Friday, October 28, 2005

Free to God created me

In today's Star-Ledger there is a report of a Seton Hall university Associate Dean who was demoted for writing a letter to the editor criticizing the church's teaching about homosexuality. W. King Mott, an openly gay tenured professor, wrote the letter, signing it as an Associate Dean of the University's College of Arts and Sciences.

I used to work at Seton Hall 5 years ago, when Dr. Mott was the Director of the Freshman Studies Program. My colleagues in Admissions and I had the pleasure of meeting with him a few times in that context and he is really a very nice man. He left the University for about a year while I was there and he returned after I left. I had no idea that he was gay. I recall him being married (I could be wrong).

"Shouldn't a university be a place where this sort of conversation (about homosexuality) can happen in a good way? In a rational and coherent way?" Mott said yesterday. "That's what's important here ... A university ought to be a sanctuary for the expression of ideas, diverse ideas, contrary ideas."

University spokesman Tom White said if Mott wanted to publicly disagree with church policy, he should have done so without affiliating himself with Seton Hall's administration. "Clearly, it is inappropriate to speak against the Catholic Church or its policies as if representing Seton Hall University," White said. "If a university employee does this as Joe Q. Public, it's a different matter altogether."

Another issue which the PR people for the university seems to be avoiding, or at least not really bringing up because it's not really true at SHU, is that in a Catholic University, professors ought not discuss or espouse ideas in the classroom, or in print media, regardless of whether or not you identify yourself as a University Employee, which are contrary to Church teaching. (Anyone from Seton Hall who read Dr. Mott's letter to the editor would have known who he is.)

Catholic Colleges have a right and a grave responsibility to be CATHOLIC. Parents send their children to, and pay good money for, Catholic universities for a Catholic Education. And knowing that, there are many secular colleges and universities which would gladly hire well-qualified professors, like Dr. Mott, without caring about what they think about Church teaching.

I love Seton Hall. I think it is a fine school and I was happy while working there (I left after my first son was born to stay at home with him). I think it can improve on its Catholicity. For example, while I was there, and I do not know if this has changed (please, Lord, I hope it has) the nursing program has the students observe in abortion procedures during their student nursing. The faculty said that a student could conscientiously object without penalty and be assigned a different rotation, but what I would like to know is, why a nursing student at a Catholic university would even be offered a choice to be there during these procedures? There is no shortage of Catholic hospitals in this area, which I would hope did not offer this "service," why can't the students do their training exclusively at those hospitals?

A Catholic University ought to be an oasis for Catholic thought and ideas. Parents should not have to be worried about whether or not a particular Catholic university is really Catholic. Parents should expect that their children will still be practicing Catholics when they are graduated. People who are not Catholic should be attracted to a true Catholic University that would exude love and freedom.

What's interesting about Dr. Mott is that his entire professional academic career has been at Catholic Univeristies. I wonder why that is, especially since he thinks the Church is homophobic:
"The bottom line is, you're talking about a homophobic institution," he said last night. "The Roman Catholic Church is prima facie homophobic. The Roman Catholic Church considers me to be inherently disordered. I don't know how much more homophobic one can be."

Homophobic, eh? Well, let's see. If we go back to Genesis, we see that God created them male and female and "a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body" (Genesis 2:24). As Catholics, we believe that the way God started things out matters, and that God doesn't make mistakes. Since God ordained from the beginning of time that a man is meant for a woman and a woman is meant for a man, a person wanting to "cling to" someone of the same gender is disordered (contrary to God's created order). And acting on that desire is called sin. A sin is "humanity's rejection of God and and opposition to Him" (Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 386).

Homophobia is fear of or hatred for homosexuality. There is no fear or hatred here. Let's read what the Church actually teaches about homosexuality from the Cathechism of the Catholic Church in paragraphs 2357-2359. Bold type is my emphasis: "...basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29, Rom 1:24-27, 1 Cor 6:10, 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinscically disordered....

