Monday, December 29, 2008

Baby Clare

Well, she's out!

Clare Scholastica was born on December 19th 2008 at 6:46pm. She was 6lbs 11oz and 19.5 inches long.

The started me on pitocin at around 8am, broke my water and my ob described me as 3cm dilated after forcing me open with a balloon. After 11 hours, no further dilation and Clare not dropping any further into my pelvis they gave me a choice

1. Get an epidural to deal with the contractions which were around 1 minute apart and rendered me unable to speak while they were happening and just wait to see if anything else happens (they said I'd probably have to have a c-section in the end.)

2. Go straight for the c-section.

The doctor (not my ob, but a nice parter of the same practice) told me that the chances of me dilating further were slim considering my mother didn't dilate with my sister or me and my sister didn't dilate with her kids. After 11 hours of pitocin and contracting it didn't seem likely that I would progress and that I might just end up spending hours in pain with no result and a c-section anyways.......... we decided to have a c-section.

About 20 minutes after I signed the forms Jon had Clare in his arms. :)

We're recovering very well and Clare has gained some weight since birth. She had her first pediatric appointment today and we found that she's in the 15th weight percentile, 35th length, and 70th for head circumference!! Ha ha!! My baby has a big head.

Anyways, here is my favorite shot of our cutie pie!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Being induced tomorrow at 7:15am!! Hopefully all goes well and we'll be able to show everyone pictures of little Clare Scholastica soon!! We're bringing the laptop and the hospital has wifi. Ha ha! So if Jon is still functioning after tomorrow's ordeal he'll probably be posting pics of our little bundle! Please pray for us!! Thanks!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


So .....she's 4 days late now. She was supposed to be born on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 12th). Interesting factoid about the image of our Lady of Guadalupe: in the image she is wearing an aztec maternity belt to show that she's pregnant! Cool huh?
Just like me....I guess Mary wouldn't have had a specific due date to look towards when she was giving birth. Or maybe she just knew that Jesus would come out at exactly 9 months 'cuz the Son of God probably wouldn't be tardy. Ah, who knows. Mother Mary please pray for my patience.
I can't say I've ever wanted to feel bodily pain in my life....but going against all survival instincts I am really wanting the pain of contractions to start up. At least, everyone says they're going to be painful. C'mon baby! So prayers for baby to come soon would be greatly appreciated. I'd rather not be induced, which may be the case if she's not out by Friday.

There are a few reasons I'd rather not be induced:

1. My doctor will be on vacation.

2. Artificial administration of oxytocin usually means fast, painful, full force contractions instead of a gradual build up to them.

3. There's not even a guarantee that I'd be induced on Friday. I guess we have to request days and it's possible that I may be denied Friday, so it may have to happen next week! Being in the hospital on Christmas would be pretty lame.

Ah, but what a lesson for advent eh?

Patience people. I read so many of my friends' blogs saying that parenting is a time when you learn to give up control because you realize that you didn't have it anyways. So I guess it's time to start realizing that now. You think with all the surprises in life I'd have learned that already. Ha ha! Oh well, time to learn God's time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008


The doctor said I can have a little caffeine. So don't worry, it's okay.

They sell Mystic Monk coffee at the Catholic Bookstore in town and I've been wanting to try it every since I saw an ad on my google ads sidebar, so I bought some on Saturday. Then I started hearing ads on Catholic Radio. I was on their website last week and about to order but I didn't.
This is my first brew of their Chocolate Mint blend and it's awesome. I highly reccommend buying this coffee! The Carmelite Monks of Wyoming Brew it and sell it so they can build a new Church for their order! So support a good growing Catholic religious order and get some rad coffee!!

There's a link to the Mystic Monk Coffee site.

Here's a link to the Carmelite Monks of Wyoming.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

39 weeks

Well I'm officially 39 weeks along! She's due next Friday the 12th. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! I think I've begun to feel Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor contractions.) Not too bad, just a little strange feeling. We'll see what real contractions feel like hopefully very soon! Since it's advent I should be working on patience......but I'm so ready and excited to meet this baby!! Here's some photographic evidence of me being ready to pop!

And here's what it looks like when I look straight down!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Women and Childbirth

Two friends of mine have recently given birth naturally! This is amazing to me not only because of how painful I've heard childbirth is, but because of their willingness to sacrifice in the face of that pain. Their main reasons for giving birth without the help of pain meds is because of side-effects meds can have on the baby. My friend Natalie, gave me some incredible words of encouragement after giving birth to her beautiful son Joseph that I want to share. Natalie and I met while discerning the religious life. We both spent a week together at St. Walburga's in Colorado a couple of years ago. Here's what she had to say:

"I will definitely pray for you... that you will trust God, not be afraid and that all will go well for you and your baby. And don't worry, God will help you out. Something that really helped me was continually offering up the suffering for the salvation of my baby. Seeing labour as the cross Christ was calling me to bear at the time made it actually really meaningful suffering. One's attitude toward suffering, whether you fight it or try to embrace it, really makes the world of difference! "

Such a beautiful example of motherhood, and so early into it too!! Thanks Natalie!!

Only 4 few weeks left until I get to put all the childbirth classes and faith I have into practice!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The numbers

When I look at the numbers I'm confused as ever. My friend Andrew recently posted an entry about the Catholic Vote in the election. It leaves me puzzled. Catholics...what happened to you? Do people really think that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are good examples of living according to what the Church teaches? They aren't. Check out Andrew's post.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Culture of Life is happening in some places :)

Here is a great article about AIDS declines in Uganda due to.....yay! Abstinence education!!! Woohoo!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In hope we are saved right?

Here are the daily mass readings for today. Hope in Christ always.
"I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living."

Reading 1Phil 2:12-18
My beloved, obedient as you have always been,
not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent,
work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
For God is the one who, for his good purpose,
works in you both to desire and to work.
Do everything without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life,
so that my boast for the day of Christ may be
that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
But, even if I am poured out as a libation
upon the sacrificial service of your faith,
I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.
In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

Responsorial PsalmPs 27:1, 4, 13-14R.
(1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?T
he LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

One thing I ask of the LORD;this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

GospelLk 14:25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”

Well...he won.

Last night on facebook after watching the election coverage I posted my status as "Val thinks moving home to Canada is a good idea now. :)"

Here are some of the fun responses I got.

friend 1 - "so what are Canada's immigration policies?"

friend 2 - "that is the best thing that's been said all night. I might go study abroad until the next election. Australia anyone?"

friend 3 - "Val, I only live 2 miles from the border, so please pick me up on your way. I'll start packing now!"

Yes, amid all the media coverage of the celebrations across the United States there are some young adults asking themselves, "How do I get out of here?!"

