Monday, October 12, 2009

Yet another reason why posting will be light...

... to extremely spotty: Our not-yet-seven-month old Monica learned yesterday afternoon that she is a big sister! :)

Little Blessing No. 5 will probably be born around May. The usual Catholic Family Rules apply: no identification of the gender before birth, selection of one boy's name and one girl's name ahead of time, and all efforts (whining, pleading, begging, bribing...) to convince the doctor to induce at the right time because our kids always prefer Chateau Mommy to the outside world. :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Tweeting Catholic Lessons

I just remembered -- amid chores, childcare, beginning homeschool, and summer traveling (ugh, DH goes back to teaching school in less than two weeks!) -- that I have a blog that I almost never find time to update any more (though I do manage to post my Catholic Company book reviews as promised, at least). I'm cheating a little, as "Tweeting Catholic Lessons" is a series I decided to Tweet and then copy here, but I still do have those dozen or so post ideas that I really want to get to before my kids are out of the house (and I forget what my scrawled notes mean).

Without further ado, here's the list of lessons, which I'll try to update periodically. Of course, you can also follow them on Twitter. It's a pretty neat little communications tool, and there are lots of cool Catholics out there (and some creeps, but we'll pass over that without further comment for now). Keep in mind that Tweets are limited to 140 characters a piece, so one learns new spelling, grammar and concise expression pretty quickly.


Beginning Tweet series "Tweeting Catholic Lessons" cuz I keep Cing the same types of Tweets on my "catholic" search, which I find intrsting

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 1: Many ppl see Catholic Mass/weddings as long & boring, & Masses R lots shorter thn many Prot services. Strange.

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 2: Phrase "is the pope Catholic"/some variation appears at least 2x times daily. MayB its time 4 a new expression!

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 3: Among Twitter antiCatholics, atheists outnumber Protestants at least 4 to 1, & they R much, much nastier.

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 4: Tho I was a uniformed Cath skool girl 4 8 yrs, I never knew how many men hv a totally perverted idea of it! Ew!

UPDATED 7/31/09 5:10 p.m. PST

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 5: The priest s*x abuse scandal may B long over 4 most of us, but it will live 4ever among antiCaths on Twitter!

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 6: Im now drunk w/the knowledge that there is a drink called Benedictine. I want the OSB, not the booze, Twitter!

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 7: If U search 4 Benedictine Oblates, U find lotsa sci nerds Twting re Earth="oblate spheroid." Fun only 1st 200x.

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 8: Theres more "Catholic guilt" on Twitter than in all Cath parishes combined. Folks, its why we have Confession!

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 9: Some1 keeps starting Cath sales Tweets w/"Catholic for sale" & it continues 2 make me 2xtake. Im not 4 sale!

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 10: Either lotsa young black men went 2 Catholic schools/saying so=an insult among them. White lady confused...

Tweeting Catholic Lessons 11: Some Prots take Jesus ev word literally--until "eat my Flesh"/"This is my Body." Then its no 2 Cath "ritual."

Friday, June 26, 2009

A travel diary for the spiritual journey

"I realized that a lot of the time when I repent for my sin and go to confession, it is not because I truly want to be clean, rather it is because I don't want to 'stink' any more. I don't want to feel guilty or feel bad. ... It is the difference between 'Bless me, Father, for I did x, y and z' and 'Bless me, Father, for I have broken God's heart.' (p. 70-71)

In Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles with Jesus, Franciscan Fr. Dave Pivonka, T.O.R., has recorded a travel diary for the spiritual journey, one particularly suited for those who have perhaps tired and turned lukewarm on the road, or those who are willing but reluctant to start.

I particularly enjoyed the author's light tone and openness in recounting his Spanish pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a L O N G walk undertaken to give thanks to God for the tenth anniversary of his priestly ordination. Though the reader can guess many of the spiritual lessons Father will draw from his tales before he explains them, some (like the one I excerpted above, from a funny account of the laundering differences between men and women on the Camino) really struck home, so the book serves as much more than a breezy travelogue. The book did, however, make clear to me that should the possibility of this pilgrimage ever present itself to me -- an unlikely event with four littles at my feet and our one-teacher salary -- I have no desire to make it! Give me a few days at a Benedictine monastery instead. :)

Speaking of which, Father tells of some Benedictine sisters in Leon who care for the pilgrims as they pass through, welcoming them as Christ and opening their community's prayer (as is the Benedictine way). A particularly beautiful part of this story is the "ministry" of one sister who greets each visitor entering the church with a large smile. The sisters also segregate the men and women pilgrims (unusual in lodging on the Camino, apparently) and offer to wash their clothes for them for a small fee.

