Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quick Takes, and my second blog...

1) Yes, I've gone and done it. I can't turn the Bubble into an orphan advocacy blog as it has a whole different purpose, so I just started a new one, ha ha! Now, I have two blogs, with different foci. Yes, I just used the word "foci"! If you are following the children on Reece's Rainbow as closely as I am, you will want to join me over at:

I think it looks sharp, if I do say so myself! Although I do use way too many exclamation points there, I have noticed. Hmmmm.

2) Speaking of orphans, there is one less orphan in the world today, as Malcolm has a family! After the wildly successful "Malcolm Monday" blogger blitz that brought in $7,000, a wonderful family was able to formally commit to making Malcolm their son!

You can follow the story of Malcolm's adoption, here:

The Smiths still have a long way to go to reach the final amount, but lots of us are trying to get creative, and we won't rest until Malcolm gets all the way home.

Meanwhile, here are the results of the giveaway drawing: I numbered each entry and then, with my honest husband as a witness, activated an online random number generator that picked our winner, A.H.! She is a non-blogger who made a donation to Malcolm's fund. Enjoy the book, A.H.!

3) Pretty darn sure you guys and the push for Malcolm and the orphans were a part of what Simcha Fisher refers to in this excellent piece:

Check it out and see what I mean. Also, you will enjoy the way she schools the self-congratulatory pro-"choice" chap on facebook who, unlike us nasty pro-lifers, "cares about children after they are born." (Never heard that one before, ha ha.)

4) I am honored to count Nik Nikas and Dorinda Bordlee, pro-life attorneys at the Bioethics Defense Fund, as close family friends.

Dorinda and Nik at the Supreme Court this week.

I love these two madly (and I don't usually say that about attorneys). They are heroes in the culture war, and trust me, they have your back, doing work that would make you stand and cheer. This week they were right there at the Supreme Court as the Obamacare law was argued, and their National Review Online article gives you information you won't find anywhere else. Please, educate yourselves on the implications of this horrid law, and how "the dirty little secret of this unconstitutional scheme is that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of your private insurance dollars":

Pray that this monstrosity of a law, which is anti-Catholic (it's the basis for the HHS mandate) and anti-life, will go down in flames.

5) If anyone needs a good article clarifying why women cannot be priests, Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a great explanation here:

I love how he cuts to the chase:

Those who argue for women’s ordination usually do so using three forms of argumentation: 1. Utilitarianism 2. Sentimentalism  3. Civil Rights. 
The utilitarian argument goes like this: “Jane can do the job just as well–and better than a man. She has a degree in theology. She’s a great preacher. She is a sensitive pastor and a good servant of the Lord. Women have shown that they can do any job as well as a man. We need good priests. These women would be great priests." 
The sentimental argument goes like this, “Sally is such a nice person. She is so loving and funny and kind and good. How can you be so cruel and unkind not to let her be a priest! It is so unfair and so hurtful. Sally’s mother was a pillar of the church and she’s such a good Christian woman. How can you hurt her like this? Don’t you know what pain you’re causing?” 
The civil rights argument is simple: “Women and men are equal. You’re discriminating against women by denying them. By denying them ordination you’re treating them as second class citizens.”
These argument can be part of the greater discussion, but they don’t have much weight in the Catholic Church, because the Catholic Church works from a different premise to start with. We begin with theology and the truth of the theology governs all other decisions. Practical and sentimental and civil rights questions –while important in civil society – are very low in priority when making decisions within the Catholic Church.
Read it all, here.

6) Best news ever! My sister had her long-anticipated surgery on Wednesday, and she has no cancer. I think you can imagine the relief we feel, after the most bizarre and agonizing misdiagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer, which has an average survival rate of four months. I have a depth of compassion for anyone who hears those horrible words that I could not have had otherwise. And that's all I am going to say about that, because I am still processing. Please know how profoundly grateful she and I are for all of your prayers. The love and support has been overwhelming, and the grace of God palpable.

7) We are heading into Holy Week in a matter of days, guys! Oh, how the soul craves Holy Week. Growing up, I didn't really partake in any of the Holy Week liturgies, and now I soak them up like a sponge. Or, like a thirsty man in the desert grabbing hold of a clear, cool glass of water. Pure, clear, simple, life-saving. Does that make any sense? Anyway, I think you know what I mean. And if you don't, then you need to become Catholic and see. ;)

(Yes, I'm publishing on a Thursday, but it's Friday already where Jen, our host, resides!)



