Can You Say Cardinal James Martin, SJ?

Yeah, neither can I.

I’ve been happily doing the mom thing, preparing for Thanksgiving, and rather ignoring the blogging stuff when I saw this appear on my Twitter page.

First, a disclaimer, I have zero confirmation on whether this is or is not credible, but I AM NOT WAITING TO FIND OUT! I feel like it’s not, because the most credible rumors up until now were that Bishop McElroy or Cardinal Cupich (which also seems like more of a lateral move so not likely either) were being groomed for this spot. If this latest rumor is indeed being floated, it seems more like a “Trump move.”  You know, float something so over the top that it gives them negotiating room, and then we all feel a sense of relief when it’s not Martin. “Whew!  Thank goodness it’s only Bishop McElroy and not Fr. Martin!” In reality, another petition should be started to request an Archbishop Chaput-like replacement. After all, we never thought anyone would replace Cardinal George with the then Bishop Cupich and, those of us familiar with him, never thought anyone would be crazy enough to put Bishop McElroy anywhere. So, again, we should take all threats seriously.

Next, why do I say “Cardinal James Martin, SJ?” I say that because, up until Archbishop Chaput, the last people put in that spot have eventually been elevated to cardinal.  Sadly, Archbishop Chaput wasn’t elevated before the current regime, so he is the exception, but, likely, whoever lands there will get that hat. Let that sink in a bit. Did you all sign the petition before reading end of this question?

Let’s look at the wording of the petition:

There is a credible report that Fr. James Martin, S.J., is being considered for appointment as Archbishop of Philadelphia.  He would replace retiring Archbishop Charles Chaput, who recently found it necessary to warn that Fr. Martin should not be relied upon to accurately present Catholic doctrine on sexuality. Archbishop Chaput issued a statement detailing five points on which Fr. Martin clashes with Church teaching. For example, he says that Fr. Martin “inspires hope that the Church’s teachings on human sexuality can be changed.”

After Archbishop Chaput’s warning, other bishops also weighed in: “ Fr. Martin responded that he never contradicts Church teaching.  That might be literally true, but Archbishop Chaput points out that that is not enough: “[T]he point is not to ‘not challenge’ what the Church believes about human sexuality, but to preach and teach it with confidence, joy, and zeal. Biblical truth liberates; it is never a cause for embarrassment.”

It’s not even close to literally true. He’s contradicted Church teaching in writing, in word, often in deed with his promotion of organizations in open opposition to Church teaching, such as New Ways Ministry and Out @ St. Paul. (Two of his favs.) Here’s just a small sampling of Catholic publications who have called out Fr. James Martin, SJ, for heresy, dissent and error, as well as for his smarmy smoke and mirrors routine, using his own words.  (Just use search box.)

As I said, this is just a few of the Catholic publications who have called out his heresy, dissent, and error. On the other hand, I can come up with three American “Catholic” publications that have NOT called him out for anything: America Magazine, National catholic Reporter, and…and… Nevermind. Guess I can only come up with two. Fr. James Martin, SJ is THE most called out priest in this country. If you’re going to object to the sources against him, make sure you are able to debate the citations given, otherwise it’s just an ad hominem attack and you look stupid.

We need bishops who are clear and strong teachers of the whole of the Catholic Faith. There is a trend to appoint to major sees in the U.S. men who are supporters of the homosexual agenda, such as Cardinal Cupich in Chicago and Cardinal Tobin in Newark.  Can anyone doubt that an Archbishop Martin in Philadelphia would follow their lead and very soon be given the red hat that was denied to Archbishop Chaput?

Truth is loving. Cardinals Cupich, Tobin, Bishop McElroy, etc. are ambiguous at best and deceitful at worst. They’re denying the faithful the beauty of the Church’s teaching on sexuality.

Sign this petition and tell the papal nuncio, Archbishop Pierre, who is reported to be collecting references on Fr. Martin, that his appointment would be intolerable. Tell him we want worthy shepherds who will be leaders in teaching and practicing the fullness of Catholicism, not more men who will obfuscate and obscure and avoid the inconvenient truths.

Please do. Wild rumor or not, we shouldn’t wait until the ink is dry to respond to this insane idea. And, petition writers, you might also want to get one going expressing your dismay that Cardinal Cupich or Bishop McElroy would be in the running.

Finally, not only should you sign the petition, you should contact the nuncio directly and let him know that if he’s going to suggest any of these gentlemen, he’s going to have a HUGE headache dealing with the aftermath of that appointment. This appointment likely could be THE final straw.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nunciature in the United States of America
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20008-3610

Phone: 202-333-7121

Fax: 202-337-4036

But Does Anyone Accept Cardinal Kasper?

 So, sooooo many things wrong with this.

Cdl Kasper: Laity will ‘not accept’ future pope who doesn’t continue Francis’ legacy

Martin M. Barillas and Pete Baklinski

MADRID, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – German Cardinal Walter Kasper said that Pope Francis is securing his successor who will carry on his legacy by appointing the majority of cardinals who will vote in the next conclave. He added that if it was possible that a pope was elected who would attempt to erase Francis’ mark upon the Catholic Church, then the people “would not accept him.”

First of all, last time I checked, the job of the Holy Father is not to worry about his legacy. This isn’t a political party, for heaven’s sake.

Next, at last check, only about 10% of Germans are practicing Catholics. Clearly Cardinal Kasper and his ilk don’t know what in THE heck the laity thinks. They’re leaving in droves and the Church in Germany is on the brink of extinction, but yeah, let’s listen to a guy who instituted so much @#$%^ there that people are leaving en masse. “Maybe if we just institute a few more heretical and liberal things, they’ll all come back!” Sure, Cardinal Kasper, sure. Next he’ll be offering pony rides for parishioners. IT HASN’T WORKED! When are they going realize it’s never going to work? It’s like they’re the Joe Bidens of the Catholic Church. “If I just do it one more time!”

“I think that in the next conclave, you cannot choose a pope who is ‘a contrarian.’ The people would not accept him,” said Cardinal Kasper in a Sept. 26 interview (read excerpt of interview below) with Religion Digital’s José Manuel Vidal which took place while the Cardinal was visiting Madrid for a conference on world peace organized by the pacifist Sant’ Egidio movement.

I don’t know. Maybe he’s just missing what’s going on in America. He is pretty far away, after all. He also seemed to have failed to notice that Catholics have always been contrarians of the world.

When asked if Pope Francis has guaranteed his successor by having handpicked the majority of cardinals voting in the next conclave, Kasper replied: “Yes. It gives the impression that with the nominations to the cardinalate that what the Pope wants is to ensure his succession.”

And the rest of us are just going to keep praying that God opens their eyes or closes them. The subtle “Give up. You’ve lost!” message doesn’t work too well for Catholics, as history is shown. We pray and march on.

Cardinal Kasper’s proposal during the 2014 Synod on the Family of admitting civilly ‘remarried’ Catholics who are living in adultery to receive Communion found its way into the synod’s final document. Pope Francis’ 2016 Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia has been interpreted by many bishops from around the world as adopting this proposal in footnote 351. The footnote states in the context of a discussion about the Church’s pastoral response to Catholics living in “irregular” unions that in “certain cases” such Catholics can receive the Church’s “help,” which “can include the help of the sacraments.” The footnote then makes a reference to the Eucharist and confession. Kasper has since asserted that the proper understanding of Francis’ Amoris Laetitia is to allow divorced and “remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion.

Well, we’re still waiting for an answer to that good old dubia.

Elsewhere in the interview, Cardinal Kasper acknowledged that neither the Pope nor he fear a schism over questions about the Pope’s theology. Affirming that the pontiff wants to guarantee a successor, Kasper said, “Those who are causing fears [about the schism] are small groups that are openly against the Pope. But you have to know and keep in mind that they are few, very few, although they make a lot of noise through the media. Do not attach any importance to them.”

Wait! What?! So is he saying Austen Ivereigh, Massimo Faggioli, Thomas Rosica and club are openly against the Pope??? Oh, I guess he’s talking about the bulk of the Germans blowing off the Magisterium. Typical. Doesn’t he even realize there’s more going on in the world than them. Of course not.

Translated excerpts from Religion Digital’s interview with Cardinal Kasper:

Religion Digital: You were just with Pope Francis. Is he as strong as ever?

Cardinal Walter Kasper: “Yes, the Pope continues to be quite strong. He has an interior motion that pushes him to continue moving ahead, and he is not afraid of the criticisms that circulate around him, even within the Catholic world. He continues down his path and is quite well, even physically, for a man of 82 years. And the proof is that he works tirelessly.”

Uh, not so sure about that. First of all, you and your fellow German bishops just told the Vatican to buzz off, and the endless name calling, the likes of which I’ve never seen in a Pope, tells a different story. Taking criticism is not exactly his strong suit.

He is not even afraid of a schism, as he just said.

Kasper:”The Pope is not afraid of schism.”

Which is rather sad considering the unity of the Church IS in his job description.

And you?

Kasper: “Nor do I believe that there will be schism. Those who are causing fears are small groups that are openly against the Pope. But you have to know and keep in mind that they are few, very few, although they make a lot of noise through the media. Do not attach any importance to them.”

My guess is America Magazine has probably sent Cardinal Kasper a communique or two by now to pipe down on the schism thing, since that crew has been all about declaring people in schism lately. 

What do you expect from the Amazonia synod?

Kasper: “This Amazonia synod will be very important and meaningful for the churches incarnated in the cultures of that area of the world.”

OK, seriously? Does anyone think Cardinal Kasper cares a thing about the Amazon? It’s just about who he can use to shove this crud or that down everyone’s throat. The thing I find interesting about this synod is that they’re trying to make a play for women deacons. The only thing I can think of is that they think this is the actual land of “Wonder Woman.” Wrong Amazon, Cardinal. It’s a very patriarchal society and leave it to the liberal Europeans to say “You don’t realllllyyyy want that.”

Will the synod approve of giving married men access to the priesthood?

Kasper: “The problem of the lack of vocations in Amazonia is very serious and that issue of the ordination of married men, and others, will depend on the decision and the unanimity of the bishops of the region. The Pope, with his synodal spirit, will put those decisions into motion if there is sufficient consensus among the bishops.”

Again, is Cardinal Kasper the one to ask about recruitment in any area of the Church?  Maybe they could ask some priests who are a tad bit younger? Consensus? It’s interesting to see that he doesn’t actually understand there is a Church outside of Germany. I’m pretty sure Cardinal Kasper’s definition of consensus is a little off. I’m pretty sure his goes something like “We want women priests and married priests so that is ‘sufficient consensus!'”

The German Church will also celebrate a synod with which the Vatican apparently has some problems.

Kasper:”Yes, there are some who have problems with the Vatican. There has always been tension between Germany and Rome. It is something historic, but I can say that at this time that the great majority of the German Church is totally and profoundly in tune with Rome. There is some nervousness around, but I believe that they can be overcome.”

Bahahaha! Did you like the way he flipped that one around? “The Vatican has problems with Germany.” just morphed into “Germany has problems with the Vatican.” It’s not “nervousness”, Cardinal Kasper. It’s disobedience.

With the cardinals at the next consistory, those chosen by Francis will be a majority. Has the Pope therefore guarantee his succession?

Kasper:”Yes. It gives the impression that with the nominations to the cardinalate that what the Pope wants is to ensure his succession.”

Again, sad.

“In what sense?

Kasper: I think that in the next conclave, you cannot choose a pope who is ‘a contrarian.’ The people would not accept him.”

Who are “the people” Cardinal Kasper knows so well? Again, 90% of his own Catholic countrymen don’t listen to him.

Who do you think will succeed Pope Francis?

Kasper: “That is an open question and not applicable.”

Translation: It will not be anyone from that continent down south who “should not tell us too much what we have to do.” LOL! Yeah, that comment shows how in tune Cardinal Kasper is with people.

Are you convinced that, after Francis, there is no turning back?

Kasper:”No, it isn’t possible. The people will not accept it because they want a normal and human Pope, one that is not imperial like those of the past.”

