Thursday, January 5, 2012

My blogging crisis

I cannot tell a lie.

I have been avoiding you.

It's really not you, though. It's me.

I am in a bit of a slump if you can't tell. I have a million half-written blog posts waiting to be finished up, polished up, and published. I have a zillion more ideas just floating around in my brain. No lack of passion here, I promise. I have in no way lost my zeal.

But for some reason, I am not in the mood to actually write this stuff down.

I think one reason is what I'll term "secular burn-out". Engaging secularism on a regular basis is draining. It can enervate and exhaust even a deeply fortified, prayerful soul (which I am not). I have often grown weary, even disheartened. Not in the sense that I doubt the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Faith, because I am more convinced than ever that Jesus Christ is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life.

Without the grace of Christ, the human condition is dark and cold and without hope.

I have seen this in the combox debates. Even the obvious, even things we never used to fight about as a culture, are no longer common ground starting points.

Lately, I wake up with the feeling that I don't want to start something, because I'm peaceful and joyful and I don't want to go there today.

I don't want to hear more of what I've heard.

For example:

I've had real people, thoughtful people, tell me that they cannot for the life of them see a difference between men and women.

I've had a real person, a thoughtful person, tell me that mothers and fathers are simply "interchangeable" in the life of a child.

I've had real people, thoughtful people, tell me that acts of sodomy and masturbation are beautiful, healthy and good, and no different from the sexual union between husband and wife.

I've had a real person, a thoughtful person, tell me that she couldn't say whether or not the little girl in this casket deserved love or was a piece of trash to be discarded with yesterday's coffee grounds.  

I've had real people, thoughtful people, tell me that it would be clearly the moral choice to torture and kill a six-year-old girl in order to spare the lives of fifty people. 

These and countless other discussions have left me with an unsettled, almost eerie feeling that I cannot quite describe. But it looms. And it insinuates. And it disquiets. 

Incessant engagement with secularism tends to take the mind away from the higher things -- lighter, lovelier, worthier, holier, more beautiful and transcendent things upon which the mind should be focused:
[W]hatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  -- Philippians 4:8
And yet, Christians cannot retreat from the conversation that is so desperately needed, now more than ever.

I'm trying to find that line. I want to do this right.

I'm pretty sure the answer is prayer.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.



  1. Leila

    It took a series of leg cramps to wake me up in the middle of the night in order to read this!

    Take the time that you need to discern what to do. I think I can speak for most of us when I say that we appreciate what you do. You've taken on a heavy task in even bringing these discussions "out there" and tackle them head-on with so many who don't understand, and want to fight back. But there are so many of us "lurkers" who do want to understand, and want to learn. Yet, there are other sources out there, the Bubble is not the only place to learn.

    Take the time to pray and discern what to do. I say if you truly feel torn, maybe just simply post a few subjects but turn the comments off for a while. People can take what they want from it and what they don't want. You won't feel that sadness and depression that you must feel when constantly faced with all of this.

    Lastly, your fervor and passion inspire all of us, I think. This is what we all need, especially in this time. We need to rediscover our love and passion for the truth. Sometimes we devour it from the wrong sources and depend too much on it.

    So I say, take some time off if you need to. Or, just post but turn off the comments. When I am trying to discern something, I usually say a novena, and this always helps.

    So sorry for this burden you're carrying. I will be praying especially for you this weekend.

  2. I completely understand the burden. I don't have a regular blog, and I think you are stronger than I for that. I do engage in a lot of these conversations on blogs, Facebook, etc. The gravity is tremendous, and I often hesitate to join the conversation. The darkness really weighs me down. I completely understand that this in no way shakes your faith, but it is so burdensome to hear such sorrowful things on a regular basis. I can see in a limited way why sometimes popes don't want to be pope and the smaller degrees of this even in our ordinary lives. I feel like I've had a small taste of an exorcist's physical and mental exhaustion, even though I'm sure my experience hardly compares. And you probably understand more so than I.

    I wish I had some great advice. I think it is a calling -- You have a great mind! Sometimes submitting to God's will means suffering. Of course, sometimes we all just need a break to regain our center, refocus, renew. I think you are right about prayer!

  3. A friend just posted one of your blog posts on facebook and I followed the link to your blog. I decided to subscribe. I have never subscribed to anyone's blog before, even my husband's! So I do hope you continue to blog or post or whatever you call it, as I think I will enjoy reading posts and discussions, and perhaps join in from time to time. Take courage. Spiritual warfare is real. I will join in with prayer for you.

  4. I found you via Almost Not Catholic and am glad that I did. I understand what you mean about being submerged in secularism and needing a break from it. Thank you for such honesty. I look forward to reading more of this blog and will be praying for you.

  5. Leila, know that your blogs touch many lives and help those of us still struggling with "what it all means." You tackle issues in such an eloquent, forthright way. And the darkness is watching. The darkness wants you to doubt yourself and lay heavy the burdens. But I truly feel God's given you an incredible gift here and you have reached so many. Just the fact that atheists respond so vehemently to your posts means you've struck a chord. We are here for you and allow us to lift you up in any way we can.

    Love you dear Sister!


  6. I’ve had dealings with defending Catholic teaching but on a much smaller scale. I joined a public book discussion group that spent 16 weekly sessions going through Ideas That Matter by A.C grayling (he’s a staunch UK atheist). I have to say I found it exhausting. There were people in the group who wouldn’t even allow that Mother Theresa was a good person, they argued missionaries spread diseases and brought no benefit to the countries that they visited and that religion should only be taught in schools as social history i.e. this is what people have believed in the past. When we discussed euthanasia many of the group felt that young people with depression should be allowed to die if that’s what they want!

    I have to say there were times I came out thinking that their arguments against God had sounded clear and more rational than mine. In the end I felt that I’d taken on too much and my solution has been to quit the book group and start a part time BA in Theology. Not only will the company be more edifying but I’m hoping I’ll be in a better position to defend the Catholic faith. I’m not suggesting you do the same, but I do think you have to balance the confrontations with a strong prayer life and edifying company.

  7. HHmmmmmmmmm,,,you must be doing something RIGHT as the "dark side" has come acalling eh!

  8. I am so sorry this burden is on you and can completely understand what you are going through. Your first vocation is as a mother and if it affects that, well... but then on the other hand, you are changing the world your children will inherit so do you stop? I will pray for your continual discernment. On a related note, PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT TALKING ARE LISTENING. Years ago, when I was in my contraception, anti-Catholic phase, my cousin sent me a short personal letter with a tape on NFP, prior to my marriage. I never responded - I was too proud, too embarassed. But it changed my opinion completely on contraception and I became an NFPer that day. I did not tell her... I suspect many are very proud and not speaking up.

  9. I have to admit... this is the reason I've been absent around here, as well. I still check in on you from time to time, and read your posts, but I can't handle the comment box - it is extremely depressing!

    And depression isn't something I need any more of at this time ;)

    But, a huge thank you for doing what you've been doing - you are a diamond in the ruff.

  10. I could never be as well-spoken/written as you, but I have vowed to keep my little candle burning to aid you in the fight to keep your lighthouse burning. What I mean is that instead of holding us up with your faith, we need to be holding you up so you maintain your strength in the big fight. I'm hoping we can continue to add our strength to yours.

  11. Leila, you should read "The War of Art". Trust me.
    It's the best thing I've done to conquer burnout and the Resistance to writing.

  12. i'm with TCIE much as I think there is a place and PURPOSE for this blog, you're right, it is tiring. when i am/was in a more fragile state it was really hard to continue on into the combox to engage in debate, especially when i was barely holding it together at the seems anyway. that being said, just please take your time, you'll find a balance to share the truth. it is always good to keep a perspective and realize that as much as we try and are blessed with the skill of apologetics (and you are!) Jesus wins hearts, not us. hope you feel better soon :)

  13. I hear ya, sister. Every warrior needs a break from the battle. Rejuvenate and rest in the peace and love of a King who lives and who loves this world, no matter how dark and ugly it gets in the trenches. Bask in His Goodness, for His love endures forever.

    whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Phil 4:8

  14. I feel for you. I actually have stepped back from regular commenting here because I just couldn't take the insanity. But I LOVE your blog, read everything you write, and skim the comments and cheer you on from my computer chair!

  15. Oh, how the evil one hates you, Leila. But it's no match for how much the Lord loves you. Go to prayer and rest in His love and you will have the strength to re-engage in whatever way is best.

  16. Frankly, Leila you are amazing, a true warrior for our faith. All those patient conversations...The fact that you need to take a little time and enjoy some peace seems totally understandable. I like the idea of turning of comments and just enjoying your posts.

