Saturday, January 28, 2012

I am so over Mike Clancy and the Arizona Republic

Mike Clancy's latest piece for the Arizona Republic is painful to read (as usual), partly because of its falsehoods and distortions about the Catholic Church and Bishop Thomas Olmsted, but also because it's embarrassing for Clancy. His facts are so consistently wrong and his bias so obvious that it actually makes me cringe.

Now, of course I don't expect our local paper to fawn over the bishop or whitewash the Church, but is fact-checking and fairness too much to ask?

You can read the entire article, here, if you have the time and the stomach for it.* But as I did last time, allow me to comment on a couple of glaring snippets. Clancy says of the Catholic Church:
The church has taught that birth control is 'intrinsically wrong' since 1968, around the time the pill came into widespread use.
The statement is shocking.

It is absolutely no secret and easily ascertained that the Church has taught the intrinsic evil of contraception not merely for the past four decades, no, but since the establishment of the Church approximately 2,000 years ago

Not once (meaning "never") has the Church taught anything different.

Clancy is alluding to Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which simply reiterated, against the backdrop of the sexual revolution, the unbroken, unchanging teaching of the Church since her inception. 

How can a veteran religion reporter exhibit such a weak grasp of basic Church doctrine, the Church he's been covering for years and years? It's also troubling that he doesn't seem to have adequate knowledge of modern cultural history, either. For not only has the Catholic Church always taught that contraception is "intrinsically wrong", but until the 1930s, every Protestant denomination taught the sinfulness of contraception as well. When a committee of Anglicans was the first to abandon Christian principles on this well-established point of the moral law, even the secular world was shocked, as an editorial in the Washington Post makes clear:

Carried to its logical conclusion, the [Anglican] committee's report, if carried into effect, would sound the death-knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be "careful and restrained" is preposterous. -- March 22, 1931 edition.

Call me crazy, but I think a reporter should know this stuff, if he's going to be reporting on this stuff.

And later in the piece, Clancy repeats something he said in another article (that I also I critiqued), which continues to baffle me (emphasis mine):
….Olmsted ousted the hospital [St. Joseph's] from the Catholic family after a dispute about a medical procedure that Olmsted considered an abortion.
In the last article, he chose the words "...a lifesaving medical procedure that the bishop deemed an abortion…"

"Considered"? "Deemed"?

Seriously?

If it was not an abortion, what was it? What was this mystery medical procedure? To this day, Clancy has never actually named it. What was it? How does one train for it? What special tools are used? If it was not an abortion, then how could this mystery medical procedure result in an automatic excommunication? Why would the bishop pretend an abortion took place if it didn't? So many unanswered questions.

Including why the Arizona Republic allows this type of reporting to stand.


In the meantime, here is the full text of Bishop Olmsted's letter, in which he tells his flock: 

"We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law."


Oh, how I love our shepherd! He is a gentle, humble soul, but he has courage in abundance! A true disciple of Christ!

And for those still needing the basic facts about the HHS contraceptive mandate at the heart of this fight, go here to get informed:



The battle for basic religious liberty has come to our doorstep, folks.




*Be warned that the comments following the article are vile and bigoted. If such comments were directed at Jews or Muslims, the Republic would never let them stand.


(UPDATE: Be sure to read JoAnna's excellent comment, below!)

214 comments:

  1. Did anyone write to the editor from the link Danya posted? I haven't yet. But I need to.

    He's ridiculous. I can't stand the AZ Republic. I try to avoid AZCentral like the plague, because I KNOW the articles will be slanted and the comments will be stupid.

    I AM SO SICK OF BIASED NEWS! We pay TAXES for ACCURATE, UNBIASED news and we do NOT get it.

    Great job, Obama admin and MSM, you've ticked off a WHOOOOOLE bunch of Catholics. GL with that.

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  2. You read my mind; I was going to blog about this, too!  I have a few questions for Mr. Clancy...

    1.  St. Joseph itself admitted that they "terminated an 11-week pregnancy". [Note the source of that link.] Abortion is defined as the termination of a pregnancy. Olmsted didn't "deem" it an abortion, the St. Joe's itself and the DICTIONARY did! Is Clancy really that ignorant, or is he purposefully lying? 

    2. Where does the Catholic Church keep its time machine? 

    See, according to Clancy, the Church first condemned contraception in 1968, and then Pope Paul VI travelled back in time, masqueraded as Pius XI, and wrote the encyclical Casti Connubii in 1930 that also reiterated the Church's teachings against contraception. And then, presumably, he went back in time again to 195 A.D. to write about it also.  Amazing, really, that the Church has the ability to time-travel that only Mike Clancy knows about.

    3. More lies from Clancy are in these two paragraphs:

    "According to Catholic News Service, bishops in nine of the nation's 195 dioceses are preparing letters to be read at Masses on Sunday encouraging churchgoers to lobby against the measure. Several others, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and retired Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, have written or spoken against the mandate.

    Of the group that has gone public so far, Olmsted appears to be the only one who has said specifically that Catholics should defy the law, according to the Catholic news agency."

    Is he aware of this fabulous new invention called "the Internet"? It allowed me to find, rather quickly, that many more than nine bishops have written or spoken about this issue. (I suppose in Clancy's little world of pseudo-journalistic integrity, one questionable CNA article - with no URL to said article provided - suffices as adequate fact-checking.)

    At last count? TWENTY-THREE. Obviously Mike Clancy is as terrible at math as he is with telling the truth, because last time I checked, 23 > 9.

    Also from the link above, and contrary to Clancy's claim, Olmsted is NOT the only bishop "advocating civil disobedience":  

    "Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services in the United States said, "We cannot - we will not - comply with this unjust law".  (Note: The letter here is based on a form letter sent out by the USCCB, so similar letters will be seen at other dioceses.  It is rather strongly worded and the bishops sending it out are basically saying, "it speaks for me."  In some dioceses I'm reading that the bishop wanted it stuffed into bulletins or shared at Masses.  Those using variations of this form letter include Archbishop Schnurr of Cincinatti, and Bishop McFadden of Harrisburg, and Bishop Sample of Marquette and probably many more.)"

    If the Republic's sports editor wrote that the Texas Rangers won the 2010 World Series, or that Derek Jeter played for the Red Sox, he'd be fired in a matter of days. But Clancy can repeatedly lie about his subject matter and get away with it. It must be nice for him to be so embarrassingly inept at his profession but still have that kind of job security. I bet the only way he'd get fired is if he started reporting the truth.

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  3. "Oh Vey" God help us in this mess.

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  4. JoAnna, you need to send that to the AZ Republic! Totally awesome.

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  5. I need to take care which blog posts I read first in the morning. This is definitely a downer, if not a blood-boiler.

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  6. THANK YOU for passing along this detailed info. Now I can speak up about this issue from a well informed point of view, with direct references, and the only research I had to do was to read your blog...You make it too easy for us! Thanks.

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  7. White martyrdom is coming, folks. I hope we're prepared. As a Church employee, it's very likely I will lose my health insurance over this, and have to 1) pay for my own, including coverage from a provider who covers morally reprehensible things like abortion/sterilization/etc. and 2) lose wages because of it (because the Diocese will have to pay penalties to the feds for not providing insurance, which will cut into our salaries)

    St. Michael, defend us.
    St. Thomas More, pray for us!

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  8. I took your advice and made my comment into its own blog post. And then I tweeted both that article and this one to the AZ Republic.

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  9. I use the Arizona Republic to pack dishes. I don't even buy one. I've heard is called the Arizona Repulsive. I have to agree.

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  10. I think the Church needs to point out there are thousands of procedures which are legally allowed to be written out of insurance plans despite the fact they could massively improve the quality of life of certain individuals. The majority of those procedures no one has voiced a moral objection to and most of them are vastly more expensive and much harder to obtain than birth control.

    If you want birth control there is a whole aisle in the supermarket where you can find some. You don't _need_ a prescription. If you want the bill without insurance it is what- $70 to $100 a month? That's a far cry from surgery costs.

    This is where I think some people have just lost their minds. They are so intent that "No one! will tell them what they should do with their bodies." that they fail to see the larger picture. There are far great injustices in our current health care system than having to fork over an extra $50 a month for birth control pills.

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  11. @StarFireKK, the whole point is exactly not having to pay "an extra $50 a month for birth control pills." Pregnancy is not a disease.

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  12. Thank you for taking a stand against the incrementalism that journalists (so-called) and doctors push on the people. See, where I live (MA)this contraception mandate stuff is old hat. Insurance here pays for that and much worse. Yet we are forced to buy it by the state laws. This is ObamaCare at the state level.

    Part of the problem is that Catholics at the personal level don't address the issues with their doctors! Not a single one of us should be shrugging our shoulders at doctors who prescribe and dispense contraception. We should be teaching why that is a bad idea. If we don't, one day the whole nation will be like MA.

    It's the conscience thing -- if it's really wrong, it's really wrong independent of how someone feels about it. If we Catholics really believe contraception is wrong, we should tell our doctors that and insist they stop dispensing it, whether they are Catholic or not.

    Today, I go to our Catholic hospital and listen to non-Catholic doctors lecture me on contraception because that is what the state and society accepts. I lecture back.

    Does that make sense? I think too many people are too willing to say, "Oh, my doctor isn't Catholic and he dispenses contraception to others, and that's OK as long as he doesn't push it on me." No, that won't work over time, that's moral subjectivism.

    Sorry -- rantish nature of comment. I've watched this for so long. I feel the need to warn.

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  13. Hope i'm not hijacking the thread but I've noticed you've been talking about contraception for a while.

    Would anyone mind telling me why they think liberals push contraception so hard both domestically and abroad?

    I think its about alot more than sex, but I imagine you disagree?

    ~ College Student




    ~College Student

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    1. Rich white people think little brown people have too many babies. While you're in college, study demographics. If we don't stop contracepting, we'll die out.

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  14. College Student, it's not just liberals (as defined today) that push contraception, though it is a modern liberal idea that other people should have to pay for it like it's some kind of entitlement or something.

    Contraception doesn't make sense. It's the responsible thing to do if you aren't going to be responsible in the first place??? No, that doesn't follow. There are much better ways for women to know about their bodies and to take care of them in dignity, without harmful pills.

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    1. Barrier methods are not harmful pills. In a marriage, barrier methods can be very effective and useful. There are many people in marriages who have discerned that it is not time for a child or another child and who are being "responsible". The key is if you are in a marriage or not. Having sex outside a marriage is irresponsible.

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    2. Mary and others, if you could place your comments at the very bottom, like we used to, that would be helpful to me. I can't find the comments easily this way, and it's so frustrating!

      Please don't make use of the "reply" buttons at all.

      Thanks! (Did I mention that I hate Blogger?)

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  15. Well, College Student, I don't know if it's just a "liberal" thing but there is a definite idea that "people should be allowed to do what ever they want to do with out censure as long as it doesn't 'hurt anybody else'". And then people think that if they close their eyes to the consequences that hurt someone else they don't really exist or don't matter because they "didn't mean to hurt anyone". Basically there is a lack of self-control, personal responsibility, or personal accountability.

    And then there is this unsubstantiated and misguided belief that contraception can fix all the worlds problems (disease, hunger, homelessness, gender inequality, and racial inequality). Most people don't look at the statistics that show that contraception is not as effective as most people believe (54% of women who come in for abortion were using birth control in the month they conceived), or think about the fact widespread use of contraception encourages riskier sexual behavior (encouraging the spread of disease) than a fear of disease and out-of-wedlock pregnancy would, or even know that condoms do not protect against all STDs especially if they are used incorrectly.

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  16. Our local paper is abhorrent in matters of Catholicism...as a matter of fact, they openly attack our Church and our Bishop on a regular basis.

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    1. I wonder if there's any newspaper of record that's not anti-Catholic. They're dumber than a bag of hammers.

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  17. The longer people I know I have brushes with the media the less I trust it to get the details right. I'm not talking a systemic liberal or conservative bias, I'm talking equal opportunity stupid. I've found it in everything from getting the titles wrong when reporting about local nonprofit, to friends who are lawyers seeing the public details of a case they are involved in, to those that a researchers for in academia, think tanks, and government who read that their reports and papers supposedly said things they never said. And I don't even mean research that it suits any particular agenda to distort. I think journalism has eliminated fact checkers and subject matter experts and operates on such a real time basis that people don't think. Combine that with bias and it can be awful.

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  18. Barbara you hinted at what I was getting at. I think the ideological reasons for contraception are much more profound than 'consequence-free sex'

    We need to look no farther than the third world to see what happens to women who are perpetually pregnant from the onset of puberty. Girls who have baby after baby have no time for an education-have neither the skills nor time to get a job. They become child-like dependants, dependant (subordinate) to their husbands, with no outlet to realize their own dreams.

    Does no one see this as problematic, as an issue we need to address? As happy as Mrs. Duggar might be, she could never be a CEO or a law partner. Women who are perpetually pregnant (let alone) want to actually raise large families will not advance in the corporate world, certainly not as the same rate as men. This is something we have the power to change, but no one on either side of the isle seems very interested in it…

    Thus, unless you are advocating that women shouldn’t work or have careers (which I doubt) do you really think it is so anti-life to recognize pregnancy as the encumbrance it is to personal financial stability and a high-powered career?

    ~ College Student

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    1. The real problem is men's lust. No one is saying that women should be perpetually pregnant. The most important thing in life for a woman (or a man) isn't to become a CEO or a law partner. Pregnancy is a blessing, not an encumbrance.

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    2. We need to look no farther than the third world to see what happens to women who are perpetually pregnant from the onset of puberty.

      College Student, do you know WHY the fertility rate is SO high in most of those third world countries that you're referring to? And it isn't as simple as "the men are forcing the women to be pregnant all the time so they won't be able to get an education, think for themselves, or realize their dreams."

      Thus, unless you are advocating that women shouldn’t work or have careers (which I doubt) do you really think it is so anti-life to recognize pregnancy as the encumbrance it is to personal financial stability and a high-powered career?

      As Michael said, pregnancy is blessing, not an encumbrance. If you honestly believe that pregnancy is going to get in the way of your career aspirations, then sex is going to get in the way of your career aspirations. The two things are NOT mutually exclusive.

      I realize the problem for you is that: since MEN don't actually GET pregnant and therefore don't have to give up their careers (or at least slow down their attainment of career goals) for pregnancy, then you believe that WOMEN shouldn't have to either. After all it should all be equal. Right?

      Ah, but, we're NOT equal. Equal in dignity, but NOT EQUAL as in "the same as". WE, women are NOT the same as MEN. We're not supposed to be, whether you believe in God, or solely on biology. We're different. What you're really saying is that it's not FAIR. It's not FAIR that men don't have to experience pregnancy and put the careers on hold while they're pregnant and on maternity leave. It's not FAIR that they don't "risk" their lives in childbirth. It's not FAIR that they don't have to spend time away from work while on maternity leave or are not physically attached to the child during pregnancy. It's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair.
      Well if you don't think it's fair, that's your problem. But fair does not mean equal!

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    3. But, College Student, WHY are these women perpetually pregnant? It's not because of a lack of artificial birth control...it is because of the culture.

      If you have a culture that says that women are good for nothing except having babies (like you do any many parts of rural Africa and India) mixed with an unhealthy belief that a girl should be married off as soon as possible before she "dishonors the family", this is why you have a perpetual cycle of poverty.

      The Bill and Melinda Gates foundations (for all of their faults) started making great strides in fighting poverty and the child bride problems by going into rural villages and convincing local religious leaders to support their building schools for girls. These schools protected the girls modesty while teaching this basic health and hygiene lessons (look correct food preparation, the importance of washing hands, the scientific dangers of female circumcision) as well as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

      As a result, these girls would go home and pass the knowledge on to their families and often would later have skills to get jobs that helped their family out of poverty. Girls went from being seen as a burden to an asset. The parents stopped trying to marry them off as young as age 9, and they stopped being as damaged by too many births too young and their exposure to STDs brought home by their polygamous and unfaithful husbands was delayed.

      This is why Abstinence promotion is working better than condoms in fighting AIDS in Africa because they are addressing underlying cultural issues.

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  19. @ Stacy: there are other forms of birth control besides pills.

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  20. To me, one of the deepest aspects of the tragedy of the contraceptive mentality is that responsibility and love has become unlinked. Once this happens, men lose their true masculinity (the height of which is found in paternity whether physical or spiritual) and women lose their true feminity...

