Saturday, October 31, 2009

US Catholic Bishops urge Catholics to Email Congress this weekend!

When you attend Sunday Mass this weekend, you may see a bulletin insert from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops....  you can read the insert in this pdf file.

The Bishops are calling on all Americans to contact Congress to oppose health care reform that does not respect the dignity of human life, and which support abortion with tax dollars.

The bishops have made an easy-to-use one-stop fill-in-the-blank form to send your comments to Congress.  Pass this link on to others!

The main page from the Bishops about healthcare is here. There is lots of good information there.

Almost as scary as Halloween: Adultitis.... find a cure!

Just for fun: go here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mom calls them to dinner...

In what way is this analogous to what Catholics believe about Tradition?  Find out in my latest article over at Faith and Family Live!

Sweet Dreams- A Novel by Katherine Valentine: Read it now on Catholic Mom!

Chapter One is online here!
Chapter Two is there too!
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It Makes Me Think...

Count not thyself better than others, lest perchance thou appear worse in the sight of God, who knoweth what is in man. Be not proud of thy good works, for God's judgments are of another sort than the judgments of man, and what pleaseth man is ofttimes displeasing to Him. If thou hast any good, believe that others have more, and so thou mayest preserve thy humility. It is no harm to thee if thou place thyself below all others; but it is great harm if thou place thyself above even one. Peace is ever with the humble man, but in the heart of the proud there is envy and continual wrath.

Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, Chapter 7

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Among Women Podcast #31

Among Women #31 features prayer time with the Litany of Saints, plus an interview with theology professor, Dr. Maura Hearden of De Sales University.

In Part 1 of 2, Dr. Hearden and host, Pat Gohn, discuss the dignity of woman and the feminine genius.

Don't miss this reachable teachable moment!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Going to God in prayer with boldness...

is the theme of my latest article over on Today's Catholic Women at Catholic Exchange.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 30 of 40 Days for Life

See how many lives have been saved thus far, go here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A review: Pure Womanhood

Crystalina Evert’s little booklet, Pure Womanhood, from Catholic Answers, is pure straight talk to a modern woman in need of a little mentoring when it comes to her love life. And maybe even a little common-sense mothering for younger girls whose parents may have not have fully prepared them for the real world of casual sex.

When it comes to self-esteem, sexuality, boyfriends, romance, chastity, and modesty, Crystalina covers it all with intellectual and spiritual honesty. Pure Love takes direct aim at combating the lies women tell themselves over and over again about love, and illuminates the truths that should rule a woman’s conscience.

Need the top tip-offs to know when “its over” with him? How about how to stop making excuses for staying with someone who takes but doesn’t give? Can a woman recover from her past, and still find the love she so deeply longs for? It’s all here.

No matter what your past, Pure Love takes a woman from where you are right now, and helps recover a positive view of yourself, pointing you in the direction of the real love a woman deserves.

With a velvet touch, and yet a sober look at the often messy love lives of modern young adults, Crystalina reveals the secrets of a Christian woman who finds reasons within her own dignity to strive after purity in love and in life.  As she talks about her own sexual mistakes and miscues, Crystalina guides women out of the jungle of feelings of inadequacy and rejection, and shows them how a Christian can recover from bad choices and start over toward a life of wholeness and holiness.

My favorite quote from the book is this handy rule of thumb:

“Purity never ruins loving relationships. If the relationship is based on lust, purity will end it. But if the relationship is based on love, purity will save it.”

Pure Love is a 46-page primer on getting it right, even when you’ve blown it. And it gives you a new mindset, so that, ultimately, you can be free of the useless counterfeits that are pretending to be love, and moves you toward finding the true love that stands the test of time.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Pure Womanhood.

Today's giggle...

As a wordsmith who has and others on speed-dial (er, the bookmark bar on my laptop) I rather enjoyed this post from the eloquent, erudite, and esoteric blog of Maria Johnson.

It Makes Me Think...

171. What is the meaning of the affirmation “Outside the Church there is no salvation”?

This means that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her. At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through the dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation.

---From the Compendium of the Catechism.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Among Women Podcast #30

This week's edition of Among Women features a look at the "Lady" mentioned in the Second Epistle of John, and what she might mean for us.

Our guest this week is Leticia Velasquez, a Catholic writer and award-winning blogger whose life-long passion for pro-life work is very contagious.  Join us for a lively discussion on how we ordinary folks can take steps toward respecting life in tangible ways.