  17. I've been in this place before, Leila. I belonged to a debate board for a couple years and it drained me quick, rose my blood pressure, made me cry, and other such nonsense until I was just done.

    It's hard, but I've found a balance. I debate when I know the subject well, I speak up (and ramble) when I can, but otherwise I stay pretty quiet. I will check later and make sure someone has voiced the side of reason, and if not, I will try to get something together. It's hard not to feel like you have to engage with every one of them. And you are great at it, but no one can go on nonstop. Prayer will bring you to the point you need to be, and the Lord will give you the strength to go on and point you in the right direction.

    After being so busy durin Advent and Christmas, it's only natural to feel worn down in general!

  18. Prayers coming your way. I love your writing and I appreciate your need to take time for yourself. You and the other hard-hitters out here in blogland amaze me!

  19. some battles are actually won through prayer instead of words. :) Peace!

  20. I can't help but think that some of your pain is our fault. Those of us that support you but sit quietly on the sidelines. I'm sorry for not stepping up more often to support you. I'm certainly not accusing anyone else specifically, just feeling bad that I don't join in as much as I should. I think I am often at a loss for words, which it sounds like you're at right now as well. I personally would love it if you would blog about your life a bit more! But that's entirely up to you. I would love to hear about your family, how you run your home, what your parish community is like, etc. Maybe that would be a gentler way of ministering, for now anyway? I don't know. I just love you and don't want you to disappear!

  21. Well, now, I'm interested. What would make it better? Would it be better if every secular person who showed up here, by the end of the comment string, suddenly said, "Aha! You're RIGHT!" Is that what you are hoping for?

  22. I think that sometimes we all (yes ... me included) like to talk about negative things ... or we like to get involved in the thick of things.

    I am not sure why, but I was thinking about a story of St. Francis while I was reading your comments.

    Many of us have heard the stories of how he threw his father's money out the window of his home ... or how he humiliated his town by stripping down to his birthday suit in the center of town ... etc.

    Anyway, the story I am thinking of is where he was visiting a village (Lombardy?) where the priest was of … ahem … questionable sanctity. Many of the people of the village wanted St. Francis to … ahem … talk to the parish priest about his sinful actions. When St. Francis finally stood in front of the priest … this is where my mind goes to a western movie … St. Francis muddy and in sack cloth at one end of the street … the priest dressed all in his robes and finery … and a tumble weed blowing by. Anyway, St. Francis knelt down and kissed the priest’s hands (NOTE: Francis was not a priest). He pointed out that the priest’s hands could do something that he could never do … consecrate the Eucharist.

    The story goes, that shortly after this event; the priest changed his ways, and became a perfect model of what a priest should be and how he should act.

    Anyway ... maybe you need a break from pointing out the controversial issues, and point out some beauty for a little while. I have to do that from time to time to recharge my batteries.

  23. Great comments and suggestions, guys! Thank you! I am getting them privately, too. I will be implementing some of them. Very helpful. :) I think I understand a bit more of what I need to do. Not major changes, just some fresh perspective and incorporating some practices I should have long ago. :)

    MaiZeke, well, from you, I was hoping for your answer to the following unanswered question: Why is abortion "generally bad"?


  24. "I've had real people, thoughtful people, tell me that they cannot for the life of them see a difference between men and women"

    This is because you refuse to learn the difference between sex and gender.

    "I've had a real person, a thoughtful person, tell me that mothers and fathers are simply "interchangeable" in the life of a child."

    And this is because you refuse to acknowledge that people of both sexes and different genders are fully capable of being loving, responsible, parents who raise intelligent, loving children. And furthermore, that more than just two parents can contribute to the upbringing of children (I'm thinking mentors, family members, teachers, coaches, etc.)

    "I've had real people, thoughtful people, tell me that acts of sodomy and masturbation are beautiful, healthy and good, and no different from the sexual union between husband and wife."

    This little gem is the result of your inability to understand the complexity of human sexuality.

    As usual, I feel like you are exaggerating arguments.

    But I guess, thanks for seeing secular people as "real" and "thoughtful"? And, hope you get re-charged soon.


  25. Perhaps, instead of being the fighter in the ring, be the coach in the corner for a few rounds.

    I can see how arguing with these people can be exhausting.

    It often results in nothing fruitful, like trying to debate solutions with your screaming kid at Walmart.

    Sometimes, you just have to take them outside for a swift spanking.

  26. Abortion is generally bad because it is the act of stopping a potential life from continuing to grow.

    Now your turn.

  27. Case in point why Leila is taking a much needed break:

    This is because you refuse to learn the difference between sex and gender.

    You mean anatomy and desire.

    And this is because you refuse to acknowledge that people of both sexes and different genders are fully capable of being loving, responsible, parents who raise intelligent, loving children. And furthermore, that more than just two parents can contribute to the upbringing of children (I'm thinking mentors, family members, teachers, coaches, etc.).

    Tiresome village mentality. Anyone can raise children. Question is what is ideal for the children? And what do you want them to become?

    And don't just weasle out with, "whatever they want to become is ok”. Dishonest.

    This little gem is the result of your inability to understand the complexity of human sexuality.

    You mean understanding the true intention of sexuality or some muddled up version? How complex is it, really? I'm just as scientifically evolved as you are and I don't hold to your version.

    Tiresome indeed, Leila. Take that long break!

  28. "Oh but Maizeke 'bad things' are just like, your opinion man."


  29. Miss Gwen, ah, yes, I forgot to accept the left's assertion that "gender" is fluid. How many genders are there, again? Six? Twelve? Fifty?

    And, I fail to acknowledge, as the left does, that anyone can "get the job done" and raise a child to be "successful". Of course, I'd say that even a good orphanage can do the same, wouldn't you agree? But how any alternative set-up replaces a mother or a father in the life of a child is beyond me. The person in question on my blog was arguing that if there was an infant up for adoption he would not differentiate between placing that infant with a married mom and dad or two lesbians (or two gay men). He would not give the edge to the mother and father over the gay couple, since they both can "get the job done". Clearly, this stance discounts the importance of both a mother or a father in a child's life. I find that tragic. You all find that lovely and "inclusive".

    The part about the "complexity of human sexuality" is an eye roller for me, who has lived both sides of that cultural line. And you know that pedophiles say as much about their own sexual proclivities; their love is "complex". Perhaps it's true that simple me just doesn't fully appreciate why having sex with one's hand or putting a penis inside a filthy rectum is "loving" and "complex" and beautiful. I'm glad you get the complexities there, which escape me. ;)

    But Gwen: Why did you not comment on the other points I mentioned? These are the same folks with the same ideas and same philosophy as the first points. Can you enlighten me on those last two: The baby girl in the casket and the moral imperative to torture and kill a little girl? Thanks!

    And yes, the "thoughtful" nature of the chilling conclusions (like Peter Singer's logical call for infanticide) is what is so disquieting and disturbing. We call it the banality of evil.

    Or maybe I haven't yet understood the "complexities" of such things.


  30. "Abortion is generally bad because it is the act of stopping a potential life from continuing to grow."

    Wait a minute. Why is it bad to stop a "potential life" from growing? If it's not a life, why would it morally matter a whit? Help me understand. We stop all sorts of "life" from growing, including tumors (to which pro-aborts have compared the unborn countless times here).

    Please elaborate. WHY is that bad?

  31. Leila, I know the feeling of not wanting to go there, and I guess it must be one of those things that afflict all Catholics out on the front lines like you are (and I have been fortunate enough not to be very often). Take a breather for a little bit and remember that this witness to Christ is fantastic and wonderful, but even He rested from time to time. The world will always be here, and it will always need the testimony to the Truth, so there will always be plenty for you to do. There will be plenty for all of us to do. God bless, and I look forward to read whatever you have to write when you're ready to do it!

  32. I am praying for you my sister. You are very special to all of us. Never never never never never give up. I'll go to the gallows with you. Now, go check your email.
    To Jesus through Mary...

  33. Thank you all! Wow, so many strong souls for the battle! Did you all read the post by Rebecca today, at Shoved To Them? Awesome, and on the birthday of St. Joan of Arc!

  34. Also, MaiZeke, do you tell your pro-abort friends that abortion is "bad"? After all, the defenders of abortion (the movers and shakers) do not see it as bad, but as a very good thing, a blessing. They do not want abortion rare and they want it "on demand and without apology". Do you tell them the truth that abortion is "bad"?