"The number of man and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite the sacrifice of the cross to the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

"Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection."

We are created in a certain way. We are called to live as God created us to, not how our sinful world would like us to be. We are called to rise above the world, not to be OF the world. Feel attracted to someone of the same gender? There are people who want to help. There is a ministry called Courage and there are therapists who will help you to overcome this attraction. You know that is not how God made you. Don't feel like you should get married? Don't think you could ever be attracted to someone of the opposite gender? Live a chaste life. And the CCC distinguishes clearly between people and acts. Love the sinner, but not the sin, remember?

I'm sorry that Dr. Mott inends to leave the University. I am more sorry that Dr. Mott has chosen to live an objectively sinful lifestyle. I am most sorry that the students at Seton Hall study at a Catholic Unversity which is not unabashedly Catholic.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Cute things my kid says

My two year old says some pretty cute things. My grandparents used to say: "Goodness gracious, St. Ignatius!" so my mom has taught it to my sons. But when the Bubba says it, it comes out (in his raspy two year old man child voice): "Goodness gwacious natious natious!"

We were in Target today and we got some Halloween candy. I asked, "What kind of candy do you like?" His reply, "In my mouth."

He is his mother's son.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Happy Un-Father's Day!

Tony at Catholic Pillow Fight posted this in rebuttal to a columnist's blog entry. It's about the importance of fathers. Ann Althouse (The aforementioned rebutted blogger) asks this in her comments:

For the kids we're talking about, the alternative is nonexistence. Are you saying that 38-year-old women who can't find suitable matches should not have children? Or that they should make dads out of unsuitable men? Talk about the real world, not just your ideal.

Tony says, and I wholeheartedly agree, that yes, nonexistence is better than an existence where your mother deliberately chose not to give you a father.

I think of my own family: Me, DH, boys, and my mom. My mom is of enromous help in my family. Without her, we would live in chaos. She cooks, cleans, does laundry, homework with my older son, everything a mother ought to be doing (for my guilt associated with this, you'll have to wait for another post). My husband works crazy hours during the school year. He is frequently on the way to work when we are waking up and he comes home after dinner. He wishes it were not so, and if the Lord is willing, he will have a new job soon.

From the previous paragraph, it might sound like my husband is dispensible in the family equation. He's not home for dinner most nights and he gets to see the kids for about 8 hours in a whole week. Surely, my and my mother's impact on their lives must be greater than his. Isn't he really interchangable with a cool uncle or a grandfather?


He is irreplacable. He is the anchor for our family. He is the head of our household. He is the pope in our domestic church. He is the man who was ordained by God to teach our boys to be men. It is a responsibility he takes very seriously. He may not be able to be home for dinner every night, but he is the MAN of the house.

I think a woman who chooses to embark on parenthood alone because she wants to be fulfilled is insane. She ought to look for fulfillment elsewhere. I cannot imagine doing this without my man. And not in a "I need a bugkiller and mousecatcher in the house" way. And not in a "Wait until your father gets home" way either (though I have said it and it is extraodrinarily effective with the elder boy). I can kill bugs and set mouse traps. I can discipline my sons. But I cannot model manhood for them. And if the Lord blesses me with a daughter, I cannot model for her the way a man ought to treat his wife. I cannot be a mom without a dad to balance me.

Gloria Steinem said that a child needs a father like a fish needs a bicycle. I think I read somewhere that as she mellowed with age, she retracted that statement somewhat. I could be wrong. But I DO know that a child needs a father like a fish needs water; like that child needs air, food, and love.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

a report from the dungeon

"The Dungeon" is how I like to affectionately refer to my office. It is located on the lower level of the parish school. There are short windows near the ceiling. Prior to a few weeks ago, it had not been painted in more than 10 years. They also did not sweep my floor or collect my trash prior to 2 weeks ago, when I finally had a hissy fit all over the maintenace foreman, not the director since he is often nowhere to be found.

