Category Archives: divorce

“Why did he do it?”

A young woman goes to college.  She comes from a decent home and family that has its issues like any family.  She maybe has a genetic propensity for autism or bipolar or something that wasn’t quite caught because his parents were able to manage it with love, discipline and counseling from time to time.  She was never really engaged in her faith, and whichever comes first, the usual college combination–skipping Mass, “partying” and collectively anti-Catholic ideology among professors and classmates–cause her to abandon the Church.
She meets a boy. He considers himself an atheist.  They base their relationship on sexual attraction and what bands they like but say religious, philosophical and political matters are irrelevant to their relationship.  They *might* discuss a bit of modern philosophy or New Age “mysticism,” and they might talk pop psychology.  They start fornicating.  Then they decide they “love” each other.  They use contraception, unknowingly conceiving and aborting several babies.  At one point, one of the babies escape all the “Plan B” mechanisms and manages to implant.  Worried about her career, she has an abortion.
Then they decide that maybe they should get married.  They “wait” to have children till they’re “ready.”  They spent 10 years living for careers and vacations and things, having a relationship based on a self-centered “love.”  Maybe they self medicate with booze or cigarettes or worse.  Maybe they go to the professional drug dealers and get Prozac or Ritalin.
After a few years, they decide they’re “ready” to have kids.  They have their boy and girl.
They say they’re going to raise their kids “open minded” and refuse to have them baptized.  Maybe they expose them to bits and pieces of Islam, Buddhism, Wicca, any anything but Christianity.
Believing that children need lots of “stuff” to be happy, wanting their kids to have whatever they believe they were deprived, and believing that they have to limit themselves to 2 kids, so they want the most of the experience, they fill their kids’ lives with toys, video games, movies, etc.  But they also fill their kids’ lives with workaholism and competitiveness: sports, scouting, fine arts, clubs, and lots and lots of homework.
Their son can’t keep up, and starts acting out.  Quite often, the child in this all-too-familiar scenario is probably just stressed.  “I don’t want to give him an MRI,” says the doctor.  “That might have dangerous side effects, and it’s really expensive.  Let’s see how he does on Ritalin first.”
So the kid goes on Ritalin.  He’s on the equivalent of 2-4 cups of coffee a day.  He focuses better at school and his many activities, but his schedule is still stressful with no time for true relaxation or recreation.  He still needs to burn his energy, and he’s stimulating it chemically with a drug that produces rage as a side effect.  So he starts bullying other kids.  And he starts trying to channel his rage through video games and movies.  Oh, and since he’s chemically stimulating his dopamine and endorphins, he loses his ability to feel satisfaction from oxytocin.  He just starts craving more dopamine and endorphins, so more video games and more movies.
Now, if he was relatively neurotypical and just stressed, this would be bad enough.  If he even legitimately had ADHD it would be bad enough.  But what if he actually has something else, like bipolar?  So the the effect of the stimulants is even worse.
They try different meds over the years, never actually doing medical tests to see if and what meds he needs, even though they have tests available that in many cases the DSM says to do first.  Hundreds of dollars a month in prescriptions and doctor visits are so much more cost effective than a few thousand dollars at one time to actually find out what’s wrong.
Meanwhile, the daughter goes on similar spiral, but this, as Aslan might say, is not her story.
Meanwhile, the parents who didn’t put much thought into values before they married start to do so.  They realize they have little in common.  They rarely spend time together.  Going off “the Pill” to have kids then going back on changed her hormonal reactions to him and vice versa.  They’re burdened with stress of money, jobs, the kids’ demanding schedules and the kids’ mental and behavioral issues.
Maybe the mother decides to start taking the kids to church, and they fight about that.
There’s some anger and abuse.  One or both commits adultery.  They divorce.
Now the kids, as Maggie Gallagher documents in _Abolition of Marriage_, have lost their trust in relationships.  They both come to think of marriage as something temporary and mutable.  They have lost their one mooring in life.
The son starts expressing his anger at his Christian classmates, arguing all the time in favor of atheism, abortion, etc.  The daughter becomes sexually active.  The son starts using marijuana and other drugs.  All those resume-building activities begin to implode: grades collapse; he starts dropping out of his activities.  He spends most of his time watching violent movies and pornography and playing video games.  All the activities meant to “build social skills” never taught him to make friends.  His original genetic propensity, whether it’s for autism or schizophrenia or bipolar, is now largely irrelevant except that it’s compounding his lifetime of stress, betrayal, materialism, overstimulation, drugs, etc.  He doesn’t know how to approach girls, and girls find him creepy.
His parents have tried to give him everything the world has to offer but they’ve deprived him of the most important things a  human being needs: God and a stable family.
Depending on who reaches into his life at this point, and whatever his earlier issues, he grabs onto whatever sense of hope and acceptance he can find.  We could go several ways from here, but this all-too-common story lends itself to several results.
But our particular instance is following the path to hate and violence.
He’s been inoculated against Christianity, of course, by his parents and by the schools.  He’s been taught that Islam is a “religion of peace,” so he starts reading the Koran.
He’s been taught that socialism is a great thing and capitalism is bad, so he starts reading Marx.
He starts reading  Hitler.
Eventually, the violence he imagines becomes reality.  Maybe his mother has found true Faith in her middle age, and desperately tries to get him to come to church with her as she tries to atone for her younger lifestyle.  Maybe he is interested in a girl who’s not interested in him.  Maybe he’s had a girlfriend who recently broke up with him.  Maybe he’s been taught by the media, the movies and the few books he’s read that Christians are the real enemy.  Maybe he’s just filled with hate for all the institutions he’s come to mistrust.
Thousands upon thousands are in his situation.  Many turn to suicide.  Many turn to matricide or patricide.  Many murder the girl they’re interested in.
Many join gangs and commit gang murders.  Many just retreat into themselves and into the games and drugs, committing a slow suicide.  Many live lives of abuse and fighting without actually killing.  Many find Jesus and overcome the hate.
So what makes one person “snap”?
If any of these few circumstances could clearly explain why people commit mass murder, then it should happen far more often than it does.  If guns are the reason, it should happen far more than it does. If guns are the reason, then there wouldn’t be suicide bombers and fertilizer bombs and madmen driving trucks through crowds.
If, as the Joker claims, all it takes is “one bad day” to make someone like him, why aren’t there?
There’s a movie called Conspiracy Theory where a guy says all notorious assassins owned the same book, and to the extent that it’s been reported, all the notorious mass murderers in the US in the past 20 or 30 years have had one thing in common: hatred of Christianity.  Many of them have shouted or posted “Allahu Akbar.”  Most of them seem to have some sort of admixture of Communist, Anarchist and Nazi leanings.
As long as a person has some faint fear of God, he’s going to have a line of conscience.  Once we strip that line of conscience away from him, it doesn’t matter what tool he uses, he will find a way to kill as many people as possible before he kills himself.  He might do it in the name of “The Revolution,” or “The Master Race,” or “Satan” or “Allah,” but he will do it.  Should we put tougher restrictions on certain kinds of weapons?  I don’t know.  It seems to me the government should do a better job of enforcing the gun laws that are already on the books.
But to address the real problem is to address, across the board, the moral and spiritual rot of our society and requires each of us to look at our own responsibility, not for our political choices but for our moral ones."Occupy Rome" Protestors Desecrate a Statue of Our Lady

DACA and AL: if you do it long enough it’s OK

First, as I’ve said many times, I think the GOP should propose a law with a path for citizenship for illegal aliens and personhood/citizenship for the unborn.

Second, usual caveat that “I voted for Castle,” and I have no particular opinion of Steven Bannon, one way or the other.

However, I would like to present a few scenarios for your consideration:
1) A school says “We think plagiarism is bad.  A first offense is a failure of the assignment.  A second offense is a failure of the course.  A third offense is expulsion.  Oh, but if you’ve been plagiarizing for 4 years of school, and we find out a month before graduation, you’ll be allowed to graduate with those who have been working hard.”
2) A man loses his job.  He decides that applying for disability/unemployment, Medicaid, etc., is too difficult and/or demeaning and would require too  long a wait so he starts stealing for a living (i.e., Fun with Dick and Jane).  He steals for years.  His children grow up learning to steal with him.  He gets caught after years of stealing.  Do we let him off because he’s been doing it so long and because his children are involved?
3) A family jump the fence of a rich Hollywood celebrity or a bishop and declare themselves residents of his home.  Technically, per Catholic Social Teaching, there is a greater obligation for the celebrity or the bishop to share his residence than for a country to allow open immigration–and in the latter case, try emigrating to the Vatican and see how that works out.

This is the struggle I have with the concept of “amnesty” for illegal immigrants and their families.  I used to take a stronger pro- stance, but then legal immigrants or second/third generation Mexican-Americans whose relatives came here illegally convinced me that it’s an injustice to those who work hard to come here.

And the same is true of the controversy around Amoris Laetitiae: if you point out it’s a double insult to the victims of adultery who already suffer from “no fault” divorce and rubber-stamp annulments.  It’s like saying, “If you’ve sinned long enough, you’re OK,” on this narrow group of sins, but would the same reasoning apply to a serial killer or a racist or a thief?

