Thursday, August 31, 2006

Holding Hands During the Our Father

Amy Caroline has raised the question of why we don't hold hands during the Our Father.

My pastor has made it very clear to us that holding hands during the Our Father is not in the rubrics of the Mass and therefore should not be done. The Mass belongs to the Church and no one may add or subtract from it. OK. I think this has become an issue because there are many parishes where holding hands is done by the entire congregation as though it were a part of the Mass, and even some parishes where the faithful have been instructed to hold hands.

I understand that this practice is not in the rubrics and therefore should not be done. But what to do when you are at a parish where everyone holds hands?

I hold hands. It seems to me that during Mass is not the time to explain that this practice is not in the rubrics and to just refuse to hold hands is not very charitable. Even to explain during or after the Mass could really come across as a "holier than thou" attitude. The people doing the hand-holding are not trying to defy Church authority and isn't it the responsibility of the presider or the pastor to instruct the congregation on the rubrics?

If he doesn't, is it my responsibility? I don't think so. I prefer to err on the side of charity than to risk being guilty of legalism.

Am I wrong?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mothers' contribution to the social security system. Yeah!

Check out this article from

The most needed reform is that benefits should be based on both kinds of
contributions, not just financial contributions. Phillip Longman is one of the
few commentators to address the fertility problem of Social Security reform. In
The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to
do about it, he proposes to link a couple's benefits not
only to the income of the primary earning, but to the number of children they

Today, it is considered politically incorrect to mention the obvious
contribution of motherhood. Feminism taught us to believe that motherhood is for
ninnies, and that no self-respecting educated woman should be caught dead
changing diapers. Public policies to encourage women to have more children are
considered unacceptable infringements on women's freedom.

Feminism also taught men to keep their mouths shut about women's choices. Men have no opinions that women are bound to respect. Once a woman chooses something, all men are required to bow down three times in adoration of the goddess of Self-Determination.

Well, I am one woman who is ready to say that raising
children is a good and socially constructive thing to do. Having more than
one one or two children can be a lot of fun. And it is
for certain that raising a large family to productive adulthood will use all the
gifts of even the most gifted woman. Having a family is a worthy life endeavor,
deserving the educated woman's most serious consideration.

The Social Security system should recognize this fact, and link
benefits to child-rearing. When Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson gets specific
about Social Security reform, I encourage him to consider fertility "on the

I'll stick up for him when the screaming starts.

Jennifer Roback
Morse, Ph.D. is the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long Love in a Hook-Up

Color and italics are mine.

Three cheers for Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse!! How wonderful to have someone, for once, articulate the social contribution of mothers!!! I've never thought about the connection to Social Security. We are making a greater contribution by raising the contributors to the social security system of the future.

Priestly Formation

Gerald Augustinus brings the following to our attention.
I've added the address because I don't seem to be getting the link to work.

New document on priestly formation

It can be
found on the USCCB website
. Here
excerpts from the 98 page
document - on, for errm, obvious reasons on

candidate must be prepared to accept wholeheartedly
the Church’s teaching on
sexuality in its entirety,.....

I guess I should be encouraged that this is spelled out as an expectation for candidates to the priesthood. Perhaps it is an indication of my naivete that I am astonished that it should need to be said. Not that I don't understand that there are many currently ordained priests that clearly do not wholeheartedly accept the Church's teachings on human sexuality-- or at least one suspects so by certain hints.... silence in the face of great confusion by the faithful, etc.

This sentence is not at the beginning of the document. Why not? I would expect that a man would not even be admitted to a seminary unless, in an initial interview, he asserted agreement with all of church teachings. Is there so much corruption in the seminaries that this is not the case?? Is faithfulness to the magisterium not even a prerequisite for admission to a seminary? Perhaps this is just to emphasize that faithfulness is indeed expected. Still, I wish this statement were a little more front and center.....

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Speaking the truth fearlessly in the tradition of John the Baptist

On this the memorial of The Martyrdom of John the Baptist I have been contemplating the courage it takes to speak the truth. Today, when so many lies abound and the world is filled with such confusion it would seem speaking the truth is more important than ever. Truths such as:

Abortion kills a living human being. A woman's body does not include her baby's body. Abortion is not a matter of personal freedom. It is about the right of a human being to live.

