Monday, February 10, 2014

Soooo…

There is nothing worse than staring at a blank blogger page. Wait, yes there is. Staring at a blank blogger page after spending an hour or two on blog posts that started out promising and went exactly nowhere.

So, I give up for now.

How about we just chat?

It would relieve me of the pressure to produce a full post with good grammar and pithy points and all, and it might be a lot of fun!

What are you guys up to? What's on your mind? I will happily jump into the comments (because they don't require editing and good composition, which take time and brain power that I don't have at this moment), so give me your thoughts, ideas, fears, hopes, dreams -- or even just throw out a good joke!

I've always thought that the best part of this blog is what happens in the combox, after all.


Okay, go!



299 comments:

  1. I will use this opportunity to ask for prayers. My husband has been in Miami since November and I'm here in Georgia until the house sells. I miss him terribly and although I know God has a plan and is taking care of us (and working on us at the same time) I still feel like I'm in the desert spiritually and that God isn't giving me anything to go on. Our baby is due April 5th and I want to have the baby here where our families and midwife are, but I wish I could see the end of our separation. Just pray that our house sells at a time where the transition will be smooth and I won't be here with 5 children including a newborn baby on my own trying to get the house show ready every time someone calls to come and look at it. I am hoping we go under contract sometime in March so that we can close in April after the baby and I won't have to worry about all of that. I just feel like I'm at the end of my rope. I know I should be grateful for all that I have but being away from my husband makes everything else insignificant. I have no idea how military wives do it. Thank you!

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    1. I would have cracked already!!! Praying for you!

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    2. I would be crabby. That sounds very stressful. I hope you can be reunited with your husband soon and that your whole family is together under one roof.

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  2. That's so hard, Manda. I'll pray for you!

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  3. Praying for you, Manda!

    What's on my mind? Nothing Earth-shattering, I'm afraid. There's a foot of snow on the ground and I need to keep the bird feeder filled for all the local birds, I'm in the middle of a 54-day rosary novena for a very special intention, and my husband is out of town, which means I'm eating a lot of Ramen (see my latest post). And it's my day off, which means I will go to Daily Mass.

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  4. Manda, I am so sorry! That is awful, and I pray that peace will flood your mind and heart as you struggle through this. I am so glad you posted that, and perhaps this blog post has a big purpose after all: We can pray for your prayer intentions and anyone else who has something that needs prayers.

    sthenryii, that sounds like a really nice day, all in all! I'm in the middle of a 54-day novena, too. I think 54-day rosary novenas will become a staple of my life as they are so powerful.

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  5. I am currently in a grumpy pregnant place. :) Now don't jump on me, I LOVE that we're having another baby and my pregnancy isn't terribly hard. It's just something about it that is dredging up all sorts of frustrations and issues. There was a priest that told my sister once that forgiveness of others comes in cycles (I think he even specifically said 7 cycles?). And I feel like this third trimester is oddly bringing a "cycle" around where I struggle with past hurts and anger. My biggest thing? As a kid with divorced family, my sibs and I were a constantly subjected to "flakiness." Rescheduling, instability. Consequently, I HATE flakiness. I am easily hurt by a flaky friend or acquaintance, and when I see it in myself (because I am far from perfect over here!) I feel absolutely horrible and ashamed too. And the past couple weeks, it's been nothing but, "Thanks for being 'flexible,' Sarah!" (Code for: Yeah, we rescheduled and flaked for the gazillionth time on you and totally disrupted your life as a result, thanks for being a doormat about it, Sarah!) And it makes me steaming mad. Sooooo yeah. That's where I am at. Just ask my twin... I've probably called her every day for the past 2 weeks saying, "I AM SO FRUSTRATED WITH HUMANITY." Thankfully, she understands that I won't be angry at the human race forever. :)

    Manda - that is a LOT of stress. I'll keep you in prayer too!

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    1. Omgosh! Pregnant!? Congratulations!!!!

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    2. Yep, I've gone from understanding friend to unhappy friend when friends flake out on me.

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    3. Sew - yes!! I guess without a blog these days, that wasn't common knowledge lol. Due in 5 weeks, another NaPro baby... so excited!

      Lena - yes, and I wish I was better at "setting boundaries" so that perhaps the situations would arise less often.

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    4. Sarah! I am so excited to hear that you are pregnant again! I will keep your struggles in my prayers...ugh, past hurts just seem to never really go away, do they?

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  6. Sarah, I can appreciate the frustration! (I think I've been on both sides of that, and right now, I am probably the flaky one, so you can actually beat up on me if you'd like, if it helps; email me, ha ha). I don't have to tell you that this looks like the makings of a great spiritual opportunity. I'm sure you see the potential here! (My mind is also thinking, "Hmmmm, even just for today, pregnant Sarah can offer up this struggle for pregnant Manda...and vice versa….") So interesting how our lives are connected through the Mystical Body of Christ.

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  7. Ok, apologies for just throwing this in during a work break (without posting any links or well thought-out commentary), but I was just left speechless by last week's "report" of a UN commission on the rights of the child that criticized the Vatican for its lacking child protection. They even went so far as to demand a change in the Catholic Faith's teaching on abortion and homosexuality (including homosexual acts between teenagers). The gall! Someone pointed out the irony of an organization holding up the rights of the child advising to facilitate abortion - the ultimate violation of a child's right to live. The UN of course is itself a major child abuser through soldiers in its peacekeeping programs, among others. So much else to point out here.

    The UN now officially reprimands the Catholic Church. Not individual priests or bishops or cardinals (or, for that matter, the Pope). No, the Church itself. And we all fund this organization through our taxes. I still can't wrap my head around this. Over here, no one seems to raise an eyebrow. What has this world become? Where's the outcry? What's next - criminalizing the Faith?

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  8. Oh, Leila, I have *definitely* inherited flaky tendencies that I feel like I am constantly having to work on (and definitely don't always succeed). So it's frustration on multiple levels, lol. "Cranky" doesn't even begin to describe how I've been feeling. :) I am enjoying your happy life updates, though... they are a nice reminder that things will swing the other way at some point (hopefully with me having benefitted from the spiritual opportunity by then!! :)).

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  9. Since you asked for a joke.. I have a very Catholic one!! :D

    During a Eucharistic Congress, a number of priests from different orders are
    gathered in a church for Vespers. While they are praying, a fuse blows and all the lights go out. The Benedictines continue praying from memory, without missing a beat. The Jesuits begin to discuss whether the blown fuse means they are dispensed from the obligation to pray Vespers. The Franciscans compose a song of praise for God’s gift of darkness. The Dominicans revisit their ongoing debate on light as a signification of the transmission of divine knowledge. The Carmelites fall into silence and slow, steady breathing. The parish priest, who is hosting the others, goes to the basement and replaces the fuse.

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  10. (plus I am just happy you have so much great stuff going on right now!)

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  11. Sebastian reminds me of something I often think about as well. we tell women not to abort and yet we leave abandoned the millions of special needs orphans that are not aborted around the world. what does God mean when he says to care for the orphans. drop some diapers and formula off ? or adopt ? when he says what you did for the least of these you did for me I must conclude he meant adopt; love, education, food... so is it the burden of the childless or all Christians ? anyway. how do we say no to abortion and yet leave them fatherless ?

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  12. My husband and I are currently part of the "54-Day Novena Club" too! Our intention is that we will be blessed with another adoption before our home study expires at the end of March. It is not looking promising so a miracle is needed.

    I had never heard of this novena before reading your posts, Leila, so thank you for sharing!

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  13. Sebastian - not to mention the farce that is the U.N.'s Human Rights council. They appointed CHINA to it, for heaven's sake. CHINA, which until a short time ago had a one-child policy and conducted forced abortions on women who were pregnant without permission. Other members include Russia, Saudi Arabia and Cuba.

    Here's a good article from the WSJ about the U.N.'s recent idiocy.

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    1. China?!? Seriously? I think that's putting the fox in charge of the hen house. China doesn't care about its people. Why would China care about other people? Knock me over with a feather.

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  14. I just gave birth to our 3rd baby and we brought her home yesterday. So far, it has been mayhem at home. Our 5 yo is very enthusuastic about the baby and is all up in her face every second. Our 18 month old is somewhat interested, but is mistly judt upset that i cant lift her up and that her new sister is using all her old stuff (bottles, bouncy seat). Plus, the physical pain of recovery and post partum, and the sleep deprivation... I know this phase will pass, but encouraging words or advice from a more experienced mom are always appreciated.

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    1. Why did God make it so new mothers can't sleep? Sleep is SO important to one's sanity and well being. I don't understand God sometimes.

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    2. Mrs. Amen!

      Longtime reader....rarely comment (usually can't figure out how to do it!)....but I was in your place a month ago. So, I just had to write. I have a new 6yo (homeschooled), 2.5yo, and a 1 month old. My daughter was born the second day of the, lol, POLAR VORTEX, which I write in caps just to emphasize the drama of it all and not to shout. ;-) God bless you, your family, and especially your new baby girl. One day at a time, luxuriate in the little things if you can, and know that you are not alone. The past day or so I've been pretending I am Jim Gaffigan when something unexpected happens.....I imagine him telling the audience what happened in his funny voices, and it helps me gain a sense of humor! Praying for your sleep right now. -Anne

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  15. Mrs. Amen - oh, that is so hard! It will get better, I promise. :)

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  16. Wow, the comments are coming fast and furious now! Love the joke, Silvana!
    Sebastian, the UN situation with the Church reminds me of Christ before Pilate and the Sanhedrin. Lynda and Kristi, good reminders to pray for adoption and the orphans… the international orphan problem will not be solved for the same reason famine will not be solved: Often it's not a matter of people not wanting to help, it's often a matter of corrupt government and sin on the part of adults in charge.

    Mrs. Amen, yes, I promise this will pass! It's so weird but true that having a third baby is much more difficult than having a fourth. (The fourth is easy!) I will pray!



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    1. I agree--the 3rd was the hardest for me too. Not sure why. The odd number maybe? By the time number 4, 5 and 6 come along, it's just one more kid in the house. :-)

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  17. Manda and Sarah, be assured of my prayers. Today, being the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I'll plead after Mass for her special attention to you both. Can't think of a time our Blessed Mother didn't resolve a situation I put to her for help! Meanwhile, chin up, in the knowledge that the darkest hours in our lives are usually just before the dawns!

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    1. Thank you, Francis! I can tell your prayers are being heard. This day just got a LOT better. Love Our Lady of Lourdes!

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  18. Mrs amen. I think 3 is the hardest. on the good side you will only have your 3rd once :). when I had two blind together Itreated them both like the baby. cradled them together, shared my lap, etc. it's is hard but it does get easier. you have to let some things go for a while. sleep when you can and ask for help from others. people want to help. ask for help with dishes laundry playing with baby so mama can nap. get some new movies and vows to keep others entertained when possible. markers go a long way for my kids. get washable and don't worry about the couch or the fridge (or inside the fridge for my two year old ) prayers

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  19. Mrs Amen, I'll include you in my prayers too. (Which child doesn't push his friendship with his Mother every now and then? :) ) Cheer up, and listen to a recording of Franz Schubert's Ave Maria, I say!

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  20. Leila, my favorite thing about your blog: the combox! Sarah and I were just talking about blogs the other day, and I was noting that, so often, the author doesn't really want to engage in the combox. They just want to write their piece and move on to their next thought. But your blog posts are the start to great combox discussions, and you are so engaging! There are some great and insightful blogs out there, but I think yours is my favorite for this reason.

    We also need some prayers and, Manda, I can relate a little. My husband graduates from law school in May, and he is currently looking for a job. I keep trying to talk him into Phoenix ;), but he is a cold-weather skiing kinda guy! Maybe if the situation becomes dire enough...So much is riding on all this! We are closing on our rent-to-own house this month (as the sellers) and praying that the appraisal won't give us trouble. We must buy a house in six months time (wherever we end up), to avoid capital gains. And, of course, we have four kids, including a six-month-old baby. They have been asking for months if they will get to stay in their school, etc., and I have no answer other than that we will likely move away.

    Manda, my husband is with us right now, but I feel your pain -- I have spent many periods of time separated from him for job-related situations. He was four hours away just last summer while I was pregnant with our fourth, a "high risk" pregnancy, returning on weekends and hoping I wouldn't go into labor without him.

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  21. Mrs. Amen, I'm not that much more experienced, but I'll share a nugget my mom passed on to me. Her line to big sibs who so want to be *right there!* was "sometimes loving is leaving alone". :-)

    Hang in there! You'll find the new rhythm soon!

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  22. Elizabeth, there is cold weather skiing in the northern part of the state, just a few short hours north of Phoenix! :)

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  23. Great advice from folks here! And Elizabeth, thank you so much!! What JoAnna said ^^

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  24. Oh, I know, JoAnna and Leila! My husband and I actually met in Flagstaff as geology students at NAU. So there is a little hope :). When we lived in Virginia, he really struggled with the warm spring/summers/fall, but he did seem to adjust a little over the course of 10 years. It became more bearable for him. And Phoenix is a dry heat, which is easier to manage. I'll keep praying for a great place and peace about our next destination, and I will also include the other listed combox intentions in our daily prayers.

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  25. I have a question! You said that at first you were a little hesitant about your daughter's early marriage. Did you have any reservations about her using online dating? How involved were you in that process? Do you know which ages are the most common on Catholic match or how out of the ordinary it is that she was using it at 19? I'm 20, a junior in univ, single and have never been in a romantic relationship. With V-day coming up I'd love to hear people's stories of romance and advice on love! Especially because the women on here are so smart and experienced.