In the current discussion, there are three issues at play:
1) How best to handle illegal immigration (and this is far too complex an issue, morally or legally). What I do know is that arguments from emotion or “justice” work both ways, and I tend to focus on the injustice towards those who are struggling or have struggled to follow the US’s existing laws that are already more generous than most countries’s immigration laws. I see this as basically the equivalent of “plagiarism is bad but if you’ve been plagiarizing all through school and just got caught right before graduation we won’t expel you.” Just as the “justice” and “mercy” of AL is unmerciful towards the victims of adultery and the children of the first marriage. At the same time, aspects of US law regarding refugees are inconsistent and purely political.
2) Whether the president has the right to legislate via Executive Order, and he doesn’t. Outside of a proper Catholic monarchy, the only way to even remotely protect against corruption and dictatorship is a precisely worded Constitution implemented literally (this is a principle Aristotle understood two and a half millennia ago). Dictators always act in what they think is “justice.”
3) Whether the bishops have “moral authority” to be expressing “moral outrage” over one particular aspect of US immigration policy, particularly on the grounds of a supposed absolute obligation to enforce positive Scriptural law in a particular way. If that is the case, if refusal to “welcome the stranger” regardless of the circumstance is a moral duty, then they should be leading by personal example. Saying that it’s wrong to hop the bishop’s wall and declare yourself a resident of his palace but it’s right to hop the border and declare yourself a resident of another country is hypocrisy.

 

“Joy of Love”–What’s missing

The media are abuzz with Pope Francis’s long-anticipated Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation _Amoris Laetitia_, and from what I’ve seen on Facebook, the following Bingo game could be quickly won:

capture

I’ve read the first three chapters, and I’ve read that, like every other document from Pope Francis, the several assurances of orthodoxy in the first few chapters are followed up by a buried lied of “freedom of conscience” somewhere in the middle.

Let’s set aside that “freedom of conscience” and “Let’s adopt a new tone instead of authoritarianism” has been said over and over since  Vatican II.  Let’s set aside that some of the same people who, almost 20 years ago, were having conniptions over a very similar, but more more succinct, document from Rembert Weakland are now saying, “Let’s celebrate!  The Pope didn’t change doctrine!”

As usual, I sympathize, though don’t entirely agree with, the Pope’s critics from the “Right.”  My reaction thus far is really disappointment.  The document is the epitome of lukewarm.  It’s so insipid and boring I was outraged by the waste of time.  It really adds nothing to what previous documents have already said on any of the subjects at play.

When it comes to marriage and family issues, there are four groups of people:

1) Those who want a clear-cut, black and white moral code.

2) Those who “freedom of conscience” *from* the Church.

3) Those who simply don’t care.

4) Those who want to follow the Church but are struggling with difficult situations.

Group #2 are the only ones who have any cause for celebration in this document, and they are celebrating.  However, from what I’ve read directly or seen quoted, it *really* doesn’t say anything that isn’t somewhere in the post-Vatican II magisterium already.

Ostensibly, the whole point of the Synod was to address group 4, but so far it seems to be more of the same:

Yes, extreme circumstances may mitigate culpability.  However, this seems addressed in a way that’s more about alleviating the responsibility of pastors than providing mercy to those who struggle.  Emphasizing lack of culpability works out to the same as emphasizing sin in a punitive manner: both escape the Biblical responsibility of the clergy to help those who are in need.

This has always been my problem with group 2, the so-called “liberals” or “progressives”: too often, I’ve seen Acts of the Apostles cited by liberals to support socialism or communism rather than Christian community.

The Pope says we should “admire” and “be supportive” of families with disabled parents or children, single mothers, and so forth.  But “being supportive” is very different from “supporting”.  He mentions civic responsibility, but not clerical responsibility.

Instead, it’s the cop-out of “personal conscience.”  So much easier to say, “You’re not really responsible for the sins you commit out of  desperation” than to say, “We’re going to try to provide you with practical help so you don’t have to be put in a situation of desperation.”

 

“Just believe in yourself”

“God just wants me to be happy,” says the contemporary Christian singer about her divorce and remarriage.

“Believe in yourself,” says the new age guru.

“The real Bruce Jenner,” say the headlines.

“Born that way,” says Lady Gaga.

Apparently, Jesus says “Affirm yourself, put down your cross, and follow your heart”?

Oh, no, wait.  That was, “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.”

This week’s Gospel is very appropriate

<blockquote>The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.  He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.  The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.  The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come.  Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streetsand gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.  The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”</blockquote>

This is a fitting reading to have in the midst of the debates surrounding the Synod on the Family.  We are told by Cardinal Walter Kasper–one of those whose retirement Pope Benedict was very eager to accept–that the current praxis of denying communion to divorced and remarried Catholics is “unmerciful.”  He claims that those who emphasize “one verse” (actually, two separate occasions) are “fundamentalists.”
Meanwhile, Cardinal Wuerl, the latest Archbishop of Washington, DC, to do nothing about enforcing Canon 915–and who has, rather, punished priests for enforcing it–says that refusla of Communion is a matter of discipline, not doctrine.
They both seem to miss the meaning of this week’s Gospel, that those who present themselves for the Wedding Feast–that is, the Eucharist–must wear a “proper garment”–that is, a clean soul.
The news coming out of the Synod does not bode well for the short term health of the Church or the immortal souls of some hierarchs and the laity they are encouraging to “live in sin” (sorry, we’re supposedly not supposed to say that anymore).  Supposedly, the “working groups” voted on by the Synod Fathers are all very “conservative,” with Cardinal Burke (whom the media had reported would not even be in attendance) being chair of the English language committee, but Pope Francis of “decentralization” and “collegiality” fame, who supposedly convened the Synod to gauge the bishops’ views towards his proposed “reforms”, has now appointed six Cardinals of his own choosing–Wuerl among them–to write the working document.  The exact relationship of those six to the “working groups” is not yet clear.
For the most part, ad hominems and genetic fallacies are at work in dismisssing the few sites reporting on these issues, but even Robert Royal at _The Catholic Thing_ has been reporting that the Synod is exposing deep fissures in the hierarchy, that even the “moderates” are unhappy with the Holy Father’s proposals.
It is true that a properly “pastoral” approach takes into consideration a person’s growth (so-called “gradualism”) and the various factors that play into culpability, etc., but that doesn’t excuse someone from the Sacrament of Reconciliation–it *does* mean that priests should be more merciful when it comes to habitual sin and being encouraging to those who come over and over with the same sins.

Time will tell, and prayer is called for, but it is so very disheartening, having just begun to heal the damage done in the 1960s and ’70s, to have it all come flooding back.

 

Scandal versus Scandal, and Controversial Cardinals

I believe that, 10 or 20 years in the future, people will look back on “the Francis Effect” as they now look at “the Spirit of Vatican II.”  In the meantime, we seem to be reliving the 1960s and 70s.
Two cases in point: the upcoming Synod on the Family, which is supposed to be about determining how to more effectively articulate the Church’s teachings, but the media and some cardinals–most notably Walter Cardinal Kasper–are trying to make it about changing teaching.  Meanwhile, there are the still-unofficial rumors that Raymond Cardinal Burke will be removed from his post as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, in the wake of a book that Burke and other “conservatives” published that upholds the Church’s teachings against Cardinal Kasper’s “approach” to divorce.
Simultaneously, Timothy Cardinal Dolan will grand marshal the first ever New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade to include “gays” marching as homosexuals.  Dolan defends this position by appealing to the “Francis Effect,” and the idea–which he used a year ago to applaud openly homosexual football player Michael Sam for his “courage”–that the Church says it’s OK to identify with a disordered inclination so long as one doesn’t act on it.  Kevin O’Brien asks if he can start a chapter of Irish Adulterers and march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, since–following Cardinal Dolan’s reasoning–having a disordered inclination to adultery makes one an “adulterer.”
Sadly, though, Dolan’s reasoning is not that far off from Kasper’s.  Kasper contends that we cannot know for certain if a couple who are divorced and remarried are living in a Josephite marriage.  Kasper has

accused his opponents of faulty interpretation of Scripture, saying, “We cannot simply take one phrase of the Gospel of Jesus and from that deduce everything.” That would be Luke 16:18, which quotes Jesus saying, “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

He apparently has not read St. John Paul II’s _Theology of the Body_, since that’s exactly what John Paul does (though “induce” would probably be the more accurate verb).  Cardinal Kasper heads into dangerous ground by suggesting that those who are divorced and remarried “don’t look like they’re committing adultery,” that somehow superficial happiness and later fidelity can atone for the previous infidelity–neo-pelagianism, indeed!

So, on the one hand, we have “you can be a homosexual, and be in a ‘homosexual relationship,’ and not act on it.”  Then we have “you can be divorced and remarried and not act on it.”  Both propositions are *technically* true.

Then we have the more important question, one of the foundational questions of Christian spirituality and praxis and the juridical question of Catholic governance.  If we set aside Cardinal Kasper’s 1960s theology of “conscience,” let’s focus on the objective viewpoint.  Technically, he’s correct that people can sometimes live in Josephite marriages or similar situations.  Technically, he’s correct that we shouldn’t assume the worst of other people.  However, in practice, his views defy common sense.