Homosexual behavior is disordered and unhealthy. Marriage is between one man and one woman and there is no other kind of marriage. Homosexual behavior is not simply a personal matter because the gay activists have brought it into the public square with their unrelenting attempts to gain public acceptance of their behavior. Public acceptance endangers everyone. Our laws reflect who we are as a people.

Parents are the primary educators of their children.

Babies need lots and lots of time with their mothers....

Starving and/or dehydrating a person to death is murder, regardless of the person's wishes or physical or mental state.

And so on...

I must admit that my speaking of the truth is largely limited to letters to the editor and posts on my blog. It's difficult to confront people. It's particularly hard now when dreadful ideas have become so commonplace that even otherwise good people accept them.

Writing is important and does impact people. I'm asking myself why I primarily visit blogs whose writers I thoroughly agree with. Perhaps I should get out there in the blogosphere where the real dirt is flying?

Some of these issues are so hot that one wonders about the danger of speaking out. I once received a hostile phone call from someone who had read one of my letters to the editor. Perhaps I should take off this blog some of the personally identifying information.

Still, there is the example of John the Baptist who surely knew that his life was in danger by speaking the truth. And there is the example of Herod who worried about the opinions of others and committed an unspeakable crime, for which he is remembered today. May I follow the example of John the Baptist.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!!!

A New High Schooler

My youngest son started high school today. How can this be??

I think he's quite ready, quite mature, and he understands what he's about to undertake. I have great hopes for him. (In addition to hoping he won't get hurt playing football. :)

As I always do when one of my children starts high school, I said a rosary for him after dropping him off. Oh Lord, please bless him all the days he spends in high school. May he do his best, have lots of fun, grow in holiness, and bring great joy to you, His heavenly father, who cherishes him so much.

I thank you again, my Lord and my God, for the gift of being his mother.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

University of Notre Dame

I went to Notre Dame yesterday to take some things to my son.

Notre Dame is a special place. There is a grace about that school that is difficult to explain to those who have never been there. For those who have, no explanation is necessary. They know.

It is a grace-filled place. It is not a perfect school. There are things here and there. Clearly, Satan is after it from within and from without. But he doesn't seem to be able to touch the heart of Notre Dame.

I believe this is Mary's school and that her hand is upon it in a very special way. I believe she has a special presence there and it is palpable.

How else to explain the graciousness of everyone there from the administration,, to the financial aid office, to student accounts, to the cafeteria workers..... There is a humility.

I once wondered if I was really just taken with maternal pride at my son's attendance at a university with such prestige. I felt like God revealed to me that it is the presence of His mother that gives Notre Dame its prestige. It's all because of her.

My husband and I said the rosary together at the grotto. It was a special time at a special school-- the University of Our Lady.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Advice to Myself

Stop taking yourself so seriously. The world does not need you to keep spinning.

Cheerfulness is a choice. It can exist along with sadness and irritability (although the irritability can fight real hard to be dominant.).

Computers are stupid. To expect them to be otherwise is to invite disappointment.

Children are still in formation. They cannot have everything you might expect in a civilized adult.

You will not raise any perfect children.

If you want to lose weight you must desire to do so more than you desire to eat whenever you feel like it.

You are not responsible for anyone else's happiness. Stop trying to assume such responsibility.
It is an exercise in futility.

Stop putting off things you do not want to do. They are an energy drain.

Guard against obsession with blogging. Limit the time. When interrupted, give all your attention to the interrupter, particularly if it is a child. It's good discipline and also just the right way to treat a child.

Do not expect more from yourself than you would expect from any other capable person. You are not superwoman.

Pray, pray, pray. Take the time to be still.

I feel a little better already. :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006


My mother had a gift for hospitality. She loved parties and was skilled at creating lovely tables with tasty food and drink. She would arrange everything just so and the result was pleasing to both the eye and the palate. More importantly, she made everyone feel welcome and honored as a guest in her home. There was no alcohol. Just laughter, acceptance, love, and the warmth of my mother's kind heart. People loved to come to her home.

I have tried to do the same. I don't have anywhere near the finesse my mother had, but I try to be sure that everyone who comes into my home is tended to and made to feel welcome. I have a plaque on the wall of our dining area that reads. "He who enters thru this gate comes never too early nor stays too late." I want my guests to always feel comfortable.

