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Friday, September 7, 2018

What to Write About Today? The Dilemna of the Catholic Blogger

Throughout the week, at odd moments, topics of interest will float through my head.  Possible themes, the occasional fully-formed sentence, even a flash of brilliance will hit my very busy brain and I will think, "That's what I will write about next!".   Sometimes I am able to put fingers to keyboard and follow through but most of the time my every day life jumps in front of me like a cow on the railroad tracks and I just have to slow down and attend to business.  The classrooms have to be set up, appointments with stressed parents kept and grocery shopping for my mother has to be done.  Life happens.  It is a marvelous and maddening thing.

Recently I had one of those "what would you do with three wishes" kind of  day dreams.  My mind went to the usual stuff - money, property, prestige - and then I started toying with the idea of having the power to direct an authentic Marian Apparition.

First I thought about the various people close to me that I know are struggling mightily in their walk on earth.  I even thought about asking Our Lady to appear to President Trump or Vladimir Putin, or a variety of evangelical religious leaders.  I thought about her showing up at a huge gathering of American Bishops so they could stand in front of her and explain what the heck they have been doing to her Son's Church.

These thoughts produced a few sighs, a couple of giggles (I am sorry, but the idea of Mr. Trump trying to explain himself to Our Lady of Guadalupe was really funny) and then a startling realization.

Our Lady is never sent to those in power here on earth.  She is always sent to deliver the message of her Son, Jesus Christ, to the least of the Father's children.

Whether it be an asthmatic little girl in France, three peasant kids in Portugal, a scared child in Africa or two shepherd children in the hills of Europe, Jesus asks His mother to speak to those no one would even notice.  People would not consider them important and in the earthly scheme of things they are not.  No money, property or prestige for them; rather, they are given the revelation of how our sins are affecting the world, that there IS such a thing as hell and that the souls going through purgation of earthly attachment need our prayers.  She doesn't tell politicians about the threats of entire countries gone off the rails, she tells children no one believes and who had  parents who actually beat them in order to get them to stop talking about seeing her.  She didn't give a Pope the mysteries of her Rosary, she gave them to a priest so dedicated to Preaching the Truth and serving the poor that he was willing to found an entire order dedicated just to that - Truth in poverty, Love in Service.

I thought about what would happen if Our Lady DID show up in the Oval Office.  Would her heavenly splendor, her status as the Queen of Heaven, The Ark of the New Covenant, cause its occupant to pause and ask her what he or she should do?  And if the president responded to her direction (Do whatever HE asks you to do) with fervent love and sudden devotion, how long would it take for that 25th Amendment to be invoked?  After all, we cannot have someone devoted to Jesus and actually trying to follow His Teachings in the White House - too many jobs depend upon that place remaining a seething cauldron of intrigue, sin and ugly power struggles. People do not give up their status without a fight.

Allowing myself to contemplate what would happen if we had another Miracle of the Sun during, say, Superbowl Sunday, allowed me to realize how important our unknowns are in The Church.  Somewhere, right now, there is a quiet man or woman or child, kneeling in prayer and talking directly to the Queen of the Angels, the Mother of God herself.  Somewhere, in a small room without distraction or in a cave in the forest or in the shadow of a date palm in the dessert a child, a humble monk, a woman scorned and shunned is being told something important, something that will eventually shape our lives.

I know that my role in the Church is important.  I also know I am only a small part of a great whole.  I recognize that I am important to Our Lord and that my Heavenly Father needs me to be close to Him.

What I also know, however, is that my role is not the most important and may never be the one touted on YouTube or in a great cavernous hall.  It matters - but not nearly as much as the role of the humblest of servants.

Whoever you are, please pray for me.




Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Grateful for the Wisdom of the Body of Christ

This morning in the Modesto Bee I was treated to the OpEd piece written by Karen Tumulty entitled Why am I still Catholic? (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/08/19/why-am-i-still-a-catholic/?utm_term=.cbc413f21222).  Ms. Tumulty captured my thoughts and feelings so well that I got teary-eyed.  As a 'Cradle Catholic' who left the Faith for many years and returned during the height of the 1990's sex abuse revelations, I have felt a big shell-shocked over the past two weeks.  I have, rightly, anticipated the hateful emails and FaceBook posts, the attempts at explanations by the hierarchy, the declarations of Faith and the sorrow expressed by those who now leave the Church Jesus founded for parts unknown, unable to accept that the Bishops and Cardinals we trust with handing on The Faith have behaved like men and sinned.

What struck me most about her piece was the words she quoted from the homily given by the young priest at her Parish.  Only ordained three years ago, Father directed his flock to the day's Gospel reading.  Ms. Tumulty then writes:

And then he pointed us to this morning’s Gospel, from the book of John, in which Jesus made the most fundamental of his promises, the one that Catholics accept every time they receive the Eucharist: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

It was the compass again, this time pointing the way home, Father Alec said. “I say to myself, I don’t know where else I will find this.”

“For all the problems that we experience,” he added, “there is still the presence of God in this place.”
This young priest spoke bravely and with Truth.  I stay in The Church because I can receive The Eucharist here.  I stay in the Church despite bad priests, lousy homilies, poorly administered parishes and people who walk out of Mass and are rude to me in the parking lot.  I stay Catholic because Jesus did not found Churches, He founded One Church, the Church founded on the Faith expressed by St Peter, our First Pope, who boldly proclaimed who Jesus is - and then promptly denied he even knew Him when the going go a little rough. The same man who later repented in such sorrow that a pious legend claims the tears he shed made furrows in his cheeks.  The same man who later was crucified on a dump heap in Rome, upside down because he did not deem himself worthy to be murdered in the same manner as his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am Catholic because the Catholic Church welcomed people like Saul of Tarsus into Her ranks after he tried to murder Her members, even going so far as to get written permission from his own religious leaders to do so, because he found Truth.  Without his evangelization, his writings, Europe would not have received the Gift of the Holy Eucharist, survived war, famine, bad popes and scandal.  
Non-Catholics and former Catholics are right to point to the sins of the Bishops and Cardinals and other administrators and demand that they take full responsibility for their sins, for the horrors they help perpetuate and, in some cases, actually perpetrated themselves.  They owe a huge amends to those young men driven from their priestly calling by sexual predators in seminaries.  And while I can point out, rightfully, that the social mores of the time many of these assaults occurred played a huge part in how they were handled I have, in the past two weeks, had to confront my own thoughts, ideas and opinions and ask myself some very hard questions.

I have beloved family members who are practicing homosexuals.  I love them.  I see the good they do in the world.  I know that they would no more assault a child than poke themselves in the eye with a fork.

That being said, it would be a huge lie to pretend that the type of behavior many of our men in seminaries experienced from homosexual priests was limited to those who have a problem being predators.  Cardinal McCarrick behaved like a lot of the men I knew when I was a Fag Hag back in the 1970's.   What is shocking about his behavior is that he broke his vow of marriage - marriage to Holy Mother Church - and he did so with an attitude of smugness because he was allowed to do so by the Bishops around him.  No one stood up to this man and said, "STOP THIS RIGHT NOW".  Those who brought his behavior to other Bishops were told to shut up, were ignored or were told they were liars.

McCarrick and others who broke their vows were facilitated in their sin.  They were allowed to continue their behavior.  That is wrong.  There is no nuance, there is no explanation that can suffice.

I am ashamed of the behavior of these men and I, as a member of the Body of Christ, have begun to do penance for those sins.  I offer something each day in reparation for the mess I helped to create by not demanding strong priests, not praying for those who are holy and good and not standing up to wishy washy Bishops and tell them to knock it OFF when an orthodox priest goes against what is politically correct in their eyes.  I should have stood up faster and told my bishop that I expect him to lead his flock as JESUS would have and that means BEING A CATHOLIC even if it is inconvenient.

