Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quick Takes: The Planned Parenthood/Roe v. Wade edition

As we approach the 40th anniversary of the shameful Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationally through all nine months of pregnancy, it seems appropriate to talk about our old foe, Planned Parenthood, the entity that commits more abortions in this nation than any other.

1) It was  banner year for Planned Parenthood, both in abortions (333,964 actual human lives snuffed out [roughly a third of the national total], not counting the occasional dead mother) and in taxpayer subsidies (542 million of our dollars, which is 45% of PP's annual revenue). I guess you could say that PP made a killing, both literally and figuratively.

2) This organization that kills unborn children as its bread and butter knows that the more casual the sex, the more partners had, and the younger the client, the better it is for its fiscal bottom line. In that vein, is it any wonder that this business promotes depraved and degrading activities for Americans to become even more sexually dysfunctional? Check it out:

If you can't wrap your mind around this, just remember that in sexual matters, the secular left generally sees "consent" as the sole criterion of the good.

3) Now, this organization that receives hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars each year (and is beloved by and symbiotic with our president, Mr. Obama) does not only kill children, harm women, and push sadomasochistic sex as "fun", it also encourages youngsters to embrace the term "slut" and be proud of it. This video appears on Planned Parenthood's "Info for Teens" facebook page:

Makes me wonder, though. If being a slut is a "positive", and if wearing the label is to be celebrated (we are to "embrace" our inner slut!), then why was the sexual left so mad at Rush Limbaugh for calling Sandra Fluke a slut? I'm seriously asking. Obama called Fluke to soothe her wounds after being called the name, yet his favorite organization, PP, airs a video that teaches young girls to aspire to the name. Any thoughts?

4) Logic. Logic. Logic. We are conceived, we grow, we grow some more, then eventually we die. Some of us die before we are born, some shorty after, some many years after. We are the same person from beginning to end.

In other words:

Logic. Logic. Logic.

We don't kill innocent human beings. Period.

5) Abortion in America is based on lies, including the claim that the plaintiff "Jane Roe" (Norma McCorvey, now pro-life and a devout Catholic) was raped and impregnated. She was, in fact, not raped, so the case was built on a lie from the get-go. Roe's companion case, Doe v. Bolton? That was also based on a lie. Read here.

And the lies from the abortion advocates keep coming to this day: The unborn are not human beings. Abortion is safe for women (I cannot bring myself to link to the recent autopsy photos of 18-year-old Marla Cardamone, killed by abortion along with her son). Women were dying at the rate of 10,000 a year from "back alley" abortions before Roe v. Wade. Abortion clinics are "beautiful, immaculate, clean". Planned Parenthood is all about providing women's health services and screenings, not mostly about performing abortions.

Lies, lies, lies.

We know from Jesus that Satan himself is the "father of lies" and "a murderer from the beginning."  (John 8:44)

6) Forty years of violence for the unborn of America. 55 million dead babies. One-third of the people who should be here, wiped out. My eighteen-year-old daughter surprised me the other day by suddenly saying, "Hey Mom, you were born before abortion was legal!" She hadn't pondered that before, that all my peers are pretty much accounted for. "Yep," I said, "My generation missed it by just a few years." Not a lot of carnage in the womb back then, as the womb was a safe and sacred place to dwell, as it should be. And then I was sad, realizing that she has always lived in a world where a third of her peers are missing.

That realization is a big reason why the pro-life movement is made up of so many young people.

 7) All human life is sacred. All children are precious.

Simon has only until this October to be adopted, or else he loses his chance for a family.

Click my photo for more information!

From someone who met him in 2012:

Simon was so bright, he is amazing! He has great potential and has expressed his desire for a family. He loves gadgets and computers is a typical boy like that! He managed to get into my camera bag (even though it was high on a cupboard) and took my mobile phone apart!  He was truly mortified when he couldn’t get it back together and was so sorry…he came straight to me very shamefaced and repentant.

He cannot walk at all; he does not feel his legs and they are very wasted, but he gets around brilliantly in his wheel chair. He talks and is picking up English and draws and writes. 

Please spread the word about Simon's need for a family. And please, spare a prayer for him.


Thanks to wonderful Jen for hosting. As you probably know, Jen has been suffering through a horrendous and life-threatening battle against multiple pulmonary embolisms brought about by her sixth pregnancy and her underlying blood clotting condition.

I rushed through a recent post (her birthday post!) and really liked it. However, when I went back later to read it more slowly, it hit me like a ton of bricks that this was not just a good post, but a great one, with a spiritual insight so profound it will knock your socks off if you allow it to penetrate your heart.

Please, do yourself a favor and read it -- slowly. Let it sink in. Don't just skim it like I did the first time. It's amazing:

Have a great weekend!



  1. Good point about the PP video on embracing your inner "slut" and Sandra Fluke. It is a disconnect in logic in our society and educational system. Children are not taught to think in school anymore and by the time you study logic and rational you are in college, where even those classes are run based on agendas. I am not speaking of all schools just the ones that I have experienced.

  2. "embrace" your inner slut

    LOL- way to shoot for the stars! Be all you can be!

    Can these women please embrace their own inner slut without my dollars?

  3. Kat, well said, and how sad. Nubby, exactly. Why do I have to subsidize any of it? Madness! Johanne, thanks, but to clarify, it was Jen's birthday! Sadly, mine is approaching soon enough, ha ha.

  4. So sad, thank-you for all the links, I'm going to read them after my children go to bed.

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  6. Hi Ashley! Two things strike me as I read your blog. First, I wonder if you might suffer from scrupulosity? That is a very painful, really excruciating thing:

    Also, I know faithful Catholics who are libertarian, and it's not a big issue at least in my "bubble" of folks here. In fact, I have often criticized the idiocy and weakness of the hapless Republicans (both on my blog and my facebook; and in real life). The Church transcends any political party, and I can't think of any Catholic I know who is happy with the Republicans. I know I'm not. However, I vote for them instead of third party candidates for practical reasons.

    The only thing you need to remember about being a Catholic in the public square is the non-negotiables:

    Please don't allow earthly American politics (and what other people think about you) influence your love for or adherence to the universal Church that the Lord founded for you and all. That would be a tragedy.

    When Jesus, in John chapter 6, told the disciples repeatedly that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood (the Eucharist), many left him in confusion or disgust. He asked Peter simply: "Will you, too, go away?" Peter was bewildered by Christ's earlier words, but responded with the beautiful truth: "To whom shall we go, Lord? You have the words to eternal life."

  7. Ashley, I just now noticed your "about me" and I see that you became an atheist quite a bit ago. That is more than just leaving the Church because of politics, which is what I thought you had done originally. I imagine it must be very hard on your family (husband, children) to have this complete change in their wife/mom. I will pray for them and you, and I am very sorry.

    I wonder if you could tell us your husband's reaction and your children's? I know if that happened here, it would be like a different person had just occupied the body of their wife and mother. Earthshaking disorientation would not begin to describe it. There would be a lot of devastation. It makes me terribly sad to imagine the impact on my family if I rejected not only the Church but God himself.

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  9. Ashley, let me just ask, to be clear: Are you saying that sinners in the Church have made you doubt the Truth of Jesus' resurrection? There have always been grave sinners in the Church.

    As Catholics, the evidence of her holiness is in her saints. They are a shining beacon, and their lives are a testament to the Truths that we believe. If you are looking for an example of the Faith lived, you look to the saints.

    And even if every last Catholic you came across were a grave sinner, how would that discount the Deposit of Faith? If anything, that would confirm the Church's teachings on the corrosiveness of sin, and the tragedy of the lack of virtue in her members.

    See, it's just how my mind works, but to me, a thing is true or not, and we don't base our beliefs on whether or not someone in our life is a sinner (because everyone is a sinner) or on the quality of a homily. We keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, and on His words, and we stay close to the sacraments. As to the sinners? We love them. But ultimately, we are not responsible for their actions, but only for our own response to God.

    So, your belief that God does not exist came because …. ? People are sinners? Again, help me with the logic of it. What was the actual evidence for you that God does not exist?

    I cannot imagine the devastation of your husband. Truly I cannot.

    Thanks for the correction on the dates, that makes more sense! Many blessings to you.

  10. Ashley, I must echo Leila's confusion.

    I have blamed all the evil people on humanity, but at some point the Church has to take responsibility for not transforming people in the way it says it can.

    Have you ever heard of the Saints? Talk about transformations! Read The Confessions of St. Augustine sometime.

    Here's the thing. People have free will. As you very well know, people can voluntarily choose to turn away from the Church.

    How is the Church supposed to transform you, or anyone, if you won't cooperate with the gifts She gives you?

  11. Ashley, just to clarify further. You talk of "praise and worship"-style music, the quality of homilies, the personal behavior of others, etc. Is it possible that your faith has been emotion-based or feelings-based, primarily? If so, then it does not surprise me that you would leave eventually, as soon as the feelings fade. Emotions and feelings change daily, and we can't base truth on those. If we do, we have built our house on shifting sand.

    Does your husband have a good support system? I am devastated for him, and I don't even know him. If my husband suddenly became an atheist, and jettisoned all the foundations that our marriage had been built upon, I would feel like I was married to a complete stranger. It would be that jarring, and that cataclysmic. I pray he has a good group of people to lean on and talk to.