Why would someone get divorced and remarried and not act on it? Even if it is possible, and people are willing to (sometimes, they are), the Church should still say, “this is what you’re supposed to do in this situation.”

This is a paradox at work in much of “pastoral” theology and canon law: two meanings of the word “scandal.”  To the world, and many members of the clergy, scandal means rumor-mongering.   If Y knows X is divorced and remarried with no annulment and Y sees X receiving Communion, it is true that Y is possibly breaking the 8th Commandment in one or more respects to be scandalized by it in the secular sense and definitely breaking the 8th Commandment to gossip about it.

However, in traditional Catholic parlance, “scandal” means behavior that encourages other people to sin.  Maybe N is thinking about divorce and follows X’s example.  Maybe B *is* divorced and remarried and thinks it’s OK.  . . .

There are other times where the Church says precisely that we shouldn’t endanger people’s souls by encouraging people to put themselves into a possible occasion of sin, or of setting a bad example.  Another topic being hotly debated in mass and social media is Pope Francis’s example of officiating a wedding of couples who have been cohabiting.  Conventionally, pastors have discouraged marriage of cohabiting couples, although canonically they cannot refuse to marry anyone.  Sacramentally, as with any sacrament, a state of grace is necessary to confer the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is why couples are expected to go to Confession before their weddings.   The reasoning behind discouraging such practices is to discourage setting a bad example.  Since our society is heavily scandalized in that regard already, and in some ways always has been, I suspect the Holy Father is right that it’s better to encourage marriage.

Nevertheless, there is that understanding that people of opposite sexes who are not related by law or biology should usually not live under the same roof because they put themselves into situations of temptation and setting a bad example.

More surprisingly, I was reading an article somewhere recently about the notion of impediments–how, just as an annulment can be granted for inability to consummate, supposedly one of the few reasons the Church will preemptively deny a request for marriage is if one of the spouses is known to be incapable of consummation.  To the question of how that’s to be known without presuming attempts at fornication, I was told that obvious cases include people who are mutilated or paralyzed.

Apparently, go figure, the reasoning is that the non-deformed partner cannot be expected to go through life with a person of the opposite sex and not act on it, that he or she cannot be expected to contract marriage and be continent!  Of course, any argument in favor of such a relationship raises complex issues about those who struggle with same sex attraction, and “what about those who become deformed after marriage” was answered with little more than “That’s complicated.”

So, we cannot expect heterosexuals to live in continence (even though it has been done), but we cannot presume those who are married are having marital relationships, and we can expect people who identify as homosexual, have homosexual “significant others,” kiss in public, and so on, to be courageously living in chastity.

On the other end of the spectrum is Cardinal Burke, who argues in favor of presuming sacramentality in the vast majority of cases.  Perhaps such a presumption is good, but there is much to be said for simplification of the annulment process.

Why “Gay Marriage” Matters

Even many who profess faith in Christ insist that “gay marriage,” even as a civil entity, doesn’t hurt anybody.  Examples like “husband” and “wife” being changed everywhere to “spouse 1” and “spouse 2” should be enough for starters.  Then there is the increasing persecution of those who oppose the homosexualist political agenda: CEOs being fired from companies they co-founded,

Brendan Eich, who helped invent Java and Firefox, fired from Mozilla for a $1000 donation made 6 years ago.

and nuns being persecuted by the Church.

Should be speaking everywhere, not silenced

Of course, the latter was justified by “Catholics” bearing false witness against the Holy Father by saying his statements that homilists must talk about more than a few disjointed moral teachings means that none of us is supposed to talk about the specific examples, ever.

It all goes back to my old saying that we lost the Culture Wars before they began, at the 1929 Lambeth Conference.   The slippery slope that  led us to the current gay marriage debate started when the Anglicans became the first Christians to permit birth control, as Pius XI and Paul VI predicted.  Anyone who has tried to teach Catholic morality even in CCD, much less Catholic school, in the past generation or two knows how awkward it is to tell kids divorce and remarriage is a sin when their parents are divorced and remarried, that swearing is a sin when even their mothers cuss like sailors, or that birth control is a sin when everyone else uses it.  I went to high school with kids whose parents were NFP instructors, and even *they* would say things like, “It’s a sin for us but not for other people,” or “It’s better to tell teenagers to use birth control than to have them get pregnant or STDs.”

I think the persecution of Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, OP, STD, has as much to do with her speaking about the negative consequences of divorce as anything else.  Indeed, the claim of Aquinas College that Sr. Jane is outside her academic credentials by talking of anthropology negates the traditional hierarchy of academic disciplines that a Dominican should be the first to recognize.

Soon-to-be St. John Paul II, who doesn’t mince words in Evangelium Vitae about the Conspiracy of Death, writes in Theology of the Body that the entire of Catholic anthropology is based in the Creation Account: indeed, that is the whole point of TOB.  From man being made male and female in the image of likeness of God and to be “one flesh” to the fact of Original Sin, JPII’s explication of the first three or four chapters of Genesis and Jesus’ teachings on marriage shows how everything else in theology stems from those passages.  He argues that the danger of Darwinism, and its importance to secularists, is that without a Creator, without teleology, without man being a soul/body hybrid, without Original Sin itself, then man is not a moral creature, and ultimately anything goes.

Something similar is at work in the Culture Wars in the contemporary West.  From contraception at one end to “marriage equality” at the other, advocates of “most favored sins” tend to promote each other’s cause: nobody wants to be perceived as a “hypocrite,” after all.  If some “bossy” Thomistic nun wants to start talking about sexual morality, then so much for “voices of women in the Church”!

And that’s the ultimate agenda of the Culture of Death (and, yes, Pope John Paul himself states repeatedly in Gospel of Life and elsewhere that it’s a conspiracy).    It’s even the agenda of those who, in the name of preventing child abuse, expose children to graphic “sex education.”  Obviously, Satan wants everyone in Hell, and Satan’s agents, whether they realize they are or not, need to encourage others to sin so they can feel justified in their own filth.

The 1988 Don Bosco film that used to run on EWTN before the 2004 version came out has subplots involving a brothel next door to St. John’s Oratory.  In one scene, there’s a commotion outside the brothel: two prostitutes get into a “cat fight.”  The boys stop their play and study to see what’s going on.  The Saint cuts through the crowd and pulls the two hookers apart.  “You people can drown in your sins, if you want!” he cries.  “But if a single one of my boys is lost because of you, not one of you can be saved!”

Harsh, you say?  Remember Our Lord calls for anyone who causes a child to sin to be drowned (Matthew 18:6).

That’s what’s at stake in “gay marriage.”

When I can no longer watch Wheel of Fortune with my kids because of a contestant introduction like, “So you’re getting married? . . . You found some nice young lady to marry you?” “Gentleman, actually,” that affects my family.
When we’re watching The Middle, and an ad comes on for Modern Family with two men talking about “their wedding,” and a cake topper with two men, that affects my family.
“Why?” asks the person who actively or passively supports same sex marriage.  “Are you afraid of them?  They’re nice people.”
No.
“Do you think you’re kid’s going to be gay?”
No.
Every child at some point wants to know why boys can’t marry boys or girls can’t marry girls, and “because they’re not supposed to” is usually a sufficient answer.

If society isn’t going to back that up, and if “the Church” isn’t even going to back that up, then one is left stranded explaining Natural Law.  It’s hard enough having to gloss over other issues.

They do not think parents have the right to teach their children morality or even to protect their children’s mental purity at a young age.   Then there are the increasing accounts of children at young ages becoming addicted to porn or committing sexual abuse because of things they’ve seen online.

When that stuff is literally everywhere, there comes a point when parents are forced to explain certain things to children that are not otherwise age appropriate–and that’s exactly what these demonic perverts want.

Apparently an STD doesn’t Qualify A Nun to Talk about STDs (so to speak)

So, thanks to screaming protests and threats by thousands of “parents” at a Catholic high school in Charlotte, NC, not only has Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, OP, STD, of the St. Cecilia Dominican Congregation and its affiliated Aquinas College in Nashville, TN, been disinvited from future speaking engagements in the Charlotte Diocese: she has now “voluntarily” stepped down from both speaking and even teaching at the famously orthodox college.

Why has Sr. Jane been subjected to more censure than the “nuns on a bus” or the Leadership Conference of Women Religious or the National Coalition of American Nuns?
For citing studies that argue that homosexual inclinations are learned, not innate and supposedly for stepping outside the range of her academic expertise!

I’m sure if a nun had said, “Studies prove homosexuals are born that way and have no control over their behavior,” the few parents who might have voiced objections would have been ignored.

If the expression of the Truth is not safe in those circumstances, an orthodox nun from an orthodox order and college speaking at the invite of an orthodox pastor under an orthodox bishop, we’re all doomed.

The “parents” who came to the “parents only” meeting and apparently exceeded the number of enrolled families should be ashamed.   The injustice of this whole thing breaks my heart.

What did the Pope *Really* Say?