I love how he uses the term “people” when he really means some liberal cardinals. Do you really think he meant to slam Saint Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI? Yeah, I’m kind sure he did, too. He doesn’t give a rip because he think’s he’s got the whole thing sewn up. God has a funny way of knocking down the lofty, though. You’d think a German would get that, but again, it doesn’t seem to be in their nature to learn from history.

Schism for Dummies

The charges of schism being thrown around are getting a bit ridiculous.  Let’s chat, shall we?

First, what ISN’T schism.

Schism isn’t a dislike for the Holy Father’s leadership style. Schism is not questioning things put forth in a “working document.” Schism is not asking people to pray and fast that the crud put forth in a working document never sees the light of day in any final document proposed by the Church. Schism isn’t asking the Holy Father to make clear the teaching put forth in a document (i.e., the dubia). Schism isn’t wishing the Holy Father would never speak again to reporters on a plane. Schism is not EWTN reporting on Catholic news.  Schism is not Archbishop Vigano putting out his testimony. Schism isn’t even asking the Holy Father to resign. Schism isn’t a critique of how the Vatican or Holy Father is handling the abuse scandal.  Schism isn’t supporting Archbishop Vigano’s request for an investigation into the whole McCarrick debacle.

I’ve seen some ridiculous half-wit “theologians” suggesting that pretty much anyone who disagrees with THEM is schismatic. They seem to think that if they bandy the word around enough, the “uneducated masses” will be whipped into submission by the mere thought of it. They even put forth the question to the Holy Father on a plane (who, by the way, said there was no schism at this time) and got him to say the word which, somehow, is supposed to give their charges validation. “A-ha!  The pope said the word so you are in schism!” WRONG!

Let me give you a little list of all the people who have been charged with schism by the liberal Catholic elite.  Let’s see, Archbishop Vigano, for sure; Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco, Bishop Strickland of Tyler, and Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, because they were three of MANY bishops who said the charges made by Archbishop Vigano should be investigated; Cardinals Burke and Brandmueller, because they dared to ask the Holy Father for clarification in their dubia; Archbishop Schneider, because he and Cardinal Burke asked people to pray and fast  before the synod, because of the pretty awful stuff is being discussed. (Prayer and fasting – the horrors! How dare they?!) I guess all of EWTN can be counted, too, because Raymond Arroyo dared to defend himself when a book about how EWTN was trying to overthrow the Holy Father was glorified on a flight. Oh, and EWTN, again, for broadcasting a Mass where the priest giving the homily said that the faithful was being asked to pray and fast before the upcoming “Amazon Synod.” I’d love to know what they are scared of. You want to fast and pray for me?  Please do. And, of course, there’re all those mean Catholic bloggers, radio hosts, commentators, etc., who are scratching their heads about some things the pope says. Yep, all are in schism, it seems, except those who want to change any Church teaching that doesn’t jive with their ideologies.

So, who are all the people declaring or suggesting schism? Thomas Reese, SJ, Massimo Faggioli, Dawn Eden Goldstein, Michael Sean Winters, and all of their ilk.  And don’t forget, the “Well, I didn’t say they were in schism.  I’m just retweeting something I thought was interesting!” crowd. (Yes, Fr. Martin, I mean you.)

The actual definition of schism found in Canon 751 goes like this

Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

Ironically, none of the accusers are canon lawyers, but they accuse a good canon lawyers to be in schism.  Let’s see, who knows Canon Law better?

The other thing I find totally ridiculous, especially after this week, is that not one of these accusers has pointed toward Germany.  In fact, I failed to locate one story at National catholic Reporter on this as of this writing. If it exists, their search engines don’t work.  Why is this? This is a hell of a lot closer to schism (if not actually in schism) than anything else to which the NcR, America Magazine, or Commonweal types point. I mean, the German bishops were told by the Magisterium that their “binding synodal path” was “not ecclesiologically valid.” Their response? We’re doing it anyway. Who’s removing “submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him” again? Apparently, Cardinal Marx.!

Does anyone see the difference in asking the Holy Father to exercise his authority (a la the Dubia 4, Archbishop Vigano, etc.) and rejecting an instruction from the Magisterium as the Germans are doing? The faithful Catholics are appealing to the very authority they should, while the Germans are usurping authority they don’t have. American schism, my foot! The liberals pushing for a declaration of schism are the biggest hypocrites around. Not one of the faithful listed above and accused by the liberals has ever rejected the authority of Pope Francis. In fact, they’ve made request upon request to the Pope to clarify.  To top it off, not even Pope Francis has declared them such. So, not only are the liberal accusers actually willing to reject authority when it suits them, they are also willing to usurp authority where they have none. They need to give it a rest, but sadly, they won’t.


America: Challenge Roe v. Wade, Just Not So Much

As usual, “The Editors” at America Magazine are all over the map but miss the mark.

The Editors: Roe v. Wade has made abortion politics impossible. It needs to be challenged.

The recently passed abortion laws in Georgia and Alabama have raised the temperature of the national debate nearly to the boiling point. The law in Georgia, keyed to the detection of fetal cardiac activity, would restrict abortion after about the sixth week of pregnancy; it also defines human beings in the womb, at any stage of development, as “natural persons.” Alabama’s law bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy. While these laws allow exceptions for cases where a woman’s life would be endangered by carrying the pregnancy to delivery, neither law has exceptions allowing abortion in cases of rape or incest.

And there should be no exceptions. How a person is conceived doesn’t change the fact that they are a person.

Much discussion of these bills has described them as “extreme,” while almost universally neglecting the most significant cause of such “extremism.” Many commentators recognize that these new laws are designed to mount a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade—but they fail to notice that these laws’ blunt restrictions are a mirror image of Roe’s broad rejection of any practical or effective limits on abortion. When abortion rights advocates defend Roe in order to reject any proposed restriction of abortion, they are taking an extreme position. That leaves no ground open for any compromise on less extreme laws. Pro-life legislators are going to meet the same tooth-and-nail opposition whether they aim to ban all abortions or, as recently seen in the U.S. Senate, attempt to require that infants born alive during an abortion receive medical care.”

The laws in Georgia and Alabama aren’t “extreme,” and they’re certainly not “extreme” because of Roe Vs. Wade. The laws are right (or at least on the right track in the case of those states trying to limit before they ban) because abortion is killing a child. There can be no compromise on that. There is no room for compromise and there never was. America Magazine wants to paint this as a war of extremists, but this is a war of right and wrong. Even if nobody gets it, we are still right to try to ban all killing of children. And America Magazine acts as if minor, incremental moves haven’t been tried since 1973. They seem to want us to keep the status quo we’ve had for decades.  No thank you.

And, because people are going to bring up the areas where both mom and baby “are sure to die!” let me address that. The closest thing to that a situation like that is an ectopic pregnancy, and maybe an advanced cancer of some sort. Let’s look at those before we go on. The Church, and as far as I can tell, Alabama, have the same position on “indirect abortions” as far as treating the diseased parts of the body goes. What does this mean? Ireland used to be spot on in this, which is why they had one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. It used to be that in every pregnancy in Ireland, a doctor acted as if there were two patients and did his best to save both. Yes, on occasion, there is a “no-win” situation where at least one will die if the diseased part of the body isn’t treated. The Church doesn’t say we can’t treat that diseased part of the body, but the BABY is never considered the disease and this is exactly how it was handled there.

Now let’s use the old “no win” situation of an ectopic pregnancy for those who have never really delved into the issue. It used to be thought that the baby was stuck in the tube and would die, and if the tube should burst or infection occur, the mom would also die. First of all, there have been miraculous “extra-uterine” pregnancies where the baby actually does escape the tube but never quite makes it to the uterus and all turns out well after a c-section delivery. However, the usual course is that the baby will indeed die, and without removal of the tube with baby, mom will also die. The Church has concluded, in a case like this, that a doctor can treat the diseased part of the body and remove baby AND tube to prevent the tubal rupture from causing infection and killing mom. They are not allowed to directly and purposely abort the child (remove from tube) to try and save the tube. That would be a direct abortion. So, in short, the Church has always provided for seemingly impossible situations. I could pitch a number of situations that fit this bill, but it should suffice to say that when there are no plausible treatments for a situation that will save both patients, doctors are allowed to employ a myriad of treatments to save the mother by treating the diseased part of the body (again, not the baby) even if it results in the baby dying. Hearkening again to countries like Ireland, they spent a lot of time figuring out the best ways to treat both patients with fabulous results. We should have been doing this, too. Unfortunately, the status quo here has been “Just save yourself and you can try again later!”.

Consistently over decades, polls show that a significant majority of Americans support stricter restrictions on abortion than allowed under Roe, yet not as stark as those established by these new laws. American public opinion on the legality of abortion is conflicted and contradictory. According to one poll conducted this month, half of voters believe that the six-week “heartbeat laws” are either “just right” or even “too lenient;” another poll found that two-thirds of U.S. adults oppose overturning Roe. But under Roe and its successor decision, Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the abortion limits many voters want, even while abortion remains legal, are rendered unconstitutional. About 60 percent of Americans support legal abortion during the first three months of pregnancy, but far fewer—less than one-third—support it up to six months. But Casey’s “undue burden” standard disallows abortion restrictions anytime before fetal viabilit (around six months), which is not what most Americans would choose.

Blah, blah, blah. Morality has nothing to do with polls. It has to deal with truth, and as many have said as of late, truth is still truth even if nobody believes it. America Magazine spews polls left and right as if Catholics believe in moral relativism.

There is a large gap between what Roe requires and what Americans believe about abortion. But addressing this gap remains politically unimaginable for pro-choice activists, as long as they present the possibility of Roe being overturned as an acute political crisis. In reality, the reverse is the case. The ongoing political crisis is a consequence of the persistent failure of Roe and Casey to settle the abortion question and the failure of the Supreme Court to offer any sign that these cases ever will.

We don’t need to address “gaps.” We need to address good, stand up to evil, and embrace truth. We don’t need to worry about polls. Thankfully, many states seem to be recognizing this more and more. They finally realize playing the numbers game didn’t really work. I think “The Editors” realize this, too. I think they get it just fine. They’re just hoping you don’t.

In her majority opinion upholding Roe in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote that “the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” On the abortion question, this call has manifestly and expressly failed for more than 45 years, while distorting national politics and contributing to national division. The wreckage of these cases needs to be cleared for the country to move forward.

“Oh, division. It’s so evil.” Listen, there’s three ways this can go down. We can be united in the killing of children, we can be united in the protection of children, or we can be divided over this. I’m happy if everyone picks door number two, but I am willing to live with door number three because I’m sure as heck not going to pick door number one just for the sake of unity. Unity is only grand if it’s moral, and making exceptions to killing children isn’t moral.

The Alabama and Georgia laws are far from perfect. They should have been accompanied by equally vigorous support for women struggling with pregnancy. They will almost certainly be suspended by injunction before they are implemented, and whenever they eventually reach the Supreme Court, they are unlikely to be upheld in all the details of their current form. If these laws are upheld and Roe is overturned or limited, they will need to be modified in order to be practically and justly enforced. But the legislative work of answering the challenging moral questions about abortion will at least be possible. While that will not end political divisions over abortion, it would allow us to engage them more honestly.

Aaaaaaand there’s the usual seamless garment logic. It’s akin to “No, Mr. Fireman! Don’t go in to save people in that burning building until homelessness has been cured!” I’m wondering if America Magazine realizes that there are 38ish crisis pregnancy centers in Alabama, and it was just reported that they have a HUGE adoption rate from foster care, too. Can more be done? Always. Do we have to stuff bills with ever conceivable social ill before we stop killing children? Absolutely not! Start with keeping as many children as possible from being slaughtered and their moms from being irreparably harmed. “The Editors” at America Magazine want you to think that’s “far from perfect.” Does this surprise anyone?