I stay Catholic.  I stay Catholic because Her teachings are Truth.  I stay an American because the ideals of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are true, strong and good.  I stay a member of my family because, despite our idiotic behavior, we are good people.

I do not abandon, I participate.  I look evil in the eye and I let it know it will not defeat me.

In the words of my late father, I may go down, but I go down with all weapons firing - and my weapon is Love.





Monday, August 20, 2018

Learning, Learning and (gulp!) Learning some more!

We can't have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves."
— St. Thomas Aquinas

I am a Dominican and, so, am very partial to Thomas.  The way he thinks, the manner in which he gives all to God and His Church, the contemplation and sharing of that contemplation all gives me a pretty high bar to hit. Of course, I can never be a St Thomas Aquinas, but I can give it a try.

I am particularly struck by the idea of being 'led on to master the evidence' for myself.  I am considering this in light of recent events in my life and how the evidence of my shortcomings and my assets can lead me to master that ever bothersome goal of aligning my will with the Will of God.

Because I can be the Queen of Rationalization, I have a difficult time 'seeing my part' in things that go sideways.  I am no different from the majority of human beings (few people see their part in bad or broken relationships other than to state that if they weren't so darn picky or good or honest or trusting these other bad people wouldn't take advantage of them or reject them).  My issue, however, is that I have two goals: an earthly one (stay sober) and a heavenly one (be a saint).   This means my path is narrower than most and can be rockier than most because I firmly believe that satan purposefully goes after people who have made a decision to try and get to heaven.  The boulders I find strewn on my path can be huge...and the tiny, pointy pebbles scattered along the way can cause me to bleed and become infected.  Either way, I can make a mess of things.

I have watched two people in the past ten days lose relationships.  I have watched their reactions and I understand those reactions because they have been mine.  I can see the damage they did and are currently doing and I know it is being done out of pain and hurt.

When life goes belly up for me, I try to remember that I am loved by God.  I believe that I am loved.  If I can do that, in spite of what appears to be the current tragedy or hurt of the moment, I have a better chance of examining the evidence of that love rather than ignoring it.  If I can examine the evidence of that love - my sobriety, my health, the amazing people in my life, my Scottie dog, that the Niners have only lost one game since last season and it is a pre season game and we beat the Cowboys - I can master this evidence.  It becomes second nature to me.  I just will KNOW it...and I won't need to make the public displays of anger and pride that I can do when I am hurt.

Let's all try and examine the evidence of Divine Love in our lives.  Let's start by believing it exists.

Monday, August 13, 2018

My Place in The Domestic Church

In Her teachings, Holy Mother Church rightfully proclaims the primacy of The Family, coining the term "The Domestic Church", when She  insists that it is within the boundaries of the family that The Faith is first to be passed on to the next generation.  In my role as the Coordinator of Children's Catechesis for a large parish in California, I am often the one that reminds the parents enrolling their little ones in our Parish School of Religion that it is their right and their responsibility, to partner with me and our Catechists to pass on the Truth.  Without them, we are often shouting into gale force winds of secularism.  With them, we are steering a boat through perilous seas with all hands on deck.  The chances of any of our precious cargo being lost lessen if we are all focused on its safe delivery.

I have written before of the particular burden I, as a widow without children of my own, carry as a practicing Catholic.  People with the same cross often reach out to me and ask what I do to ease this burden.  The specter of loneliness looms large in their lives and it sometimes can be overwhelming.  As one of our Dominican Friars said this past weekend, "The devil is real".   We know that he has been actively attacking us from the beginning and he gains entry to our souls through our fears and our weaknesses.

What do I tell them when they call, text or pull me aside for coffee?

The first thing I do is point them to the Catechism of The Catholic Church..

Holy Mother Church teaches:

1658 We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live - often not of their choosing - are especially close to Jesus' heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. The doors of homes, the "domestic churches," and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. "No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who 'labor and are heavy laden.'"172

2231 Some forgo marriage in order to care for their parents or brothers and sisters, to give themselves more completely to a profession, or to serve other honorable ends. They can contribute greatly to the good of the human family. 

