On the value of suffering

One “Thanks be to God,” or one “Blessed be God,” in adversity, is worth more than a thousand thanksgivings in prosperity. –Father M. d’Avila

St. Bridget once received and bore patiently a succession of trials from various persons.. One of them made an insulting remark to her; another praised her in her presence, but complained of her in her absence; another calumniated her; another spoke ill of a servant of God, in her presence, to her great displeasure; one did her a grievous wrong, and she blessed her; one caused her a loss, and she prayed for her; and a seventh gave her false information of the death of her son, which she received with tranquillity and resignation. After all this, St. Agnes the Martyr appeared to her, bringing in her hand a most beautiful crown adorned with seven precious stones, telling her that they had been placed there by these seven persons.

Source: https://saintlylives.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/suffering-part-3-of-5-2/

The public institution of private property

If you go to a friend’s party, and decide to take something from his home without permission, that’s called stealing.

Let’s say you saw a laptop computer tucked away in a corner at the party, and decided to take it without saying anything to anybody.

You stole it.

Let’s break this down to understand the dynamics a little better. Why was it stealing?

One reason is that we have something that I call “the public institution of private property.”

We all understand what private property is. In that sense, our collective understanding of private property is a public institution–we all agree to the rules that establish what constitutes private property. That agreement, to live by those rules, is a public action.

We don’t get to decide for ourselves what constitutes private property. There is no “privatizing private property.” If we all got to decide for ourselves what constitutes private property, then it should be obvious that chaos would be the result. Anybody could take anything they wanted at any time.

It would be hard to accumulate goods and wealth. It would be hard to even take care of your own family. Trust would decline dramatically, being replaced by suspicion and fear.

The strong would prey upon the weak. It would become a might-makes-right culture.

Privatizing the rules for private property would not strengthen private property rights. It would eliminate them.

 

Catholic/Protestant Dictionary

There were many steps involved in becoming Catholic. I found that theology was only one of those steps. As I’ve mentioned before, Catholic culture was an unexpected and rather large hurdle.

Our_Mother_of_Perpetual_Help
Catholic art and culture intimidated me at first.

Maybe I already told this story. I’m not sure, but if so, please indulge me for a moment. Catholic culture is a very real thing, and I first discovered this when I attended a Catholic conference several years ago, before I converted. Many vendors were selling all sorts of Catholic artwork that was very ornate and elaborate. Many of them had images of Mary and other saints. All of these things were difficult to get past in my mind. The closest Protestant equivalent is a Christian bookstore that sells gifts and artwork, and even then it’s just different.

I finally realized that this was just the cultural part of Catholicism–it was not dogmatic. In other words, there was no requirement for me to display Catholic art in my home as a step to becoming Catholic. It was a big relief for me to realize that. I wish somebody had explained it to me though. Unfortunately, I had to figure it out on my own. I am not sure why that is.

Even so, there is a cultural transition. Part of it has to do with Catholic words, phrases and ideas. Many Catholic terms sounded very foreign to my ears… but only at first. At some point I realized that the terms only sounded foreign—the ideas behind them were not foreign at all. Here is a chart I made that is sort of like a Catholic to Protestant Dictionary. It is amazing how many Catholic ideas reside in Protestantism. But of course all that makes sense to me now, since Protestantism has its theological and historical origins in Catholicism.

catholic-protestant-dictionary

I take credit for some of these, since I genuinely figured them out on my own. But I got a few of them from Mark Shea, and a number of others from the Coming Home Network forum. So I’m not alone in making these kinds of observations. Other converts have as well. And just to be clear: I am not saying that there is 100% equivalence between the every item on this list. In some cases there is, but in other cases there is not. Even when there is not, they are close enough to convey the meaning.

I hope this chart helps Catholics and Protestants understand each other better.

*For elaboration on the confirmation/baptism equivalence, see here. For elaboration on the merit/reward equivalence, see here.

Today’s Version of the Cathar Heresy

There’s nothing new under the sun.

The Five Beasts

The Chateau de Montsegur, a Cathar stronghold The Chateau de Montsegur, a Cathar stronghold

Catharism was a dualist heresy that swept through Latin Christendom during the High Middle Ages; its growing popularity alarmed Church authorities. It was called by many names (the Catholic Encyclopedia lists twenty-two) but historians prefer to refer to them collectively as Cathars (“pure ones”, or “puritans”). They believed the physical world was the creation of the evil God of the Old Testament and the spiritual world was formed by the God of the New Testament. It was just the latest version of the recurrent dualist heresies like Gnosticism and Manichaeism, but also resembles elements in contemporary secular society in disturbing ways.