  35. Gwen it is comments such as yours that makes this exhausting. You suggest that we "refuse to learn" and "refuse to acknowledge" basic ideas that we all do believe and have expressly stated several times throughout several comments...that both men and women can be good parents, that others can and do help raise children and that human sexuality is complex. It is your conclusions that we disagree with. Please be clear, we have listened to you, we understand what you are arguing and we DISAGREE with you. We are not too stupid to learn it, we are not too stubborn to acknowledge it, we think your conclusions are incorrect.

  36. Lucky 7, well said. Very clear, no ambiguity. Hope she gets that.

  37. Oh, Leila. God Bless You. Do what you gotta do!

  38. The statement that abortion is generally bad is coming from the context where I said that divorce is also generally bad, but we allow it. Nobody really WANTS people to get a divorce, but when it is necessary, it is necessary.

    Leila had absolutely no problem understanding my statement about divorce, but she seems particularly confused about the exact same statement about abortion.

    Now, Leila, your turn. What exactly is it you are hoping for from the secular left on this blog?

  39. Lucky7 said: "We are not too stupid to learn it, we are not too stubborn to acknowledge it, we think your conclusions are incorrect. "

    I would say the same thing about your conclusions. What exactly is it that you expect from us?

  40. "We are not too stupid to learn it, we are not too stubborn to acknowledge it, we think your conclusions are incorrect. "

    Because, logically, they are. That's what, Maizeke.

  41. MaiZeke, that is not an answer. I asked you why it is bad to kill a "potential life". I certainly don't think it is bad to kill a "potential life" since a "potential life" is not actually a life. So, why is it bad? If it's safe, and legal, then why is it bad? What makes it bad? We can agree on dozens of reasons why abortion is bad, but as for abortion, what makes it bad?

    And what makes abortion "necessary"?

    Definition of NECESSARY

    a : of an inevitable nature : inescapable
    b (1) : logically unavoidable (2) : that cannot be denied without contradiction
    c : determined or produced by the previous condition of things
    d : compulsory
    : absolutely needed : required

  42. Sorry! I meant to say "we can agree on a dozen reasons why DIVORCE is bad…"

  43. Leila,
    I love your blog. Love you. I have no words of wisdom. The fight has to be fought, right? We need a voice of reason out there in the world, right? Sometimes, however, it feels as though we are arguing with the same 4 people about the same issues over and over again.

    I know one thing. This blog comes up in my conversations all the time with like-minded Catholics. Preaching to the choir as they say. However, I feel they need to know what is out there. I think people need to be aware that some of our basic principles, things we believe to be undebatable...are now being debated and ridiculed. One that comes to mind was the comment line that ended up with people debating if there is any difference between man and animal. It has opened my eyes to the world around us and sometimes I want to just close them again!

    The difference is that if I don't want to deal with it, if I want to live in my peaceful little world, I can. Nobody misses Lucky 7, but an Advent without the Bubble is noticed.

    I have no advice, I do not know what the answer is. My prayers are with you and I am confident that through prayer and spiritual direction you will come up with the correct resolution. Just know you are greatly admired.

  44. Lucky 7 and all of you, I think I might just get excited about blogging again, ha ha!

    And MaiZeke, in answer to your question. You don't need to do anything different. There is nothing I expect of you or any of the secularists. You believe what you believe and I'm glad it's on the record. That doesn't make it easier to deal with, but it's there for all to see and that serves a good purpose. Thank you.

  45. Ha ha ha ha! it seems to me the secular left is what usually energizes you to post something in the first place. But hey, if you need I break, that's fine by me.


  46. I have no guts...therefore no write about the "tough issues" you put out there. I clearly know where the other side stands. I started a blog because I thought (silly me) that my blog would actually convert my family. They would some how see the truth and read the links etc....
    not one.
    How hard it is to win a soul.
    Keep up the good fight.

  47. Agreed, Lucky7 (Well, not the part about not missing you, but everything else!)

    Arguing with say, the same four people, has its own purpose. The people who consistently debate from the secular point of view on this blog may never, ever budge an inch. If they do change their minds, we may never personally see that change in this lifetime. Regardless, there are those lurkers, as some have already stated, who see these debates and come back to Christianity. It's an eye opener for many silent readers out there.

    My sister was feeling some of the same burdens in her job, posting articles about Mary on a non-denominational publication. The comments can be exhausting. I just know someday in Heaven she will meet all the souls touched and changed by those articles, even if the vocal individuals never change their minds. I know the same is true for you, Leila. You have touched so many people, and the scope of God's work here is likely unimaginable in this world!

  48. Leila, you need a drink from the well of Living Water that Jesus offered to the Samarian woman at the well! I support you. Constantly fencing with secular worldliness and liberal incrementalism is draining on every front. However, we can ask the Holy Spirit to fill us up again, and He wants us to do so...and to constantly ask for His superb,perfect wisdom! It sounds to me like you need to give yourself a mini-spiritual retreat...just at home, with music, Scripture reading, prayer, praise, then a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Guess what, I too, am a Catholic Revert...after marrying a born-again Christian cradle Episcopalian, the love of my life of 31 years married, and being in the Episcopal Church for years, and leaving in 2003, going over to the Anglican Church for a few years, and now having returned to Roman Catholicism. I just happened to come across your blog today, which we know is no coincidence! I plan to check back in! I am conservative, and joyful in the Lord! See you! E. Hansen

  49. Christine and the two Elizabeths, thank you! :) It means a lot!

    Gwen, it's hard to explain. I spoke with a man who heads up the vice unit in town. He heads the pedophilia task force. He says it's the most rewarding police work he has ever done, as he is truly protecting the innocent. But at the same time, it is draining and hard on the psyches of the whole team, and they do recreational things frequently to get out of the darkness of it. It sticks on you in some sense. Obviously, I don't live on the front lines and face evil in the way those officers do, but I can see how they are energized by the fight they fight and are also wearied by the darkness of it as well.

  50. good grief Leila, if you are comparing discussions and arguments on your blog with people like myself, Maizeke, and College student to the police work of a pedophile task force, then by all means, step away from the computer!


  51. Gwen, moral evil is moral evil.

    But basically, I was trying to give you an analogy that you can understand. Since you still think of pedophilia as a sexual "wrong" (won't say sin, since you don't believe in it), then I thought it would be the right example to make you see how one could be energized and also weary.

    And frankly, I think that slaughtering unborn children is just as dark as molesting born children. I wish you did, too.

  52. Leila

    I definitely understand your feeling exhausted by it all. It's exhausting, first of all because the secular left is so, frankly, insane. I never thought I'd say this, and I used to believe secular leftism was the most compassionate, humanistic, principled view of the world. Now I see otherwise. It is literal madness, atomistic, sentimentalized to the point of hysteria and untethered to reason or concrete reality. Two of the hallmarks of madness are the inability to perceive reality as is, and a total lack of self-criticism. What else do you call it when someone can look at a baby girl and call her a "metagendered person". That is madness. When someone can whitewash baby killing with language, calling it "reproductive rights" "health care" and "choice", knowing that the practice of abortion dismembers and destroys a human life yet still full throatedly defending it against conscientious detractors, that is insane. The fact that the left is unable to, even minutely, conceive that some of their ideas are damaging, and some of the living consequences of their philosophies are harmful is a clear indication to me. They raise themselves up as the bright beacons of goodness against a benighted world of conservative evil, and yet pay no mind to the trail of broken hearts and lives that their "sexual revolution" has created, the social devastation created by their nostalgic idealization of marijuana and drug use, the identity loss of children growing up without one of their biological parents so that lesbian mom can play house with her girlfriend, the general atomization of societies where the only reigning value is individual pleasure, the millions of unborn babies sacrificed on the altar of sexual pleasure.

    All of these things can be lain right at their doorstep, and yet they will not examine their role in these tragedies, but rather somehow find a way to blame it on conservatism, their perpetual enemy and convenient scapegoat. Hence Kermit Gosnell's house of horrors existed not because years of pro-choice lobbying and attitudes created an uncritical acceptance of abortion enabling clinics to go unregulated, but because "pro-lifers made women desperate". The rise in Sexually Transmitted Diseases among students isn't due to an increase in unprotected sex due to the permissive atmosphere of University Campuses and an oversexed culture but because Judeo-Christian sex-negative attitudes create a stigma around STD's. --You can thank my own university paper for that last gem. If it weren't for conservatives, the left would have no one to blame, they might actually be forced to examine themselves.


  53. Barbara, whoa! How do you pack that much meat in two paragraphs? That is amazing. And you wrote a paper with that conclusion about STDs? Wow! You truly have lived it all. You have been a "true believer" on both sides of this culture war. Have you read any David Horowitz?

