Friday, December 24, 2010

Her Body, Her Choice

Joanne Jacobs tells us about a St. Paul, Minnesota school where sweets have been banned.  I think the most telling quote comes from one of the fifth-graders:
“All my friends say, ‘This really sucks,’” said Misky Salad, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Chelsea Heights Elementary. “A lot of us feel it should be up to us to determine what we should do with our bodies.”
So, what do we do when two liberal social programs collide?  Should women be able to decide what to do with their bodies?  Or only if they're not obese? 

I actually think the underlying philosophy is that the government, not the parent, is to decide what girls can and cannot do with their bodies.  So, it's considered acceptable for a school nurse to give birth control to a child without her parents' permission.  But if Mom sends a Little Debbie in her daughter's lunch, it's a crisis.

This isn't a new trend among do-gooders and social reformers.  Chesterton wrote about this a century ago in What's Wrong With The World, though at the time the argument centered on poor girls having long hair.

Whenever we decide to 'uplift' a population, we end up denying parental rights.  Why?  I suspect it's because we see the poor as 'less human' than we are.  We don't ask mothers, "What do you want for your daughters?" Instead, like farmers trying to raise the perfect livestock, we make decrees intended to produce the ideal breed of urban woman.

Of course, the answer to these plots against parental rights is to treat each other as beloved children of God.  That is why religious schools seem to do better with poor children.  They see the kids as people, not an inferior species in need of 'improvement.'  Meanwhile, the same class that rails against factory farming of animals demands factory farming of children.   Well, of other people's children.  If their own children were subjected to such strict rules, it would be an unfair encroachment on parental rights.  Because, you see, the reformers are the RIGHT kind of parent.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Failing Advent

If Advent was a high-stakes test, I’d be repeating a grade this year. I started off the season with grand plans for nightly prayer services, themed baking projects, craft ideas and maybe even a Jesse Tree. Heck, if nothing else, we’d at least steal Charlotte’s “box of books” idea, right?

My plans fell apart almost immediately. The baby was teething and glued to me day and night. Then my husband’s grandfather died and we had to take a funeral trip to Jasper, 6 hours away. Somewhere in there, there was a blizzard, and we couldn’t leave the house for a few days. So much for complicated crafts that needed supplies!
Finally, in the last week or so, I started to get my act together. On Gaudate Sunday, I finally found my magnetic Advent calendar. (The one in the picture-- got to love the Amazon widgets! :) ) We went down to Indy to visit family. (Another visit, to Scottsburg, got cancelled due to ice.)

Yesterday, I made Toffee, Gingerbread, and a Cheesecake for my mother-in-law’s birthday. Then, my husband reminded me about the evening of recollection at church. We dashed out the door. (I’d forgotten it was Tuesday. Not the evening of recollection – I knew that was on a Tuesday. But I’d thought it was still Monday, for some reason. My internal calendar tends to go a bit berserk when I’m exhausted.)

We made it there about 15 minutes late- not bad – and we got to hear all of the second talk and a decent junk of the first one. Best of all, we made it to confession! And Father even gave me some really awesome advice about praying every time you change a diaper (because that way you’ll be praying all day long! Especially if you’re a nursing mom with two kids in cloth...)

Today, I made a huge dinner, got the kids’ pictures taken in front of the tree, and celebrated Grandma’s birthday. Advent was back on track.

And then it happened. The toilet overflowed. It didn’t just overflow a little. It hemorrhaged water all over the bathroom and the kitchen. The water was so deep that it started running between the floor boards. It was raining sewage in my basement, over by the hampers and the laundry machine. So, Advent had to go on hold again, so that I could bleach all my floors and everything else the flood had touched. (I think the man who invented Clorox should be canonized. Seriously. How would we live without it?)

Anyway, as I was scrubbing my floor at 10:30 at night while the baby screamed and the other kids complained about the bleachy smell, I realized something:

Maybe the interruptions in my Advent weren’t actually interruptions at all. After all, Advent isn’t really about preparing for Christmas. I mean, sure, we act like it is, but Christmas already happened. Christ has been born. Heck, He already grew up, died on the cross, and saved us, too!

Advent is about preparing for the Second Coming, and for our own death and judgments. Jesse Trees and Wreaths are nice tools for preparing ourselves to spend eternity with God. But so are funerals, unexpected changes to plans, and even nasty kitchen floors that demand several hours with a bucket of bleach. God gives us these tasks to prepare us.