This One Wrote Itself

Oh my gosh!  You have to read this one.  This is so, I don’t know, blonde. (I know my blonde love a good blonde joke.) It’s like a Saturday night live skit. I couldn’t make this up if I tried, AND believe it or not, it’s not a BabylonBee or Eye of the Tiber post, either.  This was passed around in all seriousness by America Magazine (in fact, I think they actually pay her) and the Fr. Martins of the world. I was reading it to my husband who immediately started laughing hysterically when I hit a few phrases (I’m going to be good and not spoil it yet.) One Mad Dad said “I’m going to bed because I know what you’re doing for the next hour or two.”  If you need a good laugh, do yourself a favor and read this.

So you are a Catholic mother bringing up daughters, and as soon as they are old enough, you have some explaining to do.

‘splaining how people can be soooo incredibly bubbleheaded, perhaps?

Because even though Jesus wasn’t sexist, the institutional church is, right? It is a given for women. When an entire sacrament is denied you solely because of your gender, that is textbook sexism.

Biology is such a pain, isn’t it?  I mean, women can’t be priests and men can’t be sisters, nuns, or mothers.  God, you’re such a sexist.  What were you thinking?  Oh, that men and women are complementary? Silly you.

I’ve separated this next part because I ran around reading it to my several amazing children and young female relatives and, after the hysterical laughing subsided, they were all like “What the…?!?!”

I say this with love, as a Catholic mother who is not leaving, as a faithful dissenter, as an imperfect follower of Jesus.

Yes, it’s rather pathetic that people are so ignorant of the English language that they don’t realize that “faithful” and “dissenter” kind of mean the polar opposite. So is she faithful to dissent? Faithfully dissenting? No matter.  Whatever her meaning, it isn’t in the Catholic lexicon.

I was recently chafing on Jesus’ behalf

(More hysterical laughter ensues at the Mad Mom home.) No, it’s not satire. She’s also no spring chicken so I’d have to conclude the use of “chafing” is meant to connect with the cool younger feminists.

at the inherent sexism lurking behind some dress code notes in a parish bulletin. The text implied that women and girls who come to Mass in skimpy clothing—and we have all seen them—are responsible for causing sinful thoughts in the minds of “others” (meaning: men). Apparently, men cannot ever grow up or be trusted to treat women like fellow human beings. I am not a fan of cleavage in church, but it occurred to me that female rape victims are the only victims of crime who are ever asked, “What were you wearing?”

Some call this common decency and some call it a sexist dress code.  Note that she didn’t actually include the text of the dress code, but last time I checked, St. Peter’s, you know, THE Catholic Church, employs a dress code.  Now, considering that God is present in every tabernacle in the world, I’m pretty sure that a dress code is not out of order here, there, or anywhere.  In fact, Christ even states it.

So, let’s table the differences between men and women  for a second and look at this:

But when the king came in to look at the company, he saw a man there who had no wedding-garment on; My friend, he said, how didst thou come to be here without a wedding-garment? And he made no reply. Whereupon the king said to his servants, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him out into the darkness, where there shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Many are called, but few are chosen.

Yes, yes.  This story of Christ is about the soul but, he used the example of a proper dress code to do it!  Christ most certainly didn’t say “Oh dude!  Those dress codes are so lame and sexist!”

 Why didn’t the pastor’s notes admonish men not to wear tight T-shirts, the kind that might outline a pair of broad shoulders and a righteous six-pack of abs, thereby causing impure thoughts in many an ovulating woman? That sounds ridiculous only because we unthinkingly accept the rut of sexism into which our human church has fallen.

And here’s the usual “Heaven forbid they point out the mistakes of the biggest class of offenders without pointing out everyone’s!” It’s akin to “Well, Mom, they do it too!”  It didn’t work for my children and it’s not going to work for you. Please.

I’m assuming you’re married with kids because your bio says so.  Any woman who’s been married for more than five minutes knows that men are far more visually attracted than women.  Personally, yay for that design because when we don’t look our best, t they’re still attracted.  Seriously, the design was amazing.  Maybe Valerie spent too many years quashing those female hormones more than she should with birth-control her feminist buddies are so fond of, but women’s drive comes from the brain.  We need far more than just the visual. And, really, the narcissist dude who wears the custom fitted shirts isn’t usually at Mass because their brain focuses more on them far more than Our Lord. I have NEVER looked around and seen one guy I thought was provoking me to impure thoughts. The worst I’ve seen is a guy wearing a tank top which looked sloppy and showed his “look at me” tats, but that’s it.  And, if there are such men that I haven’t noticed, they’re probably doing it because of the scantily clad babes around them.  Geez.  I’m not a clueless woman. What is the point to wearing the short shorts and boob tubes?  Please. Don’t bother playing the martyr card.  Women dress to get a reaction out of men. Deal. With. Reality.  They’re not victims of the mean ol’ pastor.  They’re just victims of stupidity.  I would think you, the devoted feminist, would channel  your inner Gloria Steinem and tell them they’re causing women to be objectified but the older feminists are trying to keep up with the newer club of feminists seem to go with the “I can look as stupid as I want because it’s my right!” take.  As a woman, it’s embarrassing.

This example of small-scale sexism in the Sunday bulletin cannot, of course, compare to the deeper pit of the sex abuse scandals in which the church currently sprawls. I am sickened to the depths of my soul by the recent grand jury report in Pennsylvania, detailing episodes of pedophilia, sexual assault and rape committed by 301 members of the Catholic clergy on over 1,000 victims, along with the by-now-familiar cover-up of criminal behavior by the church hierarchy, perhaps even more sickened than I was in the past by similar reports from Boston or from Ireland or from Los Angeles—the archdiocese I contribute to—or from Chile or from any other Catholic diocese, because it is a cumulative illness. Most infuriating, it is a preventable illness.

Oh, and predatory homosexuals. Don’t forget them.  The majority of victims are not women and pre-pubescent children.  The majority are post-pubescent boys and men, so again, please don’t make this a sexist issue.  I will agree it’s infuriating and often times preventable, but not if you don’t identify the problem.

It is high time for us to understand how this keeps happening and to stop it.

This is when Jack Nicholson shows up and says, “You can’t handle the truth!”  It’s the “faithful dissenters” stupid!  It’s certainly not the guys trying to uphold the Church’s teaching on sex.

But as long as we continue to treat clergymen as though they are somehow more angelic than us inferior lay people, as long as we expect them to be asexual super-humans, as long as we do not monitor them as we do any adults who interact with our children, we will suffer sexual predation. As long as we shy away from any honest discussions of sexuality and cloak sexuality in shame-filled secrecy, as long as we refuse to allow women to occupy positions of real authority within the church, we will bring these revolting abuses and subsequent headlines on ourselves.

Oh, now you want honesty??? Please.  For all of the righteous indignation you and America Magazine throw out there, you surely must admit that these abusers are just putting forth another version of “faithful dissent!”  I know!  Sick, right?  But pot, meet kettle. If you get to dissent from the teachings of the Church, why don’t they? You’re part of the problem, not the solution.

Nobody is angelic. Angels and humans are of separate worlds. Holy and evil are a better way to describe what’s going on, and I know you’ll find this sad because it doesn’t fit your narrative, but most of this has nothing to do with females at all.  You fail to meet the actual burden of proof in your assertions.  If men, who are natural protectors, are failing, the nurturers are not going to do any better.  In fact, they will probably collapse the whole system by further trying to neuter masculinity and the natural inclination to protect. That inclination was stripped away from the sexual predators a long time ago.

Jesus relied on women to get it right. From his own mother to the women who questioned or challenged him to the women who befriended him to the women who braved the crucifixion to the women who proclaimed the resurrection, Jesus treated women as equals and as holy. We have been there with him. That is our historical and spiritual birthright. Over the centuries, we have tended to the sick and fed the hungry and taught the children and laundered the linens and staffed the offices and offered our envelopes and witnessed our faith and kept the church’s home fires burning, but we have not been in power. We have not been empowered. And maybe that is partly on us. We allowed generations of societal norms to obscure Jesus’ example.

I don’t remember the greats – St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Hildegard, St. Joan of Arc, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Bernadette, Mary, the Mother of God – EVER saying there was “sexism in the institutional Church.”  And likely they would have been tad more blunt than the pastor who asked the women not to dress in skimpy clothes.

Jesus talked to men and women about loving God and loving your neighbor and not being afraid to follow God’s will. Jesus also taught us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. These predators hiding in priestly vestments among us are surely our enemies. They surely persecute our children. While we mothers might like to strangle these monstrous manipulators ourselves, we are called to forgive them. Just as certainly, however, we are not called to enable them. They and the official protocols that protected them have lost our trust.

We are also called not to reject Church teachings nor Her priests simply because a small minority of them have been shown to be Judases.  You don’t leave Christ because of Judas.  I am all for taking the Judases in the bunch down and have spent a good deal of time trying to do so without promoting my own private agenda while ALWAYS trying to be faithful to the Church, not faithful to dissent.

We women are being called to shake things up, to redesign and repurpose this church of Jesus, our beloved one, holy, catholic, apostolic church.

This ain’t Pinterest, sweetie.  We are called to follow the Church’s teachings.  You seem to want to turn the Church into your own crafting shack.  Sorry. It’s not about you.

It is hard to think of the Holy Spirit in the same thought as sex offenders, but we are experiencing a radical call to get our act together.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The male-centric church and its ordained ministers may only truly heal when women—lay and religious—apply the salve.

And No! No! No!  The Church is not “male-centric”, it’s Christ-centric.  We do have some awesome female doctors of the Church, by the way, yet you fail to even acknowledge them.  They would likely give you a nice tongue lashing, which is probably why you fail to mention them AND Mary, Most Holy. Not one of them was as full of herself as you.

 It is sometimes our tendency as women to let the professionals—the men in charge—sort out the problems, but that is obviously not working. We can choose to leave this corrupt and stinking edifice and find another house of worship, but that is not helping. We can withhold our time, talent and treasure, but that mostly hurts us.

In case you missed it, 30,000 plus women (and more everyday) just fired off a letter of charges they wanted answered.  Do I appear to you to be a helpless woman? Please.  You are hardly the be all and end all of strong Catholic women. In fact, Catholic women don’t fear men nor see them as rivals to be feared.  We’re quite comfortable with them as our complements in this life.  Where we are weak, they are strong and vice versa.  This goes for our husbands, sons, brothers, priests, etc.  Only the ridiculous and narcissistic see each other as rivals.

What are we to do? What would Jesus do? Maybe Jesus would agree with Mr. Rogers’s mother, who advised Mr. Rogers, in times of confusion and tragedy, to “look for the helpers.” We are the helpers. We women, the proven and time-honored helpers, must stand for the littlest ones, the injured ones, the vulnerable ones. Regarding church personnel and practices, we must keep the best and throw out the rest, the sexism, the clericalism, the dishonesty, the hypocrisy. We must welcome the fresh and feminine breath of the Holy Spirit. That is exactly what Jesus did.

Oh, really?  I’ve been fighting for 16 years now to fully address the issues that led to this abuse crisis, while people like you sought to advance their own personal agendas.  So, please, peddle your wares someplace else.

“So what might Jesus hashtag? Maybe, in lay terms: #timesup.”

Sorry.  Can’t fit Christ into a hashtag, but I can throw out this little tidbit.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted



Keeping Those Kids Catholic

About the title…Made you look! Sorry. I don’t have the answers for that. I only have observations, guesses, thoughts, encouragement and trials and errors just like the rest of you. Ask me when I’m dead and I’m sure I’ll be able to give you the oh-so-clear hindsight formula. For those of you who think you are endowed in perfect wisdom in this arena, good luck with that. If I were a betting woman I’d bet there’s a sudden heretic on your horizon. God has a way of humbling us when we need it.

I got a Facebook message from one of my 20-something, convert, and young mother friends this morning saying, “This is such a depressing article” with this link. My first reaction was, “What’s a nice girl like you doing reading America Magazine???  It’s like porn for heretics.”  She’s new to crazy Catholicism so she’s still learning what to avoid although she admitted “Jesuit” should have been her first clue. Parenting advice found in America Magazine really should just be ignored as a blanket rule. 

Now I don’t usually do the “mommy blog” thing, but Mother’s Day is coming up so I’m going to take this one on.

What can Catholic moms do if they want their children to remain Catholic? Let go.