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  26. Kate, great question! I was actually the one who encouraged her to sign up for CatholicMatch! I had heard of so many success stories, even known many of them in my personal life and among the Catholic community here in Phoenix, so I had long been sold on CM and Ave Maria Singles. There are plenty of young people on the site(s), from age 18 on up. My philosophy is you go where the Catholic men are, and there is a great volume of Catholic men looking for wives online! :) I am a big believer in being proactive, and if you feel called to the vocation of marriage, you can and should be instrumental in making that happen. :)

    Funny thing is, my daughter deferred her future husband's first message (she was not interested) and had moved on, but thank God in heaven he tried one more time a few months later! Whew! She shudders to think that they may have missed each other forever! Ahhh!

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    1. That's how my husband and I met, too ... 6.5 yrs and 4 kids and going strong. Our families and how we were raised are remarkably similar, too, and get along great.

      Enjoying the comments!!

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  27. Hmmm we are currently discerning foster care to adopt as a way to become parents. To be truthful I am not even sure we are called to be parents to children here on earth. So there is a lot of discernment going on around here. I started to see a spiritual director which has been very helpful.

    I am organizing a retreat for couples dealing with infertility and/or miscarriage/stillbirth and trying to raise awareness in our archdiocese.

    I have been doing a lot of gluten free baking lately and my hubby is happy about it :) I really love to bake and experiment with recipes.

    I always enjoy the combox and your posts Leila! I don't always comment because the discussions are usually pretty heavy and I just like to observe. Thank you for making it a little more light today :)

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  28. Kat, that is so interesting! I am excited to hear how your discernment goes. And I am very happy, always, to hear about people who raise infertility/miscarriage awareness. So important. Such a painful, quiet subject.

    I wish I loved to bake, sigh….

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  29. Kate - great question!! I actually joined the online dating realm when I was 21. :) That was ummmm, a lot longer ago than I'd like to admit (Okay, I am now 33). I honestly think it's just another opportunity for God to bring a good spouse into your life if it's His will. I was hesitant at first - it felt weird, like putting out a personal ad - but nowadays it's SO normal, and honestly it's TOUGH to meet a great, devout Catholic guy locally in many areas, so branching out is necessary.

    Some tips... try to form friendships offline as soon as possible (within the realm of common sense and safety). You don't want to spend a year exchanging emails and IMing and texting and imagining the person to be a certain way and getting emotionally attached only to meet them in person and within miliseconds realize there is zero chemistry or they aren't exactly as expected. *Nothing* can replace good old fashioned interacting in person or at least over the phone. So just use the online realm as a jumping off point, not as the central way on interacting with people you are seriously interested in getting to know.

    That said, even when you do meet someone in person for the first time, expect there will be surprises and give yourselves time to adjust before writing someone off.

    Don't be afraid to take initiative and send the first email (but don't put up with months and months of a guy never asking for your phone number, etc. Some guys just seem perpetually stuck behind the computer screen and/or need to learn to take some initiative).

    I ended up meeting my husband at my local parish after all (we had actually grown up in the same school district, attended the same parish for years, etc, and we just never met before I turned 26), although I did have several serious relationships with good men I met initially online and have a fantastic brother-in-law thanks to online dating. :) You just never know how God will surprise you, that is for sure!

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  30. What is this 54-day novena? I'm pretty sure I need it.

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  31. Well, I've finally turned 18. In a few months I'll be off to college. I've lived in the same place my whole life, so it'll be really weird to say goodbye.

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  32. Turning 18, going to college and leaving home are very BiG deals.

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  33. Lena, the 54-day Rosary Novena is a series of nine consecutive Rosaries for which you pray to St. Mary for a certain intention. Those Rosaries are followed by another nine consecutive Rosaries in thanksgiving to her for her intercession, regardless of whether your intentions have been answered as you wished by then.

    When the novena first started, there were only the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries - the Luminous did not come about until Pope John Paul II proposed them - so praying one set of mysteries a day equaled 54 days of prayer. I've read different points of view online regarding including the Luminous mysteries. Some people don't pray them, sticking to the original three. Some pray them as part of the cycle and consider any three sets of mysteries to equal one Rosary and thus they stop on the 54th day (as opposed to 72 days if you consider a full Rosary all four sets of Mysteries).

    When I've prayed it before, I've included the Luminous, but what I've done is to add the Luminous to one of the other sets of Mysteries. Tonight, for example, I will be praying the Glorious Mysteries to finish my second Rosary in the cycle, and will be adding the Luminous after I've said the Glorious. Either way, it's a very dedicated undertaking.

    Some sites will say that you should include the Memorare, or they might recommend an opening prayer, or some other such guidelines. I haven't read anything about our Blessed Mother saying anything other than saying nine Rosaries for the intentions and nine Rosaries in thanksgiving, so any other "rules" other than praying the regular Rosary prayers seem optional. It's a private devotion.

    Here is the history of it and more information about it: http://www.fatima.org/apostolate/vlarchive/vl130_1211.asp

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  34. Kate, Good luck with Catholic Match! I'm a dating website success story. I'd given up on eHarmony after discovering CatholicMatch. I loved how it covered all the significant issues upfront before "introducing" potential matches, especially past marriages/annulmenta and premarital sex. No point starting to get to know someone only to find out they're divorced with no chance of annulment, or not going to stick around once they find out you're not interested in a sexual relationship before marriage. I was so impressed by the quality of men I was meeting on Catholic Match too! (Compared to the many, many DUDS on eHarmony.) My EH membership was due to expire the next day, and I was happily involved on Catholic Match, but I took one last look at EH. My now-hubby had just signed up that week and was put into my matches. We exchanged messages that evening (thankfully we were both online, since once my membership expired we wouldn't be able to contact each other!) We met 2 days later and knew right away that we were "it". Married 1 1/2 yrs now with a 5 mo old son. :) So I guess I can't say anything negative about eHarmony...though it sure would've been nice to have weeded out the men who weren't on the same page as I am, religiously speaking.

    It's really not fair that my hubby lucked out as he did, meeting me first thing upon signing up with EH, while I wasted many months in dating hell. (ha!)

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  35. On another topic, has anyone been watching Downton Abbey?

    (SPOILER ALERT IF ANYONE HASN'T WATCHED LAST SUNDAY'S EPISODE YET)

    It was very surprising, how they handled Edith's unplanned pregnancy this past week. She walked out of her illegal abortion appointment after hearing another woman crying after hers. I imagine abortion-proponents are pretty ticked off that the show dared to acknowledge the emotional turmoil of abortion. I was expecting the show to do the usual "look at how horrible illegal abortions were, and how important it is that we now have 'safe, legal' abortions for women like Edith who OBVIOUSLY can't be pregnant or have a baby!" But no...they didn't! Imagine that!

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  36. GFNY, thanks for explaining that so well to Lena! It really is a powerful prayer. My gosh, I have seen it work wonders. I did my first one with only the three mysteries (joyful, sorrowful, glorious), but the one I am praying now I am using the luminous as well. My go-to page for the explanation and prayers is this one (because it's as bare bones and simple as can be, which my brain always needs):

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2013/08/the-54-day-rosary-novena/

    Sweet jane, that is an AWESOME story about you and dh! I did not know those details! So, so cool. I think the days of being ashamed of meeting a spouse online are ovah! Thank goodness. And I have not been watching D.A. this season (the first episode this season did not grab me), but I am really liking what I am hearing!

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  37. Chris P, happy birthday! I cannot believe you are eighteen already! I remember you as a 16-year-old when you landed on this blog! It's been a pleasure, and boy this is an unexpected joy of writing this blog: The maternal nature of it! I feel so motherly towards my younger readers. Some of whom were college students and now are either in the work force or off to graduate school, others of whom were high school kids and now off to (or almost off to) college! CRAZY!!! I get to watch you guys grow up, just like my own kids. Sniff!!! Group hug!!

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  38. I Googled a look for a novena to end the snow -- there isn't one.

    I thought about going to the airport, going up to the ticket agent and saying that I have an emergency: My wife is dying and I need to get home to her ASAP. And then when the agent asks me to which city, I'd say: Anywhere there isn't snow.

    Oh well, not funny. But this snow isn't funny anymore (I've read about 40 novels since it started in November)

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  39. My big news is that my husband is going to "The Argument of the Month Club". He did NOT want to go, based on its name, which I can't say I blame him--it doesn't sound very positive! He hates conflict and arguing turns him off; so this group wasn't appealing to him at all. But I've been praying a novena to St.Joseph for him, so perhaps this is the answer for him to get back to his faith.

    I should probably explain that The Argument of the Month club is a group of men that meet and discuss religion, politics and anything else going on in the world. It's led by a very good and holy orthodox priest. They sit around and drink beer, eat food and debate. My brother loves it! He also learns a lot from these discussions just like I learn a lot from the discussions that go on in the combox on this blog. :-) So, for my sake (and for the free beer), he's giving it a try and going with my brother tonight. Hoping and praying that he will get a lot from these discussions and learn from them. He will never learn by not asking the questions, so perhaps this group will ask the questions and try to find the answer for him.

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  40. Becky, that actually seems really cool! I have never heard of something like that (other than Theology on Tap, which I think is for younger people?). What a great idea (as long as the leader is orthodox)!!

    Do Not Be Anxious, I actually laughed at that little scenario!!!!! Funny! Of course, sitting here in sunny, beautiful AZ, I cannot relate….

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  41. Leila , I’m so glad you mentioned that combox replies don’t require editing and good composition. I can finally relax.
    Congrats to the new mamas and expecting mamas and all the kick butt mamas around here. I sometimes really don’t know how ya’ll do it. God really does train you up for new levels of crazy. Pure Grace.
    Right now we have two sick babies, one sick older, I’m working weekends and we are moving in six weeks. We are just smoked. I can’t remember things past 24 hours ago. I don’t know how things get done.
    Example: 4:51am this morning my wife nudges me awake (right, elbow to kidneys…st. Nick style).
    I’m like “fire? Flood? What? Who?”.
    She says: Shut your yapper….if you wake the baby I’m leaving you forever! You’re getting a haircut!
    I say : What? At 4:30?
    She says: It’s almost 5, quick whining, and you look like a homeless lion!
    She also got to Walmart and back before I left at 6:45.
    These things were unthinkable three kids ago. Every time we think this is impossible, God provides a new energy, new motivation, new Grace.
    Payoff. My 11yr old son asked a question while studying his religion book last night. “Dad, what does Jesus mean when he says,’ He who hears you, hears me, and he who hears me, hears Him who sent me’?”
    OK, Remember the old anti-pollution/littering commercial back in the seventies with the Indian standing by the river with the tear running down his cheek? That Was Me looking at my boy. I swear, that was one of most rewarding answers I have ever given someone.
    He followed with this “I have really been listening to the Gospels lately about being a light to the world” and “ I think God is telling me I need to give a speech at Jr. Toastmasters about why God wants older brothers to be humble and fair!”
    So 4:51 haircuts aren’t so bad after all.

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  42. Chris, you make me laugh, you make me cry!! Ha ha, you are the Most Fun Commenter on this blog (yes, that is an official title and it will be hard to unseat you). I totally remember that anti-pollution commercial! I can see the whole scene with your son playing out in my mind. Amazing! Way to go, Dad! I see some "matches" in the future with my sons and your daughters (I don't have any daughters left, sorry).

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    1. Goodness sake Leila, I'm blushing. What a distinguished honor. Thanks Pal.
      As for my daughters, I've already put a Carmelite habit on layaway and we'll have to keep an eye on those Miller boys. I can already hear it , "but dad, I'm turning sixteen in June and Mrs Miller thinks we are ready" Hahaha. You and Mother Superior can hash it out.

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  43. You guys are awesome. Every time I'm having one of those days where everything's gone off the rails and I'm afraid my 5-year old is heading straight to juvie you remind me that perseverance (and lots and lots of prayer) lead to amazing and inspiring results. Thanks!

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  44. Ok, Leila, I have a challenge for you and anyone else who is up for it. Tell me who said this following quote:

    "Boy is truly worth more than I thought! Does worth rely on the state of your spirit or your soul? Not at all! Worth is your middle name. Worth is voted on before a very happy Father can ever judge your life, and that is a picture of His love for every person on earth. The road is long, but the first stop on the road to spiritual maturity is worth. Yes, 'WORTH' is your middle name."

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  45. Becky, I don't know! And I won't google it to find out because that would be cheating!

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  46. Leila, it's from Josiah Cullen--an EIGHT year old kid with autism!! I found his FB page, where his mother has been posting all of his very profound thoughts and quotes. It's called Josiah's Fire on FB; you should check it out. :-)

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  47. Leila, have you ever read The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin? I know you're a reader :) I find myself going, "Wow! Wow! Wow!" sometimes amused, sometimes in tears as I read. And I'm only on chapter 4!

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    1. I'll mention your comment to Ralph; he's in my parish.

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  48. Well, I'll go ahead and ask for prayers. I've been having constant, worsening pain in my left lower back for over a month and I have an MRI coming up. This pain is in addition to other health problems, including needing foot surgery (again). It is likely that I will need a lot of assistance (definitely will for the foot surgery).