When I lost my husband in 1987, I fully expected to remarry someday and have a family.  God's plans, however, were far better than my own and I have been a widow now for 31 years.  I wallowed in he disease of alcoholism for a short time (five years) before picking up the pieces of my life and finding my way back to God.  Since that time I have found a tremendous joy in the life given to me by my Creator, and yet I would be lying if I tried to deny the loneliness of this great life.

This is further exacerbated by my growing invisibility in the secular world - a viewpoint that can creep into parish or diocese.  Women of 'a certain age' become less important.  We are no longer fertile.  Our children are grown.  Unless we are needed to watch the grandkids or pay for problems that crop up along the way, we are not considered really necessary.

And yet, we are the ones who are the most available for service.  We are retired.  We have the time, the talent and the treasure and so we present ourselves for a variety of things:  Catechism Teachers, Sacristans, Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers to the Homebound, St Vincent de Paul food banks, you name it and you will see these apostolates filled with the Baby Boomers.  The reason? Well one reason is that we can - being needed in the home is lessened.   If we are blessed with good husbands, they are trudging the road of service with us.  If we are divorced or widowed, we are there by ourselves, asking around the parish office if anyone needs any help.

Many of us take the opportunity to learn more about our Faith.  We are attending the classes and the Adult Faith Formation lectures and we are finally able to really read that book by St Francis de Sales rather than having to make sure the 12 year old gets his science project done or the 8 year old has practiced his piano.  We can start to delve deeply into the rich spirituality that is The Catholic Faith and we find out how amazing our lives can be right now, today, by turning even more solidly to Jesus and His Church.

When I am approached by the Lonely Army (the name I have given them in my own head), I often ask them these questions:

1. What is your prayer life like, right now?

Do you have a discipline?  Are you learning to Lectio Divina?  Are you signed up for an hour of Adoration every week?  Are you structuring your life in a new way and making Him the primary reason for getting up every morning and walking through your day?

2.  What do you know about the three women who are Doctors of The Church?

What do you know about Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux?  Have you read biographies or autobiographies of these mighty women of The Faith?  Is there anything about them you can imitate?

3.  Who was your confirmation saint?

Many of us forget we even HAD a confirmation saint!  Remember her?  Remember how you chose her?  What do you know about her?  Are you asking her to pray with you every day?

4.  What do you know about The Faith?

Dominicans often say things like this:  I affirm to be true all that Holy Mother Church teaches, and I don't even KNOW all that Holy Mother Church teaches.

While that is a humble way of reminding ourselves that we should always be studying, it is not an excuse to just say, "whatever" and skip merrily down the pathway of life.  We, Catholics all, have an obligation to learn, to stretch ourselves and to become familiar with the beauty of our great Faith.  While the Internet can be a source of great temptation and sin, it can also be a tremendous asset in the New Evangelization.  My mother, now 96 1/2 years old, began reading books on saints, angels and the Catholic Faith.  Why?  Because she can, because she has read every good mystery story ever written by her favorite authors, and because she has never lost her love of learning.  Surely, those of us in our 60's can fit in a good spiritual book or two - beginning with The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

There is another aspect of this situation, however, that I think we should all be willing to address.

Many young women today have not had the advantage of being raised by faithful parents.  They, themselves, have found their strength in the Catholic Church.  They are embracing the Faith and the lifestyle that is uniquely ours as Catholics but they are doing so without their own role models.  Oftentimes they are flat out told by members of their families - mothers, older sisters, fathers - that they have become 'fanatics' because they want to do something as simple as celebrate their child's Baptism every year, or the feast day of the saint their child was named for or other such Catholic Stuff.  Many of our children at PSR have never seen an Advent wreath until we make one in the classroom and we find ourselves teaching THEIR parents the importance of having a home that is shaped around the Liturgical Life of The Church.