Kristin Grady Gilger

May 04, 2018

When you have children, everyone tells you that your life is going to change. They mean this in both the best and the worst possible ways: There are the predictable losses (lost sleep, lost money, lost time) as well as the wholly unexpected gains of loving a child beyond reason, beyond yourself.

I’ll admit right off the bat that there’s definitely lost sleep, and those darling little cherubs break things, ruin things, and suck the life out of you, but I’m not really sure I ever thought these as losses.  I thought of them more as investments. Every little dollar they wasted, sleepless night I had, and endless days driving them to and from whatever was something else that I could offer up for their salvation and mine. Did I/do I always remember to do it? Not at every single turn but I tried to make some blanket offerings now and then to cover my exhausted stupor. 

What people do not tell you is that your children are bound to make unexpected and sometimes bewildering choices—and those choices have the power to change you. Children will shake your sense of identity, challenge your beliefs and fundamentally alter who you are.

Anyone who has tried to pass on their religious faith to their children knows this to be true: You can be a good Catholic and raise a passel of atheists. You can be a strident ex-Catholic and raise a priest—like I did. 

I see where she’s going but, really, temptation only has the power you give it. (Kind of sounds all Catholic Jedi-y, doesn’t it?)

Shaken identity? Yeah, this one rings true in this particular year. One Mad Dad has probably seen me have a couple nervous breakdowns this year alone, but I wouldn’t say they altered who I was. They actually made it clearer who I was. I am a child of God who needs His mercy, love and care, and sometimes, I know you’ll find it hard to believe, I forget that. I always had a fondness for the story of The Little Red Hen, and “I’ll do it myself!” has floated around my head a time or two or a hundred. Still, I think we parents and children both miss the spiritually symbiotic relationship we have with each other. We are each others’ paths to heaven. It can be quite blissful and far less adversarial when we keep that in the forefront of our minds.

My son would tell you that I have had a big influence on him. He dives into the world in the same way I do, with the firm intention of changing it. He works out his thoughts by writing them down. He believes in the healing properties of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on a rainy day. But when it came to making the biggest choice of his life—to convert to Catholicism and become a Jesuit priest—I was left to wonder what influence I had had on him or whether I had wielded any influence at all.

I’m sure she hasn’t worked through her newly returned to Catholicism. As you’ll see, reading further, this is what she’s done. I’m just trying to figure out why America sees her as providing answers to keeping your kids Catholic when she didn’t even manage to do that for herself.

I will say this, I’ve seen many parents bewildered when their children didn’t follow the same vocation. For some reason, no matter how faithful they are, they see it as a slap in the face versus a calling from God. Different doesn’t necessarily mean rejection.  Sometimes it just means different.

Many of the good Catholic mothers I have talked to are just as bewildered. They did everything in their power to raise children in their faith only to see them adopt other religions or reject God altogether. Some say they were defeated by a culture that increasingly values the material over the spiritual, or they point to the rigidity of doctrine, failures of individual priests, sexual abuse scandals, boring services and bad music. Many blame themselves, although they struggle to say where exactly they went wrong.

And here we go. Would I expect anything less to be found in  America Magazine? You knew it was coming. All of these poor moms’ kids left the Faith because of the “rigidity of doctrine, failures of individual priests, sexual abuse scandals, boring services and bad music.” (The last one intrigues me.)

Those whose children remain practicing Catholics have some ideas about why that may be the case, but they, too, are well aware that things could easily have turned out differently.

I find it interesting that she didn’t list their magic recipes. After all, she’s very willing to point out where people think they went wrong or where the Church is at fault. I think most of us whose children still practice the Faith, at this point, would sum it up with “BY THE GRACE OF GOD!” because, yes, we do know it could have turned out differently and still could.

In a recent survey of more than 1,500 U.S. Catholic women, commissioned by America and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, 73 percent of women who are mothers said their children remain in the church. Fifteen percent indicated that none of their children are now Catholic. The remaining 12 percent reported a mixed result: Some of their children are Catholic and some are not.

OK, personally, I think the 73% actually seems kind of high. What does “remain in the church” mean to America? Does it mean they’re in some sort of Christian denomination?  Is simply saying you’re Catholic enough to win that percentage point? I mean, I’ve seen some claim Catholicism like a nationality, but they only show up at Mass on Christmas and Easter and reject most doctrines.  Seems like a pretty useless survey. Yes, they’re all baptized Catholics, and once a Catholic always a Catholic, but we might want to strive for a little bit more.  How about next time you do a survey, America, you ask if their children embrace all the doctrines of the Catholic Church?

Those results closely mirror an informal poll of America readers for this article conducted by social media. Just over 25 percent of the more than 500 respondents said their children have left the church—a number that trends suggest will increase as the young children of many respondents grow up. Nationally, nearly half of all children leave the faith of their parents once they reach adolescence.

Umm, it’s like they didn’t read their own poll results. I thought 73% were still in? If so, how is it that “children leave the faith of their parents once they reach adolescence?”  Sorry.  Your behind being at Mass on Sundays is not an option around here. Rarely will a child take the Faith seriously if their parents don’t make it mandatory while their little brains of mush are forming. It’s not optional. In fact, I don’t care if they reach the age of 50.  It’s not optional. They’ll never stop hearing about it as long as I draw a breath. It’s not just a trivial decision to skip Mass and they will know it.  They may still choose that at some point but they won’t be able to say they just didn’t know it was crucial.

Creating a Catholic Identity

Many of the mothers who wrote to America sounded wistful about that reality. Kathleen Baxter, who lives in rural New York, said her youngest son stopped going to church during his sophomore year of high school. On Sunday mornings, he would stay in bed with the covers pulled up over his head, and no amount of cajoling could convince him to go to Mass. She did not take it well. “My first reaction was: I’m going to force him to go, whether he likes it or not,” she said.

Her first reaction was dead on!  Geez!  Some days I have trouble getting out of bed for Mass, too.  Waaa!  Again, we all need to learn to resist our temptations. 

She and her husband are now trying to let him find his own way, hoping that the example they set will tip the balance. Her husband is in the church choir, and Ms. Baxter serves on her parish’s pastoral council. Both serve as lectors and are involved in the adult Christian initiation program (R.C.I.A.).

Since you are involved with RCIA and other Church activities, I’m just going to assume somebody’s told him the Sunday obligation is an obligation and that it’s a mortal sin not to go to Mass unless some SERIOUS reason or illness exists. (I know it’s silly to assume such things these days but I’m going to go with it.) Bottom line, your son is going with mortal sin and you’re just going to say “I hope I’m a good enough model that he’ll come to his senses.”  Please. You’d better pray your sterling example isn’t the only thing your son’s salvation rests upon, because we all fall miserably short. Act like it’s life or death, because that is what we’re really talking about.

Also, I really don’t count on my children looking to me as an example. That’s why I try to surround them with as many other people who are not their parents for examples. I’m not delusional. I’m not nearly as cool as, really, anyone else in the eyes of my children. I’m mom. I am the proverbial prophet in my own land. The odds of my own kids realizing that I’m totally cool is slim to none until, maybe, they have their own teens/young adults and they come to realize it’s not a job, it’s an adventure! Remember how completely out of touch your parents looked when you were young? Remember when you realized they might not be so crazy after all? Yeah. Take heart. You’re probably totally awesome to somebody else’s kids.

 “I figure if I set a good example, maybe someday he’ll come back,” Ms. Baxter said before adding hopefully, “Maybe he’ll meet a Catholic girl!”

Well, if that’s not passing the buck, I don’t know what is! Yes, let’s leave it to the Catholic girl to make Catholicism mandatory at some point in your son’s life. Blech. Reality check, lady. I know plenty of Catholic girls who ain’t living the Catholic life. In a world where children have been left to raise themselves, “Catholic” is getting harder and harder to find.

She has reason to be encouraged. Study after study makes it clear that parents—perhaps most especially mothers—do have an enormous influence on their children’s religious choices. The vast majority of adults who adhere to religion were raised in households where religion was valued and practiced.

…and mandatory. When did parents start saying, “Whatever you want, honey!”? Can I just stop and say here that YOU ARE THE PARENT?!?! Would you ever tell your kid he could go ahead and just eat Fruit Loops unto his heart’s content??? Of course not.  (Again, let’s just go with a bit of supposed sanity.) You provide nourishment that’s good for the child, whether or not they like it, until they get to the age where they can possibly see the wisdom in it or they leave your house. 

When I asked Ms. Baxter about why she thought it was important to raise her children Catholic, her response was simple: “I was raised Catholic,” she said. Nearly half of the women in the informal America poll referred to the same thing, often using these exact words. They want their children to be raised in the same faith they grew up in. They feel the strong pull of a tradition that has defined their families, often for generations. Being Catholic is a big part of who they are.

People! Catholicism is not a nationality!!!! The Holy Eucharist really should have been the simple answer here but the blind are leading the blind and we can’t figure out why people are leaving the Church in droves. Tell them to “Let go!” and it’ll all get better?!?!  Ugh!

I’m sure there are some people out there reading America’s article and thinking it’s a great guide for parents. What is it guiding you to do? Uh, nothing? You need to educate yourself. Like most of America’s readers, I received a less than adequate education from Catholic school and early parish life. You know why I’m still Catholic? My parents told me about the TRUE Faith! Insisted I frequented the Sacraments AND dogged me. Did I always love it? Of course not. For many of those adolescent years and a smidge of my young adult years, I just did it out of duty and guilt. Yay for the conscience!  Persevering made me love it, because why? Just like everyone else today, THE GRACE OF GOD! I guarantee if my parents had let me choose to go to Mass, I probably wouldn’t have done it.  Teens are lazy by nature.  At some point, I actually listened to a homily for once. I soooo wish I could remember when the light switch turned on and I started paying attention, but I’m pretty sure it was probably around the first time my Faith was attacked. Suddenly the martyr stories I’d heard growing up became a little more real.  “Nationality” was no longer good enough. I had to learn my Faith. Persecution really is good for the soul, but you REALLY need to show the youth where it’s happening, because, for the most part, it’s pretty subtle. Until they see it for what it is, it can just erode the will.

That is certainly true for Kristina Ortega, a Los Angeles mother of two young boys, whose father immigrated to the United States from Mexico. “So much about being Catholic is cultural for me,” Ms. Ortega said. “I don’t know how to separate my Catholic-ness from my Mexican-ness.

Catholicism, for her, includes assembling altars for the Day of the Dead with her children and praying novenas after the death of a loved one. The family is part of a mostly Latino parish, another way of keeping the children connected to their culture, and the boys, who are 5 and 8, attend Catholic schools, as she and her husband did.

But the family is also intent on introducing practices of their own. “Part of Latino culture is that religion is something women do,” Ms. Ortega said. “It’s important to me that my children see my husband is engaged.”

As far as my highlighting goes…Yes, yes and yes. I’m from California and this is definitely true. Yay for her and her husband’s response to bucking that trend.

Both she and her husband firmly believe that a big part of being Catholic is not just believing in something but acting on those beliefs, something Ms. Ortega credits to her Jesuit education at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. They know their family is, in her words, “incredibly privileged,” and they want their children to “see what the rest of the world is like.”

The Jesuit church they belong to sits in the midst of a public housing project, which helps drive that lesson home. During Lent, for example, parishioners leave the church to pray the Stations of the Cross in the streets of the community. All four Ortegas take part.

Ugh! It’s like nails on a blackboard hearing “Loyola Marymount”. Yes, yes, many of us are privileged.  I mean our poorest of poor aren’t eating dirt cakes, but when looking at the rest of the world, it’s also important to see the martyrdom going on. We are actually free to practice our Faith (for the most part) without recrimination. Many, many, too many are dying around the world for the Faith. We have such a gift here, but we tend to squander that privilege. 

Lauren Schumacher of Centennial, Colo., who has sons almost the same age as Ms. Ortega’s, is just as adamant about the importance of “doing Catholicism.” “You want them to know it’s not just about the prayer,” she said. “You also have to help those who are poor and help [your children] realize how fortunate they are.”

