Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saint Joseph

The foster father to Our Lord is often overlooked by faithful Christians.  This is unfortunate indeed.  Tradition holds that Joseph's wife, the mother of Jesus' brothers and sisters, had died.  Joseph was in the line of David and so he was entitled to mothering of his children via the temple.  He was betrothed to a consecrated virgin, Mary, who would care for his household and mother his children.  He never intended for their relationship to be a sexual one.

When Mary was discovered to be pregnant, Joseph resolved to divorce her quietly.  This means that he was not vindictive.  He did not want her publicly punished or stoned.  Joseph's complete love of his deceased wife, his  openness to God, and his humble heart, made him the perfect spouse for Mary and earthly father of Our Lord.

Saint Joseph is the patron saint of a "good death" because his own death was so beautiful.  Jesus suffered the loss of Joseph before the beginning of His ministry.  When Jesus wept, we can only imagine him remembering the loss of his own beloved father.

May God bless you as you mourn and support others who mourn.  Please avail yourself of this prayer to Saint Joseph.  This chaplet of Saint Joseph is short and sweet.  For more prayers and devotions, click here.  There are also prayer apps that include chaplets and prayers to Saint Joseph available for free or a few dollars.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Marge Simpson

Marge Simpson is voiced by Julie Kavner.  Julie's career goes back to the early 70s.  Here she is playing Brenda Morgenstern on the sitcom, Rhoda.

Marge Simpson appeared in Playboy, sixth degree, Hugh Heffner's rag.

Are the Simpsons Catholics?

Behold, the catachesis of the Simpsons via Liam Neeson.

We can definitely call the Simpsons "Catholic curious."  Let us pray for all the Protestants who get all up in arms over their lack of humor.
Catholics laugh!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gianna Beretta Molla

She gave her life for her child
First Degree, Gianna Beretta Molla is a patron saint of problem pregnancies.  She gave up her life to carry her child to term.  She was beatified in 1994 by Pope John Paul II.

Pam Tebow faced a choice when she was pregnant with her son, Tim.  Doctors urged her to abort her fetus because she was on medications that "would have damaged" her baby.  She refused and Tim was born.  This pro-life superbowl ad was highly controversial.  For the pro-choice view of Pam Tebow's story, click here.

Archbishop Dolan holds a baby in the Gianna Center, named for Saint Gianna

Saturday, May 21, 2011

100th Post

Leave a comment!  

What was your favorite post?  
Any requests?  
Topics of interest?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Governator the year he was expecting
at least two children, one  with his wife.
The Governator is in the news, but don't let this glitzy, flash-in-the-pan, titillating story distract you from the real meat of the issue.  We'll examine the real tragedy of the Schwarzenegger situation and connect Arnold to Blessed John Paul II simultaneously.

News broke this week that the first couple of California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver were separating because of a recent disclosure of a "love child" conceived by a housemaid by Mr. Schwarzenegger in the mid-90s.  
The legal members of the Schwarzenegger family
The Schwarzenegger family, the Kennedy family, and the family(s) of extra-marital children fathered by Arnold are all experiencing shame, pain, and stress.  Why?  Because the great joys and pleasures of sex were treated as entitlements, not blessings, by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Instead of praising God for his beautiful family, he praised himself for his fame, power, and magnetism.  Babies are made by sex.  We keep forgetting that in our culture.  Here's a reminder!

When sex is taken out of the context of the spousal relationship, it's not only hurtful, it's tough to comprehend. Even in this College Humor piece, babies and sex cannot be separated from one another, even when discussing group sex!

Arnold and Maria married in 1986 when they were all
dewy and cute and gorgeous.  They married in a church, but
I don't know if theirs was a sacramental marriage.
Perhaps a future tribunal will try to assess this relationship.
Were they open to life from the beginning?
Did they both intend a faithful union from the beginning?
Did they withhold information from one another  at the beginning?
Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a mockery of fidelity.
If he's so disrespectful of his church's teaching on that,
why should he uphold another teaching that marriage
is between one man and one woman?
Answer:  No reason at all.  As a result, article after article
are attacking the former Governor's policy against same-sex unions.
On many levels, Arnold's actions have weakened the very idea of marriage.
Second Degree Eunice Shriver and her husband, Sargent Shriver
at the wedding of Arnold and Maria Schwarzenegger in 1986.  Photo
in the New York Times.
As she lay dying, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for Eunice Kennedy Shriver.  She was a saintly woman.  I wrote about hers and the Kennedys' degrees of separation from Blessed John Paul II in the Abraham Lincoln post.  