Also we announce this week's Conception is Life bracelet winner, and that's a reminder:  send your name in for next week's drawing of the same. Contact Pat at

History in the making: Benedict XVI welcomes Anglicans!!

I'm no expert on ecumenism and the finer legal points of bringing others faiths into the Roman Catholic Church. But I have met several Anglican Christians who have personally entered the Roman Catholic Church because of their discouragement and disillusionment regarding Anglican leadership in recent years over the ordination of women priests and the ordination of homosexual men.

Today, there is an announcement from Pope Benedict XVI about welcoming Anglicans...with certain provisions in an Apostolic Constitution. In other words, the Holy Father has created a structure that will allow Anglicans to come into full communion.  WOW!!!!

Here's a quote from the Catholic News Agency, (go here for the full article):
In a Vatican press conference today, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced that an Apostolic Constitution has been prepared in response to “many requests” from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful wanting to enter into full communion with the Church. 
The Apostolic Constitution, which Cardinal Levada said “provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon”, will be a “single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application.” 
The new canonical structure will allow former Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Church while “preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony,” said Cardinal Levada. He added that it will allow married former Anglican clergy to be ordained however, in common with Catholic and Orthodox Churches, married clergy will not be allowed to be ordained bishops.

For comprehensive details go here for a good summary.

For history and to understand the language of this new provision, go this the Vatican's press office's note from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Did I already say, "Wow!"?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Soundtrack of my life

Just got to see my daughter this weekend... for the first time since I dropped her off to college back in August.... oooo how I miss her!  Even tho' she is somewhat local (down in Boston), we've gone 8 weeks since actually seeing each other -- some kind of record for us.

New songs in the sidebar ("My Wish"  and "In My Daughter's Eyes") always remind me of her! Give 'em a listen!

Friday, October 16, 2009

One minute it's fall... the next, er, it's s-n-o-w-i-n-g...

What a shock to my system (and to my little short-haired dog's) to go out in the dark of the early morning and be hit in the face by wet flying snow!  Kind of changes the scene I related in this article this morning on Today's Catholic Woman, over at Catholic Exchange!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A powerful episode of A Body of Truth

Every now and then I hear talks or podcasts that speak powerfully about women's issues... though its rare to find one that is looking at women's issues from a Catholic perspective or sacramental viewpoint.  Fr. Thomas J. Loya is a priest I've been listening to for quite a while. His theological talks and his explanations of Theology of the Body are first rate.

And so, I want to not only recommend his podcast, "A Body of Truth", but I want to, in particular, recommend this podcast episode which responds to an article by Maureen Dowd of the NY Times on why women are so unhappy.  Take 30 minutes and listen to this. I'd love to know what you think.

Rachel's Vineyard -- help for healing after abortion

Inspiring videos here.

If you need help after an abortion, go here.

It Makes Me Think...

The Eternal Truth says, "My infinite good can't be contained by anything less than itself, just like a ship at sea can't ever hold the whole sea. The ship can only hold as much as it can hold, and no more. Only the ocean contains itself fully.

In the same way, I who am the sea of Peace am the only one who can contain and appreciate Myself fully. This makes Me rejoice in Myself, and of course I share all My joy and all My good with you, with each of you, as you are able to accept them.

May you know and embrace as much of My goodness as I give you."

---St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Conception is Life Bracelet Giveaway!

All this month, the Among Women podcast is giving away the Conception is Life bracelet.  Each picture depicts another stage of life of a baby in utero.

Get in on the drawing, by sending your name to Pat at

4 winners will be picked at random, and you only have to enter once.

Thanks to Scott Blue of Conception is Life for his generous donation of the bracelets.

Among Women Podcast #29

This week's episode of Among Women features talk about the 5 new saints canonized last Sunday by Benedict XVI, including St. Jeanne Jugan (Sr. Marie de la Croix) of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

As Respect Life Month continues, Kathleen FitzPatrick guests and discusses what its like for an unmarried college student to learn that she is pregnant, and how she made her decision to birth and raise her son, Gabriel.  Kathleen also shares how her business, Bundt Blessings, grew out of that "unexpected blessing."

Monday, October 12, 2009

The 13th Day -- new film about Fatima

Watch the film's trailer here.