Some spiritual lessons that merited an asterisk in my notes were:
  • When the walk is hard, keep walking forward to find rest; yet, the journey takes as long as it takes, so it cannot be rushed.
  • Don' t miss the beauty and opportunities on the journey because of pain, but actively unite your pain to Jesus'. Also, understand that others on the journey may indeed be consumed by their pain.
  • Seek Jesus Himself and then His will will become clear.
  • Make meals and Mass together priorities.
As an aside, it occurred to me as I read that, as challenging as this pilgrimage clearly is, the pioneers of our nation's Western Migration had to have even more grit to endure much more, especially in terms of distance and conditions. There were no yellow arrows pointing the way, or lodgings waiting for them each night, or even priests to offer them the sacraments. Most of the time, it was just your family, your wits and your wagonload of possessions, in the whole wide unsettled world. So, a strange effect of this book surely not intended by the author is a renewed admiration for the pioneers. End of digression. :)

This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles with Jesus.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A rich and readable introduction to lectio divina

This book review for The Catholic Company will be cross-posted on the Benedictine Spirituality Forum.

"If [lectio divina] is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church -- I am convinced -- a new spiritual springtime." --Pope Benedict XVI (p. 37)

One of the most vital and beautiful aspects of Benedictine spirituality is lectio divina, the prayerful reading of sacred texts. Dr. Tim Gray (a seminary professor and co-developer of The Great Adventure Bible study) makes this ancient practice practical for anyone seeking spiritual growth and holiness in his packed but slender book Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina.

In fewer than 130 pages, Praying Scripture for a Change introduces the concept of lectio divina, and then logically devotes a chapter to each of the five "rungs" of the "ladder" of lectio divina: lectio (read), meditatio (meditate), oratio (pray), contemplatio (contemplate) and operatio (apply). The chapters include "walk-through" examples of the different rungs. This book is an easy read, but best done slowly, doubling back over rich passages.

Passages that struck me included:
  • "[St.] Francis is known for his joy and love of God's creation, but too often people see him as a simple-minded tree hugger. Francis exulted in the beauty of nature because he saw that it, like Scripture itself, is a love letter from our Heavenly Father. ... Francis knew how to hear God's voice in creation because he first listened to that voice in Scripture." (p. 14-15)
  • a detailed analogy of lectio divina to working a vineyard (p. 32-33)
  • a practical suggestion to record striking passages of Scripture and frequently return to them during the day's work, as did the ancient monks (p. 85-86)
The author also helpfully contrasts lectio divina with fad practices of today, like Eastern-style meditation, and Islamic prayer.

I was also impressed by the:
  • Imprimatur by Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, well-known to be faithful to the teachings of the Church
  • many quotes from Pope Benedict XVI
  • use of the trusted RSV-CE translation of the Bible
  • author's use of humor (including citing St. Augustine's pre-conversion prayer: "O Lord, make me chaste. But not yet." [p. 18])
For me, the only chapter that was difficult to follow was the one about contemplation, which seemed to jump around. However, I'm not sure that anyone could describe God's gift of contemplation in linear style, so I appreciate that Dr. Gray tried.

This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A special request to Fresno-area readers

To those of you who live near Fresno, a special request:

I'm writing to see if anyone knows of a quiet home without any pets that might benefit from the company of an affectionate older female cat who loves lap time. We adopted Peanut Butter about a year ago from the SPCA. She's about 13 years old and declawed, so she must be an indoor cat. We need to find another home for her because she is uncomfortable around one of our other two cats and has recently begun to urinate on the carpet in one part of the house. We had the vet check her out and she found the problem to be behavioral, probably due to the stress of the other cats and the noisy household. We think that Peanut Butter would probably do just fine in a quiet home where she is the only pet.