This heresy’s primary requirement was the repudiation of marriage and family. Since the evil physical body was only meant to entrap spirits, marriage and procreation were forbidden. Their spirit-liberating ritual known as consolamentum, similar to the Catholic Last Rites, would be denied to children and pregnant women. Their distain for the human body was so extreme…

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Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

There are many Ave Maria’s, and this one is one of my favorites. Ave Maria means Hail Mary. It’s taken from Luke 1:28.

If you’d like to read more about the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I recommend this link.

Late term abortions are rare? Let’s explore that

My side of the debate often argues against abortion by citing late term abortion. That’s fine, but the opposing side will counter by saying that late term abortions are rare. OK, I’m willing to go with that, but I do have some questions for those people:

1) Would you be willing to place restrictions on late term abortions, since they are so rare anyway?

2) Does it bother you that some abortions are late term? If so, why?

POLL: Am I an abortion survivor?

I need some help. I’m not really sure how to classify myself. My mother got pregnant with me when she was 19. She and my dad (and me of course), went to Mexico to get an abortion. When they got there, the abortion doctor told her that she was too far along with me. So they walked in to get an abortion, and walked out with me still intact. So it’s not as if I survived an actual abortion attempt. But it was pretty close. I want your input:

Should I call myself an abortion survivor?

Does it fit? I like it since it gives me some quick-credibility in the discussion. On the other hand, I don’t want to mislead anybody into thinking that I underwent an attempted abortion procedure and survived it.

So I’m not really sure if a qualify to use that label. But it would feel really great to be able to say something like this:

I’m an abortion survivor and I think you’re full of shit for supporting abortion. Your support for abortion is as if you are saying to my face:

“I’m totally fine with you not even being here. I’m fine with your body being burned until you die with saline, or torn apart limb from limb, then thrown into the medical waste like trash or sold for medical research. Because #freedom!”

Do you know what it’s called when your freedom costs somebody else their life? It’s called war. You send innocent human life into “battle” to die for your “freedom.” It is disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself. You don’t have a right to something that can’t be guaranteed–you never had a right to pregnancy-free coitus. Your cry for freedom is a cry to remain immature and irresponsible. Stop advocating for the slaughter of the unborn and grow up. You never had a right for pregnancy-free coitus. If you don’t want to bring a child into the world, then don’t have sex. It’s really and truly that simple.

Yep, that feels good, gratifying, honest.

Here’s Gianna Jessen, giving testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in 2015. She was born alive during a saline abortion. Obviously, she qualifies as an abortion survivor:

Maybe I’ll use the label, and if anybody questions it, I can link back to this post. What do you think?

Lack of college degree does not equal “uneducated”

As somebody who only recently finished her bachelor’s degree, it is like salt in a wound when I hear news commentary about “uneducated” voters, those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree.

I wasn’t uneducated before I had my bachelor’s. I wrote books about bookkeeping; created a website; was self employed; marketed, brokered and sold my small bookkeeping business; got a good paying job; had a column at the Christian Post; forged an argument for the defense of marriage by seeing Christian sexual morality as a conduit for justice for children; read a lot; and in general tried to be a good citizen. A college degree is great and I’m grateful I was finally able to finish it, but the lack of one didn’t mean I was “uneducated.” So insulting, elitist, and classist for the news media to use that term.

In addition to the insult about being “uneducated,” this article by Garrison Keillor at the Chicago Tribune makes a stunning, yet buried, admission:

“…it helps a lot if the waitress and her husband encourage good habits and the ambition to use your God-given talents and the kids aren’t plugged into electronics day and night.”

Wait a minute: the waitress AND HER HUSBAND? I thought gender specific words were a no-no now? And what about the single mom like Murphy Brown? What about the gay couple using a surrogate to create and raise a child like David Sawyer and Bryan Collins? What about the gender-neutral trans family raising children? Nope, no mention of them or people like them. How odd, coming from a liberal. Is this a quiet admission that sex differences matter, that the natural family founded on natural marriage actually DO matter to the outcomes of children, just like the social science has been telling us for decades, just like the ancient Christian teaching on sexual morality upheld?

What about those of us who didn’t live with our own married mother and father? Where is the open admission that **championing** “sexual freedom” for adults contributed to kids not finishing their college degrees (or even their high school diplomas)… aka being “uneducated”? Not to mention a lot of other negative, painful outcomes such as shorter life spans, addictions, their own divorces, anger issues, thoughts of suicide, losing contact with grandparents, and on and on? So they’ll destroy our families and champion them never forming, then gloat over us being “uneducated.” They’ll just plug their ears to the social science, since it gets in the way of their “open mindedness” and “sexual liberation.” They cannot admit that kids being with our own married mothers and fathers contributes to them being “educated.” Got it? This is their shtick: “Family for me but not for thee.”