I particularly enjoy welcoming my teenagers' friends to my home. My teens have open permission to invite friends over whenever they want. Since I am not an accomplished housekeeper, I must swallow my pride and realize I may have unexpected guests when the house is a disaster. Oh well. I have found most teens could care less what your house looks like. "Entertaining" teens is a little different. They don't want to be "tended to". They want to be invisible. So I let them. I say hi, offer them ice cream or other snack food if we have any, or sometimes I just remind my own child of what we have if he would like to get it for them. I then be sure to not stay in the same room. I give them their space. I put a little distance between us and just enjoy the satisfaction of knowing my child is home and I know what he is doing. Years ago we bought a nice TV (although I hate commercial television) to make our basement a likely choice for teens to get together and watch videos. It was a good decision.

Having guests in my home is an opportunity for me to practice charity as well as humility. (I do not have a Better Homes and Gardens-type home) You never know when you may be "entertaining angels in disguise."

John is taking his driving test!

My son John is taking his driving test in 15 minutes. I'm pretty sure he will pass. Then I will once again go through that bizarre combination of euphoria and terror. It will be so nice to have another driver, especially since his older two siblings are no longer home. But, as a mother, the thought of my teen driving a car is a very scary thing. There always the thought of 'well, maybe I shouldn't let him drive, in spite of living in a culture where all teens drive.'

Well, he's going to be driving. I think he'll do well. He is not a reckless person (except occasionally on the piano when his fingers and inspiration take over) LOL

May God bless him and keep him safe today and always!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Great New Blog

Jodi Bonjour has a new blog that will be really helpful to the technologically challenged like me. I can't believe her first post was on RSS feeds and I read it the morning after bemoaning to my son that I really need to find out more about these things.

The blog is Technology for Mothers: Reviews and How Tos. It is at I have it linked above and, hopefully, written out here because I never know if I've actually linked something until after I've posted it and tried it out. Thus I have demonstrated my need for the above site.

Thanks to Jodi for this great idea!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Refreshing Trip

We spent the last two days at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City with the 4 youngest kids. It was a nice place. It's a large hotel with interesting decor and its own enormous indoor water park. The park was elaborate and included something for everybody! There were baby pools and baby slides, a huge play structure that everyone from adults to small children could climb, two slides from the structure, a lazy river, two hot tubs (one for adults only), water basketball, several slippery, floaty things to climb on, and 3 daredevil slides about 4 stories tall which even I went down. You had to ride down on a single, double, or even triple inner tube-- very fun for family groups. The staff was very friendly and accommodating and the place was full of children. My kind of atmosphere.

On one of the days we took a short side trip to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes on Lake Michigan. It was very, very beautiful and the kids really enjoyed climbing the dunes. We had an impromptu family football game on the top of one of the dunes. (very modified rules, mind you. mom-friendly rules:). One of those special, family moments.

When we returned to GWL we had dinner, the girls had little braids put in their hair, and then back to the water park which was open until ten. It was a lively yet peaceful and enjoyable time.
But it is nice to be back.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Negligent Mother and the Good Natured Son

Two minutes before we had to leave for his first football scrimmage my son asked if I had washed his shirt and underarmor. I said yes and then realized with horror that I had put them in the washer but never made the transfer to the dryer. I gasped and ran downstairs to try two minutes in the dryer with only two items. They came out still pretty damp.

I said, "OK. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to hold them outside the window while we're driving. We'll hold them really, really tightly because we don't want to stop on the highway to run back and find your shirt somewhere on the side of the road, OK?" We were both laughing by now.

We alternated between holding them in the wind and pressing the underarmor against the heat vents which we had blowing hot air full blast, in spite of the 80 degree temperature outside. This allowed for more jokes about drying the "underarms of the underarmor," etc. By the time we got out of the car the shirts were almost dry.

I enjoyed the ridiculousness of the scene while also berating myself for being such a negligent mother. Jim chuckled as he entered the locker room, no doubt amused by his driven mother's consistently failed efforts at perfection. What a blessing to have a son who, even at 14 and heading for his first football scrimmage, is so good-natured he could see the humor in the situation. God bless him.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Life is sacred!!

This article has been cited in a lot of blogs the last few days but I thought I'd add my two cents.

The network said: "Jenni is angry that, having fought so hard to become
liberated and independent, women are now being trapped into caring for
dependent parents."