    And, then we all bemoan, what has happened to society? Why does it seem that everyone is so rude, why is everyone, including our youth, so self-centered, gone are the days that people were once thoughtful...neighborly, etc, etc, etc...

    It starts right at home within our own bodies, within our own ability to be responsible for the consequences of our actions, including our sexuality.

    Jen F's article is brilliant and clear and right on.

    It comes down to a flight from dignity and responsibility.

    And, yet, as a New Age Society everyone wants to be enlightened...

    The lie has become so big that we are literally killing millions to keep the altar of selfishness going.

    And, seriously, for what? An orgasm or two?

    Abortion is a failure of will and dignity and our human potential.

    But, you will never here this in schools or in colleges and rarely from a lectern.

    So, we all just will have to keep on saying it.

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  21. Very much enjoying this exchange! And as I am trying to stay off the computer today, I will just let the brilliant minds here speak for me.

    But that is so interesting, the "fairness" and "equality" mantra of those on the left. I've always told my children the truth: Life is not fair. And, that's really okay! In fact, I always felt sorry for men. They don't have nearly the choices I have as a woman (I can stay home, or I can work, for example, but most men still have to work and don't have such a choice), nor do men have the ultimate privilege and blessing of conceiving a life in their womb, carrying and giving birth to a child! I guess that is not "fair", and I'm sorry for them, but it's just a biological fact, and it's the way life is designed. Work with it! Love it! Embrace it!

    It's so weird to me that feminists see biology as their enemy. Remember we discussed that, here, based on a comment you made, college student:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/04/are-feminists-at-war-with-their-own.html

    I have never in my life understood the rage against one's own nature and biology. Seems a strained and painful way to live.

    And if you are worried about women in the Third World, you should read this:

    http://www.myfemininemind.com/2011/09/empowering-poor-with-nfp.html

    Keep up the great discussion guys! Even if I don't comment more today, I love that others have even better things to say than I ever could. Thank you and keep it up!

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  22. Or I should have said, "let the brilliant minds here speak for the Church".

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  23. Leila (or others), I'm curious about this statement in the article:

    "Contraception has been offered in the insurance coverage at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix since 1997, a company representative said."

    If this is true, were any previous warning given to the hospital that you are aware of? In general, how much power does a bishop have over Catholic affiliated hospitals? Quite a bit it seems from this example (I understand the hospital was forced to remove "Catholic" from it's name for the abortion performed, correct?)

    Out of curiosity, I just went onto the website for St. Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta (a member of Catholic Healthcare East). After a quick search, I came across multiple articles in the "Health Library" section discussing birth control, including this lovely little snippet taken from their description of Natural Family Planning: "This method, often known as the "rhythm" method, has a high risk for pregnancy"...*facepalm*.

    I didn't find anything about the hospital actually offering any sterilization or contraceptive services. I'm guessing they may have a legal obligation to provide this type of info though.

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  24. College Student:

    Ignoring the 3rd world example you gave because, as others pointed out, there A LOT of reasons as to why that is and why it is bad news.

    You are drawing a false correlation between motherhood and careers. Most mothers don't WANT to make the sacrifices a high powered career demands of their family. Most Catholic women, even those of us that work, understand our duty lies first and foremost with our family. We do what's best for our family. Even if it means giving up a golden career opportunity. Guess what, our husbands do the exact same thing.

    Feminists have said my whole life that women start out wanting careers and then they are "forced" to quit. To be honest, I have never met a single woman in which this was the case. Almost all of them have said "My priorities changed."

    There is an old adage: "On their deathbed, no one wishes they spent more time at the office."

    Why do you consider it a good thing for more women to move their focus away from family and devote more of their time and energy into a career? What are you hoping for?

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  25. Sorry, couldn't help but pop in during homeschooling lunch break! Great comments!

    I just have to say to Mary, though (from further above): Don't you find it a little ironic (to say the least) when a married couple making love (which is meant to be a FULL and TOTAL union of persons, body and soul, no holding back, the closest two people can get on earth, two becoming "one flesh") are using a barrier between them?

    Don't you see the contradiction?

    I'm sure you would not kiss your husband with a sheath of latex between your mouths, and the marital act is much more profound and transcendent than a kiss.

    "Barrier" and "total self-giving" don't go together. They are a complete contradiction. That is why even a barrier method used between marrieds is a language of the body that lies. It says, "I give myself totally to you, as Christ gives Himself to his Bride, the Church" when in fact you there is a barrier you have deliberately placed between spouses. Your flesh isn't even touching, never mind becoming "one flesh".

    We used to use condoms in our marriage. Now, it makes me want to throw up when I think of it.

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  26. StarfireKKK, excellent points and questions!

    LJP, yes, St. Joe's had been warned and had been in discussion with the bishop months (and years?) before the abortion took place, for other violations. As soon as the bishop (who had a lot to take on when he took on this diocese!) was made aware of the problems. Very sad.

    And that "rhythm method" comment regarding NFP makes me screaming mad! Ugh! It's as if our medical folks are as ignorant (or duplicitous?) as our media! Really, folks, this stuff is no secret, it's easily accessibly, it's not that hard. It's not rocket science to get it right. Sigh.

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  27. @Leila

    Condoms are not the only barrier method. With a diaphragm or sponge or cervical cup, or even foam, a man and women are definitely "touching!"

    Another brief comment, as an old-school radical feminist, it's not possible to support women and not support motherhood, as most women are mothers. I don't know any feminists (and I know many who have been foremost in the movement) who feel that pregnancy is always a burden to women, or not what they'd choose. In fact, most feminists I know have children. People ascribe a lot of negative stuff to feminists that aren't accurate.

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  28. Whoops! Just saw the caveat about not "replying", sorry.

    I thought Bethany had a lot of good points, but, having been to the Third World, I can say that many women in marriages are using birth control to space or limit their children, which is going hand-in-hand with them getting educated.

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  29. Leila, a quick way to find the comments is to hit Ctrl+F and type in the commenter's name (or the first few letters of their name, or a few keywords from their post) into the "find" utility.

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  30. Sarah:
    I would agree that many feminists are supportive of women being mothers, but many are very hostile to women who choose to stay home, be dependent on a male income, and have large families. I have personally experienced this. I had a very "professional" boss stop speaking to me when I had my third child. It opened my eyes.

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  31. Sorry, I just really don't find it ironic at all. It is technology...it can be used for good or bad, just like all the other technologies out there...I have known many many many beautiful marriages where the couple used birth control. My own in-laws are a shining example of this. It was used with respect...not to abuse. Just like NFP is supposed to be used. I see very very little difference. I understand that for you there is a great difference. I have experienced it both ways and it is not all that different or earth-shattering when you are trying to conceive as when not (for me). As a woman, with barrier methods, I can hardly tell the difference. I don't feel my husband is "closer" to me when we are trying to conceive. In fact, many times I felt he was further, as we were frustrated with infertility.

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  32. Leila said, ""Barrier" and "total self-giving" don't go together. They are a complete contradiction. That is why even a barrier method used between marrieds is a language of the body that lies. It says, "I give myself totally to you, as Christ gives Himself to his Bride, the Church" when in fact you there is a barrier you have deliberately placed between spouses. Your flesh isn't even touching, never mind becoming "one flesh". "

    First of all...with the withdrawal method, your flesh is touching...also with a diaphragm...so there goes that part of it. Also...I know of two couples who do use NFP where the husband is far, far...far...less respectful of the wife and women in general than my husband is. My cousin's husband is extremely self-centered.

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  33. Diaphragms, withdrawal, latex, all the same. Blocking, rejecting, thwarting, chemically repelling, whatever. All the same. You think these things are done for a good reason, but that is merely saying that the ends justify the means. But that doesn't make the means good, only the perceived end.

    Technology is neutral, you are right. Depending on what you are using it for. When you are using it to thwart or change the nature of the marriage act, you are using it for ill, even if you think you are using it for a good reason. Many people do things that are wrong for what they feel is a good or important reason. We all do it, all the time. But as a Christian, we respect the nature of things. God had a plan for marital union. He had a plan when he made man and woman. He instituted marriage. You are a Christian, Mary, and you are called to love radically and totally. It doesn't matter what you personally feel about that barrier between you and your husband, and it doesn't matter if some NFP dude is an asshole. It's about your "yes" to Christ, in all things.

    And for those who aren't Christian, this is not just a Christian thing. Remember what Freud said about contraception:

    "The abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it. So, as you will see, the breach and turning point in the development of sexual life lies in becoming subordinate to the purpose of reproduction. Everything that happens before this turn of events and equally everything that disregards it and that aims solely at obtaining pleasure is given the uncomplimentary name of "perverse" and as such is proscribed."

    Natural law, attainable by the light of reason.

    And Mahatma Gandhi:

    "Artificial methods [of contraception] are like putting a premium on vice. They make men and women reckless .... Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws. Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints. All other restraints defeat the very purpose for which they are intended. If artificial methods become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result. A society that has already become enervated through a variety of causes will still become further enervated by the adoption of artificial [birth control] methods .... As it is, man has sufficiently degraded women for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her."

    And if you really still believe that working with God's design (NFP) to avoid pregnancy is the same at working against it (contraception), then you must also believe that bulimia and fasting are moral equivalents.

    More on the distinction between good and evil means (even if the end is the same), here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/03/important-follow-up-to-natural-family.html

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  34. [Some of post I linked to above]

    Remember, choosing to abstain from sex is not a sin. However, choosing to take the pleasure of sex while willfully disconnecting it from its full meaning is a sin.

    This analogy may help:

    Trixie and Pixie both want to lose weight. Losing weight is not inherently sinful, and can be a good goal.

    Trixie's means to that end? She practices self-control and sacrifice by eating healthier meals and smaller portions, and even fasting for a time.

    Pixie's means to that end? She eats all she wants, in any portion, heavy on the sweets and treats. Each time she is done indulging her palate, she retreats to the bathroom where she sticks her finger down her throat and vomits it all back up.

    I hope we all can agree that Trixie's means of losing weight is moral and ordered, while Pixie's means of losing weight is immoral and disordered.

    Bulimia contradicts the body's design by accepting the pleasure of eating, but willfully thwarting its life-giving purpose.

    Contraception contradicts the body's design by accepting the pleasure of sex, but willfully thwarting its life-giving purpose.

    Natural Family Planning is a good means to a good end, thus is ordered and moral.

    Contraception? It's just sexual bulimia.

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  35. A little off the current topic, but wanted to say that Bishop Bruskewitz had his letter read in our diocese this Sunday...awesome! A protestant minister requested a copy of the letter to read at all of his services this weekend. Religious leaders of all denominations should see the real threat in allowing this mandate to stand.

    People need to be informed that this is not a birth control issue, it is a Freedom of Religion issue. Whether this mandate touches your personal conscience or not, the next one may and then the precedent will be set. If you are okay with BC, and you think this mandate is fine...ask yourself what you would think if the mandate came down to outlaw BC provisions in insurance plans? What if the government mandated fines for having more than two children, okay with that? Yes, well what if in 30 years they mandate you must have at least 3 children? What about a law against people wearing religious symbols in public? We are not fighting for Catholic beliefs here, we are fighting for the first right in the Bill of Rights...the right to practice your religion. Don't believe in religion? Well, you still have a conscience and I pray that everybody agrees the federal government should never over-rule our conscience. This is just one reason the federal government should stay out of healthcare.

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  36. I made the mistake of ignoring you warning and started reading the comments at the end of the linked article...wow. People that complain of anger and vitriol on this blog need to go and get a glimpse of the real deal.

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  37. StarfireKK-You are so right. I decreased my hours to PRN years ago. When I do work, I often have women tell me they would love to quit or go part time..."but their husbands won't let them" or they need the money. They wish they had more children, but their husband said no or they can't afford more daycare. They are painfully sad that they are not able to be home with their infants after 6-12 weeks of life. When I am at my mother's group, they all have college degrees, even a law degree or two, and I have NEVER heard these women wish they could have their career back. None of them are forced to be at home, they could go get a job if they wanted to...they don't want to. This doesn't sound to me like women are forced out of their careers by having children...sounds to me like they are forced out of choosing family by having a career.

    Sarah, yes, feminists can accept our children as long as our career comes first, and as long as we do not exceed their idea of a responsible "child quota." I too have a CEO who has not talked to me in 15 years since I gave up my career for child number 4. Never made the connection until she spoke to our department once about how her ex-husband and her pregnancies about ruined her career and in her eyes her life. It's sad.

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  38. There's nothing I'd like more than to stay home with my 4 kids, but it's not financially possible right now. Even with 3 in daycare and after the expense of gas (I drive 90 miles a day), I still make enough to pay our mortgage, so it's worth working. Maybe in a few years after my husband graduates from college and we've paid down some debt, I can realize my dream.

    I went back to work after maternity leave last week and it was so hard leaving my eight-week-old baby (even though I implicitly trust his daycare providers). :(

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  39. No it is not true that feminists as a whole dislike that a woman would choose to stay home. What feminists as a whole dislike is the idea that women wouldn't have a CHOICE. It sounds like women in your mother's group have made the choice they wanted, which is great. But that doesn't necessarily mean another would choose the same thing. To generalize from what the few women in your mother's group want to what "women" in general want (all two plus billion of them) is not rational. Some women don't want children, and thank goodness they have the choice not to.

    Some people object to large families, not because of feminism, but because they believe overpopulation is killing the planet and making it impossible for all the children being born (and their descendants) to have any kind of a decent future.

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  40. And some men do have the choice to stay home. I know some couples where the woman works to support the family and the man stays home with the kids. It works fine for them. Feminism is about choice for men, as well as women.

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  41. Star fire k,

    I absolutely agree that there are many women who WANT to stay home with their kids. I also understand that the average American woman doesn't have a glamorous career, I too would prefer to stay home with the kids than bag groceries.

    But I'm asking about the other women, the ones who want to be neusurgerons and CEOs of companies. How does a woman with 9 children become the CFO of Bain capital. Seriously asking?

    How exactly does this work?. Woman graduates top college 100k in debt. Works for 5 years ( as is the pre-rec for getting an MBA. Gets an MBA at 29, additional 150k in debt. Starts working. Has baby at 29. 5, 31,33, 36, and 39. How does she pay back the debt? How does she clim the corporate ladder. Hell, how does she keep her job. That arrangement doesn't make sense. N'est pas?

    The woman needs to either have less kids. Or have less ambitious professional goals. It doesn't make sense for women to spend hundreds of thousands on an education to stop working at 30

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  42. I agree with many of the causes you have stated, that keep women disenfranchised in the third world, but without proper family planning American women are at risk for befalling the same fate.

    If your daughter isn't going to work full time why spend the money to send her college. It makes MUCH more sense to spend limited reasources on sons. If women grow up knowing the are going to quit their jobs, why take the loan out to go to stanford, when you could go to the state school for free. Seriously? Why get educated at all. Why not leave the education and consequently the power and the money to the boys if indeed they are going to be the only ones who use them

    ~college student

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    1. I believe your question was answered to you. Education has a worth independent of how much money you make of it. Just because you decided to stay at home doesn't mean that you don't want to have mental stimulation beyond a high school level, it doesn't mean that you don't have interests in certain fields of study, it doesn't mean that one day you won't want to go back to the labor force... Even if you don't make a dime of your education it's still important. I see you mention them alot, but power and money aren't the most important things in life, if you can truly believe this for aminute then you might get our point, there are worse thing than not being a CEO. "How advisable is this in high divorce rate America" if you're planning your life around the almost certainty that you'll get divorced then don't get married. That lack of trust in your husband will probably end up making you prophecy self-fulfilling. "Also likely men and women BOTH work but women ALSO must clean the house and take care of the kids and don't advance in their careers.." Then marry someone who'll cooperate more. Now, since (thank God) my parents don't think investing in my education is a waste, despite the choices I may make in the future, I have to actually get some work done for tomorrow

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  43. I agree with many of the causes you have stated, that keep women disenfranchised in the third world, but without proper family planning American women are at risk for befalling the same fate.