If you know of a good home for Peanut Butter, please e-mail me at

Monday, April 27, 2009

Easter Meditation: Do What We Need to Do to Be What We Want to Be

Happy Third Week of Easter! Thanks be to God that He really did rise from the dead, enabling us, too, to really rise from the death of sin and later even the bodily death that is the result of sin! Sometimes we forget that what we celebrate Mass is real and of unspeakable importance, not symbols placed before us for an hour on Sundays.

This post is the fruit of my lectio divina (here is an excellent book on the saintly practice of the prayerful reading of holy texts that I will be reviewing on the blog when I finish it) from today and from this weekend during some personal time in the beautiful St. Brigid Church in Hanford, CA.

In Ephesians 4: 1-16 (the first reading of this past Saturday's Office of Readings), St. Paul gives us an idea of how to realize Easter in our own lives -- to do what we need to do to be what we want to be.

What do we want to be?
Attain ... to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
Or, as the breviary has it, simply the "full stature" of Christ -- to be fully integrated with Him.
[G]row up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.
As one of the saints put it, He became human so that we could become Divine! (This is obviously not meant in the sense of being made "gods," but as being united with God Himself by His Power.)

So, what do we need to do?
[L]ead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.
Specifically, we are called to humility, bearing with each other in peaceful unity.

How are we to do this?
[G]race was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Through Christ's gift -- given in the Resurrection -- we can be humble and live in peace together, eventually fully united with each other in Christ. What more could we ever want?!

But, we must live and do -- not merely wish, think or even feel -- in order to achieve this Divine life!

In my own day-to-day life, this has proved particularly challenging. I find myself avoiding doing in order think. To combat this, I have come-up with yet another system/plan/rule (as I have done regularly since high school, with little success), this one formatted on the "hours" of the Divine Office, and organized around regular and special tasks related to the people and responsibilities that are most important to me. I've tried to keep it focused and simple, but given past experience and the present situation (wife, caring for four children under the age of four and three cats, in a home), I know that there will be many days that my reality will not remotely resemble this rule. (If the rule works reasonably well, then I'll blog on it.)

What's most important now is how to move past these apparent "failures." As we learn in the classic Abandonment to Divine Providence, we encounter God in the "sacrament of the present moment." We find Him not necessarily in doing what we plan for His glory each day, but in doing what He wills in each moment, in following His "will of good pleasure." We are reminded that too much of a good thing (study, rest, even lectio divina!) is not only not a good thing, but is actually a bad thing because it is keeping us from following God's "will of good pleasure" in that moment! It is keeping us from God!

After a "failure," then, what must be done is to return to the present moment where Our Lord is, and prayerfully proceed with what He has willed for this moment. This may not be what I planned, or even what I want right now, but it is what He wants. Therefore, I want it because I want to be united with Him!

It is also worth noting that human perfection is not necessary for holiness, for unity with God. Human failure can still mean supernatural success -- holiness. In fact, we understand more clearly with contrast. Light is defined by darkness, and a wave by the trough that follows it and precedes the next one. Similarly, success can be seen more clearly in contrast with failure.

Finally, for those of us who are blessed to be parents, we should be mindful that our approach to daily life -- how we use our time, how we respond to our failures, etc. -- marks a path for our children, too. I heard it said once that "kid does not mean 'stupid.'" They observe us, sometimes more clearly than we see ourselves. We need to show them and explain to them how Christians live safely in a world that is not ours. (An excellent guide for this is the classic Rule of St. Benedict, available with commentary useful for parents, in Fr. Dwight Longenecker's Listen My Son.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This bird reluctantly Tweets

Though I inexplicably feel like I've joined the "dark side," like most other bloggers out there, I've set myself up on Twitter. For the moment, I'm Tweeting in the blog's sidebar as a quick way to update without having to make a stand-alone blog post. We'll see if this works...

If you would like to join my little part of the craze, it's at

I've also decided to avoid the labor of actually updating the blog (and avoid some icky household tasks, too, mea culpa!) by adding some new elements to the sidebar. You like?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stay-at-Home Parent Group now has a Forum!