  1. Leila,
    So thrilled to hear the fantastic news about your sister!!! What relief! Cancer is a horrid disease. I'd dare say it's going to be considered the plague of our time one day. Thanking God today for your blessing!Happy Friday!!

  2. That's HUGE about your sister! My goodness! WTH, that is sure a rather horrible misdiagnosis?!?! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!


    Your new blog is SO pretty!

    So happy for your sister. I hope to meet her someday!


  4. Thanks be to God for your sister's results!

    Hoping your Holy Week is truly peaceful, truly inspired, truly blessed.

  5. How horrifying to get a misdiagnosis like that! And praise God for answered prayers!

    from a woman happy not to be a Catholic priest

  6. As a mother of a child with Down syndrome, I can't tell you how much Reece's Rainbow makes me happy. :)

  7. "We begin with theology and the truth of the theology governs all other decisions."

    What exactly does this mean? Thanks.

    1. Put simply, it means that God's law and design guides all of our actions and decisions. We conform our will to God's, not the other way around. God, and theological truth, is always first. Hope that helps!

    2. And, just to be clear, as Father said, we don't expect you to accept or understand that, as a non-Catholic, non-Christian (I think you are an atheist? I'm sorry I can't remember). At this point in our post-Christian, "equality-of-outcome"-based culture, it has become so foreign to the modern American mind. We only ask that you respect our beliefs and theology, which will not change.

  8. I am not an atheist. A Buddhist.
    How do you determine what God's will is? Thanks.

  9. And I'm curious why you say we have a "post-Christian" culture? Seems like the evangelicals control the Republican party.

  10. Johanne, I hope you don't mind but I will try to look up what I already wrote to you on another post about how we know what is true. I think I answered that earlier, and said some good stuff that my brain is probably too tired to repeat. :)

    So, give me a day or so (unless I find it easily). Thanks!

    "Post-Christian" because we long ago (well, in the '60s, with the sexual revolution) jettisoned traditional morality in favor of "I have my truth, you have yours". A philosophy that is incompatible with Christian truth. Now, we do not share the same values, and we do not look to God as we used to. We are "deconstructing", by secular design.

    Who controls the Democratic Party?

  11. Also, forgive me, but isn't it true that Buddhism does not ascribe to a deity? Isn't it a philosophy, not a God-centered religion? I guess I am asking if you believe in God. Buddhists don't have to, correct?

  12. Here's something I found from earlier:

    Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble has left a new comment on your post
    "Here's the almost-L.A.Times article...":

    Johanne, you said: "This is off-topic but I have a question. Recently you said to someone (can't remember who) that one should not come to religion our of "feelings" but rather what is true. I'm curious about how ones comes to discern what is true, if not by a certain amount of emotional resonance? Is it just an intellectual exercise? How do you know what "truth" is?

    Most of the people I know who have converted to Christianity (rather than being born into it) describe it as an intensely emotional experience.


    Johanne, thanks for the question! This is a short, inadequate response. First, truth is not determined by feelings and emotions alone, as you can imagine. For example, an adulterer may "feel" very strongly that he and his mistress's affair is "good" (even the highest "good" he's ever known) because of how the affair makes him feel. But objectively, that affair is wrong, harmful and morally evil. So, subjectively, we may feel a rush of good emotions about something evil that we are doing. Remember back when Woody Allen had his affair with his girlfriend's daughter, whom he had watched grow up, as a daughter-figure? He said about this harmful, ugly, pseudo-incestuous affair: "The heart wants what it wants." That --those feelings -- is how he justified his evil actions. (I used theological terms here: "Evil" means "morally wrong".)

    Can good feelings accompany the truth? Of course! We often have good and blissful feelings that accompany truth and good acts. This is true of many (but not all!) people's conversion to Christ. Those moments of grace can be accompanied by great consolations and high emotion. But the good feelings are not the determiner of what is good and true. And one can have a true and lasting conversion without any of those "feelings".

    To be continued….

  13. I continued:

    How do we get truth, then? Well, truth is from God, ultimately. He is the only Truth, and the only arbiter of Truth. Truth is both directly revealed by God (Christianity is a revealed religion… we believe God directly revealed His truth to the world, through the Prophets, through the Scriptures, through His Son who became incarnate, and now through the Church that Jesus founded), and it is also written on every human heart (natural law, the human conscience). It can be found by everyone who is seeking.

