Thursday, March 29, 2012

Good Films for 12-year old Girls - 7QuickTakes

My 12-year old will not be watching The Hunger Games any time soon. She hasn't read the books. Some of her friends have read the books and saw the movie at the midnight premiere. I think if I described the books' plot (I have read them), she would be happy that I am not permitting her to go with "everyone" who is watching the movie. I am taking my big girls and some of their friends to see Mirror, Mirror this weekend. I hope it will be a fun, appropriate film. My quick takes are some of my favorite movies that I think work for this age: 

My Fair Lady (1964) - I love the songs, but this film leads to many discussions on relationships (like really- she ends up with Henry Higgins?)

The Song of Bernadette (1943)- religious, but not overly sentimental. It's a great example of positive 'girl power'

The Sound of Music (1965)- a good film to discuss vocation and God's will

Anne of Green Gables/Anne of Avonlea (1985)- lovely- I've never seen the third installment, and I hope my girls won't succumb to the temptation. Even though The Road to Avonlea series is not perfectly in line with L M Montgomery's books, I'm okay with the changes and expansions there as the 'story girl' books aren't so sacrosanct. 

Lark Rise to Candleford (2008)- a British series about a small village girl working in the big town.

The Truman Show (1998)- I just like it, and I think my girls will, too.

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (1991) - It has been years since I've seen this movie, but I think my girls will like it! Bring your hankies!

Other possibilities: Miss Potter, Newsies, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (almost any musical), A Walk to Remember
Animation that I like: The Incredibles (an intact family! mom stays at home but is a super woman!), Tangled, Mulan
Sometimes the rating doesn't matter so much- I'm thinking The Pursuit of Happyness (PG-13) and The King's Speech (R) would both be good for my big girls to see with me in the near or not so near future
dear reader- please add your movie suggestions in the combox

more quick takes at

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Substandard & Slipshod Search Word Poetry

fair trade christmas lights
annoying orange party rock
helen keller's bachelor's degree

queen mary mom of god
christ is risen
but we must cultivate our garden

priests wife
byzantine catholic

fear not little flock blog
fear not little flock
fear not

annoying orange party rock
cheeky pink
 compare and contract mozart and bob dylan

Easter in Ukraine
polish easter baskets
mary magdalene red egg

mother of guadalupe
mother teresa taking vows
mama of fatima

no fear

Monday, March 26, 2012

Artificial Contraception, Why Not? NFP, Why? A Guest Post from Bear

Thank you, Bear, for this guest post! Bear has been a semi-frequent semi-anonymous commenter of this blog from its beginning who is:
-Byzantine Catholic
- a Philosopher with interests in logic and analytic philosophy
- interested in early music, opera, film, swimming and riding
- owned by a bossy cat

"Reading this other US based blogs, there seems to be a bit of contention among Catholics in the US about the use of NFP and whether it is equivalent to using artificial contraception, and whether it permissible to use. There is a lot of discussion about the Ends - the procreative and unitative  aspects of marriage and the "marriage debt". While such a discussion is often helpful and illuminating, it obviously does not answer the entire question: a more rigourous person could argue that when engaged in sex, the couple should actively intend both ends.

I think that it could be useful to consider why the Church considers Artificial Contraception wrong.
What is the problem with Artificial Contraception?
The difference between NFP and other fertility control is that NFP does not disrupt the natural function of the body or the act. Other fertility control methods either engage in post facto acts of violence (abortion and IUDs) or inhibit the act (condoms and some forms of the pill).

In a Thomist context to remove or to disrupt a natural and good function or ability is disordered: it equivalent to mutilation, such as amputation: one does not cut off a finger for cosmetic reasons, but if it has gangrene then one cuts it off to save the person. This is also the reason why intoxication, whether from alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, crack, heroin &c., is also wrong - because it inhibits the faculty of reason, and often has other side effects.

While this does not mean disordered acts are automatically prohibited and can not be done, there are a couple of consequences. This act can not be the primary reason. That is, it can not be done on its own or be the actual end of an action. There needs to be a good reason for the act. If there is a greater good - for example, saving the life of someone with gangrene - then this mutilation is permissible for that greater good. This is the principle of "Double Effect".

What does this mean for artificial contraception? It means that things like the pill can not be used for contraception, but can be therapeutic reasons to assist a women. Consider, a women is under significant stress and she has menses every two weeks and is becoming anaemic. She is can take medicine to control her menses to ensure that she stays healthy.