The Stay-at-Home Parent group I posted about here now has its Forum. Please join us!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Benedictine/Catholic Reflections on Anger

(cross-posted on the Benedictine Spirituality Forum)

I thought some brief Benedictine reflections on anger might be timely as we enter Holy Week and honor Our Lord's meekness and forgiveness of those who took His life and abandoned Him.

22You are not to act in anger
23or nurse a grudge.

Verses 23 through 41 [of Chapter 4 of the Rule] are again practical advice for a strong spiritual life that is lived in our actions. In verse 25 we have the admonition never to give a hollow greeting of peace. We must be cautious with this advice because in the present time we judge the hollowness of a thing by how we feel about it. This is certainly not the intention of the Rule. Rather, the Rule is asking us to choose the good of the other, even when I feel total animosity toward the other. As Christians we are not to follow our feelings--and yet we must acknowledge them. Thus, a person must be able to acknowledge the dislike of another person, even anger towards another person, and yet still choose in Christ to act in a manner that is truly a reflection of Christ's love for us.

We might also mention another antidote to persistent anger. The fourth chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict has the wonderful title “Tools for Good Works,” and in the chapter says that the way of the monk should not be the way of the world. Benedict quickly adds: “You are not to act in anger or nurse a grudge.” He then, without explanation, adds a few more injunctions: do not be deceitful in your heart; never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love. In that almost brusque series of “good works,” he might have given us a gem: to avoid anger, turn from the self in love, and care for others. Without saying so, Benedict links anger to self-absorption and pride; he links peace of mind to its opposites, love and concern. That strikes me as a wonderful truth even if easy to give and hard to put into play.

It is quite simply not good enough to keep on apologising for the sharp tongue or
the hasty word, or even to check our words before we utter them. That may well
help relations with our correspondents, and it is, of course, essential to
acknowledge and confess our wrongdoing when we recognise it, and return once
again to our loving Father, but this does not change the fact that we allow the
anger take over our hearts in the first place. It is this that is damaging. Feelings
of anger and frustration, and the nurturing of them, should not be in the same
heart that is host to Christ. The two cannot co-exist

"Bitterness, like a Gillette blade unskilfully handled in the to-and-fro of a razor fight, can do a certain amount of harm to other people, but it can do far more harm to oneself. A bitter man (or woman) may be destructive in what he (she) says, may cause mischief, may dash the hopes of those who are ready to start off with a flourish of trumpets, but he is the sufferer in the long run. Bitterness is the extension of a bad mood; it jabs continuously at other people, and all the time the blade goes deeper and deeper into oneself. It is a curious and fatal tendency on the part of human beings that they tend to work up a grievance against people whom they have treated unjustly. Discovered in a critical judgment we dig ourselves in when we should be digging ourselves out."


Feeling angry at life’s frustrations is a temptation of the human condition, and there is such a thing as righteous anger over one’s own sins and the sins of others. However, when this emotional sense of displeasure snowballs into antagonism, brooding resentment, the desire to sow discord, and especially the desire for vengeance, then anger is rightly called one of the seven deadly or capital sins along with pride, avarice, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1866)

As followers of Christ it is important that we discern anger as a sign of the times — to use the words of the Second Vatican Council — in order to bring His healing to the world. Jesus faced a tidal wave of human anger leading up to His crucifixion. However, He overcame this tragic state of affairs, not by returning anger for anger, but as the First Letter of Peter says: “When He was reviled, He did not revile in return. When He suffered, He did not threaten, but He trusted to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:23f)

If the triumphant Risen Christ has shown us anything, it is that patient endurance and merciful forgiveness — not anger — are the only paths to victory over evil and to the peace that this world cannot give, both for ourselves and for others.


When it comes to remedies, I cannot fail to mention the Sacrament of Penance. I once had a conversation with a psychologist about how much anger there is in people today. “Bishop,” she said, “what do you expect when so few people go to confession any more.”

"The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; the next, to keep thoughts silent when the soul is upset; the last to be totally calm when unlean winds are blowing." (St. John Climacus)

"As water extinguishes fire, so prayer does extinguish the heat of the passions." and "Conquer your rage with wise, rational thought. Offer it up as a sacrifice to God." (St. John Chrysostom)


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Calling all Stay-at-Home Parents (SAHMs and More)!

