Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Brief Fashion Rant

I recently had a birthday and bought a new dress.  I'm blessed to have friends who are great internet shoppers and find me websites with gorgeous retro clothes.  Otherwise I wouldn't have bought anything, and would have resigned myself to church in Khakis.

Because have you been in a mall or looked at dresses on the web recently?  Nearly everything current is also ugly.   Heck, the current dress styles are even making the models look dumpy.  And if it makes the model look dumpy, it's going to make me look.... atrocious.

Maybe we need a federal government blue ribbon panel to investigate the fashion industry for a plot to deliberately prolong the recession -- because until they make something worth buying, why should cash-strapped women buy anything?

Look, I can see your mind working, Mr. Designer Man:  "Oooh.  A recession.  Like the Depression. Poverty. Hopelessness. Dresses from potato sacks! I'll make dresses that make everyone look like they're, like they ARE a sack of potatoes!"

Except, the original 'potato sack dresses' had pretty floral patterns and actual --seams.  And darts. And, dare I say it... style.  The point wasn't 'we're in a depression, so let's look depressed.'  It was about making the best of what you had and making something beautiful from leftovers.

Anyway, I highly recommend the line of dresses at Pin Up Girl Clothing.  Some have a bit too much attitude for a thirty-something Catholic mom looking for a good Church Dress, but others are... gorgeous.  And they carry several variations of 'the sundress of my dreams,' so I'll be saving my pennies, dimes, and birthday money for NEXT year, too! :) 

(Note on 50's style dresses:  I am an apple, so I always shied away from the big skirts, but I'm finding that they actually hide a lot of the remains of multiple childbirths.  With a full skirt, no one SEES that lumpy belly! It's amazing! Almost like dresses used to be designed for women who had...actually given birth! :)  )

We'll now return to our regular schedule of blog posts....  I'm just really excited about getting a new dress! (And really fed up with fashion designers who design UGLY and fill the stores with it!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

I know it's not built yet, but....

When it is, I really want to go here.  Wyoming, Carmelites, Beautiful Architecture AND Coffee?  It would be the pilgrimage of a life time!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So... I'm Always saying how lucky I am to be in a good Parish....

And now I have photos to prove it!  My Parish's website now has photos of our Corpus Christi procession AND the interior of the church

(The fresco on the ceiling has lulled many a Mundy-baby to sleep.)


Why is the media obsessing over the Ground Zero Mosque when Iran is about to go Nuclear?!?!?!  Right now it doesn't look like Israel is going to do anything...

So isn't a nuclear Iran more important than a public relations triumph in NYC?  Or is it unimportant until they actual wipe a few countries off the face of the planet?

UPDATE (Via the Anchoress):

Except, apparently, that the mosque project MUST go through while a Church that was actually destroyed by the attack isn't allowed to rebuild?  That's kind of bizarre.... why is one project a necessity and the other inappropriate?  St. Nicholas, pray for us!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Protecting your Daughter from The Regnum Christi Consecrated Women

Why you shouldn’t allow your daughter to become a Regnum Christi ‘Consecrated Woman.’

1. They’re not actually ‘consecrated women.’

They are not consecrated virgins. The Catechism tells us that “Consecrated Virgins” are
"Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church."462 By this solemn rite (Consecratio virginum), the virgin is "constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church's love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come.”(923)”
Regnum Christi Consecrated Women do not participate in this rite. They do not make vows before a bishop.  They are not actually 'consecrated' in any real sense.

They are not religious sisters. The ‘consecration’ they are making is on par with a consecration to Mary or the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It should be for devotional puposes only. But, in practice,

2. The Regnum Christi Consecrated Women live in imitation of religious sisters, yet with none of the protections of religious life.

Regnum Christi Consecrated Women lack a sufficient discernment period. Most religious orders require a period of mutual discernment followed by postulancy and than novitiate.

Regnum Christi Consecrated Women lack the protections of normal religious life. Normal religious life is a contract between the sister and her order. The sister has a responsibility to her community, but the community has an obligation to feed, clothe and educate her, and to care for her in sickness and old age. Regnum Christi Consecrated Women have none of the guarantees. They can be sent home at any time, for any reason. They exist outside of canon law and so do not have the protections of canon law.

Regnum Christi Consecrated Women lack a clear rule. During the CDF’s investigation of the Legion of Christ, the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women discovered that most of the ‘rules’ they were living under had never been approved by the Vatican.

3. The Vatican is about to launch a Visitation of the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women.

Their status within the Church and their relationship to the Legion of Christ is irregular. Girls who join today have no idea what the group will look like in 5 years.

4. The Regnum Christi Consecrated Women were founded by an evil man for a sinful purpose.

As a result of the CDF investigation, The Vatican has declared Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement, to be a man without scruples or religious sentiment. He was also a criminal, a child molestor, a drug addict and an embezzler. He is not a good model for a community of religious women, no matter what their canonical status.

Maciel founded the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women so that they could work in dioceses where the local bishop had banned the Legion of Christ. This is why he insisted that they remain lay women. However, the laity are required to obey the commands of their local bishops. So these women, when they work in a diocese where the Legion is banned, are actually committing a sin of disobedience. This disobedience is encouraged and applauded by their superiors. This is NOT an appropriate life for a young woman interested in serving Christ.

What should you do if your daughter insists on joining the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women?

If she’s under 18, forbid her. Do not let her have contact with the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women, especially for “Formation Dialogue” or as “spiritual directors” They do not care about her long term spiritual well-being, they only want to get her into their group.