Wait till you read the rest, if you haven't already. I can't imagine what it must be like to harbor such hostility toward caretaking. This woman is actually talking about her own mother-- how much she doesn't want to take care of her. She has a suicide pact with some friends to make sure her own life will be taken should she herself ever be incapacitated.

When human life, in all states of independence or dependence, is no longer considered sacred all manner of lies can enter the psyche, it seems. When we place ourselves in the position of God all of the ugliness of the world, the flesh, and the devil is let loose. This just reeks of the father of lies, doesn't it?

How silly, how selfish, we become when, all puffed up, we start to think we actually understand all that is important. Surely this woman is depressed. I'm depressed just thinking about what her world view must be like. May the Lord, in His mercy, open her eyes to the meaning of love, the position of man, and the Lordship of God.

The paneling is gone! Finally!

I'm sitting in the middle of my family room where the computer is temporarily located. Everything in the room is covered with plastic dropcloths to catch the dust. I had to wipe the drywall dust off my chair before sitting down. Now for the good news.

The horrendously ugly paneling that we have looked at for the last 20 years (yes, 20!) is finally off the walls! My husband is patching, sanding etc. the original drywall that was under the paneling but never painted. It already looks better. Even just the unpainted drywall! I'm excited, although it is making blogging a little more complicated.

Have enjoyed reading everybody's tonight but can't think of much else to say. Sweet dreams.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Speaking out about abortion

Have you seen this article referenced on a number of blogs written by a Russian woman about how she came to not be aborted? It's very thought provoking. What struck me was how often we are silent about the reality of what an abortion is. How often we are complacent, kind of reconciled to the fact that abortion is commonplace in our society. Perhaps we need to be reminded that there are those who have never heard someone say that abortion takes the life of a baby. Or perhaps they have heard it many times but they need to hear it one more time before the lie is finally toppled. I am much more comfortable talking about abortion to people who share my faith than to those whose faith I do not know. Yet who has the greater need to hear the truth?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Football injuries

My son Jim, an in-coming freshman in high school has joined the junior varsity football team. Neither of my two older sons played high school football so this is a new thing for me. (I might actually have to learn the rules for football :).

My concern is that football seems to be a sport where there are a lot of injuries. Jim is not a huge guy. Fortunately, he's very, very fast-- and that's without some 200 pound guy chasing him. Maybe he can just run like crazy and never get tackled? And there I'll be screaming, "Run for your life!" if he gets the ball.

Is football a dangerous sport to play? I guess I'll just keep praying for his protection. You can get hurt doing almost anything, right?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The real significance of today

Happy Feast of the Assumption.

Cedar Point--what a trip

As soon as we entered the park the three oldest there decided to go on the Maxair, an ride that looks like an enormous pendulum with a circle of seats at the bottom. It has a thrill ranking of 5 (out of 5). As the pendulum swings it hurls the people into the air (going progressively higher with each swing) and then throws them back down to Earth with a force that must be similar to Lucifer being thrown out of heaven. Of course it looks like it's going to smack right into the ground each time it comes down. As I watched I must tell you it brought me nearly to tears to see my children thrown around like that. I realized I had to get a grip on myself. It is an illusion that this is dangerous and I realized I would spoil everyone's fun if I just stayed flipped out all day. As I waited for them all to come back from the next ride, I had time to say the rosary and allow the Lord to pull me back together which He did.

Still, there were rides I would not let my youngest go on even though she was tall enough.

Thankfully, the lines for the dragster were too long and later in the day it was shut down. For those of you who haven't seen the dragster.... It goes over 400 ft. straight into the air at over 100 miles an hour. This is the roller coaster that makes even the greatest roller coaster enthusiast hesitate-- the most maniacal of all the new maniacal designs. LOL And they didn't go on it! But, would you believe, that even after it was shut down (for a problem!) there were still long lines of people waiting, just in case they started it running again. Is that part of the appeal? It not only looks like a really dangerous thing to ride, maybe it really is dangerous if there's a problem with it?