Much to my shock, I discovered tonight that one of my favorite sites, Catholic Answers Forums, did not have a group for stay-at-home parents. Now they do.

If you're a mom or a dad who works at home caring for your children, won't you consider joining the group so that we can start a discussion forum (we can do this once we hit ten members) to support and bounce ideas off of each other?! Thanks!

Welcome Monica Frances!

Our latest blessing from God came into the world on March 24, a healthy and sweet baby girl: Monica Frances.

Thanks be to God!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Feast of St. Joseph and his Office of Readings

May St. Joseph intercede for us in the same spirit in which he watched over Our Lord and Our Lady!

The first reading of the Office of Readings in the Divine Office for this Feast is Hebrews 11: 1-16, a beautiful chronicle of praise of the faith in God of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sara.

The second reading is particularly beautiful. I thought I would post it for those who don't have access to the appropriate volume. I've underlined the segment I found most powerful.


From a sermon by St. Bernadine of Siena

There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever the divine favor chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfill the task at hand.

This general rule is especially verified in the case of St. Joseph, the foster- father of our Lord and the husband of the Queen of our world, enthroned above the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph's wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.

What then is Joseph's position in the whole Church of Christ? Is he not a man chosen and set apart? Through him and, yes, under him, Christ was fittingly and honorably introduced into the world. Holy Church in its entirety is indebted to the Virgin Mother because through her it was judged worthy to receive Christ. But after her we undoubtedly owe special gratitude and reverence to St. Joseph.

In him the Old Testament finds its fitting close. He brought the noble line of the patriarchs and prophets to its promised fulfillment. What the divine goodness had offered as a promise to them, he held in his arms.

Obviously, Christ does not now deny to Joseph that intimacy, reverence and very high honor which he gave him on earth, as a son to his father. Rather we must say that in heaven Christ completes and perfects all that he gave at Nazareth.

Now we can see how the last summoning words of the Lord appropriately apply to St. Joseph: Enter into the joy of your Lord. In fact, although the joy of eternal happiness enters into the soul of a man, the Lord preferred to say to Joseph: Enter into joy. His intention was that the words should have a hidden spiritual meaning for us. They convey not only that this holy man possesses an inward joy, but also that is surrounds him and engulfs him like an infinite abyss.

Remember us, St. Joseph, and plead for us to your foster-child. Ask your most holy bride, the virgin Mary, to look kindly upon us, since she is the mother of him who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns eternally. Amen.



cross-posted on the Benedictine Spirituality Forum at Catholic Answers Forums

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Basic Benedictine Links

For those of us who are just beginning to plumb the riches of Benedictine Spirituality, here are some links I've found helpful, particularly for those of us in the world. Please feel free to add more to this thread. I'm sure I've missed a lot of them!

Rule of St Benedict

The Online Guide to Saint Benedict

The Jubilee Medal of St. Benedict

Oblates of the Order of St. Benedict

Benedictine Oblates: Introduction for Inquirers and Candidates

There are also some great basic books:

"The Benedictine Handbook"

"Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict,", by Esther de Waal

"St. Benedict: A Rule for Beginners," by Julian Stead, OSB

anything by Blessed Columba Marmion, including "Union with God: Letters of Spiritual Direction" and "Christ, the Life of the Soul"

Who wants to chat about all things Benedictine?

Well, the Catholic Answers Forum Benedictine Spirituality group that I mentioned here has, thanks be to God, already taken-off into its own discussion forum, with all the cool capabilities thereof.

Among the first threads are an ongoing study of the Rule of St. Benedict, a brief bio of a Benedictine saint, and some basic Benedictine links. I'll go ahead and repost the start of the latter thread here on my blog.

If you want to know what this Benedictine thing -- truly riches from Heaven -- is all about -- or if you're ready to chat -- please come on by!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Benedictine Spirituality group forming on Catholic Answers Forums

Sorry for another l o n g lag in posts; unfortunately, there will probably be another soon, as I'm due to have our fourth child any day now. Prayers are always appreciated! :)

I did want to invite anyone who is interested in Benedictine spirituality to a group we're forming on Catholic Answers Forums. To get a taste of Benediction spirituality, you can check the posts here and then come on over to the group on Catholic Answers Forums.

