Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Little Shares: Including the book excerpt that blew me away, and a special prayer request



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This just blew me away. It's from the book, Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching, by Anthony Esolen. He is speaking in a subsection called "No Family, No Society" when he says, "When a man and a woman give their bodies to one another, their very nakedness testifies that it is a total gift." He claims that it's of no use to deny this inherent meaning of the bodily relation:



BOOM! Can you imagine if we understood this still, and if we taught this to our children? We might just begin to heal our society.

For those of you interested in Catholic social teaching, this book is a must-have.


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It is always pure joy to spend time with this lovely woman! Jen Fulwiler was in town for a conference, and Dean and I met her and Joe for drinks tonight. We could have talked for hours; there's never enough time to pick her formidable brain. If any of you have not read her book, Something Other Than God, you simply must! Her journey from atheism to Catholicism is the stuff of legends now.



(Yes, I'm name-dropping. Wouldn't you??)


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A couple of Sundays ago, my pastor at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, the amazing and faithful Fr. Don Kline, wrote something in the bulletin about IVF that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Here is an excerpt (emphasis mine):

In-vitro fertilization makes the child a commodity produced in a laboratory and makes doctors, technicians and even business people part of the conception process (and therefore formal and material cooperators with evil). The sperm used is usually obtained by masturbation, which is an immoral and gravely sinful act. The sperm or eggs used might not come from the couple desiring the child (as one of the spouses may be infertile), so it may be necessary to use the sperm or eggs from an third party. Most of the embryos conceived—which the Church holds should be respected as new human lives—die; are frozen indefinitely for later implantation; are used (and destroyed) in research or are callously discarded as if they were waste. Today, there are 600,000 frozen embryos in the United States alone, many of them abandoned. This is a shocking moral dilemma. 
In speaking with a brother priest, we have both experienced that same response from couples. Whenever I have written about IVF, inevitably a couple comes to me with a picture of their in-vitro conceived children and make the assumption that since their conception was immoral, that I believe those children shouldn’t exist — this is not the case. All humans, no matter the manner of their conception, are beloved children of the Father. They are made in God’s image and likeness and the Church defends and respects all human life. What I am most concerned about are the moral implications that are being ignored, particularly that issue of human beings treated as a commodity or a right and not as a gift from God. In our history, we should realize that the demeaning of the human person is a serious violation of God’s command to love.

Children are not responsible for the ways they are conceived. There are wonderful, holy, talented, kind, good people who were conceived in rape, or in incest, or out-of-wedlock, or by artificial means and commodification of human gametes, etc. They are as worthy and have as much dignity as every other human being on the planet.

Unlike many today, the Church firmly believes that every person on earth should exist, and Catholics shout this often, from the rooftops! But the Church also rightly acknowledges that not every means of conception is moral and good. 

I hope that goes without saying, but I guess I am wrong to assume it.

By the way, happy 20th anniversary of your ordination, Fr. Kline!! I knew you when you were just a new priest (and I was a newly returning Catholic!). God bless you always.


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She totally nails it! From the wonderful Nicole DeMille, from her Facebook page:

I participated briefly in a discussion tonight and it helped me see a great burgeoning problem of our time. Feelings and unresearched opinions trump empirically observable reality. Science, natural law, history, sociology, statistics, demographics, the great religious and philosophical thinkers of the last 2000 years -- and even before that -- it's all meaningless compared to what someone feels/opines based on personal feelings, familial experiences, and friendships. We are in deep trouble if this passes for the meat of reasoned dialogue, and if this is how the "good" and "right" is being determined.

This is why we are headed for a big cultural downfall, and fast. But part of me just thinks, "Bring it on." I had a friend who used to say that the line in the sand is getting clearer, and at some point, we will have to pick a side. I thank God for that kind of clarity. Those who are weary and beaten down by the shifting sands of relativism, by "feelings" disconnected from any objective truth, and by the chaos of it all, will find sure footing, grace, and so much peace on the Rock. Where the modern soul is so ridden with anxieties, the soul united with Christ finds supernatural peace.

Hey, do you remember this prediction from Papa Benedict, before he was Papa?? It's sure looking prophetic!