My mother used to say about the pill "You don't give medicine to healthy people" - especially if it is to stop their natural functions.

Thus, given that NFP does not alter any natural function and is in the context of marriage, there is nothing disordered with the means. So any objections to NFP will be in the intent of NFP.
Intent is the purpose of the action (or inaction). Knowledge, while intrinsically good, it a double edged sword. We can use knowledge for good or evil. So while the action of something may not be intrinsically morally disordered, the context and the purposes maybe. For example, genetic sequencing of a virus.

Good if the intent is to find a treatment and a possible immunisation for the virus.
Evil if the intent to determine the best way to genetically engineer the virus so that no one will have immunity then to weaponise this pathogen. The action in each case is the same - sequencing a virus. But the intent is vastly different.

Similarly, NFP uses a body of knowledge about human physiology that allow a couple to know when they are fertile. How the couple use this knowledge is really up to them, and one will have to judge on their intent. 

The most common object to the intent of NFP seems to be that its use is rejecting God's providence, and not showing trust in Him. This is a rather narrow view of God's providence. It also ignores that God has given us reason, and the desire for knowledge and the ability to understand our world. God's providence means that we use our abilities and talents cooperating with the Almighty's plans - the parable of the Talents certainly emphasises that. There are a number of stories and jokes about Gods providence, such as rescuing a man from flood or winning the lottery. There are two points made with these stories. We are expected to exercise our natural reason and talents. It is not a passive acceptance of the divine will and that angels will do our work for us.

God may work in ways we do not expect or understand. Consider a couple who decide that they will trust in God's providence and not work or actively seek a means of living to support their family. We would not consider that an appropriate view of God's providence. We would certainly not think this is an example worth emulating and promoting: and telling couples who are working that they wrong because they are not trusting in God's providence.

This is a rather old problem - the Apostle Paul had this difficulty in some of his own converts, who refused work to trust in God's providence. As the Apostle wrote in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13. While we were with you, we gave this order: “If anyone doesn't want to work, he shouldn't eat.” We hear that some of you are living in idleness. You are not busy working you are busy interfering in other people's lives! We order and encourage such people by the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers, do not get tired of doing what is right. So if one wants to say that NFP is not trusting in God's providence, one will have to argue that using the knowledge of human physiology and fertility is somehow disordered.

The usual approach is to argue that NFP intrinsically promotes a "contraceptive mentality". Unfortunately, this is a very vague accusation and since it usually comes as an assertion without arguments, it is difficult to know what it actually means. While, yes, it can be used for contraception, the couple could also abstain altogether, or have a "Josephite Marriage" for contraceptive reasons. I rarely find those opposed to NFP also opposed to "Josephite" marriages.

NFP is also used to assist couples to conceive - again this knowledge is good. If one is opposed NFP for birth spacing, is one also opposed to it for this reason? If so, why? The problem is that the knowledge is there and it is up to the couple how they use that knowledge. To attack NFP is to fundamentally question the motives and virtue of those involved without providing an argument stronger then "I don't like it". This is not really a good argument.
Final Thoughts
When Jesus, our Divine Master, was teaching, he criticised the Pharisees for placing heavy burdens upon people and not lifting a finger to help them. I think He was also speaking directly to us: warning us that we should not lay burdens upon people without considering how it will affect them or providing them with the means to carry the burden. We should also take the Apostle's instruction seriously in getting on with our own lives and work and not interfere with other people's lives.

So unless there is a solid argument that using NFP is disordered, we should not place another burden upon families. Yes, we should trust in the providence of God, but God gave us reason, knowledge and intelligence. These are the highest faculties given in creation, and these are to be used to cooperate with God's providence."

LIFE- worth fighting for

"Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them." Susan B. Anthony 1889

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our  children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."  Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1873

"I am in no position to judge other women, you know. But I mean, why did she get pregnant? It's not good for women to go through the procedure [abortion] and have something living sucked out of their bodies. It belittles women. Even though some women say, 'Oh, I don't mind to have one,' every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem smaller and smaller and smaller." Dolores O'Riordan: Lead Vocalist, The Cranberries: (Source: You! June/July 1996)

I found the above video link at Faith and Family Live, and I just had to share it here. Gloria Purvis is speaking from a Catholic standpoint, but I think many other Christians and freedom-loving Americans will find truth here, too. If you or a friend have been hurt by abortion, there are places of healing- the one I know of is Rachel's Vineyard which offers help from Catholic and other Christian perspectives. Feminists for Life and Atheist & Agnostic Prolife League would be a resource for abortion healing with a secular focus. 

