November 2009

“We’re killing communication”

This guy has made the same point as I have, only much more humorously than I have.

A good read.  Especially for all my would-be Facebook friends. ; )


The fight is far from over, ladies and gentlemen.  You responded so well to the last plea, here is another one–

The health care bill that the Senate is looking at today and tomorrow doesn’t have the Stupak-Pitts language — in fact, it explicitly authorizes Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services (who thinks that abortion is a health and human service) to include abortion in the public option.

You can go here to write to your senators.  I’m not wild about the letter they draft for you, because it does not condemn the public option.  It does ask that the Stupak-Pitts language be inserted in the bill.

I think our problems are deeper and that we need much more than the Stupak-Pitts language.  But I didn’t have time to find another site where it’s this easy to contact your Senators.  If anyone has another, please let me know.

“The works of art born in Europe in past centuries are incomprehensible if one does not take into account the religious soul that inspired them. … When faith, celebrated in a particular way in the liturgy, encounters art, a profound synchrony is created, because both can and want to praise God, making the Invisible visible.”

Every Wednesday, Pope Benedict holds an Audience in St. Peter’s Square of in the Paul VI Audience Hall.  He has spent these times of catechesis on the Apostles, the Church Fathers, St. Paul, medieval theologians…

And now, architecture.  He gave a beautiful address on this beautiful feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul. (it can be found here.)

Is there anything this man doesn’t teach about?!  (I don’t think so!)


It’s great to have smart friends.  It’s really great when those friends aren’t just smart but also nice- so that when they have brilliant thoughts, they share them with you so that you can blog about them.

Here’s a thought about the public option in healthcare.

Let’s say I can’t afford private health insurance or my employer won’t provide it.   I opt (rather, I’m forced…) to take the public health insurance plan provided by the government.  So I have a little card from the government that I take to a doctor or a hospital to help pay for medical services, right?

Let’s call it a healthcare voucher.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

What if we replace hospital or doctor’s office with a school?

If the government can give me money to help pay for care at a private hospital, why can’t the government give me money to help me pay for tuition at a private school?

If the government can give me money so I can turn around and pay a Catholic hospital, why can’t they give me money to pay a Catholic school?

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.

2o years ago today, the Wall fell.

Thanks to two extraordinary men.

And the grace of God.

Reagan and John Paul II

We need healthcare reform in this country, but not at the expense of our freedom and the lives of future Americans.

It is easy to tell your representatives and senators what you think. PLEASE DO THIS NOW.   The vote in the House takes place this weekend.

if these people think abortion is a CHOICE and our beliefs shouldn’t be forced on others,

then they must respect OUR CHOICE not to pay for abortion.  They can’t force their beliefs on US!

This post was intended for November 2nd, but I’ve learned that I can’t force a post– and it just wasn’t coming to me on the 2nd.  Everything was there but the words.  Since the entire month of November is dedicated to remembering those who died, though, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to write today.

This subject has been on my mind for quite some time, actually, and the only reason I haven’t written about it before now is that it’s definitely bigger than what I’m prepared to tackle in a little blog post.  Whole books have been written on the subject, and since I haven’t read any of them, it’s daunting to try to come here and say anything coherent.

But that doesn’t stop me from trying.

I had a conversation a few years ago with my mom about mausoleums.  I never had to face a mausoleum until my grandfather died.  It wasn’t the first funeral of a grandparent I experienced, but it was the first time I stood inside a building to watch a burial.  And it was strange-  I won’t lie.  In fact, I had to leave and walk outside.

There was something odd about mourning in a sterile, staged environment.  The armchairs in the hallway, the Catholic muzak piped throughout the rooms, the coldness of the air-conditioning in the Indiana summer day.

Everything was thought through to be perfect– comforting and pleasant to grieving families.  So it wasn’t.  It was as if the world was telling me, “It’s okay.  We’re here for you,” … in that fake smiley sort of way that reeks of superficiality.

It wasn’t okay.  My grandfather had died.  I didn’t need any fake sentiment, and I certainly didn’t need to hear Be Not Afraid ala dentist’s waiting-room.

To clarify, this is to say nothing against that particular cemetery/mausoleum.  I don’t doubt that sincere, well-intentioned people work there and I’m sure they would never want to convey a mere superficial attitude toward grieving families.   It was the mausoleum environment itself against which my insides rebelled at that moment.

I stood facing the reality of death, and the raw feelings inside of me did not want to be soothed by an attempt to mask the reality.  They sought the tumultuous, unrestrained surroundings of creation.

I wanted to stand in the elements of nature – the grass under my feet, the wind against my tear-streaked face- and watch my grandfather’s casket go into the earth.

Death is real.  It faces us all.  And I think the more we try to whitewash the reality, the harder it is to accept.  Remember, man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Our society, this culture that John Paul II named ‘the culture of death,’ fears death.  It believes in killing a baby in order to save a woman’s life.  Why?  Fear of death.   This world condones euthanasia — not because it really believes in “good death,” but because it can’t stand to face something it cannot control.  Through assisted suicide, man can control what he fears most.

The Christian does not fear death, because the Christian knows it has been conquered in the cross of Christ.  Christ’s death on the Cross meant that death was no longer an affliction, but a victory.  Only the culture that understands death and embraces it for what it is– a return to the Creator and an embrace of what man was made for (eternal Trinitarian communion)– can fully live.

Even with this understanding, however, facing the reality of death is a heart-wrenching act.   Even your faith and hope cannot erase the natural pain you feel at someone’s death.  In his Confessions, St. Augustine writes about his feelings at the death of his mother Monica.  His full understanding of heaven and the nature of death did not change the grief his heart felt.

“We felt it was not fitting that her funeral should be solemnized with moaning and weeping and lamentation, for so it is normal to weep when death is seen as sheer misery or complete extinction.  But she had not died miserably, nor did she wholly die.  Of the one thing we were sure by reason of her character, of the other by the reality of our faith.  What then was it that grieved my heart so deeply?”

Augustine finally accepts that grief is a natural emotion in response to death. “Because I had now lost the great comfort of her, my soul was wounded and my very life torn asunder, for it had been one life made of hers and mine together.”   He eventually let himself weep.  “Now I let flow the tears which I had held back so that they ran as freely as they wished.  My heart rested upon them, and it reclined upon them because it was Your ears that were there, not those of some human critic who would put a proud interpretation on my weeping.”

The Christian grieves and rejoices at the same time.  These two contrary emotions were reconciled to each other on Good Friday, as our Blessed Mother stood and watched her Son conquer.

The one who fears death cannot rejoice in it.  And the one who does not embrace death cannot grieve.

We must face the reality of death to fully understand it, and we must understand it in order to more fully live.

Cemeteries lie overgrown and unvisited, for our world would rather not be reminded of their own mortality.   If we’re going to be reminded of it, at least let the surroundings be comfortable–staged and sterile– so it’s a little less disconcerting.  We don’t want to think about our bodies being dropped into the cold earth.

Remember, man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!

May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints. . . .

May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life. . . .
May you see your Redeemer face to face.
-Prayer of Commendation

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