- Friday, 08 August 2008 18:53
Danielle Bean has an excellent article over at Inside Catholic that I so needed today.
I read this and I started to cry:
When a battle-weary mother stands alone in her bathroom looking with disbelief at two tiny pink lines on a pregnancy test, it’s too late for family-planning discussions of clinical effectiveness. We’ve got a baby to take care of. And his mother…
“Soon after I announced that we were (unexpectedly) pregnant with our eighth child,” an older mom once wrote me, “I came out of Mass one day and found an NFP flyer tucked under the windshield wiper of my van. I even wondered if it was our pastor who put it there.”
Shame on us.
Whether we love NFP or hate it, whether we choose to use it in our marriages or not, whether we have one child or 16 children, we Catholics have no business receiving new life with anything but charity and joy. We have no business labeling our fellow Catholics, in their time of need and vulnerability, as crazy or irresponsible.
It takes courage for many Catholic couples to continue to refuse contraception, to remain open to life in their marriages, even when their circumstances are already difficult and they are hoping to avoid another pregnancy. The “99 percent effective” number people like to throw around about NFP becomes a much smaller one when translated into “user effectiveness.”
Thank you and God bless you.
- Wednesday, 30 July 2008 07:19
Whenever I hear the term “Catholic Community” I bristle. It is a common, “trendy” term in this diocese. Many parishes have huge gold-leaf signs declaring “(add Church name), a Christian Community in the Roman Catholic Tradition”. That always leaves me wondering “Huh? Are they Catholic? Why not simply say ‘Roman Catholic Church?'” instead of automatic “Oh, a Catholic Church. Cross yourself.” So when I think of the term “community”, I automatically think “trendy baby boomer buzzword”. I am sure I am not alone when I feel that for liberal Churches, the notion of community has overrided the notion of Communion. It means “join us in the Spirit of Vatican II, and we’ll all have a great time complaining about the injustices of the Church!”
That said, I think many Catholic Parishes actually lack in this department.* I was at a Church meeting last night, and the topic came up “after we tell people they cannot contracept, what do we offer them?” Of course the obvious came up-NFP, talks on Theology of the Body and all that very good and necessary stuff. I raised my hand and said that while I think that is necessary, I also think families need practical help. These days many families are alone in raising their family, and the idea of another child is just overwhelming. To my joy (for not feeling like I said something stupid), someone jumped right in and said “That’s true, in Amsterdam in the 60’s people didn’t think twice to have a large family because grandparents, aunts, and uncles all lived like next door. It was never a problem, you always had help. You could always send a kid somewhere, or there was someone to bring a meal when you were sick…” I mentioned that cooking was a big deal. It has been very difficult to cook for my family with morning sickness and would have loved help in that department. And when I feel better, I would love to help someone else in the same department. And I do mean that, I derive great pleasure from cooking for people.
It amazes me how many issues are just under the surface of being “pro-life”. When you start considering the issue, it is so much more than just being “anti-abortion”. It’s like when I see some toddler person was eating crackers on the living room floor and have to vacuum up the mess. First I realize that before I can vacuum, there are cut up pieces of paper all over the floor, my tape measure and spools of thread that must be picked up. Before I pick up my spools of thread, I have to get my sewing table in order, and the kids arts and crafts box must be located to put the scissors away. It is a much less overwhelming job if someone takes a small part in it-someone puts away the scissors, someone straightens the sewing table, someone vacuums… I lost my train of thought…what was I talking about? Was it about how you should never give a mouse a cookie? Oh, being pro-life, yeah. Just that there are so many smaller issues involved and it seems the other side has had a very good head start at taking them apart little by little, and we have a lot of work to do building them up piece by piece, and each person can do a small part. But I see it happening. We can never go back to the way things used to be, but we can start something new.
Oh gosh, where did my 19-month old get those Teddy Grahams?
*yeah, yeah, I know, not if you live in the Diocese of Arlington where you have women’s groups, and awesome home schooling groups and probably nifty “Bake a Cake” women’s nights in the Parish kitchen once a month…I am so not jealous.