    Problem is (aside from the health problems), I am alone. I cannot depend on my family (who's across the country, anyway), and I am serious about that. I do have good friends, but a) I HATE asking for help; and b) they have their own families and work commitments, so I do not wish to, and cannot, lean on them as much as I suspect I will need to do so. From various trials, particularly over the past couple years, I am emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted (soon financially, too - those co-pays are rolling in). So, I'm pretty much at a loss at what to do, where to go for the help I know I am going to need. Any prayers would be greatly appreciated!

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  49. GFNY, prayers starting now.

    Since I believe in miracles, are you near Boise by any chance?

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  50. GFNY, Even if you hate asking for help, ask for help. Who knows what kind of solutions your friends may come up with or how they may help? I hope you are pleasantly surprised.

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  51. Becky, that is so cool!

    Lori, I have not read it! I am soooo awful about reading these days. I cannot seem to find the time as bad as that sounds. Sigh.

    GFNY, you can count on prayers from me, and I am so sorry I am not closer! I think you should ask for help from your church friends, and just see what happens. They could set up a foodtidings schedule for you, and as Lena said, you may be surprised at what happens…. But wow, that is tough and I am so sorry. :(

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  52. Girl from New York, I'll pray for you.

    Meanwhile, you might want to pray a little Novena. I recommend a 7 minute one on my YouTube page, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Padre Pio used to pray this for everyone who asked him for prayers. I myself have found it unfailing. As have so many others, who've written to confirm that their prayers were answered.

    God bless you. You aren't alone.

    Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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  53. I am being "bad" and reading these comments instead of exercising! Still getting through them all but want to throw in a prayer request. My nephew is saying a 54 day rosary novena because he is trying to discern his vocation. He felt called to the priesthood in late childhood, decided to get a (very nice) girlfriend while in college, but felt the call return VERY strongly about a year ago and broke up with her. She was devastated and has never given up on getting back with him. I know this is his choice, and it all hinges on what GOD wants him to do, but the truth is, he has the makings of a great priest, one who could lead in a time of persecution. One discouragement he received was when a priest recently said that he didn't think my nephew has a vocation to the priesthood because most men are joyful when they finally commit, but my nephew didn't strike him that way. But the truth is, "joyful" is not a typical state for him. He is a melancholic, seeing the beauty in the world and disappointed that we all aren't reaching for all the beauty we can get. He is very serious, yet able to laugh at how serious he can be. So please pray for him.

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  54. saracecilia, Leila and Francis Choudhury, thank you so much for your prayers!

    saracecilia, I am about 1000 miles away from Boise.

    Leila, I am active in my community Rosary...Hopefully some of those folks might step up? Though again, I hate to be a burden on anyone's time, but I may well not have a choice.

    Francis, thank you for the link to the novena. I'm saying several now and this will be an easy addition (and one I don't think I've said before).

    I'm actually up earlier than I should be for a 4+ roundtrip drive to the nearest major city for work training, because, for the first time, the back pain got so bad and wider spread, it woke me up. Thank God, it has not affected my ability to walk, so far. Which makes me continue to think the problem is with an internal organ, not my spine.

    One thing I am thankful for is, whatever my employer's failings, I have about as good job security as one can have and some flexibility in taking time off for doctor's appointments. (And that I have a job with health insurance. So make that three things for which I am thankful.) Plus my boss told me yesterday that I, "can't die, because we need you." Whatever is implied, I'll take it. :-)

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  55. Dear Girl from NY,

    Don't forget to offer up all the pain and suffering for the salvation of souls! It's such a shame to let any hard borne suffering go to waste! I myself used to forget to do that (offer it up) sometimes when things got rough, busy as I was, just being cranky! So one day I said an "all inclusive" prayer, telling God that whatever and whenever I suffer in life, justly or unjustly, I'd like that suffering to be united with Jesus' on the Cross and thereby to be made redemptive - for myself and others. Now in the midst of a bad hair day I can stop and remind myself, "Hey, wait a minute! God is using this for some mighty purposes - which I'll get to understand only in His good time!" And within a few minutes, somehow everything does become so much more bearable! :)

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  56. I know I've hit my quota for comments, but GFNY's comment caught my eye. Take it from one who knows--you have to ask for help. Honestly, isn't that what friends are for? They probably would be insulted if you didn't ask them for help, no matter how good your intentions may be.

    When I had my heart attack, I came home after 2 weeks of being in the hospital thinking I would be able to just jump right back into my role of being mom. After all, by the second week in the hospital, I was walking around, tending to my own IV poles (I had 4 of them) an NG tube and catheter by myself during showers with no help. I was also getting my own trays of food. (I was in isolation and my trays were left outside the room as no one wanted to gown up to go in. It wasn't a very good hospital.) With all this independence, I figured I was more than ready. Wrong!

    I was extremely weak, and whereas I had everything at my fingertips at the hospital, it wasn't like that at home. There were stairs to climb and kids to chase after. I constantly had to lie down. I couldn't get my kids dressed, get them meals or even break up fights as this took too much energy. I *had* to have help, whether I wanted help or not, and believe me, I did not want help. But for the sake of my kids, and for the sake of my husband finally returning back to work, I had to let strangers in the house (people from church that I didn't know) and let them do my dirty laundry, take care of our dirty kitchen and pick up after all of us.

    My point is: I understand more than you may think what it means to trouble someone and let them help you. For me, it was very humbling. However, it was necessary. And even if I didn't have kids, I still would have needed help. When I say I was "weak" I mean I was so weak that I wasn't able to get out of bed or even get dressed. I wasn't able to get my own meals. I was weaker at home than I was at the hospital.

    Thank God for this gift of time to plan; for the gift of friends. I don't have many friends nearby or who were in a position to help, which is why I had to have strangers. Happily though, many of those strangers have become friends, and I still am friends with them today.

    Anyway, my little speech is over but I will give you my prayers as well.

    And as a side note, Leila--I am very happy--my husband went to the argument of the month club and he said he would go again. :-) I guess the topic didn't go well for some reason (theology of the body?) but Dennis loved the priest who conducted the whole thing. He kept a lot of humor where it was needed in the tense moments of debate. The fact that Dennis actually "loved" a priest is a small miracle in itself--I'm hoping in months to come, he will meet other good Catholic men as well. :-)

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  57. First let me say that you, Leila, are my favorite blogger with Stacy T a close second. I'd like to know what you think of the recent report by the UN in regard to the Convention for the Rights of the Child (that conservatives don't want the US to ratify) in regard to the Vatican. It doesn't so much focus on Vatican City, which is a member nation, as on the Church and focuses on the abuse scandal as well as other issues affecting children. Does anyone think that we should ratify the Convention? It will require a 2/3 vote by the Senate and the President's signature. The only other UN member not to ratify it is Somalia. Obama considers that an "embarrassment".

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  58. "The UN now officially reprimands the Catholic Church. Not individual priests or bishops or cardinals (or, for that matter, the Pope). No, the Church itself."

    Sebastian,

    You have to understand. The 18 member committee has been given the authority over the Vatican as a UN member which ratified the Convention and agreed to be evaluated on its record of protecting children's rights. It is a strange relationship because the Vatican is not only a country but the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Instead of evaluating how Vatican City cares for its children, it evaluated how the Holy See has run the Church. The Vatican wanted to be a party to the Convention so it could have a voice in the protection of the unborn child, which is not even a concern of the Convention. It backfired.

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  59. Bill, did you read the WSJ article I posted above? It addresses your comments.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303650204579372622361332560?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303650204579372622361332560.html

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  60. Thanks JoAnna.

    I don't hold the 18 members responsible for the UN peacekeepers or their own countries. You can't say "who are you to judge, look at your own organization and country ". I think their recommendations should be give consideration and followed where they can be.

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  61. Bill ,how about this.
    "I don't hold the Vatican responsible for the Bishops or their priests. You can't say "who are you to judge, look at your own organization and country ". I think their Moral teaching should be given consideration and followed where they can be since it’s proven so effective over the centuries”
    What’s with the default position of “whatever the UN says or does must be noble and fair and right”. They have been a disaster for 40 years. It’s like the left and Communism. “golly, it’s such a great idea and seams so fair and if just the right people and along with 150 other ideal circumstances were in place, it would be just peachy”. It has utterly failed EVERY SINGLE TIME! Exact same results. Mass death and misery and lost generations and complete corruption where the poor get ground into dust.
    If you get the same result with an experiment 42 times in row, doesn’t that mean that the actual result and nature of something can be definitive? Scientifically speaking? Cool-Aid!

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  62. "I don't hold the Vatican responsible for the Bishops or their priests."

    Fine. Then why was every single case directed, not to the police, but to the CDF headed up by Cardinal Ratzinger? How is the Vatican not responsible for preventing priests from being reported to the local authorities?

    Whether people living in glass houses should be throwing stones or not, the 16 page report stands on its own merit. Catholics should read it and not fret about the type of organization the UN is. It represents the international community and its findings should be taken seriously.

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  63. Um, the UN means nothing to me. It's corrupt and discredits itself on so many levels.

    The report stands on its own merit? It's based on outdated, bad info. And ironically, if the tiny minority of priests who committed these acts of pederasty (most were homosexual encounters with post-pubescent males) had followed Church teaching, no children or teens would have been harmed. So how does it make sense that the Church should change her teachings on sexuality? If the world followed the Church's teachings on sexuality and the inviolability of life, there would be no children harmed, period. See, what the UN is saying is nonsensical (and completely out of line).

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  64. From the article JoAnna linked, re: the stellar moral authority of the UN (ha!)…

    A stark example of selective reporting can be found in the committee's most recent observations on Saudi Arabia—issued eight years ago. That report mentioned the case of a 2002 fire at a girls school in Mecca, a disaster in which 15 girls died and dozens more were injured. Expressing "grave concern" that "the school building did not meet adequate safety standards for children," the committee recommended that school buildings be made safer and that staff be trained for such emergencies.

    What the committee did not mention was that when the schoolgirls tried to escape the fire, Saudi Islamic-morality police drove the students back into the burning building because they were not covered head-to-toe in the scarves and abayas required in public. Saudi journalists had the courage to report on this monstrous element of the tragedy. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child left it out.

    Or take North Korea, where state policy has led to famines that resulted in the stunting and mass starvation of children, and where disloyalty to the supreme leader can be punished by sending three generations of a family, including children, to prison-labor camps. In assessing North Korea, the U.N. committee in its most recent report released in 2009 expressed concern about"severe ill-treatment" of children and noted with "deep concern" that "the overall standard of living of children remains very low." But there was none of the fervor with which the committee has denounced the Vatican for failing to explicitly forbid corporal punishment. On that the committee was more than merely concerned, scolding the Holy See to ensure that "all forms of violence against children, however light, are unacceptable."


    Pretty sure the UN needs to stop lecturing and dictating to the Vatican and Christ's Church. But I can understand why it wants the Church to be silent and go away.

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  65. Bill, you missed my point. What if we used the same excuse for church leadership that you just used for the UN.

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  66. Bill You said, we can't hold the UN leadership responsible for the behavior of it's underlings. I was trying to point out the double standard in your statement. Yes, the worst part of the gay priest scandal was the built in system of cover-up. Just like the UN, and most local school districts and unions, and youth oraganizations.
    And if you really think that an organizations ideas should be judged on it's own merits, than how bout you check out the teachings of the church? They actually work. Unlike the pinhead, narrow, politically corrupt and morally bankrupt ideas that the UN has been dishing for 40 years.
    The UN does not represent the international community any more. It represents the biggest collection of like minded secular leftist's since the founding of Move-on .org.

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  67. Thank you JoAnna, Leila and Chris for standing in for me in responding to Bill. I was away on business and couldn't respond earlier. All well said of course.

    It seems to me that the left and secular people genuinely believe that the Church fosters a climate of hatred against homosexuals, and is at least indirectly responsible for what they perceive as stigmatization, low self-esteem and increased tendency of suicides among homosexuals (teens especially). As usual, Church teaching is the complete opposite of what they unquestioningly believe. However, their impulse to help a minority that certainly has been persecuted by almost all societies is in itself not bad. They see fellow human beings who have the same human dignity as everyone else (which the Church of course affirms as well). They fail to see that not every inclination is good and to be applauded (and most of us have some sort of inclination we'd rather not have, some perhaps from birth. Concupiscence is the human condition since the Fall, though I don't equate homosexuality with concupiscence per se). Is there evidence that a) the Church has done more than others, historically, to prevent acts of violence against homosexuals (when they were not threatening other members of society) and b) that in cultures largely untouched from Christianity or other monotheistic religions of Jewish heritage homosexuality was equally or more strongly persecuted, and on what grounds? I'm looking for arguments, if there are valid ones, that clearly de-link Catholicism historically from hatred of homosexuals and their own feelings of inadequacy up to this day.

    I'm interested in this because one of the UN's (ludicrous) demands was the acceptance (not simply tolerance) by the Church of homosexuality, and because there is a lively debate in Germany about a new school curriculum which teaches the equality of all sexual orientations.

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  68. "...there is a lively debate in Germany about a new school curriculum which teaches the equality of all sexual orientations."

    Sebastian, truly "all"? That would be consistent, but scary. It speaks to the slippery slope, if so, but of course that slippery slope re: sexuality is real. If we can say that some "atypical" sexual orientations are valid, then why not all? And there are many….

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  69. well, well, well I see the conversation has come around to 'ye olde discussion of human sexuality" again. I'd like to ask a sincere question here-what is church teaching on cross-dressing for performances and what, if any, are the moral repercussions of attending a drag queen show?