I am asking myself, what's next?

Is he really going to sign the Freedom of Choice Act?

"The Freedom of Choice Act (H.R. 3719/S. 2020) is a bill in the United States Congress which, if enacted, would abolish all restrictions and limitations on the right of women in the United States to have an abortion, whether at the State or Federal level."

Well he did say no to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, so probably.

So we can be sure that Barack Obama is going to allow another 1,000,000 babies to die through abortion on demand in this country in the next year without a fight.

This has also been weighing in the back of my mind.

So I guess we should start praying that FOCA doesn't happen and that we aren't tested by terrorists. Why would Biden say that? So weird.

Hrm....... roll up your sleeves Pro-Life Movement, this is going to be a really tough 4 years.

My friend Neil posted some really amazing comments from a prominent apologist about the election. Check this out.

I hope Neil doesn't mind me reposting it on here. Wow, Martignoni, Wow!


Here is a few Words from John Martignoni from the Bible Christian Society about what is at stake in this election. This is from his newsletter: "Apologetics for the Masses"

What I have tried to do in the past two newsletters is simply provide information pertinent to the upcoming election. I have given you information regarding what the bishops have said – as a group and individually – regarding Catholic moral teaching and how it relates to this, or any, election. I have given you the positions of the two main candidates for President on pro-life issues – the issues that should be the most important, bar none, to any Catholic who believes that God is the Author of life. And, I have told you how I, personally, am going to vote.

In this newsletter, I would like to ask you to ponder a few questions that I believe get to the heart of what is at stake in this election, and hopefully make it crystal clear what you are voting for this Tuesday, regardless of how you vote:

1) If Adolf Hitler said that electing Barack Obama would result in the gassing of more than one million Jews per year, could you still vote for Obama, in “good conscience,” even if you agreed with his position on the economy, the war, welfare, education, and so on?

2) If the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan said that electing Barack Obama would result in the lynching of more than one million blacks per year, could you still vote for Obama, in “good conscience,” even if you agreed with his position on the economy, the war, welfare, education, and so on?

Now, I want to be clear in that I am not comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler or to the Grand Wizard of the KKK. The point I am making with these two questions is this: If someone who has knowledge of, and a vested interest in, the gassing of Jews, or the lynching of blacks, says that the policies instituted by another person will result in the killing of millions of Jews and blacks…do you think they might know about that of which they speak?

Which leads me to my third question: 3) If the abortion industry said that electing Barack Obama would result in the killing of more than one million unborn babies per year, could you still vote for Obama, in “good conscience,” even if you agreed with his position on the economy, the war, welfare, education, and so on?

And, guess what? The abortion industry has said just that. The abortion industry has stated that the restrictions that a majority of states have put on abortion – parental consent laws, 24-hour and 48-hour waiting periods, informed consent laws – have all worked to reduce the number of abortions by a few hundred thousand per year over the last several years. Plus, the abortion industry has further stated that the lack of federal funding for abortions has “forced” women to carry more than a million pregnancies per year to term. In other words, more than one million babies per year are being born, that wouldn’t be born, if we had federal funding for abortions.

Now, Barack Obama has vowed to do two things that are relevant to these questions. He has vowed to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which will eliminate all of the restrictions on abortion that have been enacted by the states; and, he has vowed to repeal the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment currently prohibits federal funding of abortion. In other words, Barack Obama has promised to do the very things that the abortion industry has stated will result in a million or more additional abortions per year.

So, if you answered, “No,” to the first two questions above, then to be morally consistent, you should answer, “No,” to the third question. But, there are any number of people who call themselves “Catholic,” who have no problem answering, “Yes,” to the third question. How can that be?

How can one not vote for a man if they know his policies would end up killing a million or more Jews per year, or killing a million or more blacks a year; but they can vote for that man even if they know his policies will kill an additional million or more unborn babies each year?

I’ll tell you how: Catholics, or any one else, who would not vote for Barack Obama if he was going to institute policies that would kill Jews or blacks, but they are more than willing to vote for Barack Obama knowing that he will institute policies that will indeed kill unborn babies, have de-sensitized themselves to what an abortion actually is. They speak of killing babies in terms of a woman’s “right to choose,” or a “woman’s reproductive freedom,” but they never think of abortion in terms of a baby getting sliced into pieces which are then removed, piece-by-bloody-piece, from their mother’s womb. They never think of abortion in terms of a baby being literally burned to death through saline poisoning within its mother’s womb and then being expelled from its mother’s womb by induced labor.

That is why I challenge anyone who plans to vote for Obama, but especially those who call themselves Catholic, to go to this website and view this short video on what an abortion actually is. If you’re going to vote for a man whose policies will result in the killing of an additional one million human beings, then by golly you have the moral responsibility to take a good long look at what it is your vote will allow to happen.

And, if you cannot bring yourself to look at this video, because something in your gut is telling you that what you will see will be too horrible for you to stomach, and will cause you to lose sleep at night, then how in the name of all that is holy, can you vote for a man who is promising to visit this horror upon a million or more babies each year?!

If you do not watch this video, yet you go on and vote for Barack Obama, then I call you a coward and a hypocrite and I ask you what, pray tell, will you say to the Creator of Life when you stand before His Judgment Seat with the blood of millions of unborn babies dripping from your hands? Will you say, “I didn’t know?” Or, will you say, “But I was worried about my tax bill?” May God indeed have mercy on your souls.

Now, if you are all in favor of increasing the number of abortions in this country; or if you don’t believe in God and that God will have the last say in regards to the horror of abortion; or if you believe the killing of millions of unborn children is just one issue among many that you need to consider…well, it is clear that you need to vote for Senator Obama and I am happy to offer this newsletter as an informational source that will help you to solidify your vote.

In Conclusion

Please pray for God’s will to be done in this election on Tuesday, and may God have mercy on us, every one!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Elections make me rant.

Regardless of what religion or political party your affiliate with most people could logically say that they'd want to be a good person and affiliate themselves with truth and honesty etc. Right? I would like to believe this. I'd like to believe that most people want to be good, would like society to be good, and woud like to live in a just society.

If we can say that, then shouldn't we be a different society?

Isn't it true to say that killing an innocent human being is immoral? It's bad and we shouldn't allow it in society?

Why is it okay to kill a human being in the womb? Did it do something wrong?
Why is it okay to allow a mother to ruin her life? Will killing her child really make all her problems go away? Does killing a child ever make a problem go away? Who thought up that ridiculously evil solution?

Why is it okay to help people kill themselves? Even if they did to something wrong, isn't their life valuable?

If 1,000,000 people would die absolutely if you said "it's above my pay grade" would you say that?

Who are you Barack Obama to say babies are punishments? If someone called you a punishment would it be okay to kill you? Obviously not, because your life also has value.