Visit the Tomb of St. Peter (under St. Peter's Basilica, Rome)

Back in 2004, I took my first trip to Rome, and this tour, known as the "Scavi tour" was among the highlights.  It is a trip to the necropolis (where the dead were buried centuries ago) that is located under St. Peter's Basilica.  This video and slide show takes you down to the Roman "street level" back in the apostolic age.  Although it doesn't have all the cool narration that a live tour would give you, and that's a shame.  But it does give you a virtual tour of the site... but first, you must get used to moving around the site using the arrows and markers the tour gives once you get to the "underground" portion of the tour.

Centuries ago, when Constantine filled in the necropolis to build the basilica over St. Peter's tomb, he probably ticked off a lot of the locals.  However, centuries later, after several archeological digs, we have a marvel that preserves the spot where Peter's body was laid, as well as a historical record.

Day 20 of 40 Days for Life

 Find out more here.

The Soundtrack of My Life...

A few tunes I like have been posted over in the side bar... including this one:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Got Grace?

My latest article about purgatory -- on Today's Catholic Woman on Catholic Exchange.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Among Women Podcast #28

This week, the Among Women podcast launches Respect Life Month at the same time while recognizing the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the month of the Rosary.

Our guest this week is Merry Nordeen, who founded a non-profit organization to spearhead a campaign to bring the "Choose Life" specialty license plate to Massachusetts. If you are a MA resident and would like a Choose Life plate, go here.  If you live elsewhere in the USA, go here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Want to go deeper into Scripture?

Check out this video that discusses this new series.

(And yes, you may recall hearing Dr. Mary Healy from episode 8 of the Among Women podcast! If you missed it, check it out!)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It Makes Me Think... (30 years ago today!)

30 years ago, I was a 19-year old youth minister who brought my youth group to see Pope John Paul II at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He was there to speak to youth. He was rather youthful himself in those days. 

His call to "Look to Christ..." has stayed with me all these years.... I thought the memory was worth sharing. Enjoy!



Madison Square Garden, New York
Wednesday, 3 October 1979

Dear young people,
I am happy to be with you in Madison Square Garden. Today this is a garden of life, where young people are alive: alive with hope and love, alive with the life of Christ. And it is in the name of Christ that I greet each one of you today.
I have been told that most of you come from Catholic high schools. For this reason I would like to say something about Catholic education, to tell you why the Church considers it so important and expends so much energy in order to provide you and millions of other young people with a Catholic education. The answer can be summarized in one word, in one person, Jesus Christ. The Church wants to communicate Christ to you.
1. This is what education is all about, this is the meaning of life: to know Christ. To know Christ as a friend: as someone who cares about you and the person next to you, and all the people here and everywhere—no matter what language they speak, or what clothes they wear, or what color their skin is.
And so the purpose of Catholic education is to communicate Christ to you, so that your attitude toward others will be that of Christ. You are approaching that stage in your life when you must take personal responsibility for your own destiny. Soon you will be making major decisions which will affect the whole course of your life. If these decisions reflect Christ's attitude, then your education will be a success. We have to learn to meet challenges and even crises in the light of Christ's Cross and Resurrection. Part of our Catholic education is to learn to see the needs of others, to have the courage to practice what we believe in. With the support of a Catholic education we try to meet every circumstance of life with the attitude of Christ. Yes, the Church wants to communicate Christ to you so that you will come to full maturity in him who is the perfect human being, and, at the same time, the Son of God.
2. Dear young people: you and I and all of us together make up the Church, and we are convinced that only in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life.
And so I invite you today to look to Christ.
When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life.
When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity.
And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world and of the United States, look to Christ. Only in Christ will you fulfill your potential as an American citizen and as a citizen of the world community.
3. With the aid of your Catholic education, you have received the greatest of gifts : the knowledge of Christ. Of this gift Saint Paul wrote: "I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him" (Phil 3: 8-9).
Be always grateful to God for this gift of knowing Christ. Be grateful also to your parents and to the community of the Church for making possible, through many sacrifices, your Catholic education. People have placed a lot of hope in you, and they now look forward to your collaboration in giving witness to Christ, and in transmitting the Gospel to others. The Church needs you. The world needs you, because it needs Christ, and you belong to Christ. And so I ask you to accept your responsibility in the Church, the responsibility of your Catholic education: to help—by your words, and, above all, by the example of your lives—to spread the Gospel. You do this by praying, and by being just and truthful and pure.
Dear young people : by a real Christian life, by the practice of your religion you are called to give witness to your faith. And because actions speak louder than words, you are called to proclaim, by the conduct of your daily lives that you really do believe that Jesus Christ is Lord !
© Copyright 1979 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Friday, October 2, 2009

A cool iPhone App from Catholic TV

Among Women supports Catholic TV!