This is something she and her husband frequently remind their sons in conversation, but it is also something they put into practice in small ways, like visiting nursing homes, distributing blankets to the homeless and joining other parishioners who take gifts to disadvantaged families at Christmas.

Perhaps more important, Ms. Schumacher and her husband try to set an example by curbing their own materialism. “We try to live within our means. You can say that all day long, but if you’re not giving to the poor or if you’re living some elaborate lifestyle, it doesn’t resonate as much,” she said. “I work on my materialism so they don’t see me buying stuff all the time, stuff I don’t need.”

Great, but do your children know the doctrines of the Faith, TOO? I mean, Protestants do the same thing. The Catholic Church has always been helpers of the poor and I strongly recommend it, but we also share the Faith as well as food. We are missionaries all the way around, not just in material goods.

Ms. Schumacher and her husband teach their faith in other ways. They follow the rituals of Lent and Advent, using calendars to help their children follow along. They place the figure of baby Jesus in their Nativity scene on Christmas Day. Their boys collect statues of saints. The saints, Ms. Schumacher said, are a big hit, especially St. Jude and St. Michael the Archangel, who occupy places of honor on her sons’ nightstands. “Every time they go to the church store, they want a saint statue,” she said. “I have to rein it in.”

Bravo! Making the saints real is super important. They’re not just fictional characters to entertain. They are examples for us all. They are our friends.

But most powerful, she said, is prayer. Ms. Schumacher remembers praying about what now seem to her like “ridiculous things” when she was a child. “I think back now and say, ‘Was I really praying about my bad skin?’ But at least you’re talking to God. That’s what I want for my kids.

“You want them to know it’s not just about the prayer. You also have to help those who are poor and help [your children] realize how fortunate they are.”

And the Sacraments, Ms. Schumacher. Don’t forget those. That said,just forming a friendship with God, the angels and his saints on trivial things is a great lifelong habit, one we all need to be reminded of again and again. Everything should start with prayer.  None of us nails the “Catholic thing” once and for all. We constantly give into, in full or in part, the seven deadly sins, right? That’s why confession. 

Also, to all of the parents out there worried about your child straying here or there or leaving the Faith altogether, this is one of my favorites! We have our very own angels for a reason, but so often we forget about them or ignore them. Almost all of us have been guilty of that at one point or another.

I humbly salute you, O you faithful, heavenly friends of my children! I give you heartfelt thanks for all the love and goodness you show them. At some future day I shall, with thanks more worthy than I can now give, repay your care for them, and before the whole heavenly court acknowledge their indebtedness to your guidance and protection. Continue to watch over them. Provide for all their needs of body and soul. Pray, likewise, for me, for my husband, and my whole family, that we may all one day rejoice in your blessed company. Amen.

Back to Ms. Schumacher…

Each night before bed, her children say their own versions of prayers, which draw out concerns they rarely voice in other ways. “I can ask my 7-year-old about his day at school, and he’ll say he liked recess, and that’s about all the elaboration we get,” she said. “But before bed, he might say, ‘Oh, God, could you have Jamie be nice to me tomorrow?’ or ‘Please don’t let me have that dream.’

Sometimes these prayers prompt her to ask questions, but just as often, she leaves the matter up to her son and God, confident that the prayer itself is the comfort he seeks.

While the author has been trying to go the usual seamless garment route, the juxtaposition of the Baxters and the Byrnes, up next, is a good one. I mean, just off the bat, which family strikes you as having the greater chance of having at least some kids remain Catholic? The one who just hopes they’re a good example or the one who EXERCISES the Faith and makes their kids do it despite the adversity in their lives or maybe because of it? Not giving up the Faith when you’re struggling is a powerful example and, since we all struggle at some point, we can all show that example.

Sophie Byrnes of Streamwood, Ill., has three grown children she raised on the importance of prayer—prayer she describes as being as essential as breathing and eating.

She was brought up in a home where her mother insisted on the family rosary every day. Sophie says she remembers feeling a little resentful on summer days when she was kneeling inside the house while her friends played, quite audibly, outside. “But I always knew at a young age that your faith will help you in life,” she said.

Later, during an abusive marriage, Ms. Byrnes prayed just to get through each day, and she taught her children to pray, too—not formal, rote prayer, but the kind of prayer that consists of talking to God. These conversations took place at all times of the day. “We never left the house without praying,” she said. “If we left at three different times, we said a short prayer each time. Whenever we got in the car, we prayed to get home safely.”

The most important conversations, though, took place in the evenings as the children got ready for bed. Each of her children had a list of people they prayed for each night. One of her daughters got so caught up in the practice that her list grew to 50 people. “When someone got on her list, they never got off,” Ms. Byrnes said with a laugh. “It was tiring.”

She said not going to church was never an option for her children, but she does not think once-a-week Mass was the most important part of their Catholic upbringing; it was making God part of their everyday lives. Ms. Byrnes taught religious education and got involved in her parish and insisted her children do the same. They were altar servers and lectors, sang in the choir and went on mission trips.

“It can’t be just sometimes,” she said of the practice of religion. “What doesn’t work is telling your children about God and not practicing it by your own example. What doesn’t work is if you don’t make God real in your life and your children’s lives.”

All three of Ms. Byrnes’s children, now in their 20s and 30s, are practicing Catholics. She has seen seven grandchildren baptized—baptisms she no longer posts pictures of on social media or tells many friends about because so many would find it a painful reminder that their own grandchildren are not being baptized. “I’m sure,” she said, “that would be the greatest hurt in the world.”

OK, I’m wondering where the title of the article is going to come into play. Ms. Byrnes is certainly a stellar example and even one of overcoming adversity and her kids are all practicing Catholics. Why wouldn’t we just focus on her since she’s achieved the title of the supposed goal of the article? Notice, Mass not optional?  

Nancy Berube of Spencer, Mass., does not yet have grandchildren to be baptized, but she has been thinking about it. Her oldest son and his wife are practicing Lutherans, her daughter attends Mass occasionally, and her youngest son “professes to fear that lightning will strike him if he crosses a church threshold.”

Raising her children in the Catholic faith was extremely important to Ms. Berube, who once seriously considered becoming a nun. Her husband, although not Catholic, was supportive of her commitment and got involved in their parish as much as she did. Several years ago, he converted to Catholicism, completed an online Catholic study program, joined the parish council and began serving as a eucharistic minister.

Ms. Berube, meanwhile, has become an associate of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, the order of women religious she considered joining as a young woman. The lay associates gather for prayer, Bible readings and retreats, and they work to promote a variety of social justice and human rights causes across five continents. The work gives Ms. Berube, a family physician, a Catholic community beyond her parish and a way to practice her faith in ways that are meaningful to her.

OK, what’s missing here? She’s very involved with the parish and her groups but there’s no story on how she raised the kids? It’s all kind of about her. 

Ms. Berube has tried to talk to her children about the central role that Catholicism plays in her life and that of her husband, but these attempts make them uncomfortable. Despite the fact that two of her sons are in the U.S. military, which “gives them orders all the time, they don’t like being told what to do by their mother,” she quipped. Besides, she does not believe in a “hard sell for religion,” and she does not want to drive a wedge between them and herself and her husband.

Really, the story doesn’t say, but it appears that the Faith suddenly is being talked about as her children are adults. It’s a bit too late to start that conversation. It’s a way of life. If you don’t make it so when they are children, you don’t have a lot of hope of getting it through to them as adults. It seems like she doesn’t want to drive a wedge. Honestly, I never get why talking about the Faith, if done with love, has to do this? I mean, somebody has influenced child #1 to be Lutheran. Has he severed ties with them?

So she waits.

“I find the church [to be] a source of great joy and would love to be able to share that with them. However, it has to be on their own terms,” she said. “They’re thinking people; they’re very moral and upright, and I think their Catholic upbringing has affected their sense of what is right and what you can and can’t do in the world.”

Waits for what? For the kids to stumble across Catholicism? A lightning bolt to knock them off their high horses? Miracles do happen, but sometimes those depend on our cooperation despite feeling uncomfortable about it. I’ve had so many friends give in to the trap of, “Well, I’ve talked about it but I can’t keep talking about it.” Why the heck not??? I HATE it when people say that to me. You’re their loving mother and father! Yes, you have to know the proper time and place and you have to pray to the Holy Spirit, big time, but you can have a keep having adult conversations with your children. Knowing you love them goes a really, really long way even when we do things imperfectly.

I think of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep for the one and I always see that as a mother parable. The shepherd doesn’t find the sheep and say, “Hey sheep, what do you think about coming back? Oh, you don’t want to? Oh, OK.  See ya.”

A lot of time a shepherd’s crook is used to yank the sheep back. Why does that always get overlooked?!

These mothers have learned that we do not control our children’s choices; we only control our response to those choices.

And we can also very much control what we say to our children, and THAT is our responsibility. We can’t let their reaction or ignoring of what we are saying scare us from our duty to speak the truth. Yes, it’s not always easy, but sometimes we just have to acknowledge that and get to the truth at hand. On more than one occasion, I’ve had had to say, “Hey, this isn’t easy for me to say but I feel you really should be doing x,y,z, not doing x,y,z, should consider x,y,z, etc. BUT I love you and  you have to remember that I’m at fault if I neglect my duty to say something. You’re going to do what you’re going to do, but it just needs to be said and I can’t shirk my duty because I know you’re going to be uncomfortable. Now let’s eat!” Do we always do it perfectly as moms? Nope. Some days we’re too emotional, angry, forget to say a prayer before talking, etc. I know I’m not perfect. My kids sure know it and rarely miss a moment to let me know that in their own way. Still, we can’t use that as an excuse to do nothing.

While Ms. Berube waits, she considers what St. Monica could have done to make St. Augustine behave himself during most of his early adulthood. “He came around, and he was way more messed up than my kids are,” she said with a laugh. “But I understand her wanting him to be part of something that gave her joy because you want to share your joy with them.”

“Some other kid is worse” isn’t my bar. In fact, since everyone’s different, I think applying a bar is useless and stupid. What Mrs. Berube ignores is that St. Monica didn’t just pray. She showed her heart through her tears and she did tell St. Augustine what she needed to tell him.

From St. Augustine’s “Confessions”:

7. Woe is me! Do I dare affirm that thou didst hold thy peace, O my God, while I wandered farther away from thee? Didst thou really then hold thy peace? Then whose words were they but thine which by my mother, thy faithful handmaid, thou didst pour into my ears?

This next part kind of smacks of having your child’s vocation revolve around mom. That’s definitely something she needs to “let go.”

Letting Go

When my son, Patrick, announced that he had decided to enter the Society of Jesus, my husband and I were incredulous. “If you want to be a priest why not become an Episcopalian priest?” I asked him. “That’s the church you were raised in, and you could still get married.” I did not need to finish the sentence. Patrick already knew that what I really cared about was not some hypothetical daughter-in-law; it was grandchildren—preferably lots of them.

I have always thought Patrick would make a great husband and dad. Like his father, he is playful and loving and thoughtful. He actually likes to talk about his feelings, and he never asks much for himself. He is the kind of guy who will take your hand without warning and hold it close and tell you that he loves you.

No matter where he is, he notices babies. We can be in line to order coffee, walking through a museum or pushing a cart through a grocery store, and he will spot one in a mother’s arms or peeking out of a pack strapped to a dad’s back. His reaction reminds me of the stuffed toy glowworm he had when he was small—something bright and warm lights up inside of him.

He does not often approach these babies—that is too creepy for a single man, especially for a priest in these tendentious days—but you can tell he wants to. And when he is around his friends’ or his sisters’ babies, when he does not have to worry about what people think, he will get down on the floor with them and play like a kid and hold them so close it’s as if he’s inhaling them.

And? We always assume that someone who would make a good priest wouldn’t make a good father? Why? I mean, in reality, they are fathers to many. The priesthood isn’t a default for those who wouldn’t make good husband/father material. 

I know now that there was something else calling my son, something even more compelling than babies, and that is the call—the vocation—he ultimately heeded. It took me several years to accept his decision; I am still working to fully understand it.