Sex makes babies.  Not always, but every baby that is born was made sexually.  Yes, there's IVF, but to get a fetus via IVF somebody has to self-pleasure into a cup and that's sex too.  Humans reproduce sexually.  We can divorce the bodies from conception, but we still need a male and female body to get the gametes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Supernanny, Jo Frost

3 Degrees
Third Degree, Jo Frost is The Supernanny.  You do not have to have biological children to be a parenting influence.  Jo Frost knows this quite well.  She has over 20 years of experience with children, parents, and families.  Childcare is very taxing and mothers and fathers need all the help they can get.  We often overlook the single person when we think about mothers.  Many single women have taken on the role of mom when caring for  cousins, siblings, or neighbors.  Here is Jo at work.  This sort of behavior is common in our culture.

Jo appears frequently as a guest on talk shows.  She has appeared several times on second degree, David Letterman's show.

Dave had first degree, Father Guido Sarducci, (character from Saturday Night Live) on.  Father shared his "interview" with Pope John Paul II.

A word on Catholic parenting
Children are NOT the center of a Catholic home, God is.  The marriage of mother and father is the second priority.  The children are the third priority.  In too many homes, children are the focus.  This is wrong.

Divorce breaks children's hearts
When parents' needs are not met, their bond becomes looser and discord begins to develop between them.  Over time the parents become estranged in their own home.  If the relationship becomes too diseased, divorce happens.  Divorce shatters the foundation of a child's home.  Divorce is enmity between mother and father, that enmity is not shared by the children, who are confused that people so loved cannot love one another.  The children lose their trust in love.  God is love.  Children lose their trust in God.

The divorce epidemic directly corresponds to lowering church attendance.  Coincidence?
Catholic men's conferences are very inspiring

Have a talk with your spouse and make sure your needs are met.  What are your spiritual needs?  Do you need to go to adoration every week?  How about a men's or women's prayer group?  Quiet time to read scripture each day?  A family decade of the rosary after supper?

Everyone needs
affection and cuddling
What are your physical needs?  Are you getting enough sleep?  Are you exercising enough?  What can be done to get the family more physically fit?  Is the family eating well?  Do you want to commit to fasting on Fridays?  Do the spouses show enough physical affection to one another to satisfy their need to be held and cuddled?  Is the sex life of the couple satisfying and strong?  How often do the spouses need to date?
This couple is not sharing the
chore of paying the bills.
This can lead to resentment over time.

What are your financial needs?  Do you need to get your credit cards under control?  Are the spouses on the same page financially?  How are the investments going?  What are the causes of concern and celebration?

Don't neglect your friendships
What are your personal needs?  Is there a friend or group of friends that you have neglected?  Have you had a boys' or girls' night out lately?  Are you nurturing your friendships enough so that your spouse is not carrying the load of your personal needs completely on their shoulders?  Do you have time to talk to your spouse as friend and confidant?  How can time be managed in your family such that your friendships can be nurtured and strengthened?

Look at the list of needs above.  Is it right that children be responsible for satisfying any of them?  CERTAINLY NOT!  Can you see how God and marriage need to be the center of the home?  When all these needs are being met, children are in a secure environment, one where they can just be kids.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Florence Henderson

Florence Henderson is the youngest of 10 children.  She was raised Roman Catholic in Indiana and Kentucky.  She is a supporter of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana.  One of the sisters was Florence's childhood teacher.  Here is Florence raising money for the Sisters on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

Here's an episode.

View More Free Videos Online at
Third Degree, Florence Henderson has had a long friendship with funny woman, Carol Burnett.  The two women have teamed to raise money for various charities, among them, SHARE for Children.  Here is second degree, Carol in my favorite skit.

First Degree, George W. Bush awarded Carol Burnett with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  To see that ceremony, click here (windows media).
Burnett and Bush at Medal of Freedom ceremony in 2005

George W. Bush and Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nadya Suleman, "Octomom"

Nadya became a tabloid flash in the pan instead of a
National sweetheart.  A miscalculation that cost her.
In January of 2009, Nadya Suleman gave birth to 8 babies.  She was an instant celebrity and was given the name, "Octomom."  She was unmarried and used artificial means of pregnancy.  I will discuss these issues more fully at the end of the post.  

Nadya is an Assyrian Iraqi American.  Her heritage is in the ancient and persecuted church in the Middle East.  To read more about that persecuted church, click here for the Barak Obama post.