    1. Just to be clear it I wasn't emotional based, but entire life consuming based. I'll write more later.

    2. Thankfully my husband does have support systems. Also, we are speaking a lot and staying open. Luckily, I do know Catholic teaching and that the Church is not opposed to "mixed marriages", today anyways.

      But, I would like to challenge you on something. You said that if your husband lost faith
      " I would feel like I was married to a complete stranger. It would be that jarring, and that cataclysmic. "

      Can you imagine what you would experience if your faith was lost without your choosing it? I am a rational person and I just couldn't keep walking in faith. I held on and held on out of love for Christ alone. Against reason. Allowing myself to let it go was devastating to myself. My entire world view I have completely held on to for dear life for 18 years had to be allowed to shift. I had to admit, perhaps I was wrong.

      Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts.
      I am going to continue to post on my blog different thoughts if you care to stop by sometime in the future and talk further. I do appreciate your prayers... maybe they will work?

  12. Ashley, I'm going to speak to you here - where Leila knows me well. She knows the depths that I have been to and how each day is difficult for me. Since your degree is in Theology, then I am in your husband's place - my "adopted" son calls me St. Monica - whatever good that does for me!

    Please, whether you believe in it or not, start praying St. Michael's prayer for you and for your entire family! I will be praying for all of you! You are experiencing spiritual warfare at its finest. You have been doing exactly what you were supposed to be doing - and you have been worn down because you don't have the support system that you need!

    I won't go into all of our story here - but the closer our entire family was coming to God - and as my girls became more Orthodox in their views - little did I know that Satan had found his weak link in my husband. His co-workers started sending him "harmless" little links to "soft" porn which he hid from me - which led to chatting to other women on-line - which led to him thinking that he was "rescuing" a girl from the "sex trade" by sending her money and he was hooked. I've lost him. He goes through the motions of his Catholic faith - singing in church on Sundays (he used to teach CCD with me)and he has walked out - traveled to a foreign country to meet up with the "girl" (same age as our daughter) - and we're still married because he knows that I'll never give him an annulment and he's afraid of totally losing his standing in our community and his daughters.

    My sins that he said I've committed: I'm too old, too fat, too lazy (depressed), and too Catholic. He said he no longer follows the same moral compass but that these girls have absolutely nothing with the destruction of our marriage. I was praying the St. Michael's prayer for me - little did I think that I needed to be praying for him!

    You're not out of sync - you're just not in a truly orthodox community. We can help you find one - don't despair.

    And, by the way, the only reason the rest of us are voting Republican is because if we all voted Libertarian then there would have been no hope of trying to get Obama out of office! We have to vote pro-life and we'll take it any way we can get it! If you need a prayer partner I am here!

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  13. Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle.
    Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
    and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
    by the Divine Power of God -
    cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
    who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

  14. but at some point the Church has to take responsibility for not transforming people in the way it says it can

    1) The Church isn't 'responsible for transforming people'.
    That job is solely a cooperation of two parties: the Holy Spirit + a willing person's heart.
    The Church passes along Truth, evangelizes the world with Christ's message, and provides sacraments for the life of the Church members.
    It's the Spirit who calls, invites, and who transforms the individual.

    2) I understand your frustration, but at the end of the day, it matters not how many jerks you feel surrounded by, or how exasperated you are with the interior life of the Church.
    It matters that you believe the Church holds the Truth of Christ, preserves it, and gives it to the world.
    It matters that you want to respond to that. It matters that you will yourself to respond to it.
    Do you believe in the Truth of the Church, and do you want to respond to that in service or love in whatever small way?

    3) As for "there not being any explanation of life". Try starting with some good easy philosophy and physics. Plenty of evidence or "proofs" exist for there being not only a God, but the Christian God.

    4) If you're dissatisfied or discouraged, it happens. But making the leap from Catholic to non-believer, simply because the preaching is weak, or because you see people not walking the holy walk 100% of the time isn't a logical move to make. It's an emotional one. God gave you an intellect and a will for His glory, too.

    Glad to hear you haven't stopped praying. Never never never never never never give up.

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  15. I am praying for you, Catholic Grammy! I just can't even imagine.

    And, you, as well, Ashley! Please don't give up! There are so many annoying, non-devout Catholics who think they know everything. Please, please, please ignore them. The devil is using them to turn you away from the Lord. There are SO many good and just people in the church. Sometimes you have to look a little harder. Even though the Church was created by Jesus... it is made up of humans. And we fail. All of the time. It's not a reason to abandon your Home and God. SOOO many prayers for you and your family. :)

  16. Ashley, if I may ask: Are you genuinely a happier person now? Honestly asking. It's not the criterion for truth, which is what counts (feelings, including those of happiness, could be deceptive and certainly changing), but I am curious nevertheless.

    As for me, I was convinced by a combination of logic and truth that resonates within me. In every aspect of Church teaching, and like nothing else. There is nothing that comes near to touching me so deeply. And I am anything but a devout, shy boy who goes to church every day (which would incidentally do me a lot of good). My "support systems" are the Catechism, the Bible, one or two blogs (mainly Leila's Bubble), Fr. Barron, a book here or there, and of course the sacraments and Sunday Mass. Nothing in the way of devout family, our priest a liberal and don't even mention the wider culture in Europe. And yet I know, unshakeably, the Truth that is Jesus, and its defender, the Catholic Church. We are so blessed. Don't you miss it?

    1. Sebastian, I have to tell you, that I am genuinely happier at this point. It's only been a short while. But, I also have not abandoned the moral truths I believe are true.

      I credit the faith for bringing me out of the relativism in our culture. I do think there is a serious moral problem in society and I am seeking to see if there is a way to bring morality without the supernatural. Morality is definitely evident in this world, supernatural beliefs, at this point, I see are not.

      Talk about resonating.. The teachings of the Church were like a soothing balm on my wounded wandering soul. I think that the whole structure on paper (and like poetry or art) is an amazingly beautiful idea. But, to me, I really am starting to be convinced that it is like a fantasy. It's like a love song you sing for a person you haven't met. It's a great idea. It has had 2000 years to polish and mold itself. Of course it is beautiful.

      I feel that many people can and have written beautiful world views and fiction stories, the only difference is that they don't claim it is truth.


  17. From Sharon, who cannot get her comments to post:

    I wanted to comment on the "slut" video. I told my dd that such a thing existed and she didn't believe me, so I showed her. I'm not sure what she thought of it, but I will tell you my 19 and 15 yo sons' reactions. They actually said that there is such a thing as a "classy slut", and that such a person basically has nothing to be ashamed of. That would be the well-dressed, "nails done hair done everything did" kind of woman. Isn't it nice that my own children would express such an opinion? A classy slut... I was going to name a famous person that I supposed fit the description, but I think I'll avoid placing that label on anyone.

    I am a New Yorker - not the city - and I am devastated by our state's proposed, and likely to pass, Reproductive Health Act. It is so obviously written to benefit Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, and the governor and others have the nerve to bald-facedly claim that the law is for the benefit of women. Abortions will be legal throughout pregnancy (they are only allowed now until viability) and they will legally be performed up to viability by non-physicians. There will be no parental notification before a nurse performs a second term abortion on your underage daughter (unlike those nasty tanning booth operators!) Can you even imagine someone claiming that they are doing this for women? My sister said it reminds her of the Holy Innocents - Herod didn't know exactly who he was looking for, so he said, kill them all. Evil is out to get someone, Satan just doesn't know who. I remember thinking the same thing about Hitler and Poland. Herod missed Jesus, though, and Hitler missed JPII. God will prevail. We are on the winning side. But I fear there is much to suffer along the way.

    Ashley, I haven't read your story but from the comments above, it sounds like you have been worn down. I imagine, in your spiritual exhaustion, you have not really found a solid reason for God not to exist, but that the fight looks so bad that you just got tired. A few years ago a friend sent me a little story that said that Satan was going out of business and selling off all of his tools. All were sold but one - it was so effective, ant therefor so expensive, that no one could afford to buy it. The tool was discouragement. I pray that you are able to come through this a stronger believer in the end. I hope your husband continues to pray for you. I'm glad you asked for comments, because it means you are still thinking things through.

  18. Ashley,

    Hope you don't mind yet another voice and opinion. :-) This is coming a little bit different from the others though.

    I just wanted to tell you that I kind of understand where you're coming from. I am Catholic and firm in my faith, but my husband is not. Leila (and others)mentioned that they felt devastated for your husband. Well, all this time, I thought my husband and I were on the same page with our faith; I knew he was struggling a bit but I had no idea how much. It wasn't until during an argument, he let it slip out, "I don't even know if I even want to be Catholic or I believe in the Catholic Church!" He confessed to me that he felt like this for a long time but felt he like he couldn't tell me. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach, he suddenly morphed into someone that I thought I knew, into a complete stranger.

    Honestly, I felt angry and betrayed for a long time. This wasn't fair of me though. After a good talk with my sister, she helped me to see things from his perspective. He hadn't had the same solid upbringing in the Catholic faith as I had; he has no family that supports him, he has no friends that support him. And because he felt that I was in a "higher place" than him, he was worried that I wouldn't understand and so he didn't share with me. I guess, in some ways, he was right. I didn't understand.