I am so angry right now. The most charitable thing I can say about Mr. Keillor is that he is tone deaf.

Mass readings today had a significant mistranslation at Luke 20:34

The mass reading for the New Testament was Luke 20:27-38. I was disturbed by a word I heard while it was being read last night at mass. The word was “remarry.” It caught my attention because I did not remember ever seeing the word “remarry” in the entire New Testament, which I can honestly say I’ve read at least five times.

Every day I receive an email from the USCCB with the mass readings. So this morning I did some sleuthing. I pulled up the email with the mass readings, and it matched what I heard. Then I looked it up at BibleGateway and BibleHub. There are a lot of translations available including Catholic translations such as the DRA, NABRE, and RSVCE. I could find no English translation that rendered the end of verse 34 as “remarry.” Not even the NABRE on Bible Gateway renders the end of the verse as “remarry.” So the NABRE at Luke 20:34 on BibleGateway is different than what the Lectionary says, which also uses the NABRE. From the Lectionary:

Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry…”

From the NABRE on BibleGateway:

Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage…”

I also looked it up in my NABRE that I have here at home, and it matches the Lectionary, not what appears at BibleGateway. 

I looked up the Greek word on a few different sites (here, here and here), and it’s not “remarry.” I posed the question to any of my Catholic Facebook friends who know Greek. One responded and said that it “is in the passive voice, and means to be given in marriage. That is, the children of this age marry and are given in marriage. It doesn’t mean re-marry.”

The mistranslation is disturbing in its own right, but what is worse is that it wrongly shows Jesus speaking of remarriage as if to equate it with marriage. There are many liberal Catholics who are pushing hard for the Church to change the teachings regarding remarriage, which really means that they want to undermine the literal reading the Church has always had of Matthew 19 and Mark 10 where Jesus put a stop to remarriage. This mistranslation fits very nicely into that goal. Except it’s not what Jesus said.

I wrote to the USCCB about this matter. We’ll see if they respond.

For Reformation Day: Protestantism hurt and confused me

calvinism-some-lives-matterThe day before Christmas Day is called Christmas Eve. The day before All Saint’s Day is called All Saint’s Eve. All Saint’s Eve is also known as All Hallow’s Eve. Remember in the Lord’s Prayer, when Jesus says, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…”? Hallow means holy or it can also mean saintly. So Halloween is short for All Hallow’s Eve or All Saint’s Eve.

In some circles, today is also known as Reformation Day. It is the anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation (which is a misnomer but that’s another post that I may or may not write). On this day 499 years ago, a Catholic priest named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenburg, Germany. The year was 1517.

In memory of what Luther started, I thought it would be a good day for me to describe what it was like for me to be raised under Protestantism’s structural faults. Please do not take this an at attack on any individual Protestant except perhaps Luther himself. I mean this sincerely. For one thing, I know that Protestants are sincere in their beliefs and they have Biblical reasons for believing what they believe. While I disagree with their Biblical interpretations, I also know that it is scary to even contemplate becoming Catholic. At least, it was for me when I first started on my journey to the Church and I’ve heard the same from other converts. So what I am about to say is my experience and is, in some respects, unique to me.

I have thought about this for quite a while, and this is what I see. Protestantism has contributed to a lack of unity in my family (various kinds of devout Protestants who disagree with each other and don’t go to the same church); the “Bible alone” doctrine made it possible for the cult to be formed and sustained; the “Bible alone” doctrine was used to justify child abuse and female denigration in the cult; I strongly suspect that the restorationist Protestantism practiced by my paternal grandmother alienated my dad from Jesus through its fundamentalism; T.U.L.I.P. frightened me and provoked my tender conscience almost constantly; Protestantism’s early and enthusiastic imprimatur on remarriage after divorce contributed to me feeling isolated and lonely for my entire childhood (my mother was remarried in a Methodist church in the early 1970s), which in turn made me vulnerable to the false promises of the cult.

I wish all of my family members had been as devoutly Catholic as they are devoutly Protestant. If that had been the case, I can’t see how these issues would have arisen. If they all had been Catholic, then the “cracks” in my family and family structure simply would not have been there. Of course, other very positive things would probably not have happened, such as the blessing of my three truly wonderful, amazing, and beautiful children. I’m not exaggerating about them–everybody who meets them says the same thing, and always has since they were very young. Thankfully, God writes straight with crooked lines. He turns plan B into plan A.

In case I wasn’t clear earlier: my experiences are unique and I fell through “cracks” that most people don’t fall through. Even so, this is one reason why I cannot get excited about Reformation Day. But I hope everybody has a safe and fun Halloween… a safe and fun All Hallow’s Eve, a safe and fun vigil of All Saints.