    We seek truth (that is what we are supposed to do in this life) and when we find it, we are to conform our lives to it (not the other way around). Sometimes truth costs us dearly. Sometimes truth is so uncomfortable that it can cost us everything, even our very lives (the martyrs). So, truth does not always "feel good" but it's always worth it.

    So, we can know truth through revelation (some truths can only be known through revelation), and through human reason. Reason and intellect are VERY important to Catholics. We don't see any conflict between faith and reason, at all. (Some Protestants do see a conflict between faith and reason.) But the intellectual patrimony/thinkers of the Church are incredibly important to us. (Augustine, Pascal, Aquinas, Chesterton, etc.) Catholics founded the university system, after all. ;)

    If you are truly interested in this subject, and how to find truth (because emotions change and fluctuate a million times a day… they, on their own, cannot lead you to anything but confusion), start with C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. I'd tell you to read Thomas Aquinas, but he goes over my head, ha ha.

    Also, please read this:

    And this:

    And to understand more about natural law (the universal moral law that is written on all of our hearts), read this:

    Of course there is a lot more, but this is a good starting point.

    Does that help to answer your question? If not, let me know and I will try again.


    Hope that answers the question? I am sort of equating your question about "how do you know God's will" to "how do you know what is true?"

    If it's a separate question, let me know and I will try again!

  14. And then I found this:

    Johanne said: "But on what do you base the premise that The Catholic Church alone defends "all" that is good and true. How do you know that? Or do you just feel it? I'm really curious."

    Leila answered: We base it on the promise of Christ, who is Truth. He is God. He rose from the dead (see this post: ). He has kept His promise that He would lead His Church into all truth. There is no part of the moral law which has been reversed in 2,000 years of Church teaching. That alone should make you take notice, considering some of the foolish and even evil men who have been Pope throughout the millennia (many more were holy, praise God, but none touched the teachings… because they cannot). It can only be that the Church is guided supernaturally to hold steady and strong.

    You mention that Buddhism has been around longer. But Buddhism is not about God. Buddha himself never claimed to be God, as Jesus did. And Buddhism has certainly changed over the years to reflect different moralities, no? The oldest standing institution in the world is the Papacy (heading the same Catholic Church). She has outlived every empire, and she is still vibrant and real. She still has not changed her Deposit of Faith. She is the largest charity on earth and hold the very highest morality on earth as well. She has a catalogue of saints (truly holy, heroically virtuous saints) that would make our heads spin (thousands are canonized, many millions of whom are not). And the connections between members of the Body of Christ are unreal: The centuries melt away when I read the Early Church Fathers, who are writing of the same (the same Catholic Faith that we Catholics hold today. It's like we could pick up the conversation as if we were simply siblings who hadn't seen each other for a while. We share the same sacraments, the same morality, the same Church structure and hierarchy, the same Creed, the same understanding of God and man, the Fall, the Redemption, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Mary, the Saints, etc., etc., etc. And all base on the Death, Resurrection and promises of one Man: Jesus Christ, who is the center of everything human and divine. He made everything, He redeemed everything and His Cross stands in the center of all history. (Secularists can't even get away from that as every time they put a date on their checks or papers, they acknowledge the Year of Our Lord. He is all in all.

    I am sorry to go on, and I am sure that is not coherent, as I am just letting my fingers fly, but I do recommend that you start investigating Christ's claims. He came for you, too, Johanne. He made you, He loves you and He wants you back. If you read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, that's a good start to find out who this Jesus fellow is….


  15. Wow.. Amazing news about your sister! Praise God! And I love the new blog!!

  16. I'm so impressed that you retraced all those comments. Thank you! My recent question felt a little different, but really it all comes down to what you have already said.

    And yes, I do believe in God, though not all Buddhists do.

    And in answer to your question, I don't think anyone "controls" the Democratic party. I think Democratic ideas are along a larger spectrum than Republican, which is why Democrats have more internal conflicts and inconsistency of platforms.

  17. Thanks, Johanne!

    I would say that most conservative Republicans I know don't think that we have any real control over the Republican Party. Most of us are disgusted with the Republican Party most of the time. They are weak, they roll over constantly, and they are big spenders and they often don't pay attention to social issues anymore. So, we may have similar thoughts, but on different sides, ha ha.

    Do you think that Planned Parenthood holds particular sway over the Democratic Party? I can't imagine why else they would have dramatically changed the wording from "safe, legal and rare" in the platform, regarding abortion, to "safe and legal" (dropping the "rare", which is shocking and not mainstream at all - can only have come from the extremists).



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