“Overflow your toilet and then kill all the bacteria” may never make it into the “Catholic Mom’s Guide to Raising Saints-in-Training by Doing Advent RIGHT,” but it’s the task God has given me today, the task that will eventually lead me to His side.

Maybe next year I'll be able to give my kids an Advent to remember - but then again, maybe not.  And that's OK too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More on the Legion

From the UK Catholic Herald.  Once again, a major problem with the new norms is that they do NOT amount to the repudiation of Maciel.  They are simply about the PUBLIC repudiation of Maciel.  But, in order to survive, the Legion cannot just change outward appearances.

Any real reform has to happen at the roots. 

It's like dandelions-- if you cut the leaves and flowers, you have not changed the plant.  The root of the weed is still there, beneath the surface, and when conditions are ripe, it will grow again.

To remove a weed, you must completely remove the root.  And then, you must plant something else, something GOOD, in the same soil, so that there's not an empty space for the weed to re-colonize.

Without a total refounding, how can the Legion ever be anything but what Maciel created it to be?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

When Medieval Pious Legends suddenly count as big news.

What I find interesting about the article is the researcher's suprise that the Medieval Church taught that women could have useful roles in society.   Because clearly, before the 1960s or so, Christian widows were expected to be buried alive with their husbands or something.

Also, I'm a little curious about why Mary's grandmother would still be living when Jesus was in his 30s... wouldn't she have been well over 100?

Legion Leaders Work to Avoid Embarassment

I was going to take a break from Legion-blogging for a while. At this point, I don't have anything new to contribute - thanks to the steadfastness of the internet, anyone who is interested can check out this blog’s archives, or click on the tags for Legion-related editorializing.

Still, even after closely following this mess for nearly 2 years, I found the latest announcement from Legion –Land baffling. (The Spanish is available over at Life-After-RC. The Catholic News Agency report tones down the problematic nature of the original.)

This announcement is more proof that the men running the Legion just don’t understand the nature of the “Maciel Problem.”

The Vatican declared their founder devoid of scruples or religious sentiment. (See the May 1 Communique) Yet the solution seems to be to ban all PUBLIC devotion to Maciel. LC/RC members may still meditate on his writings IN PRIVATE. Even worse, priests are allowed to use his words as the basis for talks and homilies, as long as they don’t cite the source.

The whole approach seems to be one of avoiding embarrassing questions. (“Father, why are you quoting a known child-molester and ‘false prophet’  in your talks?”) Instead, the devotion to the founder can continue, and his words can still be used to mold hearts and minds – as long as nobody openly discusses what’s going on.

At this point, I have a hard time believing that there can be any authentic reform of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, especially if members are still using the founder’s writings for their spiritual formation.

If a house is founded on sand, the solution is not to keep living in it and to hope the ground magically repairs itself. It’s not to build the same structure in the same place. It’s to find new, firm ground and build a new, stable house. If there’s to be a reform or refoundation, this latest document shows why it can’t come from within. I

 think, like the Fils-De-Marie/ Missionary Society of Mandeville case, any real reform and refounding is going to have to come from the men who’ve left. It seems that those who stay have not yet grasped what it means to follow a spirituality set out by a false prophet.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ooops!

I posted that on the wrong blog! A real post here tomorrow, when I have more time and less spotty internet!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Like a Lourdes, Except Affordable as a Pilgrimage Option....

There is now an officially approved Marian Apparition in the United States!  Unfortunately, it's near Green Bay Wisconsin, so we should probably wait until spring before we start planning our pilgrimages.....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Experiment Born of a Midnight Joke

I'm starting a new blog.  About sofas. And couches and davenports too.  Why? Because my husband dared me to.  I'll still keep blogging politics, religion, education, kidlit and anything else that catches my fancy from this site.

BUT, over at http://sofanyms.blogspot.com/ , I'll be making a concerted effort to become the internet's premier sofa-blogger.   Why?  Probably because I dropped myself on my head as a baby!  Also, because anything is interesting, if you research it enough.

Besides, the snows have started up here in Lake-effect land.  Obsessing about sofas will make the dark months go faster.

And yes, I am bizarre, and possibly insane.  It's probably genetic.