I guess a good way to look at this phenomenon of scary rides is to realize that this gives people a chance to feel that they are doing something really dangerous while in actuality doing something quite safe, physically and otherwise. There are ways to experience the "thrill" of risk taking that truly are dangerous and/or immoral. Perhaps roller coasters provide a safe outlet for those who desire to feel that kind of experience. I think too there is a certain satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment when one is able to face a fear, stare it right in the eye, and overcome it. Perhaps it even provides a valuable life lesson in this area? I guess I missed out on that lesson.

I must say that Cedar Point is a clean park. And I saw nothing objectionable in the way of signs or pictures anywhere. And they had a light show/fireworks display at the end that was really quite good. The video images showcased Ohio State University, University of Michigan, and Notre Dame football teams (2 of which we have loyalties to), as well as our armed forces and patriot themes. At the end they invited everyone to stand up and sing "God bless America." I was so surprised. No fear of mentioning God in the public square. I wondered if the owners of the park might be Christians. I must say there are other times when I have felt more inspired to sing "God bless America" than at the end of an exhausting day at Cedar Point. Still, seeing my children's faces still animated from all the fun and thrills of the day, I was able to think of what a blessed life we live in this country.

I saw that coming up there will be a special day for homeschoolers at CP-- discounted admission, I think. You could find out at their website.

Anyway, the family had a fun time, including me. Funniest line: When I told 10 year old Elizabeth that I don't go on roller coasters because I 'm afraid of heights she responded, "But Mom, I'm afraid of heights too!" Perhaps the real difference here is that she is brave and I am not?

We're Back!

We're back and everyone is still alive, thanks be to God. And everyone but me is still asleep. I have to write more about this later but it was an intense experience. Turns out I only have one child who looks at the rides rather conservatively and she and I enjoyed the merry-go-round with race horses. (It's a fast one.) We also went on the antique cars several times. She drove, of course. And she went on a few rides like the scrambler and similar things. Those I could even watch and take pictures without my heart racing. You see even watching some of these rides is an experience for me.

I have to be somewhere. I'll write more later. Loved your comments.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cedar Point Trip

Tomorrow we are taking a family trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park. Five of the kids will come. Neither my husband nor I enjoy roller coasters much, but he says he will go on some tomorrow. I have an awful feeling that my youngest will be tall enough to be allowed on any ride. And she's fearless-- she'll want to go on them all!! Oh dear.

I don't understand really the appeal of scary rides. What is fun about the feeling of impending death? What is enjoyable about panicy, adrenaline surges? It sounds awful to me. And what about the dizziness? I get dizzy just watching them from the ground. I especially get dizzy if one of my children is on it.

In any event, it will be fun to be together as a family. (Wish I could sit and blog somewhere while they're on the roller coasters.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Manners for Children-- Beyond please and thank you...

It seems to me that a lot of children these days are not being taught manners. My own children, in fact, could use more instruction in this area. Please and thank you are of course basic. But manners could be cultivated further.

There are several children who attend school with my children who always address me by name, should they happen to pass me in the hall. They look me right in the eye and say, "Hello, Mrs. Bogdan." I don't believe the majority of children, my own included, are reminded that this is a polite thing to do. Don't we adults just love it when young people look up and address us by name? (Instead of acting like we're invisible.)

I have to say that I have a very good impression of the young people who do this, although I know very little else about them. I do know one thing though. A parent took the time to teach them what it means to show respect and courtesy to an adult. I think it's a good bet that they also were taught a lot of other things about how to treat people.

I'm going to make a mental note to remind my children to speak to adults in this way. It creates such a good impression, besides just being plain, old good behavior.

Sleeping in the Moonlight

Last night the moon was positioned in the sky in just such a way that it was shining into my bedroom window. I love it when that happens. Sometimes the moonlight is actually shining on my face. Needless to say I leave the shade open on such nights. I hope it's still there tonight. There's just something so peaceful about moonlight.

I must go to sleep. We have a fifth grade birthday party here tomorrow.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Rosary for the World

My dear friend Sally, in spite of her own health challenges which have left her exhausted, has felt called to initiate a weekly rosary in our parish to pray for the entire world. Each decade is offered for a different continent or area of the world. Since the details have not yet been printed in the bulletin just she and I said it tonight. (And my son Jim joined us about halfway through, having finished his football practice.)

After this mornings arrests in the United Kingdom, the urgency of intercession for the problems of the world seemed particularly pointed. We prayed before each decade for what we knew were issues in that part of the world. I resolved to become better informed in order to be more focused in prayer and to have greater compassion and empathy for my brothers and sisters in all corners of the globe.

