found the ideal technology and book to begin it. The technology is the free Skype group-call feature, and the book is “Walking with God: A Journey Through the Bible.” We will try to keep on schedule to finish our first book immediately before Thanksgiving, and then go on holiday hiatus until approximately January 8, 2013.

For the present, I’ve named the group “Our Lady’s WiFiS” (Women inquiring Faithfully into Scripture), under the patronage of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein, the intellectual, Jewish convert, and Carmelite nun murdered by the Nazis).

The tech

If you would like to join the discussion, simply tell me your Skype name and I’ll add you to the group call!

The book

I recently reviewed “Walking with God” on my blog. Please read my review for details about this excellent opportunity to read what is basically an inexpensive short-course in the narrative of the Scriptures, a narrative that we know in bits-and-pieces from Mass and other studies, but is here presented systematically.

You can order the book less expensively on Amazon.

In addition, I have and will be using the chart and journal that I mention in my review to help with a weekly content summary and to generate discussion questions.

Join the group call!

If you’d like to be added, please let me know as early as possible, and if you are having problems with the group call, please send me an SOS on Facebook or at weareacatholicfamily@live.com .

Here are some details, subject to tweaking as we see what works and what doesn’t:

Weekly Discussion Plan

All times are Pacific; come and go as you’d like.

7:00 p.m.: Group call and greet
7:10 p.m.: Opening prayer
7:15-8:20: Discussion
8:20: Wrap-up
8:25: Closing prayer
8:30: Hang-up

Study Schedule

All chats will be open on Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. Pacific time.

2 October 2012: Ch. 5 (“Conquest and Judges”)
9 October 2012: Ch. 6 (“Royal Kingdom”)

16 October 2012: Ch. 7 (“Divided Kingdom”)

23 October 2012: Ch. 8 (“Exile”)
30 October 2012: Ch. 9 (“Return”)
6 November 2012: Ch. 10 (“Maccabean Revolt”) and nominations for next book

13 November 2012: Ch. 11 (“Messianic Fulfillment”) and discussion of nominations for next book
20 November 2012: Ch. 12 (“The Church”), Book Wrap-Up, and selection of next book

Feel free to share the invitation!

The odds are pretty good that I’ve forgotten to send this to someone, even though I’ve scoured my e-mail address book and Facebook friends list, so if you think of any other Catholic ladies you’d like to invite, please feel free to share this with them, too. The more the merrier.

And, God bless us everyone! 🙂 Kristen

… a partial accounting. Others may come to a different course of action after praying and thinking on it, of course. This is my omnibus pre-election post, subject to updates as needed.

UPDATED 10 October 2012

The final straw

I already sat-out the GOP presidential primary due to my deep moral ambivalence about Mittley and each and every one of his primary challengers. The final straw?

Mitt Romney, while heading investment firm Bain Capital, chose to invest with a company called Stericycle; he chose to profit from the disposal of the bodies of victims of the present-day abortion Holocaust, according to a well-sourced piece done by the leftist publication Mother Jones! Hideous. Words fail.

My vote changes me

Mark Shea at Catholic and Enjoying It has generally excellent political commentary, and has had a great influence on my own conclusions. It was his post that originally alerted me to this story. As Shea frequently reminds us, the votes we cast may not change the outcome of an election, but they do change/mark us, and I don’t want the mark of that vote on my soul.

Since my (California) vote would be subsumed into the Democrat mass/mess anyway, withholding it has no real effect on the election (read-up on the electoral college if you don’t understand what I mean), but even if it did, even if my refusal to vote actually contributed to re-electing Obama — a man whose policies I loathe intensely and of which I fear the result — I would still never, ever, ever cast a single vote for a man who chose to profit from the disposal of the bodies of victims of the present-day abortion Holocaust! How is that any better than voting for an abortion supporter?! It is not good enough that Romney is not Obama or that he is of the GOP!