“The Church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.


She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes ... she will lose many of her social privileges…. As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek…. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain…. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.


And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”


-- Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), from his book Faith and the Future



(And speaking of Nicole, be sure to check out her latest blog post, "Wounds", especially if you are grieving or overwhelmed with suffering.)




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Oh, if I had a nickel for every time someone told me that heterosexual marriage is simply a "Catholic belief" that cannot be "imposed" on the world! 

From Ryan T Anderson, PhD, defender of marriage extraordinaire, writing Sunday on Facebook (emphasis mine):


Since it's Sunday, I figured I'd share this report back from a Vatican conference just before Thanksgiving. The Vatican conference brought together speakers from more or less every faith tradition on earth: Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Taoist. The speakers hailed from 23 different countries, representing all the continents inhabited by man. Although the speakers came from many different faiths, they all shared a common view: that men and women are created for each other. While the world's religions disagree about so much, they bear common witness to this common truth. I explore what this means in my new book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1621574512/




Many Faiths, Common View on Marriage: 
Men and Women Are Created for Each Other

I urge you to read what the representatives of different faiths had to say about marriage. 

Sure, conjugal marriage is "catholic" -- in the literal sense of the word, which means "universal". 



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Take two minutes to watch this dynamic video from Culture of Life Africa! The vibrant pictures of a beautiful pro-life, pro-family culture are worth a look! I love the African people. And I love our friend Uju and all she does for the cause of life in Africa. She is one of the most powerful (and holy) women I know.





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Books, books, more books! 





Well, back then only the Joyful Mysteries edition was published. Now, the Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous Mysteries are now available!



Seriously, these books are ingenious, especially for children, or for any of us who have trouble focusing during the Rosary.


In case you haven't heard, some fantastic young Catholic evangelists and authors are producing gems for the rest of us who are ready to bring Christ to the world.

For example, teachers and parents will love 99 Ways to Teach Like the Master, by T.J. Burdock. It's as simple as it sounds: Each of the 99 ways begins with a Scripture verse and follows with a brief reflection and application to teaching the students and children in our care. 





And the indefatigable Shaun McAfee has written Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization. As a passionate convert himself, Shaun knows of what he speaks. 

Why do we need to evangelize? How do we present our own personal testimony? Reading Scripture, deepening our personal relationship with Jesus, getting involved in our parishes, and working for Christian unity... all of these topics are covered in this practical and easy-to-read book. 





So much great stuff coming from the Church laity -- especially the young and the converts -- that it's hard to keep up. And so heartening!


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I have a special prayer request if you don't mind. My dad is undergoing open heart surgery on Monday, and he and my whole family would deeply appreciate your prayers. Heart surgery is routine, of course, but then again it's never really routine when it's happening to you or a loved one. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! I will let you know how it goes. 


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Finally, let's work and pray to find little Abner, just five years old, a family. Here is what a visitor said about Abner last December:

“Abner is a happy little boy who does not speak but whose facial expressions are easy to read. Those expressions are generally of joy, especially when he is given love and attention. Occasionally I would see a different expression, one that would break my heart. At 5 years old Abner is spending a lot of time in a wheelchair, unable to participate in playing with the kids around him, and the look of “I want to play too!” on his face broke my heart. When he had the opportunity to participate in playtime he always looked very happy and proud of himself. This sweet little boy needs a family who will be able to help him to reach his full potential!”




He had been in a baby house until recently, and now he lives in an adult institution. Little ones do not fare well there. Let's get him out before it's too late for him. Please click here for more information. 


And thank you to the amazing Bubble readers who read about our very own Kara going to adopt "Truman" from overseas and helped with generous donations. She's recently gone to the orphanage to meet him, and she is about to take her second trip for court proceedings and then finally bring "Truman" home! I cannot wait to meet him, and I know Kara is so grateful for all your prayers, love, and support!





Have a beautiful week everyone!! 







10 comments:

  1. I loved what Fr. Kline wrote about ivf when I read it earlier. He is so wonderful with the touchy subjects.

    Ahhhh I got tears in my eyes seeing me and my baby. I can't wait to introduce him to the blogosphere! <3 you all made this happen!