There are sewage pipes that run along my ceiling. They are now leaking very slowly. Is there a plumber on the way? Interesting question. I'm not sure. I was told 20 minutes ago that the plumber that the parish usually uses is installing new toilets on the second floor and is busy with that. He's got 5 minutes to tell me that the plumber is on his way before I start to scream. Or get on the phone with someone. Or I tell the parish secretary. I am pissed off (and perhaps, ON.

There's no love for the CCD lady.

A plumber HAS been called! Perhaps he will work on it today. At any rate, I'll be working from home today, thanks!

The pipe is a rainwater pipe, not a sewage pipe as the crew here thought. The dripis from condensation on the cold pipes. Yay!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

More busy-ness at work this week

This is going to be a crazy week. I'm hiring a new secreatry and hoping she can start immediately. I should have called her today, even though the office was closed. i am irresponsible.

There was much posting today. There is plenty to read. I don't know if I'll be back before the weekend. I have to run my First Reconciliation Parent meetings this week and drive for a Pre-K trip to the firehouse.

Go check out SFO mom, she's new on the sidebar. She's a Secular Franciscan and she's very cool.

Pray that my new person can start tomorrow and that my meetings go OK.

Also please pray for our pastor. He was in the hospital with jaundice and should be back now on bedrest. Pray that he can rest at home in the Rectory. He's an extrememly vital 80 year-old man. Pray that we can all leave him alone if he's at the parish.

Which book of the Bible Are you?

H/T to Tony at Catholic Pillow Fight.

I'm sort of surprised that for only 5 questions, this quiz result could be so spot-on.

You Are Romans
You are Romans.

A parrot walks into a Rectory

A friend told me this absolutley true story from working in her parish rectory last week.

A man came in to see one of the priests and he brought his baby parrot with him. He parrot was just learning to talk. The man asked the priest to baptize the parrot. The priest explained that he could not baptize the parrot, but would bless the parrot. The man insisted on Baptism. The priest told him, "Unless that parrot can say the Act of Faith, I am not baptizing him!"

My friend told me: "I would teach the parrot the Act of Faith, just to see Father's reaction. That parrot can talk, you know, and it's just a matter of time before he brings the thing back to be baptized!"

My 5 Idiosyncrasies

The 5 Idiosyncrasies of Me(me)
Barb, the SFO Mom, tagged me. I'm not sure I can whittle it down to just 5. Here goes:

1. I need symmetry. For example: When I make my bed, which is not often, the medallion on the bedspread MUST be in the center of the bed. I will fuss with it, stepping from side to side over piles of laundry on the floor, until is is dead center. The craving for symmetry does NOT translate into neatness, but the piles of stuff must be of equal height. ;)

2. In a similar way, when eating candies like M&M's, I have to eat them in such a way that I chew the same number on each side of my mouth.

3. When I finish brushing my teeth, I re-brush to get all of the toothpaste out, and I must rinse and spit at least 5 times. No Joke: It takes me 5 minutes to brush my teeth.

4. I refuse to drink Pepsi. If my choices are Pepsi or thirst, I'll take thirst.

5. I eat the cookie part of a Twix bar first and then the caramel last. I also save the caramel in a Milky Way for last.


Arthur, the Angry Twin
Mark Mossa, SJ

Go Gandalf!

p>Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

I have to say I was delighted by this result!

From SFO Mom.

My further adventures in DRE-World

I went to a meeting of DREs in my county. We do this 4 times a year. We open, as we ought, with prayer. We take turns with coming up with what to pray. This time it was a Sister of St. Joseph's turn. We were, incidentally, in their convent since 4 of the DREs in the county live in this particular convent.

