Tag Archives: catholic

By the Gift of God…

I just finished the George Washington Parkway Classic 5K! I am now waiting for Lisa Helene who is walking the 10 miler! There is so much joy and mirth at the finish line. Running must be one of God’s gifts!

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The lost sheep

Don’t blame the sheep for getting lost. By virtue of our baptism we are missionaries mandated to find them and bring them back.

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When the words don’t come…

Sometimes I just don’t know what to say. That’s when I think God doesn’t want me to say anything. Maybe He’s telling me it’s time to listen.

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We are what God made us

God is love.

You were made in God’s image.

You are the image of love.

Think about that the next time you look in the mirror.

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#Charity is not always easy

Volunteering for St. Vincent de Paul can be a pain in the neck! People don’t speak clearly when they leave a message on the hot line. They call insisting that they spoke to us three weeks ago and do we have an answer from our regional council meeting?  (No one in our conference has even heard of this person!)

Just when I’m ready to quit, I get a call from someone who needs a couple hundred dollars to keep their lights on. That’s it. If there were no St. Vincent de Paul, what would that person have done?

Thank you, Lord, for giving me perspective when I needed it most!

 

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Our Complicity in Abortion

Tomorrow marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade  and the 41st annual March for Life in Washington D.C. I want to take this time to reflect on at least one of the factors that drives mothers, fathers, families, and even governments to the conclusion that abortion is the best solution to a problem that could be best, (but not easily), solved with compassion and a collective sense of responsibility.

Twelve years ago I had a friend who was like a sister to me. We supported each other through bad times and shared the good times. It was, in all regards, a “best” friendship. It came to an end, however in the wake of an unexpected crisis pregnancy. She called me one evening to say she had something to tell me and that she was telling me because she knew I would support her no “matter what.” She had become pregnant by the guy she was seeing and had decided to have an abortion. She was unemployed at the time and battling the relapse of a drug addiction she thought she had kicked for good.  I could hear the disappointment in her voice when I said that was a decision I could not stand behind. I tried in vain to persuade her to have the child and put the boy or girl up for adoption. I went to a local Right to Life office and got materials to illustrate to her the risks to her own physical and psychological health. At one point she asked me point blank “Are you willing to adopt it?” I stopped short. The ridiculousness of the question astounded me. “Of course I can’t!” I snapped back. “I can barely take care of myself!” I was working part-time as a waiter and made about $50 a day. I was asking my parents for money for rent every month. How could I be the one to take this child?

I don’t remember much of the conversation after that. She went on about how if I were incapable of helping in any material way, then how could I expect her to provide? My argument was that there was someone else out there with the means to support her child. There were options. All she had to do was carry the child to term. Yeah. That’s all. The bottom line is that the one person who was speaking up for this child was only willing to go so far. My advocacy for his or her life went only as far as what I perceived to be my responsibility. I was willing to beg her not to end her baby’s life but I was not willing to do the one thing she asked me to do that may have actually stopped her. I declined the opportunity to rescue a child bound for abortion.

The story has an all-too-typical ending. She went through with the procedure and we quickly drifted apart. Our mutual disappointment in each other became a constant presence. Eventually all communication stopped.  Over the past twelve years I recall those few days that led to the end of our friendship; the arguments over the right to life, the right to choose, whose life, whose choices mattered most. For me the arguments were theoretical. For her, they were real. Was I not symptomatic of our society’s apathy toward those in need? Was I not typical of the congressman who votes pro-life but anti-healthcare? We talk a lot about the sanctity of life. How about putting our money where our mouth is and show that we stand with the unborn and not just for them. There are many who support the war on terrorism, but less than one percent of our country have signed up to actually fight it. Let’s do more than that for those who cannot yet speak for themselves. Let’s stop paying lip service to life and actually do something! Are we who can afford it willing to pay higher insurance premiums so that expectant mothers who can’t afford high premiums can get free prenatal and pediatric care? Are we who don’t have children willing to pay higher taxes so that new mothers and fathers can take extended maternity and paternity leave with full pay and a guaranteed job upon return?

Pope Francis said “It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life… On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty,” (Evangelii Gaudium) Let us pray that we have the wisdom and fortitude to take the Holy Father’s words to heart and to action.

Have a blessed week!

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Another Catholic DOMA Perspective

“It’s Ok to be me”: A More Personal Reflection on the Gay-Marriage Decisions

BY: 

While there will be ample and necessary reflection and analysis upon yesterday’s landmark decisions in the Supreme Court, I want to pause here briefly and provide a more personal, pastoral reflection.  Over the past year or so, I have been listening attentively to two close friends who have been in committed, same-sex relationships for over ten years (longer than my own marriage).  In addition, both of these men are committed Christians, one of whom still practices in the Catholic tradition.  Their reactions have common themes, but are also quite distinctive and illuminating for me as I reflect on this in a more academic and theological context.

In listening to one friend’s reaction since last fall when the marriage amendment was narrowly defeated in MN, and through the legalization of gay-marriage this spring, and now with the two Supreme Court rulings yesterday, his consistent comment has been this: His struggles with depression, anxiety, suicide, addiction, failed relationships in his early life all stemmed from a deep and abiding sense that he was not OK- that it was not OK to be who he was.  There were both internal and external factors to these complex psychological phenomena, of course, but it took him until later in life even to realize and admit that he was gay.  Recovery and spiritual and emotional health have only come for him after admitting this and accepting himself as he is.  His response to each stage in this cultural development is that the personal significance of these public, legal, and political decisions has been an affirmation that it is finally OK to be himself, not just in his personal life, but in his public life, too.  We sometimes get caught up in the political and legal wrangling and forget the deeply human face of such debates.  Edith Windsor’s reaction to the decision capture this for many.Edith Windsor

My Catholic friend’s reaction is fascinating as well.  He takes seriously the church’s teaching on marriage and family, and feels that there is something distinctive to marriage for heterosexual couples who are then able to procreate and raise a family.  But he also wants his relationship to be recognized, both by society and by the Church.  He hopes there might be some creative ways to recognize the many goods that come from his homosexual relationship, even while recognizing this as distinct from a heterosexual marriage.  This poses some interesting middle ground for theological reflection, such as some form of liturgical recognition of committed, same-sex couples.  (I recognize here that many people in same-sex relationships feel that it is important to name their love as a marriage, but I am simply commenting on his reflections.)

Personally, I am happy that our political and legal institutions are creating a society and a space where homosexual persons feel validated in who they are.  Additionally, I would hope that they would feel the same sense of validation within the Roman Catholic Church (though I can certainly understand why many don’t find this).  Let me say this more directly: you ARE loved and welcome in the Church, because we, as the people of God, are all the Church (even if we sometimes struggle to express this love clearly).  That is something we can all agree upon, even if we disagree about the theological, political, and legal responses.

Of course, I recognize that I am out of step with some of the magisterial leadership on whether or not to celebrate these legal developments (not on the point about you being loved), but even amidst this disagreement we can all find ways to purify our public rhetoric on these issues.  Even as I and others come to a different theological and moral conclusion regarding homosexuality, we can still work together to promote the USCCB’s 2006 more humane pastoral guidelines for person’s of a homosexual orientation (more humane, that is, than the CDF’s 2003 Consideration Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, which relies heavily on the vulgar language of “intrinsically disordered”).

Even amidst disagreement about the moral and legal status of same-sex couples within the Church and within society, we can all agree that we need to work together to make the Church a place where everyone is accepted and capable of finding acceptance, forgiveness, and moral and spiritual sustenance for our journey toward salvation.

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