  54. It seems as though you pretend to want clarity (not agreement, but clarity), but are disappointed when you don't get agreement.

    All of the items you mention appear to me to be smaller questions surrounding the big ones. For example, when a commenter says that men and women are interchangeable as far as raising children are concerned, the bigger issue is gay marriage.

    You've done a valiant job of boiling down the bigger issues into smaller ones (men and women can parent equally well; what is the status of a fetus). The responses to the smaller questions really are the responses to the larger questions (gay marriage; abortion). I believe that gay marriage is acceptable precisely because I think two men parenting a child can do just as well as a man and a woman. (Well, there are a lot of other reasons, too.)

    The problem I see is that when we get down to the smaller question, you miraculously expect someone on the left to answer the question the way you want them to, bringing out a transformation of "GASP! You're RIGHT, Leila!"

    If you can't get beyond that point, and if you really think this is as hard as police work, then take a longer break than just advent. We'll all still be here. Most likely with the same opinions.

  55. MaiZeke, the issue with why we oppose gay marriage and homosexual adoption is not one of performance. No one here denies that a gay couple could provide a loving environment. The issue is that a loving, invested caregiver of either sex is actually something that a child needs, that is as vital to a child's development as good feelings. Each sex provides something different. My own example is that I was raised by my single mom, while my brother was raised by my father and his second wife. If I look at my own maturation process vs. his, I can see noteable differences, things he possesses which I lack, things which my father provided. He learned very early about discipline, self-control, and making right choices. I learned to go by my feelings and that I had a right to be happy. He learned practical skills like saving money, table manners and good personal hygiene. I learned that "what was inside" was all that matters, so I went to school often with dirty hair and clothes. There are gaps in my learning which he doesn't have.

    Now sometimes tragedies such as divorces and deaths happen, and there's nothing you can do about it. Some children will be raised by one parent. Gay parenting and marriage, however, is something completely different. We are not trying to compensate for a loss, we are creating it. We are making motherless and fatherless babies on purpose. Why?

  56. MaiZeke- Gwen was not arguing about our disagreement on conclusions. She stated we are unable to learn, acknowledge and understand basic things that we have all already agreed to. We NEVER deny men and women can both be loving and nurturing, we NEVER deny sexuality is complex, we NEVER deny others help raise children. What we do deny is the conclusions she comes to based on these observations.

    We all know you don't agree with our conclusions either. What I am asking for is truth in argument, if we are arguing the merits of peas then don't state that we "refuse to learn" that peas are green. It just not true, it confuses the argument and it wastes time.

    Gwen-your use of "refuses to learn", "refuses to acknowledge" and "inability to understand" is so very demeaning...implying we are all too stupid to understand your great wisdom. At times it feels like an argument with my teenage son years ago, he just couldn't get it that we were listening, we did understand his argument, but we disagreed entirely.

  57. All of the items you mention appear to me to be smaller questions surrounding the big ones. For example, when a commenter says that men and women are interchangeable as far as raising children are concerned, the bigger issue is gay marriage.

    MaiZeke, I think you've got this a little backwards: gay marriage is not the bigger issue over the smaller issue of gender roles in parenting; rather, gay marriage is a small symptom of the much larger loss (or more likely very deliberate jettisoning) of the objective order (truth) of human nature and sexuality. The fact that this particular question has come down to arguing the necessity of a mother and father in the creation and education of a human child is indicative of the results of the subjectification of "truth" (which sounds so nonsensical, probably because it is).

    This follows an earlier comment charging that Leila refuses to understand the "complexity of human sexuality". I suppose, for me at least, that is quite true. I truly don't understand what is so complex about human sexuality. If by "complexity of human sexuality" you are referring to the various ways in which humans have devised to use each other as an object toward the end of individual or mutual sexual enjoyment, then sure, I understand the "complexity of human sexuality".

    Leila, I think MaiZeke may have a point with her initial comment:

    It seems as though you pretend to want clarity (not agreement, but clarity), but are disappointed when you don't get agreement.

    I don't believe you are pretending, but I do think you may be attaching too much emotion to these discussions. If you truly only seek clarity with the opposition and education for yourself and the readers then perhaps the back-and-forth should be more pointed and concise. If you wish to evangelize, then a totally different tact is probably in order. Just a thought. Thank you for what you are doing here.

  58. Lucky7,

    My first post was directed specifically at Leila, who's viewpoints and opinions I've come to know pretty well from this blog. Quite frankly, everything she's written supports what I stated too.

    I suggest not getting into a "tit for tat" argument about who is more demeaning because there's quite a bit of imperiousness/pity directed 24-7 my way around here. It' the nature of a good discussion/argument on this blog.


  59. Miss Gwen, I think Lucky7 said it exactly right. I echo her words. You keep implying we believe things that we don't.

    For MaiZeke, I wish you or anyone would answer the question that never gets answered, regarding gay parenting, as Barbara put it. With gay parenting:

    "We are not trying to compensate for a loss, we are creating it. We are making motherless and fatherless babies on purpose. Why?"

    LJP, very good points. But I'll take issue with the last. I have on several occasions accepted even the most evil beliefs if they actually make logical sense. Then, I am satisfied. For example, Peter Singer:

    And in that post, I link to a post where I thank Miss Gwen for being logical in her beliefs, beliefs that I strongly disagree with and which are morally offensive. But she was being consistent.

    Here is an entire post where I discuss the points of logic from the radical left. They often reason things correctly, and I appreciate the clarity:

    We don't agree on the philosophy of things, or basic truths, but they have clarity that I can respect. It's good to showcase that.

    If there are emotions that come from these discussions they are not any kind of fly-off-the-handle, or weeping emotions. I'm not depressed. It's the sense of disquiet that comes when playing around the Culture of Death for too long without shoring up the prayer life. I know what I need to do to fortify.

    And there are two sides to each person, the head and the heart. I like to go with the head, but sometimes I try to appeal to the heart as well. So, it's a balance. These are real people who hold these opinions. They, too, were made in the image and likeness of God and on some level, even the unconscious level, the truth has to resonate with them. That's why they refuse to answer certain questions outright, or won't touch certain posts:

    Anyway, I'm just talking that out, because I don't actually see this "slump" as a matter of emotions.

    Evangelizing (if that's what I am doing?) comes in so many forms. My best explanation for what I do on this blog is at the top, labeled "Please Read First".

  60. Leila, understood. I said what I did under the impression that your slump was an emotional one; a frustration with countering the same arguments ad infinitum. I suppose it was also somewhat of my male desire to "fix" things coming out; it's hard to suppress ;)

    I'm not sure if you are evangelizing, at least it's not one of your stated goals. I suppose, though, that any exclamation of the Truth of the Church is a form of evangelizing, as you implied.

    I've read "Please Read First" as well as most of your posts. I've been one of the 'lurkers' for a few months now, this is the first post I've commented on.

    Please, do what you must to fortify! I look forward to the next post.

  61. As usual, there's G.K. Chesterton quote for everything (is it any wonder I named my son after him?!):

    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."

    Keep soldiering on, Leila, we love you!

  62. Theresa HM ~ I second your comment!

    Makes me think of a comment I once heard... Live the kind of life that, when your feet hit the floor each morning, the Devil says, "Oh, crap! She's up!!" ;)

    Yes, L, this is your life... Thanks be to God for the gifts He has brought so many through your words! Oh... and I'm adding you to the list of prayer intentions at my blog!!

  63. Good grief, just reading these comments stressed me out and gave me a stomache.

    I will by praying for you and your call to be a light in the darkness. We love you Leila!!!

  64. I've only been reading your blog for a couple of months but the strength of your writing really caught my attention. I greatly admire the effort that you and other Catholic bloggers put into your work, I'm not sure whether your intention is to Evangelise but that is the effect your writing has. Hope that you keep on writing and you'll be in my prayers.

  65. Leila - just some food for thought: I listened to a priest's homily last week on the feast of Mary, Mother of God. "Mother of God" - he emphasized, and asked us to consider. A human being became the mother of God. God incarnate - the Son of a human mother. There is no divide between us and God. He bridged the gap between us, making every aspect of our lives sacred. God is present and active everywhere in our human lives. There is no divide between sacred and secular. There is no where God doesn't dwell.

    Honestly, as I sat in Church listening to this, I thought of the you and your blog - the discussions and debates and outrageously misguided and BAD things I've read from people here. It was like a light went on, to recognize God's presence in every aspect of these discussions. It didn't have to come from you. No one can turn so far away from God and His Truth that God and Truth no longer surround them. It is all sacred. If God became a man, born of a woman, what could possibly be "secular" in this world?