May God bless you, especially in your Lenten journey!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Deadly word games: "badly botched abortion"

Almost every day, I check the headlines of the first paper I read regularly as a very green journalism student in the early '90s, Tucson's Arizona Daily Star. It has the well-deserved nickname of "The Red Star," to give you an idea of the slant. I'm also a very infrequent poster on their forums, usually posting on stories related to the Church or respect for life.

Today, I found this story there (courtesy of the AP). Please join me in praying for the repose of the poor baby's soul, for healing for the baby's mother, and for the conversion of the baby's murderers.

The headline is "Fla. doctor investigated in badly botched abortion."

TAMPA, Fla. — Eighteen and pregnant, Sycloria Williams went to an abortion clinic outside Miami and paid $1,200 for Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique to terminate her 23-week pregnancy.
Three days later, she sat in a reclining chair, medicated to dilate her cervix and otherwise get her ready for the procedure.
Only Renelique didn’t arrive in time. According to Williams and the Florida Department of Health, she went into labor and delivered a live baby girl.
What Williams and the Health Department say happened next has shocked people on both sides of the abortion debate: One of the clinic’s owners, who has no medical license, cut the infant’s umbilical cord. Williams says the woman placed the baby in a plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.
Police recovered the decomposing remains in a cardboard box a week later after getting anonymous tips.
“I don’t care what your politics are, what your morals are, this should not be happening in our community,” said Tom Pennekamp, a Miami attorney representing Williams in her lawsuit against Renelique and the clinic owners.
The state Board of Medicine is to hear Renelique’s case in Tampa on Friday and determine whether to strip his license. The state attorney’s homicide division is investigating, though no charges have been filed. Terry Chavez, a spokeswoman with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, said this week that prosecutors were nearing a decision.
Renelique’s attorney, Joseph Harrison, called the allegations at best “misguided and incomplete” in an e-mail to The Associated Press. He didn’t provide details.
The case has riled the anti-abortion community, which contends the clinic’s actions constitute murder.
“The baby was just treated as a piece of garbage,” said Tom Brejcha, president of The Thomas More Society, a law firm that is also representing Williams. “People all over the country are just aghast.”
Even those who support abortion rights are concerned about the allegations.
“It really disturbed me,” said Joanne Sterner, president of the Broward County chapter of the National Organization for Women, after reviewing the administrative complaint against Renelique. “I know that there are clinics out there like this. And I hope that we can keep (women) from going to these types of clinics.”
According to state records, Renelique received his medical training at the State University of Haiti. In 1991, he completed a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Interfaith Medical Center in New York.
New York records show that Renelique has made at least five medical malpractice payments in the past decade, the circumstances of which were not detailed in the filings.
Several attempts to reach Renelique were unsuccessful. Some of his office numbers were disconnected, no home number could be found and he did not return messages left with his attorney.
Williams struggled with the decision to have an abortion, Pennekamp said. She declined an interview request made through him.
She concluded she didn’t have the resources or maturity to raise a child, he said, and went to the Miramar Women’s Center on July 17, 2006. Sonograms indicated she was 23 weeks pregnant, according to the Department of Health. She met Renelique at a second clinic two days later.
Renelique gave Williams laminaria, a drug that dilates the cervix, and prescribed three other medications, according to the administrative complaint filed by the Health Department. She was told to go to yet another clinic, A Gyn Diagnostic Center in Hialeah, where the procedure would be performed the next day, on July 20, 2006.
Williams arrived in the morning and was given more medication.
The Department of Health account continues as follows: Just before noon she began to feel ill. The clinic contacted Renelique. Two hours later, he still hadn’t shown up. Williams went into labor and delivered the baby.
“She came face to face with a human being,” Pennekamp said. “And that changed everything.”
The complaint says one of the clinic owners, Belkis Gonzalez came in and cut the umbilical cord with scissors, then placed the baby in a plastic bag, and the bag in a trash can.
Williams’ lawsuit offers a cruder account: She says Gonzalez knocked the baby off the recliner chair where she had given birth, onto the floor. The baby’s umbilical cord was not clamped, allowing her to bleed out. Gonzalez scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.
No working telephone number could be found for Gonzalez, and an attorney who has represented the clinic in the past did not return a message.
At 23 weeks, an otherwise healthy fetus would have a slim but legitimate chance of survival. Quadruplets born at 23 weeks last year at The Nebraska Medical Center survived.
An autopsy determined Williams’ baby — she named her Shanice — had filled her lungs with air, meaning she had been born alive, according to the Department of Health. The cause of death was listed as extreme prematurity.
The Department of Health believes Renelique committed malpractice by failing to ensure that licensed personnel would be present when Williams was there, among other missteps.
The department wants the Board of Medicine, a separate agency, to permanently revoke Renelique’s license, among other penalties. His license is currently restricted, permitting him to only perform abortions when another licensed physician is present and can review his medical records.
Should prosecutors file murder charges, they’d have to prove the baby was born alive, said Robert Batey, a professor of criminal law at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport. The defense might contend that the child would have died anyway, but most courts would not allow that argument, he said.
“Hastening the death of an individual who is terminally ill is still considered causing the death of that individual,” Batey said. “And I think a court would rule similarly in this type of case.”