    Things are better with us; he still is struggling, however, he continues to go to Mass and he says prayers with us. I try hard to watch what I say and be careful about the judgmental talk that sometimes slips out, not because I'm Catholic, but because I am his wife--with really high and sometimes unrealistic--expectations. We can't really talk "God talk" yet, as it is difficult for the both of us to hear each other out without it becoming emotional; I still struggle that he does not believe as I thought he did and I still struggle that we aren't a "team". Often I feel like a single parent, at least in the spiritual sense, because my husband is not able to be there for me in that way.

    So I do understand where your husband is coming from, but I have also learned a lot from my husband and the struggles he has opened up to me about, and I understand those too. It's the same struggles that I often go through and that most Christians go through. Christianity is the right way, but that doesn't mean it's the easy way. The only mistake my husband made was in thinking that I was "above" him in some way or holier than him. Between the two of us, he has always been the humbler one. He is a good man no matter where he's at in his faith, and I am often inspired by the fact that no matter what, he keeps trying.

    I hope this can help a little to better understand where your husband is coming from--and I encourage you to not give up on your faith based on other people. We all struggle and so many of us are "ahead" or "behind" each other in our struggles for holiness. But what matters is that we're all on the same path, trying to encourage one another no matter what.

  19. This is Ashley. Thanks everyone for your comments. No, I didn't give up faith for others unholiness. One major struggle for me was when so many supposedly devout Catholics preaching as strong as you or I have turned out to be complete liars. Fr Corapi, the Legionaires founder and another person I will not mention here were big hurdles for me to overcome. I have been praying tons, St. micheals and the rest. I always loved the faith and turned to it for guidance as you. Oh, one other major battle for me was when I honestly felt the voice of God calling me to a particular path and it fell through, was rejected. Not that I was disappointed. I really understood, but that thought, if I don't know how to discern gods voice in such clear circumstances, what is this inner voice I've thought I've understood for all of these years. It is very complicated, but I am very grateful for all of your thoughts. I have not given up totally on faith. I do think I need better support systems, and that is what I am looking for through the blogs. Thanks.

  20. Ashley - don't leave Peter because of Judas.

  21. I echo JoAnna. Look to Christ, to the saints, not to those who have fallen hard. It could be any one of us who falls hard into temptation. If it is me one day, I just pray I would not be the cause of anyone else's stumbling. I hope people would look past me, to Christ on the Cross, who gave every drop of His precious blood.

    Look to Christ for pure love, and the teachings of his Church for Truth, look to the saints for inspiration, and look to the sacraments for sanctification.

    As to discernment of God's will, please read this. I have posted it often, but I really think it helps people understand that we have been given a great freedom in choosing our path(s) on any number of things:

    Praying for you, sister!

  22. Ashley (I'm commenting on your comment to Catholic Grammie from above, instead of using the "reply" function, as it's harder for me to know where the emailed comments are coming from),

    You are right that spiritual pride is a danger, and always has been. And you are right that the children of devout Catholics fall (we are all in danger of that). I've seen it too. I have also seen great returns later, and also great conversions from non-devout homes (as you've no doubt seen too). I guess I'm just not sure why you (appear to) set up a dichotomy between one aspect of the faith (love and compassion and joy and service) and the other part (doctrinal and moral truth, i.e., the Deposit of Faith)? There should be no contradiction there, as the two "sides" have always been meant to exist in harmony (again, read the lives of the saints to see). We don't sacrifice one in order to have the other. It's both/and. So rich! Truth and Goodness!

    As for the Obama comment…. Obama is the most pro-abortion, anti-Catholic president we've had. Even the normally tepid bishops have been up-in-arms about the attacks on religious freedoms and our religious institutions (and even Pope Benedict weighed in, which is very rare!). This is about the non-negotiables for Catholics, and the future of the Church in America, which I wrote about here:

    Defending life, religious liberty and marriage is integral to the living out of the Catholic Faith.

    1. For me, the reason to seek the moral goods and not the supernatural is that I am not convinced in fact that they are real.

      As for Obama issues.. I am so tired trying to get through to Catholics on this. I know Obama is bad, but Republicans are BAD too!!!! They refuse to acknowledge this. To me these options are as dumb as asking a Catholic .. Who do you want more a Mormon or an evangelical southern baptist preacher to run your parish? They are both bad... you would say an orthodox priest right?

      Well, that's where I am.. I just want someone who is actually American and honest and follows the constitution to protect innocent lives and freedom.

      anyway, I know most Catholics/ Christians will not understand.

  23. Ashley, re: your comment to Sebastian…

    If something soothes you, but is false, a lie, then what good is it?

    And, what specifically made you believe that Christ's resurrection is not true? Or that God does not exist? I still am very unclear on that point. Thanks!

    1. Your first question to me is exactly my question to you. That is the question I posed to myself. Just because I loved the Church, Jesus, and it gave me a paradigm to view the world in a way I was comfortable, didn't mean it was true.

      As far as what made me believe that the teachings about Christ could not be true.. it was a long process and it would take a book. I am still trying to get it out clearly. If I get it posted, I will try to let you know.

      It was a process of probably the last 10 years. I am a thinker... this wasn't a split second decision. Have you heard of the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins? If not, you should youtube it. I had not listened to ANY atheist, nontheist, or other type before making my decision. I started to research others experiences only AFTER my decision.

      So, Dawkins makes a lot of REALLY good points, that became self evident to me before every hearing of him.

      Basically it seems to me the leap of faith in trusting in and making choices for faith, in all the magnitude that these choices have, often times is based on what can be amounted little more than superstition. I wonder if the age and clout of the Church just puts its royal seal on some big superstitions and we are supposed to assume that some how they are fool proof. Over the centuries we have seen the church proclaim and teach as if it was the "Deposit of Faith" truths things that they have later retracted or apologized for.

  24. #3 What an awesome point. It should be a Catholic Meme!

  25. Hope you don't mind me chiming in one last time. :-)

    To Ashley, you mentioned Fr.Corapi. I thought that that name might come up!

    A lot of people were pretty disappointed, to say in the least, of what came about with him. I remember my own family talking about how devastating it was, but more than anything, they were angry. I understood their anger and disappointment but if there is one thing that I have learned is to never put too much stock in "people"--no matter how holy they are. You will almost always be disappointed because we are all human, we sin and we offend God and each other. I am Catholic, live by Catholic faith and try my best to "act" Catholic, and people who stereo type me based on my faith are always disappointed in me. They are disappointed when they see how I act when I become angry, or when I yell at my kids, or when I get mad at someone in traffic or am rude to them. The first thing they say is, "I thought you were Catholic!" (Or they will say "religious!") I would love to wear a t-shirt that says, "Catholic, but still human." For John Corapi, I was saddened by what happened and sad for him, but I was not disappointed because it's always in my mind, that whoever I hear about--no matter how holy they may appear--they are still human and capable of messing up.

    That was longer than I intended but here is one last thing--you said you're in the search for Catholic blogs so here is a great one, that also has her own take on the Fr.Corapi incident:

    For what it's worth, I think it's great that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances, that you are searching out the truth. You have my support and prayers.

  26. Ashley, thank you for responding! There is probably nothing I could say you don't know. Do you believe Jesus lived and died voluntarily on the cross, out of the deepest love, for you, for your sins, for John Corapi's, for those of countless bishops and popes, and that He is calling you personally at this very moment? Have you ever laid your worries and troubles at His feet, asking Him to accept you as you are, to love you no matter what? Have you tried to simply let go in adoration, not thinking, worrying, just letting Him figure it out? I am sure you have. Let Him heal you, and give yourself the time you need for that. And then don't worry. He will help, there is not a doubt. There is already so much prayer surrounding you. Blessings!

    1. I believed those things for sure. I have laid it all down.

      Thanks, ashley

  27. Ashley, if you don't mind, could you put each of your comments at the very bottom of the comments? Thanks! It's just easier for me to see them.

    Do you not believe in degrees of "bad", then? For example, if Obama breaks every non-negotiable taught by our Church, and the Republican candidate doesn't, but only disagrees with you on a matter of prudential judgement, does that make them "the same"? I don't get that. Are you saying that unless the candidate is an orthodox Catholic, then we cannot vote for him because he is "bad"? Even the Church does not go that far. So, I am confused. We have to be able to live and operate in the public square. The non-negotiable issues are our guide as Catholics.

    I still am not clear as to why a "good" would be meaningful at all if it is not a reflection of God or Truth?

    Also, I think you are saying that Aquinas used "circular" arguments, but how so? Thanks!

  28. "Over the centuries we have seen the church proclaim and teach as if it was the "Deposit of Faith" truths things that they have later retracted or apologized for."

    Actually, Ashley, this is untrue. Can you tell me what subject you are referring to?

    Also, as far as Dawkins, I encourage you to read a post I ran with a man who used to be a devout atheist (he is a mensa member, a philosopher and scientist), as he speaks extensively of Dawkins in his book. But I will lead you to part 2 of my interview with him, as he discusses the intellectual honesty or depth of the "new atheists":

    But I really encourage you to read more of what he says about Dawkins' positions in his book. Dawkins is not intellectually rigorous.

    You said:

    "Just because I loved the Church, Jesus, and it gave me a paradigm to view the world in a way I was comfortable, didn't mean it was true."