    I respect your decision to take a break refocus your energy as you feel the need to. And I wish you a happy, blessed new year. I'll keep enjoying your archives for now.

  66. Wow guys, thank you!! Who knew I had all these awesome people ready to cheer me in just the way I needed? And yay for the great lurkers (LJP, so glad you popped out of the shadows to start commenting; please keep it up. You have great stuff to say and we love men and masculine energy around here) and the newer readers (welcome little79bear!).

    Great stuff. :)

  67. Leila, those conversations you've had, and I'm sure most of us have had, are disquieting. You found a perfect Scripture to explain what is needed in our world today: thought for what is valued in our lives. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Just remember the small things can mean the world to one person. "To the world we're only one person, but to one person, we're the world!"

    God Bless!

  68. Since the time of darkness (some call them Midterms) are coming up soon, too soon, for me; I did not have time to read every single comment, or any of them, so I might repeat something. But I thought I would post a small response.

    For me personally, seeing comments saying "inability to process" or other slight jabs are always harder to read, for me. Harder then reading comments of people who just completely disagree with me. No matter who they are directed at.

    So I think that if you, Leila, would start choosing to not respond to comments that take personal jabs at you, I think we would all understand. As maybe it would make reading the rest easier.

    I know I probably cross the line at times. So this is complete permission to ignore any insulting comments of mine!

    I am always so impressed by how you keep up the blog, including comments so well. Just reading the comments alone, for me, takes a while!

  69. After reading some other comments, I did not mean to imply: ignore certain people. I meant people can only take so many insults. And I am impressed with how you seem to take so many.

  70. I thought about your comments for a while.

    The fact is, that when I was being raised in the Catholic Church, and went to secular schools, the people who were able to debate these issues with some grasp of logic, and who were willing to debate these issues with any seriousness were either, A: The hardcore atheists or strong agnostics in my advanced level classes or B: Ultra-right-wingers who did things like, went to loudly "Protest the fags (pardon the expression, but that is how they termed it)at the St. Patty's Parade." Those in camp B would patronize me and say things like, "Oh, why are you worrying your pretty little head about that?" "Oh you are just a free spirit silly girl". Don't get me wrong, there were the shouters in group A, but there were a lot more people who would engage in a somewhat reasonably-toned discussion, so I moved into camp A rather easily during college.

    People who were of faith and who practiced it, mostly kept to themselves or just commented that they "didn't really think about such things" or "didn't want to get into a discussion".

    I realize that my questioning was probably frightening to them, and I probably was not as tactful as I might have been. But!!! I NEEDED serious, educated, informed, logical discussions to help me with my faith crisis. Young people ARE asking those big questions. They need this kind of debate. My youth group at church was an utter failure, as it could not supply any of that and did not even try. Instead it was a clique-fest with everyone trying to get close to the cute (and sexually active) guy on the retreat. The hypocrisy killed me. Now I have more compassion, as I realize how young we were, but many of us were desperate for the deep debates.

    I mean, in school we studied the Holocaust for over a month, and Stalin extensively, and not once did we discuss the atheism of either regime. Church needs to fill that gap. They need to discuss ethics and morality in a deep and even controversial way, because otherwise, young people see religious persons as "shunning away" from the hard questions, and they are easily seduced by secular atheism.

    It would have been much better to have my Catholic teachers be the ones to first point out the many flaws and faults of the Church throughout history (in a historical context) instead of having it brought up by the debunkers so hostile to religion.

    That is why these discussions are very important and why people cannot just turn away because it is distasteful or makes you crazy. Talking about the easy stuff does nothing for the fence-sitters or the young. They need to hear LOGICAL, well-informed, open, and caring voices weigh in on the tough questions. "Why exactly do you oppose gay marriage" "Why exactly do you oppose contraception" "Why exactly do you oppose masturbation"? I still disagree on several of these points, but I find the open discussion refreshing and, from how I was raised, rather rare. It carries a lot of weight to hear how someone like yourself went through a period of turning away, and why, and then how you turned back and why.

  71. I'm so sorry, Leila. I think you're a very brave person, though, and I hope that I am able one day to disconnect my self-worth from people agreeing with me. Even your reasons for being exhausted are noble; because you're peaceful, because the culture wars bring that feeling, that eerie feeling of dread and doom. I know that feeling because we're in academia and I've seen what the culture wars do to people and how they destroy them, and most of all how ideologies have crippled our ability to love one another. But as a blogger, I get drained after even one negative comment because "they don't like me! *copious tears and wine*

    I admire your ability to fight a battle without letting your soul get trampled on. It's very impressive. And maybe you should take a break, anyway, because Rome wasn't built in a day after all. Write about other things for a while. Let Miss Gwen and MaiZeke (I hope i spelled that right and apologize if I didn't) see that you're a human. Let them see your daily battles. Maybe a little mundane, daily common ground would help the difficult discussions go more smoothly. It's an idea, anyway.

    I love you Leila!

  72. Please take care of yourself. However, selfishly I hope you continue with your blogging as I just discovered your blog and look forward to participating.

  73. Leila

    I saw this above regarding gay parenting:

    "We are not trying to compensate for a loss, we are creating it. We are making motherless and fatherless babies on purpose. Why?"

    Is it possible for you to elaborate or give me a link that will explain the question more fully. I'm not sure what "we are not trying to compensate for a loss" means. I sent you an email yesterday (finally figured out how to get on the blog). I consider myself left-of-liberal and would be happy to answer this question if I understood it better. Thank you. And Happy New Year to you.

  74. Another note:
    I also think it is important for Leila and others to keep up the dialogue because certain avenues of this country have indeed gone insane. Even if I do not agree or others do not agree totally with everything put forth here, it is an antidote to the total insanity of the ultra-secular culture.

    Case in point: Earlier this week, I was reminded through an argument with a staunch secularist of the case of the Massachusetts Teacher (I live in that state) who was suspended after a reporter ambushed the guy on camera with evidence of his RECENT activity in gay porn films, many of them of the extreme bondage variety.

    This guy was a beloved teacher at a cutting-edge school, and the outcry around here was support of the teacher! Students and parents lobbied in support of him, and thought the school was wrong to suspend him.

    Now, it seems from reports that he was a very nice guy and a talented teacher, but he was not being ambushed for some mistakes he made in his youth, he had done these things quite recently! He even ran a porn producing venue at some point. I remember feeling sorry for the guy when the admittedly vulture-like reporter pounced on him with glee, exposing his sins and demons to the world, and I would extend my arms to give him a hug and help him rebuild his life (without porn), but I would not want someone with such a serious judgement problem teaching my boys when they become teens. No person in porn, especially hardcore porn, should be teaching young people...period. Should people get a chance to rebuild their lives after going down that road? Yes, but this was not that case.

    As I alluded above, the shocking thing about all of this was that so many people in Massachusetts thought it was no big deal! Google the scary images he was involved in if you have the stomach and think for yourself if it was no big deal. I was excoriated for even suggesting that it was a big deal.

    So...keep up your blogging, as it helps me realize how insane some secular thinking is.

  75. Chelsea, thank you! This may sound weird, but the jabs don't bother me in the way that disturbs the soul (what I described in the post). The jabs often make me smile or groan. :) What bothers me at the level of the soul is the very thoughtful ways that people can speak of accepting evil things. It's the banality of evil. We can crunch bones and flay flesh and dump children in the trash and act as if such an atrocity is as natural and good as planting a garden or brushing our teeth. Yawn. The banality of evil. It is couched in pretty language and "complexities".

    Sarah, welcome! In the context of adoption, the point of adoption is to restore what has been lost to a child. So, gay adoption (or surrogacy or IVF, etc., for gay couples) is not "compensating for a loss" at all. It's "making motherless or fatherless babies on purpose." As Barbara asks: Why?

    Mary, I loved your comments. Truly. Thank you. And, your example of the teacher makes me A) want to vomit, B) want to stay out of Massachusetts (I haven't been back since I graduated college), and C) praise God that you see the utter insanity of it.

  76. Oh Leila, the scripture verse you gave me. This is actually my predicament constantly in our secular wold and I try in Carmel so hard in prayer to bring to God how to handle this.

    I even used that Phillipians verse for my calling to Carmel. Whatever is Holy, Whatever is True!!!

    God bless you in all you do!

  77. Hi Leila

    "Sarah, welcome! In the context of adoption, the point of adoption is to restore what has been lost to a child. So, gay adoption (or surrogacy or IVF, etc., for gay couples) is not "compensating for a loss" at all. It's "making motherless or fatherless babies on purpose." As Barbara asks: Why?"