"But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practiced under the pressure of real- life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God's law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfillment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception."  Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 13, March 25, 1995
A pro-life thing we can all do today: DONATE to Malcolm's adoption fund so he is not sent to an adult mental institution.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Does Jesus see me as "bothersome" & "tiring"?

"This is a blogger that reaaaaalllly bothers me.

At first I was only bothered by her presence EVERYWHERE in the Catholic blogosphere - every commbox possible, yup, she's there. From superty-duperty conservatives like Father Z to touchy-feely Catholics like Elizabeth Esther, she ("Priest's Wife") really gets around! Playing both sides of the fence in such a way that I don't really know what she believes or where she's coming from.

And then I saw her blog for like ten minutes and I get it: She's the black sheep trying desperately to fit in.
Well, it's not likely to happen.
Mamby-pamby, nicey-nicey isn't my cup of tea. Pick a side. And while you're at it, stop dominating every conversation!
End rant."- written by Cheeky Pink Girl (March 6, 2012)

'Cheeky Pink Girl' doesn't like me or my blog. Most of the commenters don't like me either. I would try to forget about her post about me and my blog, but she identifies herself as a 'conservative Catholic'- so we should be on the 'same team' even if we are playing different roles in this life that is our salvation history. Atheists hate Jen Fulwiler. Ultra-liberal Catholics hate Fr. Z. Pro-Abortion activists hate Life Site News. Jen, Fr. Z, and Life Site News probably take the hatred in stride because it comes from the opposing view- but when someone who you have a faith in common with detests you enough to publish a short blog 
This is the link to the actual blog post- If 'Cheeky Pink Girl" asks me to delete her post, I will. 

- What is wrong with commenting occasionally on Fr Z and Elizabeth Esther's blogs? Fr Z gives one perspective, and he seems very knowledgeable. And as a sometimes touchy-feely person myself, Elizabeth Esther has a very interesting take on life and her continuing conversion from a cult-like church. I find it sad when we have to put things into little boxes. I am a confusing, bothersome person who prefers my Divine Liturgy ad orientem (anyways- that's normal for my church- sorry to dominate the conversation with that) but who still tears up when I hear On Eagle's Wings- it was the theme song at my first Catholic retreat when I was thirteen. So, "pick a side"? Nope, I'm trying to be CATHOLIC and celebrate diversity!

-I am not "everywhere" in the blogosphere. I just have a tendency to comment whenever I read an article or post. So if you read five comments of mine a day, I have read five articles that day- and really, if you "see me all over the Catholic blogosphere" that means you are all over the Catholic blogosphere- just not leaving comments to give feedback to the blogger or continue the conversation. 

-I am still not clear how a two or three line comment out of many comments "dominates" the conversation. But I'm just a little housewife. So if you are annoyed by my comment, try to skip over it.

-My blog is tiny. I write about a truly miniscule part of the Catholic world. In the Middle East, fellow Eastern Christians (Eastern Catholic and Orthodox) are being slaughtered every day. So, forgive me if I am concerned about our survival. Our survival depends on the Roman-rite Catholic world knowing who we are and accepting our traditions in our own churches. 

-Yes, I am a "black sheep"- all Eastern Catholics in the US are "black sheep." We are a tiny minority who have been persecuted in the past in the U.S. Thousands of Byzantine Catholic left for the Orthodox Church when it was clear that our traditions were not going to be tolerated in the States. So much has improved with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, thank God. 

-But I am most certainly not trying to "fit in." Even if I weren't the wife of a priest, I wouldn't fit in. I have never fit in anywhere except my own family. I pray, I fast, I live a non-drinking, non-smoking, no contraception kind of life, but a favorite music group of mine is Queen (I turn it up horribly loud) and I love Harry Potter (but I do focus on classics of true literature). Hypocrite? I don't think so- I am an individual, not something you can just put into a box like "conservative pro-life homeschooling part-time-working Catholic who wants to agree with distributism but doesn't see how that would quite work and who happens to have married a future priest." I might be boring, annoying and bothersome- but there is more to me than the box people think they can put me in- just as your blog, cheeky pink girl, shows only certain sides of you.