Sigh. I’m not really getting any good insight from the long-time, anti-ex-newly returned Catholic here. It’s so interesting that the thrust of most of the article were examples of people just letting their kids do whatever to the detriments of their soul but the lady who has a priest for a son, who is presumably seeking to live a life which is God-centered, is the one struggling so much.

We have spent countless hours talking about what it is like to be a Jesuit living in a community of religious men, the spaces he seems to fill in the lives of other people and what he hopes to accomplish. I ask him—often—whether he is happy. And I have begun going to church again, this time with a lot less willfulness and a great deal more humbleness. I am giving Catholicism a second chance.

I have come to realize that, as a mother, I have two choices, and both involve letting go. I can surrender my son to a choice I would not have made for him, or I can acknowledge what I do not know and what I cannot control and walk with him.

Good on the return, but at some point you have to realize it’s not about you. It’s about God’s plan for your child and his/her salvation. Everlasting life or everlasting death. This is what always seems to be so crucially missing from this article.

Patrick would put it this way: Motherhood, like any vocation, is a calling—the voice of another calling us to something more. Sometimes the voice that is calling is God’s. Sometimes it is that of your children. Sometimes it is hard to tell them apart.”

This article also appeared in print, under the headline “Passing on the Faith? ,” in the May 14, 2018 issue.

Sigh. This whole long thing was a lot less about passing on the Faith or keeping your kids Catholic and a lot more on what makes moms happy and not so happy. 

Parents, I encourage you to live boldly in Christ and his Church, but live humbly in yourselves. This isn’t about our pride, our culture, our “nationality.” It’s about the salvation of our children. Are we going to do everything perfectly? Never, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Pray, rely on the Sacraments, and fight like hell to keep our kids from spending eternity there. If you don’t fill your kids heads with your thoughts about the Church, the world most certainly will fill their heads with thought about everything BUT the Church.

If your kids have left the Church and you feel like you have (or are wondering if you have) made mistakes in that area, tell them that! Share your heart and mind with them. Don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and realize that all things are still possible with God but don’t be a passive player in this life. Keep going after those lost sheep.  #HappyMothersDay


Fr. Martin Scores Another One for the Opposition!

Father James Martin: Lessons for all Catholics from six L.G.B.T. parables 

James Martin, S.J.

March 05, 2018

Since the first edition of my book Building a Bridge, about L.G.B.T. Catholics, was published last June, I have been privileged to speak at many parishes, colleges, retreat houses and conferences. At each venue, L.G.B.T. people and their families and friends have shared their experiences with me. Some were so powerful that they have become almost like parables for me. In the revised and expanded edition of the book, published this month, I share six of these stories.

We all knew it but, once again, Fr. Martin shows us that the god-complex is strong with him.  If these are parables (which by definition don’t even come close) then who is he again? Oh yeah, Christ. I keep forgetting. Did you ever notice that people who keep trying to draw parallels between themselves and Christ or the true martyrs are usually the ones who are legends in their own minds? Sorry. He is neither Christ nor a martyr except in his own little story. I always feel a little bad for Fr. Martin. I get the impression that he gets up every morning and thinks “How can I be perceived as Christ-like?” rather than “How can I BE Christ-like?”

In his now-famous definition, the biblical scholar C. H. Dodd said that a parable was a story designed to “tease the mind into active thought.” Stories have the capacity to open our minds in a way definitions cannot. This is one reason Jesus used parables extensively in his public ministry, as a way of inviting his listeners to see life from a new perspective.

Isn’t it fitting the Fr. Martin chooses a Protestant theologian? Heck, I don’t have a problem with Dodd’s comment but Fr. Martin’s twist on why the parables? Meh.  Honestly, wouldn’t you think it just the opposite of what Fr. Martin was saying? Christ wasn’t trying to propose that his disciples see things from a new perspective but he used something they were very familiar with to get his point across.

Christ actually explains it quite well in Matthew 13.

  18 The parable of the sower, then, is for your hearing. 19 Wherever a man hears the word by which the kingdom is preached, but does not grasp it, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart; his was the wayside sowing. 20 The man who took in the seed in rocky ground is the man who hears the word and at once entertains it gladly; 21 but there is no root in him, and he does not last long; no sooner does tribulation or persecution arise over the word, than his faith is shaken. 22 And the man who took in the seed in the midst of briers is the man who hears the word, but allows the cares of this world and the false charms of riches to stifle it, so that it remains fruitless. 23 Whereas the man who took in the seed in good soil is the man who both hears and grasps it; such men are fruitful, one grain yielding a hundredfold, one sixtyfold, one thirtyfold.

Fr. Martin seems to be the one who encourages seed planting on the path, on rocky ground and in the midst of briers of, say, New Ways Ministry or America Magazine instead of the fertile ground of the Church. Noooo! The Church, well, that’s where are the meanies are unless he can convert her to his methodologies. Gag! At this point, let me take the time to point out a few newish things that came to my attention in the past couple of weeks. If you have a chance, do yourself a favor and get Fr. Michael “Amazingly Nice Guy” Schmitz’s book “Made for Love” and Avera Maria Santo’s blog More of this please Catholic writers and bloggers! Let’s put Fr. Martin out of the business. He wants the Church to address this issue? DO IT!

I hope these few stories about L.G.B.T. Catholics tease your mind into active thought.”

Stories have the capacity to open our minds in a way definitions cannot.

Oh, your use of these stories, Fr. Martin, certainly has “teased my mind into active though!” Not what you were going for?!

 1. One of my oldest friends is a gay man named Mark, who was once a member of a Catholic religious order. About 20 years ago, after Mark left the order, he came out as a gay man and began living with his partner, with whom he is now legally married. His partner has a serious, long-term illness, and Mark has cared for him for many years with great devotion and loving-kindness.

What can we learn from Mark about love?

Well, we can learn from Mark that after 20+ years you have failed to lead one of your oldest friends and his “partner/husband” away from a sinful and dangerous lifestyle. So, all that love and acceptance you’ve thrown his way has done what to bring him about to the chaste lifestyle and the teachings of the Church?!?!?! Unless, of course, that was never your plan in the first place. Geez, Fr. Martin. In all your haughtiness, you just missed that you’ve proven my point and the point of thousands of others. Bravo!

2. An elderly man told me that his grandson recently came out to him as a gay man. I asked what he had said in response. He said that he had suspected for some time that his grandson was gay, and so when his grandson sat down to tell him, before a word was even on the young man’s lips, the grandfather said, “I love you no matter what you’re about to say.”

What can we learn from this grandfather about compassion?

I would think this what would come out of the mouths of most Catholics despite what YOU tell people. What I want to know is what did Grandpa say AFTER his grandson came out? Did he tell him to lean on the Church to carry that burden or did he say “Hopefully the Church will one day get with the program?”

3. After a talk I gave at a Catholic college in Philadelphia, a young man told me that the first person to whom he came out as a gay man was a Catholic priest. During a high school retreat, he decided to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality, but he was so nervous that he was “literally shaking.” The first thing the priest said to him was “Jesus loves you. And your church accepts you.” The young man told me, “It saved my life.”

What can we learn from this priest about acceptance?

And here’s where Fr. Martin uses his usual ambiguity. Did the priest say “The Church accepts you and wants to help you to live a chaste life and to help you get to heaven!” or did the priest say “The Church loves you and give the gay lifestyle the thumbs up because you have to do what your conscience tells you formed or not!” as you ambiguously intimate all the time? See, there’s a bit of a difference. I don’t know a priest who would tell someone suffering from SSA (same-sex attraction) that they are not loved and accepted. Are the loving ones going to leave it up in the air as to whether or not the gay lifestyle is conducive to gaining everlasting life? No, the good ones are going to lovingly explain what the Church has explained a million times. While he can’t wait to point out the word “disordered” you cannot seem to ever bring himself to quote this:

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.


4. A woman in her 80s, with snowy white hair and apple cheeks, came to my book-signing table after a talk I had given in Connecticut and said, “Father, I have something to tell you.” The focus of the talk had been on Jesus, not on L.G.B.T. issues specifically. I thought she might share an insight about Jesus or tell me that she had been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Instead she said, “Father, I have a grandchild who is transgender, and I love her so much. All I want is for her to feel welcome in the church.”

What can we learn from this grandmother about faith?

I think I’ve learned Grandma might have forgotten the teachings of the Church. Really?  That’s ALL she wants for her granddaughter?!?!?!?! How about everlasting life?!?!?! That could have been the moment when a grandmother was encouraged to make many sacrifices on her granddaughter’s behalf with the time she had left. There really, really could have been a beautiful story there but feeling welcome always seems to be the be all and end all with Fr. Martin. In case he missed it, quite a few saints died never once praying that they felt happy and welcome. Sigh.

5. At a parish in Boston, a gay man and a lesbian woman were invited to respond to my lecture on L.G.B.T. Catholics, in the spirit of fostering a real conversation. In her response, the lesbian woman, named Maggie, chose to discuss a reflection question that appears at the end of my book: “When you think about your sexual orientation or gender identity, what word do you use?” My intention was to invite readers to reflect on biblical passages about names and naming and encourage them to “name” their sexuality.

So I had expected words like “gay,” “lesbian” and “bisexual.” But that night in the parish, Maggie said that when she read that question and thought of her sexuality, she thought of the word “joy.” It was such a surprise!

What can we learn from Maggie about sexuality?

What in the what?! First of all, what was the REAL intention, Fr. Martin? Having read a lot of Fr. Martin, I’m reasonably sure he was going with his skewed version of the story of Bartimaeus.  It’s such a beautiful story in its non-paraphrased form but Fr. Martin cannot see the difference in desiring a healing and desiring something sinful and he seems to lead people to believe they are one and the same.

What can we learn from these stories? What does God want to teach us?

There you go again. You does not = God.

6. And perhaps the biggest surprise: On that same evening in Boston, a couple stayed afterward to have their book signed. One was a transgender woman—that is, a woman who had begun her life as a man. The other was a cisgender woman—that is, someone born a woman who is still a woman. (I have tried to be mindful of contemporary terminology, though I recognize that these terms get dated quickly.)

The cisgender woman told me that the two had been married for many years, which confused me, since same-sex marriage had not been legal for that long in Massachusetts. She sensed my confusion, smiled and said, “I married her when she was still a man.”

I was reduced to stunned silence. Here was an apparently straight woman who had married a straight man who was now a woman. How had she done it? “Love is love,” she said.

Here is a marriage that almost every church official would probably consider “irregular,” to use the official ecclesiastical term. Yet it was a model of faithfulness. Even after one partner had “transitioned,” the marriage was still intact.

What can we learn from them about fidelity?

Faithfulness/fidelity to what?!?! Disorder all the way around?

Overall, what can we learn from these stories? Where are we invited to see life in a new way? What does God want to teach us?

I’ve learned there are many souls out there that need more of Fr. Schmitz and Avera Maria Santo and far, far less of Fr. James Martin, SJ.

Social Justice is from Womb to Tomb!

I’m sure Thomas Reese, SJ, Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, Fr. James Martin, SJ, and club are typing up a correction for Ms. Ratcliffe as we speak!  Wait!  What?!  No?  Surely they want to correct the error of her ways, right?  I mean, it rather messes up their seamless garment issue to have somebody actually expressing what most of the seamless garment crowd thinks anyway, right?  They’re supposed to be quiet about this, a concept clearly was lost on Ms. Ratcliffe:


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A representative from the George Soros-funded dissident group Catholics for Choice (CFC) said she supports Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, because “our Catholic social justice tradition compels us to stand with the poor and the most vulnerable in our society.”

So let’s just kill all their children.  No need to offer them real help.  Let’s just eliminate the poor and vulnerable children and call it social justice!  Nobody will notice that it’s largely genocide.

“Planned Parenthood does this every single day,” CFC’s Sara Ratcliffe told a Planned Parenthood rally on Capitol Hill Wednesday. “The Washington-led attacks against Planned Parenthood only serve to hurt the poorest and most rural in our communities.”