“The Pope says all priests have to be Jesuits.” “The Popes says all Catholics have to like Puccini, Dostoevsky, Manzoni, Caravaggio, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.”
Those proposed “headlines” would make about as much sense as the actual MSM headlines about the interview Pope Francis recently gave with Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, the editor of the Italian Jesuit journal _La Civiltà Cattolica_. The Jesuits have had it translated into numerous languages and published in various national journals, including _America_. Normally, I would say that referencing something in _America_ to refute something in the _New York Times_ would be like referencing _Das Kapital_ to refute _The Communist Manifesto_, but in this case, the original is far different than what the NYT and other MSM outlets are reporting. The standard headline is that the Pope said, “The Church will fail if it doesn’t stop talking about abortion, homosexuality, and abortion” or “The Pope has said to stop talking about doctrine.” That is quite the opposite of what he said.
Let’s look at a few quotations. First up is the following radical statement by the Pope:

We should not allow our faith to be drained by too many discussions of multiple, minor details, but rather, should always keep our eyes in the first place on the greatness of Christianity.

I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.

If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith – a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us.

Oh, wait, this isn’t Pope Francis. It’s an address Pope Benedict XVI gave to the Swiss bishops in 2006.
Or, how about this “spirit of Vatican II” statement about how priests should preach about the positive aspects of the faith before they preach against sin?

‘But many priests want to preach thunderously against the worst kinds of sin at the very outset, failing to realize that before a sick person is given bitter medicine he needs to be prepared by being put in the right frame of mind to really benefit by it.

‘This is why, before doing anything else, priests should try to kindle a love of prayer in people’s hearts and especially a love of my Angelic Psalter. If only they would all start saying it and would really persevere, God, in His mercy, could hardly refuse to give them His grace. So I want you to preach my Rosary.’

Nope, that’s not Pope Francis, either. It’s a quotation of an apparition of Jesus to St. Dominic, related by St. Louis de Montfort in _Secret of the Rosary_.
So let’s keep those in mind as we read the quotations from the interview with Pope Francis, which can be found here.

“I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.”

That sets the context for the couple lines the media have cherry-picked, and sounds a lot like what de Montfort quoted, doesn’t it?
Now, here’s what the media have selectively quoted, emphasizing the “small minded rules” bit and ignoring the rest:

The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds [emphasis added]

Yet the media have claimed that the interview says certain things are no longer sins. That’s exactly the *opposite* of what he’s said. He goes on to say how just “leaving the doors open” in tolerance is not the right approach, though some people feel they cannot be forgiven and need to be reached out to:

Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.

Again, he emphasizes that the role of the Confessional:

This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better. I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?

She’s obviously shown progress in many respects and is in a canonically irregular situation. Obviously, the Holy Father’s point is that “rigorism” is keeping her from the Church. She has options.

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

Now, one of the parts that’s troubled some of us his statement, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” since most of us do not find the hierarchy speaking much about these issues *at all*, and there really are many people out there who think the Church says they’re “OK.” However, it’s ironic that in a wide-ranging interview, all that people want to talk about are the three things he says it’s not necessary to talk about all the time!
Here’s the other one the media keep pulling out of context:

The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.

Compare this to the statements of Benedict and Louis de Montfort above. People need to desire Christ and accept the message of salvation. Getting the “disjointed” teachings doesn’t help anyone. He never says the Church will “fail” if She doesn’t stop talking about these “hot button” issues. He says her ability to promote these teachings will fall if it’s not grounded solidly in the wider Christian context.

“I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and ability to meet his people, because those who preach must recognize the heart of their community and must be able to see where the desire for God is lively and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.”

11 “Hollywood” Films (and a PBS Cartoon) with Pro-Life Themes

PersonhoodUSA has posted a great piece on BuzzFeed called “10 Hollywood Movies that Accidentally Affirm Life.”
As some commentors have said, many of these are pretty intentionally pro-life (except _Horton_, given that “Dr. Seuss’s” widow sued pro-life groups for quoting the book), and I have blogged previously about _Knocked Up_, _Juno_, and _Waitress_.  However, one that is not on the list and is definitely unintentional is _Finding Nemo_, which includes the title character witnessing the deaths of his mother and “brothers and sisters” while he (along with his siblings) is still inside an egg.  Nemo is, of course, born disabled, and acceptance of his disability is a major theme of the movie.
Another good cartoon (though not a “movie”) that I’ve blogged about before is the _Magic School Bus_ episode “Cracks a Yolk,” starring pro-choice feminist Lily Tomlin. 

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What the [bleep] is he talking about?

Back in the 1990s, my parents and I were attending Mass at a church in a town we were visiting, and the priest gave what I described as 15 fantastic 2 minute homilies. When he finished, my Mom whispered, “What the [bleep] was he talking about?” and, due to the architecture of the building, it came out a bit louder than she’d intended, resulting in chuckles from people around us.
Well the latest controversy in the Catholic blogosphere concerns a “personal essay” that former First Things editor Joseph Bottum has published in Commonweal of all places, on the topic of “same sex marriage.”

As controversy has erupted, Bottum’s response on Facebook has been to say that his critics are misinterpreting his essay because his style is to hide a didactic essay inside a “self indulgence” personal essay. He claims that he develops the argument to go along with the culture only to reject it in the end, but I don’t see where he rejects it. Indeed, when a columnist in The New York Times headlined his response to the article as “A Conservative Catholic Now Backs Same-Sex Marriage,” both Bottum, on Facebook, and Commonweal, linked the NYT review approvingly, yet somehow when other conservatives reach the conclusion that Bottum is saying we should stop fighting same sex marriage, he says we’re wrong.

Bottum overtly makes the argument *for* homosexual marriage, assents to letting “gays” determine the terminology, attacks the Manhattan Declaration for linking same sex marriage with abortion and anti-Christian trends in society, laments the loss of a gay libertarian friend over said friend’s perception of the Church, and suggests that some good may come from redefinition of marriage. He also naively suggests that the negative consequences traditional marriage forces have been worried about may not actually happen, even though they’ve been happening in Canada for years and are happening already since the Supreme Court’s verdict, as “gay” couples are beginning to sue churches and even wedding photographers for refusing to participate in their “weddings”.

Bottum dismisses the fear of traditional marriage advocates, particularly Catholics, that the “gay marriage” movement is not just about letting gays get married but is actually about destroying Christianity. He claims we should presume the best of same sex activists’ intentions, even while admitting that his now former friend thinks that way:

Certainly it will not satisfy Jim Watson, my old friend from New York. How could he accept talk of the Catholic Church’s charity and evangelizing? He wants the church hurt, its tax exemptions and even property-holding rights stripped away until it not only accepts laws allowing same-sex marriage, not only encourages same-sex marriage, but actually performs same-sex marriage. Even that might not be enough; the institutional weight of the history of Catholic bigotry, he thinks, is probably too much for repentance and reformation to overcome. Best, really, if the Catholic Church is systematically outlawed. – See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share#sthash.xCNXUybC.dpuf

Bottum is right that, at this moment, we are on the “losing side” of history. He specifically rejects the notion, proposed by many, including the late Deacon Paul Weyrich and Pope Benedict, of focusing on forming small orthodox communities and setting ourselves apart from the secular world, the way Christians have done in various historical situations, such as ancient Rome (or parts of Asia, where Christians spent centuries living in hiding and passing on their faith in secret). He rightly says we’re losing the fight against homosexual marriage because we never fought against no fault divorce, but he specifically rejects the notion of fighting against *that*.
I’ve long said the Culture Wars were lost at the 1929 Lambeth Conference, when the Anglicans became the first Christian communion to accept artificial contraception. Bl. John Paul II makes clear in _Evangelium Vitae_ (13) that contraception is just as much a cause of the Culture of Death as abortion.
To that extent, I and most of his critics agree: in the short run, we’re going to lose this fight. However, that doesn’t mean we should give up.

What everyone agrees on is that nobody really understands what his point *is*. He tries to dismiss this as a question of his chosen style and genre, but even a personal essay would not justify the numerous sentence fragments and convoluted reasoning process.

The Zimmerman trial should have been about Parental Permissiveness

I have learned more about the Zimmerman/Martin case in the last 39 hours than the last 16 months, since I try to avoid such cases. First, I don’t understand why this is about “racism”: I see some punk comes down the street, mall concourse, or wherever wearing “gangsta” attire (e.g., a hoodie, which in particular obscures his face), with that distinct swagger, etc., and I get scared. I don’t care what the color of his skin is, how old he is, or even if the person’s a “he” or a “she.” What gets me, though, is that, if Trayvon was the innocent helpless child they’re making him out to be, what in the blazes (literally) were his “parents” (specifically, his father and his father’s fiancee in this case) doing allowing him out alone at night to go *anywhere*, much less “buy a pack of Skittles”? The parents should be charged with criminal neglect, but that notion is offensive to 99% of Americans because they see no problem with Trayvon’s behavior (not that it necessarily warranted killing him), or the fact that his parents were divorced, which should itself be a horrible scandal (even if the divorce was justified).