- If I were trying to fit in, I would be cowering and hiding, trying to not confuse people. How many clergy wives have blogs? Not many. It is a risk to write about my life- especially when I am trying to preserve the privacy of parishioners, children and my husband. This is just a little diary that I hope informs some people. I am who I am. I wish I could be a better writer and develop my posts more -especially with theological and historical posts- but I am lucky to have time to spell-check.

-I comment about five times a day at different places. For 'cheeky pink girl' to write a blog post about how much I annoy her- wow- I must really annoy her. I just needed to explain myself. And then take a few Advil. 

-She says that I shouldn't mention being a different rite than the majority. She says most practicing Catholics know there are other accepted rites. Sorry, but this just isn't true. Most people think I am Episcopalian or Orthodox. And when she says "just be Catholic!"- that sounds like someone who has never had an experience out of the majority rite. This "just be Catholic!" attitude is what led to the destruction of the minority rite in the US because most people think "Catholic" equals mandatory celibacy, rosaries, adoration and year A, B and C. This is true of being majority Catholic- being minority Catholic is different. But this is annoying to you. Do you know what is really annoying? The slaughter of the minority rite Catholics (and Orthodox and other Christians) in the Middle East.  

The following comment is the primary reason why I've acknowledged Cheeky Pink Girl's post:
Alice said...
I read Priest's Wife's blog and I hadn't noticed her being particularly nicey-nicey. She has next to nothing nice to say about the Latin Church and nothing nice at all to say to people who believe that ordaining married men to the priesthood might not be the best policy. I hadn't noticed her dominating conversations unless they were about the Eastern Church or the ordination of married men either. I don't find any of that surprising since she is, after all, an Eastern Catholic priest's wife. I find her attitude toward the Latin Church tiring, though, because surely she can understand that many Latins, like myself, may not be too excited about less than reverent Masses and the like but don't want to become pseudo-Slavs to fit in the Byzantine Church.                                         MARCH 7, 2012 11:21 AM

So- I'm not kind to Roman-rite Catholics in general and I have "nothing nice at all to say to people who believe that ordaining married men to the priesthood might not be the best policy." 
First of all, I have tried to be really careful in not telling another rite what to do. My family of origin is Roman-rite (that sounds stupid- like 'some of my best friends are ____')- but isn't it best to prefer what you are? I have Roman-rite friends who like our Liturgy, but they feel more at home at their Mass because that is who they are. It is the same with me. I just love the Roman-rite Easter vigil (who doesn't?), but you will find me at my church because that is who I am.

Because I am the first and last person to tend to practical things at my church (like getting music books to people, singing if the cantor doesn't show up, setting up coffee hour, etc), it might be tempting to be critical when I am visiting a different church. But to be critical about (why didn't they sing during distribution of the Eucharist? Why no coffee and donuts at this mega-parish with 2 priests and 10 [married, no clergy collars allowed] deacons and five thousand families?) a parish I am visiting  would be like going into someone's house as a dinner guest and start giving opinions about their drapes. That's just rude and I don't do it. I don't allow my children to do it. And I hope visitors are merciful too when they visit our missions. We are all sinners and perhaps clergy-types are the worst offenders because of their responsibility.

I had a friend from Poland. Let's call him Peter from Poland. He really, really loves his country. But he usually doesn't talk about all the great things about Poland. He insults all the bordering countries and the decadence that is the United States. So, I could be Peter from Poland. I could talk about celibate priests with secretary/gate keepers. I could talk about celibate priests who own planes. I could talk about celibate priests who....but what good would that do? I will try to focus on the positive/neutral about married priests in the Eastern rites and let the other arguments fall. Talking about mandatory celibacy is impossible. If I try to defend the possibility of married men being ordained priests (in the Eastern rites- I have written time and time again that it is not my business to give even an opinion on this issue for the Roman-rite)- it's impossible.