    Exactly! Feelings do not equal truth. Our beliefs should not be emotion-based. If you read the post just before this one (my friend's conversion out of relativism) it speaks to that.

  29. Ashley!
    Dawkins does not explain where the initial life forms came from! He free wheels it saying basically: Life evolves. Well, no kidding.

    Don't let his agenda have any impact on you losing your faith. You owe it to yourself to read all the rebuttals to his nonsense. Read what his peers have to say about his work. They do not support him.

    As to "circular" reasoning for proofs of God that you've encountered, can you give an example?

    1. I am not a philosopher to explain these things, but you can check out others arguments against them.
      I am not saying this is the best argument, but it's one.

      I think just because we do not understand how something happens doesn't mean it has to God.

  30. Ashley, being Catholic, being a practicing Catholic, is a journey. I think you are still drawn to the Church because you are here commenting. And you seem to be a nice and friendly commentator. And I bet that those of us who read this blog will pray along with you during this doubting time.

    I will pray that the Holy Spirit to be with you. God can help sort this out for you, whether, you get it sorted out it by prayer, by reading Scripture, or, or, or. well, who knows? And sometimes when you think you get it figured out, you discover you've only begun. But that's okay.

    I'm praying for you, Ashley, as are others.
    Becky, I like your t-shirt idea.

    Look past the humans towards God, Jesus, the sacraments.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Also, I am not up to speed right now on all of this, but I believe that if conservatives had wanted less abortion they could have done much more in congress to make it a states rights issue, as is the death penalty. They could have done much much more.

  33. Ashley, busy with bedtime routines, but quickly: If there is no God, why does it matter if we kill an embryo or fetus?

    If I were an atheist, I doubt I would care, although I might want to anesthetize the fetus if I thought it could feel pain, but only so that I wouldn't feel bad about that part of it.

    Also, none of those examples of changing doctrine are valid. We can go through them if you want. I just need to wait till the kids go to bed. But indulgences? We've always had them, never been against them, still have them.

    More on that, here:

    Also, regarding politics, you didn't mention the non-negotiables and what the Church teaches? You see them as "the same" but the Church does not. That doesn't mean you have to vote for Republicans (who are weak and ridiculous, as you've pointed out), but you can't discount that Obama is wrong on every non-negotiable AND is behind the HHS mandate, which is unprecedented.

    As for the idea that one "can not argue with real experience", I don't discount your experience, but I would say that when we are talking about unchanging truths (not sure that's even what you were talking about), we go with that, not our subjective experience. For example, I know there are people who had abusive fathers and you cannot convince them, based on their real experience" that fathers are good for children. And yet, fathers are. It's sin that is bad for children.

    As far as waste in government, good heavens, we agree!! It makes me sick beyond words. But even if the Republicans spend as much as Dems (debatable!), that makes them even there, and it's a tie. But from that "tie", we still have the non-negotiables to contend with -- and the Dems are a big Fail on those. Obama is the biggest, most extensive transgressor of Catholic truth (again, all the non-negotiables). Therefore, we fight hard against him.

    More in a bit...

  34. Ashley, I love the way you expressed the "difference" between Democrats and Republicans - "It's like owning 40 acres and arguing over a flower pot." In many, many ways that is true. I'll tell you what I got out of this last presidential election - I feel like I got freedom. I voted for a Republican whom I did not really trust, because it was so important to help the Republican beat the Democrat (and I believe it was - no one could be worse than our current President). But the Republican still lost. And now I am free to vote for a person I actually trust, and eventually that third party will start to make progress over the two that currently share power, and someday things will be different, and better. However, my salvation does not come through politics and I believe the best way to influence world events is by saying the Rosary. (You might, at this point, see that last comment as simplistic, but it isn't. Simple, yes, simplistic, no.)

    Anyhow... I would never go near Dawkins without having other material on my lap to rebut what he says, so that I am truly developing an informed opinion. Others have already given you good advice in that regard. I'll keep praying for you!

    1. Ha! It worked! I can post again! Thanks to the person on FB who advised me to be sure pop-ups weren't being blocked. That did it! And... oh my goodness... for the first time ever, the "subscribe by email" option is on my screen! It will be so much easier to follow the comments now!

  35. I am not a philosopher to explain these things, but you can check out others arguments against them. I think just because we do not understand how something happens doesn't mean it has to God.

    You don't have to be a philosopher. What you *do* want to do is step back and ask yourself the dumb questions.

    People get caught up with, "Ooooh, that sounds so detailed and impressive!" when it comes to the likes of Dawkins and a host of other atheists promoting their book sales. These people offer no answers in place of God. They invoke science beyond its field. They want to sell books. Professionally, their peers do not support their claims that science *explains away* a super intelligence.

    Latch onto one question instead of diving headlong into a pile.
    Ask Mr. Dawkins, "If evolutionary biology explains everything, where time come from and from what did it evolve?"

    How did time evolve, Ashley? I bet Mr. Dawkins draws a blank.
    Ask very basic questions. The simple A will lead you to simple B. Don't get overly impressed with any one, I agree. That includes Dawkins.

    Or ask yourself, "Where did the earth come from?" "Where did energy and matter come from?" "Can I (scientifically) trace back to a beginning to it all?"

    1. Not sure if you saw, but I tried to show that I came to this conclusion before EVER ONCE looking at any non-believing content. It was only after that I started to research different things. I in no way think that science has to explain God away. But, it doesn't have to explain God either.

      Where is God? All of the things people have thought were attributable to God over the centuries have been shown to be natural. Do you know what I mean?

      Just because it is beautiful and complex and beyond explanation does not mean it is divine. I think that is a leap in logic. I do not worship Dawkins, just think he puts things in kind of punchy interesting ways in his videos on the God Delusion.


  36. I've read parts of the God Delusion. I found it utterly idiotic. To paraphrase Fulton Sheen, Dawkins doesn't hate the Catholic Church; he hates what he wrongly perceives to be the Catholic Church. For example, his belief that Catholic theology regarding sexual reproduction is "surreal idiocy," and as an example, he cites the Monty Python song "Every Sperm is Sacred"!

    I don't see how citing a song written and performed as satire, which in no way reflects authentic Catholic teaching, as proof against Catholic teaching is at all scholarly or even sane. It'd be like critiquing Arab culture or Greek mythology based on Disney's Aladdin or Hercules.

    I recommend The Godless Delusion instead.

    As to your problems with the Church -

    How about the torturing of human life? Hasn't changed.

    Burning at the stake - the Church never burned anyone at the stake. If they found a person guilty of heresy, that person was bound to the secular, civil government for their sentence. Some civil governments did employ burning at the stake as a method of execution, but that was not sanctioned by Church doctrine nor carried out as an official act of the Church. (source)

    I am also referring to indulgences - Hasn't changed.

    holy wars - legitimate defense of Christian countries against Muslim invasion. See here.

    treatments of suicides - the doctrine of the Church in regard to suicide has never changed. The Church has always taught that those who, with full consent of the will, deliberately kill themselves as an act of rejection against God will go to Hell. What HAS changed is the Church's understanding about mental illness, and the fact that those who commit suicide rarely have full consent of the will due to mental illness. (source)

    salvation for those outside of the Catholic Church - Hasn't changed.

    Ashley, your problem is that you seem to be conflating the actions of sinful people within the Church with Church teaching itself.

    If a child steals a candy bar from a store, would your reaction be, "Oh, that child has a horrible parent! Parenthood by its very nature, then, must be evil and wrong because otherwise the child would not steal!"

    Of course not - you'd recognize that the child disobeyed the sound teaching of his parents and used his free will to commit sin. It's the same with people in the Church who committed sin by selling indulgences, or participating in atrocities in the Crusades, or participated in the burning of heretics.

  37. Also, Ashley - I used to identify as Democrat back when I was Lutheran, and after I converted I still identified as a Catholic Democrat. So I completely understand where you're coming from because I used to hold those identical views. However, once the Democratic party because openly celebrating abortion, I could no longer be a part of it. I'm glad I got out when I did, because now they wholeheartedly endorse and celebrate sin.

    Barack Obama openly celebrates and condones the murder of innocent children, so no Catholic in their right might should support him even if they think some of his ideas are okay. Not to invoke Godwin's Law, but it'd be like overlooking the gassing of the Jews because you agree with Hitler's economic policies. Obama is heavily invested in perpetuating the murder of innocent human beings, not to mention destroying religious freedom, so it's not surprising that Catholics who actually know and live their faith refuse to support him.

    I identify more as conservative/independent now. I despise some aspects of the GOP and their platform (not to mention some members of the GOP), but agree with the party in other areas (just like there are some aspects of the Democratic platform with which I agree).

    You need to get the idea out of your head that Catholic = Republican, because that's simply not true.

    1. please excuse typos - I'm typing fast while simultaneously trying to keep my toddler from destroying the house, and refereeing arguments among my older three :)

    2. JoAnna,
      You obviously love the Church and have wholehearted decided that the history of the Church is in no way it's own responsibility. I've been there, for 18 years.. There's a ton of good Catholic books telling you it's all good and reasonable and perfect.