    Thank you for your welcome. In regards to gay parenting, my first question is where does the phrase "compensating for a loss" come from? I wouldn't phrase it like that. I think the purpose of adoption is to provide a child with a loving stable home, and to give people who want to raise a child the chance to do so. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement. There are millions of children being raised in horrifically unsafe homes by a mother and a father. I wish to God I hadn't had a father growing up as he was very abusive.

    So asking the question "why" have gay parents adopt children when there are millions of children in the foster care system who need a home, and many gay couples who can provide a loving home, is a puzzle to me. It is not, to use one of your favorite terms "logical."

    Why not? is a better question, I think. Why not allow children the opportunity to live in a home where they are loved and will have an opportunity for a stable life? Why would anyone, who actually cares about children, deny a child this opportunity?

    I have known so many hundreds of people who grew up in terrible homes where there was a mother and a father, and I know so many children who had wonderful childhoods with same-sex parents that to question "why" allow gays to adopt children is nonsensical to me.

    All children should have both female and male mentors in their lives. But it isn't necessary for that mentor to be a biological parent. I have seen so many examples of this. If we care about children I think we should focus on the important question--which is who will best take care them--and not focus on the gender of parents, which in reality has no bearing on how well a child is loved or how well adjusted they grown up to be.

  78. Sarah, thanks. We've all seem the video. I can tell you that you can find any number of people raised in good orphanages who are well-adjusted. We would not say that is ideal. We have folks on this blog who were raised in divorce situations, and they are well-adjusted. We would not say that that is ideal.


    More in a bit.

  79. Sarah, assume (as we did in the previous discussion referenced) that there is an infant who has a married mom and dad ready to adopt her. Also, a gay couple is looking to adopt that same baby. If you say there is no difference between placing the child with the gay couple as with the married mom and dad, then you are saying that purposely leaving a child motherless (or fatherless) is perfectly good, as good as having both a mother and a father.

    I am so sorry that your father was abusive. I wonder, though, if this is what you are saying:

    "Since my father was abusive, I wish I had no father."

    And by that logic, one with an abusive mother would also say:

    "Since my mother was abusive, I wish I had no mother."

    And by that logic, one with an abusive mother and father would say:

    "Since my parents were abusive, I wish I had no parents."

    But does that really make sense? Doesn't a child really mean:

    "I wish my father had been a good father. I wish he had treated me the way a father should treat his little girl."


    "I wish my mother had been a good mother. I wish she had treated me with the love of a mother's heart."


    "I wish my parents had not abused me. I wish they had been good and loving parents."

    See the difference?

    Every child deserves a mother and a father.

    One question: Why do most proponents of gay "marriage" still think the number "two" is the right number? Why not three or four or six parents for the child? Or, maybe you are okay with a bigger number of parents?


    Again, adoption assumes that a child has suffered a loss and needs the restoration of what is lost. A mother and father are the biological imperative. Nature dictates that a child has a mother and a father. When this is lost to a child, we find a restoration. An adoptive mom and dad, to make up for the loss.

  80. That last paragraph was misplaced. Don't know how it got down there! Sorry!!

  81. Your honesty is why I keep coming back, well, and the Truth. thanks for being here! I would completely understand a break, I'm exhausted just scanning these comments!

  82. Holding you up in prayer, Leila. I totally understand. I'm already fighting depression on a daily basis - and then all that you described hits - when all I want to do is retreat and rejuvenate and study - but I can't. I have to go to work. I have to deal with the fact that my husband walked out. I have to breathe. And I have students that need me to teach. You have been a life saver for me, thank you. With much love.

  83. Hi Leila.

    I guess I feel like I've addressed most of your questions.

    Yes, I think you're right in saying that wishing I had had a good father is more accurate than saying I wish I hadn't had a father. But I believe that having another parent of either gender, who was a good parent, would have sufficed.

    I find it offensive to compare having same-sex parents to living in an orphanage or having divorced parents--both obviously negative things. You suggest that people parented by same-sex couples can be well-adjusted in SPITE of their parents, instead of because of them, and that simply isn't accurate. I wish you could meet the lesbian couple I know who have parented so many children from foster homes that no one else would take, and saw the tremendous amount of time and loving energy they put into caring for those children.

    I honestly don't think it makes a difference whether a child has a mother AND a father, as long as they have a loving stable home and good mentors. I'm not sure what you mean by the number two? Are you asking why gay people think two is the correct number of parents?

    I think every child deserves a stable loving home and that it is ideal for them to have that. The idea of "creating" motherless children "on purpose" is an odd concept to me. When same-sex couples adopt children what is being done "on purpose" is finding a home for children who need one.

    How often does it happen that a married heterosexual couple wants to adopt the same child as a same-sex couple? With all the children who need adopting isn't the important question how to find loving homes for as many of them as possible?

    I guess my question to you is this: if there are more children that need adopting than there are married heterosexual couples ready to adopt them (and there are) do you believe children should be left in orphanages or in the foster care system rather than be adopted by a same-sex couple who could offer them a safe and loving home?


  84. Sarah, a good orphanage (there have been good orphanages!) is not a "negative thing". But, it is not ideal. Divorce is definitely a negative thing, but many single parents have done a great job raising kids! Does this mean single parenting is ideal? Of course not. Given the choice between placing an infant with a married mother and father or with a gay couple, to me it's a no brainer. Why would anyone deliberately deny a child a mother or a father?

    You have strayed from my scenario. The one I referenced was where an infant has an equal chance of being placed with a mom and dad, or with a gay couple. The reader I spoke of (and others) think it's the same difference, and you might as well flip a coin. But that is saying that motherhood (or fatherhood) simply does not matter to a child. It's unimportant. Of course I disagree, as does the Church. A child needs a mother and a father.

    I understand you are talking about those older or hard-to-place foster kids who may only have a gay couple who will adopt. Personally, I think a single parent would be okay in that situation, but my moral beliefs would never allow me to place a child in a home with a lesbian couple or two male homosexuals. That is a blatantly sinful lifestyle, and I don't believe that is ever a healthy way for a child to grow up. I would not agree to a child being raised by a cohabiting couple, either, or polygamists. The foster care system is a mess, and the plight of children is tragic, I know. But what is happening now because of the gay agenda is actually hurting children, as the new gay marriage laws and civil union laws are forcing Christian foster care agencies to shut their doors, even after almost a hundred years of service in some cases. Read about that, here:

    How do these policies, driven by a political agenda, help children? Something very unsettling is going on here. And the children are certainly the last ones being considered.

    I'm guessing that you are not only in favor of foster kids finding homes with gay couples when no one else can be found, but that you are also in favor of gay couples adopting newborns (who could easily be placed with a mom and dad) and gay couples using artificial insemination and IVF or surrogacy to get babies? I want to make sure I know where you stand. Because in those latter cases, the idea of creating motherless or fatherless children is exactly what is happening. Do you support that?


  85. PS: And yes, I am asking why "two" is the correct number of parents.

    I would say that parents being a) heterosexual and b) "two" comes from the biological imperative. They go together.

    But why do you or anyone on the left think that "two" is the best number?

  86. Okay, Sarah,
    I won't say this as eloquently as Leila, but I'll take a stab at answering some of your comments. I do not doubt at all that the lesbian couple that you know does a wonderful job of loving and nurturing children. That goes back to the fact that there are differences in how men and women parent and women tend to be the "nurturers".
    Women tend to teach and to bring toys into play time while men tend to play in "rough-and-tumble" methods. Also, men are willing to allow children to experience more frustration in solving tasks while women are more likely to step in and "make it all better". In other words, there is nothing wrong with both methods but they complement each other.
    Have you ever had a man take care of you when you were sick? Yes, they can do a good job of it but it isn't the same when "mommy" does.
    Men and women aren't interchangeable - we are both necessary and valuable in raising our offspring. And that is just from an evolutionary perspective.
    If I bring in the added perspective of the Holy Family, and the gift that God gave to the world, then we are all missing out if we do not try to understand and follow that example and pass that gift on to our children.

  87. Thank you Leila and klh57.

    The number two makes sense to me because there are two people in a couple. I have not met anyone, of whatever gender, built a successful, long-term relationship with more than one person at a time. Raising children is something people want to do with a partner, rather than alone. So two is what makes sense.

    The short answer to your question about placing an infant with a mother and father or with a same-sex couple is that it doesn't matter. But the real answer is: it depends. There are SO many variables to consider aside from one's gender when evaluating who would be a good parent. What if the straight couple has a history of violence; what if the gay couple have disabilities that would make it hard to raise a child? There are an infinite number of variables to consider--so many that I think the question of "choosing" a straight or same-sex couple is really moot without more facts.