5 Degrees

Fourth Degree: Denis Beaudoin, purported father of the octuplets, gave an interview with Good Morning America in 2009.  He is an ex-boyfriend of Nadya.  Here he is interviewed by third degree, Chris Cuomo.

Second Degree, Andrew Cuomo is a parishioner to first degree, Archbishop Timothy Dolan.  Here is the CBS piece on Archbishop Dolan for 60 Minutes. 

The absence of a father
There are a couple of issues regarding the absence of a father/husband in this situation that bear discussion.

1. The financial and physical needs of these children are not sufficiently taken care of without a father in their lives.  This might not be the case if Nadya had become the sympathetic celebrity that she had wanted to become.  Her press ended up being a mockery of her life instead of a sympathetic tribute to it.  As a result, Miss Suleman is relying on the state and federal governments for support of her child and help with child care.  This is not responsible parenting.

2. Nadya Suleman was married.  She divorced after attempts to become pregnant did not result in a child.  Her husband, Marco Gutierrez, was against In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and the couple divorced.  One of the blessings that marriage bestows is the temperance of the spouses of one another.

"No, getting those hair plugs is a bad idea."  

"Maybe we should hold off on doing over the bathroom until our credit card debt is gone."
"Perhaps gastric surgery is not the right choice for you.  Let's sit down and figure out how to be a more active family."  
"Let's sleep on this decision."

Nadya was obsessed with becoming a mother, but was going too far with her fertility desires.  Rather than accept her husband's objections, she rejected him!  In any friendship, especially that of spouses, submission to a less radical view helps us make right decisions.  Nadya did not accept her husband's temperate view.

The Immorality of IVF

The Catholic Church is opposed to the practice of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for several reasons.  These reasons include

  • the divorce of physical love from the creation of new life
  • going outside the marriage (using technicians) to create life
  • selecting genetic traits such as gender
  • taking a man's responsibility for his children away from him
  • taking fatherhood away from men
  • single parenthood
  • pruning of implanted fetuses to reduce the number of babies in the womb
  • freezing unused embryos with no plans to implant them
  • letting frozen embryos thaw 
  • The human body cannot have more than 4 babies naturally.
    Pregnancies with 5 happen once in a billion!
  • creating pregnancies that are beyond human capacity to sustain
Miss Suleman began her journey down the IVF road without giving the matter full consideration.  Once she had created many embryos and had several pregnancies, she was left with 8 frozen children.  She did not have the funds to have more than one implantation and she did not want to thaw (kill) her remaining babies.  These are the reasons, (bold type above), why she had all 8 implanted and carried all 8 to term.  

Nadya saw the wisdom of the Catholic (which includes the Chaldean Church) view was right after she had disobeyed that view.  That disobedience lead to her divorce, the stressing of her body, the freezing of children whose lives were under constant threat, and their birth into a fatherless family.  

Nadya's situation is extreme, yet not uncommon.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica
We've talked about Our Blessed Mother, Mother Theresa, and now a fiesty American girl, Mother Angleica!

Mother Angelica was a televangelist before there was such a thing.  She never fell into scandal or greed, she just loved people and tried to save souls.  Her Eternal Word Television Netowrk (EWTN) is still going strong.  She's in frail health now, and we wish her well.  I have a feeling that, when she does meet Jesus, she'll be the patron saint of new media.  I don't know any Catholic who doesn't swell with pride and love when thinking of Mother Angelica.

Here is Mother talking about Lent and the mortification of the flesh.  Go Mother!

1 Degree

First Degree: Pope Benedict honored Mother Angelica with the Papal Cross of Honor recently.  See a picture of Mother Angelica with Pope John Paul II in this news story.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother Theresa

Let's begin the month of mothers with Mother Theresa.
1 Degree

Mother Theresa with another servant of Christ

with Princess Diana
Pope John Paul II and Indian Catholics at the beatification ceremony for
Mother Theresa of Calcutta
with first-degreers, Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan

With Pope Paul VI, the man who elevated
the future Pope John Paul II to cardinal.

Praying next to a future pope.  

Who admired who more?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Ladin

Osama Bin Ladin is dead.  May he be fairly judged by Jesus Christ.
You can figure out that he is 2 degrees from John Paul II without
my help.