This is where people my age can come to the rescue.   Being available to young families today, encouraging them, inviting them to our homes and making them a part of our lives provides the type of back up many of these young women and men lack.  The times when I hear someone in their 30's and 40's say to me, "I have no one to talk to about this but you" makes me both sad for them and grateful that the life Our Lord planned for me gives me the opportunity to be of service to them.   It is more than just saying, "I can watch the kids".  It is taking that late night phone call from an exhausted and weepy mother of 3 young children who have all had the flu the same weekend and assuring her that she is doing better than she thinks she is, or getting together for coffee with that mom of the teenage boy who thinks playing FortNite on the computer is communicating with people so that you can assure her that restricting WiFi time is okay.

Listen, I do not want to pretend that this will completely vanquish the Specter of Loneliness.  We will still be overlooked at Christmas and Easter.  We will still NOT get those calls on our birthday or asked out to dinner or over to watch a movie.

What will change, however, is that we will no longer worry too much about being left out.  We will see our importance, how we are needed and more importantly how we are a part of The Domestic Church.  Our focus on Jesus and how we can learn and serve will allow us to find our meaning, our rhythm and the purpose of our lives.  We will learn to respect our own pasts, not regret our mistakes, and we will see that we have something important to do on earth to further the Kingdom of God.

At the end of it all, we will know that we matter - not in a way that the world thinks we should matter but in the way we are meant to matter; as women and children of God.

*******************************

Please hold my 'other mother' in prayer.  She was my mom's BFF for over 75 years.  She entered into eternal rest on Friday, August 10th.  Harriet Pistochini, you were and are loved.  Thank you for being in my life, for knowing me and loving me anyway.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may Perpetual Light shine upon her.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Humanae Vitae - a Catholic Widow's Perspective

On July 25, 1968 the world shattering encyclical Humane Vitae was published by the Vatican.  Blessed Pope Paul IV answered a question that truly shattered many American Catholics - the question of whether or not artificial birth control was a moral choice for anyone.  Speaking to us with love and with courage, the pontiff stated:

No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, (l) that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments, (2) constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men's eternal salvation. (3) (http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html)

I was only 12 years old, a Catholic school girl whose family had been torn apart by divorce and who was dealing (at the time) with being something of an oddity among her schoolmates.  I was the only kid in my class whose father had walked out, whose mother had to work outside the home and who had to go home to a babysitter rather than a mom after school.

I remember the 'funny' posters that popped up on the walls of Spencers' Gift shop in the Mall - one showed Pope Paul VI pointing his finger at the world and the caption read "The Pope Says the Pill is a No-No".  I was shocked, of course.  No one criticized the Pope in my world.  I didn't really understand it.  What was the Pill and why would the Pope care?

It is common during this, the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, to point to the words of the Holy Father and shake our heads at how accurate he was in predicting all that would come from the so-called Sexual Revolution.  

Reading this amazing work, I was struck by this:

...the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society. (Chpt 10, Responsible Parenthood).


Keeping a right order of priorities - what an amazing phrase.  The Holy Father, gently but efficiently, reminded the men and women of the world that there is a right order of what is important and that if, through selfishness and sin, they decide that those priorities should change then all hell will break loose.

It did in my life.

My father had many challenges and fidelity was one of them.  His inability to stay faithful to his marriage vows has caused damage in our lives even today.  The result of poor fathering can be something that becomes a kind of ugly family legacy and I have seen it in my own family. 

When we, as Catholics, celebrate this amazing document I hope we do not simply glorify a past that existed in the minds of Hollywood.  You know the one - the one where everyone lives like the family in Leave it to Beaver and the worst thing that happens is the Beave gets stuck on a billboard.  When we, as Catholics, quote from this document let's not forget that women were being treated in America as second class citizens.  They could not have bank accounts on their own if they were married.  If their husband dumped them, he took his pension with him leaving them with the children and very little means of support.  If they were beaten, the police often told them to be better wives.  If they were raped, they were asked what they had done to tempt their attacker.