Yes, I think this case really speaks to my own qualms about the popular interpretation of the Second Amendment. Do I think Martin was likely up to no good? Yes. Do I think Zimmerman shot him in self defense? Yes. Do I think Zimmerman was looking for a fight? Yes. Do I think it’s a good idea to have a neighborhood watch and have somebody who’s willing to try and *prevent* crime versus waiting for it to happen? Absolutely. Should that person carry a gun? I don’t think so, not when a baseball bat would do for most cases (and if a baseball bat wouldn’t suffice, a gun wouldn’t, either).

Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be about race, guns or anything but the over-permissiveness of parents in this country. Why is a 17 year old a “child” when it’s convenient to liberals? Homosexual priests molest 16 and 17 year-olds and are accused of being “child molesters” to avoid identifying them as “homosexuals,” and now a 17 year old high on marijuana is an “innocent child”?

“Why should I bless you? Your sons are in jail because of your permissiveness.”–St. Pio, to a couple who asked for a blessing because they were distressed over their two sons’ imprisonment.

However, according to the same people who are calling Trayvon Martin an “innocent child,” teenagers are supposed to be permitted to have sexual relations before the legal age of consent, be given free contraceptives and free abortions without parental consent, be permitted to engage in statutory rape with impunity, etc.
A 17 year old can have a driver’s license. An 18 year old can serve in the military and vote, and liberals argue that 18 year olds should be allowed to drink alcohol. It’s like the same “logic” applied to abortion: an infant at 36 weeks’ gestation is a “blob of tissue” and “part of the woman’s body” 5 minutes before birth. A “17 year old” is an “innocent child,” but an 18 year old is a “responsible adult.”

Why Catholic Education in America is Totally Screwed Up

Even in the 1990s, we were hearing of Catholic schools being closed left and right, and it’s gotten worse with all the lawsuit garbage of the past decade. Meanwhile, the sense of Catholicism in Catholic schools, the orthodoxy of teaching, and the spiritual life have all been steadily declining since the 1960’s. Some of this is due to intentional agendas like the ones Dietrich von Hildebrand addresses in _The Charitable Anathema_, but, these days, it has less and less to do with intentional malice as it has to do with a system that’s just totally screwed up by a variety of factors, such that people don’t even know where to begin to reform, and a lot of people don’t even have a clue that reform is necessary.

1. Lack of Religious, and severe lack of them living their vows:
Let’s face it; priests and religious used to be and should be the backbone of Catholic schools. Education is one of the top four reasons religious orders exist. Education is *how* Orders recruit. We hear too much of how horrible “the nuns” were. Whenever someone talks about how “bad” the nuns “were” with their discipline, I have to point out the contrast to today’s children.
Then, the ones we *do* have of course, are largely ideologically liberal and, worse, they’re using the “relative to your society” interpretation of “poverty.” It’s like the recruitment ad I saw a few years ago for one of the Daughters/Sisters of Mercy/Charity orders: “We’re just like ordinary people. We wear ordinary clothes and work ordinary jobs for ordinary salaries. We just live in a community with other unmarried women and come home at the end of the day to share community and prayer.” Basically, “Hey! Join us! We’re a Coven of Lesbians!”
The point is that, besides the question of orthodoxy and declining vocations, religious are basically demanding the same salaries and benefits that lay teachers make. This takes away the financial advantage Catholic schools used to have of religious teaching there for poverty-level wages.
[While rising orders like the Dominicans of St. Cecilia or Dominicans of Mary Mother of the Eucharist are handling the “vocations shortage” and “lack of orthodoxy” issues, and while the nuns are living in a much truer spirit of poverty–our friend who’s a Nashville Dominican told us the motherhouse didn’t have A/C the first few years she lived there–I can’t say one way or the other if they’re helping on the financial side. The schools they teach at tend to have pretty high tuition.]

2. Catholic identity: the basic criticism that Catholics like us have against most Catholic schools is that they aren’t Catholic in *all* aspects of life. A Catholic education isn’t just supposed to be about 1-5 hours of “religion” per week–let’s ignore the fact that such “religion” is usually watered down milquetoast mush about “Jesus is nice.” It’s about integrating prayer–Catholic prayer–into the daily life of the school: school Masses (with proper liturgy and proper homiletics), school Adoration, school Rosary and maybe even school Divine Office. It’s about talking about the regular subjects from a Catholic perspective (i.e., intelligent design in the science classroom, morality and religious symbolism in the literature classroom, discussing Catholic figures in the history classroom).

Catholic schools celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., in January and talk about the pagan god Janus instead of talking about the Feast of the Most Holy Theotokos and what that means, or talking about the Saints of the month. They’ll talk about “Christian Unity Week” but not about the anniversary of _Roe v. Wade_. They’ll celebrate Native American History without talking about Archbishop Charles Chaput being the first Native American archbishop, or about Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha, or St. Juan Diego, or St. Martin de Porres. Do they talk of Chief Seattle being a convert to Catholicism? Does talk of African Americans or Native Americans deal with St. Katherine Drexel and the many other great Catholics who have worked to help minorities in this country who were being oppressed by the Protestant Overlords? What about Mother Mary Lange?

A Catholic school should teach the students to exemplify Catholic virtue in all aspects of life. What we usually get is “Christian virtue,” with the same “values” that are taught at public schools willing to teaching “values,” of the sort expressed by Thomas Merton’s teacher who said, “Being a Christian is much the same as being a gentleman.”

There are three reasons for this problem, but I’m listing it, and them separately.

3. “Accreditation”: Secular Accreditation, as many Catholic homeschool associations and independent Catholic schools argue, is a big hammer used to suppress faith formation. First, in order to be accredited, schools have to teach certain subjects a certain way. This leaves out the question of teaching them in the aforementioned *Catholic* way. We’re talking about Martin Luther King instead of Martin de Porres precisely because the accreditation rules require talking about MLK and forbid talking about subjects that aren’t on the approved curricula for accreditation. Accreditation requires having “accredited” teachers, which means Catholic schools are hiring teachers based upon secular credentials, rather than on those teachers’ credentials as members of the Catholic faith. That gets to my favorite statement by Bishop Vasa, regarding how he requires a mandatum of all employees and volunteers in his diocese: “If I let a known child predator serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Communion or a CCD teacher, people would rightly accuse me of neglect of my duties. If I require, though, that the people distributing Communion and teaching CCD actually believe in transubstantiation, they criticize me for it.”

As I noted in an earlier posts and in many posts in the history of this blog, I get so sick of hearing that I should praise a given principal or teacher or other school employee because of secular credentials. Tell me about the person’s moral practices, prayer life and personal habits.

Just as accreditation means the curricula have severe deficiencies from a Catholic perspective, so too does it mean that the teachers have adhered to a particular course of education that probably means they’re deficient in other areas. Everything I’ve said about “accreditation” applies to the EEOC and several other government entities, as well.

Even more deeply than that is that education is about formation of a person. We forget that theories of education are to be based upon philosophies of human nature and how best to form human beings. The Classical Theory, the Ignatian Theory, the Scholastic Theory, the Liberal Arts Theory, and the Great Books Theory are all very traditional or neo-traditional methods that in different ways conform to the Catholic view of the person. Today, they get lip service from having textbook snippets about Plato or something, and they get lumped into vague categories by the schools that even bother to try, so that no one bothers to explore their nuances or differences. In any case, a school that is following the rules for “accreditation” cannot, by definition, adhere to any of these methods of education. It can try to adapt some principles of those methods to fit the Modernist, Masonic view of education that “accreditation” comes from, but no “accredited” school can be truly Classical, Ignatian, Scholastic, Liberal Arts, etc., and therefore no “accredited” school can be truly Catholic.

4. The people running the schools are badly catechized. The declining Catholic education system of the last 50 years is the system that produced the people doing the teaching and administrating these days. First, they’ve been taught by their teachers, pastors, etc., to shun “that stuff that Vatican II got rid of,” like Saints, Feast Days, sacramentals, devotions, dogma, etc. They’ve been horribly catechized, so they often don’t know what to do even if they want to. For the most part, the people who *are* properly catechized, whether by formal or self-education, are some combination of a) resigned to ostracism, b) homeschooling, c) not “accredited” as teachers according to secular standards (see above).

They’ve been taught that evangelization is “forcing your religion on other people.” They’ve been taught that “all religions are basically the same,” that we’re “multiple boats on the journey to the same place.”

Again, most of them are well meaning–they’ve just been totally brainwashed by the institutional rot in our culture and in our Church, and they don’t know any better. They probably sincerely believe that birth control and chastity are optional, that women’s ordination is on its way, that the Eucharist is just a symbol, etc., but unless someone sits them down and corrects them, they won’t change.

5. GOVERNMENT MONEY:

A school operating according to Catholic principles shouldn’t need much money. Good old books don’t cost that much money–keeping up with the “latest curricula” costs money. Technology and facilities cost money, OK, but those are the kinds of things that can be directly donated. Hiring “certified” lay teachers who need to support their families costs a *lot* of money.

Getting back to point 1, hiring nuns and monks who went straight into the monastery out of high school and received their education and training from the Church would cost a fraction.

So, if it weren’t for the desire for secular accreditation or the lack of vocations, the cost of running Catholic schools would be a *lot* less.