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  70. Miss G, I don't know. I guess it depends? I doubt there is any problem seeing some campy, funny shows, but it a show is all about celebrating homosexuality, then I guess it would be crossing a line.

    Interesting that you almost seem flippant about the pivotal role that sex (and the misuse of sex) has in human life. So many wounds from the misuse of sexuality, mostly to children, and then of course to women… Why do we need all the Planned Parenthoods and such if the misuse of sex doesn't throw humans into crisis?

    It's the act that produces human life. Should it be seen as trivial? I guess I am confused. I have said before and I don't think you've ever commented: When I spoke to my Jewish liberal agnostic neighbor about how the biggest wounds women suffer are related in some way to sex (abortion, rape, sexual abuse as a child, being used and discarded/broken hearts, adultery, pornography addiction by a mate, divorce, etc.), she looked surprised for a minute (as if she had never thought of it), then heartily agreed. Thoughts?

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    1. Oh, and an ever-growing number of sexually transmitted diseases and infections, some incurable or deadly, others causing infertility….

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  71. "I doubt there is any problem seeing some campy, funny shows, but it a show is all about celebrating homosexuality, then I guess it would be crossing a line"

    I wonder if this is where some of the ideas come from regarding a connection between "hatred towards gay people" and the Catholic church. If you truly believe the "disorder" is not the person but the "sin" of having same sex and/or same sex attraction, why would a show that celebrated homosexuality be "crossing the line" if it is only a gathering of like minded individuals "struggling" with their own "cross" but not necessarily acting on it?

    please don't mistake my comment for flippancy-it seems that so many of our conversations circle back around to what people do with their body parts in the privacy of their own homes.

    If I had to hazard an educated guess as to what women worldwide suffer from most I don't think I'd categorize it as all sex-related. Also, sex doesn't always produce human life...nor is that always the intention of having sex....

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  72. Well, Gwen, that's not how I understood it. You are now saying that a drag show is some sort of gathering of like-minded individuals who are "struggling"? How does a "struggle" with a cross equate to a celebration? I haven't been to a whole lot of drag queen shows, but are they struggling with a cross, like at an AA meeting or something? Do you not see the difference between celebrating something and struggling with a cross of unwanted attractions? Seems to me those could be polar opposite attitudes, no?

    Anyhoo,

    Of course I did not say that suffering of women is "all" sex-related. I said they are our biggest wounds. Do you disagree? Of course there are other types of suffering, and I never argued otherwise. But think of even the bride burning or the rapes in other cultures (Christianity helped do away with a lot of that where it was introduced). That has to do with the misuse of sex (which is and has always been the basis of marriage -- a conjugal union). When that is misused, the wounds on all levels are deep.

    I also did not say (please re-read) that sex always produces human life. I said it "is the act that produces human life." I hope we can agree on that simple statement?

    And you are right that procreation is not always the intention of having sex. Not sure how that is relevant to my point?

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  73. "Um, the UN means nothing to me. It's corrupt and discredits itself on so many levels."

    An 18 member committee told the Vatican what it needs to do to improve its compliance with the UN Convention for the Rights of Children. It is irrelevant what you might think of the UN as a world organization. The Vatican should review the report and do what it can to improve its compliance. If it doesn't want to be judged, it can withdraw from being a party to the Convention. Do you bring up pedophile priests when your confessor gives you your penance. Why then would anyone judge the UN instead of acting on its recommendations?

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  74. But if the committee was incompetent and overstepped its bounds, then what, Bill?

    Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office, released a lengthy response Friday to the report given by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

    In his statement, Lombardi said the committee’s recommendations went “beyond its competencies” to “interfere in the very doctrinal and moral positions of the Catholic Church.

    In emphasizing that the UN Committee had gone beyond its jurisdiction in assailing the Church’s moral teachings, Lombardi said the Committee’s remarks gave “indications involving moral evaluations of contraception, or abortion, or education in families, or the vision of human sexuality, in light of [the Committee’s] own ideological vision of sexuality itself.”

    Lombardi said the UN Committee had also neglected to attend to information actually submitted by the Vatican regarding the Holy See’s response to sexual abuse, and relied instead on reports from groups invested in criticizing the Church.

    As CWN reports, the Vatican spokesman “strongly suggested that the report had been drafted in advance, without waiting for the Vatican’s own report.”


    Sorry, I'm not impressed with just more run of the mill anti-Catholicism. It gets so boring.

    More:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/02/07/Vatican-Gives-Sharp-Response-To-UN-Committee-s-Report-Criticizing-Church-Teachings

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  75. GFNY - I had a friend who had surgery, but didn't want to bother her friends. Months later when she told me about it, I was hurt. I THOUGHT we had a close friendship, but I was wrong. I thought we were GOOD friends, but I was wrong. She did not invite me to be part of a difficult patch in her life. She only lives 20 minutes away, so I could have delivered a meal to her or something. At the very least I could have prayed for her, called her to cheer her up, or sent a card wishing her well. But she got through it just fine without me. But yes, I felt shut out. It was a scheduled surgery.

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  76. Oh, I saw the first pictures of my baby granddaughter!! She is so beautiful!! Equal rights for unborn woman! whooot!

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  77. Lena, good point. GFNY, remember that if you don't let others help you, you are denying them the chance that God wants to give them, to perform the corporal works of mercy, which aids in their salvation!

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  78. So now a committee of the UN, which clamors for children to be freely able to have sex, have birth control, and have abortions, says the Catholic Church should change its doctrines and canon laws (and scripture too, presumably) which label homosexuality, abortion, etc… as sins – because this allegedly contributes to the abuse of children and/or incites discrimination/violence against homosexuals. Of course this profound “recommendation” of theirs will be peremptorily thrown out by the UN itself, when it reaches the General Assembly (whose composition encompasses a far greater ratio of sane and morally upright member nations than a “committee” which is dominated by a handful of radically anti Catholic, morally vacuous, leftist individuals). The bad news for the radicals at the UN is that the majority of nations still appreciate that the Church/Holy See, in its balanced stances on these issues, is still a force for good in the world. And they still welcome the Holy See’s inputs in these matters. The question now begs itself: will this precocious little committee of the world body persist with its efforts along these (religious) lines to protect children? Will it, for example, next call on Muslims to change their teachings or excise those parts of the Koran which call for jihad, for infidels to be killed, and girls to be discriminated against – based on which thousands of children are being blown up, orphaned, raped, enslaved, tortured and genitally mutilated around the world? What? They won’t? Hmmm… Funny, that.

    As for the child abuse scandal in the Church, people with clearly demonstrable vested interests continue to ignore the comprehensive steps the Church has taken in recent years – and the undeniable advances it has made thereby – in eradicating the problem. Why? Because these anti Church groups have, in fact, a huge interest in keeping the issue alive and blowing it out of all proportion - vis a vis the horrendous levels of child abuse in all sectors of society, globally, today. Radically liberal UN bureaucrats know that the Church is the last powerful bastion of conservatism in the world – hence every effort must be made to undermine her standing and moral authority in the world (which radicals are expending countless millions of dollars and investing hundreds of thousands of man hours into reshaping according to their own godlessness). The predominantly liberal media are onside, of course, ever ready to sensationalize the Church’s failures while doggedly ignoring or minimizing her commendable actions/successes. Dissident Catholic clergy and laity (with dubious and often sordid personal histories) are forever happy to feed the Church’s enemies with half truths (and even outright lies) about the Church, her doctrines and her practices - to assuage their own restless consciences. And now we can add to all this a battery of powerful lawyers, actively working hand in glove with these groups to milk the Church cow for as much as they can get their corrupt hands on. For anyone unbiased, and interested to ascertain the real (corrupt, cynical, and even criminal) initiatives driving this phenomena, a great deal is exposed/documented in the articles (and links therein) on these two sites:

    Media obsession with the Catholic Church

    Lawyers and their favorite Church bashing group

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  79. I believe it was SNAP (the group dedicated to victims of priests, or so they say) that had its own lead lawyer arrested for pedophilia (or kiddie porn?) and they defended him! I will have to dig up that scandal, since I think it was ignored. Ironic, though!

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  80. Bill,

    "If it doesn't want to be judged, it can withdraw from being a party to the Convention."

    The Church doesn't withdraw from any initiative to make the world truly better, healthier, and safer for all, especially for children. The Convention in question was established to accomplish just that, and the Holy See signed it for precisely those reasons.

    The committee appointed to oversee the progress of this global initiative is, however, not infallible, and can make a bad call - even a call which clearly oversteps its mandate and authority. If/whenever that happens, the Church has every right to contest/appeal against such bad/unwarranted judgment - which it is currently in the process of doing. Every person in a developed society has a right to dispute/appeal a judgment, and countless people and bodies do that, in courts around the world every day of the week! Your double standards, Bill, when it comes to "advising" the Church (us folks) on what it should or shouldn't do are so frequently on display on this blog! The only question I have about that is: is it out of ignorance or hatred of the Church, or both?

    "Why then would anyone judge the UN instead of acting on its recommendations?"

    Ditto.

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  81. Leila,

    "Equal rights for unborn women."

    Love, love, love it! Now that needs a professional meme!

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  82. Francis, and your last comment to Bill, with that final question, is "Frantastic"! ;)

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  83. Granddaughter? Aww, congratulations. Now they get to pick out a pretty name for her.

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  84. Thanks, Priscilla!! They have a name picked out but they are going to keep it a secret until she is born! :) I can't wait!

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    1. Yes, that is wise because everyone has an opinion. We told people our son's name only to change it when we finally saw him. The first name didn't fit. We ended up giving our kids the middle names we had originally planned.

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  85. Leila, re the German school curriculum (this is for one of the southern states). I've seen that they mentioned "all sexual orientations" as equally valid, though in the discussions only homosexual, queer, transgendered, transsexual are explicitly mentioned. It is still considered absurd to include zoophilia, pedophilia, incest etc. Just wait another 10 years.

    The amazing thing is that anyone who questions this new curriculum is considered an extremist, a radical, a fringe, dangerous reactionary. That is, someone who holds an opinion that was mainstream only a few years ago, and still is in about 95% of the world.

    General apology here for always being late in responding. We are 6 hours ahead of EST, and as a fully employed person and father of two small children, I have to be thankful for the few opportunities I get in the day to read and contribute to Leila's great blog.

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  86. When children are victimized by the Catholic Church and it is made public, the first thing that happens is that Catholics circle the wagons and prepare to defend the Church. That is essentially what is happening with this UN report. The first step is to discredit the UN and act as if the whole report is just a useless piece of anti-Catholic propaganda. The more people you can convince to not even bother reading the report, the better the chances of making it a nonissue. Why don't people just read it and form their own opinions. I have. And I take it seriously, as I think most people should.

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  87. Bill, I find it interesting that you choose to ignore the facts presented in the WSJ article and by the Vatican itself in favor of blindly following the U.N. Glass houses...

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  88. Also, I don't think one should take the U.N seriously. As mentioned above, they have China, Russia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia on their Human Rights committee. Evidently, they don't take human rights all that seriously.

    Nor can I take seriously their assertion that abortion is somehow necessary to help children. Last time I checked, abortion killed children. I don't consider killing to be "help" for children in any way, shape, or form.

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  89. Bill,

    Contrary to your ignorant proposition, children are not "victimized by the Catholic Church". I am the Catholic Church. The gracious hostess of this blog is the Catholic Church. Over a billion people worldwide are the Catholic Church. None of us are victimizing children. This wild, precocious claim of yours is just another of your unending delusions.

    You're free to take any particular piece of nonsense as seriously as you want. (In fact, the regulars on this blog have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things you take seriously.) Just quit insisting that the rest of the world should emulate your fallacies. It's getting beyond boring for those of us who're here for some meaningful and substantial dialogue.

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  90. Francis,

    Neither you nor I could hazard a guess as to how many people have signed out of court settlements that require them to be silent in exchange for financial compensation. The UN found this to be wrong. Who do you think is wrong? Do you think that it is OK to buy a priests freedom from criminal prosecution? Are you the one agreeing to the settlement or is it the Church agreeing to it? Does the Vatican know about and approve of the settlements? I think it does. Am I wrong?

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  91. Hon. Patrick Joseph Schiltz is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

    While in private practice as a lawyer between 1987 and 1995, he represented churches in hundreds of clergy sexual-misconduct cases. He subsequently held the Saint Thomas More Chair in Law at the University of Saint Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis.

    In his own words, “I am often invited to present the "other side" of the clergy sexual-abuse "story". I receive these invitations because, as first a practicing attorney and then a law professor, I have advised every major Christian denomination in connection with more than five hundred clergy sexual-abuse cases in almost all fifty states. My clients have included Catholic dioceses, orders, bishops, and priests, and thus people assume that, if there is another side of this story to be told, I will be able to tell it.”

    In 2003, Schiltz wrote a three-part article entitled "NOT ALL THE NEWS IS FIT TO PRINT: WHAT THE MEDIA MISSED IN THE SEXUAL-ABUSE SCANDAL."

    It makes for even more relevant reading today.