Would you not expect this prayer to address God at some point, especially given that he prayer leader was a sister? Unfortunately, if you read the above paragraph closely, you noticed that I was in a SSJ convent. Therefore, we worshiped autumn on Thursday. We did not give praise to God for the season of harvest. We did not give praise to God for cooler weather. We praised autmn for its autumn-ness. No mention of God. I should have known we were in trouble when she mucked around with the Sign of the Cross. Now I have to more urgent need to go to confession. This makes my heart bleed since my grandfather's sister was a SSJ of Chestnut Hill, the same as these sisters. It's probably good that Aunt Alice (That's Sr. Marie Lawrence to you) suffered from dementia in the last years of her life. She had no idea what some of the younger sisters were up to.

I am responsible for prayer at our March meeting. I am tempted to have us pray in Latin. Any good suggestions for someone like me, a total Latin Novice? I was also thinking about tapping good ol' Francis of Assisi for some reflection on God's creation, just to show how it is done.

More reasons why I won't be going back to my old OB/GYN

I posted a while back that I found a pro-life OB/GYN practice. I hadn't had my first appointment yet when I had the ectopic pregnancy, so I went to the old group. I had my 6 week follow-up today.

First, when I made the appointment 6 weeks from last Friday, I made it for October 7 at noon. I get to the office on Friday and the receptionist said. "Your appointment is for the 10th at noon." I was like, oh. my bad, until I realized I was supposed to take the Confirmation class to a tour of the Cathedral in Newark today and there was no way I would have made the appointment for today. The lady I talked to must have put it into the computer on the wrong day. To be fair, the receptionist said that they'd had a few emergencies and they couldn't even squeeze me in. ButI was OK with it since today is a holiday.

Went back there today and the nurse puts me on the scale. I am going to say here that I am overweight. I am not morbidly obese, but I can stand to lose about 40 pounds, which I am working on since I have wedding to go to soon after New Year's. I am not really sensitive about it. Mu husband likes me the way I am, though I know it is not the most healthy way to live.

But I digress. I get on the scale and the nurse says. "180. Why?" Um... because I can't stop eating? Because the only exercise I do is when I walk my kid to school? Because I'm a pig? That's why!!!! This would not bother me as much if the nurse were herself within a normal weight range for her height. Alas, she has a little junk in her trunk, too. I said. "It doesn't say that at home (It says 175) and she says, "Yes. Sometimes it comes out here a little heavy, but it's calibrated, so it's right." Oh. Excuse me. I'm going out to my car and eat a box of ho ho's right now!

She leaves and the doctor comes in. This man is my least favorite of the three doctors in the practice. He is a total space cadet. He sounds just like Casey Kasem. I'm not kidding. When you're pregnant and he measures your fundal height (The top of your uterus), he draws a little line on your belly to measure to. I have asked him to stop and he refuses. He says that some husbands like to see where it is. I say, "I'm not here for you to draw on me. Put the pen away, Casey!" He gives me the test results from a culture another doctor did. A year and a half ago.

He checks me out and I'm fine. He gives me some prenatal vitmains and advice about what to do when we get pregnant again (I'm at a higher risk to have another ectopic pregnancy now.). He leaves, I get dressed and go out to the desk. He gives me a vitamin sample and I ask him when we can try again. He advises me to wait 2 more cycles before I get pregnant again. As I am filling in the last digit on the zip code on a form they gave me, he tells me I can go to the receptionist window or the waiting room to complete the form. I tell him I am finishing it now and I'm moving along. "Great," he says. I give my paperwork to the receptionist and I leave, grateful that I will never have to be there again.

Friday, October 07, 2005

SSPX: Arch-Traditional Cafeteria Catholics? UPDATED

I find the Society of St. Pius X utterly fascinating, in a car crash sort of way. I know the SSPX is flawed (as in, schismatic), but I want to investigate it. What gets me about the SSPX is that they don't believe they are in the wrong. Then again, neither does Hans Kung.