The lesson I have learned from Cheeky Pink Girl (EDIT- leaving Alice out of this sentence after re-reading- I stand by the rest of my post)  is that she wishes we 'other Catholics' would go away- at least from the blogosphere- the only place they have encountered us minority Catholics. And I know a lot of people feel this way. We complicate things even though we are totally unimportant and small. We probably won't survive another generation. oops- opinion on the Roman-rite coming!- The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, after ordaining over 45 married deacons last year, will not allow them to wear clerical collars. So the Church needs them and uses them and doesn't give them a stipend, but it doesn't give them their dignity as clerics. So- writing about a married priest family that isn't all that bad- another way to be Catholic (meaning- "Universal")- is a challenge to those who want the entire Church to be just like their local parish. Anything else isn't "Catholic." 

a few of my posts for 'Alice' (by the way- that is on my top ten list of favorite female names- I always think of St Thomas More's wife)

The Challenge of Celibacy- is this where I am all negative?
Sad Days- please read the last paragraph! That is the theme of this blog- "bothersome" and "tiring" as it is.

Surfing around, I didn't really find much about the Latin-rite (except a few guest posts written by Latin-rite Catholics who are friends and some 'reports' of visits) because that isn't the focus of this blog, so I don't really understand how I have been unkind. The Latin-rite brought me into the Church. I love the entire Church. I love the Holy Father. I pray for understanding, forgiveness and unity.

7 QuickTakes- What You Don't Know About Priest's Wife

1. Cardinal Levada confirmed me. I think my unconfirmed little brother was my proxy sponsor. My patron is St Anne.
2. I love science fiction books and movies like Minority Report, Brave New World and 1984- just about anything from Ray Bradbury. But I really don't like the concept of alien civilizations- even that horrid new Transformers movie gave me the willies. Oh- and I loved Lost (except Bai LIng- what was that about? Even Nikki and Paolo made sense compared to her.)

3. My favorite color is green, and my favorite scent is lavender.
4. I was an insufferable Anglophile growing up. I planned my trip across the pond hen I was 12. I have never been there. I lived in Austria and Slovakia for four years and now I am in central Europe every other summer. I don't think I am going to get there. 

5. I haven't watched Downton Abbey yet. See #4.
6. I've never been drunk and have never smoked a cigarette, tobacco or otherwise. I have had one boyfriend- now husband. Wow, I really am white bread. There was little to no rebellion in my teenage and early adult years. But I did marry a future priest with an accent. That was quite the surprise to my very Roman Roman Catholic family. They thought I would marry a fictional English animal doctor and live in the land of All Creatures Great and Small. Sorry, different accent.

7. I had absolutely no ideas written down for Quick Takes- can you tell? And I am foolishly trying to beat a few blogger friends to here's the last thing that you don't know about me- I can be quite silly! And, sometimes I am silly, talking mommy-things or foody-things- sometimes I can get quite serious (maybe depressing to some). 
Well- Ric Ballard, who writes at the blog Eastern Catholic Spiritual Renewal has given me permission to repost some of his posts which are far more theological than mine usually are. Here's one originally posted in January. Take a look at his blog if you interested in Byzantine spiritual practices. The blog is one man's opinions and experiences, but it gives a different insight into East/West conflicts and unity.

Which One is Right?
     by Ric Ballard- "My 11 year old brought a very challenging question to our daily faith discussions that we have as a family. In explaining to her that our Byzantine tradition on original sin is different then what she is being taught in her Roman Catholic school she asked, "which one is right?". What she asked was very serious and I had to be careful in how I responded because religious truth is essential in how we respond to God and others. I told her that the need for salvation through baptism is what's most important but how we understand the process is a great mystery. I then repeated the words of Blessed John Paul the Great when he said that one tradition can come closer to appreciating the mystery better then the other at times and as Byzantines we are called to uphold our understanding of the mystery.
     Questions like the one above are what we all ask ourselves when we find what is sacred to us being challenged by another truth. Historically, when our Byzantine traditions have been challenged in the past by the Latin tradition, at least in my own church, we threw them out in order not appear as heretics. This cycle of replacement has been very hard to break because we don't wish our unity with Rome to be threatened. In addition to compromising in the effort of trying to return to our roots, some have gone as far to say there are no differences in traditions rather it's a matter of wording. In my opinion, this is worse then compromising because it leads to confusion. For example, try telling an 11-year old that all babies are born pure and not separated from God's grace (as we are taught in the Byzantine tradition) means the same thing as babies are separated from grace and need to be cleansed from original sin (as it is in the Latin tradition). [this needs more clarification and references. I'll look around his blog for more on this important issue. We certainly do a lot of exorcisms during a Byzantine baptism! priest's wife]
     They emphasize the unique spiritualities that are proper to each tradition but are often misinterpreted as conflicting truths. Essentially instead of looking for how much truth one tradition has over the other, as we are sometimes inclined to do, we need to ask what part of the mystery is that particular tradition trying to address.
     By looking at the mysteries of our faith from the perspective  of another tradition,  we can become open to enriching our very own. In the previous century, the Latin tradition has been known for doing this very thing. By looking East, the Latin tradition has fine-tuned its doctrine of original sin. For example, the recent catechism as opposed to the Baltimore catechism gives a toned down understanding of inherited guilt, not to mention the divergence in the doctrine of limbo. Its obvious that we have a lot to offer each other when we become confident in the uniqueness of our tradition. Unfortunately, in those Eastern churches that lost their identity because of Latinization we are not able to have the same confidence as of yet.
     It is imperative that we recover our theological traditions without fear. Being afraid of being different then Rome continues to leave some of us crippled. As demonstrated being different in religious truth does not make us at odds. The divinely inspired diversity is for the good of the whole church for it leads to a better understand of the mysteries of our salvation. In the first 1000 years of Christianity, our churches learned to benefit from this diversity. Even though divisions had occurred in the historical churches, the theological diversity never diminished. We have inherited this diversity and need to be faithful to the gift that God has given us."