The Supreme Court ruled at some point that government money can go towards religious schools so long as the money is applied to non-religious activities. This ruling helped destroy Catholic schools in the 1960s and helped create the long-term problem. Prior to that ruling, there were extensive publishing houses of Catholic textbooks–on all subjects. After that ruling, Catholic schools started using completely secular textbooks in all their non-religion classes. This killed the Catholic education textbook publishing industry, so the books aren’t even available except for a handful of publishers like Seton.

All the various ways that the government supposedly “helps” Catholic schools–tax exemptions, grants, vouchers, scholarships, Title Whatever, etc., serve as subtle tools with which to undermine a school’s ability to incorporate Catholicism into all aspects of academic life. (This is the argument against vouchers raised by Maggie Gallagher and others). Even when the government *doesn’t* forbid religious activities in connection with some funding, the schools still fear being audited or whatever, so they stand their guard.

6. Parish Money:

A Catholic school *ought* to be getting the majority of its money from the parish and diocese, from tuition and from donations from well-to-do Catholics. The goal of most parishes and diocese, however, is to minimize the money they have to pay, since their budgets are so strapped. Therefore, they rely on secular grants and the aforementioned government money.

7. Confusion of Mission:

Lastly, there’s the confusion of mission. Catholic schools exist for two reasons: to give Catholics a safe environment for raising their children and to provide a good education to poor children (hopefully evangelizing them and their parents in the process). All the factors I’ve previously listed point to the fact that schools are *not* in general evangelizing their non-Catholic students. We were once involved in a Catholic school where the priest told the kids, “God doesn’t want everyone to be Catholic.” Now, we’re at a school where the priest clearly teaches Catholic dogma in his school homilies, and encourages the students to take that home to their parents, and that’s a great blessing to have these days.

However, there’s still the problem that when you have Catholic kids mixing with non-Catholic kids, or even Catholic kids mixing with other Catholic kids, no matter how good the school is, there’s still the issue of peer pressure. This brings us to

8. PARENTS:

Dr. Z. is an OB/Gyn who prescribes birth control pills and gives a great deal of money to the parish.
Mr. Y. has 8 kids, is theological orthodox, and politically conservative, *BUT* tends towards the “preppy” view of education, and gives a great deal of money to the school.
Mrs. X. is on her third husband and has 2 kids in the school.
Mr. W. isn’t even Catholic but is one of the wealthiest people in town and sends his kids to Catholic school for the “quality.”
Ms. V. is a non-Catholic racial minority mom trying to get her kids a good education.
Miss U. teaches at the school, is a registered Democrat and “volunteers” at Planned Parenthood (and not by praying the rosary on the sidewalk) on the weekends.
Mr. and Mrs. T. have a number of kids in the school, they struggle to make ends meet on a middle class salary while adhering to the teachings of the Church. Z, X, W, V and U consider them to be “goody two shoes” and “judgemental” and “Pharisaical.” Y doesn’t like them because they don’t dress nice. They’re the constant gossip of parent meetings and teacher meetings. They bring up any topic about the Faith, and it’s “Oh, they’re at it again.” They get virtually ostracized from the school and parish community for being “troublemakers.”
Miss S. is a young teacher who grew up in a family like the T’s, or maybe even like the Y’s. She never went to Catholic school but was either homeschooled or public schooled, or a mixture of both. She recently graduated from Christendom or FUS. She chose to teach at Catholic school because of her commitment to the faith. She gets in the classroom, and here’s a kid who’s parents are divorced and remarried; that kid’s parents have a mixed marriage; that kid’s parent is Dr. Z; that kid’s parent is an *ex*-Catholic; that kid’s parent is a Baptist minister; that kid’s parent is fighting in Iraq; that kid’s parent is a stockbroker. One kid is from the T. family, and the rest are non-Catholics. Miss S. finds herself walking on eggshells on every subject.
Principal R. wants to run an orthodox Catholic school but most parents, particularly the ones with money, are only interested in an elite prep. school. If any of the alternatives I’ve suggested (i.e., dropping accreditation in favor of Catholic identity, dropping some of the trappings to save money, hiring all religious to teach there) is implemented, then they lose their “elite prep school” aspect. If they get more orthodox in their teaching or practice, the various parents I described get ticked off and pull their kids.
Fr. Q. has recently transferred into the parish and gives firebrand homilies.

Mr. & Mrs. P. have just transferred their kids into the school after years of homeschooling. Suddenly, their kids who grew up on VeggieTales and EWTN and a carefully selected dose of secular entertainment are talking about iCarly and Hannah Montana and boyfriends and jewelry and make-up and “Justice” clothes. They want to know why their parents won’t let them do the “fashionable” things. They aren’t interested in watching _VeggieTales_ or _EWTN_ anymore. Even the youngest kids in the family are saying that _The Wiggles_ is a “baby show.” They find that their second grader’s classmates are talking about Stephen King movies and playing “werewolves and vampires” on the playground. Their kids get teased for dressing up as Saints for All Saints Day, for not participating in “vampires and werewolves,” etc.

They appreciate that Miss S., Principal R and Fr. Q are really doing their best. They wish the school would do more to integrate a Catholic life in all aspects of the curriculum, but that, for the various reasons I’ve listed in this article, they know the school is afraid of losing its government money, accreditation, rich supporters, etc., if it does so. They realize that maybe the faculty and staff don’t even realize how much they *could* be doing, but fear that if they suggest anything, even constructively, they’ll be ostracized just like the T family.

In any case, it boils down to the bad influence the other kids are being on their kids. The P’s don’t really know any of the other parents well or know how to address things. How do you tell another parent, “The shows you’re letting your kids watch aren’t only endangering your children’s salvation, but they’re endangering *my* children’s salvation by your kids’ bad influence”?

The P’s know that, when they homeschooled, they could just steer clear of families in the homeschool association whose parenting methods they disagreed with. If their kids had issues with other kids teasing or fighting or whatever, they could go straight to the parents and get the issue resolved, where at the Catholic school, they have to go to the overworked teacher and bring it up and hope for the best.

So the P’s go back to homeschooling, and the cycle continues.

OK, I’ve watched all four

Back, ca. 2007, there was a rash of movies about “unplanned pregnancies,” each of which involved a woman making an on screen decision against abortion, and each of which prominently featured sonograms showing unborn babies. They ran the gamut in genre and approach, and each dealt with a different situation. If you can tolerate some of the content or find a toned down TV version, I strongly recommend all four: Bella, Juno, Waitress and Knocked Up.

Most pro-lifers know about Bella. It was an independent movie and one some film festival awards. It got a lot of buzz marketing and special showings. The actor/director has done a lot of pro-life work and made some other cool short films like _The Butterfly Circus_. I don’t recall if we ever learn the circumstances of the pregnancy in _Bella_, but it’s a great film that isn’t just about pro-life, but deals with themes of redemption and family, and adoption.

_Juno_ is a bit more mainstream and deals with a teenager in an unexpected pregnancy. The movie deals with private adoption arrangements and some of the emotional issues that ensue. IIRC, the pregnancy in _Juno_ also results from a leaky condom (another movie around the same time dealt with a girl who thought she was pregnant due to a faulty condom, but wasn’t).

_Waitress_ concerns a waitress who’s been having an adulterous affair and hopes to marry the doctor with whom she’s been carrying on. She ends up recognizing him for the jerk he is and goes off to raise her kid on her own.

OK, so I’d avoided _Knocked Up_. I’m pretty sure it’s available on Netflix, but I’d heard it was very crude, and fell into more of the cuss-ridden slacker comedy genre, so I really wasn’t interested in watching it. It aired on ABC the other day, so I DVR’d the “cleaned up” TV version.

Of the four, at least in the cleaned up version, I’d say this one is actually the best. I mean, _Bella_ is good, but by my critical standards, it fails in one respect: it’s a bit too artsy. _Bella_ is an extremely serious film without much straight up entertainment value. It’s a movie you watch to be enlightened but not for fun.

_Knocked Up_ had a very good message–actually several–while managing to be entertaining. Even to the point that a running joke for the first part of the movie is that the male protagonist and his buddies think they’re going to get rich by making a porn-ish website, and then find out there’s already a website that does exactly what they were planning. So he goes out and gets a real job.

Another movie that made waves among Christians in the past couple years is Kirk Cameron’s _Fireproof_, and _Knocked Up_ actually deserves more comparison to _Fireproof_ than _Bella_.

The point of _Fireproof_ is that almost any marriage can survive if one or both partners resolve to work at it by becoming a better person, making sacrifices for the beloved, and making overt gestures. Many of the techniques applied in _Fireproof_ are things I’ve always applied to my marriage. I’ve always argued that, contrary to what many experts say, there’s no reason to stop being “in love.”

I’m just as infatuated with my wife as the day we met, and I keep that feeling by working at it. One time, when Mary was pregnant with Allie, and I had just recently started driving but we still had one car, I came to pick her up at work. I had been out running errands, and I picked up an arrangement of roses for her at a florist that was having a sale.
I went in a few minutes before the school day ended and left the roses for her in the office. Then I went back out to the car.