    If your daughter isn't going to work full time why spend the money to send her college. It makes MUCH more sense to spend limited reasources on sons. If women grow up knowing the are going to quit their jobs, why take the loan out to go to stanford, when you could go to the state school for free. Seriously? Why get educated at all. Why not leave the education and consequently the power and the money to the boys if indeed they are going to be the only ones who use them

    ~college student

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    1. I have four daughters, and I prepare them all for college for the following reasons:

      1. They might not know at 18 where/how God is calling them to serve: married, religious vocation, or as a single woman (and for the latter two a college degree would be beneficial).
      2. They may need to work to support themselves before they marry, to help support their family before they have children, or if something happens to their husband after they marry (illness, injury, death, civil divorce).
      3. In some states a college degree is required in order to homeschool children.

      And personally, I don't understand why ANYONE would "take the loan out to go to stanford, when you could go to the state school for free" as long as the state school offered the area of study desired.

      I have a college degree (liberal arts) that helped me get my foot in the door for a medical billing job that didn't pay much more than minimum wage...not a career I would have seen my life leading. With the birth of my first child and impending out-of-state move I quit. Any job I got with my college degree would not be worth the monetary costs of daycare (plus an extra car, extra wardrobe, extra food costs, etc) or the physical and emotional stress of working 40 hours plus trying to raise children. So, wow, I'm missing out on SO much money by not working.

      Do I feel like I "wasted my education"? How can an education ever "be wasted" provided that critical thinking skills are developed? Not to mention the information and perspective I have to offer my children along their educational journey. As for power...I am raising the next generation of Catholic Americans at every level of development by homeschooling instead of just handing them over to the state and pop culture to raise. Homeschoolers (and thus homeschooling stay-at-home mothers) are changing the world!!

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  44. Those quotes from Gandhi and Freud were good. Thanks for including them, even if I regard Freud as two rungs up from totally nuts.

    But...neither of these men was fully grasping the nature of human reproduction and how it evolved. Human reproduction evolved in a world of death; please understand this. Living past the age of four was an epic achievement. As widespread immunization campaigns wiped out the diseases that took so many, people started living. Hooray!!! If, as in Gandhi's time, child mortality was still high, it made sense to have very high birth rates, and his ideas make some sense. But as child mortality falls, those children need to be fed, housed and educated. They need space, and in the agricultural economy that India used to be until very recently, lots of land. Imagine an India today if people reproduced at the rates they did in 1900. Have any of you ever been to India?

    If a poor family in Uttar Pradesh is trying to provide the bare minimum of sustenance to their family of five, and they wish to limit or delay births, it seems like the radical love you talk about to give them the tools to do this (not abortion, which is killing). Actually, they will do it anyway, as they have for all of time, as contraceptives have been available for millenia, and they probably use the withdrawal method often. They are not dumb. To tell them that they are sinning in doing this, is almost laughable to me.

    I really think you are all confusing the matter. Abortion is killing a unique being that never before existed. It is clearly ending a life form (even if you do not think it is a person). Contracepting outside of marriage is irrelevant because you are already sinning by fornicating (and yes it does facilitate this, but no more so than the Internet facilitates this, or women in the workplace facilitates it). Fornicating IS failing to radically love someone and give yourself totally to that person...you are using them for sex without a commitment for life. I know...I did it (sadly).

    Also...NFP as you all know it today DID NOT EXIST prior to about 1971. The Rhythm method was notoriously faulty, and even that technique had only been around it modern times. So, does that mean that prior to 1971 somehow it was a different moral landscape? You could not, even if you wanted to, reliably prevent a conception, unless you abstained. Imagine...a young Indian couple...abstaining for years...five, six, seven, ten...through the trials of poverty, many young children, other troubles...they cannot have intercourse and cannot have any sexual pleasure that comes to climax...even as they dwell in close quarters...I'm sorry...but that is cruel.

    I find it vastly more absurd than telling people they cannot ever own a gun because guns are sometimes used to murder rather than defend or hunt. Or telling women they cannot work in places where men work because it tempts men away from their wives at home(it does, ask your husband), or telling people they cannot have an Internet connection because they might use it to view porn, or telling women that they cannot go in public unaccompanied by a male relative because they might meet men and commit adultery (they do).

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  45. OK...you are preaching to the choir here because I was a bulimic for years. (again...sadly) Bulimia is rarely experienced in the way you described...it is usually just the end of a SEVERE binge eating foray...not a slight way to get rid of a few extra calories. yeah...a few women do it the way you described...but it quickly becomes massively addicting. The whole ritual is a form of self abuse, more akin to a morbidly obese person's experience, not a routine dieter. It is more like alcoholism...a way to deal with stress...the entire episode..the binge and the purge is a way to numb yourself and calm yourself down. A better analogy would be between a bulimic and a person who goes for a long walk to calm themselves down.

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  46. Lucky 7...I think there is some truth to what you are saying, but I know lots of moms who went back to work part-time who are very happy with that. I would be very happy with that. You are probably not seeing the ones at your groups who are back at work because, well, they are at work. I think the ideal world would really understand that women have babies and need to step out of the workforce and that they need good part-time work available to them if they need it or want it. Actually, women have worked when they are mothers for eons...the fifties were a bit of an anomaly...there were always family businesses, farms etc.

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  47. College student!!!!! YOU are asking the $10,000 dollar question!!!! Good for you. In reality, I don't know the answer to this at all! We can never know which women will want to stay home full time with their babies (and who can) when they are 18.

    Right now it seems we have swung the pendulum so far in one direction that we are doing a disservice to women...we are telling them they should want to be men. Nobody takes Home Ec. anymore, even though most people will become parents someday. To suggest to a young woman that she might want to think about a career that would allow her to have children, or look for a man that could provide enough to support her is considered bigotry. There is something wrong with this. But...I also know a large group of very capable, happy career women who are the breadwinners for their families in biotech, economics, materials science, solar arrays, banking etc. These women would love a little more time at home, but not a lot. They are very competitive and get restless at home.

    Maybe we could devise a test that could weed out these women from the ones who are going to want to stay home.I think competitiveness could be a trait that would be predictable. I don't know...I do know a case of a SUPER high achieving woman who earned a FULL RIDE to medical school and then a fellowship after that, who decided to stay home with her babies and forget the whole thing...after she was educated. It does seem a bit immoral to the donors who funded her.

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  48. Starfire
    YOu said, "Even if it means giving up a golden career opportunity. Guess what, our husbands do the exact same thing."
    Well, not exactly...I cannot find it right now, but I remember reading a journal article that showed how a woman's rise in the career world was directly negatively correlated with how many children she had, while men's rise was positively correlated with how many children they had.

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  49. Little JoAnn,
    You said, "And, then we all bemoan, what has happened to society? Why does it seem that everyone is so rude, why is everyone, including our youth, so self-centered, gone are the days that people were once thoughtful...neighborly, etc, etc, etc..."
    Some things are worse, some things are better. The world you describe never really existed! Yes, some things are much worse (availability of porn), but many things are much better. Our country, a Christian nation, murdered hundreds of thousands of people in Japan in an instant by dropping TWO nuclear devices on civilian targets. Our nation raped and decimated a nation (Vietnam) and put thousands of our own young men to death for a vague notion of fighting Communism...halfway around the globe!!!! The world you speak of never existed...only little parts of it.

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  50. Little JoAnn,
    I do echo your sentiments about rudeness though....I think it is a fallout from our disillusionment with authority figures (rightly so during Vietnam and after Iran Contra) combined with a pathological worship of youth and sexual freedom without bounds.

    I was a teacher, and the students are often terribly rude, but not all of them. In reality, I like the questioning ones because students who are too docile freak me out. They are easily controlled, not only by me, but by nefarious forces. It is good to think critically and challenge, but try to retain the agape....now...how to model this to the world....;)

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  51. College Student:

    The obvious answer: limit the baby-making-act (Thanks, Leila!) You cannot be a powerhouse in your chosen field without making sacrifices. What's more you don't become a powerhouse by whining about the fact you have to make sacrifices. You figure out what needs to be done and do it.

    Leaders need to have a strong sense of ethics. It doesn't matter if the leaders are of the household, corporation or country-- you need someone with a clear sense of right a wrong. You also want leaders who understand their decisions and actions have consequences in other people's lives.

    To destroy the lives of our most vulnerable because it helps you "get to the top" is the embodiment of selfishness. That selfishness becomes a habit and becomes a way of life. People learn to turn a blind eye on how their actions affect others. They stop seeing the harm that they do. They try to understate the harm that is caused. When they are at their very worse.....they try to justify the harm.

    I know you probably think I am exaggerating but I've seen it happen time and time again to some of my very best friends. You cannot make a habit of making selfish decisions and wind up a selfless, generous, kind person.

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  52. Mary,

    My point wasn't that men's careers are affected the same way a woman's career is when children come into the picture. My point was that each parent must make decisions in light of what's best for their family.

    Often the mother is the one that stays home when the children are sick, takes the time of to take them to the doctor or the meet with their teachers. As a result she doesn't have the same options for promotion as she would if she didn't take that time off.

    But the husband normally becomes the primary breadwinner and he tends to do what he can to earn promotions. But consider two different promotions: one the family must relocate but there is a lot more money, two the family can stay in their hometown and there is more money but the father must travel for 2 weeks out of the month.

    The father would probably take the first promotion and the family will move. But for the father to take the second promotion he has to weigh it against the cost to his family. Had he been single- it might not have been a problem.

    My point to College Student was once you have a family your priorities change. This is true for men as well as women.

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  53. Mary, did you read this?

    http://www.myfemininemind.com/2011/09/empowering-poor-with-nfp.html

    Also, I understand the points you are making, and they are points of practicality from a secular perspective. But you are a Christ-follower, right? Christianity has condemned contraception from Day One. Never had it been seen as anything but evil, until the day when the Anglicans made that first move, only in 1930, moving with the spirit of the age, and paralleling the Margaret Sanger agenda (her "no gods no masters" slogan was used to push birth control, not abortion). What part of the Bible or Christian history do you pull your beliefs from? And why do you think that NFP (which -- providentially -- came on the scene right when those sea changes you mentioned were happening; think about that with the eyes of Heaven!) can't be learned well (or wanted) by women in the Third World?

    And you are not a woman of the Third World. So, why can't you use NFP and conform to the highest Christian morality (which has never changed)?

    Also, contraception is certainly not the evil that abortion is, but it is the evil which facilitates abortion. Wherever contraception is widely accepted, abortion always follows. Abortion is the necessary back up to failed contraception. It's the "Plan B" for the mindset that says, "I will have sex, but I will not have a baby."

    sarah, of course we don't believe that the world is "overpopulated". And just today I read that Japan (along with Europe of course) is on a huge decline because of the lack of children born. Which lead me to StarfireKK's brilliant observation, that so much of the left (and the culture which says we must have fewer children and more materialism… Europe, Japan, us) is about the inability to make sacrifices. I want to ask college student: How often do you or your friends talk about the value of sacrifice? And I'm not talking about sacrificing for your own personal gain, I am talking about sacrificing for the good of others as well? Is that talked about a lot?

    And for the record, college student has agreed that her peers are a very selfish lot, but I can't remember if she repudiated that mindset or not.

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  54. A link with some "overpopulation" facts:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/08/myth-of-overpopulation.html

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  55. Gosh I am inarticulate today. I apologize! I know what I'm trying to say, but I haven't said it clearly. And bottom line, this issue is not about contraception (this evil mandate by Obama). It's about religious liberty. And everyone should be very much in agreement that the power of the federal gov't should NEVER be used to force any religion or any believers to act against their conscience. That is almost surreal to me, and I will be addressing it a lot.

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  56. I really wish you had addressed my question. Should parents spend money to educate their daughters, should women spend the money to educate themselves. Why on earth do women need education if they aren't ever going to use it. I'm not talking about reading and writting, I'm talking about degrees--one's that are correlated to earning power

    StarfireK, yes women do tend to stay home and raise children and men tend to be the breadwinners. How advisable is this in high divorce rate America. Quit your job, support your husband raise his children. Oh no, you've become boring, less sexy, guess I'll leave you. Children grow up leave you too....

    Also likely men and women BOTH work but women ALSO must clean the house and take care of the kids and don't advance in their careers...

    Children are still considered a women's province...yet no one sees this as a problem, no help for women, just do it all

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  57. Leila, we talk often about we need to work on making the world a better place

    This blog has made me realize, I really need to do more for women’s rights and equality, so I am trying to find an avenue to do that.

    Of my two best friends, one teaches abusive children for Teach for America the other is going to med school in Aug so that she can be a primary care physician in third world countries

    ~ College Student

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  58. Please point me to where in the New Testament Jesus said it was wrong to limit the number of your offspring. Apparently Onanism (which could easily be interpreted differently) was known, and the Egyptians used condoms and pessaries....so why wouldn't he be blasting it from the housetops like he did for adultery? Why didn't he shout out to everyone how terrible it is to do? Seems odd.

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  59. Leila said, "And everyone should be very much in agreement that the power of the federal gov't should NEVER be used to force any religion or any believers to act against their conscience." Yes...sorry..did not mean to steer so far away from the main point...It is TERRIBLE what happened in that regard....I agree that religious institutions should be exempt.

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  60. Leila said, "Christianity has condemned contraception from Day One." Please provide a reference.

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  61. Here ya go, Mary: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control

    As for "where is contraception in the Bible?" Jesus didn't write a book, he founded a Church. Where in the Bible does it say that all doctrine must be included in the Bible?

    Be that as it may, rather than extol contraception, the Bible praises large families:

    Pr 14:28  In a multitude of people is a king’s honor, But in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince.

    Ps 127:3  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

    Psalm 127:4  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

    Psalm 128:3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. 4  Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.

    Deut 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
    2  And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
    3  Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
    4  Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep...11  And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

    Mal 2:15  But did He not make them [husband and wife] one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

    Lu 18:16  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

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  62. College Student:

    Of course, women should be educated! It is a wonderful investment! But I really have an issue with your idea that a degree is only in "use" if the woman works.

    I am an attorney and I do work. But I use my knowledge and skills in all walks of my life. I can't help it- it is part of who I am. I'm trained to think a certain way, to approach problems a certain way and to communicate a certain way. It is part of who I am. Just like I am Catholic. I don't stop being Catholic because I walk into a courtroom and I don't stop being an attorney because I walk into a Church.

    I've used my degree when babysitting. Trust me....cross examination skills are very useful on naughty children. I volunteer, I help out friends and my priest even asked if I would be interested in training to be a canon lawyer! I can even cure my husband's insomnia with all the cool trivia I know!

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  63. college student, all I can think of is "you're so young to be so jaded and cynical." Seriously, how did you get so cynical about things you haven't even experienced? I am one of those women who got a great (and expensive) college education, all the while knowing that the greatest thing I could ever do in life is to be a good wife and mother. Family is SO much more important than having worldly success and status. But nevertheless, my education was worth something. Remember, it was Catholics who founded the universities. It is we who prize education because we are made in the image and likeness of God, with an intellect and a will. We are to form both. How can an education be wasted? Unless making money is the highest good in life, of course.

    I am happy that your friends are doing good works. That is good to hear. So many seem completely self-absorbed (not your friends necessarily, but your generation, and even mine), seeking pleasure and comfort above the life of self-sacrifice, virtue and self-donation.

    I think we are in a sad place.

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  64. Mary, oh no, no, no. I am not going to let you get away with that. The Church has taught the same thing for two thousand years, and Protestantism did for nearly 500, and so the onus is on you, not me. You have to show me the foundation of your belief. The Bible could not be clearer that children are always a blessing, and barrenness is always something to be lamented, not sought. Not one thing in Scripture points to your philosophy. And, not one thing in Christian tradition. So, you need to show me where your philosophy shows up.

    It's like the pro-abort Christians do. They say, "We don't see anywhere in the Bible that says God would not allow us to abort our children." Anyone can twist anything to get the Bible to say anything they want it to. And I do mean anything. But as JoAnna pointed out, the Church was founded by Christ. He did not write a word of Scripture. But the Church did. The Church wrote and the Church promulgated and the Church canonized Scripture. And the Church copied and protected and preserved and preached it. The Church is the ONLY interpreter of her Sacred Scriptures. You can't twist Christianity to suit your needs and wants. It is what it is. There is no "personal interpretation" of Scripture. And you can't reinterpret the unbroken, unambiguous teaching of the Church for the past 2,000 years. It has always held that contraception is a grave evil. Any step away from that stance is a step away from Christian teaching.

    I am glad you are horrified by Obama's stomping on religious freedom. Fight with us and get your pastor involved! An appeal to Protestants on this issue is coming next….

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  65. In biblical times, like Mary said, children often died young and having large families was important for the human race not to die out. It has no bearing on what is true for today.

