Tag Archives: Articles

What’s wrong with this picture?

From a Zenit article on the Family Day peaceful protest recently held in Rome:

A father of three, Azzola said that he and his wife are used to comments and questions about their unusually large family.

Clearly, these Italians still have some stragglers, but the majority have the right idea about marriage, family, and children. Now, if we could just get the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban to trip some other laws down the line to overturning Roe v. Wade, maybe we could get the United States whipped into shape, too. And Spain. They need a lot of help.

Noticing the News

If you know me, you know I’m not really into politics or government. I barely manage to keep up with current events. Yahoo! Mail greatly helped with that a few years ago when they started running a feed of the top news stories on the welcome page. I’m glad they kept that part for the beta. Two major stories have piqued my interest in the last few weeks.

The first, of course, is the shootings at Virginia Tech. I found out in the early afternoon, just before I went down to the CSC to go through the CDA financial books with Kelsey. On one level, it was absolutely terrifying. Thirty-two students and professors that simply went to class were shot to death. It could have happened anywhere. It could have happened here. I felt uneasy the following Thursday, in fact, just walking along the side roads toward Susquehanna. We had a special memorial at 7pm Mass the Sunday after that. Poor Kevin was lectoring that night, so he had to keep his composure while reading the full names of all thirty-two victims. I wouldn’t have made it through.

My response to the tragedy also left me uneasy in a different way. When I first saw that news headline, before the full casualty count was in, I prayed for eternal rest for the dead, like I always do. (I have to pray that far too often.) Then, I carried on with my day. I went to the CSC to do CDA stuff, remember, not to pray (though I did attend Mass that evening, as always). Thirty-two people, most of them students, died on a college campus less than 100 miles from where I’m sitting. Why didn’t I react more strongly? How ridiculously desensitized have I become? I was in Germany when the Columbine shootings happened, so I never really had the chance to feel that fear. But now, after this, I’m still so unaffected. It’s not that my faith in Christ assures me that death is only the end of this life and the entrance into the next. It’s not that I don’t identify with the situation. There’s something else wrong, and I don’t think I can blame it on everyone’s favorite scapegoat, modern society.

Even modern society is starting to change. That the Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban brings me great joy. I’m taking COMM 230: Argumentation and Debate this semester. It’s required for my major because today’s secondary students seem unable to write persuasively. Our second major assignment was a modified academic debate. Our instructor let us list preferred topics from a list. Clearly, God wanted to push me to succeed, because I wound up arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade. I’ve been out about being pro-life since this year’s March for Life (I never blogged about that, did I?), but this was a huge step. I had to finally sort out what I believe to convince an undoubtedly hostile audience and my opponent that it’s a stupid, stupid excuse for a law.

Luckily, convincing someone to overturn the decision is easier than convincing them that abortion is wrong. The Supreme Court took the same tactic. I applaud the five Catholic justices who constituted (pun not intended) the majority for affirming a belief so important to the faith. At the same time, I wish a non-Catholic justice had joined them, just to strengthen that bloc. It’s time America started to see that some issues go beyond faith. Banning this one (horrific) method of abortion is not the same as banning them all. It’s the first step to acknowledging that life begins before birth. As an intriguing pro-life doctor in the UK said (courtesy of The Ark and the Dove), if doctors scramble to save a baby born premature, why are other doctors killing babies at the same stage of development? It doesn’t make sense.

Will abortion someday be illegal? Maybe. Will people cease to want abortions, making the legality moot? Possibly. Will we look back on the abortion question as we do the Negro question, with one landmark Supreme Court case completely overturning another after decades? I hope so.

Smart Is Sexy

…but smart students don’t have sex. My friend Guy IMed me a link to a science blog post about an interesting study. It’s late and I read it pretty quickly, but the gist of it is that students with better grades, more education, and higher IQs don’t have sex as much or early as others. The statistics actually work out to a sort of bell curve, because the same is true for the worst-performing students. They finally do get around to mentioning religious correlations, though their conclusion in that smarter people are less religious. How unfortunate.

Once I got through it all, I had to tell Guy what I thought about it.

Me: hmm. interesting report. so i’m either really smart, really dumb, or really religious and therefore dumb.
Guy: see, i took the point that chastity is a peer-reviewed good idea
Me: chastity and virginity are related but not the same.
Guy: i know
Guy: also, not majoring in Studio Arts lol
Me: yeah.
Guy: also, according to that report, being dumb is a bigger hurdle to getting laid (for girls) than being too smart
Guy: so down the road, you shouldn’t do too badly (if you decide to start a family/whatever)

We had a Holy Hour for vocations at the CSC tonight, coincidentally. Father Bill’s mini-homily during Vespers was actually kind of nice. The guys really do get courted. The bishop never comes to see the girls. I’m not suggesting that women should become priests (in fact, I strongly believe they shouldn’t), but we could use some attention, too. In some ways, discerning a religious vocation as a woman might even be harder.

At least I’m apparently smart enough to take the time to discern properly.