Mary said the office paged her and said, “Mrs. Hathaway, there’s a . . . message for you in the office.” Given the tone, she thought, “Either a parent left me a really angry message, or John just brought a present.”
When she got to the office and found her flowers, everyone asked, “Is it your anniversary?” “No.” “Well, that kinda stuff ends after you have kids.” So I took that as a challenge. And every year subsequently, on some random day, I would leave an arrangement of flowers for Mary at school. I’d also buy stacks of cards at the store, keep them in my desk, and mail them to her at school periodically.
Those are the kinds of things _Fireproof_ talks about.

Now, I’m the first to say that marriage should be based upon sharing common values. However, after that, what is there to marriage?

Friendship, basically. I mean, the fundamental questions should be, “Is this a person I could be with every day of my life?”; “Is this a person I want to be with every day for the rest of my life?”; and “Could I bear the thought of *not* being with this person?”

Friendship and being able to get along should really be the requirement. My dad once said there really isn’t much to deciding if you want to marry a person; the challenge is really family. And then there’s the cartoon I like to quote, in which the guy at the bar says, “My wife and I never fight.” “Really?” “Never. We live in an apartment. We don’t have a car or a computer. Our parents are dead, and we don’t have any kids.”

So, in _Knocked Up_, we have the situation implies. Two people meet at a bar and really hit it off with their senses of humor. They get really drunk and have “unprotected” intercourse. The woman says, “Just get going”, while the man is trying to use a condom. He takes that as “forget the condom,” and 10 weeks later, she finds out she’s pregnant.

Abortion is only briefly considered, though she’s under big pressure from work. She works as an anchor for “E”. When she’s promoted to anchor from production assistant, her bosses tell her, “We can’t legally tell you to ‘lose weight,’ but . . . ” “Let’s just say you go home, look at your weight, and take note of the number. Then try to make it so that, in about 4 weeks, that number is about 20 pounds less.”

Later, they are dismayed that she tried to hide her pregnancy, since pregnancy is cool, and they assign her to interviewing pregnant celebrities.

The movie chronicles the couple’s struggle through pregnancy, and the guy’s attempts at being a better man. Sadly, it falls in the modern feminist attitude that women are perfect and men are losers, so there’s never really a discussion of how maybe the woman has some flaws she needs to overcome (once, when she accuses him of commitment issues, he tells her that she is the one with commitment issues). Of course, it’s the fact that the guy loves her completely which drives him to work hard to improve himself.

There *is* a cool seen where the guy kicks his girlfriend’s sister out of the delivery room, and it is implied that the sister is too much of a nag and too critical of her own husband, souring her sister’s view of women.

There’s also an amazing scene where the boyfriend and the brother-in-law are discussing their relationships, and the male protagonist tells his girlfriend’s brother in law how fortunate he should feel that an amazing woman has dedicated her life just to him and given herself totally to him for life.

The movie ends with a message not really so much about abortion as about relationships, as the couple are brought together for the sake of the baby. It’s a message that modernists would perceive as naive, including many conservative marriage experts, but it’s basically that all it takes to have a good marriage (though they don’t actually marry onscreen) is a baseline of friendship, humor and commitment, and if you have those things, and are otherwise willing to engage in the self-sacrifice it takes, then any relationship can work, even if it doesn’t match up to some romantic “ideal” (and of course that sharing a child is enough of a reason in itself to make a relationship work).

Can people on TV work together without jumping into bed?

I meant to blog on this topic recently when Danielle Bean recently linked an article on a similar topic. The article was on how for so many TV show “supercouples”, marriage is an anticlimactic afterthought reserved for the end of the show, and how so many couples “wait for each other” by going through numerous intervening relationships. If anyone can provide a link to the column I’m thinking of, please do (or I’ll look it up later and edit). Maybe I did at the time, and the intervening incidents made me forget. . . . But can people on TV work together without sleeping together?
I know it’s been an element of shows all along, but there used to be a time when chastity and professionalism were also a factor.
I’ve always liked the romantic genre generally, but I’ve always hated how it seems like the story ends just when it should get most interesting. The conventional wisdom in both TV shows and movies is that marriage is boring. On _Get Smart_, Max and 99 not only got married relatively early in their series but actually had kids. _Hart to Hart_ is a cult classic in part because it depicts a happily married couple (albeit without kids) having a vibrant, romantic marriage and going on adventures (and it’s Aaron “90210” Spelling, no less!)

But what gets me (and Mary) is how *every* character on *every* show seems to have to pair off with someone, and it really gives the impression that you can’t work with someone of the opposite sex without getting sexually involved.

1. _House_: It would be nice if they went back to the formulaic approach of the first couple seasons. House and Cuddy’s relationship is actually kind of interesting, and involves character development. Chase and Taub are sleazeballs. The missing “13” is, too. Wilson’s inability to sustain a relationship–ostensibly because of House but really because of the seeming straight man’s own issues (his first divorce after all having happened before he even knew House)–is an important element of the storyline. But most of the “relationships” among characters seem to have no point other than pairing people up for the sake of doing so.

I never understood Chase and Cameron. I never understood 13 and Foreman. 13’s brief dalliance with Chase was tacky.

2. _Bones_: last year, when they had the episode where Brennan and Booth told Sweets they were totally aware of their mutual attraction but had decided against pursuing a personal relationship, I was like, “Yes! Finally!” It would have been great if they’d dropped it then. Imagine if Brennan and Booth were both men, or both women. Certain trends in our society notwithstanding, the presumption would not be that they should shack up together. (Indeed, as my wife also complains, and as even C. S. Lewis complained back in _The Four Loves_, one of the problems with our society’s obsession with homosexuality is that it’s impossible to have Friendship anymore: every classic friendship is now reinterpreted as closet homosexuality). Why can’t Booth and Brennan just be partners, and professionals?
OTOH, why did Seeley “I already have kid from a failed relationship and I’m Catholic” Booth have to start shacking up with some woman? When they said one of the two was going to have a relationship this season, it would have been much more narratively compelling to make it Brennan.
Angela and Hodgins have a much more interesting relationship, and their story has been enjoyable to follow these many seasons, although some of the stretches (the lesbian storyline, her fling with the intern, etc.) have been perfect illustrations of what I’m getting at in this post.

3. _Royal Pains_: Dr. Hank sure doesn’t show much intelligence or responsibility when it comes to STDs. I still can’t tell the show’s overall time frame. It’s been 3 seasons, but presumably 1 summer, though some events pass like it has been more than a year.

4. _30 Rock_: now that Jack has a wife and unborn baby, I hope he keeps them. Jack and Liz have a great dynamic, but it should work as romantic.

5. _The Office_: Let’s see. . . . Michael/Jan, Michael/Pam’s Mom, Michael/Holly, Jim/Pam, Pam/the first fiancee who was a coworker, Jim/Karen, Dwight/Angela, Andy/Angela, Andy/Erin, Gabe/Erin, Kelly/Ryan, Kelly/Darryl–am I missing anyone? The whole lot of them could be sued for hostile work environment.

6. _Lie to Me_: though Cal just told his daughter he loves Foster, and she asked him why he doesn’t do something about it, this show has to date been very good about demonstrating the boundaries. But if it makes it a couple more seasons, I have no doubt that everyone will be as neatly paired up as possible.

8. _White Collar_: this show’s doing it right. Peter has a good (albeit childless) marriage, portrayed positively and not as “boring.” The nice hispanic agent they had in the first season left so the actress could pursue a movie, and while I wish they didn’t have to have an overtly lesbian character, at least it prevents an obligatory pairing with Neal. In the first season, Neal’s allegedly undying devotion to Kate was downplayed by his flirtations with every woman that came along, but that was resolved by Kate’s death, and thankfully he hasn’t gone there yet with anyone else. It’s a very refreshing change.

9. _Psych_: Real life relationships that parallel fictional relationships don’t often work out (see Cameron and Chase). They’ve done a good job of delaying Shawn and Juliet without making it too absurd, but I was a little bummed they went from 0 to 60, especially when the show has otherwise been showing a positive influence of religion, specifically Catholicism, in the last couple seasons. Other than that, the show has been pretty good at not doing what I’m complaining about here. If it were the typical network show, you’d have had Henry hooking up with the Chief by now.

That is, in general, the interesting thing about TV these days. While cable shows still “push the limits,” it’s interesting that you actually have to go to to cable to find old fashioned type shows like Monk or Psych or White Collar. Mary follows the Psych message boards, and it seems like whenever she complains about the show going too far in some respect (i.e., the episode that showed Shawn and Abby in bed together, or sometimes when they have a bit too much cussing), there’s an outcry about the same thing online, and it’s toned down again. And based upon the followings these shows have among our FB friends, including some of my nun friends, it’s obvious they cater to a more “wholesome” viewing audience.

But the stuff on the broadcast networks just seems to be going further and further down the drain. And this is just the sampling of shows I actually watch. It’s easy to see how this stuff gets to people. I’ve said many times how one of the reasons every person should be educated in fertility awareness is to know how a woman is going to be more attractive to men during certain parts of her cycle, and if people knew to distinguish between genuine attraction or love and the feelings that come from just being in close proximity to a woman who’s literally in heat, I think they could control themselves more.
And in terms of “workplace romance,” it would seem to help if people stopped to think, “hey, if this coworker were of the same gender, would I be interpreting our relationship the same way?”