    Part 1 (on the cynical flogging of long dead horses by the media, lawyers, and victims’ advocacy groups): “Plaintiffs’ attorneys and victim advocates do not deny that reports of abuse have fallen dramatically. What they have argued-on the rare occasions when a reporter has bothered to ask them about this-is that just because reports of recent abuse are rare, it does not mean that recent abuse is rare. Rather, they say, it takes victims a long time to report abuse. The abuse occurring today, they assure us, will be reported a few years from now. This is nonsense, for at least four reasons: […]”

    Part 2 (on the unprecedented legal injustice of making innocent people pay for the crimes of others): “When a plaintiff’s attorney stands up in court and asks a jury to return millions of dollars in punitive damages against a Roman Catholic diocese, the people who pay those damages - the people who are punished - are not the abusive priests or the negligent bishops. The people who pay those damages are the people in the pews or the people whom the diocese serves. To my knowledge, this is the first time in history in which punitive damages are routinely being inflicted upon the victims - or at least those completely innocent - of wrongful conduct.”

    Part 3 (on other false accusations against the Church and the patent hypocrisy of plaintiffs’ lawyers): ”It was plaintiffs' lawyers who would happily sell secrecy and happily take their 40-percent cut of the price of that secrecy. And yet some of these same plaintiffs' lawyers now tell reporters how very, very wrong it was for churches to buy what they were selling. With just one or two exceptions, I do not know of a reporter who has paused to contemplate the obvious hypocrisy of these lawyers.”

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  92. "the first thing that happens is that Catholics circle the wagons and prepare to defend the Church". Seriously, Bill? Since you encourage us to read every piece of nonsense that might be addressed to representatives of the Vatican - have you familiarized yourself with the measures taken worldwide by the Church against child abuse by its members? What Pope Benedict XVI, both as Pope and head of the CDF, has specifically done? Have you? If so, how can you even begin to take seriously the accusations leveled by this UN committee? The Church is deeply, deeply, deeply ashamed of what has been perpetrated by too many of its members. And yet what they have done pales in proportion to the child abuse perpetrated in practically all other environments where children tend to be - today and in the past. The Church is exemplary in its response to the child abuse scandal - though of course its members remain sinners and will continue to sin, no matter what measures are undertaken. Where is the praise and recognition of what the Church has done, and how it can really serve as a model for others?

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  93. JoAnna,

    When you confess your sins and your confessor tells you where you erred and what you should do to rectify the situation, you are conceding that authority to the priest and the Church without regard for the morality of the priest or the integrity of the Church.

    The Vatican ratified the Convention thereby conceding the authority over it to the Committee. All this is is due process.

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  94. "Where is the praise and recognition of what the Church has done, and how it can really serve as a model for others?"

    The findings are presented as fiirst acknowledging the positive followed by the "however". I don't see any model program. There would have to be many more arrests and prosecutions in the civil courts for there to be a model program. There would have to be punitive damages AND jail time. Not EITHER OR.

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  95. Bill, if that is really how it worked, then the UN would also have the authority to change laws in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Juba, to correct their egregious human rights abuses. However, the UN does not have that authority. They are an advisory body, not a regulatory body or an enforcement body.

    Funny, despite the horrible crimes committed against women and children in Islamic countries, I don't see the UN telling the religion of Islam that they need to change their key doctrines. Why do you think that is?

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  96. I can't speak hypothetically whether "(t)here would have to be many more arrests and prosecutions in the civil courts...". Certainly anyone convicted of a crime (whether directly or in a cover up) should have to answer for it (punitive damages, jail), and there is a clear rule within the Church to report known abusers to the civil authorities. But my point is that the Church has responded very forcefully and effectively in addressing the problem. And as Francis argues in his quotation, whom do you want to punish? The perpetrators, or innocents who in fact have been indirectly violated as well by the abuse of trust of their "shepherds"? And the millions in need whom the Church is now not able to serve anymore because so much in punitive damages has been paid, a large part of which went to lawyers?

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  97. Bill,

    "Neither you nor I could hazard a guess as to how many people have signed out of court settlements that require them to be silent in exchange for financial compensation."

    No, Bill, you couldn't. Nevertheless, you needn't get your knickers in such a knot over this, because in the majority of cases it was not "the Church" but the victims themselves (and their lawyers) who insisted on secrecy clauses in the out-of-court-settlements, and quite understandably, for protection of their own privacy. Do the research, Bill. And SUBSEQUENTLY, with the growth of public sentiments against the Catholic Church, hordes of lawyers, smelling an opportunity for a second bite of the juicy compensation cherry, convinced their clients to go public with their stories - despite any "silence/secrecy clauses" in their initial settlements,

    "Do you think that it is OK to buy a priests (sic) freedom from criminal prosecution?"

    No, Bill, I don't. In any case, contrary to your malicious innuendo, "the Church" has never sought to "buy any priest's freedom from criminal prosecution". I have no idea how such a thing could even be done/enforced. You're making a claim that not a single victim of abuse has ever made anywhere - to my knowledge, at least. I can only assume that your disinformation/delusion generator is on overdrive tonight.

    Are you the one agreeing to the settlement or is it the Church agreeing to it?

    No, Bill. I am not agreeing to any settlement. I don't see how I'd be involved. As to "the Church" agreeing - depends on what you mean by the Church, as posited in my earlier comment to you. In case you haven't had time to catch up with the reality yet, "the Church" is not some global legal entity that can be sued or come to any settlement regarding anything. For such purposes there are only individual priests, individual bishops, and a handful of local diocesan bodies.

    Does the Vatican know about and approve of the settlements?
    We can assume that "the Vatican" knows about some or even most of the individual settlements - but what is the point of your question?

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  98. Bill,

    "JoAnna,

    When you confess your sins and your confessor tells you where you erred and what you should do to rectify the situation, you are conceding that authority to the priest and the Church without regard for the morality of the priest or the integrity of the Church.

    The Vatican ratified the Convention thereby conceding the authority over it to the Committee. All this is is due process."


    Your ignorance about how the UN works beggars belief! (When you were a kid in school did your teachers ever tell you to sit down and shut up and not to disrupt the rest of the class? Just wondering).

    The UN committee in question has no authority whatsoever to impose any ruling on any entity - nation or Church or otherwise. All it does is monitor progress under (or violations of) the Convention by its signatories and report its findings to the General Assembly which then issues a ruling or dismisses the committee's "recommendations" - which it will surely do in this case. That's a no brainer.

    So, Bill, please, please, please refrain from stipulating to the educated people on this blog what constitutes "due process" at the UN, when you don't even possess a schoolboy's understanding of how the UN actually works.

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  99. I didn't mean to say that the Convention gave the UN authority over sovereign nations. My interest in the Convention is also as to whether it should be ratified by the US. Based on the Vatican experience, I wonder if 2/3 of the Senate would even read it let alone vote for it.

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  100. Just for the record, the UN Committee was accurate in its assessment of the conditions at the school and the deaths and injuries occurred as a result of the stampede to get out and not because two fundementalists tried to enforce the Islamic dress code.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Mecca_girls'_school_fire

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  101. Francis - Oh, yes indeed. I've suffered from migraines since my teens. Perhaps around that time or a bit later, I told God that I would offer all of my sufferings for the souls in Purgatory. At that time, I was a lapsed Catholic, too, though a couple things stayed with me, including knowing to offer one's sufferings for those in Purgatory. Every now and then I think about that, especially in such times as those through which I am going. Thank you again for your prayers!

    Thank you also for being such a fierce, educated defender of our Church!

    PS I hadn't thought about a bad hair day qualifying as a suffering. But with my frizzy, curly mop, that's my daily offering! Ha ha!

    Becky - I have a friend who's always the first person to volunteer to help someone. She's stepped in for me without asking a few times. When she needed help with petsitting due to a family illness, I jumped in to help and was happy to do so, but she insisted on paying me. When I wouldn't take a dime, she got a petsitter. :-(

    Lena - **single girl fist bump** Thank you for that point of view. That's sort of how I felt when my friend whom I mentioned above to Becky got a paid petsitter when I wouldn't take any money from her after I took care of her pets for a few days. She insisted that I had to drive far out of my way. Yet, when I had had two family emergencies in a short period of time that required my traveling both times, she automatically volunteered to drive to my home, which was equally out of her way (12 miles roundtrip) and would not take a penny.

    Leila - Congratulations on your granddaughter! How many dresses have you bought already? I'm not kidding, either! Ha ha!

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  102. Francis Choudhary, would you please take a break! Could you ratchet back the insulting invective? ". . . when you don't have a schoolboy's understanding of how the UN actually works." You need to know that there are visitors to this blog (me among them) that in the future plan to skip over your posts automatically because I would rather avoid the disrespect. I know, I know. Leila always backs you up, even when your criticisms become personal and related solely to appearance (calling Obama "effeminate"), etc. There is no reason to attack other people posting on this blog in such a condescending way. You may have a lot of good points in your posts. I expect I will read none of them in the future. I'm someone you would want to reach, I would think. Your choice.

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  103. Francis Catholic,

    I think you should know that I am not in the slightest offended by the ribbing that Francis Choudhary dishes out. It's all good. You can ignore it if you choose. But I'm OK with it. I value his opinion and get a kick out of his attempts to insult me.

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  104. Bill, thanks for saying that, and for the record a lot of the agnostics and liberals on this blog really appreciate Francis Choudhary and his manner/humor/way of speaking. Most enjoy it, even if every now and then there is something in it that rubs them the wrong way.

    GFNY, can you believe that I haven't bought any dresses yet? That doesn't mean I won't, ha ha! I can't wait to haunt the little boutiques and get some adorable duds for this princess!

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  105. Anne (Unknown), what a story that must be! And that is great advice!!

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  106. Francis Catholic,

    Skip my comments by all means, if you deem it conducive to your equilibrium. I'm not here to win some "most read" contest!

    Bill and I go back quite a ways, and I daresay he is a (maddening!) commenter like no other on this blog (you reading this, Bill?), so at times I do speak to him as to no other on this blog. Bill is a man, I'm a man, and when two men have a "heart to heart", it can and does at times acquire the abrasive style that you've witnessed here. It's just aggressive (but potent, sincere, and often effective) male-to-male conversation. Happens regularly in the real world, Francis. No big deal. And most folks - women included - understand that. Even if they're at times some are bemused by it, they're not usually overwrought with alarm.

    There is nothing I've ever written to Bill that I wouldn't say to him face to face or over a friendly beer at the local. If he is offended or angered by my provocations ("invective"), I'm sure he is quite capable of saying so himself. Not only has he never protested, as a matter of fact, he always continues quite un-flustered with the conversation at hand (with my "emphatically expressed" point taken, presumably/hopefully). Indeed, as Bill himself now confirms, he finds some value in my "invective" laden submissions to him. I'll take that as a compliment over your chastisement any time.

    As for your President, yes, I do believe he is effeminate (as in: unmanly in his political ways), and I have no qualms nor offer any apologies for saying so. Again, this is from a man's perspective, which you mightn't quite fathom.

    I'd be delighted to converse with you too, Francis. Truly, I would. I'd speak to you as to a sister (you're female, despite the male spelling of your name, right?) instead of addressing you as a brother (like Bill) at whom, in the midst of intense debate, I can throw a "punch" from time to time. But the PC world being the way it is today, perhaps you'd take umbrage at that too, on some ground of "inequality" or "condescension" or something...? Speaking for myself, vive la difference!

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  107. Tomorrow I'll be giving a Valentine to a guy in my office. I barely know him. No, I am not making romantic moves. A plan was hatched that a whole bunch of us are giving him a Valentine because the poor guy is going on medical leave to be treated for cancer. You know what? I would rather be part of a large group of people who are going to do our best to show Mr. Co-Worker we care on Valentine's Day than being pitiful about not having a Valentine. This giving feels better.

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  108. This is why I find this blog so fascinating: we go from Novenas to a discussion of the UN!

    As a concept, I feel that the UN is a great idea. In practice, however, I have come to believe that it is a complete disaster. Their own moral shortcomings, their inability to prevent warfare, and the abuse of the veto power of the five permanent members of the Security Council render the organization a failure. That said, I don't think that the correct response to its recent criticism of the Vatican is to point fingers and (figuratively) yell, "You guys are worse than we are, so you have no right to comment!" The sad truth is, they are right. The clergy of the Catholic Church handled the situation horribly. We should accept that. Even the John Jay Report, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, clearly says there was a "significant ethical lapse on the part of leadership" of the dioceses of priests who were accused of sexual abuse. If you read the report, you will see that only about 75% of incidents of abuse were reported to the police. If anything should "beggar belief", it's that! Any semantic quibbling about whether they were post-pubescent or not is meaningless. If you look at the John Jay Report, 73% of the victims were under the age of 14. These were minors. They were children, "the least of these". And we failed to protect them.
    Yes, I'm very happy Pope Benedict met with victims and addressed bishops about a zero tolerance policy. Great. We cannot pat ourselves on the back about that, though. It was the least we could do. The Church has a long way to go, and I must say I've been a bit disappointed that I haven't heard (my most loved) Pope Francis say anything about the issue.

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  109. Drat. I didn't proofread: "only about 75% of incidents of abuse were reported to the police" should've read, "only about 25% of incidents of abuse were reported to the police".

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  110. M. Albinoni, I don't think anyone has ever claimed that the crisis (at the time) was handled well. If so, please let me know. It was a disaster all the way around. But the point is that the Church has not only addressed the problem through the dioceses (oh my gosh, have you seen the policies and programs implemented?), but pretty much one of the safest places in the culture that a young person can be today is with a Catholic priest. Seriously, every other entity, from families themselves to non-Catholic religious communities to camps to Hollywood to academia (the amount of public school molestations is astronomical and it's hardly talked about much less addressed), leaves kids much more vulnerable to sexual abuse.