It seems like some people are just avoiding the truth. If you can't face the truth, then how are you supposed to run a country? How can you be responsible enough to lead 300 million people if you can't decide when a person becomes valuable?

*Human Life begins at conception. Read it in any embryology book. If not then biology would probably be a different science, it being the study of life.

Isn't the United States supposed to allow it's people the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Why then are we so gladly voting for the right to death, opression, and the pursuit of self-destruction?

People in other places of the world dream of America being a country where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the norm. What happened? What are you doing to yourself America? Why are you allowing yourself to be duped by the father of lies (that's Satan, please don't take that to mean Obama)?

I hope and pray that people take a long, hard, honest look at what they want the world to be like and then think even harder how that world is even possible if we allow death and evil to creep in under the guises of abortion and assisted suicide.

Abortion and Assisited suicide are not good, they are not holy, and they will not make the world a better place. You all know it deep inside.

Yes, I understand that war kills people too. But will it kill 1,000,000 people by the end of next year? It's a numbers game. Weigh the numbers of lives that hang in the balance.
And no it doesn't matter if you're born or unborn. Human life is human life. A child is no less valuable because it hasn't yet had the chance to live outside it's mother's womb.

Barack Obama as president would allow 4,000,000 million people to die in the next 4 years without a fight because he says babies can be burdens and because he won't take the time to think about when human life should begin being protected.

McCain isn't perfect but at least he can muster up the courage to say "at conception" when questioned about the beginning of human life.

Form your conscience well and vote by it. Can you really vote for a man that won't defend the voiceless? What kind of president is that?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pro-Life Catholics for Obama???? Check out the Newsweek article.

My husband found this article. It's a good read. There have been some crazy arguments out there for Catholics that want to support Obama. Read on.

Here's the LINK to the Newsweek page, or you can read below.

Should abortion be the litmus test for political support?

George Weigel

In an election cycle filled with its share of quirks, oddities, and surprises, the emergence of Roman Catholic pro-lifers as leading supporters of Sen. Barack Obama—himself a favorite of the National Reproductive Rights Action League—must rank as one of the strangest of twists and turns. Whatever its effect on the election, this unexpected development may also portend a new hardening of the battle lines within the Catholic Church, no matter who is inaugurated president in January.

The most visible of the pro-Obama Catholic pro-lifers has been Pepperdine University law professor Douglas Kmiec, formerly dean of the law school at the Catholic University of America and a minor official in the Justice Departments of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Kmiec began the 2008 cycle as co-chairman of Mitt Romney's campaign, but recently told the Chicago Tribune that, as the campaign unfolded, "I kept discovering that Obama was sounding more Catholic than most Catholics I know" on issues like the family wages, health-care costs and the war in Iraq. With Romney out of the race, Kmiec announced his support for Obama on Easter Sunday, arguing that "Senator Obama comes reasonably close" to embodying "an alternative way to be pro-life." Kmiec develops that arresting claim in a new book, "Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Questions About Barack Obama," published in mid-September.

Other pro-Obama Catholic intellectuals include Notre Dame professor M. Cathleen Kaveny, whose Obamapologetics are frequently found on the Commonweal blog, and Duquesne University law professor Nicholas Cafardi, one of the original members of the U.S. bishops' National Review Board to study problems of clerical sexual abuse. In a recent statement, "Senator Obama: A Moral Choice for Catholics," Cafardi summarized the three most frequently deployed arguments of self-declared pro-life Catholics who support Barack Obama for president.

First, according to Cafardi, Catholics have, as a matter of law, "lost the abortion battle ... and I believe that we have lost it permanently." Second, abortion is not the only "intrinsic evil" of the day; the Bush administration has been guilty of committing acts that are "intrinsically evil" in its policies on interrogation of terrorist suspects, in its failures after Hurricane Katrina and in its detention of terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay. Third, Senator Obama "supports government action that would reduce the number of abortions," including an "adequate social safety net for poor women who might otherwise have abortions."

The argument, in sum: the constitutional and legal arguments that have raged since Roe vs. Wade are over, and Catholics have lost; there are many other "intrinsic evils" that Catholics are morally bound to oppose, and Republicans tend to ignore those evils; liberalized social-welfare policies will drive down the absolute numbers of abortions and Senator Obama is an unabashed liberal on these matters. Therefore, a vote for Obama is the "real" pro-life vote.

The argument is, some might contend, a bold one. Yet it is also counterintuitive, running up against the fact that, by most measures and despite his rhetoric about reducing the incidence of abortion, Barack Obama has an unalloyed record of support for abortion on demand. Moreover, he seems to understand Roe vs. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions as having defined abortion as a fundamental liberty right essential for women's equality, meaning that government must guarantee access to abortion in law and by financial assistance—a moral judgment and a policy prescription the pro-life Catholic Obama boosters say they reject.

According to his own Web site, Obama supports the federal Freedom of Choice Act [FOCA], which would eliminate all state and federal regulation of abortion (such as informed consent and parental notification in the case of minors seeking an abortion); these regulations have demonstrably reduced the absolute number of abortions in the jurisdictions in which they are in effect. FOCA would also eliminate, by federal statute, state laws providing "conscience clause" protection for pro-life doctors who decline to provide abortions. Obama (along with the Democratic Party platform) supports federal funding for abortion, opposes the Hyde amendment (which restricts the use of taxpayer monies for abortion) and has pledged to repeal the "Mexico City policy" (initiated by Ronald Reagan and reinstated by George W. Bush, which bans federal foreign-aid funding for organizations that perform and promote abortion as a means of family planning). According to the pro-choice Web site, Obama also opposes continued federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers.

Then there is the continuing controversy over Obama's role in the Illinois state legislature when that body was considering an "infants born alive" protection act that would extend full legal protection to infants who survive a late-term abortion. According to the Annenberg Political Fact Check (Obama opposed the 2001 and 2002 Illinois "born alive" bills on the grounds that they were attempts to undermine Roe vs. Wade but said he would have supported an Illinois bill similar to the federal "born alive" legislation signed by President Bush in 2002. Yet, according to Annenberg, "Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal bill he says he would have supported." However one sorts out the conflicting claims in this often-bitter debate, in which charges of infanticide and lying have been hurled, there can be no doubt that Barack Obama did not make his own the cause of legal protection for infants who survive an abortion.