go to for more quick takes

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another "Bit of Reality"- My Priest-Husband's Faults

- He hates tomato soup.
- He leaves his pistachio, sunflower seed, and pumpkin seed shells neatly in a cup. Unfailingly, two-year-old girl will find said cup and throw the shells around. Grr.
- When I buy him a 2-liter of Coke Zero, it will not live a day, especially if we have ice.
-  As a true European, he wears socks with his sandals.
- He isn't skinny, but he is always the best swimmer in the pool. Unfair.
- His spelling in English is not that great sometimes.
- He liked Eddie Murphy's 1000 Words.

But, but, but- you say, dear reader- None of these faults have anything to do with his priestly vocation! Your blog is boring! Give the scandalous scoop so that  we get "a bit of reality, rather than rank-and-file parsing of Catholic thought and teaching, which gets boring, and which is the fodder of hundreds of other Catholic blogs as it is...." 

Alright, reader, you asked for it. Here's a few of his faults as a priest. After you read it and say "Tut-tut, looks like rain" (oops- that's Christopher Robin)- no, you'll say "Pish-posh, no man can have these two vocations and succeed!" Well, I say "faithfulness, not success" (via our  dear Mother Theresa of Calcutta), and PLEASE pray for him and his family and his ministries in the churches and the hospital and the police stations.

- Sometimes he sings the litanies too slowly
- Sometimes his vibrato is too thick
- "He doesn't drink enough"- this was an actual complaint from a parishioner
- He lets servers come to the altar before they are pitch perfect (our son specifically)
- He wants every actively-practicing Catholic man to be a deacon 
- He lets a guitar into the church for the final song (this is not 'kosher' by Byzantine standards)
- We have had our second mission for almost two years and have never taken a collection (why is this a fault? We need to be organized and we aren't with this new mission. Also, for a church to grow, it needs to feel legitimate for the people and taking a collection gives it legitimacy)
- He takes too long with parish council meetings
- His default answer to a request is "Yes." 

Is that real enough? We are pretty white bread around here, trying to live a non-scandalous, non-dramatic life. Time for some Mary J.....I'll be rocking out in the family van.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Day in my Life- a "Bit of Reality"

fair warning: The only thing 'typical' in a typical day for me is that every day is atypical. Here's today, Wednesday....

6:00 AM- I pray SERVIAM in my mind and get priest-husband up for his gym workout. I go back to sleep.

6:45- I pray SERVIAM again and get out of bed, knowing that I am most certainly not the type of woman that satan says "oh no" about when I start the day. I try, but as I've said, I am a lazy, low-energy introvert.

then...breakfast, kid stuff, make school lists for the big girls, go to the car rental place to get my name on the rental agreement so I can drive Fr's rental (his car has been in the shop with a dead starter for almost a week) while he takes part of the day off from his hospital work so he can drive Boy and preschool friends to the zoo about 45 minutes north, pack lunches, give instructions to bug girls who will be with our house guest until I get home at 2

8:45- Fr. takes Boy to preschool to pick up other riders and then drives to zoo for field trip. I leave for my college to observe my boss teaching for her required evaluation. After my observation, I drive the forty-five minutes north to the zoo to relieve Fr.