Failed rehabilitation

Some have frantically attempted to rehabilitate the GOP candidate, but their arguments are unconvincing for a number of reasons, including:

  • LifeNews simply takes Bain’s word for when Romney left the company, even though the Mother Jones piece clearly cites SEC filings with Romney’s signature that prove otherwise, and the millions of shares Romney continued to hold in Bain. Mother Jones reports, with hyperlinks to the filings:

The document also states that Romney “may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to” 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle “in his capacity as sole shareholder” of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm’s stock—the largest bloc among the firm’s owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.

and:

But the document Romney signed related to the Stericycle deal did identify him as a participant in that particular deal and the person in charge of several Bain entities. (Did Bain and Romney file a document with the SEC that was not accurate?) Moreover, in 1999, Bain and Romney both described his departure from Bain not as a resignation and far from absolute. On February 12, 1999, the Boston Herald reported, “Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions.” And a Bain press release issued on July 19, 1999, noted that Romney was “currently on a part-time leave of absence”—and quoted Romney speaking for Bain Capital. In 2001 and 2002, Romney filed Massachusetts state disclosure forms noting he was the 100 percent owner of Bain Capital NY, Inc.—a Bain outfit that was incorporated in Delaware on April 13, 1999—two months after Romney’s supposed retirement from the firm. A May 2001 filing with the SEC identified Romney as “a member of the Management Committee” of two Bain entities. And in 2007, the Washington Post reported that R. Bradford Malt, a Bain lawyer, said Romney took a “leave of absence” when he assumed the Olympics post and retained sole ownership of the firm for two more years.

  • Similarly, LifeNews simply assumes that Stericycle did not begin burning babies’ bodies until pro-lifers began protesting it, when it is very likely that it had been happening without public notice and therefore protest for years. At a minimum, LifeNews fails to show when the odious practice did begin, ony noting the date of the first piece of pro-life documentation.
  • LifeNews simply writes-off the reporting done by Mother Jones because it is a leftist publication with an obvious interest in buttressing Obama. The way to undermine a hostile piece of reporting is to convincingly dissect its flaws. LifeNews failed fully.
  • Most importantly, Romney apologetics fail because he himself continues to add to his anti-life record even now, proving that he is not pro-life, regardless of his claims!

Romney’s current anti-life record

In the ads from both the Obama campaign and Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund, Romney is accused of favoring a complete ban on abortion in all circumstances.

He actually supports exceptions in the case of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened.

The Romney campaign has termed the ads “viciously negative and false” — and nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from “disastrous” economic news. But the ads do contain quotes from Romney himself, vowing to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. The candidate apparently stands by that pledge.

Ever-weaker candidates and third-party?

Finally, I have two general observations borne-out by the current presidential campaign.

  • As committed pro-lifers have been forced year after year to vote for the one pro-life candidate in the race (if we are blessed to have even one!), disregarding his competence in any other area — that is, that we are forced to be one-issue voters — the general candidate pool is weakening, therefore weakening the entire system. Now, we can’t even scrape a genuinely pro-life candidate out of the GOP barrel, let alone one whom we can choose also based on strong positions on the economy or foreign policy, for example. If we keep selling our vote cheaply to the poor GOP candidates, whoever they are, this will continue and worsen. It is time for us to simply say “No, I will not run just because you ring your bell. I will sooner not vote than vote for you!” If enough of us do this, the message may get through. Or maybe not…
  • Some have responded to the paucity of pro-life candidates in the GOP by voting third-party, either out of conviction or to “send a message” to the GOP.  The problem is that our current political system simply kills third-parties; they have not and cannot succeed in our environment. So, perhaps a third-party’s convictions are laudable, but to vote third-party is an exercise in futility at a time that calls for action — often action well-beyond politics. And, if we’re voting that way to “send a message” to the GOP, I would argue that this very message has been sent for years now by many part-time third-party voters — and it is not being received! We are getting worse and worse candidate offerings from the GOP. So, I’m not going to waste my time finding the “perfect” third-party candidate who cannot ever win and who will send a message that the GOP will not receive!