The "social safety net" component of the pro-life, pro-Obama argument may seem, at first blush, to make sense. Yet it, too, runs up against stubborn facts: for example, Sweden, with a much thicker social safety net than the United States, has precisely the same rate (25 percent) of abortions per pregnancy as America. As for the claim, often repeated by pro-life, pro-Obama Catholics, that more financially generous welfare policies would drive down abortion rates because financial pressure is a predominant cause of abortion, another stubborn fact intrudes: according to a survey conducted by the research arm of Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute, a mere 23 percent of abortions in the United States are performed primarily because of alleged financial need. There is also what some would consider the insuperable problem of squaring a concern for fostering alternatives to abortion with Senator Obama's opposition to federal funding of crisis pregnancy centers that provide precisely those alternatives. Moreover, the Freedom of Choice Act Obama has pledged to sign forbids publicly supported programs helping pregnant women from "discriminating" against abortion. Thus a federal Pregnant Women Support Act—a key plank in the platform of pro-life congressional Democrats—would, in Orwellian fashion, be legally bound by FOCA to include support for abortion.

As for the claim that the legal argument is over, and lost, that, too, seems belied by the evidence. Roe vs. Wade remains deeply controversial, in the culture and among legal scholars. Since 1989, the Supreme Court has shown a willingness, on occasion, to uphold laws regulating abortion clinics or banning certain forms of abortion. No Clinton-appointed justice contributed to that trend; it seems very unlikely that Obama nominees would extend the trend. In that respect, a pro-life, pro-Catholic Obama vote is not so much a recognition that the legal argument is over but, de facto, a vote to repeal the legal protections for the unborn that have been laboriously crafted in the 35 years since Roe eliminated the abortion law of all 50 states.

Another line of critique against the pro-life, pro-Catholic Obama activists has been mounted by, among others, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who holds a doctorate in political philosophy and currently serves as president of the U.S. bishops' conference. In a September letter to the people of the archdiocese of Chicago, the cardinal laid down what he described as a basic principle of justice: in a just society, innocent human life, especially when incapable of self-defense, deserves the protection of the laws. No one who denies that, the cardinal argued, can claim to be advancing the common good. And, as Roe vs. Wade does indeed deny the protection of the laws to the unborn, no one can, with any moral or logical consistence, claim to support both Roe vs. Wade and the common good. It's one or the other.

Similarly, two New York bishops, William Murphy of Rockville Centre and Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, the present and immediate past chairmen of the U.S. bishops' committee on domestic policy, implicitly challenged the position of Kmiec, Kaveny, Cafardi and others in a Sept. 24 letter to The New York Times. According to a Sept. 18 Times article, the U.S. bishops' statement on the 2008 election, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," had been crafted so as to "explicitly allow Catholics to vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights if they do so for other reasons." That was simply not true, according to DiMarzio and Murphy, who said that "Faithful Citizenship" states that a Catholic can support a pro-abortion candidate "only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences...." Moreover, the bishops concluded, "this standard of 'grave moral reasons' is a very high standard to meet."

The pro-Obama, pro-life Catholics would doubtless reply that that standard has been met in this instance. But that claim still leaves them with a problem. As Cardinal George's letter indicated, the Catholic Church's teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion involves a first principle of justice that can be known by reason, that's one of the building blocks of a just society, and that ought never be compromised—which is why, for example, Catholic legislators were morally obliged to oppose legal segregation (another practice once upheld by a Supreme Court decision that denied human beings the full protection of the laws). Questions of war and peace, social-welfare policy, environmental policy and economic policy, on the other hand, are matters of prudential judgment on which people who affirm the same principles of Catholic social doctrine can reasonably differ. The pro-life, pro-Obama Catholics are thus putting the full weigh of their moral argument on contingent prudential judgments that, by definition, cannot bear that weight.

One of the most interesting facets of the intra-Catholic furor over Kmiec, Kaveny, Cafardi and other pro-life, pro-Obama Catholics is the way this argument seems to have displaced the struggle between bishops and pro-choice Catholic politicians that was so prominent in 1984 (when the contest was between Geraldine Ferraro and New York's Cardinal John O'Connor) and 2004 (when the candidacy of John Kerry embroiled the entire U.S. bishops conference in a dispute over whether pro-choice Catholic politicians ought to be permitted to receive holy communion). That displacement, however, is likely to be temporary.

In the wake of ill-advised (and nationally televised) ventures into theology by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, several bishops—including Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, Madison Bishop Robert Morlino and Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl—issued statements underscoring the Catholic Church's unswerving moral opposition to abortion from the very beginnings of Christianity; the morality of abortion was not an open question for serious Catholics, as Pelosi in particular had suggested. (After receiving what seems to have been an avalanche of protest over the Speaker's misstatement on "Meet the Press," Pelosi's own archbishop, George Niederauer of San Francisco, announced publicly that he would invite Mrs. Pelosi in for a conversation.) Moreover, in the wake of both the Pelosi and Biden incidents, the chairmen of the bishops' pro-life and doctrine committees, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., issued sharp statements deploring the misrepresentation of Catholic teaching by the Speaker and the senator.

Many U.S. bishops, in other words, seem exasperated with Catholic politicians who present themselves as ardent Catholics and yet consistently oppose the Church on what the bishops consider the premier civil-rights issue of the day. It seems unlikely that the bishops, having found their voices after discovering the limits of their patience, will back off in an Obama administration—which could raise some interesting questions for, and about, a Vice President Joe Biden, whose fitness to receive holy communion may well be discussed in executive session at the bishops' annual meeting in mid-November.

Biden is not the only Catholic who will be seriously challenged by an Obama administration bent on reversing what its pro-choice allies regard as eight years of defeat; pro-life Catholics will face different, if equally grave, dilemmas. The bishops already find themselves defending the Catholic integrity of Catholic hospitals under pressures from state governments; those pressures, as well as pressures on doctors and other Catholic health-care professionals, will increase in an Obama administration, especially if FOCA succeeds in knocking down state conscience-clause protections for Catholic health-care providers and institutions. And should an Obama administration reintroduce large-scale federal funding of abortion, the bishops will have to confront a grave moral question they have managed to avoid for decades, thanks to the Hyde amendment: does the payment of federal taxes that go to support abortion constitute a form of moral complicity in an "intrinsic evil"? And if so, what should the conscientious Catholic citizen do?

About which, it will be very interesting to hear what professors Kmiec, Kaveny and Cafardi have to say.


More articles from George Weigel HERE

Really Good one Here

More Interesting Stuff for voting Catholics. This bit is from Catholic World News. The link is HERE

Full text here..