It was a peaceful time. We sat in the Marian meditation garden and it was very beautiful and quiet. I felt that the Holy Spirit must be powerfully present with us, clearly pleased that His faithful servant Sally would respond to His promptings in spite of her great fatigue. In fact, it almost seemed that her weakness at this time was magnifying the power of the prayer. It felt like a holy time. I will most certainly be back next week.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

American Academy of Pediatrics' Advice

I'm looking at a handout from the American Academy of Pediatrics on "Puberty: Information for Girls." One sentence reads, "Someone who does not want to be your friend just because you are not having sex is probably someone who is not worth being friends with anyway." Probably? Probably? Do you think? Why does a group of well educated adults whose lives are devoted to the health of children need to be so mamby-pamby? Can they not be direct and truthful to adolescents they don't even know? Is this fear of offending people or just sloppy English. You'd think on such an important matter that they would be very careful of their wording.

Another line: "Do not let friends-- or anyone-- talk you into having sex. This is a decision you make when it is right for you, not for your friends." It does go on to suggest some things the adolescent might want to think about. But isn't the implication that deciding whether or not to have sex is a morally and medically neutral decision? That this is a decision that is up to the child? As medical professionals do they feel no obligation to tell children the truth? I would expect an honest doctor to tell the child that the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases is to remain a virgin until marriage and marry someone who has done the same. He might also add that there are emotional and psychological consequences. In fact, why not just say that there are numerous reasons to reserve sex for marriage and that's what you should do. Why not give them a handout on all the reasons they should not have sex?

How has the Father of Lies gotten people so confused?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Photos! Yea!

Yea! It's working. This is Elizabeth (the birthday girl today) and Michael, my oldest.

Elizabeth's birthday and the first photo!

All right!! I think it worked. Thank you, Mary Poppins NOT! and Mimi! I thought that was what I did but maybe I left something out.

Anyway, Daughter Mary is on the left, followed by me, then Jim, my youngest son and last, but not least, Elizabeth who is ten years old today!!

Elizabeth, born two months before I turned 42 is a special blessing in our family. (So is Mary who was born two months after my 40th birthday.) I thought God is so good to have blessed me with two more daughters after turning 40!

Elizabeth is so funny. She has a million dollar smile and we see it a lot. She is feminine but feisty, tough but kind-hearted. Once in a carpool conversation of who was afraid of what, Lizzie shouted, "I'll tell you what I'm afraid of.....nothin'" And I think it's true.

She is a tremendous source of joy to our family. She keeps us laughing with her adorable sense of humor and her creativity.

May God bless her all the days of her life. May all the passion that is in her be directed toward pursuit of the Lord and His will for her life. May she always be His good and faithful servant and may His grace always be upon her. Oh Jesus, may she be filled today and forever with your joy, your peace, and your love. I thank you for the privilege of being her mother.

Monday, August 07, 2006

How do I post pictures?

I'm having the hardest time posting photos in my blog. (You'll notice that there aren't any.) Twice I have gotten as far as what looks like it has been accomplished and there is a little dotted line box in the post and a little cross in the corner, but no picture. Does the picture come up later or something? Or is this my computer messing with me again. I'm following the directions in the "Blogging for Dummies" book and I'm doing what he says but it just doesn't seem to appear on the post. Another opportunity to develop patience.....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Graphic abortion images

Yesterday there was an abortion protest in Ypsilanti in which a number of photographs of aborted babies was displayed. It was described as an "American Atrocities" Tour. The protestors lined the sidewalks of more than three blocks along Michigan Avenue. Two of the group's members were attacked and two arrests were made.