    @Leila: there may be vast areas of space in the world but they are that way for a reason, being that they are UNINHABITABLE. It takes quite a bit of land and clean water to sustain one human being. And that is good land that can be cultivated. The formula that says every person could live in Texas is not meaningful because if each person only had 1000 square feet to live on they could not keep themselves alive.

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  66. For those of you keeping track, the count is now up to 93 Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals speaking out against the HHR rule. For a complete list (updated quite frequently) of the Bishops AND their letters/statements, visit http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=25591 =)

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  67. Sarah, you are trying to imply that God said children are a blessing only because so many of them die and you need more to make up for that. That is not even on the radar screen of anything in the Bible or in the history of Christian thought or history. Children are a blessing because they are a blessing, period! Children are a blessing because human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. You are a Buddhist, if I remember correctly, so it's important that you understand that I am speaking of Judeo-Christian Scripture, from a Judeo-Christian perspective. You cannot "reinvent" or "reinterpret" what Christianity means or says, anymore than Mary can do so. It's your opinion only, not God's position. And as Mary is a Christian, I would hope that she understands in her heart that Scripture indeed has "bearing on what is true for today."

    Also, I live in a desert. I live in Arizona. I know about inhabiting the uninhabitable lands. My father is from the deserts of the Middle East. He has lived in uninhabitable lands as well. The breadth and depth of the human spirit and human ingenuity knows no bounds. That is why millions live in my desert.

    The formula that says every person can live in Texas is a visual tool to illustrate that the world is basically empty of people, and we are not teeming off the edges of the earth as the population control folks would have us believe, scaring people half to death. I hope you can understand why that visual tool is very important to debunk those crazy images of an overcrowded, overrun earth.

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  68. Worthy of Agape, thank you! And, I think it's up to 101 now! Yee haw!

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  69. @ Leila
    When you say "the church" wrote the scripture and no one but "the church" can interpret the scripture. Who is "the church?" Who, exactly, wrote the scripture and who exactly is the only one who can interpret them correctly? I really don't understand. Thanks.

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  70. Sarah, there was only one entity known as the Christian Church (early on called "Catholic", which simply means universal). The Church was always headed hierarchically, and there were always bishops (whom are known historically, including early lists of the Popes). The Bishops (and Pope) were successors of the Apostles, so each time an Apostle or a subsequent bishop died (usually martyred), a new bishop was consecrated and took his place. As the Church grew, more bishops were consecrated for more locations, but always, always consecrated by the existing hierarchy. So, no one "started their own church" in the way that Protestants do. It was always top down, hierarchical structure. So, it was easy to know where the Church was, as you simply looked for the bishop of the area. The Church acts and teaches as a body. So, during those early years, when the Gospels were written and the epistles written, the different local churches (in different cities) would read and cherish those writings (from St. Paul, or from a few of the Apostles, or others in the hierarchy who wrote as they traveled and evangelized). Over the next three hundred+ years, the Church (the same hierarchical Catholic Church) had to decide, ultimately, which of the writings, gospels and letters were to be held up above the others, as God-inspired, as Scripture. After all, the Church was persecuted by the Romans, and no one wanted to die for a book or writing which may not have been sacred! It was important to canonize the New Testament. So, the Church did that over some years, and the final canon of 27 books were canonized by the very living, thriving Catholic Church that also wrote them. A Pope gave the final seal of approval. So, it's "our" book, and it was never, ever meant to be interpreted outside of the context of our faith.

    Hope that helps! :)

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  71. Leila said, "We don't see anywhere in the Bible that says God would not allow us to abort our children." " Ummm....
    "Though shalt not kill". Seems pretty clear.

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  72. Leila said "The Church is the ONLY interpreter of her Sacred Scriptures." Yes, got it, that you believe to your core that the Catholic Church (the Magisterium) is infallible in their teaching. I do not believe this, nor do millions of other Christians. I don't think they are invalid in their thinking. You are free to think so, but I am free to think otherwise.

    Again, contraception is inanimate. If used to cheat, abuse, control etc. it is facilitating evil. If used in love it is not.
    Could all the lawyers here explain to me how a gun or the internet are moral but contraception is not?

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  73. Leila,
    If you want the help of Protestants, maybe you should be more gracious and less condescending.

    Blessings!

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  74. Mary, there are plenty of Protestant denominations, including branches of Lutheranism, who see this: "Though shalt not kill" (Which "Seems pretty clear") and yet they still not only allow abortion, but even say it is moral. So, what now? You have proven my point.

    My mom was raised in the Congregationalist church. (Now called the United Church of Christ.) They are very much in favor of abortion. They have interpreted that "Thou shalt not kill" to not include the unborn. So, you have a denomination which has taken Christian teaching and denied it. All of Christian history and Tradition has opposed abortion. The Catholic Church still does (and always will, just like opposition to contraception). So, what are we to make of those, like the liberal branches of Lutheranism, or the United Church of Christ, among others, who say that abortion is a moral good?

    See the problem?

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  75. Again, contraception is inanimate. If used to cheat, abuse, control etc. it is facilitating evil. If used in love it is not.

    That is right, Mary. A piece of latex is not a sin. You are correct. But when that piece of latex (or any other inanimate device) is used to change the nature of the marital act, and used to sever the connection between sex and babies, then that inanimate object is being used in a sinful way.

    You cannot interpret the Bible for yourself. What makes you think you can? Where did you get the Bible? I'm seriously asking why you have the authority to interpret Christian teaching or the Bible that came from the Church? It's not snarky, it's serious.

    As for the gun issue:

    A sheath of latex, a computer with internet access and a gun all lay on the table. None of them are sinful in themselves. But when I use the latex to contracept the marital act, or when I use the computer to access pornography, or when I use the gun to kill an innocent, then in all cases I have sinned.

    You are correct that an object cannot sin. But people can. We use our free will and we sin.

    Hope that helps.

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  76. Leila,
    If you want the help of Protestants, maybe you should be more gracious and less condescending.


    Thanks, anonymous! You might want to read this before continuing on this blog:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/p/purpose-of-my-blog.html

    Especially read the section called, "The purpose of my blog".

    Blessings to you, too!

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  77. I do not believe this, nor do millions of other Christians. I don't think they are invalid in their thinking. You are free to think so, but I am free to think otherwise.

    Of course you are free to reject the unbroken teaching of the Church. But why do you think you are correct? You have yet to give me any biblical or historical basis for your position. Or for the position that you get to decide what is authentic Christian teaching. Give me a biblical or historical Christian basis for any of your opinions here.

    Because if unchanging truth through 20 centuries is not enough to say to you "this is surely Christian teaching", then what is?

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  78. The formula that says every person could live in Texas is not meaningful because if each person only had 1000 square feet to live on they could not keep themselves alive.

    Okay this made me laugh. Is that what the studies have shown, that everyone in the world could have 1000 square feet of land and still all fit in Texas? I have 7 people living in a 2200 sq ft. house and you're telling me If all 7billion people in the world moved to Texas I could have 7000sqft in texas? I'm so moving to Texas.

    Overpopulation (if you can call it that) has little to do with babies being born and MUCH more to do with people living longer, MUCH longer.

    Those who are for abortion, contraception and forced sterilizations due to "overpopulation", should therefore be equally for euthanasia and should be willing to commit suicide when they leave the workforce, so they may "decrease the world's surplus population." (Thank you, Charles Dickens)

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  79. Please point me to where in the New Testament Jesus said it was wrong to limit the number of your offspring.

    Again, contraception is inanimate. If used to cheat, abuse, control etc. it is facilitating evil. If used in love it is not.

    Hi Mary,

    Pt #1-
    Where in the bible does it say that Christians should break away from the one flock, the Catholic church? It's convenient to say 'where in the bible"..., the point is, Christ founded a Church to guard the full deposit of Faith. The Church is not bible only based, as you know. Just fundamentally speaking here, what is your source of spiritual authority, Mary?

    Pt #2-
    Look at the purpose of contraception. Contraception prevents what is 'natural' from occurring. It's anti-biological, it's immoral. Not loving. To say it's okay to use contraception if done so 'lovingly' isn't embracing the totality of the sexual act (selfless giving, as Leila rightly points out).

    To manipulate what is natural isn't entirely loving. It's like saying, "I'll only love you to x degree not to totality". Where's the self-donation? There's a limitation there which breaks the very commandments you spoke of.

    The instant a form of contraception comes into the act, it's limited, it's not completely loving, it's immoral.

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  80. Please point me to where in the New Testament Jesus said it was wrong to limit the number of your offspring.

    Did I miss where someone said it was wrong to limit the size of one's family? That actually isn't wrong. It's perfectly fine. But I know it's been covered here before. Limiting family size is a moral end. It must be achieved through moral means. Using contraception as the means is immoral.

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  81. Bethany, your comment to Sarah is hard to fathom. Do you really think she meant house space? Give her more credit. I am going to assume that you realize that the food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe is not nearly accounted for in the 2200 square feet that you live in? You probably need about 803000 calories per year to live. Your household of seven needs seven times that. It takes a lot of space and energy to produce that. Now times that by seven billion or ten billion...you get the picture. That is what Sarah is trying to say. Most of the world does not come close to consuming the energy we do in food and lifestyle...as they climb up that ladder, there will be very real pressures on many systems...It is not stupid to think about planning for that. It is good to have such discussions.

    Also...I often wonder if any Catholics or other folks who deny that overpopulation could ever be a problem, even locally, ever get outside to back-country hike, or go camping, or ride their bikes in the wilderness. Do any of you value wilderness? Don't you see that as part of Creation, worthy of protection? I just don't get how you cannot see that.

    The way I see it is that we should think about population issues, but it is stupid to force limits (at this time) on specific families because it is unnecessary, and causes all sorts of problems (like sex imbalances for one). Giving women and men education and access to good NFP training and/or access to contraception magically leads to replacement level birth rates. Some women have loads, some women have none, some are in the middle. I really have faith in that. The extremely low birth rates we see around the world in a few places are the sad result of government meddling and abortion.

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  82. Again, Meg, thanks for you question, but WHY is contraception in a faithful and committed marriage immoral? Go through the reasoning with me. If my husband and I never once have intercourse during my fertile phase again, and we use charts, calendars, thermometers and ovulation predictors to ensure that this is the case, how is that not interfering in the act as much as using a diaphragm? Just crosses my eyes to think about it. And, as Leila has pointed out, it is sinful not to think of many many children as a blessing. We are allowed to limit, but only for GRAVE reasons. Not because you just want to.

    John C. Wright and I have had a lengthy exchange about this and other topics. His reasoning is that men are overwhelmed by their sexual urges and that artifical contraception makes it impossible for men resist these urges and then end up debasing women across the board. I would say that men are overwhelmed by their murderous urges (he concedes this) and that having guns around makes it impossible for them to resist these urges. See the parallel?

    I think we are all losing this moral battle for holiness in our society because we are focusing on the wrong things. We should all be jumping up and down fighting fornication, adultery, abortion, no-fault divorce, lying, cheating, greed etc.

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  83. Mary did you just say that it's stupid to force limits on specific families "at this time"? Meaning, there will be a time when it would be good to force limits on family size? Clarify, please.

    Also, you said:

    I often wonder if any Catholics or other folks who deny that overpopulation could ever be a problem, even locally, ever get outside to back-country hike, or go camping, or ride their bikes in the wilderness. Do any of you value wilderness? Don't you see that as part of Creation, worthy of protection? I just don't get how you cannot see that.

    Mary, but don't you realize that the entire world mass is basically empty? That is the whole point. Have you ever flown over the United States and looked down? It's mostly vast, open space. Then, every now and then, you see clusters of human development, cities and such. But mostly, vast open space. Wilderness.

    So, what are you talking about? I really do not understand. Do you think that the world is teeming with people? And yet you have the numbers and the square milage, so I don't get how you can believe that. Sorry, I don't.

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  84. I'll let Meg answer, but you asked "how is (charting, etc.) not interfering in the act." Because (and this is crucial), there is no act being interfered with in NFP. There is the sacrifice of the act. We forgo the sex act altogether. By contrast, contracepting couples still take the pleasure of the act, but in the performing of it, render it infertile, changing its nature.

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  85. We should all be jumping up and down fighting fornication, adultery, abortion, no-fault divorce, lying, cheating, greed etc.

    The Church does fight these things. But it's a package deal. We fight all immorality, and promote all Christian virtue. We haven't changed that in 2,000 years. Join us? You should come home.

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  86. Nubby,
    How is it selflessly giving to abstain from sex for the rest of your life during your fertile period for the purpose of not conceiving? Sounds like holding back to me.

    Also per question one. You answered my question with a totally unrelated one. Why not answer my question? Above, someone else tried by pointing out all the bible passages they could find that even tangentially touched this. None said a word about it. They only said that children are a blessing, and that a man is happy to have his children and etc. etc. It said nothing about limiting in the face of need or for prudential reasons. Of course they would not! They were living in a

    To answer your question about authority, you are right that the many Christian denominations have an authority problem. I concede that, but I live in the NorthEast, and shopped around for a while when trying to find a church ( I was raised Catholic). The church I belong to is the best I could find. Invigorated parish, wise, involved and dynamic pastor. Great outreach programs, great children's programs, great adult forums...etc. etc. Plus, my husband is grudgingly willing to go. He will NOT go into a Catholic Church. It seems less hypocritical for me to attend a Lutheran Church if I don't really believe the Catholic teaching about contraception, married priests etc. I can also attend communion here, but cannot in the Catholic Church, as I was married outside the church, and cannot rightly confess that I will stop using condoms or the withdrawal method. So I would never be able to receive.

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  87. How many calories can the earth produce as a maximum?
    If you're suggesting we'll run out of calories to feed the growing pop that assumes the earth can only produce a finite # of calories.
    So, if the earth can only produce a finite # would should be able to calculate what that max caloric production is or will be.
    From that, based on your individual consumption, you can calculate the max # of people the earth can and will sustain.

    So the question is: What are those #'s and have we passed it?

    Point is, it should be able to be mathematically shown what the earth's capacity is?

    There's at least two flaws on first glance, here:
    Assuming we can't increase the caloric output of the earth through ingenuity and science.
    And, assuming we can't find other sources of caloric intake (food).

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  88. ignore typos pls-
    * we should be, not would should be

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  89. Leila said that most of the land is empty. False. At this juncture, 41% of the U.S. land is farmland. Currently about 7% is developed. So, right now about half is wilderness. THat includes the frozen plains and the badlands where most people would really not ever want to be. The "choice" land, including coastal regions is not all that plentiful. Certainly we are not at capacity in this country yet, but indefinite growth would get us there. We would need more land for crops etc. Incidentally, the organic movement and the humane food movement, two good things, would force us to use far more land for food production, not less.

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  90. Please point me to where in the New Testament Jesus said it was wrong to limit the number of your offspring.

    Mary,
    Are you referring to your comment here?

    We don't "limit" as contraception limits or inhibits. We Catholics allow a chance, albeit small, through timing of the cycle while remaining open to God's choice.

    We don't take the decision from Him.

    How is it selflessly giving to abstain from sex for the rest of your life during your fertile period for the purpose of not conceiving? Sounds like holding back to me.

    During that small period of time per month, what, a few days? Self-control for the rest of your life? Sounds selfless to me.

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  91. Then, how about we stop using corn for ethanol purposes to be more "green" and instead use it for food for animals? Let's feed livestock because that feeds us!

    Point is, we should be thinking in 3-D, not 2-D. We're not looking at a map, drawing more people on it. Not a grid we color in.
    How about skyscrapers and dense housing?

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  92. Just a couple of quick thoughts:

    First, I live in a major metro area. Millions of folks surround me. I can drive twenty minutes and be in the wilderness. I can drive further and be in so much wilderness that the authorities would not find me if I were lost. I'd be a needle in a haystack. Wilderness is all over the place, in every part of my area and my state. I don't get this exaggerated "crowdedness". Again, have you ever flown over the nation? You barely see any cities, compared to the wide open spaces. How can you argue against the numbers? The world is simply NOT teeming with people. Some cities are, for sure! That is the nature of cities. People tend to congregate in cities. But this does not mean that there is a lack of space.

    On to the religion thing. I do get your dilemma, I really do. But let's just talk philosophically for a moment. Come back to the question I asked:

    If unchanging truth through 20 centuries is not enough to say to you "this is surely Christian teaching", then what is?