News Briefs
US bishops to ponder excommunication of pro-abortion legislators October 14, 2008

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, revealed in an interview with John Allen on Monday that the US bishops will discuss in November whether voting for pro-abortion legislation entails automatic excommunication. ‘I think there are several issues’ to be discussed, Bishop Kicanas said. ‘One is, what is the level of cooperation involved in a legislator voting for legislation that encourages, or allows, intrinsically evil acts? Is that formal cooperation, or isn’t it? That’s a critical question, because if it is formal cooperation, then serious consequences flow from it.’ When Allen asked, ‘You mean automatic excommunication?’ Bishop Kicanas answered, ‘Right. That’s one question that has not been answered.’ Bishop Kicanas made clear there was no consensus in the conference about that issue or about the related issue of withholding Holy Communion from pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Catholic Vote

My friend Jessi just sent this to me. It's a pretty awesome video. Check it out.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Earliest Version of the Bible...What Bible?

A friend sent this BBC article to me. It is about an early version of the "Bible". Stick around at the end of the article because there are some very important things to point out.

Here's the link to the original.


The rival to the Bible

By Roger Bolton

What is probably the oldest known Bible is being digitised, reuniting its scattered parts for the first time since its discovery 160 years ago. It is markedly different from its modern equivalent. What's left out?
The world's oldest surviving Bible is in bits.
For 1,500 years, the Codex Sinaiticus lay undisturbed in a Sinai monastery, until it was found - or stolen, as the monks say - in 1844 and split between Egypt, Russia, Germany and Britain.
Now these different parts are to be united online and, from next July, anyone, anywhere in the world with internet access will be able to view the complete text and read a translation.

For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today's bible.
The Codex, probably the oldest Bible we have, also has books which are missing from the Authorised Version that most Christians are familiar with today - and it does not have crucial verses relating to the Resurrection.
Anti-Semitic writings
The fact this book has survived at all is a miracle. Before its discovery in the early 19th Century by the Indiana Jones of his day, it remained hidden in St Catherine's Monastery since at least the 4th Century.

The monastery at the base of Mt Sinai
It survived because the desert air is ideal for preservation and because the monastery, on a Christian island in a Muslim sea, remained untouched, its walls unconquered.
Today, 30 mainly Greek Orthodox monks, dedicated to prayer, worship there, helped as in ages past by the Muslim Bedouin. For this place is holy to three great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam; a land where you can still see the Burning Bush where God spoke to Moses.
The monastery itself has the greatest library of early manuscripts outside the Vatican - some 33,000, and a collection of icons second to none.
Not surprisingly, it is now a World Heritage Site and has been called a veritable Ark, bringing spiritual treasures safely through the turbulent centuries. In many people's eyes the greatest treasure is the Codex, written in the time of the first Christian Emperor Constantine.
When the different parts are digitally united next year in a £1m project, anyone will be able to compare and contrast the Codex and the modern Bible.
Firstly, the Codex contains two extra books in the New Testament.
One is the little-known Shepherd of Hermas, written in Rome in the 2nd Century - the other, the Epistle of Barnabas. This goes out of its way to claim that it was the Jews, not the Romans, who killed Jesus, and is full of anti-Semitic kindling ready to be lit. "His blood be upon us," Barnabas has the Jews cry.
Had this remained in subsequent versions, "the suffering of Jews in the subsequent centuries would, if possible, have been even worse", says the distinguished New Testament scholar Professor Bart Ehrman.

And although many of the other alterations and differences are minor, these may take some explaining for those who believe every word comes from God.
Faced with differing texts, which is the truly authentic one?
Mr Ehrman was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical until he read the original Greek texts and noticed some discrepancies.
The Bible we now use can't be the inerrant word of God, he says, since what we have are the sometimes mistaken words copied by fallible scribes.
"When people ask me if the Bible is the word of God I answer 'which Bible?'"
The Codex - and other early manuscripts - do not mention the ascension of Jesus into heaven, and omit key references to the Resurrection, which the Archbishop of Canterbury has said is essential for Christian belief.
Other differences concern how Jesus behaved. In one passage of the Codex, Jesus is said to be "angry" as he healed a leper, whereas the modern text records him as healing with "compassion".
Also missing is the story of the woman taken in adultery and about to be stoned - until Jesus rebuked the Pharisees (a Jewish sect), inviting anyone without sin to cast the first stone.
Nor are there words of forgiveness from the cross. Jesus does not say "Father forgive them for they know not what they do".
Fundamentalists, who believe every word in the Bible is true, may find these differences unsettling.
But the picture is complicated. Some argue that another early Bible, the Codex Vaticanus, is in fact older. And there are other earlier texts of almost all the books in the bible, though none pulled together into a single volume.
Many Christians have long accepted that, while the Bible is the authoritative word of God, it is not inerrant. Human hands always make mistakes.
"It should be regarded as a living text, something constantly changing as generation and generation tries to understand the mind of God," says David Parker, a Christian working on digitising the Codex.
Others may take it as more evidence that the Bible is the word of man, not God.


Okay, so a few things to note.

***They claim this Codex was written around the time of Constantine.
Constantine died in 337 AD.

***The Biblical Canon had not been decided until (at the earliest) 382 AD at the Synod of Rome. It is more commonly attributed to the Council of Hippo in 393 and the Council of Carthage in 397. So the Church had not yet gathered all these texts to discern which are the inspired word of God. As we know there are many books that didn't make it in.

***There are many early translations of the Gospels which were written long before this Codex was written and compiled. Wouldn't it be prudent to compare those early Gospels in Greek and Hebrew to the Gospels in this Codex which are apparently missing parts?

Who the heck wrote this Codex anyways?

My husband is at the moment trying to post to the BBC website to point out some inaccuracies. Please pray for those whose faith is already shaken and those whose faith will be shaken when this version of the "Bible" becomes readily available on the internet.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

baby stuff

This weekend we had the chance to go up to Vancouver to visit my family and grab some hand me downs from my sister and bro-in law. I'm so glad I have an older sister that has done this 3 times already. Joy and I wandered around Babies-R-Us and she helped me put stuff on a baby registry that we'll need, but didn't even look at while I was doing my registry online. Thanks sis!

From Joy and Peter's baby superstore of a home we unloaded a whole 6 months of Kia's old clothing, a basinette, a vibrating bouncy seat, and some odds and ends for Clare's room. It was a mutual relief. Peter exclaimed, "Yes! Get stuff out of my house!!" and I thought, "Sweet, now Clare's room will have baby stuff in it!"

We also got to spend some quality time with Mom and Dad and of course the 3 munchkins. They're growing so fast! We watched Kia and Jacob go to gymnastics class. That was hilarious! Kia is very good at listening to instructions and following the teacher. Jacob....well Jacob just likes being carried, chasing Joy around, and bouncing on trampolines. Ha ha ha!!