Snape Is Probably Not a Very Bad Man

When I first activated this theme, Guy wandered through to check it out. The original design has a complete list of archives in the sidebar. He decided to jump into my very earliest entries, way back in 2002 (yeah, I’ve really been blogging for that long), and discovered one of my first mentions of the Good Ship. That was five years ago.

What can I say? My Harry Potter love runs deep. When the CSC Spring Retreat committee performed our 24-themed skit, I got to leave Charlton as Jack Bauer with an unsolved mystery so I wouldn’t be late for my seminar, “Snape: Good Guy or Very Bad Man?” They wrote that part just for me. xD

Even the Baltimore Sun staff agrees with me (via The Leaky Cauldron). FYI, I think Snape is a good guy with some deep personal issues that makes bad choices. He’s a lot like Eminem in that respect, actually.

Catching a Man

Last spring, I had my first crush since breaking up with Greg over a year before. I can’t say who it was because I never know who’s going to pass by my little corner of the web world. Suffice it to say that my world was thrown completely off-kilter. I hadn’t had feelings like that in a long time, since before Greg. Having become a devout Catholic since that breakup, though, I had a different perspective on things. I knew God was in charge and I had to trust in Him. I just wished that His plans would look a little more like mine. I did what I could to subtly let this guy know that I was interested. Hana noticed that I wore my hair down for church one morning when I knew I’d see him. “I am not using my hair to catch a man!” I insisted. I kind of was, but only because I was determined to get him to ask me out, and not the other way around. Men react strongest to visual stimulation, so I wanted to make sure the best parts of me—in a completely chaste way—were visible to him. It didn’t work out, and after some nasty moments of anger at and mistrust in God (and his starting to date someone else!), I moved on.

Now, though, I’m in a similar position. Maybe I’m just a victim of spring fever; though, considering yesterday’s sleet and chill, I have no idea what season it is. This guy is equally unavailable, however, because he already has a girlfriend. I wish I had gotten there first. I am now stuck with the task of realigning my heart to respect that relationship. It’s a tricky situation. If he or I were married or engaged, there would be no question: he’d be automatically off-limits. Father Bill suggested I act as though we were; neither married people nor consecrated celibates stop feeling romantic attraction, so it’s good training for my future. On the other hand, dating is not the same as married or celibate. Dating relationships end. If his did end with her, I’d still be interested. How willing am I to harden my heart against him romantically if that is a possibility? Not very.

All of these thoughts remind me of my inconclusive period of discernment. I have gotten closer to God since I decided to make that effort, but I’m no closer to hearing the call. I caught up on my Boundless articles recently, including two particularly good ones on marriage and dating. Carolyn McCulley writes about developing “Humility That Attracts and Encourages” men in the process of marital discernment. Dating is hard, so she has good advice on how to make it easier for Christian men to take the lead. Scott Croft tells his friend, “Brother, You’re Like a Six,” so we should all redefine our expectations for spouses in light of the Bible and our everyday lives. If I do eventually figure out that I’m called to marriage, I have to prepare myself to be a good wife and mother. Boundless has some suggestions on that as well, in Candice Watters’ old blog, Why Family.

Love is complicated. So is God, but He is infinite. Therefore, godly love is infinitely complicated. (Quite the depressing syllogism there.)

Pride and Punishment

Maura sent me a link to a Washington Post article on the recent trend in non-monetary compensation for priestly sexual abuse victims.

This is ridiculous.

I’m not saying that priests who sexually abuse children should go without punishment. The preventive programs in place for all people in church ministry are long overdue. The victims of such abuse clearly need healing and deserve help getting it.

But they do not need to exhume a priest who’s been dead for over 45 years because he is buried near their parents. Do they not think God has judged these men according to their deeds (Romans 14:10-12)? Do they not think that their parents in the “hereafter,” knowing about the abuse, would have forgiven their abuser? It’s the Christlike thing to do, and forgiving does not require forgetting. You can’t hold a grudge in heaven.

It drives me crazy when victims demand that the sites where their abuse occurred be sold. How many generations might benefit from that retreat center? How many dioceses are staggering under the debt of these multi million-dollar settlements? How many people have a false and negative image of the Church due to these outrageous demands?

These people need to spend some time in prayerful consideration of their actions and the effect on their brothers and sisters in Christ. Asking the Church to help you heal is one thing. Having a monument erected for yourself is a testament to your own unforgiving pride.

Working on Commission

Long time no blog, I know. It’s been a rough semester. I have plans for catching up, and one of these days, I will execute them. For now, I’m just going to jump right back in.

(N.B. I’m taking advantage of the <!--more--> feature of WordPress. You have to click the “keep reading” link to see the whole entry. And you thought I’d become more concise.)

As I caught up on some Boundless articles, I came across “Taking Love Next Door,” by David Barshinger. It’s an article about evangelism. I’ve become a very religious person over time. I never thought I’d be the churchgoing, grace-saying, “praise God!” type, but here I am.

So that comes to two topics: what kind of Catholic I am, and what kind of evangelism I do. This article warrants a new discussion of both.
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