Withdraw your daughter from Challenge and EYCD. Encourage her to join activities with people who DON’T have an ulterior motive. It doesn’t matter how ‘nice’ the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women seem. Mormons are nice too, but you wouldn’t let your daughter seek religious advice from them.

Take your daughter on retreat with actual an actual religious order. Many good orders offer teenage girl or even mother/daughter retreats. Many girls are drawn to the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women because they have no experience with authentic religious life in the Catholic Church.

Check out the CMSWR and find a community near you that offers retreats. Encourage her to investigate many different orders, so that she can better discern her vocation.

Have her read the Vatican Communique and as much information about the life of Maciel and the treatment of Regnum Christi Consecrated Women that she can handle at her age. She needs to know what she is asking to join. The Life After RC website has some good links for more information.

Pray with and for her. Try to take her to daily Mass and weekly adoration. Give her time to sit quietly with Jesus.

Get her thinking about college. Most orders won’t take a girl before she’s 21 or 22. If she thinks she’s called to religious life, she should think about her education. Take her on college visits. Some of the lure of the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women’s academy might be due to the boarding-school atmosphere- it’s pretty glamorous for a teenaged girl. Give her something better to daydream about.

Pray like crazy.

If your daughter is over 18 and wants to join the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women, you have fewer options. Chances are, by the time she mentions it to you she’s already been sucked in and made up her mind.

Try to get her to read information. Pray. Know that her mail, email and phone calls will be monitored once she moves in with the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women.

Contact the local bishop and see if he has any resources that can help you.

Write the CDF and the papal delegate. Have her read the communiqué.

See if you can get her to wait, at least a few weeks or a few months to ‘tie up loose ends.’ Groups like the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women succeed in recruiting because they don’t give the target a chance to pray, reflect and listen to the Holy Spirit before extracting lifelong ‘promises.’ If you can get her to wait, and to hear testimony from ex-members, you might just save her years of pain and heartache.

Your daughter is in a perilous position. Pray for her constantly. Ask the intercession of Mary, and for the protection of St. Michael and her guardian angel. If you act with love and wisdom now, you may save her from a terrible mistake.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Theology of the Body: Indifference is OK!

At least, according to Mark Shea!

I enjoyed his article, and I have to admit, I'm relieved to find a "Big-Name-Catholic," whose position on Theology of the Body is pretty close to mine. 

I'm completely indifferent.  I would like to read Love and Responsibility some day.  But, it's pretty dense, and I'm not very good with phenomenology, so I need to do some groundwork first.  I find Christopher West incredibly annoying, and so his personality tends to overshadow any good I might get from his writings.  But in the mean time, do I really need TOB?

From the bits I have read, it doesn't really seem to be anything new-- just what the Church has always taught, but presented differently.  I love the 1950's marriage manuals by Fr. Leo Kinsella that EWTN has in their library.   Three to Get Married  by Fulton Sheen is one of my favorite books on Marriage and the Trinity. 

So do I really need  Theology of the Body?  Should I have to endure listening to and wincing at Christopher West when I'm really more interested in Church History at the moment?

I'm going with "no."  I'm married. I have small children. Everywhere. All the time.  My husband and I like each other.  We like our vocation.  We don't really need someone to persuade us that this is what God is calling us to - we're here already.

I think a lot of the biggest TOB fans are genuinely happy that West's writing changed their view of marriage and sexuality.  I'd argue, however, that if it was really a huge change for them, they probably didn't understand the teachings before they met West.  TOB is not a revolution in Catholic thought.  It's the same tune the church has always sung -- it's just a slightly different setting.

Anyway, for the time being, I'll remain firmly in the 'indifferent to TOB' camp - there are other things I'd rather study.  But the next time people accuse me of being a bad Catholic because I don't care, I'll point them to Shea's piece.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Offering Hospitality

Amy Welborn has a great reflection on the gift of an unlocked church.  As Catholics, we seem to talk a lot about how to be more hospitable.  After all, we're competing with the Protestants.  They welcome people with coffee and donuts after services, potluck dinners with Jell-o, all sorts of family fun nights and movies and free food and praise bands.  What do we have?  Well, we have the Sacraments.  But what good are they if you're not already Catholic?

The thing is, turning our church into a year-round carnival doesn't work.  People don't become Catholic because we have Jelly Donuts when everyone else just serves plain old glazed.  They become Catholic because we have Christ physically present in the Eucharist.  Our tabernacles are what we have to offer - our churches are our invitation to the lapsed and the un-churched.

That's why it's so tragic when they're locked.  Imagine you're considering returning to the Church, and you happen across a quiet country chapel.  You're looking for a sign from God...and the door is locked.  You can't slip in to pray anonymously, to light a candle and begin to make peace with your Lord.  The door is barred  unless you come during regular business hours.  If you were looking for a sign, the message you get is "Go Away!"

I've encountered locked Churches before-- not as dramatically as in the example above, but just when I've been running early for an appointment and wanted to slip in, light a candle for a suffering friend, and spend a few quiet minutes with God.  It still hurts a little when the door is locked,  even though I didn't really need it to be unlocked and I understand concerns about vandalism and sacrilege.

As Catholics, we need to be committed to keeping our churches open.  They need to be oases of peace and places of love and forgiveness.  As parishioners, we should work towards open churches.  We'll need volunteers to "church-sit."  There may be days where the only people who visit are the scheduled sitters.  But we have a great gift in the Eucharist, and we make a mistake when we hide Christ away and meet the world with donuts instead.

Any group can provide pastries-- only we can share the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ our Lord.