UPDATE 1

The responses I’ve seen to my post/this line of thinking expressed by others lead me to post some more thoughts:

1. The difference between holding one’s nose to vote for a Dole or a Bush or a McCain and holding one’s nose to vote for  Romney is that: a) to the best of my knowledge, no prior GOP presidential nominee in recent memory has personally profited/sought to profit from abortion — while claiming to be pro-life, no less! Romney’s business and political fundraising decisions, however, show him doing this very thing. And, b) as far as I’ve seen, Romney has been completely unwilling to even acknowledge his odious Bain decision, let alone offer any sort of apology, sincere or otherwise. Similarly, I’m unaware that he’s apologized for the fundraiser, given back the money, or donated it to charity. If he had, this would be a different story. This level of deliberation and recalcitrance in support of the culture of death is unprecedented in GOP presidential politics and deserves our condemnation, not our support.

2. I’ve seen no real attempt to respond to the specific arguments I’ve made in this post and others have made elsewhere. The sum-total of the defense of Romney seems to be that demonstrable facts are somehow wrong and that “he’s not Obama, and if you don’t vote for Romney, you’re supporting Obama’s evil/Marxism/etc.” Since when do the ends justify the means?!  How do we show that being anti-life is gravely wrong by helping put into office a “less anti-life” candidate (whatever that means)?! Perhaps it’s time to deny our votes to a man who continues to do evil unapologetically — even if it looks like we’re bound to lose still more in an earthly perspective! — and then see how God responds! Is this not a more fitting way to show our fidelity to and trust in a God of Justice?

3. If I’ve decided to show my fidelity to and trust in God by sitting this one out, what am I doing? What’s the alternative? I’ve written a number of ideas in my post about persecution. In regards to this election, specifically, however, I would argue that what a Christian might best do is make reparation.

Some of the most proven fruitful ways of doing this are genuine, approved Marian devotions (all of the good fruit some have obtained by returning to the Church’s sacraments at Medjugorje, without that place’s poisonous “fruits” of disobedience and division!), such as those requested by Our Lady when she appeared to the children at Fatima, specifically the simple prayers she taught to the children, accompanied by willingly accepting and offering-up the little sacrifices that come into our lives each day, much like St. Therese’s “Little Way.”

This is all rather neatly bound together in St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, the way of many saints and popes. (33 Days to Morning Glory is an excellent enhanced preparation for the Total Consecration that I am presently reading. It distills de Montfort’s insights, as well as those of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed John Paul II.) Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Bl. Francisco and Bl. Jacinta, pray for us. Sr. Lucia of Jesus, pray for us. St. Therese, pray for us. St. Louis de Montfort, pray for us. St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us. Bl. John Paul II, pray for us.

So, yes, there is plenty we can do besides sit it out. 🙂

UPDATE 2

Psalm 146 turned-up in the daily Mass readings not too long ago (emphasis mine); it tells us where to put our trust (“LORD” is repeated 11 times, by my count!) and where not to place it (“princes”):

1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! 2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; 8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The LORD will reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

UPDATE 3

It is clear to me that Mitt Romney will do absolutely nothing to address abortion (or other threats to life and family) in office — and may in fact “go along to get along.” Even in front of a friendly audience, he refused even to simply state that he would undo the odious HHS mandate that is violating our religious freedom. (In fact, his “RomneyCare” set a precedent of forcing Catholic hospitals to violate the Faith!) Further, we see that advancing the Culture of Life does not even rate a tiny spot on his agenda! Ask yourself: If you truly believe that abortion is taking millions of innocent lives and maiming hundreds of thousands of mothers each year in this country, would you not — on day one in office! — try to limit abortion in any legal way available to you — to save the lives you can! — and make it a key item on your agenda? Does anyone really believe that Romney will do anything like this (any more than the Bushes generally did)? Or, does it seem more likely that he will only support life/oppose death when it advances, or at least does no harm, to his real priorities?! Romney remains a poor prudential vote for pro-lifers!

As the self-declared religious, political, and moral enemies of the Faith and or Christians become more hateful and violent towards us (examples could be multiplied almost to infinity), leaving aside any pretense of respect or even tolerance, the question becomes less theoretical and historical, and more practically-pressing:

What should a Christian’s response to persecution look like?

Though by no means a conclusive essay, here are a few conclusions I’ve come to, based on some reflection on the Scriptures and the lives of the saints. I welcome you to share yours in the combox below.