11:00- the changing of the guard. We switch cars so Fr. can drive back down to get to work at the hospital. I join the preschool field trip; baby girl is also there. I highly recommend the 'Sit and Stand' double stroller fort activities like this.

12:00 PM- Fr. makes his important meeting with the new CEO and president of his hospital. I sit down to peanut butter crackers, bananas and water with the preschool group at the zoo. Boy bites his lip and stars wailing. I'm glad I decided to be a parent chaperon because there are simply not enough adults to attend to all the minor drama swirling around.

2:00- I get back to town and drop off my passengers. Boy and baby girl are exhausted but not sleeping.  Finally, we are home. I check to make sure the girls did their school work. Fr. is celebrating a Roman-rite mass at the hospital.

3:00- I take the big girls to ballet, then go home and start dinner- a variation of my 'easy Lenten pasta.' I throw in some laundry, putz around, throw away junk mail, etc, etc, Fr. is putting out fires at the hospital. 

5:45- We pick up the girls from dance and go to the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, hoping that the littles don't fall asleep in the van.

7:30- We go home, eat dinner and put the two littles to sleep while Fr. and the big girls stay for Bible study.

8:30- I serve dinner to the rest of the family- big girls do the dishes and then start to play some chess.

9:00- Fr. and house guest go back to the hospital for end-of-life sacramental ministry. I don't know when they will be back. I should finish the laundry and prepare for my class tomorrow, but I  think I'll watch an episode of Castle on Hulu.

so, that's that. One day in our life and it will get crazier; our bishop is here this weekend! Our life is busy, crazy, but not that interesting. It is what is normal for us. I guess that is why the following comment stung:
"Yes, because only positive, happy-clappy takes on Catholicism are the experience of most Catholics. Get real. What your blog needs is a bit of reality, rather than rank-and-file parsing of Catholic thought and teaching, which gets boring, and which is the fodder of hundreds of other Catholic blogs as it is."

It is always a bad idea to take one comment to heart, but my post calling for guest posts last week got over 200 views the first day but only one comment. So, the commenter must have had some strong feelings that I should consider if I am trying to write a blog for others to read and perhaps benefit from. First of all, there are 100s of orthodox Catholic blogs, 100s of anti-Catholic or liberal Catholic blogs, 100s of atheist blogs, 1000s of mommy blogs, 1000s of lifestyle blogs: we are spoiled for choice. So I am writing about my generally happy Catholic life where I am not at odds with my Church. Am I writing 'happy-clappy' stuff if I usually don't complain about the bad stuff in my life? Should I be writing bitter stuff like....there was black mold in our clergy housing which might have led to my 20-week miscarriage about seven years ago? Should I write and complain about the cantor  who is bitter about his church experiences? Should I write about how we are all sinners and hypocrites in need of salvation? Should I write and complain about parishioners who come in very late and light candles in the front of the church, crossing in front of Fr. while he is preaching the homily (actually, the last time this happened it was so ridiculous I had to stifle a laugh)  What good does it do to be bitter? Sometimes I write about the hard stuff (click on the labels 'disappointed' and 'loss') But if this blog is boring- oh well. It is what it is. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Prayer for Priests


Saint Joseph,
I present to you this day
Father N., priest of Jesus Christ,
and beg you to be to him
advocate and defender,
counselor and friend.
Open your heart to him
as you opened your home to the Virgin Mother
in her hour of need.
Protect his holy priesthood
as you protected the life of the Infant Christ
threatened by cruel Herod.
In darkness bring him light;
in weakness, strength,
and in fear the peace that passes understanding.
For the sake of the tender love that bound you
to the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ,
be for him, Saint Joseph, a constant intercessor
and a shield against every danger of body, mind, and soul
so that, in spite of his weaknesses and sins,
his priesthood may bring glory to Christ
and serve to increase the beauty of holiness
in his bride the Church.

Please pray this prayer for my priest-husband (St. Gregory Nazianzus is his patron) and for any other priest in need of prayers- prayer found at wdtprs

Bad Poetry for Overwhelmed Mommy-types

Oh, give me a home
where the children can roam
& they sometimes pick up their mess
where seldom is heard
a complaining word
& they spontaneously do school-ish work
home, home with the kids
where the dad has a lot on his plate
'cause I was doing laundry
instead of packing his lunch.