My latest on Today's Catholic Woman

A little Catechism lesson about the difference between the particular judgment and the Final Judgment, and the Great What's Next.

Day 10 of 40 Days for Life

Get caught up on this wonderful pro-life effort!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Does Woman Want?

A fascinating piece on sexless marriages and more in First Things by Mary Eberstadt, a Hoover Institute Research Fellow (at Stanford) and a Catholic Scholar.  There's also a audio interview with her here.

Note: this piece talk about some of pornography's effects on a marriage, among other things coming up in women's popular literature and magazines in the commercial marketplace.

Here's a snippet:

Something else lurks under the rocks picked up by the fashionable writing about marriage these days—something that crawls away from the light even as it squirms just under the surface of much of the new confessionalism.

“Don’t eat too many snacks, or you’ll ruin your dinner.” Every woman issuing the new literature of complaint and heartache will understand just how meaningful the saying is—at least when it applies to kids and dinnertime. Yet sexual satiety, of the kind that oozes by other names from so much female confessional literature these days, is almost never recognized the same way. In particular, pornography is the invisible ink of many of these essays and lives—obvious one minute, unnoticed the next, and the bearer of a message no one apparently sees. Understood or not, however, it appears to be leaving a mark on at least some of these publicly lived lives.

In Loh’s essay, for example, a husband—as it happens, one of those husbands no longer interested in sex with his wife—bookmarks his pornography on the computer; his wife knows all about it, even reports it to her friends who are also commiserating about their sexless marriages—and no one seems to connect the dots at all. Another writer for Salon, reflecting on Loh’s essay, similarly nudges up against this obvious if missing piece of the puzzle (in a piece called “Why Your Marriage Sucks”), noting, “I write this article from a hotel room in New York City, where nearly a dozen porn movies are on offer”—a fact the author uses to highlight what she thinks of as an irony, when it might instead suggest something else: a possible causal relation between all those movies on the one hand and, on the other hand, a loss of romantic interest on the part of those who think them inconsequential.

Or consider the critical success of a recent chick-lit book called I’d Rather Eat Chocolate. Praised in Salon and The Atlantic and other cutting-edge venues, it is the casually told story of a husband and wife whose tension over marital sex leads finally to an amicable solution: She has her chocolate, and he has his Internet pornography. Might there just be a connection between all this casual talk (and use) of pornography and all those frustrated women and disinterested husbands?

Dr. Phil, interestingly enough—among other sexperts concerned with the sexlessness of some modern marriages—has no trouble connecting the dots at all: “It is a perverse and ridiculous intrusion into your relationship,” he writes on his website. “It is an insult, it is disloyal, and it is cheating. . . . You need to tell your partner that viewing pornography is absolutely, unequivocally unacceptable in your relationship.” Why does he see what so many unhappy women do not?

The answer is that the kind of feminism these women have so unthinkingly imbibed has come at a great cost. It has rendered many of them ideologically if not personally blasé about something they cannot really afford to be blasé about. InFemale Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, Ariel Levy chronicles the steady infiltration of pornography into female society. The pressure on women to accept pornography as an inconsequential and entertaining fact of life rises by the year—and outside the circles of the conservative and the religious, there is little cultural ammunition for any woman who wants to resist it. In fact, one of the few tony writers who does seem to grasp the destructive role of pornography in modern romance is Naomi Wolf, who chillingly observed several years ago that “the onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as porn-worthy.” Almost none of her feminist sisters have followed suit.

All of which brings us back to the enigma of this summer’s marriage wars. Perhaps some of the modern misery of which so many women today authentically speak is springing not from a sexual desert but from a sexual flood—a torrent of poisonous imagery, beginning even in childhood, that has engulfed women and men, only to beach them eventually somewhere alone and apart, far from the reach of one another.

At least that way of looking at the puzzle might explain some of the paradox of all that female unhappiness. Between bad ideas of gender neutrality and even worse ideas of the innocence of pornography, we reach the world so vividly described by Sandra Loh and many other dissatisfied women: one where men act like stereotypical women, and retreat from a real marriage into a fantasy life via pornography (rather than Harlequin novels), and where women conversely act like stereotypical men, taking the lead in leaving their marriages and firing angry charges on the way, out of frustration and withheld sex.

It wasn’t supposed to happen that way, but it has. Enlightened people only meant to take the small- s sex out of marriage: the unwanted gender division. Along the way, capital- s Sex headed for the exits as well.

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