1. We are indeed called to “turn the other cheek” and be willing to “lay down [our lives] for a friend,” but we are not to sell ourselves cheaply; we do not shove our cheeks against others’ hands, or wear a sign that says “Crucify me!” We should fight to preserve our lives, our families, and our rights as fully as possible, for as long as we can. After all, if we are silenced or dead, we are unable to press the vital spiritual battle in any earthly sense.

2. In fighting to preserve our lives, our families, and our rights, we need to be careful not to put ourselves in the way of justice. In other words, if we’re writing/speaking or acting in a way that draws others’ attention almost solely to ourselves and not to, say, the Faith, or the lives of the preborn, or the defense of the family, we are doing it wrong. One way that we make this mistake is by letting ourselves get overtaken by the very natural human emotion of anger that swells when we — or our children! — are unjustly attacked. The antidote to this is supernatural: mercy, particularly the Divine Mercy devotion.

Many times, Jesus slipped-away from those seeking to kill Him because it was not yet His “hour.” St. Maximilian Kolbe published against the Nazis and suffered in a concentration camp for it, but he only put himself forth for martyrdom when necessary to save the life of a father with small children. The early Christians hid in homes and catacombs for Mass — they didn’t set-up an altar in the town square — but when the persecutors came for them, they refused to sacrifice to idols, and they prayed and shared the Faith as they were being tortured and killed for it. None of these called-down the wrath of God to smite their enemies. Jesus famously prayed on the Cross “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Many saints have used these exact same words on their own crosses, whatever shape they took. Many times, the very men and women who were perpetrating or encouraging the persecution were themselves converted by this example, and persecuted themselves for following it!

3. Some specific strategies that we might follow include:

+ strengthening ourselves spiritually (praying frequently and frequenting the Sacraments, studying the Scriptures/saints/spiritual writings, continuously practicing the virtues — especially humility!, connecting with others who are trying to bone-up, too, etc.).

+ doing what we can practically and legally to protect our families and our legal rights (keeping our children from those trying to take their innocence for malicious ends, having as little as possible to do with government agencies/”mandatory reporters” [doctors, teachers, social workers, etc., who often act like overzealous busybodies] and “keeping our noses clean,” being ready and able to use legal processes when our rights are violated, etc.).

+ spreading, via social networks and conversation, news of injustices and inviting even those opposed to our message to consider what they are really supporting. Are there people who have rendered themselves beyond reaching by willful ignorance and hatred? Sure. But, most people are reachable somehow, sometime! Do this across as many lines as possible (religious, political, class, race, sin-proclivity, etc.).

+ forgiving our enemies, realizing that our battle is not truly against them, but against Satan and his army of fallen angels, and praying for the ongoing conversion of all people, including ourselves.

+ asking the intercession of our fellow Christians and of the Church Triumphant in Heaven, including our Guardian Angels and the Archangels.

+ taking what is intended for evil and turning it to good. For example, if a legislator’s idea of a rip-roarin’ good time/counter-punch to a pro-life bill is to read “The V***** Monologues” on the Capitol steps (see the “hateful” link above), adults can turn-out nearby to silently pray a Rosary, holding non-graphic signs about the dignity of all human life and the help that is available to women in need.

+ having a sense of humor, especially about ourselves. One of the most famous examples is St. Lawrence, who was burned to death on gridiron. At one point, he told his torturers to turn him over because he was cooked on that side!

+ voting — and voting only for those who are worthy of office, even if that means sitting some elections out. Don’t take your party’s word for it; do your own candidate and proposition research!

+ standing our ground, with grace, when the battle is finally brought to our front doors.

Our Lady’s WiFiS

UPDATED 17 July 2012

Hi, friends. You’re invited to consider joining me to form a new Catholic ladies’ Scripture/book study group that is ideal for stay-at-home moms and anyone else who finds it hard to get to local church-based study groups – a phone-chat study group!

As a SAHM living with my husband and six small children in an outlying area, I’ve wanted to do something like this for awhile, and I’ve now found the ideal technology and book to begin it. The technology is the free Skype group-call feature, and the book is “Walking with God: A Journey Through the Bible.”