Oh, give me a home
just outside of Rome
where the kids live out of one case
where there's no random clutter
no random junk, just what we actually need
home, home with the kids
where the two-year-old's having a fit
Boy has a sore throat and pink eye
& the girls wait for their personal chauffeur
(that's me)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Call for Guest Posts

Do you like to write about family or Catholicism but you don't have or want a blog? Or maybe you have a teensy tiny blog in comparison to my wee blog and you would like to reach a different audience? I would love to begin posting guest posts; perhaps you would like to write one to be posted here the same day you post it on your blog- if you have one.

Some subjects that probably will get a thumbs up for posting

family life
homeschooling/education alternatives
culture/art from a Christian viewpoint
a day in the life at your Catholic parish
Church unity
answered prayers
feasting and/or fasting 
marriage/single life/discerning vocations
pro-life stories
Eastern Catholic/Christian life
a day in the life of a clergy wife (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox)- it would be fun to compare 

My blog is not the spot for these subjects- just because:

specific politicians
negative Catholic/Orthodox discussions

Email me your ideas at

Thursday, March 15, 2012

7 QuickTakes- You never know...

...when your words or actions are just what someone really needs.
1. Years ago, I was teaching English in Gaming, Austria to a group of Central and Eastern Europeans. This teaching situation was an ESL paradise. The little village is my island from Lost. Like many, I didn't fully appreciate the gift that those four years gave me. It was a very intensive teaching experience. I started there at 22 years old, new to teaching, new to travel, new to Europe, new to living off a $100 stipend plus room and board. One year, I made a long list of optional activities for my students to do during the long ten day break in Fall. The Americans would travel to Ireland or Greece. The post-communist Europeans would normally stay on campus. In the middle of the week, I came home to see a beautiful Fall leaf wreath on my door. The colors were magenta red and neon yellow; colors that only seem to get that awesome there. I had put 'make a wreath from the fall leaves" on my assignment list. I didn't think anyone would take me up on that suggestion. I'm glad someone did, and I'm glad someone secretly put it on my door. It was a ray of sunshine during a beautiful, but lonely time.
2. Sometimes a random conversation can have seriously good consequences. I was talking with a friend of mine and she was telling me of yet another surgery for her hands that she'd be going through soon. She had to quit being an ER nurse because of this disability. I said sort of off the cuff: "I hope you are 'offering up' all this pain and stress." She looked at me with wide eyes, "What's that?" I explained in my very non-theologian way that all suffering can be offered to God for a specific intention, uniting us in a small way to His cross and giving a concrete benefit for our suffering. I was surprised she hadn't heard of this before. I thought nothing of it until last week when she said that it was an earth-shattering concept for her that has helped her through a lot of physical pain. A simple conversation helped her. Wow. And then, it got even better. She now thinks of her hand disability as a blessing. She can't work full-time as a nurse, but she and her husband are training to be infant foster parents to expand their family of four. 

3. A big 'you never know' moment in my life was when I picked up a hitchhiker and her two young children. I was a poor, full-time college student, living at home and working full-time. When I saw her in the rain, I just had to pick her up. If I didn't, maybe someone bad would have picked them up. You never know...I bought them some fried chicken and a big jug of milk and made my way to a shelter in the next city. Then, I got into a minor fender bender. Milk dripping from the ceiling, the car could be driven, but I had to exchange information with a very elegant, very peeved lady. I had to wipe the milk off my glasses to see the paper where I wrote down my information. I don't pick up hitchhikers now, but I am glad I did that day.

4. You never know who is going to be an important part of life. Five years ago, I made a meal for a woman on our homeschooling list who had had a back surgery. I didn't think much of it then, but our relationship has grown so that she was the one to babysit the children for a doctor's appointment that grew to me being in the Labor and delivery for two days before Baby Girl was born. These kinds of relationships are so important when the closest family in almost 1,000 miles away.

5. "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."  ~George Washington Carver

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach."  ~Winston Churchill

"No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves." Amelia Earhart

6. Right now, a two-night guest is turning into a one-month, probably a three-month guest. You never know, this might be what we need. But in any case, this bit of life won't be blogged.

7. Yes, I wrote this blog post just a few days ago, but it might be 'just what you need' right now and I don't want you to miss it. The actual post, links inside the post or the comments  might be what you need- Family Size Does Not Equal Birth Control for thought....

find more quick takes at