Kia is developing the funniest personality. She likes to pretend she can read! She "read" me a whole book this weekend. She also likes to pretend that she's a tv show host and had Jon be a guest on her Macaroni and Cheese show. Jacob on the other hand was busy jumping off window sills on to my mom's couch and wandering around saying "Papa? Papa?" while looking for his grandpa. Lucas is becoming quite mobile and crawling all over the place and learning to stand up on his own. These kids are way too cute. I can't wait until my little gymnast comes to greet the world (trust me, with the way she moves she must be a gymnast).

So other things I've been pondering as I hang out at home....what sort of diapers to use. I'd really like to do something more environmentally friendly than disposables. If possible more friendly on our budget as well. I've been looking at a few choices I saw at the green festival in Seattle and trying to weigh pros and cons.

Here are the options for the cloth diapers. It seems like the bum genius ones would be the cheapest in the long run, though it depends on water usage. The gDiapers look like they'd be easiest to use, but more expensive. Take a look!! Any suggestions or advice?

It says on the website that you need to run these through 2 washes. That's a lot of water (how expensive will that get?). I think it's probably easier to learn how to get clean water in the long run than it is to figure out what to do with tons of non-biodegradable diapers.

Not sure about the snaps on these.

These are cool because they seem as convenient as regular diapers, but without the toxic non-biodegradable waste. The cons are that they're more expensive. If you're bored watch the videos on the website, they're pretty informative.

Friday, September 12, 2008

long needed update

Okay folks. So this is waaaay overdue.

Here's what's happened in the last while.

In case you didn't know..... I'm pregnant!! :) 27 weeks as of today. That's a week shy of 7 months for those of you who don't like to divide. We had an ultrasound done at 20 weeks and 4 days. Here's one of the cool shots from that!

And here's one of the creepy shots where she sort of looks like an alien or skeletor. :) Ha ha!!

Yes we have picked a name for our baby girl and it's Clare Scholastica. Clare because St. Clare is totally awesome, was my Confirmation saint, and I've grown up with my mom talking about her devotion to St. Clare and the Poor Clares she used to visit and the Franciscan sisters she studied with etc. Scholastica because St. Scholastica is St. Benedict's twin sister! Jon and I really like those Benedictines. She was the abbess of the first Benedictine Convent.

If it somehow turns out that Clare is in fact not a Clare like the ultrasound technician said, our baby will be named Michael Benedict, for very similar reasons!

In other updates. We've moved....again. Gah, 8 times in 7 years(for me at least). Toooo many. The reasons for our move were two-fold.

1. Our old apartment complex decided that it wanted us to pay $120 more this year for our one bedroom apartment bringing it up to $960/month. Ick!!

2. We needed a place to put the baby when she arrived and I wasn't quite comfortable with Jon's suggestion of putting her in the living room. Ha ha ha!!

So while I was away in Sydney, Australia in July (yeah I should have posted about that too) Jon went apartment hunting. He found a place that was only 3.8 miles north of where we were currently living. The best part about this place is that it has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, it's only $15 more than we would have paid to stay at the one bedroom, and it's super close to Annie!!

We moved in about a month ago and we're at a place I'm pretty happy with in terms of unpacking. Fr. Frank came over at the end of August to our apartment warming and blessed the place for us. It was great to have him over with the crew. His eyes just about popped out when he saw Shalomers filling the apartment. It was great.
In a few weeks we'll get to make Clare's room a little more like a nursery and less like the computer/catch all room. Thankfully my older sister has had a girl already and the newest baby

has grown out of his newborn and infant stuff so I get the hand me downs!! She's also informed me that she's not currently pregnant so we will be able to use everything until Clare grows out of it!
Okay...update 3. I went to Sydney, Australia for 15 days in July to party with the Pope and 400,000 (I think) Catholic youth. I took 11 youth from St. Cecilia's and 4 other chaperones including my good friend Becky. We made it a double venture and teamed up with St. Luke's from Shoreline. All in all it was a difficult and rewarding trip, as any pilgrimmage should be. My youth were amazed at the reactions from the people of Sydney and the sheer numbers of youth all gathered in one area to pray, celebrate and learn. Many of them came away with a new view of Pope Benedict. He is a Catholic Rockstar.
We had the opportunity to ride on a boat and chase the Pope Boat in Sydney Harbour thanks to Becky and her Regnum Christi connections, listen to 2 huge presentations by Christopher West, see Fr. Stan Fortuna perform, visit the vocations expo and meet with religious from all over the world, attend the welcoming pilgrim's mass, spend the entire time in homestays, and attend the fabulous closing mass celebrated by his holiness Pope Benedict XVI. It was great. I truly hope our time there changed some lives and that we in some small way envigorated the youth and Catholics of Australia. Please pray for them as they have said seminaries and religious orders are having a difficult time attracting youth. Thank God for the surge in vocations we're seeing here. I haven't unloaded my camera of my Sydney shots so I'll have to post those another time.
Update 4 (actually they're in no particular order). Jon and I had our first rosary/potluck night last night. I got this random idea while we were praying the rosary one night last week to invite people over so we could pray with others. We had Sara and Casey over last night for dinner and prayer. It was cool! Hopefully our little group will grow and our prayers will be effective for our world and a great way for us to grow closer and offer roses to our Lady :).
And....last but not least update 5. I am no longer employed.
I decided to end my stay at St. Cecilia's at the end of July. I wanted to finish out the year with World Youth Day and make sure that the new person would have enough time to be organized and in their groove before they started the new year of ministry in September. So I stepped down and the old youth minister stepped back in!! Crazy how things work. So at the moment I'm hanging out doing the housewife thing and enjoying sleep before the little sleep stealer (I mean bundle of joy) comes in December. So far I've learned how to bake a pretty good pie, bake my own wheat bread, and been amazed at the wonders of the Kitchen Aid mixer. :)
That's all folks!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

We are the Catholic Church

This is the coolest video!! I was listening to Sacred Heart Radio this morning and heard this commercial so I decided to try to find it hoping that it was a video and not just a radio clip! Lo and behold it is!! Enjoy! Celebrate being Catholic!!! Woohoo!!!

Catholic Church Commercial

Here's another cool one. It's from the Catholics Come Home website. Cool stuff!!!

I can't post it so if you want to see it click here

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Vegan or Vegetarian

I couldn't resist posting this. This is hilarious. It's from the Catholic Answers forums. Hee hee!!!!