    How do you identify authentic Christian teaching? And how do you know your current pastor is teaching the truth?

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  93. And there is this point, if you would address it, if you have time:

    My mom was raised in the Congregationalist church. (Now called the United Church of Christ.) They are very much in favor of abortion. They have interpreted that "Thou shalt not kill" to not include the unborn. So, you have a denomination which has taken Christian teaching and denied it. All of Christian history and Tradition has opposed abortion. The Catholic Church still does (and always will, just like opposition to contraception). So, what are we to make of those, like the liberal branches of Lutheranism, or the United Church of Christ, among others, who say that abortion is a moral good?

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  94. Also, from earlier:

    Mary did you just say that it's stupid to force limits on specific families "at this time"? Meaning, there will be a time when it would be good to force limits on family size? Clarify, please.

    Thanks!

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  95. First off, I live in Montana. I value the wilderness, and believe me, we have PLENTY of it! So bring on the people, the children, the big families...we have room for it, plus room to spare to enjoy our lovely scenery. :)

    Leila pretty much answered it for me but to your question:

    If my husband and I never once have intercourse during my fertile phase again, and we use charts, calendars, thermometers and ovulation predictors to ensure that this is the case, how is that not interfering in the act as much as using a diaphragm?

    It's not interfering in the act...because there is no act to interfere with. Get it? Like Leila said, with a diaphragm or other contraceptive, you are actually changing the nature of the act. Sex by its nature is ordered towards reproduction, right? Though it may have peripheral purposes (pleasure, bonding, whatever), it's most primary and basic function is procreation, is it not? Contraception distorts what sex is for. It changes its very nature.

    General comment, not directed towards Mary specifically:

    It really boggles my mind that people don't seems to understand that to participate in the "baby making act" means you should be prepared to have a baby. And that to not participate in it (even for just a few days out of a month!) is really not the end of the world. Difficult as it may be for some, it is possible and it doesn't ruin your life.

    Back to Mary:
    In your opinion, why would NFP (abstaining from sex during fertile times) be so difficult? Why do you view it as so burdensome?

    Also, I"d love to hear your respond to what Leila wrote earlier:

    You cannot interpret the Bible for yourself. What makes you think you can? Where did you get the Bible? I'm seriously asking why you have the authority to interpret Christian teaching or the Bible that came from the Church? It's not snarky, it's serious.

    and

    Of course you are free to reject the unbroken teaching of the Church. But why do you think you are correct? You have yet to give me any biblical or historical basis for your position. Or for the position that you get to decide what is authentic Christian teaching. Give me a biblical or historical Christian basis for any of your opinions here.

    Because if unchanging truth through 20 centuries is not enough to say to you "this is surely Christian teaching", then what is?


    Don't want these to get lost in the shuffle! :)

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  96. Leila said, ""Though shalt not kill" (Which "Seems pretty clear") and yet they still not only allow abortion, but even say it is moral."
    Yes...this is bad...we are working to change this.

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  97. Mary, yes, but they use the same arguments you do about contraception. So, how do you answer them?

    Also, this may be too personal. But if your husband was open to coming to the Catholic Church, and if he were willing to use NFP to space your children, would you come back to the Church?

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  98. Meg,
    "In your opinion, why would NFP (abstaining from sex during fertile times) be so difficult? Why do you view it as so burdensome?"
    I don't! For me....My husband would not do it...he knows I would never have an abortion, and I could argue until I was blue in the face about reliability etc, but he would ask me "why", and I could give him all the logic and reasoning you have given me here, and then he would say, "Do you 100% believe this to be true?" and I would (not wanting to lie) would have to say "no". In a faithful marriage...no, not at all...to me it is just like the Internet, or a car, or any other tool.

    If two people want to use condoms etc. to prevent pregnancy or they want to use NFP or a combination of them, I have no problem with it. I would by outright lying to you to say that I did or that I could see the importance. In fact, I think teaching NFP is very good for many reasons, not the least of which is that it gives women more information about their own bodies, so they can monitor and control their own behavior better.

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  99. Mary, glad to hear you don't think it would be burdensome. Sorry I assumed that you did. :)

    to me it is just like the Internet, or a car, or any other tool
    Ok, it is a tool. But saying so isn't really a response to the reasons that have been laid out for you as to why the Church teaches it is immoral. What do you say to the reasons?

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  100. Good question Leila, but probably not, given the state of it here. I would have to drive over 50 minutes to get to a church that was not half-dead...probably out near Stacy ;)! Given the ridiculous uphill battle I have every week getting my family actually into the church we go to, and given the extraordinary lengths to even have a minimal conversation with the hubs about anything church related...I can honestly say probably "no". ALso, the not married priest thing really creeps me out and always has. Remember, I grew up with priests coming to dinner. One guy had fingernails two inches long and another was very effeminate and uneasy and another was openly admiring of Hunter S. Thompson, and who seemed actually mean. One was clearly an alcoholic. I have only met a few who seemed somewhat normal and approachable, and one of those was disciplined by the bishop for his liberal sermons about homosexuality, and the other one was very well-meaning but impossible to understand on the pulpit...you had to just meditate during the homily...and I am good with accents. Literally nobody can understand his Nigerian. Positive guy though. My mom has him to dinner often.

    And then there is the gay thing...I am really undecided about it on the whole. Continue to pray for guidance. I have close friends who have siblings who are gay and gay acquaintances etc. My husband would leave me if one of our sons turned out to be gay and I told him not to act on his urges. He feels that strongly about it. Since I cannot positively say where I stand on that, after much thought...it just would be very hard to sit in a Catholic Church and hold up their stance on all homosexual behavior. I would feel like a total hypocrite.

    Female pastors are another tough spot. When people who disagree with Catholic teaching on this point grill me, I really have no good arguments why women cannot be priests. For most other church teachings there is at least some logic (even for contraception, there is some logic) but for this one there seems to be nothing cogent for me to say. It exposes my own thoughts and prejudices. My own pastor and I have talked about this at length. He said it was hard for him at first, when women were at divinity school with him, but he now says some of his favorite and most effective pastor friends are women.
    So, there you have it.

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  101. Fair enough, Mary, and I appreciate the honesty. But it still begs the question. You seem to struggle to come to conclusions on certain issues. So the question remains:

    If unchanging truth through 20 centuries is not enough to say to you "this is surely Christian teaching", then what is?

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  102. Leila said, "Meaning, there will be a time when it would be good to force limits on family size? Clarify, please."

    I hope that day never comes, but let us say you are the ruler of country, and you are bordered by three hostile countries, and you are looking at your resources and are growing very worried about how to provide for your people. There is lots of technology, and you have made great strides in feeding your people, but now your water systems are at carrying capacity and your soils are depleted...for several generations the standard of living has been dropping such that many children are now malnourished...the infant mortality rate is up...you are now considering asking families to limit their family size (not through abortion), and so you provide economic incentives for them to do so. Yes, this seems like Brave New World, but I do not think that ruler is being immoral. Leaders often have to make difficult choices. Check out Easter Island.

    But...since when you educate women you get the TFR down...it seems we will not have this problem.

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  103. Where's the import, Mary? Import food from a non hostile country. Look who surrounds Israel. Somehow they feed their people.

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  104. Starfire,
    You said, "To destroy the lives of our most vulnerable because it helps you "get to the top" is the embodiment of selfishness. That selfishness becomes a habit and becomes a way of life".

    Did I miss something? Did College Student say that she thought abortion was good?

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  105. Nubby, you are right...but my story was meant as a metaphor for that type of thing happening across the board...in a world of 25 billion or so. I guess I would ask you: "Do you think the resources of the Earth are infinite?"

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  106. Mary,
    Resources don't have to be infinite because the population will never be infinite. Resources just need to keep up with the population. It's the technology factor.

    It's not about square footage if agricultural space.

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  107. Bethany, your comment to Sarah is hard to fathom. Do you really think she meant house space? Give her more credit. I am going to assume that you realize that the food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe is not nearly accounted for in the 2200 square feet that you live in? You probably need about 803000 calories per year to live. Your household of seven needs seven times that. It takes a lot of space and energy to produce that. Now times that by seven billion or ten billion...you get the picture. That is what Sarah is trying to say. Most of the world does not come close to consuming the energy we do in food and lifestyle...as they climb up that ladder, there will be very real pressures on many systems...It is not stupid to think about planning for that. It is good to have such discussions.
    If we're all living in Texas, then what the heck are the rest of the Great Plains doing? And I do like fish, lucky for that Gulf of Mexico. Yes, people will have to do some adjustments, the world simply can't be as gluttonous as it has been. But again, that's not a result of overpopulation. In reality that's needed whether or not there are 7 billion people in the world or only the nearly 400,000,000 that are living in the U.S.

    But enough about overpopulation. Let's move on to another question and I'm going to be as detailed and specific as possible, I apologize now if the directness offends anyone.

    Mary, you asked, someone, If my husband and I never once have intercourse during my fertile phase again, and we use charts, calendars, thermometers and ovulation predictors to ensure that this is the case, how is that not interfering in the act as much as using a diaphragm?
    Because, WHEN (not if) you have sexual intercourse with your husband you are (or should be) accepting ALL of him, and that includes his semen and sperm, because it is part of him, part of his reproductive system, and using artificial means to prevent even that small part of him from going where it's supposed to go. (Really, I can't believe I'm having to explain the purpose of semen and sperm, which is to attempt to navigate into a woman's vagina, on upward, and fertilize an egg). Abstaining or refraining from sexual intercourse when a woman is fertile, is NO different than abstaining or refraining from sexual intercourse when a woman is not fertile. You're simply NOT having sex. Like I'm NOT having sex right now, since I'm typing on the computer.

    Nobody says, "You must have sex on this day at this time, every four weeks." But if you're postponing pregnancy, even indefinitely for grave reasons, there is Nothing wrong with saying, "Since I know (or at lest have a pretty darn good educated guess) that one of my eggs will be released in the next couple of days and we've discerned that trying for a baby might be more than we can handle right now, I'm going to play on the computer every night for the next few days. And we'll meet back up in a week." Much in the same way it's okay to say, "I'm on my period, so I'm going to play on the computer every night for the next few days. And in a week, we'll be good to go."

    So to sum up, if I'm not having sex with my husband on this day, then I'm not having sex with my husband on this day. (I'm not having sex with my husband on this day) But if I am having sex with my husband and I'm using a condom, or a diaphragm or spermicides or even the withdrawl method (which by the way those slippery little suckers can find their way back inside with this method (Human Sexuality in college)making it not very effective at all) then I'm not really accepting or loving ALL of him, because part of him IS his semen and sperm. Which is, incidentally, the part of him that marks him specifically as a MAN and therefore my HUSBAND.

    Have I started rambling, yet? ;)

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  108. Mary,

    A hypothetical example is a right triangle w/ each of its sides being 1 unit. The hypotenuse is the sq rt of 2 or 1.414.

    So, let's say normally we grow crops along one of the triangle's legs for a unit of one.
    So production is 100%.

    But something technologically comes along that allows us to grow crops at a 45' angle for a distance of 1.414.

    We've increased our food production by 41.4% while only using a unit of one land. Think of it as step terraces or greenhouse risers. That's a simple example of how technology can greatly increase the rate of production.
    Resources don't have to be infinite.

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  109. Mary- Birth Control pills and other hormonal devices destroy lives, too. The idea is the pill stops you from ovulating but that doesn't always happen the pill also stops a conceived child from implanting on the uterus wall.

    It is part of what makes the pill so "effective"

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  110. Mary, I thought you said "force". Forgive me if I misunderstood. Incentives to limit family size…. well, that could be NFP. And, I don't care what the ruler does with his incentives (even if misguided) as long as he doesn't force me to violate my conscience or religious beliefs. You know, like King Obama is doing right now.

    And it's ironic because right now, nations are desperate for their people to have more babies. All over Europe they are paying couples to reproduce, because their nations are dying. And Japan… oh my. I just read a sad article about their future. It's toast. The future belongs to the fertile. I think that means… lots of Muslims and very few Christians (since Christians love to contracept now). The culture of the world will surely change.

    As for college student, she is very much in favor of abortion rights. Feels that is how women can fulfill their dreams, because it makes us "equal" to men in the workforce. It's what Obama said on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade the other day. Abortion has allowed women to fulfill their dreams. Our daughters can realize their dreams now that they have the right to destroy their own offspring. What a beautiful worldview!

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  111. Bethany, thanks for saying that! Exactly right!

    Here's how I see it (remember that the whole point of the mystery and sacredness of married love is that we give our whole selves, without reserve to our spouses):

    Withdrawal users: "I give my whole self to you!! Well, except that at the moment I am supposed to be perfectly united with you as one flesh in ecstasy, I am going to whip that sucker out of our union and mess myself."

    Pill users: "I give my whole self to you!! Well, except for my fertility and life-giving capacity. I have stuffed my system full of synthetic hormones to trick my body into thinking it's already pregnant, risking blood clots, stroke, loss of libido and weight gain, so that I can be sure that my body is totally barren, and no life will grow so that we can have lots of consequence free sex.… except that the silly pills don't always work, unfortunately, and sometimes our children might be conceived and aborted by those same steroids."

    Condom users: "I give myself totally to you!! Well, except I don't want your sperm coming anywhere near me. Let's catch it all and throw it out. Your sperm have no place in this act. Neither does our flesh need to touch. We can have a perfect union of bodies as God intended it… even with a manufactured barrier of latex stretched between us! So what if we arm ourselves against each other for this intimate act!"

    And the rest. You get the picture. Sex is the body saying, "I give my total self to you" and contraception is saying, "Except for that and that and that." So, it's a lie.

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  112. Nubby, in a continually expanding population, why would it not be infinite? Tell me what number will be the highest number we will see (well, We won't see it, but someone in the future will).
    The Mormons think there are a finite amount of souls waiting to be born...I think the Jains thin this too.

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  113. Nubby, now you are talking my language!!! Yes, we have great abilities to grow more food with less using technology. I absolutely second that! However, it takes time and political will etc. to develop these things. If some nations or groups of people start limiting their reproductive capacity (they already do, as in poor, rural Nepal) in response to regional cost of living rises, then I have no problem with it, as long as it is not coercive. Again, gradual changes are better.

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  114. Bethany, I am a biologist, so I understand the biology of sex! Gonadotropin Releasing Horomone anyone? I just don't find your arguments convincing at all. I am laughing that I must accept my husbands sperm to be totally loving to him! Is that really what you all think? THat is really amazing!

    But...I am glad you are not having sex when you are typing on the computer!

    Anyhow...carry on. NFP has a slim to none chance of ever being used in my home for many reasons, and I am glad it works for you and that you know how to use it.
    Just, for one minute, stop thinking that all the contraception users out there are doing some great, horrible sin....they just are not. Now, the people who never go to confession, are watching porn at night and who keep going to communion...now that is something that is hurting people and themselves, and probably God.

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  115. Mary - do you, as a biologist, deny that your husband's sperm is a part of him?

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  116. Nubby, in a continually expanding population, why would it not be infinite? Tell me what number will be the highest number we will see (well, We won't see it, but someone in the future will).
    The Mormons think there are a finite amount of souls waiting to be born...I think the Jains thin this too.


    Mary,
    The population cannot be infinite as the growth rate is naturally controlled due to natural disasters, diseases, wars, varying birth-to-death ratios, etc. My point is that technology and ingenuity has kept up with the needs of the population and there is no evidence that this will not continue.

    There is no need for extremely corrupt and selfish politicians to take away the simple freedom of reproduction. If that happens many other freedoms that we take for granted will disappear and we will be no better than any other communist or socialist country (talk to immigrants from Russia or China for example).

    Nubby, now you are talking my language!!! Yes, we have great abilities to grow more food with less using technology. I absolutely second that! However, it takes time and political will etc. to develop these things. If some nations or groups of people start limiting their reproductive capacity (they already do, as in poor, rural Nepal) in response to regional cost of living rises, then I have no problem with it, as long as it is not coercive. Again, gradual changes are better.

    Mary,
    I do not see the correlation between the cost of living and reproductive capacity. In a free market society (which we claim we are), there is not need for political will. If the market is allowed to operate unhindered, our intellectual creativity will resolve these issues and more. No established government has been shown to be more creative, effective and efficient that a free market society.