    I guess I am wondering what more should be done? I remember years before the scandals broke, the conservative Catholic newspaper The Wanderer had been reporting on the scandal of some of the more "liberal" bishops (very pro-homosexuality, very dissenting esp. on sexual issues) who had very illicit crap going on even personally…. I was newly in the Church back then and I was horrified that nothing was being done to remove those heretical and terribly sinful bishops. Um, we should have seen that coming a mile away (well, some did!).

    Also, what a shame that in those decades of the '60s, '70s and '80s, the bishops took their cues from secular psychologists who assured them that the best research and theories of the day said that the sex offenders could simply be rehabilitated and they would be just fine after treatment. Um…. we should not have listened to secular psychologists. So yes, a lot went wrong. But where is the acknowledgment that a lot has been done right since then, things that no other institution has done nor has been asked to do?

    I always wonder about those (not you, M. Albinoni) who relentlessly bash the Church as being pedophile protectors, but they champion public schools like there is no tomorrow (public schools have molestation rates at 100 times -- not percent of -- the Church rate). I have to wonder if they really care about kids' safety, or if they just hate the Church.

    For anyone who missed it years ago, I wrote a two-part post on the priest scandal:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/04/thoughts-on-church-sex-scandal-part-one.html

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  111. "...but pretty much one of the safest places in the culture that a young person can be today is with a Catholic priest."

    That is true only in the sense that people today are not in awe of the collar the way they used to be and will immediately report the priest to the police and sue the diocese. Pedophile priests know that and are afraid of the potential consequences.

    The UN report covers the past as well as the present and the cover up of the past. I maintain that it should be read and dismissed because of any excuse that one can think of to protect the reputation of the Vatican. People don't hesitate to criticize the President but God forbid anyone criticize the leaders of their Church. That borders on heresy.

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  112. "People don't hesitate to criticize the President but God forbid anyone criticize the leaders of their Church." Roger Mahony, anyone? The sex abuse scandal in Ireland and specifically the Archdiocese of Dublin? The Archdiocese of Boston? I don't intend to make a statement on the validity of the accusations against individual priests or bishops, only that there has been heavy criticism of senior clergy from within the Church and actions taken from the Vatican.

    Not to mention how viciously (and unjustly) Popes Benedict XVI and to a lesser extent John Paul II have been attacked from both without and within the Church. So I'm unclear what you mean by your statement, Bill?

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  113. Sebastian. You rightly point out some of the few examples of when, in our case in Boston and a few others, people actually revolted against Church leaders like Cardinal Bernard Law who would have been indicted by the Suffolk County DA had he not been whisked away and given sanctuary in the Vatican.

    I mean in general. It is rare that the leaders are ever criticized by their followers in the Church. Outsiders of course. But the faithful , never. That is unhealthy. Where are you? England?

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  114. "As for your President, yes, I do believe he is effeminate (as in: unmanly in his political ways), and I have no qualms nor offer any apologies for saying so."

    Don't worry. I'm just doing all my commenting before I start my day. Here's one more to the Aussie.

    What exactly is it that makes our President effeminate and will Hillary be less so?

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  115. Bill, once again you are repeating baseless allegations without checking into the actual facts of the situation. Again, I find it really odd that you accuse people of blindly following Catholicism, when you yourself seem to repeat untruths that you learn from the mainstream media without bothering to find out the facts for yourself.

    In December 2002, Law left Boston. It is often alleged [7] that he left just hours before state troopers arrived with subpoenas seeking his grand jury testimony; however, he had previously given evidence before two grand juries and been fully investigated by the state attorney general and the five district attorneys in the counties in which the archdiocese operates[citation needed]. When the state attorney general issued his report entitled Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston (July 23, 2003) he severely criticized Law mentioning that "the Archdiocese has shown an institutional reluctance to adequately address the problem and, in fact, made choices that allowed the abuse to continue" but did not allege that Law had tried to evade investigation and he did state that Law had not broken any laws because the law requiring abuse to be reported was not expanded to include priests until 2002.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Francis_Law

    I also encourage you to read the following:

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/simcha-fisher/benedicts-peculiar-record-on-pedophile-priests

    http://jimmyakin.com/2005/04/observe_this.html

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  116. JoAnna,

    I stand corrected on the reason that Bernard Law ended up at the Vatican. I guess it might have been for his personal safety more so than the risk of prosecution. In any case, people here believe that the Vatican obstructed justice by taking him in and treating him like he had earned some kind of reward instead of banishing him to a monastery or something more punitive.

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  117. Bill, I certainly hope you will correct people's misperceptions now that you know the truth. And actually, what happened to Law was very punitive. They took him away from his home and essentially put him in charge of a tourist church. He has very little real responsibility and absolutely no power. And he is quite literally under the nose of the Vatican so they can keep him on a tight leash. There may be other punishment and penances he has been subjected to which have not been made public.

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  118. "Bill, once again you are repeating baseless allegations without checking into the actual facts of the situation. Again, I find it really odd that you accuse people of blindly following Catholicism, when you yourself seem to repeat untruths that you learn from the mainstream media without bothering to find out the facts for yourself."

    Thank you, JoAnna!

    And the idea that Catholics don't criticize their bishops? Or the Pope? We must occupy different planets. Honestly, that is the opposite of the truth. Sorry, but oh my gosh to wake up to that is too much. It actually flies in the face of reality.

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  119. I have a friend for whom Law expedited his annulment and he thinks highly of him. He and his wife were able to arrange to have dinner with Law when they went to Rome. Law is retired and living a quiet life. He got away with what he did, as many others have gotten away with what they did. The idea that they will answer to a deity doesn't help to bring them to true justice.

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  120. Oh, but Bill, answering to a deity will bring Law and you and me to True Justice, and it won't be pretty for any of us. You will get justice for what you have done in your life, just as the rest of us will. Please God, let it be tempered with mercy that we don't deserve.

    Just curious: Are you as militant and justice-driven in your thoughts and writings and actions about public school teachers and administrators who have done the same (at a rate of 100x)? I am honestly interested to hear your passion about that as well. I want to make sure you really care about children's welfare, not just about bashing Catholics. Thanks!

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  121. Leila,

    Can you refer me to anything that you have written that criticizes the hierarchy of the Church in any manner even approaching your criticism of the government?

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  122. "and it won't be pretty for any of us."

    You? Oh please.

    Me and Law maybe. But you? Then there is no hope for any of us.

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  123. Bill, you answer my question first, about your criticism of the schools.

    (Although it's worth noting 12:18 am above, I criticized scandalous bishops, and that was pretty recent -- just a few hours ago.)

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  124. I'm not aware of anything going on in public schools. I started commenting again because I was interested in knowing if anyone thinks we should ratify the UN Convention especially in light of the scathing report on the Vatican. I didn't set out to put down anyone's religion.

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  125. You are not aware of the rampant sexual abuse of children that goes on in public schools and the cover-ups by administrations? Here is an AP report from a while back (one of only a few media reports, unlike the attention given to the Church scandals):

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/21/AR2007102100144.html

    Tell me what you think, as I am truly interested.


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  126. "It is rare that the leaders are ever criticized by their followers in the Church. Outsiders of course. But the faithful , never."

    FYI, just here in Austria we have more than 10% of active priests who are in open revolt against the hierarchy in a so called "priests' initiative". http://www.pfarrer-initiative.at/unge_en.pdf. This only includes those willing to put their name to this open disobedience, and call to the faithful to be disobedient. Many more priests are silent supporters, many live in open relationships with men or women. Among other things, they call for the ordination of women and married people (both men and women of course) and homilies to be given by qualified laypeople. I repeat, they not only criticize, they are in open disobedience. The only thing I don't understand is why they haven't been de-frocked yet, after giving them a couple of opportunities to think their stance over (and addressing their issues through reasoned discourse, which the Church has done). As always, the Church's judgment in this case is infinitely wiser than mine, so one day I will hopefully understand too.

    Also, by my own reckoning, at least half of regular churchgoers in my country (we have a maximum of 10-15% regular churchgoers in a nominally Catholic country) are not even attempting to live in obedience to the Church's teaching, and criticize church leadership without hesitation. This is the sad truth.

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  127. I think it is terrible what is happening in public schools. The UN would have a lot to say about it if we join the Convention (and leave Somalia as the only holdout).

    You criticized liberal bishops above. Is that you being critical of the Church hierarchy? I was looking for something more like your criticism of the government. The President is fair game. Why not the Pope?

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  128. Wow, Sebastian. I had no idea that something like that was going on. It's like Luther all over again. Thanks.

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  129. Sebastian, that is pathetic!!

    Bill, if you are asking me to criticize saints and popes that I adore, um, nope. Why would I? I love the Holy Fathers I have known! Holy, wonderful men of God and a gift to the world.

    You think the UN would have something to say about the public school sex abuse? I seriously doubt it. Even our left-wing, UN-loving press does not care.

    Now that you know about it, what are you going to do?

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  130. Luther indeed. I've been wondering for years what keeps these people from just becoming Protestants. Would save everyone a lot of headaches, though sadly their souls would be in grave danger. As they are now.

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  131. "Wow, Sebastian. I had no idea that something like that was going on. It's like Luther all over again. Thanks."

    Except I don't think Luther was trying to be secular and throw off the moral law. In fact, he did not throw off the moral law. The only parallel is rebellion from legitimate authority, I think.

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  132. "Now that you know about it, what are you going to do?"

    Errr....I don't know. So. What do you think? Should we just say "thanks but no thanks" to the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child? Should the Vatican tell the UN to go fly a kite?

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  133. My personal opinion runs along these lines: I don't know enough about any of the UN stuff to care. And unless the "Rights of the Child" include a right to life itself, I don't really care about that document, either. I generally am fine with telling the UN to go fly a kite.

    So, there is Leila Miller's opinion, for what it's worth! :)

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  134. "though sadly their souls would be in grave danger. As they are now."

    I would say that, if they really feel that way but want to remain Christian, then, instead of destroying the Church from the inside, it would be better for everyone if they were just to convert to Lutheranism or some other denomination. Are you saying that their souls would be in danger if they did?

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  135. "Are you saying that their souls would be in danger if they did? "

    I am saying if doctrinal truth has been revealed to someone and they understood it (this being priests, I have little doubt about it) and they still reject it, then yes, their souls are in danger. Fellow Catholics, please correct me if this is incorrect.

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  136. "...but pretty much one of the safest places in the culture that a young person can be today is with a Catholic priest."

    I don't think that you folks follow the news of priest sex abuse around the country. I do. Here are a few examples of relatively recent (post Charter) abuse: Priest in Wisconsin confronted by a parishioner in 2009 for suspected abuse of a minor. The priest then went to the parishioner's place of business (a funeral home) and shot the parishioner dead, along with one of his employees. When the police started questioning the priest, he committed suicide. Whether the abuse of the minor could be proven is questionable, I suppose, but the mental imbalance of the priest is undisputed. Priest in Minnesota sexually abused two boys (sons of the church secretary) in his camper parked in the parking lot of the church. This happened in 2011 and 2012, after all the wonderful policies were in place. Priest convicted and now in prison. But before the abuse, there were reports to the diocese that the priest was acting out sexually - soliciting male anonymous sex in a park, soliciting sex with males at a bookstore, etc. He was promoted to pastor with no supervision after all those problems. Now there is a family that has suffered terribly and will never be the same because steps were not taken to protect these kids. These are just two examples of relatively recent (post Charter) sexual abuse. While I would agree that most dioceses are doing a lot more now and are trying to protect children and vulnerable adults, I believe there are still priests in ministry with significant mental health issues and/or psychosexual problems that make them a risk.

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  137. Francis Catholic, this is why I get so frustrated. Yes, yes, yes, there are still going to be sins and evil things done by priests. It has ever been thus and will ever be so. That is the nature of fallen humanity. That is true of every segment of society where human beings move and breathe. It is not "controllable" to the level you seem to think is possible. Human beings will always have free will. Human beings will sin, always. Some terribly. Some even unpredictably. Always, always.

    My statement was this:

    "...but pretty much one of the safest places in the culture that a young person can be today is with a Catholic priest."

    Your recounting of some horrible incidents does not in any way refute my statement.

    Sorry, but I am frustrated at the lack of understanding of what I'm saying. Maybe it's me?

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  138. And I'm not being ornery, I really want to know. This part:

    "...soliciting male anonymous sex in a park, soliciting sex with males at a bookstore, etc."

    If this was "consenting, adult homosexual" encounters, why is there an objection from anyone who is okay with the morality of gay sex? I thought that we are not to be alarmed by such acts, and that anything done by consenting adults should be okay, and not a "red flag" for child molestation?

    I'm seriously asking. I don't get it.

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  139. Leila,

    As I understand it, approximately 6% of priests wil abuse a child within their lifetime. Assuming you would not want your child to be anywhere near the 6%, that means that there is a 94% chance that your child would be safe with a priest. I don't know how that percentage compares to other men who have that much contact with children, but I would imagine it would be better than most.

    Thanks for your opinion on the UN. I agree.