    The question about IVF and surrogacy is a difficult one for me because I have questions about anyone doing those things when there are so many children who need parents.

    What is blatantly sinful about homosexuality? You see, this is where the logic of the religious right, and the claims they make about being more compassionate than the left, break down for me. What is compassionate about denying children a home with caring parents? There is nothing logical or compassionate about that. It is not considering what is best for children to deny them the possibility of finding a stable and loving home.

    I know many children who are growing up with same-sex parents and it is very healthy situation for them. Raising children to judge and fear other people, on the other hand, is not healthy for them.

    My beliefs do not come from some theoretical morality but from what I actually know to be true in the world.

  88. Hi Sarah

    I was the one who made the original comment about "compensating for a loss and creating one." You can read my original comment if you scroll up a bit, but I will clarify what I mean.

    Let me reiterate this again and again because the message is not getting through. Mine and the Church's opposition to gay marriage/adoption is not an issue of PERFORMANCE, if performance alone were the issue you would have a valid point. The issue is that gay adoption, as well as IVF and surrogacy is depriving a child of something she needs, a vital element of her upbringing. A child *needs* both a mother and a father. They are not interchangeable, nor is gender difference negligeable. Parenting is a gendered task, nature designed it that way, not only in terms of conception but in terms of development. It's statistically observable that children who grow up with two loving opposite sex caregivers who are married and committed to one another, turn out better in every aspect of life, emotional, physical, relational, psychological, financial, across the board.

    Let me put it this way. We know that for human beings water is a vital element for human health. What if I were a person who simply felt no attraction to water and generally disliked the stuff, so instead of giving my little girl water I replaced it with grape soda. I could believe in my heart that grape soda was as good as water, that there was no real difference. And certainly, I'm not starving my little girl. I give her square meals prepared with nurturing and caring and love. However, how would depriving her of water in preference to grape soda affect her health over the long run? Would it contribute to issues with obesity or diabetes? would she develop a sugar addiction she couldn't shake? Would she have the same energy and verve as a girl who was given water to drink? Or would she be physically weakened by taking in unhealthy amounts of sugar over a long period of time?

    The argument that there are bad fathers and mothers out there is kind of like saying "some water is dirty and can give you dysentery" which is true, it doesn't follow, however, that because some water is dirty that water itself is unnecessary and that grape soda is a perfectly acceptable replacement.

    In my case, my opposition falls more on the IVF/Surrogacy cases than adoption. Adoption by gay couples at least attempts to help compensate for a loss in a child's life. Surrogacy and IVF is trying to create motherless and fatherless babies. Something I oppose much more.

  89. Thanks Barbara (intimate geography is harder to type, ha ha!)!! Well said.
    And to clarify, the scenario I was referring to about the infant was one I posed to another reader, not Barbara, but Barbara's points about purposeful motherlessness or fatherlessness stand.

    So, Sarah, if I read you right, the number "two" makes sense because a "couple" makes sense as parents. I agree. Because we know that it takes two parents (male/female) to make a child. You don't base it on that fact, though, right? You just think it makes sense and seems right. But you don't see that it "makes sense" that a child needs a father and a mother? See, that is where you lose me. How can one thing make sense and not the other? It seems totally common sensical that a child needs a mom and a dad. (The source of the instinct for the "two".)

    As for the adoption scenario: Of course I was assuming a homestudy had been done on the couples, and they are healthy and non-abusive. ;) All things being equal, who should get the infant? You say it doesn't matter. I say a child needs a mom and a dad. I say that motherhood matters. I say that fatherhood matters. That is where we disagree.

    As to why homosexuality is sinful. Wow, that hard to put in a combox. First, it's instinctive in us to know that putting certain body parts in other body parts (like a penis up a rectum…sorry) is something that makes us recoil. Unless we are desensitized to it. But there is instinctive repulsion there, as there should be. Homosexuality has always been seen as sinful by the orthodox of the major world religions. It's not as if the Catholic Church is the only one to teach it as disordered sexual behavior. It's been fairly universal. Even up till recently, the (secular) APA declared it to be disordered.

    From the Catholic perspective: Misuse of human sexuality is always a sin, and the only proper use of sex is within marriage -- in a committed lifelong relationship, where the babies that might result can be born into a stable home life. Sex is both unitive and procreative in nature. If we separate those two aspects, we get into all sorts of moral conundrums. I know you don't accept that sodomy is sin, so I don't expect you to accept what I am saying. However, even by the light of the natural law we can see that sex has a purpose. To find the truth of something, we ask, "What is the nature of a thing?" From there, we can see how the human body is designed to work and what the parts are for. To use them in ways that go against their design is never optimal. (Again, I'm not even speaking of the spiritual side of the misuse of sex.)

    Do you think the sexual organs can be misused?

  90. I would like to add one comment. Often times, people point out that heterosexual couples could be bad parents - violent or abusive. This is true of anyone in this world; however, in the issue of adoption, all couples are heavily screened. Adoption by its very nature is discriminatory in order to ensure the best situation for the child. Heterosexual married couples, even in the Christian world, do not get an automatic pass to adopt children just because they are married and heterosexual. There are many, many requirements in place to protect against violent or abusive adoptive parents. While there will be a few that slip through the cracks -- We live in an imperfect world -- there is never a "choice between a loving homosexual couple and a violent heterosexual couple". The known violent couple is not allowed to adopt period. Adoption agencies don't "choose" between those. They dismiss the "bad couple" regardless of any other options.

    Also keep in mind that, while most people can biologically have babies regardless of their worthiness as parents, adoption does not allow anyone capable of bearing biological children the option of adoptive children. Adoption requirements are far stricter than nature's requirements precisely to protect the child. There is a loss and now greater care must be taken in compensating for the loss of biological parents. Adoption is not a "right" granted to anyone. They must prove themselves worthy, and the interest of the child does come first. The nature of a couple's relationship is part of this.

  91. Leila, I agree that prayer is the answer for you - prayer about what path to follow in your blog (I do like the "no comments" option, too, if you need it!) and prayer for the people you engage who have lost of sense of sin. We know their loss is more than the loss of basic understanding of right and wrong. It is a terrible loss to deny God, whether they recognize that loss or not.

    I value your blog, Leila, and when you took your Advent break I did not come across one that had quite the same flavor as yours. The discussions just weren't the same. The only problem I have is that I don't have nearly the time to keep up with the comments as I'd like. Just this morning I set the timer so I wouldn't stay here too long, but the drive to get to that last comment just "made" me toss the timer aside when it went off! I learn a lot here about how some liberals think, about how to recognize a bad argument, about how to be kind while discussing contentious issues. You are fighting against powers and principalities, though, and that is bound to get tiring. I'll offer up today's Communion for you, Leila!

    I know your blogs comments do run off in many tangents and I just can't resist asking one question of Maizeke. When does a life go from being "potential" to being "actual"? I know you like to take a scientific perspective so I'd appreciate seeing where in science that distinction can be made.

  92. I actually disagree that most liberals think there are no differences between a child being raised by a mother and a father versus two gays parents. Obviously there are some people who think way but I do think most liberals deep down think a mother and father is ideal.

    The point is that very few children are raised in the ideal. 40% of white children are born to unmarried parents, 70% of black children are. And half of all marriages end in divorce. That doesn’t even include the families ravaged by abuse, or children raised by emotionally distant parents.

    No one is really raised in a two-parent household anymore. Which is why I think homosexual parenting has emerged as such an appealing option. Because the ideal, has transformed into a fantasy, and reality has shown us that if you have two moms or two dads who treat you right you’re a hell of a lot better off than most of your peers. The fact that homosexual parenting is even an option is the fault of a lapse of heterosexual parenting.

    ~College Student

  93. Furthermore, it is horribly hypocritical to chastise gays for trying having children even if it is not 100% in the children’s interest. People have children (often prompted by their religions) whenever they FEEL like it. Women on this blog have talked about how they want to get pregnant even though they are dirt poor. Single women with little resources are still encouraged to keep their babies if they WANT them, even if it would be better for the child to go to an adoptive couple. When you want to have children, society accepts that your desires often supersedes what is ‘100% best for the child’

    As for IVF and Surrogacy, gay people are using these methods just to keep things kosher. Like us, homosexuals have genitals. They can pick a random person of the opposite sex to procreate, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper. We don’t give gay people the permission to have babies. We just make it more difficult for them to have families.

    ~College Student

  94. College student, none of that addresses whether or not it's right to do those things (have a baby out of wedlock, divorce, making babies in a lab/leaving them fatherless because gay people cannot -- due to biological imperative -- create children together).