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  117. Mary, when you accepted your husband as your husband did you mean ALL of him, or him just without his sperm. As a biologist you should recognize that his sperm is a part of who he is, as a man, as an individual. NO other person in the world has his sperm. Using a barrier device during sex is the acting of rejecting THAT unique part of him that is as unique to him as a fingerprint, maybe even more so; it is the one thing, more than anything else, that defines him as the male of the species, and it's being rejecting. In effect, it's rejecting him as a man. That's certainly not loving. You're loving everything about your husband except his ability to reproduce. Unconditional love should have NO exceptions.

    I mean it's not like that stuff comes out for the fun of it. (hahahahaha - sorry I thought that was funny, 'cause I'm tired and I've been up for two and half hours already)

    If you're (royal "you" here) not going to unconditionally love(action) ALL of your husband, including that which makes him capable of reproducing, then what WAS the purpose of getting married? Lovey-dovey, romantical feelings? The tax-breaks? Or someone to kill the bugs and fix the plumbing when it breaks?


    BTW:
    Jen Fulwiler at NCRegister has a great post in regards to Overpopulation and maybe that will help you understand a bit where we come from, Mary. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/why-my-big-family-is-not-overpopulating-the-earth

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  118. Whoa! Mary- porn hurts people but contraceptives don't?

    That's where you draw the line?

    You understand all of your arguments for contraceptives work for porn, right?

    Most people view what happens in their own home as their own business....the Supreme Court even said so. Sure, some people are exploited in the porn industry but others do very well. Men and women are adults they should be allowed to have whatever profession they want. Some women find it very empowering to explore their sexuality this way.

    Porn can be used to pull affection away from a spouse but it can also be used to spice up their life and bring them closer together. Besides it is common understanding that most spouses don't always have the same needs- taking a tool away from allowing them to fulfill those needs.

    Maybe it is wrong in some circumstances but in _my_ neck of the woods we are cool, smart, moral enough to be able to use such things. How dare you call it a sin!

    I'm sorry Mary but you can't have it both ways. Either the argument works for both or it doesn't work for either.

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  119. Mary,

    As a biologist myself, I have come to accept the truth that God's plan for human sexuality goes far beyond mere biology.

    You are obviously a very intelligent and contemplative person. I appreciate the candor with which you've spoken of your family and particularly your relationship with your husband. I know it must be difficult to live with such a rift in faith life between you and your husband. I can think of nothing more important to a compatible marriage than a shared faith. I believe this rift may shed some light on your utter rejection of all logical arguments for the sanctity of the marital act that have been charitably laid out for you here. Alas, I would like to offer a few of my own:

    A) Through the marital act, the husband and wife act in cooperation with God in the creation of a new human life. Let that sink in for a moment. What I'm saying is completely different from two cells joining together to create another organism, nothing really special about that, happens in some form or fashion in all organisms on earth. No, what I'm talking about is husband and wife, in a very real way, participating in the CREATION of something from nothing...a new soul! Can a human person undertake anything as sacred as participation in the very act of Creation? Now, surely, if the marital act can result in something so unspeakably miraculous as that, how could the act itself not deserve the utmost respect and dignity from those engaged in it? It hurts me deeply to know that I denigrated it for so many years of my life, my only consolation is the knowledge that I have confessed and have been forgiven through the blessed sacrament of Reconciliation.

    B-1) An analogy to the withdrawal method (and really any barrier method): Let's say I'm a devout Catholic with the knowledge of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I receive the host and place it in my mouth. At this moment I am actually receiving the Body of Christ into myself, participating in his sacrifice in a very real way. I chew the wafer, then at the point right before I swallow, right before I fully accept the Body of Christ into my own and become one with Him...I spit the wafer out onto the floor. I (the bride of Christ) have willfully rejected the Body of Christ (the bridegroom) from my own person. I can think of nothing more disdainful, nothing more disrespectful to the Son of Man than a direct rejection of his Body, his Love, his Sacrifice.

    B-2)Now let's say I'm a Protestant, I'm receiving communion which I do not believe to be the actual body of Christ, but only a symbol. I chew the wafer, but the moment before swallowing, I spit it on the floor. Ok, so I've created a little mess, but it's really just a piece of bread, so no big deal. Maybe I'll swallow it next time...and really, I've swallowed it before, so no problem, Jesus knows I love him, right?

    That's how I see the difference between the Catholic view of the marital act, and the view of the marital act that you have offered up.

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  120. LJP- Beautiful Analogies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  121. That's how I see the difference between the Catholic view of the marital act, and the view of the marital act that you have offered up.

    LJP, yes!!! Thank you for that amazing analogy. If Mary doesn't see it, I think there are a few lurkers who will. It is so on the money.

    StarFireKK, that's right! The same arguments work for porn, perfectly. And porn advocates use them.

    Same with the arguments she uses from the Christian/biblical perspective. The same arguments she uses are used by United Church of Christ and liberal denominations for the acceptance of abortion. She is horrified at the Christians who use the Bible to argue for the "good" of abortion, but they are the same arguments she uses for the "good" of contraception.

    Mary, you still have not answered the question:

    If unchanging truth through 20 centuries is not enough to say to you "this is surely Christian teaching", then what is?

    I don't mean to press you incessantly, but I am truly curious. Also, how do you know if your pastor has things right? And, does your branch of Lutheranism condemn abortion?

    Bethany, yes, my husband's sperm certainly is a part of him…. It's encoded with his very DNA, with the actual purpose of creating a human being in union with me, his wife! Co-creation with God is the very thing that marriage is for. There is a reason that Jesus said there will be no marrying and no marriage in Heaven: Procreation of souls will have ended. Marriage is the beautiful institution on earth (and on earth only) which creates new human beings. Sperm is a big part of that reality of God's plan. To reject my husband's life-giving qualities is not loving him fully. Of course when I rejected parts of him in our past, I didn't realize this. The culture has a harsh way of making us blind to some of the very biggest truths. I was blind, for sure.

    Thanks, guys, all of you, for the great comments!!!

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  122. Also, the not married priest thing really creeps me out and always has.

    Does St. Paul creep you out? He was single, on purpose, and so were most of the Apostles. St. Paul said this:

    "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do."

    Also, Jesus Christ was unmarried, and he also said this about staying celibate:
    "
    For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

    What of the "creepiness" of people like St. Francis, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, or more recently, Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict? And the millions of priests and monks and nuns throughout the history of Christendom?

    )Also, do unmarried men who are not priests freak you out? My son is 18 and unmarried. I know several widowers.)

    I understand that you didn't like the particular priests you came in contact with, but should that "feeling" cloud your understanding of what Christ and his Church have said on this matter? Remember, priestly celibacy is not a doctrine, but merely a discipline. I myself have a married priest with six kids at my parish. But the discipline has served the Church well.

    You are a good sport to take all these questions, and I really am interested in how you would answer them. Thanks, Mary!

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  123. Typos are God's way of telling us to slow down. At least I'm guessing at that.

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  124. Nubby,
    Please go to http://www.paulchefurka.ca/Population.html and scroll down to the first graph. Please tell me how that graph shows how "The population cannot be infinite as the growth rate is naturally controlled due to natural disasters, diseases, wars, varying birth-to-death ratios, etc. " I see no decrease there. Not even a hint of it. Yes, technology can get us very far! I agree wholeheartedly with your view on that. But...numbers are like snowballs in either direction...If most people in Ethiopia had ten children, their dire poverty crisis would be far worse...not better. Better to increase gradually...give each family the choice to limit their family size...give them education, healthcare, access to birth control if they want it, good economic institutions, PEACE! All good... Encourage their spiritual, Christian growth. All very good.

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  125. Starfire,
    Are you crazy? Do you know anything about the porn stats? Show me one woman in the porn industry who had a great life. Porn is using another person...taking from them without giving to them in relationship. It is addictive, epidemic, marriage-crushing, kills young women, surrounded by drugs and disease. Two people using it in their marriage to "spice it up"...while half a world away the (probably) underage girl in the film is used up, drug-addicted, and thrown away. They are using her for her body...nothing else...not even her body...just the image of it! But...it is a slippery slope...there are great painters (Titian for example) who painted erotic nudes...should these be banned? Certainly, many young men have been aroused while looked at them. Hard to say...but the conversation should be had.

    Use this test: Would I care if my sons used contraception in a faithful marriage for the right reasons? No. Would I care if my son was a porn star? YES. Would I care if my son became a nude model for painters? Depends.


    Not one person who I know who watches porn would ever want their child in the industry. This is, in fact, the best way to get them to think hard about it. I managed to get through to my brother this way. Of course some men will say, in response to "It is somebody's daughter", "It is not my daughter!", to which I would have to say, "That is such a blatant failure of Agape that I don't know what else to say!" We are called by the Golden Rule to want for all children what we want for our own children.
    And FYI...I have a problem with child actors under the age of 13 or so. Most of them have no idea what they are really getting into, and most have tragic lives....living to please the audience. Some child actors are used the way porn actors are used. Hollywood is a seedy, terrible place.

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  126. An aside, and I apologize for hijacking the thread...I was invited by some neighbor women to view the movie "Bridesmaids", as a girls night out. I don't know anything about it, but do not go see movies like "Sex in the City" as I think they are morally harmful (and stupid). Does anyone think that Bridesmaids is too far in that category?

    I am not extreme...some movies that have some tough elements are good because there is an overarching theme or lesson to them. The Royal Tennenbaums struck me that way.

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  127. I'm pretty sure Starfire was employing irony to say the same thing you just did.

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  128. ...and 'Bridesmaids' is pretty raunchy. I believe it's been called the female version of 'The Hangover'.

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  129. Sorry LJP...I just lost a whole response to you...will get back to you but thanks for your thoughts.
    Bethany...you made me smile with the typos comment! Probably very true...I am a terrible typist! Argh!

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  130. Mary,

    Gladly, I will explain.
    Due respect, that website is silly. The author doesn't even mention where this data came from. Completely biased by an ultra green, global warming person.

    I pulled the two graphs below in 10 seconds from the web that contradict that silly graph.

    Both have cited data (the lower being the United Nations).

    The first graph shows an actual decrease in the population growth rate. The growth rate over the last 45 yrs is half. The growth rate of 2010 is half of what it was in 1970. Just look at the graph.

    The rate is slowing by half! We are not continuing to grow or populate at the same rate!

    The second one, and most important, shows actual UN projections of the population until 2100. You can see even their highest projection isn't showing an exponential curve. You can even see it tails off on the top, showing a decline in growth rate. It doesn't shoot to the moon.

    The bottom line is this: 2 projections contradict that data-less graph you showed me. There is no source cited. The author pasted a graph and showed no reference. But here are the UN's projections. I would think that has more credence, agree?


    http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_grow&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=world+population+growth

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World-Population-1800-2100.png

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  131. Mary, you missed StarFire's point.

    Obviously they are wrong, but there are plenty of folks who argue that porn is good if used in the right way. And there are plenty of folks who argue that contraception is good if used in the right way.

    The people who like porn will defend it. The people who like contraception will defend it. The people who like abortion will defend it. The people who like homosexual activity will defend it. The people who like fornication will defend it. And so on. Many will misuse the Bible and Christian tradition to defend their favorite sins.

    The Church says (and has always said and will always say) that that any misuse of human sexuality is an offense against our human dignity. And those truths will continue to be taught till the culmination of the world, whether I like it or not, whether you like it or not, and whether anyone else likes it or not. Truth does not change, even if opinions do.

    Again, if you could answer the following:

    If unchanging truth through 20 centuries is not enough to say to you "this is surely Christian teaching", then what is? Also, how do you know if your pastor is teaching the right thing? And, does your branch of Lutheranism condemn abortion?

    Thanks!

    PS: Trying to slow down, ha ha! And occasionally trying to proofread my comments before hitting publish. :)

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  132. When I can't understand how people cannot see evil as evil, my husband reminds me of one thing. (And he could probably explain this better than I! So I hope I can at least communicate my point!) When you sin, your conscience gradually dulls. And if you have mortal sin on your soul, you are separated from God's graces. So, with even 1 mortal sin, or many, many venial sins, you can no longer see sin or evil as it is. You're blinded. You can no longer perceive evil and sin. Thus, you can begin to see evil as good. Thus, our society (and people) more and more call evil good.
    Not trying to offend anyone. That's just how it works.

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  133. Michelle, well put! Sin weakens the will, dulls the intellect and deadens the conscience. I've been there, and I know that is true.

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  134. Nubby,
    I am sorry you have to resort to thinking that everyone who is an environmentalist or cares for the environment is "silly". How odd it must be to walk in your shoes! That guy's graphs is actually a well-known graph to anyone in Biology. Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_growth. It is in every text I have ever used.
    Also, the first graph you posted does not "contradict" his graph at all. They are showing different aspects of the same thing. The Rate of INCREASE is slowing, very true, but the increase is still there. And, yes those UN projections are very well-known as well. But, of course they are models, so we have to take them as such. They are not facts yet. But the HUGE elephant in the room is that you seem to refute any concern or thought to population pressures by celebrating the two graphs you linked to...BUT these are BECAUSE of women getting educated and using methods to limit their fertility...probably mostly through artificial contraception, some NFP and sadly some abortion. Take away two of those options and tell women they can only limit for GRAVE reasons, and your graphs would look very different.

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  135. Mary,

    1) I'm an environmentalist, too, to the degree that I am a steward of God's earth. No surprises there, as we Catholics are called to be responsible to God's creation. It's the propaganda/agenda behind 'green' types that is so annoyingly apparent. 'Mother Earth' and all that jazz... I have one true Mother, and her name ain't earth, though she's queen of it and of heaven. Next...

    2) The graph is silly because the past 9000 years that it depicts have no relevance other than creating the illusion of the extreme.

    If we splice the graph and consider just the the recent years' curve and its trajectory, it looks different. As the growth rate decreases, the curve starts to trend the other direction. The increase in population is not simply additional births, but also the simple fact that people are living longer. You and I agree this is due to the advance in medicine, hospitals, sanitation, etc. (technology) in just the last 100 years, say. The world life expectancy has more than doubled in the past century, so, clearly the population will increase. I don't think you and I are far apart in agreeing here.

    3) And here we get back to social and moral questions.

    My Catholic opinion: Under no circumstances should reproductive freedom be taken from us by any government. Nor should it be taken from God by us.

    A government cannot morally or even systematically manage how many births are necessary. Who would make that decision and how would it be enforced?
    Would it be determined region? By race? By creed? And, how? By use of coercion? Financial penalty? Criminal punishment?

    What should the maximum world population be? 8 billion? 9 billion? 12 billion?

    And who is qualified to determine this number?

    Is that a world that you want to live in? Not me.

    The point is we should be celebrating the increase of God's people not trying to limit it.

    You're a Christian, right, Mary? Do you believe it when God declared, "be fruitful and multiply" not "be fruitful and multiply until you reach 6 billion people then start controlling the population for me"?

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  136. * sidenote for my own sake - there was no swipe intended toward my earthly mom - love that lady too! *

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  137. LJP,
    Thanks for your well-written thoughts as well. You are correct; my struggles with my faith and with my husband's lack of it are a great trial...but I am heartened by the fact that the definition of the word "Israel" is "He who struggles with God." Boy do I struggle....both personally throughout my life, and in my family. I have made grave mistakes, repeatedly. I am not an easygoing person. I remember being twelve and wishing I was not so intense...praying to be like some of my blissful and mellow-hearted friends...alas..I am not them. I do wonder why, with such a devout mother, I was destined to fall madly in love with a very good man raised as an atheist. A man with unbelievably charitable and loving, bright, committed parents, who are a shining example to him (and often to me) how faith is not needed for a good life. Would you believe I had the first stirrings of love when I was in fifth grade! If you met him, you would understand. Even my mother says, " You know, he is the most Jesus-like person I know in many ways." Perhaps I am supposed to be with him, dragging him along...but why not give him someone with a stronger faith like my friend Anne? Mystery.

    These words ring true, "Can a human person undertake anything as sacred as participation in the very act of Creation?" It is amazing, and wonderful, and yes, ONE of the highest examples of radical love...other than dying to protect or give your life for another...I always think of the captain of the Titanic, or the man we horrifyingly witnessed drown in the surf while saving his child (Costa Rica), or this German Soldier http://imgur.com/JSlDW who refused to shoot innocents in a firing line, and who was then immediately killed. The actions of those persons are the embodiment of Christ. Irena Sendler too. They are at the pinnacle.