      Let me PROMISE you, one of the biggest promoters of this "The Church is Perfect" argumentation that is So prevalent today is a practicing Gay Alcoholic. I KNOW HIM PERSONALLY! Probably Everyone on this page either knows his company or his name.
      It's not just some Catholic...... he is the guy who PROMOTES ALL THE BOOKS YOU TALK ABOUT!

      ok, I was just so utterly shaken and broken when I learned this privileged information that it makes me still so sad and angry. Especially because his sinfulness came very close to my home.

      Explain away... go for it. I am over it for now.

      I have been you. I was always you for the last 18 years..
      The Church burned people. Come on now.. It's like saying the Jews weren't responsible for Christ's death.

  38. Ashley,
    I sympathize with you on politics. Concerning economics, limited government, and the military, I favor the views of Ron Paul. He advocated taking abortion out of the jurisdiction of the courts, but the Republican Party refused to consider that. Frustrating. However, I didn't vote for him, because he saw no problem with gay marriage and was weak on euthanasia. I wish Christians would challenge the Republican Party more. Too many of us just seem to accept anything they dish out.

    I'm sure you'll agree that in 200+ years, our country has wandered so far from the Constitution that our founding fathers would be appalled. However, the Church and the Republican Party are 2 completely different things. Let's not confound the 2.

    In 2000 years, the Church has never changed Her doctrine. Her opponents generally bring up only a handful or fewer accusations of change in all those centuries. All of these issues have been well explained by apologists. Try Catholic Answers ( details. I almost left the Church once, and they helped me see what a mistake that would have been.

    The Church has survived the downfall of countless empires and ideologies. Numerous heresies have disappeared. The Church still stands. She survived many persecutions. In Japan, the Church survived for over 250 years with no priests, and only the Sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony, long after Her enemies thought they had wiped Her out.

    The Church even survived the death of Her Founder. Why would the apostles have endured martyrdom, if they knew the Resurrection was false? Why didn't they just quietly go back to fishing, etc? Would they risk everything for a lie?

    When I have doubts, as I sometimes do, I remind myself of these things. I am convinced the Church is just what She claims. Many of the greatest minds in history thought so too.

    Don't give up yet. If you can find even a mustard-seed-sized kernel of faith somewhere inside you, you can tell the mountains of doubt to go jump in the lake.

    I'll be praying for you. Jesus loves you.

  39. Ashley, if a "practicing gay alcoholic" told was teaching that 2 + 2 = 4, would he be right or wrong? If a practicing gay alcoholic told you that homosexual acts and drunkenness are sinful, would he be right or wrong?

    Sinners can speak the truth, can't they?

    You are confusing two things.

    1. Sorry, always in a rush!

      "… told you that 2+2=4…"

    2. There is a big difference in math and morals. If you find out your college math teacher has a 2nd grade education, you may wonder if you are learning the right thing. If the guy who is pushing the orthodox catholic truth is found in no way to be living a holy life, it has to make you a little concerned in the efficacy of the message he pushes.

      If it were only him, I wouldn't be moved.. But like I said, over and over,when the most devout of Catholic teachers turns out to be dubious and evil, it has to make you wonder.

      And, this is just one aspect. I am not leaving Peter because of Judas. This is one thing.

  40. Where is God? All of the things people have thought were attributable to God over the centuries have been shown to be natural. Do you know what I mean?
    Just because it is beautiful and complex and beyond explanation does not mean it is divine. I think that is a leap in logic.

    If it's "beautiful and complex and beyond explanation" then where's the "natural" explanation?
    You just contradicted yourself.

    Leaps in logic are all over Dawkin's books. He doesn't even have all the details, yet he's making claims on having the whole picture.

    Just because science is open to new information or new discoveries does not mean that someday the natural world will explain away God.

    Science would have to "see" everything, and know that it's seen everything, and then it can make claims as to having a complete answer. But it never does see all the details. It has parts of the whole, but never the whole. It is not supposed to answer every question, because that is beyond its discipline to do so!

    1. I am not saying that science can explain away God. Please don't quote me on that.

      I did not contradict myself. Just because I can't explain something doesn't mean it is God. It's like feeling a breeze and attributing it to Mary.. Or Roses, you know people do it all the time.

      For example - beyond explanation - to ants we may seem divine, but we aren't.

  41. Ashley, when you say, "I was were you are for 18 years" to some people here, I have to disagree. You seem to think that for 18 years you fell for a lie. Well then, there is no comparison between where some commenters here are now and where you think you used to be.

    I'm pretty confused because I don't know who that gay alcoholic is at all. If he is trying to say that the books he promotes advocate his lifestyle, and he promotes books with authentic Catholic teaching, then he is wrong. But like Leila said, if he says that the Church is right about gay sex and alcoholic behavior, then he's right, whether he lives it successfully or not.

    1. I hear you. I am not saying I fell for a lie. What I am saying is that I am no longer convinced, as you are.

      I do want to focus on goodness and beauty today and not so much debate.

      I am not going to throw that mans name out there, although I want to..... (angry)Maybe I should.... we'll see

      Yes he is wrong. he is a bad person. But non of you would ever think so. he speaks with eloquence and authority and sick of all, judgment.

      I just think the good message of Christ is not chalices and veils, the age of confirmation, liturgical rite. It is love, goodness, truth, beauty, forgiveness, care, etc. What I am saying is that this movement that we are all a part of, orthodox Catholicism today, is divisive, contrite, I would say impractical, irrational, and frequently not effective. I know we are all just trying to love God and love others and do what's right in the world. But for me, it wasn't working.

      I compare it to devout Muslims. We would consider them to be misled and not holding to complete Divine truth. But tell that to them, and you take your life in your hands, because they believe it so much, their teaching is to kill the infidel.

      I am not thinking these posts through enough... Between feeding 5 kids and homeschooling and diapers.. there is only so much time I can devote to being thorough.

    2. What I am saying is that this movement that we are all a part of, orthodox Catholicism today, is divisive, contrite, I would say impractical, irrational, and frequently not effective.

      I think most, if not all, of the Catholic commenters here would disagree.

      I know we are all just trying to love God and love others and do what's right in the world. But for me, it wasn't working.

      So your conclusion was that God was the problem, and not the sinful failings of human beings? I don't get the logic.

      Your repeated insinuations about this alleged holy man who is a gay alcoholic are confusing. Why should we believe you if you won't identify this person and provide proof of your accusations? Are you afraid of being accused of libel if you do?

    3. Yes, I found this information out through a privileged situation. Plus, I don't want to throw peoples trash out there. I probably shouldn't say anything, except that for me it was completely shocking and disheartening.

      I just get tired of hearing people so confident in their voices parroting the arguments they learned partly through him.

  42. Ashley, I care about historical facts. I provided sources to back up my facts. You have not done so. All you have are claims with no evidence. How is that logical?

    Re: Dawkins, do you think his blatant lies about Catholic teaching make him a credible source?

    I have no idea what you're talking about re: a gay alcoholic...? How is that relevant to my points?

    1. trust me, he is closer to your "evidence" then you think....

      I don't have time to post all the evidence here, I will try to do that on my site. You can look it up if you'd like.

    2. Ashley, I was not raised in Catholicism. When my husband announced his intention to convert, I was furious and started doing all sorts of research to "prove" the Church wrong. I read (from both Catholic and non-Catholic sources) about the Crusades, the Inquisition, and I read about all of the Church's alleged "flip-flops" on various issues. The historical record, in all cases, supported the Church's side of the story, not the claims of Her detractors. I converted in part because of my findings. (You can read my conversion story here.)

  43. Ashley, if I am reading things right (and I've had some time to think), I think you have been scandalized, and that scandal has caused you to lose your faith. I am sorry about that. Woe to he who causes scandal, and that is something that the ones who scandalize will have to account for.

    But you should never place your faith in any man, but only in Christ. Even the worst sinner in the Church does not negate who Christ is, or what His Truth is. And it does not negate the teaching of His Church nor does it make His sacraments void. After all, there may very well be Popes in hell, but that does not negate the Truth that they taught. Free will is a great, great gift, but fraught with risk.

    You are strong. And you are smart. Being a sinner and being a truth-teller are not mutually exclusive.

    Also, I still don't understand why you adhere to any sense of objective truth, goodness or beauty if there is no God? What would any of it mean, and why would it matter? It would all be, ultimately, meaningless. Why be pro-life? I'm seriously asking.

    1. I am sorry I keep commenting under posts, I just can't keep my thoughts organized otherwise.

      I hear you.. I completely agree.. I was extremely scandalized. But, not by just one man.. HE was BIG for me. But I look at the lives of almost all of the people who have been influences in my Catholic faith and very many of them ultimately are not living the life they profess.

      Even in my own life, I was trying to hard. Praying, trying, but I couldn't overcome certain faults. I finally accept that it't not because I am not holy enough, but because I am human. I am incapable of perfection. But, the call of sainthood "that every person is called to" says we should strive to be perfect.

      I want to thank you Leila and everyone for the time and energy you are putting forward to try to help me. I know you are good people and trying to help me see the light! I really do appreciate your time. Thanks.

  44. Ashley, in case you are still around: I keep think of Matthew 16:18, Jesus' words: "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it." Netherworld sometimes being translated also as Hell or Hades.

    For me, there are two key aspects: Jesus founded His Church, and He will not let Hell prevail against it. It doesn't mean there won't be attacks against the Church from within and without (talk about something obvious...), but that in the end Hell will not prevail. It means for me, among other things, that the Holy Spirit will not let the teaching be corrupted, although all representatives and members of the Church, with the only exceptions of Jesus as its Head and His mother, are sinners.