These celebrations of Bin Laden's death are inappropriate, uncivilized, insensitive, and unChristian.  I am ashamed of my
countrymen who have indulged in this hateful conduct.  Look at the faces, these people were children when the 9/11 attacks occurred.  These are not victims' families.  They are yahoos.
Death, especially of someone who was unrepentant, is not a celebratory affair.
This is not a
sporting event, this is a mass murderer who died.
Sending a care-package to a service man or woman, caring for families of
the victims of Bin Laden, giving blood like we did on 9/11, making our
communities cleaner and safer, these are things we can do to make our world a
better place.  Mr. Bin Laden made the world worse for his presence.  We can
serve the memories of the dead by taking this opportunity to make the world better.
Instead, people have chosen to get drunk, vandalize, and celebrate death.
Soldiers suffer greatly when they see battle.  Making sure the VA has adequate funding
is a far better use of time than drunken celebrations!

War is not a birth or a wedding.  Nobody wins a war, there is always sadness
and horror.  This little child is growing up in a country at war.  No matter what,
he suffers.  We need to pray for him, for the soldiers, and for the conversion
of all souls.  Let's make Jesus proud of our conduct!
Terrorists treat the bodies of their victims horribly.  By burying bin Laden's body with respect and by NOT releasing the photos of his corpse, President Obama is behaving like a Christian leader.  It is my sincere hope that he will expand this behavior to all life issues as well.  Here's praying!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mary The Mother

Mary, Miriam, The Most Holy Blessed Mother, Theotokos, Panagia, Our Mother, Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, Full of Grace, Advocate of Eve, Star of the Sea, Seat of Wisdom, Cause for our Joy, Our Hope, She who shows the Way, Mother of Mercy...

the list goes on and on.
Protestants are confounded by Catholic devotion to her.  Catholics cry to her again and again in the rosary.  Orthodox Christians allow her to be the only woman in their alters and on the Holy Mountain.  

What is it about this woman that so compels billions to love and adore her?  

God chose her to be the mother of His Son.  He told her about His choice and she said, yes.  

Above, you will find the first in a series of videos by Archbishop Fulton Sheen on Our Mother, the reason for Mother's Day.  She held the creator of the universe in her womb.  She gave flesh to God and brought him into a temporal world to live as one of us.  She cared for him and loved him.  She suggested His first miracle.  She stood by the cross.  She committed his body.  She rejoiced in His resurrection.  She was at Pentecost.  She was assumed into Heaven.  She is with Him now.

I'd like to reflect on her motherhood.  This is the month of mothers, and I've been quite miffed at several commentaries made by men with regard to the birth of Our Lord.  

I have heard several Catholic speakers discuss Mary's birth experience.  They describe it as "painless" and "making no physical difference."  It is quite difficult for women to listen to this and maintain their faith in these priests! (Our faith in Jesus remains.)  In this post, I call on all men, who wish to speak authoritatively on the sensations of childbirth, to take a moment and realize that they will never have a woman's body.  No man will ever be privy to the culture of women.  No man will ever posses a feminine genius!  Perhaps such speculation should not be made by men.  

My experience with childbirth is quite limited.  I've had one child and only been at the birth of one other.  Mary was much more experienced than I.  As a small child, she would have helped with simple preparations for births in her family.  As a temple virgin, she would have been called to many births.  She would be well-acquainted with the process, description of sensations, and the mental process of giving birth.  

We must assume that Mary's relationship with her own body was the most healthy.  For an American woman, this is practically impossible to imagine.  She had no shame, guilt, dissatisfaction, fear, anxiety, or loathing of her body.  She accepted herself and her physical being as a gift from the Lord.  Her outlook on her body was a major reason why she did not fall into sin.  It was also a major reason why she was chosen to be The Mother of God.  

When Mary was pregnant, she did not experience implantation cramping, round ligament pain, kicking, and Braxton Hicks contractions as pain, but as joy.  I myself enjoyed these pains of pregnancy because of my joy to be a mother after a lifetime of waiting.  

Just because something is painful, does not mean it is negative.  Pain can be glorious and wonderful.  There is good pain and there is bad pain.  Mary had no fear or anxiety about the birth of Jesus, her sensations during birth were welcomed and therefore not experienced as pain.  As to the hymen of Mary, it's not beyond God's power to keep it in tact, but it offends me that men talk about it at length.  Such talk seems disrespectful of Our Lady.  If She were here, would we ask for an internal exam as Thomas put his fingers in the wounds of Jesus?  Certainly not!  We can assume that Mary's body was kept safe and miraculously whole for her entire life.

I dedicate this month to my own mother, whom I recently lost to death.    

1 Degree

As mentioned in the Anonymous Girl post, Pope John Paul II had a great devotion to Mary.  He gave his life to her care and loved her with all his heart.  On this, the day of John Paul The Great's beatification, I celebrate Mary.