    To me, keeping it "in" the marriage and not outside of it, and not killing any being during or after the act do respect the sacredness of it. Sorry...but again...THOU SHALT NOT KILL is loud and clear. To think abortion is right you either have to think it is not "killing" or that you are not "killing a person". The first argument is absurd. The second less so, because you have to establish the definition of personhood, but since there is no way to decide exactly when personhood begins, other than conception (and our medical advances are making this more and more obvious, as we keep pushing back the limits of viability) we must err on the side of considering even a one week old blastocyst as a person.

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  138. Since we are on the subject of contraception, here is a great analogy I just saw in the comment section of Bad Catholic's new post, about the difference between NFP and contraception:

    There is a man walking past a Church, he has three options.

    1. He can enter the Church and do what is proper to a Church and Praise God.
    2. He can enter the Church and desecrate it.
    3. He can choose to continue walking and abstain (note the word choice) from entering.

    The first option is positively good, the second is positively bad, and the third is neutral (neither positively good or bad).

    So, to apply this to sex.
    1. During the fertile phase the man may enter the women and do what is proper to that act (positively good).
    2. During the fertile phase the man may enter the women and do what is not proper to that act (positively bad).
    3. He may choose to simply not enter the woman (neutral).

    *Credit due to Christopher West for this analogy.

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  139. And please, do not miss Bad Catholic's new post, which is about contraception … and a VERY good treatment of Natural Law (much better than I've done on this blog to date!)

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/02/why-contraception-is-a-bad-idea-1-natural-law.html

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  140. "The people who like porn will defend it. The people who like contraception will defend it. The people who like abortion will defend it. The people who like homosexual activity will defend it. The people who like fornication will defend it. And so on. Many will misuse the Bible and Christian tradition to defend their favorite sins."

    Leila

    It is also true that people who like Catholicism will defend it and people who like the Bible will defend it. Anyone who believes anything will defend it. And people misuse the bible and Christian tradition to defend their favorite prejudices (of homosexuals, of blacks, of non-Christians, of women who don't want to be mothers, etc.).

    Re: Bad Catholic. He (is it a he?) has a lot of wit, which I like. But it sounds like he is saying that the natural end of sex always has to be pregnancy. But sex does not always result in pregnancy, even without contraception.

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  141. Sarah, Bad Catholic is not making an argument for action/consequence; he is making an argument for design/purpose. The natural end of sex must not always be pregnancy, but the act itself must always be ordered towards its designed purpose - procreation.

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  142. It is also true that people who like Catholicism will defend it and people who like the Bible will defend it. Anyone who believes anything will defend it. And people misuse the bible and Christian tradition to defend their favorite prejudices (of homosexuals, of blacks, of non-Christians, of women who don't want to be mothers, etc.).

    Absolutely. And we are put on this earth to seek and find truth. But we don't determine truth, we just find and receive it. Truth does not come from us. You are right that sinful man (all of us) will have our prejudices and will sin. That is so, so true. But the Church has never wavered in the moral truths she teaches. She is a rock. If everyone lived by the moral law (all of it), there would be no evil, no suffering, no lack of love. That is the standard presented by the Church. All of it is about Love, who is a Person: Christ. We try to follow him to the best of our abilities and become holy. Holiness is a hard road. But just because we sin and fall does not mean we lower the moral bar. My arguments will always be that Christ is God, He rose from the dead bodily, and He forgave our sins. We are made in the image of God, and we are made for higher things. That is what Catholics propose. We don't impose it, we propose it.

    LJP, thank you for saying that so well!

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  143. To think abortion is right you either have to think it is not "killing" or that you are not "killing a person". The first argument is absurd. The second less so, because you have to establish the definition of personhood, but since there is no way to decide exactly when personhood begins, other than conception (and our medical advances are making this more and more obvious, as we keep pushing back the limits of viability) we must err on the side of considering even a one week old blastocyst as a person.

    I'd like to address this point (as a tangent I realize) But someone on a FB page was arguing that since we can't determine when the baby is a "person" then we can't "force" a woman to not have an abortion.

    He put up the the following argument (among others)
    "Person: Noun: A human being regarded as an individual.
    That depends on who you ask and what a person is. Is a person an individual?
    Individual: Noun: A single human being as distinct from a group, class, or family.
    At what point is it possible for a fetus to become an individual, distinct, able to survive on it's own? Is an embryo or fetus an individual?"

    To which my response took it one step farther:

    Human Being: any LIVING or extinct member of the family Hominidae characterized by superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage.

    Living: having life

    Life: the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, *being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.*

    I think that pretty much clarifies, life@conception = person. I'm just following the definitions. Or is it really more complicated than that?

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  144. Leila said, "If unchanging truth through 20 centuries is not enough to say to you "this is surely Christian teaching", then what is? Also, how do you know if your pastor is teaching the right thing? And, does your branch of Lutheranism condemn abortion?"

    Well, your premise is that longevity = truth. I would say that it is an important consideration in how real or true something might be, but not sufficient. If that were the case, the Zhou Dynasty in China would be about half as "truth filled" as Catholicism.

    Also, Church teachings on indulgences have changed (thanks Luther). You used to be able to give alms and get an indulgence for it (so you were not openly just "paying" for it, but you really were).

    Also, Popes used to be married. That is a big change!

    You are correct that the ELCA is not "pro-life" in all circumstances. They are in almost all circumstances, but deviate for the life of the mother, extreme fetal abnormality and rape and incest. I of course differ with them strongly, and wish to change this belief. I would like to institute a "Lutherans for Life" chapter. But in practice, it is very clear from looking at our congregation that many women had children in college or before...probably unplanned. I believe that the Missouri Synod branch condemns abortion in all cases.
    You are right to be critical of Lutheranism for that reason.

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  145. Bethany,
    Your definitions are good, but one of the most compelling reasons is that the fertilized egg then contains a totally unique (unless there are identical twins) genetic being, that never before existed. Really pretty amazing. Also, let's say they decide that the onset of heartbeat is the defining moment when the fetus becomes a person. It would be insane...they would put the echo on your and determine if the pregnancy can be terminated or not....then what if two seconds later it started beating? Crazy. A blastocycst frozen in a tube? I have a much harder time with that one, but I concede that it is better to err on the side of life there than not.

    Also, per his "able to survive on its own" bent: a baby born full time is still totally dependent on someone else for many years! Now viability has been pushed back to 25 weeks or so...he would have to amend his definition to say that personhood begins at 25 weeks...but for some babies viability is at 23 weeks! And at altitude it is 26 or 27 weeks. So does that mean your fetus is a person in Boston when it is not a person in Denver? Again...Crazy.

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  146. Nubby,
    "The graph is silly because the past 9000 years that it depicts have no relevance other than creating the illusion of the extreme."

    I am sitting here scratching my head. That was the point. For most of human history the population was essentially stable. Then...advent of fossil fuels and modern medicine and, Wow! Exponential growth. Yes, the rates are starting to slow...but we have a snowball behind it...so the momentum of that is huge...again, we should be concerned about population in both directions....very low birth rates and very high birth rates.

    You did not answer my question. Do you understand that those UN projections for population figures are dependent on people using contraception? Do you think in a contraceptiveless, Onanismless, abortionless (this would be good) world, those rates would be slowing?

    To answer your question. I really don't want to live in a world where the government tries to control fertility, even with incentives. And...I don't want my children to live in that world. That is one reason I think it is important that TFR's are not too high...and they magically are not, if you give women education and access to contraception (or good NFP training...I have no problem with people using this if it works for them).

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  147. Well, your premise is that longevity = truth. I would say that it is an important consideration in how real or true something might be, but not sufficient.

    Then what would be sufficient? Please, I must know.

    No, truth does not equal longevity. Truth is revealed. One way we know it's for real (or an authentic teaching of a religion) is that it is unchanging.

    Here's where I get frustrated. You said:

    Also, Popes used to be married. That is a big change!

    But Mary! I have said countless times, again and again, that the issue of married priests is a discipline (changing) not a doctrine (unchanging). It has always changed, there have always been married priests, and it's not anything we have ever thought of or claimed to be an unchanging moral law! It's a discipline and there is nothing inherently wrong about married priests! It's not a moral law. It's not part of the Deposit of Faith. I wrote about that, here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/catholics-you-must-understand-this.html

    It's so important that this distinction is known and understood.

    And, in the same vein, NO… indulgences have not changed! Indulgences have always been part of Church teaching. The way they are administered have changed, and in the past the misuse and corruption of the practice has been sinful and scandalous! But the misuse of something does not negate its legitimate use. Here is an explanation of indulgences:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/12/indulgences-no-need-to-freak-out.html

    I am glad you are horrified by your church's stance on abortion. I don't think they want any abortion outlawed, is that correct? I wonder what you think of any Christian church that can go so wrong on such a vital issue of human life? What else do they have wrong if they can be okay with one of the gravest evils of our time?

    Who has the final say on what is Christian teaching and what is not? And if we can't know, then why go to any Church at all? It could all be a big lie! And certainly, if a church is teaching that abortion is okay for Christians, and does not transgress the moral law, then "the gates of hell have prevailed" against that church, something which Jesus promised would never happen to the Church he founded. If a church teaches error (and can lead us astray) then how can it be the Church Christ gave to us, promising to "lead us into all truth"?

    Sorry, I hope you get my points. I am frustrated and I apologize.



    What Christian teaching is not up for grabs in your opinion and by your model? Because if the unbroken, consistent teaching of Christian morality could have been dead wrong for millennia, then what do we know for sure is authentic? Please, stay with me on this.

    Even if one were to think that Christianity were actually a false religion, we still could identify what the authentic tenets of that religion are, right? How would we do that, if not the fact that it's been taught "always and everywhere" by the Church? I hope you get what I'm saying. I am afraid I am not being clear.

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  148. Nubby,
    There are large animals and some small ones that just cannot live in a fragmented habitat. Would you agree that "...we should be celebrating the increase of God's people not trying to limit it.", even though that means the extinction of these beautiful creatures? Preserving rainforest hurts people, as it drives up the cost of land available to desperately poor farmers in Brazil. Should we try to have as many people as possible? I know some Brazilians, and some of them say, "torch the rainforest". How about one of my distant uncles the developer who fought with a nearby town to put up tons of cheap housing? He continually swore about the crazy people who wanted to preserve that large forested area. Turns out that large forested area was pretty important for a threatened species in my State. Who is more important? My uncle who wants money, the people who want that cheap housing or the animal?

    Can we do a better job of managing our growth while still growing? Absolutely! But, the point is, perpetual expansion of the human race has implications for our ecosystems and for our quality of life. Logically, there must be a point at which ecosystems are at their human carrying capacity (many scientists think we are well past that from an energy perspective, I don't think so, but many of them are far more versed in this than I am).

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  149. Mary, if you're interested, I wrote a blog post last year dismantling the ELCA's Social Statement on Abortion, since it was that issue that was a big catalyst in my conversion to Catholicism.

    It's interesting... I was having a conversation on Facebook the other day with a non-Catholic college friend who vehemently disagreed with the Church's stance on birth control.

    I asked her, "Every single Christian denomination taught as doctrine that birth control was sinful until 1930, when the Anglicans caved. So, was God wrong (and He allowed every single Christian church to teach error as doctrine for over 1,900 years) or did He change His mind?"

    Her response (paraphrased): "I'm not going to let you paint me into a corner. There's nothing wrong with birth control."

    *sigh*

    Do you want to take a stab at it, Mary? I've never been able to get a straight answer from any Protestant. Was God wrong about contraception, or did He change His mind?

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  150. Mary said: Well, your premise is that longevity = truth. I would say that it is an important consideration in how real or true something might be, but not sufficient.

    Leila replied: Then what would be sufficient? Please, I must know.

    And please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to prove "objective truth", I'm just trying to ask how else we know what is authentic Christian teaching, other than what has always been taught?

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  151. I asked her, "Every single Christian denomination taught as doctrine that birth control was sinful until 1930, when the Anglicans caved. So, was God wrong (and He allowed every single Christian church to teach error as doctrine for over 1,900 years) or did He change His mind?"

    Her response (paraphrased): "I'm not going to let you paint me into a corner. There's nothing wrong with birth control."


    Oh.my.goodness.
    Sigh.

    Mary, my thoughts have been jumbled and I am shocked at how badly edited my last lengthy comment was (did not know that those last two paragraphs were just stuck in there like that!). But I do hope you will answer JoAnna's very clear question.

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  152. Mary,

    What percentage of that decrease is directly attributed to contraception?

    Plenty of other natural causes contribute.

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  153. If the world's population is not increasing exponentially it is no thanks to Catholics. If everyone had that many kids the world would, indeed, be "teeming" with people.

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  154. Mary,
    The bit about your uncle, the people and the animal... now you get into the principles of Catholic social teaching which I encourage you to read up on.

    In short, animals are not created in the image and likeness of God. They're less important than humans. So let's stop killing unborn humans and then worry about the extinction of some obscure butterfly species or what have you.

    As far as the dispute you mention between the people: to any situation in which property rights, respect for the workers, subsidiarity, and working for the common good are necessary, employed and applied, it should all be fitting that human beings pursue righteousness and peace.

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  155. If everyone had that many kids the world would, indeed, be "teeming" with people

    Sorry? What # might that be?

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  156. @ Joanna
    "So, was God wrong (and He allowed every single Christian church to teach error as doctrine for over 1,900 years) or did He change His mind?"

    "God" never "allowed" anything--individuals within the Christian church made those decisions. And "God" didn't change "his" (sic) mind---people changed their minds--as they have about many things: slavery, ownership of women, etc.

    There are all sorts of things in the bible that most Christian people find abhorent (Lot--the only man God deemed "just" in Sodom, offered up his two virgin daughters to be gang-raped. Then after his family escaped he had sex with both of those daughters.---YUCK)

    The Bible is a collection of letters and stories written by individual people. They are not evidence of what "God" thinks.

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  157. If the world's population is not increasing exponentially it is no thanks to Catholics. If everyone had that many kids the world would, indeed, be "teeming" with people.

    "Mayday, Mayday, we've been hit! Prepare this thread for a crash-landing"

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  158. The Bible is a collection of letters and stories written by individual people. They are not evidence of what "God" thinks.

    No. God has revealed himself through His Word which is His Son.

    The bible can for sure be considered "what God thinks", it is the will of God revealed to man by the love of God the Father and the obedience of the Son, by the power and working of the Holy Spirit.

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  159. But Sarah, if everyone in the world followed Catholic teaching (and oh, what a joyful day that will be), then there would be no children born to teenagers, single mothers, surrogates, or via IVF or IUI procedures. I think that decline would more than offset the people who would have more than 1-2 children due to following Catholic teachings.

    "God" never "allowed" anything--individuals within the Christian church made those decisions.

    So, you believe that God opposes birth control, but the individuals within the Church used their free will to teach error (and thus only the Catholic Church is correct on the matter)?

    And "God" didn't change "his" (sic) mind

    God is a "He," thus the proper pronoun is "His." Why the "(sic)"?

    ---people changed their minds--as they have about many things: slavery, ownership of women, etc.

    Chattel slavery as an allowable practice was never taught as doctrine by the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Did individual Catholics own slaves? Yes. Did some individual Catholic churches (against the instructions of Rome) condone slavery? Probably. That does not change the fact that chattel slavery as an allowable practice was never taught as doctrine by teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

    The Church also never taught that women could be owned. In fact, the early Church was considered radical for teaching that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

    There are all sorts of things in the bible that most Christian people find abhorent (Lot--the only man God deemed "just" in Sodom, offered up his two virgin daughters to be gang-raped.

    Please show me in the Bible where this action was lauded or condoned as good. Also show me where this action was lauded or condoned as good by the Catholic Church. Finally, please show me where the Catholic Church taught as doctrine that men should routinely offer up their virgin daughters to be gang-raped. Lot was not considered "just" BECAUSE of that action, but rather for the intent behind it (to save the heavenly visitors in his home from being defiled).

    Then after his family escaped he had sex with both of those daughters.---YUCK)

    Same questions as above.

    The Bible is a collection of letters and stories written by individual people. They are not evidence of what "God" thinks.

    Not true at all.

    The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."

    Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book." Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, a word which is "not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living".73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures." (CCC 107 & 108)

    But I never mentioned anything about the Bible, so I wonder why you would bring it up. Jesus did not write a book, He established a Church, and it is the Church that creates doctrine binding on the Christian faithful.