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  140. I don't think anyone should ever be "okay" with anonymous sex of any kind. And I don't know how I am now designated the person who advocated for it? No idea where that is coming from. But of course the point of the risk of the conduct I described is that it is secretive, potentially self-hating, self-destructive behavior suggesting the person is suffering from psychosexual problems. As a priest who has taken a vow of celibacy and supporting church teaching that the conduct is disordered and an abomination, it only heightens the concern that he is not handling his sexuality very well within the life that he has chosen. I am sure there are priests with opposite sex attraction who do the same thing with women, and may also be suffering from psychosexual problems, but both the problems and the treatment are different. Of course priests sin. Of course a small number do terrible things. But I believe that when our church leadership is on notice that one of our priests is this unstable, that steps need to be taken to properly supervise and monitor those priests. What are they supposed to do? Well there are numerous treatment facilities and support out there, but once in patient treatment is concluded, the continuing monitoring must occur. I don't think the bishops are doing all they can. They are just not.

    As to how this conduct is a risk for child molestation? There are obviously a lot more details and I was just giving the overview, but the solicitations were of young adult males, and he was asking them their age. He also took 11 and 12 year old boys on a camping trip with another priest and no one else there, and no one stopped it. Those boys were abused. The risk to children was there. Proper controls and monitoring can prevent such incidents, or at least attempt to. For example, if he was an associate pastor and there was a pastor at the parish that knew his history and issues, there would be some accountability. Things can be done to help the priest with his issues and at the same time ensure - as best as possible - the safety of the parishioners.

    In terms of how a person who supports homosexual unions could possibly claim that this conduct is a risk for child molestation, I have outlined above where the risk to minors existed. As to non-priest homosexual men and women, I don't for a second think the same conduct is somehow less of a risk to minors. It presents the same risk.

    But for monogamous homosexuals -- openly gay men and women who engage in homosexual activity with one partner -- and are demanding civil marriage and status, I would not put them in the same category, because they are less likely to be secretive and anonymous, as they are asking to have their lifelong commitments acknowleged. If they are at the same time engaging in the same behavior this priest did - YOU BET they are a risk to minor and vulnerable adults, etc.

    As far as the Church's response to the crisis, this is an issue I care deeply about, I have spent a great deal of time working on these issues, and I am not a knee jerk reactionary as to the church's conduct. Much has improved, but there is still a very long way to go. Unfortunately, I still see a lack of contrition on poor judgment calls that were made that had terrible outcomes. So many of our wonderful priests work very hard and our bishops need to do right by them.

    I was merely challenging your statement about safety. Tell that to the mother of these poor young boys . . . and their sisters, unfortunately. The abuse only came out because these poor boys were shown heterosexual pornography and then in turn abused their sisters. The sisters reported it to their mother, and then after talking with her sons, confronted the priest. Very sad story . . . and all within the last 24 months.

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  141. Francis Catholic, as a mother with eight children, you can bet I am the last person to tolerate sexual abuse of a child. So, all that you say is abominable is just that (although I would add that all homosexual acts/sodomy is abominable, as Christ's Church has always taught). But my main question sort of remained untouched. What level of "safety" do you expect? 0%? You will never get it. Not on this planet, with free will and sin. I am not sure what your diocese is doing, but my diocese's programs and policies and reporting systems are extensive. I am certain they are more stringent than any other organization or entity around. Including schools (obviously). So, what more is it that needs to be done? Are you talking about "emotionally"? Meaning, there has not been enough lamenting? I guess I am still highly, highly confused.

    I said that children were safer with priests than with any other segment of men, frankly. Are you disputing that, or are you just upset that the number of offenses is not at zero?

    I really, truly, am not understanding where we are in disagreement, exactly, or why you don't feel children are more safe with priests than they are with relatives or teachers.

    (Again, with the obvious caveat that you are in disagreement on your Church's teaching about the grave sinfulness of homosexual acts, and the teaching on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony… no small things.)

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    1. Sorry if that was unclear. My mind is in several places today!!

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  142. Bill, your numbers are off, by the way. It's less than that. (Francis Catholic, I think you would find these numbers and analysis interesting as well):

    http://skellmeyer.blogspot.com/2010/04/is-times-changing.html

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  143. "I was merely challenging your statement about safety. Tell that to the mother of these poor young boys"

    Isn't this like me saying, "Going to the movies is safe" and you telling me "Tell it to the people who got shot in Aurora." See, it's still safe to go to movies, even though in individual rare cases… it's not. But it's not the "going to the movies" that is unsafe, it's that sometimes people do evil things, and there is no level of safety that can approach 0%. Again, maybe I am not being clear. But children are safer with priests than other segments of the male population (in the case of schools, they are significantly safer). Are you disputing that?

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    1. Meaning, children are significantly safer with priests than with school teachers.

      (And for the record, I love teachers, so please no one accuse me of teacher-bashing.)

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  144. Ok. I heard 6% in an interview with a lawyer who represents the victims. The Jay Report sets it at 4%.

    So if 4 out of 100 priests are abusers, how many out of 100 are incarcerated? It's not that a smaller portion of priests than of the general population are abusers. (I would hope so). The question is what did the Vatican do about it during the period covered by the UN study and are its findings legitimate? If so, then the Vatican should act on as many of the recommendations that it can without changing essential doctrines if they shouldn't be changed.

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  145. I don't know, Bill. Some of the abuse cases are so old that the priests in question have long died. (No way to put the dead in jail.) In others, the statute of limitations ran out years or decades ago (how can you try and jail someone in that case? You can't. How can the church jail people? She can't). Did you read the link I posted just above?

    Also, in all of this, let's not forget that there are people every day who are falsely accused of sexual abuse (not just priests). Everyone (and I do not exempt priests, who are often targets of hatred and ire) deserves due process and a fair trial. I hope we all agree on that. I have heard tragic cases of innocent priests destroyed. I also have heard of predator priests who have destroyed lives with their sexual perversions and crimes against children. My outrage at the latter is not slight (don't get a mother's rage going), but I have just as much rage at those who would malevolently destroy an innocent priest.

    I hate sin. I hate injustice. It's why I long for Heaven…. as we all should.

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  146. "I hate sin. I hate injustice. It's why I long for Heaven…. as we all should."

    Nah.

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  147. Heaven is the human heart's deepest longing, Bill. What do you long for?

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  148. Liberation from the seven deadly sins so as to live a better life right here, right now.

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  149. Okay, liberate yourself. Right now. Tell me how you did it.

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  150. A. I never said I was against church teaching on either of those issues so I have no idea where you got that. I was challenging your attempt to equate adult consensual homosexual activity to what happened here.
    B. This is so different from the movie theater example, I could go on and on. We have horrific random shootings in this country, and they are extremely rare. Usually, the shooter (if he/she survives and is caught) does not move to another community and shoot up another theater. Yet that is the history of our priest sex abuse crisis.
    C. Your comparison to the risk with male teachers is interesting. I keep ignoring it because I don't see it as relevant to where I am right now. I just assumed that you used that statistic (beat it to death, actually) to establish that male sexual abuse of minors occurs in all situations where males have authority and contact with minors on a regular basis (I agree with that), and that it is even more sigificant today with teachers than with priests (again, I agree). And you keep pounding on it to show that the media is solely focused on priests and ignores the others. I agree. But who cares about the percentages? I take incredible precautions with my children with all adults in nearly all situations. The risk with any of them is there, and I am constantly attune to it, as is my husband. I don't compare the percentages, so much as take precautions with all adults in authority at school, sports, church, wherever.
    D. I have a role, as a Catholic, in making sure my archdiocese protects kids. I have a role as a parent of public school children to make sure that my school district and schools are doing it, too. Believe me, I take my role seriously in both venues, and in youth sports. The news that has broken about girl swimmers abused by a coach over decades is disgusting! And I have girl swimmers. I am so mindful of that situation, too. I coach my kids on what to avoid, how to come forward, etc. I make sure they are not in a situation to be alone with a coach, teacher, priest. And I report situations to the proper authorities (school district, sports organization, church) if I see coaches or teachers alone with kids when it is not appropriate. And I have a role as a Catholic to make sure my bishop is properly monitoring priests with psychosexual disorders. He didn't do it, and things need to change.
    E. No, the incidents can never get to zero, unfortunately. But if we have information about serious sexual problems in our priests and we do not monitor them, then we have failed the faithful. This incident could have been prevented, and the failure to do so and to admit the failure is a significant problem. It didn't happen in the 60s and 70s, it happened in 2012.

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  151. I'm stuck in my sloth and my addiction to coffee. I just sit at my kitchen table and drink coffee, which sounds innocent enough. To get myself going is as hard as it is to fall asleep when you have too many things on your mind. Once I break myself of it it's like just forgetting about everything and falling asleep.

    I don't know if that makes any sense.

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  152. Francis Catholic, then forgive me on "A". I might have you confused with M. Albinoni. If you are faithful on the issues of human sexuality, then thank you.

    As for the rest… still not quite sure where we disagree? Why you took issue with "safety" in the Church? There is no guaranteed safety anywhere. I don't know about the one incident you are talking about. I know that my diocese is doing about as much as it can without being omniscient. I am sorry if yours is slacking off… it's hard to believe that any diocese is not hyper-vigilent these days, but I have not investigated your diocesan policies and practices (I don't even know what diocese you live in). So, I will continue to be happy that my children are safer in the Church than anywhere else, while still using prudential judgement with all my kids, no matter what/where their interactions with adult males.

    Heck, the serious sexual problems with males in this society (including porn addiction) are so prevalent that I think it's a miracle that so very few priests are abusing compared to the dads, uncles, brothers, coaches, teachers, etc. I just feel like the *major* suspicion is always on the Church and priests, when all reasonable indicators and logic would lead us to different conclusions. Don't you find the priest-pedophile jokes and assumptions offensive, Francis Catholic? In light of all that has been done, and in light of all the numbers to show that every other population has more offenders?

    I guess I just don't get it.

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  153. I COMPETELY agree with you about males and pornography. What a horrible, horrible dangerous and sickening side of the internet. I believe that sexual abuse and perversion are increasing among otherwise healthy males as a direct result of internet pornography. Marriages and families are ruined, children hurt, productivity at work and home impeded, and other significant relational impacts as well. I am sickened that men I interact with professionally at work could very well have been viewing internet porn, watching men degrade women in perverse ways, right before shaking my hand and walking into a meeting. My own office has had men using inappropriate sites during the work day. Not enough is being done in the general population to combat this problem. I talk to my son about it and how easy it is for boys and men to start down a very horrible road with internet porn.

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  154. Utterly, totally agreed. I think porn has poisoned the culture and is killing marriages, families, and souls. Demonic.

    Good for you for talking to your sons. That is so important.

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  155. I work for a large, well-known university with teacher credentialing programs. The lead credentialist told me how a teacher accused of sexual misconduct in a major metropolitan area was protected. No media outlets were involved. Does anyone really think this is an anomaly? Do you have any idea how powerful teachers' unions are? And yes, left-wing - look up the stats for yourself: what politicians and political measures do they almost always support? You could say that you don't believe this happens in public schools, but you don't hear about these abuses because they're not happening or because they're covered up?

    I have long agreed with part of Leila's comment at 2/14, 12:18am: Those who love to beat the Church for her wrongful role in covering up priest sex abuse love to do so, not so much because they give a damn about the kids; they do so because they hate the Church for Her Truth about the evils of abortion, contraception, adultery, and homosexual acts. This is a society that hates, hates, to be told, "No," or that something it wants to promote as a right, as a good, is in reality, wrong/harmful to the individual and the greater good of society. Decades of adultery, broken marriages, broken children from broken marriages, manufactured children through womb swapping, sperm-swapping, egg-swapping (i.e., children conceived as commodities), broken mothers and fathers through abortion, STDs and other such ills, and society keeps telling itself that all is well when it's not.

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  156. Well stated!

    Pope Benedict XVI said, when he first realized the extent of child sexual abuse in the Church, he was so stunned, it was like a volcano had erupted in his face, spewing out pure filth. Well, I contend that anyone who seriously looks into this problem in society as a whole, will either have the same experience and/or be rendered totally speechless. The problem is so widespread and so large it is hard, really hard, to even imagine it properly. Every sector of society is infected by it – with no exceptions. What’s even worse is a) it involves both sexes and b) some of the most powerful/influential forces in society are directly contributing to it: the media, by their selective and biased reporting and corporations, the clothing industry, the advertising industry, the fashion industry, model agencies, talent shows and the like, by their disgraceful and exploitative sexualization of children.

    All of us mostly tend to view child sexual abuse as the realm of some dirty old pedophile or the handiwork of some sinister, celibate Catholic priest. Not so. Not so at all. The overwhelming majority of such abuse actually occurs in homes, and by relatives and family friends of the victims usually. And from there it spreads to just about every segment of society you care to name: teachers, police officers, doctors, lawyers, carers, politicians, et al. The Catholic hating ABC attacked and smeared the Church in Australia so much and so persistently last year, that the government was obliged to convene a Royal Commission to look into the incidence and severity of child sexual abuse here. The good thing is the Commission (now underway) is looking not only into the Catholic church or religious bodies alone, but at abuse across all institutions involved in any way with children. The disappointing thing is it won’t be concerning itself with abuse in family settings, where, as I said earlier the vast majority of the abuse takes place. Anyway, something’s better than nothing, I guess and I harbor the hope that the public’s perception of this problem will be shaped not just by biased and selective reporting by the corrupt media but by the findings of a bunch of professional and respectable jurors.

    Consider the popular but totally baseless charge (by non Christians, Christians, and even some Catholics) that celibacy plays a key role in clerical abuse of children. How then do you explain all the married men and women indulging in the same crimes in exponentially greater numbers in society at large? I hope one of the benefits of the Royal Commission will be to dispel myths such as this.