    And if anyone questions how we know that Jesus actually uttered those words: If He did not, and they were entirely made up by Matthew (or others), then the Church would be built on a lie, which God would never permit. If I believe that Jesus is God, lived on earth, died for the remission of our sins and was resurrected, then I believe this sentence without hesitation, as well as any other teaching of the Church.

    1. You don't see the circular logic in your last paragraph?

    2. Ashley, it's true that the paragraph depends on your belief in Jesus as God. Since you don't believe in Jesus or God, then it would not be convincing, I agree. I think he was appealing to the small sense we get that you might still grasp at believing in Jesus Christ. But he can clarify.

  45. Ashley, I understand that you are upset with sinners in the Church even those who teach Catholic truth but don't live it (this is nothing new… but I see that I can cause people to stumble). You say that it's not Judas who is making you leave, but then what is it? That you don't feel God?

    All the "trappings" of Catholicism (age of confirmation, liturgical norms that you mentioned) are disciplines, not doctrines. However, the moral law, like mathematics is fixed and unchanging. I don't get the analogy to the math teacher with the second grade education. Because if this sinner is teaching the same faith that the Church and the saints all teach/taught, then you don't have to wonder if you are getting the truth, you just have to lament that many folks don't live it, even as they profess it. What does any of that have to do with you and your own relationship to Jesus, though? I truly don't understand.

    Like we've said, look to the saints (there are thousands of canonized saints), not the ones who profess the truth but cannot or will not live it.

    Also, I will ask again: How can goodness or beauty be meaningful absent a God? What would goodness even mean? Why be opposed to abortion if there is no God?

    And please, when you have time, can you give me an example of how Aquinas' proofs are "circular"? Circular arguments mean that the conclusion is contained in the premise. Having propositions that lead to conclusions is not circular.

    Sorry to keep pressing you, but the whole purpose of this particular blog is clarity, including the teaching of the Faith with as much precision and accessibility as possible.

  46. Ashley, you said: "Even in my own life, I was trying to hard. Praying, trying, but I couldn't overcome certain faults. I finally accept that it't not because I am not holy enough, but because I am human. I am incapable of perfection. But, the call of sainthood "that every person is called to" says we should strive to be perfect."

    You have been under a heavy burden, which is why I come back to the question of scrupulosity? Does any of this sound like you:

    Truly, scruples is hell. I know Fr. Marx, pro-life warrior that endured so many trials in his long life, said that scrupulosity as a young man was the MOST excruciating suffering he ever felt. It's that bad. My own daughter used to suffer from it. Horrible, horrible. But there is hope and help. Please don't let scrupulosity keep you from God. Hugs!

    1. I don't think think I had any more scruples than is actually justified through the Church. What I had was a very heavy heart that I was hurting Christ by my sins. But, at the same time, I knew that I was trying my very best and my life was extremely more others centered and Christ centered than most people.

  47. Ashley, re you 8:13 comment above: yes, I was aware that it is a circular argument, and I also agree with Leila's clarification. My post was initially longer.

    The first thing to believe is that Jesus has lived, died (and as Christians believe - died voluntarily for the remission of our sins) and was resurrected. It's a historical fact, and you can go into discussions about the historicity, but for me that is established. It means that He is God. Once this is believed, the rest is no longer difficult, in particular that He founded His Church and that He protects it from error.

    Is your difficulty with believing that Jesus lived? Then we can discuss this. Or that He died voluntarily for the remission of our sins, i.e. that He is God (I think that is your difficulty)? This has been addressed by others. Or that these assertions may well be true and you believe them, but we're still not sure if everything that's attributed to Him was in fact said by Him? Where is your difficulty?

  48. I did not contradict myself. Just because I can't explain something doesn't mean it is God.

    Then what is your answer, naturally? What is your natural explanation for all phenomena that occur in the universe?
    Saying you don't know is honest. Even science says it doesn't know everything about everything. And that is because science isn't capable of knowing everything about everything!

    It's like feeling a breeze and attributing it to Mary.. Or Roses, you know people do it all the time.
    For example - beyond explanation - to ants we may seem divine, but we aren't.

    I don't know anyone who attributes breezes to Mary. Most rational people can believe in God and honor Mary, and still uphold that that physics and physical constants govern our universe.

    The "we may seem divine to ants" line... Ants don't reason. Ants don't understand morality. Ants spend their lives building colonies, protecting the queen, and feeding and reproducing their own. They're driven by survival mode.

    You, on the other hand, have an intellect and can reasonably question, if not understand, the universe around you. We don't do "god of the gaps" in Catholicism. What we do is posit reasonable questions and gain reasonable, factual understanding through the sciences that act as a springboard into metaphysical proofs or arguments.

    What is reasonable, Ashley? That the universe came from nothing? So, *nothing* generates life? Nothing brought forth inorganic and organic compounds, perfectly ordered, though completely random?
    Is that reasonable, Ashley? In light of physics, no, it is not.

    1. Ok Nubby,

      Thank you for your responses! I appreciate them! I am just tired and I want to try to formulate my thoughts in a more coherent fashion. If you want to come visit and talk at my blog sometime, please do!!!

      As far as reason and creation. I am just saying that I do not know. And I think there is no way that anyone can assert that they know for sure that God did it. I think we can hope, assume, figure, infer, but not KNOW. that's where I am.


  49. Ashley, just one more question, if I may: Regarding your difficulty with attaining perfection or overcoming certain faults - have you read anything from or about St. There of Lisieux, the Little Flower, a Doctor of the Church no less, who felt so unworthy? Or Blessed Mother Theresa, who throughout her life had feelings of inner dryness and difficulty of "connecting" with Jesus?

    1. My daughter is named Zelie, after the mother of St. Therese. Yes, I loved them the most.

      I wrote a song for the little flower.. I should post a link to my Christian Catholic music, so you can know with what authentic love I had for the Church, Saints, God.

      Thanks everyone! I am tired! Took a nice long break to do laundry, play with my kids and neighbors kids, and now I feel a bit refreshed!

      I really want to take a break from arguing. I was to think about whatever is good and beautiful. I was to appreciate all the beauty of everyday! I hope you can too!

      I will post some songs at


  50. Ashley, thank you for sharing your thoughts so openly and responding to many questions. I wish you the very best and will pray, like so many others, that you will rediscover true Joy. In the meantime, if or when you hit a rough patch, remember Someone is always waiting to help you through it. Blessings!

  51. "I just get tired of hearing people so confident in their voices parroting the arguments they learned partly through him."

    Hopefully they are confident in Christ and the Church, not in one man. And if the arguments they learned through him are the truths of Christ, then praise God that truth can even be brought to others in many different ways, through many vessels (even sinful ones). Whether or not the Church teaches truth does not depend on one man in one nation in 2013 -- within the context of 2,000 years of Church teaching. Even if the man never existed, the Church would still be teaching what she does. (So again, that is all very confusing to me, as to why it would affect truth at all.)

    I hope you don't think that dialogue and discussion is 'arguing' in a bad sense. We do this type of discussion around here, and it's edifying for all, I believe. We all learn a lot (discussion, investigation, challenge, digging deeper, reasoning, logic -- it's how we seek and find truth). Thanks for being a part of it! I hope you do find joy in your Faith again one day. The intimacy we have with the Beloved should not be sad or anxiety-producing, it should be joyful and bring great peace. I will pray and pray hard that you come back to us and to Christ someday! :) Many blessings!

  52. Thanks Leila, I agree, that the teachings of the Church are independent of him.
    No, I don't mean arguing in a bad sense, just the back and forth.

    I just wanted to give you a reply to your questions:

    What does any of that have to do with you and your own relationship to Jesus, though?

    Nothing, I chose to stop my relationship with Jesus once I became very disenchanted with the faith. I had to literally stop praying. I began to realize it was most likely my imagination and creativity believing in the relationship with Jesus. I would love for you to go listen to some of the songs on my blog that I just posted so that you can hear the genuine spirit I have had.

    Like we've said, look to the saints (there are thousands of canonized saints), not the ones who profess the truth but cannot or will not live it.
    I have always looked to them. After a while I just can't ignore everyone else as well. I mean also, the faith hasn't been so neat and pretty as we all wish it has been. It's been full of corruption, infighting, banishment, scandal. I know, "it's human and divine, the good is divine the bad is human." I wonder if the people who are bad in the Church would be bad out of the church and the people good in the church would be good without.

    Also, I will ask again: How can goodness or beauty be meaningful absent a God? What would goodness even mean? Why be opposed to abortion if there is no God?

    I think of goodness and beauty as a priori things.. they are. If you found out today that there definitely was NO God. Let's just say I could prove it. Would goodness and beauty stop for you? Let's just say my children were not created by a divine creator, does that make them any less beautiful today than they were yesterday? They are the same, regardless. And honestly to me, at this point, it makes my kids that much more amazing and life more special! I know... I haven't thought this all through yet.

    And please, when you have time, can you give me an example of how Aquinas' proofs are "circular"? Circular arguments mean that the conclusion is contained in the premise. Having propositions that lead to conclusions is not circular.