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  160. Sarah, the veracity of Christianity hinges on one thing and one thing alone: The Incarnation, Death and literal, bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Maybe you can be the first one to take a look at this challenge and give me a reasonable alternate scenario, based on what we know of human nature:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/05/did-jesus-really-die-and-rise.html

    Also, JoAnna's question was directed at Mary, who identifies as a Christian. So, there are some givens and assumptions there that would only pertain to Mary or another Christian. It's not a question that would be directed at a Buddhist.

    (Not that I mind you responding to it, but your Buddhism does make a difference in how you perceive the question, which was intended for a practicing Christian.)

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  161. Also, per his "able to survive on its own" bent: a baby born full time is still totally dependent on someone else for many years! Now viability has been pushed back to 25 weeks or so...he would have to amend his definition to say that personhood begins at 25 weeks...but for some babies viability is at 23 weeks! And at altitude it is 26 or 27 weeks. So does that mean your fetus is a person in Boston when it is not a person in Denver? Again...Crazy.


    Are you kidding me, I'm not sure my 68 year old Aunt could be completely independent, but that's a WHOLE OTHER discussion into how crazy (and I do mean crazy) my family is.

    Needless to say, the guy never wrote back again. I guess he didn't like my point. :)

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  162. Leila

    I read your blog about jesus and it was interesting. I believe that Jesus existed and that he was crucified. I believe there are historical references to Jesus outside of the bible. And crucifixion on the cross, if I'm not mistaken, was an extremely common practice back then so it's logical that was done to Jesus and he actually died. And I do believe that Jesus's followers believed that he had risen. But it's possible that someone stole his body before the three days were up. There could have been all kinds of motivations for it. I know it was supposed to be sealed and had guards around it but the New Testament was written a few decades after Jesus died. All kinds of mythology could have taken hold by then. I don't take the bible to be a reliable source of history, even though certainly parts of it are true. (because it is confirmed by other sources)

    @ Joanna: No I don't think God opposed birth control. I don't think "God" has opinions about such things. And how on earth do you know God is man???? That is absurd.

    My comment about people changing their minds wasn't in reference to what the bible says--it was in response to Leila's comment that gay marriage is a new idea. New ideas are not necessarily wrong.

    Most Christians believe the bible is the word of God. And the bible tells the story of Lot being a just man. So that is all I am saying. You can't pick and choose (as I've heard many Catholics say) what you believe from your holy book if you claim it is the word of God--a source of moral teaching.

    All the things you believe come from the bible. The story of the resurrection, which Leila says the veracity of Christianity hinges on, comes from the BIBLE. And if Christianity is a religion based on the "word of God" then how on earth do you know that that word is, if it's not in the bible? What other source are you talking about?

    I will never forget when a nice Jehovah's Witness came to my door with his grandson. I invited them in because I like to hear from religious people why they believe the things they do (which is why I am on this blog). The man proceeded to tell me that everything the bible says is true. I asked him how he knows that everything it says is true and HE said "because the bible says so."

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  163. And how on earth do you know God is man???? That is absurd.

    Can you provide any proof that He is not a man?

    Most Christians believe the bible is the word of God. And the bible tells the story of Lot being a just man. So that is all I am saying. You can't pick and choose (as I've heard many Catholics say) what you believe from your holy book if you claim it is the word of God--a source of moral teaching.

    You're right, you can't pick and choose. But you must also interpret the Bible with the proper exegesis. I disagree with your interpretations of the Bible.

    All the things you believe come from the bible.

    False. All the things that I believe come from Jesus, who established the Church that formalized the canon of Scripture and compiled the Bible.

    And if Christianity is a religion based on the "word of God" then how on earth do you know that that word is, if it's not in the bible? What other source are you talking about?

    Jesus is the Word made flesh. He established the Church, and it was the Church that formalized the canon of Scripture and compiled the Bible.

    You're right, it is circular reasoning to say that the Bible is true because the Bible says it is. I don't subscribe to that reasoning. I believe the Bible is true because the Church says it is. I believe that the Church is true because Jesus said it was. I believe Jesus said it was based on research, evidence, logic, and reason. See Mere Christianity, among other excellent resources, for more information.

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  164. "All the things that I believe come from Jesus, who established the Church that formalized the canon of Scripture and compiled the Bible. " But the only reference you have for what came from Jesus is THE BIBLE. The tenets of the church Jesus created came from the bible.

    But your reasoning IS circular. You believe the bible is true because the church says it is. But the church relies on the bible to develop its doctrine.

    I have never heard a Christian successfully argue themselves out of the circular conundrum.

    I don't mean to be disrespectful. You have a right to believe whatever you wish. But because I have so many Christian friends and because the world is SO affected by Christians believing they know what is "true" because they're positive the bible is the word of God--I keep trying to wrap my mind around it so it makes sense and it never does for me. I grew up as a Methodist--attended every Sunday, so I know the bible fairly well, and know Christianity fairly well.

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    1. P.S. How can I provide evidence that God is not a man? That's like asking you to provide evidence that green men don't live on Mars or whatever. Claiming anything is true merely because someone cannot offer proof it is not is just the kind of "reasoning" I am used to hearing from Christians. Very frustrating.

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  165. "But your reasoning IS circular. You believe the bible is true because the church says it is. But the church relies on the bible to develop its doctrine."

    How, then, did the Church develop doctrine in the 300+ years before the Bible was compiled? Do you believe that the Church developed doctrine based on the Bible before the Bible existed (or, as I call it, "the Catholic Church has a time machine" theory)?

    I have never heard a Christian successfully argue themselves out of the circular conundrum.

    You've never read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, then.

    I grew up as a Methodist--attended every Sunday, so I know the bible fairly well, and know Christianity fairly well.

    Just becomes someone was raised a Christian and went to church every Sunday does not mean they know Christianity or Scripture well at all. It really depends on the quality of catechesis and (no disrespect intended), it sounds to me like yours was poor. Plenty of people were raised Catholic and went to Mass every Sunday, yet know jack and squat about Catholicism. It's appalling.

    How can I provide evidence that God is not a man?

    If you can't provide evidence, then don't make the claim. Say, "I don't believe God is a man," if you wish, but don't definitively state, "God is not a man" if you can't prove that to be true.

    I believe God is a man because all historical and archeological evidence of Judaism and Christianity reference Him as a man, and all metaphorical imagery in Scripture and in other Judeo-Christian documents do as well. (God is called Father, etc.)

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  166. And I do believe that Jesus's followers believed that he had risen.

    Could I press you to be more specific? Jesus' followers knew he died. They knew what death was, just like we all do. Death is real and permanent and was in their day, too. They saw that he was dead, they were scared and they hid. Everyone in town knew he was dead. So, if you could go from there… What made these people suddenly believe that a dead man had risen bodily?

    If you could give me a narrative, step by step, of what happened that would make all of them have that story and be willing to die torturous deaths for that. Thanks!

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  167. How, then, did the Church develop doctrine in the 300+ years before the Bible was compiled? Do you believe that the Church developed doctrine based on the Bible before the Bible existed (or, as I call it, "the Catholic Church has a time machine" theory)?

    Exactly. The Church was thriving and living and teaching her doctrinal truths long before even a word of the New Testament was written, and centuries before it was compiled into the canon. Christ founded the Church, and the Church wrote and canonized the New Testament. Not circular at all. Quite linear. If every last Bible were (tragically) to disappear off the face of the earth (or if the New Testament had never been written), the Church would still exist and thrive.

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  168. I think your perspective/background is Protestant Christianity, Sarah, which is why you may have the view that Christian thought is circular. We Catholics don't believe that the Church is a product of the Bible. We don't believe that the Bible is a Christian's only authority. I think it's true that Protestant belief is a bit circular in that sense.

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  169. The New Testament should not be discounted as history simply because it has accounts of miracles in it. It was written as history, and it should be trusted as much as any other ancient history or eyewitness account. The fact that we Christians think it is also inspired by God does not negate the historicity of it.

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  170. But the only reference you have for what came from Jesus is THE BIBLE. The tenets of the church Jesus created came from the bible

    Then how do you know that he existed? I believe there are historical references to Jesus outside of the bible. And crucifixion on the cross, if I'm not mistaken, was an extremely common practice back then so it's logical that was done to Jesus and he actually died.
    Those outside references were often written by people who knew Jesus, or knew of him. Or had contact with the disciples. They're a many other documents discussing Jesus that are not included in the Bible. I'd start with the writing of the Early Church Fathers. for starters.

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  171. Leila--I've read several places that the new testament was written about 40 years after jesus died

    As I said , Jesus's body could have been taken from the tomb which would explain why the disciples thought he was dead

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  172. @joanna-- I didn't make a claim that god is not a man--I said it was absurd to claim that he WAS a man. A man is a human being. God is not a person.

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  173. Sarah, that was when the New Testament started to be written. Some of the letters and gospels were written within the first few decades. That is what I said: The Church was thriving and preaching and teaching her doctrine for a lifetime (forty years at least!) before a single word was written down. The Church didn't need the New Testament to exist.

    As for Jesus, I think you meant to say that's why the disciples thought he was "alive". But that doesn't answer the question. They saw him dead. The Romans don't fail to finish the job. Everyone knew, publicly, that Jesus was dead. No question. So, what would make sane human beings suddenly think he was alive just because the tomb was empty? Any sane person would immediately think: "Oh my gosh, who stole Jesus' dead body??"

    So, give me something else. A scenario that can square with what we know of reason and of human nature.

    I mean, do you know any twelve people who would look at an empty tomb and all conclude that the dead person must have come to life again! And then, with no proof of that, began saying it to others, knowing they would be tortured and murdered for saying so?

    Clearly, that would never happen. So, what plausibly could have happened? Step by step.

    Thanks!

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    1. Didn't Jesus tell them ahead of time that he would rise from the dead?

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  174. Leila--I've read several places that the new testament was written about 40 years after jesus died.

    sarah,
    So then see Suetonius, Tacitus, Josephus, Pliny the Younger and plenty others. You do realize that oral transmission was the communication of the day and it is no red flag when discussing the dates that the gospels were written.


    A man is a human being. God is not a person

    God is a person. He came in the flesh, he assumed human flesh from his mother and became Man. He limited Himself by that flesh, that He might do the greatest act of love ever. He is a person you can get to know as intimately as possible. That's what He wants for you, that's what He came for, that's what He invites you to, that's why He died on the cross and rose again; that you might accept His invitation to be with Him for all eternity.

    The Christian God is a loving, knowable God, a very personal God who isn't some nebulous force in the energy of the universe. He specifically loves you, and specifically calls you by name. He is there in prayer, He is there in the sacraments. He is there should you but whisper that eternal name, "Jesus".

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  175. He told them if they tear down this temple (body), he would raise (rebuild) it in three days.

    Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." - John 2:19

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  176. Yes, and when he died, they were as distraught as can be, and terrified of the Romans. They had lost all hope. How would merely an empty tomb make them think that a dead man actually did rise bodily from the grave? It defies reason and human nature. The only way they would have had the courage to go and die horrible deaths is if they knew the truth of the resurrection. No way would all of the men go forward into death because of an empty grave. Do you know anyone who would?

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  177. Remember, Christianity is not a mere philosophy. St. Paul said that if Jesus did not truly die and truly rise, then our faith is in vain and we are the most pitiable of men.

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  178. “As for college student, she is very much in favor of abortion rights. Feels that is how women can fulfill their dreams, because it makes us "equal" to men in the workforce.”

    This was a while back but I want to address it.

    No, I don’t support abortion rights because it’s the only way to make us equal in the workplace. I support abortion rights because I feel that women don’t loose basic rights to their own body by virtue of being women.

    Everyone acknowledges ad nauseum that men and women are different, yet none of you can acknowledge the real problems women face and special challenges and concerns in reference to education, career advancement? No one?

    ~College Student

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  179. This is also from a while back but I wanted to address it.

    “Then I'm not really accepting or loving ALL of him, because part of him IS his semen and sperm.”

    You sound exactly like my boyfriend. Haha. But in all seriousness, I hope you tell men who don’t like to get ‘up close and personal’ with their wives bodily fluids, or sleep with them during menstruation, they are not accepting and loving ALL of their wives as well.

    4 years of college has made me overly sensitive to this. Our society is obsessed with male orgasms. We would never say to a woman if a man doesn’t accept everything your body excretes he is rejecting you!!

    ~ College Student

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  180. Um, college student, menstruation is not an integral part of having sex. Sperm being released into the vagina is. You see, biologically, sex is the 'baby making act', and sperm is part of that process. So, it's not just "something being excreted"…. it's actually what creates new human life, and that is the actual purpose of the sex act. Believe it or not, it's true! ;)

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  181. Everyone acknowledges ad nauseum that men and women are different, yet none of you can acknowledge the real problems women face and special challenges and concerns in reference to education, career advancement? No one?

    Personally, I feel that being a woman is a total and utter privilege. Not once have I ever desired to be a man, or resented the fact that I can bring forth human life. So, I don't always relate to the things you say. However, "acknowledging problems of being a woman" is one thing, but saying that we must be able to kill our children to fulfill our career dreams is quite another. The hardships that come with being a woman and having a career still can never justify the killing of a child.

    As in: We don't kill our own children in order to be able to more smoothly navigate our career path.

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  182. This is a little bit of a tangent, but it sort of touches on the things Mary and I were discussing about the authority of the Church and modernist heresy:

    http://www.acceptingabundance.com/what-did-pope-piux-x-lament/

    As JoAnna noted in the comments, "Everything old is new again."

    Just as there are no new sins, there are no new heresies.

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  183. I hope you tell men who don’t like to get ‘up close and personal’ with their wives bodily fluids,

    Funny. Couples who practice NFP tend not to have this problem.

    Everyone acknowledges ad nauseum that men and women are different, yet none of you can acknowledge the real problems women face and special challenges and concerns in reference to education, career advancement? No one?

    We acknowledge that there are challenges, but I wouldn't say problems. It only is seen as a problem if, despite acknowledging that men and women ARE indeed different, one believes that their differences should not mean that they cannot accomplish the same goals in the same way.

    In other words. I am a woman, I am not a man. Therefore I am not going to be able to accomplish the goal of becoming a CEO in the same way a man would accomplish that goal. And there's nothing wrong with that.

    Now the assumption is that it is SOOOOO much harder for a woman to accomplish those same goals than it is for a man. And it shouldn't be harder. But, first of all, the difficulty is only a perception, you can't quantify someone's difficulty in achieving a goal. Secondly, to try and "equalize" the difficulty, the answer most modern feminists have taken is Let's get rid of, ignore, deny, anything that makes us women, then we'll be more like men and can achieve goals like men do. Which, in my opinion, is hardly a pro-woman sentiment.

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  184. or to retract the double negative and make it clearer.
    one believes that their differences should not mean that they cannot accomplish the same goals in the same way. would become

    one believes that inspite of their differences they should be able to accomplish the same goals in the exact same way.

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  185. In other words. I am a woman, I am not a man. Therefore I am not going to be able to accomplish the goal of becoming a CEO in the same way a man would accomplish that goal. And there's nothing wrong with that.

    Bethany, exactly! And the idea that we must be like men to achieve what we want (and kill our own children in the process) is the height of anti-woman sentiment. So ironic that the radical pro-aborts and other modern feminists say that we are "anti-woman" when they are the ones who seem to despise everything that makes women different from men, right down to their own female bodies. So, so sad.

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  186. “So, it's not just "something being excreted"…. it's actually what creates new human life, and that is the actual purpose of the sex act”

    Yes Leila of course it is. If you said the purpose of breasts were to attract men and nurse babies. You would be right. If you said the purpose of vaginas was to give men orgasms and bear children you would be right. If you said intercourse is not designed to make women climax you would be right. And if you said our nether regions were designed to tear and heal quickly for intercourse and delivery you would be right

    I don’t fight with you because I misunderstand elementary facts. I argue because your interpretation of facts concerns me.

    When we teach women the biological truth that their bodies were engineered more for someone else’s pleasure than for their own, we do women an injustice.

    You would be surprised how many couples focus solely on the man because after all ‘that is the actual purpose on the sex act.’ Or how many men and women do not expect the sex to stop because the women are in pain because ‘women just get sore.’


    When our sorority had a gynecologist come in, she didn’t seem the tiniest bit concerned that students complained about painful sex or bloody tears. She responded by saying it was completely normally for some women, just the way our bodies are. So right but so wrong.

    ~College Student

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