I am very sympathetic to the cause of these protestors. In fact, I have participated in a number of pro-life demonstrations and prayer vigils. And I want very much for the new abortion clinic in Ypsilanti to be shut down for good. (For those of you who live in this area this is the same guy who used to have the clinic on Packard in Ann Arbor)

It it my prayer that these images will save lives, change people's hearts, and open people's minds to the reality of what an abortion is. That being said.... I'm uncomfortable with the use of graphic images of the innocent victims of our culture of death. It's not the blood or the shock value that bothers me. It is the dignity of the babies who have died that concerns me. I mean the babies whose actual brutalized corpses are on display. I don't think these photos should be used out of respect for these dead. The beautiful photos of living unborn babies might be just as effective in opening people's eyes to the reality of when human life begins.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mel Gibson's drunken anti-Semitic remarks

OK. Mel Gibson has made a couple of big mistakes. The worst mistake was getting behind the wheel of a car drunk. That could have resulted in someone losing their life. The second was saying stupid, hurtful things in his belligerent stupor. But Mel has made a very heartfelt, sincere, public apology in which he makes no excuses for his behavior. I am convinced that the media are all over this repentant man not because there is anything unusual about a Hollywood star doing something dangerous, hurtful, or stupid. They are crowding around him like predators because he made the movie the "Passion of the Christ." Rabbi Marc Gellman has written an essay on Mel Gibson's sins that puts the whole issue in a good perspective, I think. I hope this link thing works. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Beauty and the Beast

Those who may be reading this in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area really should try to get to see "Beauty and the Beast" at Towsley Auditorium on Washtenaw Community College's campus this weekend. Shows are Thursday (today) , Friday and Saturday at 8:00 and Sunday at 2:00.

This is the third year that Ms. K-M, the drama coach at Father Gabriel Richard High School, has put on one of these wonderful summer productions to help raise money to build a theatre at Gabriel Richard. It is done by the "dramalums," students who were in many of her plays while in high school and so enjoyed the experience that they come back and give huge amounts of time to be in one of her productions again and to support the cause. Needless to say, the lead roles are performed by some of the best talent she has ever worked with. (Current drama club members are in the choruses, work on music, or backstage.) It's a labor of love. And the shows are fabulous.

I took pictures of the dress rehearsal last night and this show is no exception. It's really, very good-- and such a family-friendly show. The kids will love it. Professional costumes, excellent talent, and the tickets are only $10.00! You can support a good cause and enjoy a great show at the same time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A special time with daughter Mary

Yesterday, all of my children except one had gone in different directions. Eleven year old Mary was the only one home. This is a pretty rare event. It was late in the day, but I thought this is a good opportunity to have some one-on-one time with her. I made the wild suggestion that the two of us go to a nearby water park. Even as I said it I thought, do I really want to do this? I'm tired. Water parks are exhausting. It will cost money, etc. But we went.

It cost less than I thought because it was 5:00. It was a lot of fun. I even went down the slide and it wasn't that scary. We went in the wave pool. We climbed the play structure. We floated on the "lazy river." It was peaceful and fun-- a rare opportunity to play with just Mary.

I could have gotten some laundry done. I could have cleaned a bathroom or updated my planner. But I would have missed all the fun. Sometimes enjoying life with one or more children is just so much more important than being able to check off another item on my to-do-list. The list will still be there tomorrow. But the chance to have some special time with just Mary would be gone.

May I always listen when the Lord tells me to put aside my agenda and follow His.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Peace Vigil? Pray a rosary!

Some three hundred people in my hometown held a "peace vigil." They lined the streets of several blocks in our downtown area holding candles and signs. They were reportedly calling "for the United State to demand a cease-fire." There was no mention of prayer. I can see the purpose of a prayer vigil for peace. That may be the only solution to the problem. But I don't understand the purpose of this demonstration.

We are nowhere near anyone who is making any decisions for Israel or Hezbollah or Lebanon. There was no call to write letters, make calls, or anything that might actually have any impact at all on the situation. The U.S. should demand a ceasefire?? Yeah. We just say, "We demand that you stop it!! Stop it!!" And then they'll stop, right? Am I the only one that thinks this is ridiculous? The organizer is reported to have said that "the only long-term solution for peace is a cease-fire." Isn't that like saying that the only way there will be peace is to have peace? I don't see any meaning here.

Which leads me to wonder, as I often do, what exactly is the motivation of these people? The judgmental side of me thinks perhaps it is self-righteousness. We are all upset by the violence in the Middle East. Perhaps these people take some comfort in thinking they are better than those involved in violence. Do we not all desire and value peace? What good is brought about by publicly displaying one's commitment to peace. Perhaps it makes them feel that they are doing something. My own opinion is that such displays are based on simplistic reasoning (if any reasoning at all) and do nothing to advance the cause of peace. Now getting together to pray a rosary for peace.... that could have an enormous impact.