Yes, they do. Planned Parenthood eliminates (nice way of saying kills) minorities and the poor class. Every. Single. Day. By the thousands.

Planned Parenthood commits over 300,000 abortions annually, an act the authoritative teaching of the Church labels “intrinsically evil.”

It promotes and provides contraception and sterilization, both condemned by the Church. Planned Parenthood is also a leading source of sex education, encouraging children of “any age” to masturbate and teens to experiment with sadomasochism as well as other dangerous and bizarre sexual practices.

Details.  Details.  Surely there’s not a problem with Ms. Ratcliffe and “Catholics” for Choice dissenting from the teachings of the Church. I mean, if there was, I’m sure that the National catholic Reporter and America Magazine club would get on that and show the clear Church teaching on the subject. 

Come on, people! Catholicism isn’t a nationality.  It’s a belief.  If you don’t believe it, too bad, so sad, but let’s be just a little intellectually honest and admit that you don’t believe much, if anything, of what the Church actually teaches.  I realize that Satan’s big game is to divide from within but your slip is kind of showing, Sara. 

“Catholics in good conscience support access to reproductive health to the people who need it and Planned Parenthood provides it,” said Ratcliffe. “Catholics support the right for women to decide on their own healthcare based on their own conscience without interference. And Planned Parenthood helps us do that.”

Oh my ever loving goodness!  This gets so tedious, perpetually pointing out what would take a few seconds for any Catholic to find on Google.  First, would you like to quote a little Church teaching on that, Sara?  Didn’t think so.  I’m reasonably sure that you’d gladly quote Article 6, Section I, and say “Seeeeeee???” and just hope nobody reads on to Section II.  If you’re falling for it, please read just a tiny bit further (like the next citation)!

1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

So, no, Ms. Ratcliffe.  A GOOD conscience is a well-formed conscience formed around the Church’s teachings, not your will. It’s really a simple concept actually written out for you.  Stay with me here. Your opinions are not authoritative teachings.  A shocker!  I know!

Also, just so I’ve done my due diligence in clearing up your fallacies, Ms. Ratcliffe, you REALLY might want to read Section IV:

IV. ERRONEOUS JUDGMENT (AKA the part aimed squarely at Ms. Ratcliffe)

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If – on the contrary – the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.“60 (So based on this, what is your conscience good and pure, Sara?)

The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.61

As Ratcliffe addressed the Planned Parenthood supporters, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins shouted that one cannot be truly Catholic and pro-abortion. Hawkins’ voice can be heard in the distance in the video below. 

OK, Kristan’s a convert so I’m sure she might not be up on everything, but she’s in the same boat with a lot of other Catholics.  Just because you are a bad Catholic doesn’t mean you are not Catholic.  I’m a real stickler for this.  Ms. Ratcliffe could even renounce the Faith and she’d still be Catholic.  Baptism is an indelible mark.  Ms. Ratcliffe is most certainly a dissenting and poorly practicing Catholic, and if the clergy really loved her, they would’ve let her have it like most good parents would when their children stray toward danger.  Sadly, many ignore because it’s inconvenient, makes a news story they don’t want to be in, or simply doesn’t fit their seamless garment narrative.  Bad on them.  Obviously, this woman’s soul doesn’t mean as much to them as it should.  And then there’s the thousands of souls she leads astray everyday almost (just ignore this, you guys trying to wake her up) unchecked.  In fact, that’s why she’s able to do it.  Not on me!

“Equality, fairness, treating others with compassion, the right to social justice for everyone: these are Catholic values,” continued Ratcliffe. “These are what Catholics for Choice stands for, these are what Planned Parenthood stands for, and as Catholics, we stand with Planned Parenthood not in spite of our Catholic tradition but because of it.”

Equality, fairness, treating others with compassion for everyone except the truly most vulnerable – the completely defenseless human beings at both ends of life. If they’re inconvenient, they must go!  Sorry, sister. Social justice begins in the womb and ends in the tomb.  And please, you wouldn’t know “Catholic tradition” if it bit you in the behind.  You can’t really be this clueless, can you?  I suppose with the help of the American seamless (or is it more like seamy-ful?) hierarchy, you could be.  Sigh.

Ratcliffe used euphemisms like “each woman’s choice” and “access to reproductive health” rather than name abortion directly. Her speech didn’t mention God, any specific Catholic teachings, the Bible, or prayer.

I’m sure she wasn’t quoting the Catechism either.  As usual, she’s just hoping to steal as many souls as possible before people catch on.  The sad thing is that the people in desperate situations, the ones who need REAL help, the ones she tries desperately to convince that Planned Parenthood has their best interest at heart, are the victims of her spin job.  Thanks to all of you great people praying in front of Planned Parenthood as often as you can, offering true help to these potential victims!


Top Things Wrong with America’s Top 5

America Magazine, that is. Fr. James Martin, SJ, (because what other order would put out this level of hooey?) has spoken.  Not surprisingly, he has produced an odd little video starring the editors of America.  I’m thinking they might not have actually read Amoris Laetitia, but regardless, this video has little to do with the actual document and it’s got this really annoying disco soundtrack, to boot.  Let go of the 70s, Fr. Martin!  You can do it!

Besides the editors of America, I’m guessing more than a few nominal Catholics haven’t actually read the document, nor will they.  They’ll just take the Fr. Martin and ilk paraphrasing of it as the fifth gospel.  Wonder why the editors of America actually don’t encourage you to read it???  Try “Let’s just keep the flock ignorant and tell them what we think it means.”

First, we all need to give a big thanks to One Mad Dad who, through his technical wizardry, captured the transcript so we don’t have to actually listen to the background music. If you want to watch it, just google the title and Fr. James Martin, SJ and it’ll pop right up.

Here we go! 

Top 5 – Amoris Laetitia

Fr. Martin kicks off this comedy of errors: Pope Francis’ groundbreaking new document, Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love,” asks the Church to meet people where they are, consider the complexities of people’s lives and respect people’s consciences when it comes to moral decisions. The apostolic exhortation is mainly a document that reflects on and encourages families, but it is also the Pope’s reminder that the Church should avoid simply judging people and imposing rules on them without considering their struggles. His goal is to help families, in fact, everyone, experience God’s love. All this may require what the Pope calls “new pastoral methods.” So, let’s look at the top five takeaways from Amoris Laetitia.

First thing, please don’t use these “5 takeaways” as the document.  That would be plain silly.  If you want to start by taking these sheeples’ comments and using “ctrl f” to search the document, you won’t find any of the “takeaways” accurately quoted in the document.  Can you say “spin,” Fr. Martin?  It should be relatively easy, since you are the master of it.  Let’s just go over some of the ridiculous.

Right off the bat, Fr. Martin uses that catchy phrase proponents of moral relativism love: “Meet people where they are.”  Quite frankly, this has always been just a fluffy way to state the obvious.  Where else do you meet people?  Of course, they’re not going for the “greet” version of meet.  They’re talking more about “coming down to their level.”  What Fr. Martin doesn’t say is that he pretty much wants the Church to stay down at that level.  This annoys me to the hilt, because I am a mother and a teacher and have been encouraging people to “grow up” instead of staying at some stunted plateau.  Does anyone really think the Holy Father wants us to remain spiritually stunted?  Well, I suppose those who think sin is determined merely by what we think it is are hoping that’s what he wants.  However, if you take the document in its entirety, how could anyone in good conscience say that?  Internal forum, maybe?

Really, the phrase “internal forum” needs to be discussed before moving on.  The dissenters from Church teaching would have you believe this means you can have a discussion with yourself and decide if you think your sin is really a sin.  “So what do you think, self?  Do you really think that God thinks sleeping with someone outside of marriage is a sin?  Nope?  OK, we’re good.  Bring on Communion!”  Seriously, people actually believe this, and the Fr. Martins of the world aren’t going to do a darn thing to dispel that error.  Let’s just look at what it really means, because that ain’t it.  

It’s all about marriage and the family in Amoris Laetitia, so let’s go with these explanations:


Thanks, gentlemen!  You notice that they actually back up their definitions with Canon Law and previous popes?  Fr. Martin can’t actually do that, because it would undermine his argument. 

Next, Fr. Martin says the Holy Father asks us to “respect peoples’ consciences when it comes to moral decisions.”  Not so much.  We should take them into consideration, and more often than not, there’s the directive for pastors to help rightly form consciences.  Fr. Martin consistently ignores the latter and distorts the former as “we must respect peoples’ actions based on their consciences.”  Would Fr. Martin say that about a murderer?!?!?  My guess is not so much.  He doesn’t want you to think about applying this theory across the board.  He only wants you to apply it to his pet sins.

Not to be outdone by Father Martin, Associate Editor Olga Segura continues:

The Church needs to understand families and individuals in all their complexity. The Church needs to meet people where they are, so pastors should avoid judgments that don’t take into account the complexity of various situations. In other words, one size does not fit all and black-and-white thinking is not helpful. People are encouraged to live by the Gospel, but they should also be welcomed into a Church that appreciates their struggles and treats them with mercy. Overall, Pope Francis calls for an approach of accompaniment.

Actions can be judged regardless of the situation, Olga.  What cannot be judged is the culpability of a person.  That’s what Amoris Laetitia says starting on paragraph 303.  It doesn’t say that “irregular situations” are good.  Irregular situations are never good, but the culpability in the situation may mitigate the person committing the act.  This is and has always been Church teaching.  So, when Olga says, “In other words [OMM: you know there’s going to be trouble with this] one size does not fit all and black and white thinking isn’t helpful,” she is flat out wrong.  The “rules” DO fit us all.  The only thing that isn’t a one size fits all is our culpability based on how one’s conscience is formed.  Is it formed well?  Is it poorly formed? And what’s the pastoral remedy put forth by the Pope for all of this?  HELPING PEOPLE TO RIGHTLY FORM THEIR CONSCIENCES! 

Olga goes onto say that people should live by the gospel, “but they should be welcomed into a church that appreciates their struggles and treats them with mercy.”  Wouldn’t we all say “Duh!” to that?  Sadly, that’s really not where the America crowd is headed.  Their idea of mercy is to rubberstamp all sorts of immoral behavior.  The Pope urges the Church to accompany sinners NOT THE SIN.

Executive Editor Tim Reidy adds:

The role of conscience is paramount in decision-making. Individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s practice. In other words, the traditional belief that conscience is the final arbiter of the moral life needs to be recovered. The Church is supposed to form consciences, not to replace them, says the Pope. And while it is true a person’s conscience needs to be formed by Church teaching, our conscience does much more than just follow rules. Conscience also recognizes with a certain moral security what God asks of us.

Um, hello? When did it get lost and who lost it? I’m reasonably sure that was Tim, not me.  The problem with his statement is that he doesn’t now nor did he ever understand this traditional belief.  I’m thinking he missed this:

Authority in this case, the Magisterium, may well speak of matters moral, but only in the sense of presenting conscience with material for its own deliberation. Conscience would retain, however, the final word. Some authors reduce conscience in this its aspect of final arbiter to the formula: conscience is infallible.

Nonetheless, at this point, a contradiction can arise. It is of course undisputed that one must follow a certain conscience or at least not act against it. But whether the judgment of conscience or what one takes to be such, is always right, indeed whether it is infallible, is another question. For if this were the case, it would mean that there is no truth—at least not in moral and religious matters, which is to say, in the areas which constitute the very pillars of our existence. For judgments of conscience can contradict each other. Thus there could be at best the subject’s own truth, which would be reduced to the subject’s sincerity. No door or window would lead from the subject into the broader world of being and human solidarity. Whoever thinks this through will come to the realization that no real freedom exists then and that the supposed pronouncements of conscience are but the reflection of social circumstances. This should necessarily lead to the conclusion that placing freedom in opposition to authority overlooks something. There must be something deeper, if freedom and, therefore, human existence are to have meaning.

 Managing Editor Kerry Weber:

Divorced and remarried Catholics should be more fully integrated into the Church. Divorced and remarried people are not excommunicated. Rather, they are members of our Church. We can help them feel more welcome in the Church in a few pastoral ways, says the Pope: by looking at the specifics of their situation, by having priests counsel them privately in what’s called an “internal forum,” and by respecting that the final decision about their level of participation in the Church is ultimately left to their conscience.