I posted the following:

Have we gone so blind that we cannot see that this was not, as the headline egregiously asserts, a "badly botched abortion"?!

When a baby is delivered alive, smashed onto the floor and then suffocated in a plastic bag, the CRIME is properly called MURDER! Even the most hardened abortion supporter should be able to see this! No baby or mother deserves to go through what this baby and mother went through! And, the murderers need to be charged and tried!

I guess we have certifiably lost all sense of shame. Pathetic!

We need to speak-out against these word games because they are deadly!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Church says "Both!"

In Catholic circles, since the Pope's gracious lifting of the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops late last week (just Google "SSPX" for more info, or visit the numerous related posts on WDTPRS), there has been much discussion of many related topics, not the least of which is the Mass itself: Ordinary Form/OF (the "Novus Ordo"/"NO") v. Extraordinary Form/EF (the "Latin Mass" or "Tridentine Mass").

I have to ask: Why can't we have and love them both?! In fact, the question is vital but merely rhetorical, as the Church Herself -- in Pope Benedict XVI -- has validated both forms of the Mass, calling one "ordinary" and one "extraordinary."

Unfortunately, many in the "Traditionalist" camp (one extremity of which is the SSPX) insist not only that the EF is superior aesthetically and devotionally to the OF (a persuasive argument), but that the EF is the only "true" Mass, which is flatly wrong and derogatory to those who celebrate and attend the OF (the vast majority), not to mention Our Lord Himself, who is present in the Scriptures and His Body at both forms of the Mass.

To put the "Traditional" argument another way:"If A is valid/good and B differs from A, then B must be invalid/bad." This is clearly false. If it were true, I could say "If I pay a bill with a check, and paying by cash is different than paying by check, then cash must not satisfactorily pay the bill/must be bad." Nonsense.

These "Traditionalists" further assert that it always follows that those who attend OF Masses regularly are ignorant, immoral and generally lesser Catholics than those who attend the beautiful EF Mass. Needless to say, that assertion not only offends truth and charity, but needlessly repels those who normally attend OF Masses but also love the EF Mass, those who are traditional. Like my family.

I finally decided to explain this today on another blog after two other posters asserted that all EF attendees voted pro-life in this last election and that all OF attendees were ignorant/immoral and voted anti-life. (The original post, which had nothing to do with the form of the Mass, regarded comments Archbishop Burke made about the Bishops' document, Faithful Citizenship, and the election coverage of the Bishops' Catholic News Service.) I posted the following.