For the present, I’ve named the group “Our Lady’s WiFiS” (Women inquiring Faithfully into Scripture), under the patronage of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein, the intellectual, Jewish convert, and Carmelite nun murdered by the Nazis).

The tech

If you would like to join the discussion, simply tell me your Skype name and I’ll add you to the group call!

The book

I recently reviewed “Walking with God” on my blog. Please read my review for details about this excellent opportunity to read what is basically an inexpensive short-course in the narrative of the Scriptures, a narrative that we know in bits-and-pieces from Mass and other studies, but is here presented systematically.

You can order the book less expensively on Amazon.

In addition, I have and will be using the chart and journal that I mention in my review to help with a weekly content summary and to generate discussion questions.

Join the group call!

If you’d like to be added, please let me know as early as possible, and if you are having problems with the group call, please send me an SOS on Facebook or at weareacatholicfamily@live.com .

Here are some details, subject to tweaking as we see what works and what doesn’t:

Weekly Discussion Plan

All times are Pacific; come and go as you’d like.

7:00 p.m.: Group call and greet
7:10 p.m.: Opening prayer
7:15-8:20: Discussion
8:20: Wrap-up
8:25: Closing prayer
8:30: Hang-up

Study Schedule

All chats after the Test Run will be open on Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. Pacific time.

Friday, 8 June 2012, 7-7:30 p.m. Pacific time: Test Run. Anyone who wants to test-out their download of ooVoo, ask any questions, or just gab with new and old friends is welcome!

12 June 2012: Introduction (“Finding Scripture’s Story”)

techincal difficulties

10 July 2012: Ch. 1 (“Early World”)
17 July 2012: Ch. 2 (“Patriarchs”)

24 July 2012: break (OLPH VBS and my 8th wedding anniversary 🙂 )

31 July 2012: Ch. 3 (“Egypt and Exodus”)

7 August 2012: Ch. 4 (“Desert Wanderings”)
14 August 2012: Ch. 5 (“Conquest and Judges”)
21 August 2012: Ch. 6 (“Royal Kingdom”)

28 August 2012: Ch. 7 (“Divided Kingdom”)

4 September 2012: Ch. 8 (“Exile”)
11 September 2012: Ch. 9 (“Return”)
18 September 2012: Ch. 10 (“Maccabean Revolt”) and nominations for next book

25 September 2012: Ch. 11 (“Messianic Fulfillment”) and discussion of nominations for next book
2 October 2012: Ch. 12 (“The Church”), Book Wrap-Up, and selection of next book

Feel free to share the invitation!

The odds are pretty good that I’ve forgotten to send this to someone, even though I’ve scoured my e-mail address book and Facebook friends list, so if you think of any other Catholic ladies you’d like to invite, please feel free to share this with them, too. The more the merrier.

And, God bless us everyone! 🙂 Kristen

As I was driving today, trying to pray and examine my conscience — while staving-off non-stop questions from my four- and five-year-old girls — into my head popped this line from the aborted wedding scene in my favorite Shakespearean play, Much Ado About Nothing:

“Give not this rotten orange to your friend;
She’s but the sign and semblance of her honour.”

He further protests that he intends:

“Not to be married,
Not to knit my soul to an approved wanton.”

Or, as the hilarious SparkNotes “No Fear Shakespeare” translates it into modern English:

“Don’t insult a friend by giving him a beautiful orange that rots inside. She only appears honorable from the outside.”

And:

“I won’t be married. I won’t join my soul to such a proven slut.”

(Claudio, Act IV, Scene i)

I don’t usually think in Shakespeare, of course, but I just watched the excellent 1993 movie version a few nights ago.

Isn’t our reception of the Eucharist at Mass, and in a lesser way in spiritual communion, often this very sort of thing?! With whatever rot we’ve got inside of us (however we appear to others), we go to be joined to Our Lord. And — wonder of wonders — not only does He not refuse and make a scene as Claudio did, but He joins His Body and Soul to ours, over and over, if we but desire it! And, He offers to heal the rot, especially in Confession. Deo gratias!

Don’t insult a friend by giving him a beautiful orange that rots inside. She only appears honorable from the outside.
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