October 5, 2004TOPICS: Discuss
Index Prior issue Next issue Sign up
Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:I warned you last week that this would be a pre-recorded installment of the E-Letter. As you read this I am on the Catholic Answers cruise; the itinerary says we should be at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, today.I suppose I could have figured out how to compose a fresh E-Letter while on board ship, but I prefer to leave the office at the office. Consider what follows your penance for the day.
* * * * *
On September 20 I came across an intriguing thread at the Catholic Answers discussion forums. The topic was "Why I Am a Catholic Vegan."When I first came across the word "vegan" some years ago, I thought it was a neologism that referred to extraterrestrials from a planet orbiting Vega, which is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra. Maybe I had been watching too many science fiction movies.It turned out that "vegan" came into use around 1944 and means "a strict vegetarian, one that consumes no animal food or dairy products." A run-of-the-mill vegetarian refuses to eat meat but will consume milk, cheese, and eggs. A vegan won't touch even those items because they come from animals.My contribution to the discussion about "Why I Am a Catholic Vegan" was post number 27. I reproduce it below. If you want to read the whole discussion, go to:

* * * * *

I find vegetarians and vegans to be inconsistent in their principles and inconsiderate in their practices. The chief problem is that, while both disapprove of killing animals, they approve of killing plants.

From Catholic theology we know that man, animals, and plants all have souls. Man's soul is a spirit and therefore is immortal. The souls of animals and plants, as St. Thomas Aquinas noted, are material principles. They die when the animals and plants die.

Thus there is a symmetry between animals and plants. There is no good reason to treat them differently. It is false to say that animals must be protected but that plants are expendable.

I don't think it's right to kill either animals or plants. Thus I subsist on water and minerals only. I use a mortar and pestle to grind up a complex of minerals that works for me. I admit that the taste leaves a bit to be desired, but that is a small price to pay for doing the right thing.

In this part of the country I can find all the minerals I want at abandoned quarries and mines. We do have a lot of sandstone, though, and I have to work around it because I don't care for the gritty feel in my mouth.

My favorite mineral is tourmaline, particularly the deeper shades. They result in a smoother taste. Garnet isn't too bad either, but I know it upsets some people's stomachs.Since I'm against killing animals and plants, I'm also against using their byproducts. Not only does this mean no fur but also no cotton or other natural fibers. Everything I wear is synthetic. This has made for some problems during humid weather--another reason I live in the arid Southwest.

Recently, I admit, I've come into a moral conundrum. I tardily have realized that the synthetics I wear are made from petroleum, and petroleum ultimately comes from animals and plants. If I don't believe in eating dead animals and plants, how can I justify wearing them?

I have tried to fashion clothing out of inorganic matter but am having trouble doing so. The best I have done is to make a long tunic out of wired-together oblongs of glass. The tunic looks okay, but I sound like a wind chime whenever I walk. I find I can't sit down because that would shatter the glass, and I could end up with shards in my posterior.

I am considering using metal instead of glass, but I don't have a furnace hot enough to work pieces of it. I suppose I could take the easy route and use an old 55-gallon barrel, but that would look cheesy (and barrels are heavy!). As with the glass tunic, I wouldn't be able to sit, since a barrel has no flex.

One alternative is aluminum foil, but I shy away from wrapping myself in it because it crinkles at every movement and can appear a bit immodest if not properly draped.

I always have prided myself in applying first principles consistently, but I seem to have brought myself to an impasse. Yet I can't escape the logic. If it is wrong to kill and eat animals, it is wrong to kill and eat plants. (I have known some plants that were smarter than some animals, so please don't tell me that what matters is the respective intelligence.)

And if it is wrong to kill and eat animals and plants, it is wrong to kill them and use them for any other purpose, such as clothing ...

Wait a minute! I think I just reasoned myself into a solution! My problem has been using dead things, particularly dead plants, as clothing.

All I need to do is to figure out how to adorn myself with live plants. Maybe I could make a tunic out of small clay pots, each of which grows a leafy plant.

Yes, that's it! I even could do Adam one better if each pot grew a miniature fig tree.

* * * * *

Well, that was my contribution to the discussion. Make of it what you will.As I said, at the moment I am on the Catholic Answers cruise. Cruises are known for their cuisine. The chefs serve up just about every kind of dish one can imagine--and you can eat as much as you can stomach.Vegetarians and vegans have no trouble finding plenty to fill their plates when on cruises, but I'll have to see whether provisions are made for folks on a strict mineral diet. I'll let you know.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Fun tips for my engaged friends

So there were a few things that Jon and I did before our wedding that proved to be really wonderful and extremely fruitful for us.

1. Go to mass together as often as you can.
2. Get to confession together.
3. Pray the rosary every day and every time you're together.
4. Begin praying the psalms like a countdown to your wedding. We didn't start until the 40th(?) day until before our wedding. So start early if you can with day 150 on the countdown and start with psalm 150. It'll be fun once you start getting closer.
5. Stop kissing each other 40 days before your wedding. It's like a lent/easter sort of idea. (Ours was an extended Advent/Christmas 'cuz our wedding was in the liturgical Christmas season).
6. Begin praying the Novena to St. Joseph together 8 days before your wedding and finish the novena on your wedding night. I didn't fully realize what an amazing husband and father St. Joseph was until we began praying this novena (I'd never said it before.)
7. Go to adoration together the night before your wedding. We did it right before our rehearsal. It was our last hour alone as single people. We were alone...with Christ. It was so awesome.

Marriage is so awesome guys. We are just continually feeling the grace from this Sacrament. It's so powerful and so unique. Happy Wedding planning and marriage prep!!!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lenten food from Benedict XVI

We have an awesome Pope! As I was searching for information on Food Fast which we're doing for our teens I found this on the Catholic Relief Services website. During Lent we're called to Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. This is an awesome message from the Pope about the spirit of Almsgiving. Enjoy!!


Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2008

"Christ made Himself poor for you" (2 Cor 8,9)

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Each year, Lent offers us a providential opportunity to deepen the meaning and value of our Christian lives, and it stimulates us to rediscover the mercy of God so that we, in turn, become more merciful toward our brothers and sisters. In the Lenten period, the Church makes it her duty to propose some specific tasks that accompany the faithful concretely in this process of interior renewal: these are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. For this year's Lenten Message, I wish to spend some time reflecting on the practice of almsgiving, which represents a specific way to assist those in need and, at the same time, an exercise in self-denial to free us from attachment to worldly goods. The force of attraction to material riches and just how categorical our decision must be not to make of them an idol, Jesus confirms in a resolute way: "You cannot serve God and mammon" (Lk 16,13). Almsgiving helps us to overcome this constant temptation, teaching us to respond to our neighbor's needs and to share with others whatever we possess through divine goodness. This is the aim of the special collections in favor of the poor, which are promoted during Lent in many parts of the world. In this way, inward cleansing is accompanied by a gesture of ecclesial communion, mirroring what already took place in the early Church. In his Letters, Saint Paul speaks of this in regard to the collection for the Jerusalem community (cf. 2 Cor 8-9; Rm 15, 25-27).