As a wife and mother who respects and loves the Traditions of the Church, but who usually attends a OF Mass (reverently celebrated) with her family, I have long since grown tired of being told by regular attendees of the EF Mass that the OF Mass—where Christ is just as truly present in the Scriptures and in His Body as at the EF Mass and which the Church has declared to be valid and in fact ordinary!—is, without qualification, causing folks like us to be ignorant of the Faith, immoral, etc. Basically, we are clearly told that we OF folks are not “real Catholics” like you EF folks are. That’s nonsense! Many at both forms of the Mass know and love the Catholic Faith, and strive to live it. Some—at both forms—do not! If the OF is good enough for Christ’s Church and Vicar, why is it not good enough for you?!

Perhaps people who make false and defamatory statements about their fellow OF Catholics might consider that it is often ARROGANT holier-than-thou statements and gestures by EF-attending people that keep others away from the beautiful EF Mass, not the bishops, or ignorance, or bad morals!

Since I (horror of horrors) may wear nice slacks to Mass instead of a skirt, and since I do not yet veil, and since I have four children under the age of four who do not sit perfectly still for an hour at a time anywhere (but who are made to behave in church), I have been glared/stared at, lectured to, and made to feel most unwelcome and alien at the beautiful EF Mass, which is the main reason we do not take our family there very often at all.

I repeat, it is often EF attendees who do the most to keep OF families from attending the EF Mass! Please prayerfully consider this and perhaps promote the good in the EF (of which there is much) and talk less about how icky OF Masses and people are!

P.S. My husband and I voted straight pro-life/pro-family here in CA, and told our children why. I guess the OF didn’t mess-up our morals too badly after all…

I received this response from "Ken":

Kristen J, I think you have several personal issues that should be discussed with a traditionally-minded priest, but perhaps a blog thread on Archbishop Burke’s comments today is not the best place for you to sort all this out.
And I responded:
Ken, do you know me (or my priest, for that matter)? I don’t think so, but thanks for your heartfelt (?) concern in this public forum anyway. And, even more, thanks for proving my point about arrogant, holier-than-thou, and false statements by EF-attendees repelling OF-attendees. I couldn’t have proven my point as well as you just did.

Furthermore, Ken, I am not the poster who brought form of Mass v. voting into this discussion. Perhaps a rabbit hole, but it needed to be dealt with. And, for the record, since my comment about voting as it relates to OF Mass attendance was apparently lost on at least one reader, my “OF morals” did not lead me to an immoral vote. Furthermore, I fully agree with Archbishop Burke.

The original accusatory posts and Ken's response offended me, of course, but what's worse is that messages like this -- and they are legion -- keep many good people from experiencing the beauty of the EF Mass. Who knows, perhaps such people would be swelling the pews and expanding the EF Mass in their dioceses, and growing spiritually, if they weren't openly judged and found lacking by their fellow Catholics.

Bottom line: A Catholic may freely choose either of the equally valid forms of the Mass, and -- on an unrelated note -- he may be either a "good Catholic" or a "bad" one. Regardless, we are all entitled to be treated with respect and concern, not lies and scorn.

In that spirit, I pray for the speedy reconciliation of the SSPX with the Church, and for the unity in Faith that Our Lord prayed for, despite the manifest obstacles. Please join me!

Monday, January 19, 2009

If I were First Lady...

An interesting post over at Inside Catholic asks what (non-controversial) cause each of us would promote if in the prominent position of First Lady/Gentleman. Here's what I posted:
What an interesting and thought-provoking question!

It may sound "soft," but it's really not once you try it -- and it is in fact a central part of holiness: kindness!

We could all benefit from a First Lady who promotes and displays the practice of thinking, speaking, and acting kindly toward all, most especially the most unlovable. This doesn't mean approving of evildoing or being phony. It simply means showing respect for all others as children of God (as we all are), disagreeing without being disagreeable, and keeping silent if we can't do this. This is the goal of a lifetime, is it not?!

Patrons of this virtue include the gentle bishop St. Francis de Sales, who converted many thousands from Calvinism to Catholicism, and Blessed Mother Teresa, who never seemed to have a bad thing to say about anyone, but who nonetheless stood for life and love.

Also, on my bookshelf in line to be read is a book by the superb Fr. Lovasik called "The Hidden Power of Kindness." You and your children can never go wrong with a book by this late, great priest, and there are dozens for all ages!
Maybe you would enjoy thinking about the question and even posting your response?