Oh, honey, does what you said sound like this? 299.

I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal.  The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral care, a care which would allow them not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the body of Christ, but also to know that they can have a joyful and fruitful experience in it.  They are baptized; they are brothers and sisters; the Holy Spirit pours into their hearts gifts and talents for the good of all.  Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services, which necessarily requires discerning which of the various forms of exclusion currently practised in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional framework, can be surmounted.  Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel.  This integration is also needed in the care and Christian upbringing of their children, who ought to be considered most important”.

Again, “internal forum” doesn’t mean what you propose it means. 

Associate Editor Ashley McKinless:

We should no longer talk about people “living in sin.” In a sentence, [OMM: a drastically altered sentence with some fancy omissions] reflecting a new approach, the Pope says, “It can no longer simply be said that those living in ‘irregular situations’ are living in a state of mortal sin.” Other members of non-traditional families, like single mothers, need to be offered understanding, comfort, and acceptance. When it comes to these people, the Church needs to stop applying moral laws as if, in the Pope’s vivid words, “they were stones to throw at a person’s life.”

Whoa!  Whoa!  Whoa!   Young lady, by altering just a few words, you not only misquoted the pope, you completely changed the meaning of the statement the Pope made.  Let’s look at what he ACTUALLY said (emphasis will show what this babe did):

301. For an adequate understanding of the possibility and need of special discernment in certain “irregular” situations, one thing must always be taken into account, lest anyone think that the demands of the Gospel are in any way being compromised.  The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations.  Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.


305. For this reason, a pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in “irregular” situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives.

Are America followers really that gullible? Nowhere did it say the Church cannot apply moral laws, yet that is what the America staff would like you to believe.  It says it’s not enough to simply apply the laws.  Again – DUH!  Honestly, I’m not sure what the Pope dealt with in his country, but I can’t remember the last time I heard of a priest saying, “You are sinning.  Go away!” 

And, really, single moms?!?! What the heck was that?  What Ashley and the other editors really wanted to say was homosexual couples, but they knew that analogy would never fly, so they threw out the most sympathetic red-herring they could find. 

Editor-in-Chief Matt Malone, SJ:

Traditional teachings on marriage are affirmed, but the Church should not burden people with unrealistic expectations.

Errrrrk!  Stop right there.  Can anyone show me where that is in Amoris Laetitia?  I didn’t remember reading it.  Went back and did a search and cannot find it anywhere.  Last time I checked, all things were possible with God, not unrealistic.  Does America really think the Church is asking us to do an impossible thing?

Father Malone continued:

As the Church has always taught, marriage is between one man and one woman, marriage is indissoluble, and same-sex marriage is not considered. At the same time, the Church has often put upon people what Francis calls an artificial theological ideal of marriage that is removed from people’s everyday lives. At times, these ideals have been a tremendous burden. And to that end, priests need to be better-trained to understand the complexities of people’s married lives.

And the actual statement?

36. We also need to be humble and realistic, acknowledging that at times the way we present our Christian beliefs and treat other people has helped contribute to today’s problematic situation.  We need a healthy dose of self-criticism.  Then too, we often present marriage in such a way that its unitive meaning, its call to grow in love and its ideal of mutual assistance are overshadowed by an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation.  Nor have we always provided solid guidance to young married couples, understanding their timetables, their way of thinking and their concrete concerns.  At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families.  This excessive idealization, especially when we have failed to inspire trust in God’s grace, has not helped to make marriage more desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite.

Again, ask yourselves why there are so reticent to accurately quote Amoris Laetitia. Also note that the Pope’s writing has nothing to do with same-sex marriage, and the attempt to tie it to that is nothing more than dishonest.  Nice try, America editors!  Nice try!

Want to see what it actually says about same-sex marriage and same-sex “union”?

  1. No one can think that the weakening of the family as that natural society founded on marriage will prove beneficial to society as a whole.  The contrary is true: it poses a threat to the mature growth of individuals, the cultivation of community values and the moral progress of cities and countries.  There is a failure to realize that only the exclusive and indissoluble union between a man and a woman has a plenary role to play in society as a stable commitment that bears fruit in new life.  We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability, but de facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage.  No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society.  But nowadays who is making an effort to strengthen marriages, to help married couples overcome their problems, to assist them in the work of raising children and, in general, to encourage the stability of the marriage bond?

“…de facto or same-sex unions …may not simply be equated with marriage.”  Wait, didn’t you try to do exactly that, Fr. Malone? You just slid it right in there.  In fact, Father, same-sex unions are not only “not considered,” as you say, they are not considered marriage.  Period.  End of story.  The Holy Father does not equate it with marriage.

Aaaaand Fr. Martin brings it all home for those not likely to read the document:

Overall, Amoris Laetitia asks the Church to help families of every sort and people in every state of life. They need to know that, even in their imperfections, they can be homes for God’s love, as well as places where people will experience that love. The new apostolic exhortation offers a vision of a pastoral and merciful Church that welcomes and encourages families and all people to experience the joy of love.

You know what, Father Martin? You’re doing what you always do.  You make these statements, but you never suggest how.  We can only find joy of love in TRUTH.  Yes, there is reality in our imperfections, but there shouldn’t be satisfaction in them.  This doesn’t lead us to the truth.

Moms are always going to go back to the analogy of what happens when you touch a hot stove.  If you touch it, it’s going to burn you.  In your reality, editorial staff of America, it’s only going to burn you if you think it’s hot.  This isn’t the Truth.  It’s going to burn you no matter how you perceive it.  Now, do we need to teach our children this by letting them get burned? Do we tell them they should just never attempt cooking and to stay out of the kitchen? Not if we are a loving parent.  We explain it over and over again, if necessary.  That is the loving course of action.  Just letting our fellow Catholics “touch the hot stove” to form their conscience isn’t the loving way to go.  It could end up as a minor injury or it could end up as a permanent, painful scar. We must explain the reality of what will happen over and over again.  Is a parent judgmental to give that “homily” time and again?  Nope.  They are protective.  That’s how our pastors should be.  They should teach us over and over again until we understand, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us.  They should help us rightly form our consciences so we can understand the truth that brings us true joy.

So Sorry, San Diego!

My sincere apologies to San Diego. While we weren’t thrilled about Auxiliary Bishop McElroy being an annoying, backstabbing kind of guy in our area, we really weren’t looking to inflict him on anyone else, either, much less have him elevated to any real public area.  Sadly, here he is:–catholic-bishops-new-voter-guide-ignores-key-causes-of-pope-critics-say.html

I’m sure he’s being joined by Archbishop Cupich, the National catholic Reporter, America Mag, and the rest of the usual seamless garment gang, but he’s the one flapping his gums this go around.

“I believe that this document is gravely hobbled,” said McElroy, who was an outspoken advocate of the church’s social-justice teachings even before Francis named him to lead the large and growing southern California diocese this year.

“Specifically, I think the pope is telling us that alongside the issues of abortion and euthanasia — which are central aspects of our commitment to transform this world — poverty and the degradation of the Earth are also central,” McElroy said. “But this document keeps to the structure of the worldview of 2007. It does not put those there.”

Umm, no, Bishop McElroy. Absolutely nothing is more paramount than life itself, and, thankfully, the majority of your fellow bishops understand that.  “Poverty and the degradation of the Earth” may be important, but they are not “central”.  We’re talking murder here.  Murder and hunger are not the same.  Murder and pollution are not the same.  You also don’t have to take the same actions to respond to either of these situations as you do to stop murder.  Murder must stop, plain and simple.  We wouldn’t look at a 3-year-old with a gun to her head and say, “Hey, we really need to look at carbon emissions that might cause her great-great-great grandchildren to have to endure an ice age or 150-degree heat (or whatever the argument of the day is)!” Hunger or pollution can be fixed in a myriad of different ways, and making people understand the basic right to life, first and foremost, is a pretty darn good way to start fixing the rest of what ails us.  History tells us that many civilizations, if not all, that have perished had one very important thing in common – murder became an accepted part of their society.  This doesn’t bode well for us.  The biggest question on our minds should be, “How long will God hold back His wrath?”

Downplaying the gravity of murder is one of the reasons why, in this country, we have an every growing issue with poverty. If there is no value to human life, why would people worry about people going hungry?  It’s easier to let them die, or worse, just kill them.  Think about it.  That really was Margaret Sanger’s solution.  Kill the poor people and keep them from reproducing.

I also found McElroy’s comment about the “worldview of 2007” pretty darn interesting. I don’t give a flying fig about the worldview, period.  This is one of the things I find rather troubling about McElroy, Cupich, et. al.  Their focus is the world when it should be God.

Here’s a novel idea. What if we all worked like hell to end abortion and euthanasia?  What if every homily we heard in our churches was about how and why abortion and euthanasia are mortal sins?  How about if we heard murder used as a synonym?  What if we heard about the intrinsic value of every human life?  Don’t you think that would be transformative in the rest of the areas of the Catholic Church and the world once they saw us following through? Don’t you think, starting with the faithful (or at this point, AKA the uneducated), the rest of the world might start thinking, “Wow!  If this is this serious, and every human life has value, then this human life or that other human life must have value too!”?  Want to talk “trickle down?”  That tactic might act as a dang waterfall!

As it stands now, many Catholics don’t even value life. Forget the rest of society.  Like everything else, it’s all about how someone’s life affects them.  If it’s hard, if it’s inconvenient, if it’s not perfect, then it’s better that it didn’t exist.  Of course that’s going to bleed into all other areas of our society.  When you are killing babies in the womb and the elderly because they are burdens, you’re devaluing life, so you’re going to turn a blind eye to anyone else who’s a burden. We (that’s the societal we) have spent an exhaustive amount of time telling our youth that they are valuable and they should have self-worth.  For the life of me, though, I can’t understand why they’d believe us when we show them by example of how to treat a burden.  Of course we’re going to have suicides, mass killings, bullying, etc.  We kill the most vulnerable.  Why should they believe their lives have worth anymore, when just about everything in society says the polar opposite?  They know society is telling them that their existence is simply about their parents being fulfilled, not that they have intrinsic value.  And guess what, Bishop McElroy, your minimizing murder by trying to water it down with all of your other pet issues is to blame for this mentality.  Congratulations!  Remember that when we have the next school shooting.  While you and your merry mob continue to talk about the immorality of hunger and “climate change” when you can’t even manage to teach that life is sacred is beyond me.  Why would God ever bless these peripheral issues?

So, yes, I will continue to prioritize my voting with life at the top, and a hearty thank you to the USCCB for telling the seamless garment crew to take a hike. They laid out the non-negotiables, and despite what you think, Pope Francis has never put these on par with anything else as much as you wish he would.  Now if we could only hear these things more than once or twice a year!!!  This can’t go the way of “The Fortnight of Freedom” which only a handful of us have even heard about.  The laity needs to be hit upside the head on these issues on a regular basis.  If we can’t end the atrocities of abortion and euthanasia, none of our other social ills will ever be straightened out.  We will be doomed.

One last note, there is no direct quote from Bishop McElroy in the article, so I’m going to try my hardest to give him the benefit of the doubt, but whoever is floating this nonsense needs to stop.

McElroy’s position was supported by a number of other bishops, some of whom also were dismayed by the number of times the draft mentioned same-sex marriage, even though the U.S. Supreme Court effectively settled the issue by legalizing gay marriage in June.

I might remind whoever inspired this lamest afterthought ever that the Supreme Court said slavery and abortion were legal too. What the heck does it matter what the Supreme Court decides if it’s completely immoral?  Again, I’m sure there is just a small “number of other bishops” who want us just to drop it.  Thanks to God we didn’t stop fighting against slavery and that we haven’t stopped fighting against abortion, despite the losers who suggest this mealy-mouthed garbage.  Have they learned nothing from history and the saints who have been martyred for opposing bad laws? We must never stop fighting evil and the destruction of life and family!  That might be the only reason God has held back his wrath thus far.