According to the teaching of the Gospel, we are not owners but rather administrators of the goods we possess: these, then, are not to be considered as our exclusive possession, but means through which the Lord calls each one of us to act as a steward of His providence for our neighbor. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, material goods bear a social value, according to the principle of their universal destination (cf. n. 2404)
In the Gospel, Jesus explicitly admonishes the one who possesses and uses earthly riches only for self. In the face of the multitudes, who, lacking everything, suffer hunger, the words of Saint John acquire the tone of a ringing rebuke: "How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?" (1 Jn 3,17). In those countries whose population is majority Christian, the call to share is even more urgent, since their responsibility toward the many who suffer poverty and abandonment is even greater. To come to their aid is a duty of justice even prior to being an act of charity.

The Gospel highlights a typical feature of Christian almsgiving: it must be hidden: "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing," Jesus asserts, "so that your alms may be done in secret" (Mt 6,3-4). Just a short while before, He said not to boast of one's own good works so as not to risk being deprived of the heavenly reward (cf. Mt 6,1-2). The disciple is to be concerned with God's greater glory. Jesus warns: "In this way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven" (Mt 5,16). Everything, then, must be done for God's glory and not our own. This understanding, dear brothers and sisters, must accompany every gesture of help to our neighbor, avoiding that it becomes a means to make ourselves the center of attention. If, in accomplishing a good deed, we do not have as our goal God's glory and the real well-being of our brothers and sisters, looking rather for a return of personal interest or simply of applause, we place ourselves outside of the Gospel vision. In today's world of images, attentive vigilance is required, since this temptation is great. Almsgiving, according to the Gospel, is not mere philanthropy: rather it is a concrete expression of charity, a theological virtue that demands interior conversion to love of God and neighbor, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who, dying on the cross, gave His entire self for us. How could we not thank God for the many people who silently, far from the gaze of the media world, fulfill, with this spirit, generous actions in support of one's neighbor in difficulty? There is little use in giving one's personal goods to others if it leads to a heart puffed up in vainglory: for this reason, the one, who knows that God "sees in secret" and in secret will reward, does not seek human recognition for works of mercy.

In inviting us to consider almsgiving with a more profound gaze that transcends the purely material dimension, Scripture teaches us that there is more joy in giving than in receiving (cf. Acts 20,35). When we do things out of love, we express the truth of our being; indeed, we have been created not for ourselves but for God and our brothers and sisters (cf. 2 Cor 5,15). Every time when, for love of God, we share our goods with our neighbor in need, we discover that the fullness of life comes from love and all is returned to us as a blessing in the form of peace, inner satisfaction and joy. Our Father in heaven rewards our almsgiving with His joy. What is more: Saint Peter includes among the spiritual fruits of almsgiving the forgiveness of sins: "Charity," he writes, "covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pt 4,8). As the Lenten liturgy frequently repeats, God offers to us sinners the possibility of being forgiven. The fact of sharing with the poor what we possess disposes us to receive such a gift. In this moment, my thought turns to those who realize the weight of the evil they have committed and, precisely for this reason, feel far from God, fearful and almost incapable of turning to Him. By drawing close to others through almsgiving, we draw close to God; it can become an instrument for authentic conversion and reconciliation with Him and our brothers.

Almsgiving teaches us the generosity of love. Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo forthrightly recommends: "Never keep an account of the coins you give, since this is what I always say: if, in giving alms, the left hand is not to know what the right hand is doing, then the right hand, too, should not know what it does itself" (Detti e pensieri, Edilibri, n. 201). In this regard, all the more significant is the Gospel story of the widow who, out of her poverty, cast into the Temple treasury "all she had to live on" (Mk 12,44). Her tiny and insignificant coin becomes an eloquent symbol: this widow gives to God not out of her abundance, not so much what she has, but what she is. Her entire self. We find this moving passage inserted in the description of the days that immediately precede Jesus' passion and death, who, as Saint Paul writes, made Himself poor to enrich us out of His poverty (cf. 2 Cor 8,9); He gave His entire self for us. Lent, also through the practice of almsgiving, inspires us to follow His example. In His school, we can learn to make of our lives a total gift; imitating Him, we are able to make ourselves available, not so much in giving a part of what we possess, but our very selves. Cannot the entire Gospel be summarized perhaps in the one commandment of love? The Lenten practice of almsgiving thus becomes a means to deepen our Christian vocation. In gratuitously offering himself, the Christian bears witness that it is love and not material richness that determines the laws of his existence. Love, then, gives almsgiving its value; it inspires various forms of giving, according to the possibilities and conditions of each person.

Dear brothers and sisters, Lent invites us to "train ourselves" spiritually, also through the practice of almsgiving, in order to grow in charity and recognize in the poor Christ Himself. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that the Apostle Peter said to the cripple who was begging alms at the Temple gate: "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk" (Acts 3,6). In giving alms, we offer something material, a sign of the greater gift that we can impart to others through the announcement and witness of Christ, in whose name is found true life. Let this time, then, be marked by a personal and community effort of attachment to Christ in order that we may be witnesses of His love. May Mary, Mother and faithful Servant of the Lord, help believers to enter the "spiritual battle" of Lent, armed with prayer, fasting and the practice of almsgiving, so as to arrive at the celebration of the Easter Feasts, renewed in spirit. With these wishes, I willingly impart to all my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, February 2008

Taken from

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My husband is getting me interested in this stuff....

Here's a great article written by Archbishop Chaput called "Better Citizens, More Faithful Catholics". It's intention is to help us prepare for November.

Check it out!

Sidenote** Just got the professional photos of the wedding!! I know it's silly and probably a bit vain, but it's so fun to look at wedding pictures!!


Friday, February 08, 2008

Freakin' Politics

Well, all I have to say about politics is, this election is sad. Trying to vote your conscience where nothing works with your conscience is a rock/hardplace. I just felt like posting this important information from the Catholic Church.

"Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents. The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of these documents. In these brief reflections, we highlight several of the key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition.

Life and Dignity of the Human Person
The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation
The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our societyin economics and politics, in law and policy directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.”1 The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

Care for God’s Creation
We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.
This summary should only be a starting point for those interested in Catholic social teaching. A full understanding can only be achieved by reading the papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents that make up this rich tradition.
For a copy of the complete text of Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions (No. 5-281) and other social teaching documents, call 800-235-8722. "

It's also important I think to recognize that these themes of Catholic Social Teaching are arranged in a specific order. They all hold importance, but also build upon each other. If the basic dignity of the human person is not upheld then the following precept cannot be upheld etc. This is of the utmost importance when forming our consciences to make decisions which impact our country.

Don't take the Church lightly. She doesn't take you lightly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 5th 2008

I'm Married!! The wedding was the most beautiful nuptial mass I could ever have asked for. It was absolutely amazing.