    First, I think the word I meant in referring to the five proofs was redundant, not circular, and also that it is a leap in logic.

    (remember i am not a philosopher)What I see for example, the unmoved mover. He claims because things move and we don't know how it started it has to be God. But, for me, that is like saying when we walk around everything seems flat, therefor the world is flat. Or, the sun comes up and goes down, therefor the world in the center of the universe. Just because we THINK something is someway, does not mean it is.

    I think that we all want to believe that there is a bigger purpose/ picture and so we create a God. Catholicism is not the first world paradigm to do this.

    Hope that makes sense.

  53. the unmoved mover. He claims because things move and we don't know how it started it has to be God.

    What are you positing in place of God? What is your natural explanation, since God is irrelevant to your argument?

    How did the universe get set into motion?
    If you submit that it always has been in motion, you've entered into a time predicament because there cannot be an infinite past. This is a fact.
    At t=0 nothing moved. At t=1, everything moved. Ashley, what caused the movement, since there was no energy coming in, thus, none would be coming out, so to speak? What is your argument?

    I think that we all want to believe that there is a bigger purpose/ picture and so we create a God.

    It's an intellectual pursuit, not an emotional one, to study, and learn, and ask questions.

    1. I do not claim to know exactly how it all started. There are scientists who are working on it. What I am saying is that although I do not understand how it can all happen, it doesn't mean that there is God. Do you not agree that peoples level of understanding on how the world works has developed greatly and even more specifically over the past few hundred years? Are you saying you do not think that perhaps one day we could understand things better?

      What I am saying is that just because something is not explainable at this point does not necessarily mean that there is a personal being behind it all.

  54. Ashley, you asked:

    If you found out today that there definitely was NO God. Let's just say I could prove it. Would goodness and beauty stop for you?

    I would have no reference for what "good" is, except for what felt "good" to me, so yes, goodness would stop as I know it. Beauty? I am sure that my eyeballs and some chemical reactions would make me "feel" a certain way if I saw something I considered "beautiful", but it would be ultimately meaningless, grounded in exactly nothing and on its way to annihilation. So, it would cease to be beautiful to me, and would leave me cold, dark and haunted, frankly.

    Let's just say my children were not created by a divine creator, does that make them any less beautiful today than they were yesterday?

    It would make them pieces of meat that happen to be animated. So yes, it would make them less beautiful if they were nothing but a cosmic accident, destined for exactly nothing, meaning ultimately nothing. It would make them no different, in essence, than a cockroach. How could it be otherwise?

    They are the same, regardless. And honestly to me, at this point, it makes my kids that much more amazing and life more special!

    And yet to me it would not only not be special, it would be like staring into the dark abyss of meaningless nothingness. Even love itself, the love you feel for them, is simply an impersonal, ultimately meaningless chemical reaction in your brain, which is a big hunk of meat grounded in nothing. I once asked atheists what "love" was. These are the answers I got, and I am grateful for their honesty:

    So I don't know how meaninglessness, random chemical reactions and ultimate annihilation can be special or beautiful. It would be about the worst world and existence that I could imagine, so much so that I can't even make my mind go there for more than about a 10-second span before I cannot take the horror.

    1. Maybe that is your problem and not realitys. I think that is sad and disturbing. Perhaps you need to consider your own need for God to make your emotions and devotions make sense. Literally, that makes me want to cry, especially because I am pregnant again.

      At this point, I believe that people are beautiful because they are! They are wonderful conscious creatures able to create beautiful music, art, relationships, technology. They are capable of love, friendship, sorrow, suffering.

      The FACT of the mater is that we are material. If you get a trauma to your head, your life will be significantly different. I think that we want there to be a God so that we can hope that when people seem to be transformed by something, that they are still the same spiritually...or whatever. But, even if a persons personality changes, they are still capable of suffering, consolation, etc.

      I think we want God to be real because we don't want to admit we die. We want it all to be significant.

      The randomness of life and finite realities of existence are beautiful and special because they are. Breath, beauty, mountains, flowers, animals, emotions, friendship, etc. There are actually beautiful regardless of divinity or not.

      Perhaps you are the one who has a problem in that you can see how awesome it is.

  55. I think that we all want to believe that there is a bigger purpose/ picture and so we create a God.

    I think this is interesting. My daughter said something similar when I said, some people start to believe in God, or at least in life after death, when they become parents, because they have an incredible love for their child and have a sense that that kind of love is transcendent - that it must carry beyond what we see now, that it doesn't just end at death. She said that people only think that because they wish it - as I think you're saying, because it makes them feel better. I didn't get a chance to follow up on that comment (although I did wish I was getting a better return on my investment in her Catholic high school education) but in thinking about it later, I would have said, "Maybe the reason they sense that their love is transcendent.... is because it really is." By the same token, would you agree that maybe, the reason we believe there is a bigger purpose/picture... is because there really is? I mean, don't you think that if there were a bigger purpose, we might actually sense it? Do you think that if there really were a God, we could sense that reality as well? Or to put it another way, the fact that transcendent love appeals to me is not proof that it is not true.

    In your current view of life, will your love for your children end at your death? Will you stop loving them because you will cease to exist in any meaningful way?

    1. So are UFO's real because people want them to be? Is the monster in the closet because children are afraid of him? Is the tooth fairy real because it all seems to make so much sense when you're 5? There are very logical psychological explanations for why people believe in a God and love their children. I could go on... I will try to answer more on my blog.

  56. Ashley,
    I'm going to keep asking you to think. Think for yourself. You've shown me thus far that you haven't through anything through, yet you've left the Church. You're darn sure God had nothing to do with any of it, but you cannot tell me what created or moved or did caused anything, in God's place. Yet, you've left the Church.

    It's an act of your will that you left, not your intellect, I can see.

    Don't give me links, or cut and paste. Just walk through some though process with me, if you'd be so kind. Let's just think

    Grab an aspect of the universe that fascinates you, and just throw questions: I've been asking you about the universe, about the time constant of time:

    Does it make sense that there was no physical time, no prior time in one instant and then.... boom, there is the constant of time. A second has always been a second. A minute always a minute. The constant remains. Does this make sense?

    How is it that there was nothing, nothing, nothing...then BAM - our universe was set into motion, and time is one of the constants that has been there from the beginning? What would happen if time stopped? Why can't we manipulate time? Is time its own separate reality?

    Just start thinking for yourself. Don't get off track because of something you read sounded interesting or detailed. Just say, Self, what makes sense to me?

    Don't say, "I'm leaving the Church, even though none of it really makes sense to me. But hopefully some group of really smart people will have the answers someday down the road." That's not reason enough to leave the faith, don't you agree? Think it through, then decide.

    If you say "yes, it makes sense that time just begin on its own, and here's how or why..." then clearly you've thought it through. If you say "no", then let's spend time thinking about it now.

    If you want to get scientific, then we will go in that arena. Though, I am fully confident science will not give you a satisfying answer. Fully confident.
    If I cannot apply science in the arena that we're talking, you need to tell me why. If I can't use the laws of thermodynamics to explain energy, then tell me what to apply and when.

    If you've thought it through, then you can fill in the blanks for me. Help me to think, too. Help me walk it through with you, if you're interested in doing so. I really think you owe it to yourself.

    1. Ok but can we continue this on my blog and not under this random Roe Vs Wade post?

  57. "I think we want God to be real because we don't want to admit we die. We want it all to be significant." Ashley, what about St. Maximilian Kolbe and so many others who volunteered to die, without any need whatsoever, for others? Who, if I remember well (Leila, please correct if necessary!) died with a smile on his face, emaciated, and who sang for Jesus until his last breath? Did he not wan to admit that we die? He knew he was going to die by volunteering, and yet he walked straight into his death.

    What makes you think that "no God" is a more reasonable assumption than "God" for this life, and for the beauties of it? I really cannot make it more reasonable, though I almost keep hoping for an argument from you that would really unsettle me. I know there is an answer (at least so far there always was) which is more reasonable than any objection, but I often have to rely on smarter people than myself to provide it. But I read your thoughts, I listen to Dawkins, Hitchens, Sam Harris, and I'm trying hard to see the reasonableness of their objections. And they do sound reasonable in the first second. And then all their arguments crumble upon closer examination. Catholics are not "blind believers" as you know, we love reason (though some are better at it than others...), but the atheists' arguments so far do not hold ground, or at least do not invalidate any of the Christians' reasonings.

    You want to walk that walk without God for now, for whatever reason. The Lost Son also did, though I do not wish to compare you with him. Like the Lost Son, you will always be welcomed back by the Father, and He is waiting for your return more ardently than that of his brother. Be safe, and do not forget your Father.

    1. I will reply at

  58. Ashley, when I assert that ultimate meaninglessness and annihilation are horrifying for the mind, you say, "I think that is sad and disturbing."

    But just objectively, isn't ultimate meaninglessness and annihilation horrifying? If the fact that you and your children have no actual meaning, and will disappear into nothingness one day, and none of your lives will have ever mattered in the end, because love was just a chemical reaction and truth, goodness and beauty are grounded in exactly nothing -- explain how this is making you feel wonderful? I don't get it. Aren't meaninglessness, random chemical "love", and ultimate annihilation bad things? I'm not trying to make anyone feel yucky, but how can the truth of it be sugarcoated? Believe it if you must, but how is it "beautiful"?