    Married people having babies together is what married people do. Of course they can have babies when they "feel" like it, because they are married, and in a position to do so. That's what sex does: Makes babies. That is why sex is to be used only in marriage.

    Come back to the point: What is right and what is wrong. No one has ever posited that having babies in wedlock is a moral evil! Of course that's the moral way to have babies! Even you say it's ideal. No brainer.

    This idea that since everyone does immoral things and everyone is divorced then it's suddenly "okay" to do "less ideal" things because we "want to" is simply bizarre. That is now how we morally reason.

    Moral reasoning 101: Is the act moral, is the circumstance moral, and is the end moral? If one or more of those are immoral, then you may not do the act. Of course, people do immoral things all the time, but it doesn't make it right.

    Where are the principles that are in play in your worldview of what you have described above? "We do what we want, as long as other people are doing bad things, too"?

    And you will find that people on this blog will not RIP a child from a single mother if she chooses to parent, but that does not in any way mean that she would not be encouraged to place the baby for adoption. We are all about adoption on these blogs (check my blog roll).


  95. *oops! Meant to say: "That is NOT how we morally reason.

  96. Leila,

    I thought we were talking about laws not morals. Laws are absolutely based on fairness and equality, as well as tangible application.

    Legally you have a right to have as many babies as you can squeeze out. You need not be married, or straight. If you feel like having a baby and your body can produce one, and you find a willing partner, you're good to go. No one gives you this right you just have it.

    "No one has ever posited that having babies in wedlock is a moral evil!"

    Yet it is not always best for the child. Your marriage certificate doesnt make u stellar parents. You have a baby because you feel like it' Just as a gay or single person might do. Everything being equal, I think a perfect married couple is better than a perfect gay couple. But I also think a perfect gay couple is better than an average straight couple.

    This idea that since everyone does immoral things and everyone is divorced then it's suddenly "okay" to do "less ideal" things because we "want to" is simply bizarre.

    Holding one group of people to a super-high standard that another group is not held to is discrimination under the law. Nothing bizzare about it.

    ~College Student

  97. Leila,

    I hope I read this wrong. You don't actually encourage young single mothers who want to parent to give their babies up for adoption do you?

    Sorry but thats sick.

    ~College Student

  98. Hi Leila, etc. I'm sorry, I can't remember the names of various people who made comments I want to respond to.

    But I object to the comparison of gay parents to "grape soda." Grape soda is actually BAD for children--they would be very unhealthy if they only drank grape soda and no water. Having gay parents is definitely not unhealthy for children, even if you believe having straight parents would be better.

    And to you question Leila, as to how the policies of gay adoption are helping children--I'd say that they help children because they make more loving homes available to adopt children.

    And to your question, can sexual organs be misused? Definitely they can, anytime they are used in harmful ways--such as rape, coercion, or infidelity. In Buddhism one of the five "precepts" we take is not to engage in "sexual misconduct"--which means not using our sexuality in ways that will cause harm.

  99. Aww... you think I'm thoughtful? I think you're thoughtful, too!

    I'm the "dark-sider" that said that gay couples can parent just well as straight ones. And while I'm tempted to jump back into that debate, I'd rather help you rejuvenate and refresh. Because I don't want to take away anyone's peace or joy.

    So, think about good stuff, Leila, and try to remember that all of us on here are trying to do good and figure out what's right, even when we disagree with you.

    Hope your new year is going well!


  100. college student, here is what you said:

    "Single women with little resources are still encouraged to keep their babies if they WANT them, even if it would be better for the child to go to an adoptive couple."

    To clarify my response: Adoption to stable, married parents is always seen as a good option for a baby born out of wedlock. Any woman who is considering such a selfless option for her child would certainly receive encouragement from Catholics who help with crisis pregnancies.

    Does that seem less "sick"?

    "Sick" to me is probably more along the lines of the 64% of abortions that are coerced on women in this nation, who then live with the memory of their dead baby. Now, that is truly sick.

    All laws are based on someone's morality. But mostly when I speak with you, I am talking about morality specifically, even over and above what the law might say. My understanding is that laws should be based on what is just. Justice, not some leftist sense of "equality". For example, if you all really wanted marriage "equality" (for real, not just as a slogan), you would not discriminate against polygamists, siblings or children getting married. But in reality, you don't want marriage equality for all, you just want gays to be able to marry, since that is the newest victim class, and victim status advances the left's agenda. If that weren't the case, you would be open to everyone and anyone getting "married". That's what "equality" means.

    But justice, that's another thing. The justice in the case of adoption is for the child, first and foremost. And deliberately depriving a child of a mother or a father is unjust from the get go.


  101. Thank you, Frank! Happy New Year to you, too! And remember: You identify as a Christian. If you are a Christian, then you know that ours is a revealed religion, so you don't need to struggle to "figure out what is right" on these issues. No need to reinvent the wheel. The Church has been teaching the same truth since Christ founded His Church, and will never change a jot of the moral law. So, the truth is already known, you simply have to submit to it and live it, as a Christian. Blessings!

  102. Sarah, thanks! So, are promiscuity and sodomy seen as good ways to use sex organs according to the tenets of Buddhism?

    Also, Planned Parenthood has said a lot about sexual rights of children:

    (Specifically point #2 in the post)

    What does Buddhism say about such things? I thought orthodox Buddhism was much more traditional than what you are describing, but I'm no expert on it.

    It was Barbara at intimate geography (a former avowed leftist academic) who used that analogy about the grape juice. Of course you wouldn't agree with the analogy because you don't think that homosexuality is harmful at all.


  103. Leila

    I think promiscuity almost always results in harm. And as far as sodomy goes, it depends on the circumstances. Buddhism (that I am familiar with) doesn't specify ACTS, it talks about HARM. Even sexual acts that you deem normal--such as heterosexual intercourse, can be extremely harmful if it is forced on someone.

    I am not familiar with the discussion of sexual rights of children and right now don't have the energy to read about it.


  104. I appreciate your honest answers, Sarah, I really do.

    I am just surprised that you worked for and support Planned Parenthood, as they are totally fine with casual sex. And the stuff on child sex, I should clarify, is from International Planned Parenthood. However, the domestic PP also has much on the record about casual sex (even for school kids) and that it is very good, as long as people "consent".

    I also want someone, some day, to define "harm" for me the way it's used by the left.

    I understand about not having the energy. I hear ya.


  105. Even sexual acts that you deem normal--such as heterosexual intercourse, can be extremely harmful if it is forced on someone.

    And no, neither I nor the Church would deem forceable heterosexual sex (i.e., rape!) "normal". We would say it's gravely sinful.

  106. I worked at PP for many years and there was never a philosophy that casual sex was "fine." What we believed was that we could not stop the world from engaging in whatever kind of sex they were going to engage in (though we tried. Good luck trying to talk a teenager, bent on having sex, into abstinence--never worked for me) but in the meantime we hoped to prevent as many as possible from getting STDs and getting pregnant when that wasnt' what they wanted. Having a nonjudgmental attitude ensured that young people would feel safe coming there and using PPs services, thereby getting themselves into less trouble than they would otherwise.

  107. I didn't mean to imply that you would say rape was normal--but the act of intercourse is normal. My point is that defining particular acts as harmful or not does not make as much sense to me as avoiding harm, whatever acts you participate in.

  108. Just to add a little bit Sarah, you make a good point about trying to talk to teens about abstinence. It's very difficult (I'm a youth minister- I know from the front lines!) However, I will say that the teaching of *chastity,* which is SO MUCH more than "just say no" is far more beautiful and comprehensive and understandable. In my program we approach chastity from the angle of the innate dignity of the person, and that all persons are called to be chaste (because chastity is not the same as celibacy, and all are called to be chaste for their state in life). It is far more meaningful to teach teens about why their inherent dignity as children of God matters, rather than just "don't do it because nice Christian girls shouldn't have sex" (which was basically what I was taught growing up).

  109. Thank you, Maggie. What you're saying makes sense.

  110. I just read your post but none of the 111 comments (wow!). I have often wondered how you and some other bloggers were able to do what you do. I can't read all the comments that people have to blogs because they can be quite upsetting! And it amazes me how you and other bloggers seem to read all the comments and add additional comments. God bless you! It must definitely take a special kind of person. I am not that special kind of person but I can appreciate someone who is!

  111. I totally understand! Sometimes the words don't come. Sometimes Satan is a nasty little jerk and just attacks our ability or our willingness or our readiness to write. Tell him where to go! Take time to recover your own heart, to rest it in the hands of the Lord and go from there. I'm praying for you!


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