    Are you aware how many women now freely admit to watching porn – sometimes alongside their (male/female) “partners”, as a prelude (or so they say) to sex?

    Did you know, again, that there’s a whole new genre in (legal) porn now, involving (older)teacher-(younger)student sex? And that the acting out involves not just male “teachers” and female “students” but female “teachers” with male “students” as well?

    It’s this sort of knowledge when clearly presented before the public that would, I believe, make many in our communities have the volcano or speechless experience I alluded to earlier.

    On the issue of teachers alone, here are a couple of mere tips of the iceberg (or volcano):

    Almost 1,000 UK teachers accused of relationship with pupils in five years

    The Big List: Female Teachers With Students (I hate to imagine what a list of male teachers with students would look like.)

    Someone said that God allowed sexual abuse to happen in the Church and the scandal and adverse publicity and angst for a billion Catholics precisely so that the spotlight might eventually be shone on this diabolical evil that is destroying our entire next generation. That even out of our distress today, God will bring about some desperately needed good for the world. I agree.

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  157. “I guess I am wondering what more should be done?"

    How about bringing the bishops who participated in the cover-ups and the facilitation of continued child abuse (by simply relocating the sex abusers to a different parish) to justice? How about defrocking them? Cardinals Law and Mahoney would be a great place to start. Cardinal Mahoney recently Mass with Pope Francis -- but it is documented that he suppressed information and transferred alleged sex abusers within and outside his diocese. There is clear documentation that Cardinal Law actively participated in the cover-up of child molestations but he is now living out a very comfortable retirement in Rome.

    What about mandating every bishop to immediately defrock any priest who has sexually abused children? I know that the USCCB has a so-called"zero tolerance" policy, but what does that mean exactly? Does this policy involve automatically informing civil authorities about any allegations of sexual abuse? As I said in my previous comment, only 25% of cases were reported to the police. Who ensures that the dioceses are complying with this policy? I am sincerely asking these questions because I do not know the answers.

    ...what happened to Law was very punitive. They took him away from his home and essentially put him in charge of a tourist church. He has very little real responsibility and absolutely no power.”

    Oh, cry me a river. To be completely honest, the guy belongs in jail. He facilitated the abuse. As an ER physician, I am mandated by law to report any suspected incident of child abuse to the civil authorities. Suspicion is all that is required - no need for preponderance of evidence, no need for a smoking gun. If I suspect it, I should report it. This is so because we must always act in defense of the child. Why should the Church be held to a different standard?

    I am not saying this to "beat up" the Church. I LOVE MY CHURCH. In fact, I completely agree with Francis Choudhury when he says, "I am the Catholic Church." I, too, hate sin and injustice. I hate it even more when it is my Church that is complicit in the sin and injustice.

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  158. M. Albinioni, here is my own diocesan policy on safe environment training, reporting, policies, programs, procedures:

    http://www.safeenvironmenttraining.org/index.php

    It is quite extensive and thorough. You can get the answers to your questions about your own diocese by googling it, or looking at the website. Then you will have your answers.

    I am going to delicately ask this question (which is a different subject than the sexual abuse of children), in light of what you have said before. You wrote, above:

    "I, too, hate sin…"

    And yet you have stated on this blog that you are going to be celebrating the "marriage" of your gay friend. Sodomy is a grave sin. You say you hate sin, but do you really hate all sin? The Church you love (which Christ founded) has said without any wavering in 2,000 years, that sodomy and homosexual acts are deeply, gravely sinful, and that this is the Law of God, forever.

    Do you hate all sin? Or just the sins that you don't like? I am not trying to make you upset, I am trying to open your eyes. You don't get to decide what is sin and what is not. And you cannot call evil good and make it so. I know you love your friend, but we don't love our friends by condoning their sin.

    And by the way, I would have had Mahoney removed decades ago. I knew he was bad news back in the '90s.

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  159. The most honest way I can express my feelings about homosexuality is that I am truly conflicted on the issue. I am just being honest about that. When I say that I will be witnessing my best friend's marriage "with joy", I am referring to the fact that I will be celebrating in the joy of my best friend. Look, I have known these two for over a decade. They have been in a loving, monogamous relationship for over 10 years. That's longer than many heterosexual marriages here in the US today! They are good people: kind, generous, selfless. Forgive me if I choose to compartmentalize my conflicted feelings on homosexuality from my happiness at the fact that my friend can have a marriage that is recognized by civil society.

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  160. M. Albinoni, God calls us to love Him above any man and any friend. If it means violating your faith and condoning grave sin, this is a no-brainer. It's one thing to politely decline to attend the event and still go on treating your friend as your friend (no one is saying to stop loving your friend!). But to stand up for this event? No….

    There is no joy in sin. You say you hate sin, then hate sin. No compartmentalizing. Just hate sin with a burning passion and love your friend. It can be done.

    I was conflicted on the issue of Hiroshima, and I submitted to the Church. I was conflicted on the issue of death penalty, and I submitted to the Church. I was conflicted on the issue of contraception, and I submitted to the Church. When we are conflicted, we trust, and we submit. Otherwise, what's the point?

    St. Augustine said: 'If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.'

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    1. Thank you for this, Leila. I can promise you that I will continue to pray about it.

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  161. M. Albinoni -

    The civil government did not see fit to charge Law or Mahoney with crimes or prosecute them for same. Why are you blaming the Church for the failures of the civil judicial system? There is no way the Church can try people in the civil justice system and sentence them to public jails, especially in the U.S., so what would you propose?

    "Defrocking" these bishops would be pointless. I don't think you quite understand what that is. It's not a punishment that's meted out. A priest is a priest forever even if he's prohibited from acting as one. It's something that's only done if the clergy has acted in grave disobedience and is unrepentant, and/or voluntarily chooses to leave the service of the Church.

    If they have expressed sincere remorse and repentance, especially in the sanctity of the confessional, should that be ignored? Should we refuse forgiveness to one who has asked for it? That sure doesn't sound very Christian. You criticize Pope Francis for celebrating Mass with Mahoney. Isn't that like criticizing Jesus for eating with tax collectors and prostitutes? Despite his grave mistakes, isn't Mahoney still a child of God and a sinner in need of mercy?

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  162. JoAnna -- to answer your points:

    1) The statute of limitations had expired in those cases by the time the abusers came forward. Maybe if Law and Mahoney didn't cover-up for this priest charges could've been filed. We will never know now, though, right? If you haven't yet, read the John Jay Report. There are other specific examples of bishops who suppressed information.
    2.) I know that at priest is a priest forever, thank you very much. I have been in Catholic schools from the beginning. I took 4 years of Theology in college. You don't need to lecture me. I was referring to laicization, but I used the more informal word, "defrocked'. This is provided for in Canon Law.
    3.) Don't accuse me of un-Christian behavior just because I find it distasteful that Pope Francis, who I love dearly, celebrated Mass with Mahoney. I dare say that if you had a child who was abused by a priest on Mahoney's watch, you would;t be as quick to defend him.

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  163. Leila,

    I think you are way out of line criticizing M. Albonini for celebrating her friend's wedding. She knows the two people involved and is happy for them. You have no right to put a damper on that happiness. You know I have the greatest respect for you. But this is where your religiosity makes you really messed up.

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  164. ...makes YOUR OPINIONS really...

    Sorry. You're not messed up.

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  165. Bill, bill, bill....

    It is not Leila's opinion. Did you see her comment about how she submitted to the Church?

    I was conflicted on the issue of Hiroshima, and I submitted to the Church. I was conflicted on the issue of death penalty, and I submitted to the Church. I was conflicted on the issue of contraception, and I submitted to the Church. When we are conflicted, we trust, and we submit. Otherwise, what's the point?

    And yes, Leila has every right to speak up in the face of sin! Bill, there are more important things than temporary, earthly happiness. Ultimately, God intends marriage to be between one man and one woman, period. Leila wants all people to experience the true, fulfilling happiness that ONLY God can provide.

    Whatever happened to good ole friendship anyways? No one is saying that two men or two women cannot share a close, pure friendship.

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  166. "Ultimately, God intends marriage to be between one man and one woman, period."

    This is such a presumptuous statement. The Catholic Church presumes to speak for a god that doesn't even exist and tell gays they can't marry. How presumptuous.

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  167. Bill, unlike you, M. Albinoni does believe in God, and in Jesus Christ, and she loves the Church. So, thanks for your comment but it's not applicable. In fact, it's not applicable ever, since I am commanded to speak truth in love as a Christian. If I do not, woe to me. I will be held accountable before God for "what I have done, and what I have failed to do".

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  168. By the way, this statement:

    This is such a presumptuous statement. The Catholic Church presumes to speak for a god that doesn't even exist and tell gays they can't marry. How presumptuous.

    It's as "presumptuous" for the Church to say that men cannot marry as it is to say that a dog cannot be a cat.

    Marital union between two men (or two women) is ontologically impossible.

    I remember my young gay friend telling me that he and his partner had been joined in matrimony. I reminded him that "matrimony" comes from the Latin meaning "mother". Nothing of matrimony in what they were attempting. Just a fact. I love my friend but I told him the truth.

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  169. Hat tip to Joanna for raising the question of mercy for sinners - even for those who’ve abused children, stolen billions, enslaved peoples, beheaded innocents or gassed millions. “Seventy times seven” is how often we are called as Christians to forgive. Sans this virtue, we neither know God nor are honest about who we ourselves are: wretched sinners all, in desperate need of mercy ourselves.

    Justice invariably catches up with every action, and no wrongdoer escapes without making reparation for his sin to the last farthing, be it in this life or the next (for which we thank God, given the absence of perfect justice in this world!). This is why Jesus exhorts us, not to focus on exacting temporal justice and punishment, but to practice forgiveness and mercy – any incomplete justice/punishment He takes care of, personally and perfectly. Of course this doesn’t do away with the need for temporal justice in society, but I ask: how much does such justice really achieve on its own? To what extent does it deter trespasses against us, or even produce a better world? There’s a (just) “war on terrorism” going on – and terrorism keeps increasing. A “war on drugs” – and ever increasing substance abuse. A “war on crime” – and more and more jails overflowing. There’s even a “war on poverty” – and the gap between the rich and the poor keeps growing hideously. Wars on violence against women and children – and the exploitation of women and numbers of abortions both keep increasing. All this is because we, fixated on the crimes of others, refuse to address our own (deep) spiritual malaise. All this - to put it bluntly - is because we’re becoming increasingly lax in our principles and more and more licentious in our public policies, creating an overpoweringly decadent society with materialism and sex, sex, and even more sex as its key pivots. Then we naively apply band aids to our inevitable wounds, only for them to fall off regularly.

    It’s not that we ignore the value of mercy. Indeed, mitigating circumstances are taken into account in judicial sentencing and there’re even occasional pardons/remission of sentences for criminals. In the case of clerical sex abuse however, from a macro perspective particularly, we seem strangely loathe to consider any mitigating factors. Factors such as the general lack of expertise in the area of such abuse until relatively recently. Factors such as bishops having relied on advice from psychologists that a change of environment and sincere remorse would suffice to rectify past behaviors of offenders. And most especially, the struggle of bishops to resolve such problems, given conflicts surely, between extending forgiveness, accurately assessing future risks to children, accepting professional advice, devising optimum solutions and (instinctively) seeking to minimize scandal. What we’ve been witnessing instead is almost a lynch mob mentality of “guilty until proven innocent”, “hang the bastard from the nearest tree”, and “extract maximum compensation from a corrupt Church of a billion people with deep pockets”. Just sell ‘em up, share the spoils, and all will be sweet!

    The question is asked how one would feel if one had a child who was abused by a priest. Perhaps a harder question also begs pondering: “How would you feel if you had a (close) associate or family member – perhaps an offspring even – who you discovered (in 1970, say) had molested a child?” This, I daresay, must be akin to the situation faced by those (then mostly in-experienced) bishops, who are now the target of so much of society’s wrath.

    I look forward to the findings of the Royal Commission currently underway in Australia, examining all facets of child abuse in all institutions. And I’m hopeful, given the mature/professional nature of the Commissioners, and their integrity and impartiality, that they will, while castigating every instance of criminality in this sphere, also put the plight of all the parties in the past in a balanced and productive perspective, pointing the best ways forward.

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  170. Leila, sorry to have to ask you on the blog, but did you receive my email yesterday?

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  171. "It's as "presumptuous" for the Church to say that men cannot marry as it is to say that a dog cannot be a cat."

    That's a stubborn attitude that gets no no one nowhere. It invites a hateful response.

    ReplyDelete
  172. I hope that M. Albinoni and everyone will read what Francis Choudhury wrote, as it applies to all of us, and it is a wake up call. An unpleasant but necessary one.

    M., I am interested in your take on this story. I've followed it and it breaks my heart on every level imaginable:

    http://www.jesseryanloskarnslastmessage.com/333880300

    Is there one class of human sinners that mercy does not apply to? The Bible says that we to count all others as better than ourselves. It doesn't mean we leave people to harm others, but it means that our response should always be the same, to all sinners: Compassion, mercy, looking always at our own rot that we house in our souls. It's hard, indeed! I never want to do it. But we are commanded to.

    Francis, I did not get your email. But some folks are being blocked from this site by Google Chrome, and I am not sure what to do about that...

    ReplyDelete

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