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  2. This is a quote from the Law and Order: SVU episode "Mask" (Season 12, episode 13).

    "The Catholic Church considers IVF to be a sin. I called the Pope and invited him to come and meet some of our babies. So far, no response." - doctor at a "reproductive services" clinic that does IVF and experiments on embryos

    Her logic, simplified:

    Babies are good. IVF sometimes produces babies. Therefore, IVF is good.

    Let's apply that logic elsewhere:

    Babies are good. Acts of rape sometimes produce babies. Therefore, rape is good.

    Huh? You mean that doesn't work? The act of rape itself is bad and immoral even though the children who are the result of acts of rape are not?

    Exactly.

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  4. Prayers for your father's surgery and all to go well.

    Gotta do a little promotion about the Illustrated Rosary books. I have all four of them, and yes, they're very good. This works for any child or adult who like to have a visual aid for the rosary but I am amazed at what it has done for my oldest, who has autism. He has always had a hard time focusing and never truly understood what "meditating on the mysteries" were about, no matter how simply I put it. Now his eyes are glued to the book and he is meditating without even realizing it!

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  5. So many important issues in one post!
    I already prayed for a while for your Father.

    I love this short message about IVF. So simple yet for many so difficult to understand.

    Best wishes from far-away :)

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  6. JoAnna, eye roll about that episode. Like an IVF doctor would really call the Pope, let alone get to talk to him when he did. Yeah, and I just called the President about the HHS mandate too, and he never called me back! How rude of him! ;)

    Prayers for your dad and whole family, Leila.

    And I agree that we are seeing a surge of new books being written to strengthen Christian families and raise godly children. I was privileged to meet the author of the Rosary books at our state homeschool conference two weeks ago. And there were other authors with books to teach kids to pray, and for sacramental preparation. This is one area where the future looks bright. But most of these authors are creating their own publishing companies, as I have done. They really need our word of mouth and financial support. Unfortunately, the few Catholic publishing companies that put out really good stuff are way behind the times. But so are most secular publishing companies. Anyway, I'm starting to ramble... This is a crusade for me.

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  7. Connie, in your opinion, why are the good Catholic publishing companies missing the boat here?

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  8. Publishing is an industry that moves almost as slowly as the Church. They are not up to speed with all the changes in technology. It is very difficult to make decent money as an artist of any kind, but when your niche is religion, it's even harder. Let me give you an example. If I publish my own ebook on Amazon, I get up to 70% of the retail price of the sale. If I go through a publishing company, I usually get 25% for that same ebook. This is true across the board. Since the Catholic audience is limited, there is rarely enough money going to the writer. Publishers are still focusing on paperbacks or treating ebooks in the same manner as paperbacks, even though they have no printing and very small delivery costs. And they are pricing their ebooks too high. Instead of translating to more $ for authors, this means fewer sales, because self-published books are priced much lower. Who wants to pay the same for an ebook as for a paperback? Publishers need to admit that ebooks are the future, as much as we may love print. I say this as someone who writes ebooks and has no ereader. :)

    Most publishing companies are giving few services to their authors as well. They do very little promotion of books, beyond listing them in their catalog and on their website. So if authors want to sell their books once they are published, they have to do their own promo. Also, many Catholic publishing companies have awful graphic design, so their books look like unattractive pamphlets from the 80s.

    Catholic publishers don't want to give their authors advances on their royalties, because $ is so tight. That means an author can spend a year writing a book, wait a year or more after that before it hits shelves, then another 6 months before they see a cent for their work. When I publish an ebook, it takes a couple of days to appear on Amazon, and I start getting paid 60 days after that. No comparison. The downside is, it's very hard to get self-published paperbacks into stores, and many Catholics are still buying paperbacks. I am trying speaking in conferences as an alternative.

    With all that said, I did recently sign a contract with Emmaus Road for a book called Contemplative Rosary, which I am writing with Dan Burke. I hope that having one book in bookstores helps me reach a new audience, who will then be aware of the rest of my books.

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  9. Connie, this is fascinating! Thank you for taking the time to explain it!! Your new book sounds awesome....

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