And if men and women really can’t work together without “hooking up,” then maybe that should be reason to think about why there used to be divisions in gender roles in the workplace . . .

“Oh brave new world, that has such people in it . . . . “

Bai Macfarlane takes on “Catholic” Divorce Lawyers

As part of her crusade to fight “no fault” divorce in our legal system and the rampant abuse of annulments in the church, Bai Macfarlane is calling on her ordinary, the Most Rev. Richard G. Lennon, bishop of Cleveland, OH, to speak out against professed Catholics who work as divorce lawyers, judges and court psychologists. Many people who serve as extraordinary ministers of communion on Sundays make their living by facilitating the grave sin of divorce. Yet the Church does not speak out against them or against the no-fault system, even though Catholic doctrine clearly condemns divorce.

Some of these charlatans even have the nerve to claim that that the Church has “no problems” with divorce!

Under Canon 915, these divorce practitioners should be excommunicated.

Elaine Paige and Susan Boyle have sung “I Know Him So Well” on TV, but Jenny Sanford’s singing it for real

Two sort of related stories today, that I thought made an interesting combined post.

First, Jenny Sanford, who has recently come out with a memoir, did an interview with Barbara Walters in which she admitted her soon-to-be-ex husband, Gov. Mark Sanford, refused to make a vow of fidelity when they got married.

She says she was young and in love. How about stupid? This should be like the opposite of an annulment. She agreed to marry him even though he didn’t vow fidelity, so she shouldn’t have the right to divorce him.

In other news, on this feast of the patron saint of throats, Barry Manilow and Susan Boyle are appearing together, on the top 10 album sales!! Barry’s The Greatest Love Songs of All Time has debuted at #5, while Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream remains on the charts at #4, after 9 weeks (6 at #1). It was little over 100,000 short of being the top selling album in the US of 2009, and *was* the top selling “physical” album of the year (as opposed to download) in the US, and, most importantly, the top selling album of the year in the world.

In December, TV Guide Channel had the highest rated special in its history with “The Susan Boyle Story.” In the special, Susan sang on stage with her hero, Elaine Paige, OBE, “The First Lady of British Musical Theatre.”

The connection of the two stories is that Paige and Boyle sang Paige’s hit duet “I Know Him So Well” (Originally sung with Barbara Dickson). Ironically, while Susan Boyle is of course known for her more “plain” appearance, she looks very good compared to Paige, very obviously deformed with face lifts and/or botox.

The song, from the musical Chess (music by ABBA; lyrics by Tim Rice), is sung by the mistress and wife of a chess champion. The mistress figures “he needs a little bit more than me / more security,” while the wife muses, “he needs his fantasy and freedom.”

Both figure they should have gotten to know him better before they “fell,” but “now, at least, I know I know him well. . . .”

So, in honor of Jenny Sanford, here are Susan Boyle and Elaine Paige:

Trivia Questions!

What do these people all have in common have in common with Glenn Beck?

Bill O’Reilly
Sean Hannity
Rudolph Giuliani
Arnold Schwarzeneggar
Nancy Pelosi
Kathleen Sebelius
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Joe Biden
Cokie Roberts
Alec Baldwin
Susan Sarandon
Tom Daschle

What has Glenn Beck done that these folks have not?

Why did Tiger Woods commit adultery?

I don’t like jumping on celebrity “news” bandwagons unless I think there’s a moral in there, especially if it’s someone who’s a particularly overrated celebrity. 

So, the latest, of course, is Tiger Woods’ apparent adulterous affair.

Here we have the richest athlete in the world.  Now, everyone ought to know by now that wealth isn’t necessarily a cure for financial problems; indeed, it creates financial problems of its own.  But at the very least Tiger Woods has money and influence.  He can’t say, “I travel a lot for my job and don’t get to spend as much time with my wife, and I get lonely.” He could afford to take his wife and kids with him whereever he goes.

He’s married to a beautiful woman, at least according to the standards of beauty set by the  homosexuals who run the beauty pageant and modeling industries.

Why would Tiger Woods cheat?  Anyone who knows me well or has read this blog regularly should be able to guess what I’m going to say. . . 

Last year, Shania Twain filed for divorce from her husband and longtime manager (he’d been her manager since she was like 12 or something, like Celine Dion’s husband/manager), the appropriately named Mutt Lange.  When I heard the news on the radio, the DJs commented, “Why would you cheat on Shania Twain?”  Oddly enough, age and beauty can’t be excuses for Mutt–he dumped her for his long time secretary, a fairly ordinary looking middle-aged woman.  Indeed, that case, like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s divorce from Sarah Brightman nearly 20 years ago, may be one of a kind of reverse mid-life crisis: a middle aged man married to a younger, beautiful woman who wanted a more substantial relationship.  That’s one explanation, but it really only hints at the real case.

The Blind’s, I mean, The View‘s Joy Behar says Woods isn’t a hypocrite because he’s “not a right winger” (warning: linked post contains profanity).

One possibility is that his wife is intolerable.  Though the police deny it, rumors are that his wife was engaging in domestic violence when the “accident” occurred, and at least one feminist is praising her for itDomestic abuse of men by their wives needs greater media and social attention.  Abused men tend to seek release in adultery or alcoholism or addiction, which only exacerbates the cycle of abuse.  Elin Nordegren Woods may have been reacting to knowledge of her husband’s infidelity when she allegedly chased  after him with a golf club, but that doesn’t mean this was the first time she ever hit him.  (NOTE: Explanation of motives is never a justification of sin).

Then there’s the whole question of gold-diggers.

Some are suggesting that it’s a case of when a new father feels neglected by his wife, so he seeks solace elsewhere.

Another hypothesis is that he’s a man who has everything, and he’s “bored,” and adultery offers a challenge, a risk, a sense of variety.  

Both those explanations, and any other explanation someone could come up with, would only be a subset of the real answer. 

Celebrity divorces as a whole don’t make sense for some of the reasons highlighted, and the meager explanations offered, while somewhat valid, only point to the real problem: “Our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.” 

There’s something missing.

This guy dumps his pretty wife for a more homely (in the proper sense) woman: someone who isn’t so high maintenance, as it were, who feels more domestic.

That guy dumps his longtime wife for a younger woman for the opposite reason.

This guy cheats beause his wife won’t have kids; that guy cheats because he’s jealous of his kids. 

This guy cheats because he’s bored with the monotony of his life.  That guy cheats because he says he can’t spend enough time with his wife.

The motives seem contradictory, but they point to the fundamental need reflected in Genesis 2:18: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

I often argue that we can learn a lot about morality from morally questionable fiction.  The iconic villain Roger Thorpe on Guiding Light comes to mind as I write this: a man driven by his quest for perfection in life: power, money, pleasure and family.  A man who, in his early life, was compelled by his appetites and then, in his later life, was torn by the compulsion of those appetites conflicting with a genuine desire to change his ways, but an inability, without Christ’s grace or the sacraments, to really do so.

So he’d  go after one woman for her money and another for her beauty or fertility, or he’d try to be back together with his ex-wife to be a real family with their grown daughter. 

Last night, at adoration, I finally returned to The Theology of the Body, which I started reading several years ago and left off after a couple chapters due to its intimidating length.   John Paul II points out that, in that passage, God uses the Hebrew word “adam,” which is more generic like “human,” rather than “ish,” which is used later to distinguish “man” (“ish”) from “woman” (“ishasha”). 

Based upon this, he suggests four meanings of Adam’s being alone:

1.  Adam, humanity in general, is alone among creatures. 
2.  Adam is alone in facing God.
3.  Adam is alone and needs other people in general.
4. Adam is alone and needs a woman, specifically.

It would be flippant to say, “Tiger Woods is just a jerk,” or “original sin” as the answers for the puzzle.

Often, we might phrase the answer as “contraceptive mentality”.  This gets a lot closer and more specific: adultery (particularly of a homosexual kind) was traditionally a method of birth control.  And, of course, in our modern age, adultery is “facilitated’ by birth control devices which take away some of the superficial “risks” of adultery.

However, even these “Catholic responses” just point to the real answer:
Tiger Woods, Mutt Lange, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford, and millions of other men and women need to learn the Theology of the Body.

We could phrase things in the negative, or we could come up with motives that seem like excuses, or we could point to what is missing in all these people, the appreciate of sexuality as a gift, the appreciation that that gift is mutually reflected in the unique gift of self that is this other person.

Sanctified marital love, seen sa a reflection of and participation in our relationship with God, seen as a total giving of self, is difficult to betray.

A gift is more meaningful if it is a treasure.  We don’t give $200 gifts to our coworkers and $5 gifts to our spouses and children.  The more meaningful the relationship is to us, the more value we put in the gifts we give. 

The more meaningful sommething we have is, the more we guard it.  And if we choose to surrender to someone else something we have guarded so dearly, we can show how much they, and the gift, mean to us.

One of the other things highlighted by this case is that prenuptial agreements are not set in stone.  Prenuptial agreements are one of the worst affronts to marriage in our society, since the best way to stay married for life is to presume divorce is not an option: prenups take divorce for granted.