    The thing about the new atheists like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris is that they are so much more anti-intellectual than the existentialists. The existentialists were intellectually honest, and they understood the absurdity of a world without a God. I admire their honestly and philosophical grounding.

    And, I am not sad or worried or unhappy. I have peace and joy, and I do love the beauty of my children, of the material world and all things created. I love them all because I know Beauty is transcendent. I know Goodness is transcendent. I know that Truth is transcendent. I understand it, even with my reason, and it's joyful. Death is not something to be afraid of, as the saints knew (Sebastian, exactly). You, Ashley, also know on some level that beauty is transcendent (I love what Bad Catholic says on the subject, here: )

    Atheists often mention the Tooth Fairy (or Santa) as if it parallels a belief in God, but it doesn't follow. I don't know a single adult who believes in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. But most adults who have ever lived or will live in the history of mankind have believed or do believe in a God or gods. I also know many, many atheists who have gone from non-belief in God to full belief in God as adults. But I have never seen any adult start to believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy as an adult, after great study, for example. So, there is no parallel or analogy to the Tooth Fairy, or even to UFOs (which I personally don't believe in nor care about, but those who do believe in UFOs find material - not spiritual - evidence for UFOs' material existence, and many come to belief as adults).

    And, congratulations on your beautiful new baby you are carrying!! I am so happy for you and your husband, and your children! A child is a great blessing and cause for great rejoicing!

    Look, I think you have hit a crisis and are really beaten down by life, or expectations or something. Yes, take a break and regroup if you must, but don't go down the dark abyss of atheism and meaninglessness and belief in total annihilation. You are more than a random piece of meat.

  59. One more thought Ashley: I have had other atheists on this blog assert that life is amazing, wonderful, beautiful and fabulous, even without God. These are comfortable First World folks who have full bellies and adequate shelter, living a fairly nice, materially sufficient life in the richest nation in history. Even "suffering" (as you mentioned) can be seen by comfortable First Worlders as part of the "wonder" and tapestry of this "one shot" that we were "lucky" enough to get on this crazy, awesome earth, and that there is true meaning (at least temporarily) to their lives.

    But then I ask the question that no one answers: What about the little newborn girl in China abandoned in the freezing cold by the side of the road, left to die a horrible death, and never having felt the love of anyone, ever? Or the orphans I advocate for daily, who are rotting in eastern European orphanages, sitting in their own urine and feces all day, in tiny cribs even when they are five and six years old, some never going outside to feel the sun, freezing in the winter with one thin blanket and no mother to comfort them when they cry at night, others abused by their "caretakers", and most hungry and dehydrated, some even starving, dying a slow death over years? Some never having felt the love of anyone, but only harshness, pain, suffering and ugliness?

    Is this still "beautiful" and wonderful in the atheistic world? Would these children (millions of them) agree with your assessment of the beauty of life? Why are they here, and what is their meaning? I have heard atheists say it's their "potential" that gives them value, but millions of these folks will never hit any potential. They will just die. To the atheist who believes there is no inherent value in such a child, but only in her potential to be something better or more than what she is, where does that leave these millions? Nowhere. In fact, if an atheist is logical, he should say that those children should have been aborted, and the ones who are suffering so terribly now (with no way out) should be shot to put them out of their misery. Wouldn't those actions be the humane thing to do?

    You and I, Ashley, we know instinctively that this view is not right. But it WOULD be right if there is no God.

    Now, I do not believe in God because I want to "feel better" about the world's ugliness, so please don't misunderstand. I believe that it is eminently reasonable to believe in God, and I find the philosophy behind the belief quite sound and logical (combined with a special personal relationship with him that is as real as the relationships I have with my husband and children). But I want to know how you deal with the problem that while you say that the world is just full of beauty (and it is!), to many millions there is little to no beauty to be had, only brutal, unending suffering.


    1. I absolutely consider the misfortune of millions of people and children, not as a testament to God but against him. I have ultimately come to the place (at this point) where I cannot accept a loving God would put people through the horrors this world does sometimes involve. Do I still see their life as beautiful. Absolutely. If I could adopt every child I would. I am grateful you are trying to do what you can to help poor children.

      One thing that always makes me sick, nowadays, is when people say things like "Oh, thank God he didn't let me burn my biscuits." Or some trite thing. I have worked in a nursing home where the elderly are left to ROT. I no longer believe a loving God would do that. I can no longer sing praises for my wonderful life when others are so tortured. One being my daughter, Zelie. She has special needs. She cannot talk, eat (just a little), her fingers were fused when she was born, so she's had hand surgery (twice, with a HORRIBLE recovery) eye surgery (twice), NG Tubes, G-Tube surgery. I have no idea what her future holds. Luckily, she is happy and jumpy and laughy, but she has suffered horribly more than I can say that I ever have. I know about the ugliness of this world. While I think her life is beautiful. I am SO thankful she is as functional as she is. I do NOT know how parents cope with severely handicapped children (on tubes, internal issues, etc.)

      I do think that perhaps our views on suffering lives may be a bit arcane. But, I do worry about bad people using euthanasia as a means for genocide.

  60. Ashley, I have gone to your website but am having trouble replying. Leaving soon for the March in DC (will also be seeing my dd there for the first time in two years, and she'll be seeing 5 of her 7 siblings for the first time in over 4 years!!!) so I will not be able to check in to either blog much over the weekend. I had tried responding that you didn't answer about whether you think your love for your children will die with you, that your dying goodbye will be the last time you will ever see them. Do you really equate a belief that we will see each other in eternity with belief in the Easter Bunny? And you feel that way about your own children? I admit, I could be wrong. My believing does not make it so. But my believing is not based on nothingness and fairy tales. In your own lack of belief, you are somewhat uncharitable in now believing that Christians are kind of wimpering, fearful (having a "fear" that God doesn't exist? Nope! None at all! In fact, having to answer to God some day is rather a frightening proposition, but I believe it anyhow!) fairy tale believing children. That's too bad that you see it that way now. :( Sorry I can't reply on your website. Hope to check back here and there sometime over the busy weekend.

  61. Sharon, thanks for saying it so well. (And I love this: "In fact, having to answer to God some day is rather a frightening proposition, but I believe it anyhow!" So true!)

    Have a wonderful time on the March for Life! I am so excited to see the pictures of the throngs!

  62. Sharon,
    Yes, enjoy your family and have fun! I may not check back here, so if you would like to talk I have tried to update my blog to be more user friendly, sorry it was goofy.

    My comparison with the Easter bunny etc, is that we in fact do not have any more proof of God than of a myth.

    When people die, we bury them. WE have not seen heaven as much as we wish it were real. There really is no proof. I am not trynig to be uncharitable. I am honestly communicating MY experience as a Catholic/Christian. I totally found my identity, hope, love, consolation, etc in GOD. Absolutely there is fear of judgement for the believer. I've commented on my issues with that as well.

    But like Leila said, life without God seems meaningless. That is scary. Void. Autonomous. These are the areas I have been facing.

    I do not claim to have the answers. Leila is right, I am tired! But, I want to be joyful and hopeful! So, I want to focus on good things and what we can do for good in the world. As fleeting as it may be. :)

  63. Ashley, I understand that you subjectively see those poor children's lives as beautiful. But why? That is your feeling, but it doesn't make their lives beautiful (clearly a starving, unloved child would not see it that way), so what is the meaning of their lives? Where is their justice? In my world, under a just and loving God, their lives have meaning, and there will be justice for them, and beauty, comfort, love and glory for eternity (not to mention bodily perfection). But without God, there is nothing. No meaning, no hope, no love, nothing. And it doesn't matter a whit to them that some lady in America thinks their lives are beautiful, and at the same time denies there is anything good for them, ever.

    Does that make sense? And, in an atheistic world, I actually think euthanasia would be merciful and licit. I daresay most atheists feel that way. You might come to that as well, if you follow your atheism for many more months and years. It just makes sense. Why suffer when we can make our ultimate exit painless?

    Anyway, God bless you (meant sincerely). I hope you find your way back. And, I will pray for your sweet daughter!

  64. I you happen to stop back.. I made a new post at the blog...

    Why do we pray?

  65. Ashley, I make it a rule not to go find debates on other blogs, as you can imagine I have enough going on here, ha ha. If you want to continue the discussion here, please feel free. There are many readers of the Bubble who are very interested in what we have been discussing.


  66. Yes, Thanks Leila, I really don't want debate. I just want thoughts.

    I enjoyed the video of Fr. Barron's take on the CT shooting. Good conquering evil. I find that one major aspect of struggle for me. But, I really enjoy him. Thanks.

  67. Perhaps Peter kreefts " making sense out of suffering" . It answered many questions for me. It's about 30 yrs old so I don't know how easy it is to get a copy

  68. Leila,

    Thank you for asking a question on how the husband would think about Ashley's deconversion. Here is my reply, Fernando,Ashley's husband, to what happened sometime ago for insight on the effects of Catholicism and Atheism on a marriage.

  69. Fernando, my heart breaks for you!! I am so sorry! I am heartbroken. The devil wants nothing more than to destroy families in the name of "freedom". If you email me, there is another man that I would love for you to be in touch with. A little different circumstance, but he is very holy and faithful and maybe you two could have each other's support.


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