Many people grew up with wonderful fathers and intact families.  Many of us did not.  Many of us had a mother and father in the home and still dealt with sexual abuse, verbal abuse and physical abuse.  

I maintain that people who are free do not seek liberation.  The women's liberation movement did not happen in a vacuum; rather, women who had found themselves victims of the Sin of Adam sought a way of life that would allow them to flourish.  They, mistakenly, looked at what the biggest difference was and came to the conclusion that getting pregnant was 'the problem'.  If, they thought, a woman could decide for herself whether or not she had to get pregnant then that woman would be free.

The error, I believe, was the premise:  women who sought remedy for injustices looked at the behavior of immoral men and concluded that immorality equaled freedom.  If we women could have sex 'without consequences' (the terms used at the time - already reducing a child to a consequence rather than a beautiful result of sexual intercourse) then we would be fulfilled.  We would be free.

The Holy Father wrote:

Consequences of Artificial Methods

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.


Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.


Today, women are fighting the very things predicted by the Holy Father.  The hashtag #MeToo  is indicative of the horrors we have suffered at the hands of those who consider us mere receptacles for their own pleasure.  Did these types of men exist before 1968?  Yes.  Were some of them our fathers, our brothers, our priests, our teachers, coaches, pack leaders?  Yes.  Is this behavior ever okay?  NO!  However, we women better be willing to look at the role our own yearning for freedom and liberation has played in the failure of the moral life today.  While I refuse, and will NEVER, take any responsibility for anyone's criminal behavior (and putting your hands on me without my permission is criminal, let's be very clear) to pretend that the free wheeling atmosphere that took over the world in the late 1960's and exists now in the present day does not provide a kind of cover for sexual assault is crazy.  Women who insist on being treated as a total human rather than just a sexual being are still suspect.  When I shared with a man who claims to be very close to God (he is a non-practicing Catholic who still thinks of himself as a Catholic) that I have been celibate for 18 years, he was shocked into silence.  He stuttered, "Why?".  I answered him that at 8 years sober I had taken my eyes off the prize and committed a sexual sin.  I shared that I felt the separation from God, went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and have requested help from The Lord and The Church ever since so that I can grow in holiness.

His answer?

"That's just CRAZY".

So....

Despite the fact that this is my choice, that I want to be a member of The Church (and a member in good standing) and that I have found a happiness denied me when I wanted only to 'be free', he thinks I am crazy.

hmmmm.

Pope Paul IV wrote in Chapter 18:

It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching. There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a "sign of contradiction." (22) She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.

Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.

In preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization. She urges man not to betray his personal responsibilities by putting all his faith in technical expedients. In this way she defends the dignity of husband and wife. This course of action shows that the Church, loyal to the example and teaching of the divine Savior, is sincere and unselfish in her regard for men whom she strives to help even now during this earthly pilgrimage "to share God's life as sons of the living God, the Father of all men." (23)

Again, I do not expect anyone to look at all sides of this while celebrating this great document.  I would be surprised if they go beyond 'look what artificial birth control did to America' and address the problems man has with sin and has always had with sin.  I sometimes feel like a true voice in the wilderness when I say, "We did not have perfect families in the 1950s!  There is a REASON women thought they needed to be liberated!".  

I believe that turning our eyes to the past is important so that we can learn - not just from the good we let slip away but from the ugly that was there and that we were dealing with back then.  I always want to tell our more vocal Catholic male speakers, "If men behaved like The Church taught, women would be safe."  

We aren't...we haven't been since Eve offered Adam the fruit and he caved under the fear of loneliness.  By choosing not to  honor the priorities of God, Adam allowed sin to enter the world and we have been battling the consequences ever since.

On this, the 50th anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae, my prayers are that we stop caring about ourselves and start caring about our relationship with The Creator.  My prayers are for those who have decided there is no God at all.

And my prayers are that Holy Mother Church continue to be that sign of contradiction in the world.  



Blessed Paul IV, pray for us.