We're not in schism, they say, because we are loyal to the Magesterium prior to the Second Vatican Council. I doubt that St. Pius X would advocate breaking with the validly elected pope over a validly called council promulgated by a validly elected pope. Nor would he advocate a bishop illicitly oradining other priests and bishops. In his ordination, a priest vows obedience to his bishop and his successors. A bishop likewise vows obedience to the Holy Father and his Succesors. I don't think that the rite includes a vow to popes gone to their glory to the exclusion of the Vicar of Christ currently on earth. And, since Archbishop LeFebvre ordained men to be bishops and priests without the authority of the pope and in fact defying a direct order from the pope, the Archbishop and the men he ordained were excommunicated. And any men those men ordained were excommunicated. And so on. On EWTN's website, you can find a document which spells out the Vatican's clear standing on this issue. The Vatican has declared the SSPX to be in schism. Unauthorized ordinations, an abuse of episcopal authority, incurs atuomatic excommunication. Just as the women who were ordained in the middle of Lake Ontario were automatically excommunicated, so too are the priests who were ordained invalidly by Archbishop LeFebvre. I'm sorry if you don't believe it because you haven't seen the memo. There is no need for a memeo. It's in Canon Law. That's one of the things that DIDN'T change with Vatican II.

We disagree with the changes made to the Church after Vatican II, they say. The Council has watered down the faith. There should not be outreach to the Protestants the way we think the council says to. Well, this could be cleared up if the folks I have communicated with from the SSPX had actually READ any of the documents from the Second Vatican Council-in Latin or in their vernacular. In no place does it suggest changing the essential truths of the faith to suit the desires of any Protestant denomination. The Real Presence must be accepted by all. The authority of the successor to Peter must be accepted by all (one of the big stumbling blocks toward reconciling the rift with the Eastern Orthodox). Did Jesus not pray that we may all be one as He and His Father are one? How is this to be accomplished if we do not talk to other Chriatians? We cnnot live our baptismal call to make disciples of all nations if we do not go out and meet the nations.

I would like to state that I think that we as a Church should place greater emphasis on reaching out to folks in the SSPX and bring them back before we reach out to, say, the Lutherans. The Lutherans might be easier to convince, though.

The definition of a Catfeteria Catholic is a person who picks and chooses Church Teaching. I think you could say the same for the SSPX.


In the Society's webpage is a page of FAQs. The FAQs basically suggest that the supression of the society was invalid. It also states:


If only the one incurring them were to suffer, then YES, that is the more perfect way to act.

If however there is a question of depriving innumerable souls of the graces they need for salvation, then NO, one cannot

So, since the SSPX feels that its role is a vital one, by providing the Tridentine Mass in its chapels, it must continue, essentially, for the greater good.

But the Tridentine Mass is available by indult from the local bishop. If there is a demand for it, the local bishop ought to grant the indult (and if he doesn't, the laity have the right and responsibility to take it up with that bishop and if they have no other recourse to take it to Rome, where one would hope that more reasonable men would prevail upon the local bishop). This basically means that the Novus Ordo, as promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the officail rite of the Roman Church. The Tridentine Rite is certainly valid, but as it is no longer the ordinary rite, there must be special permission to offer it. Some people who attend SSPX chapels have said that Pope Paul VI didn't have the right to declare the Novus Ordo to be the offical rite to the exclusion of the Tridentine Rite. They point to the promulgation of the Tridentine Rite which states, in effect, that no one should be prevented from saying this Mass. Therefore the priests do not have to ask permission to say the Tridentine Mass.

Doesn't it all boil down to pride, though?

UPDATE 2: Rocco From Whispers in the Loggia posts this about the SSPX's Bishop Williamson Answering 10 questions from an online media outlet as only Rocco can.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

a child of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia reflects

For those of you who may not know, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been under investigation by the District Attorney of the same city for priest sexual abuses and for the cover-up that went on during the tenures of John Cardinal Krol and Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua. You can check out the Philadelphia Inquirer's website to read the full report released by the DA a week or two ago and several articles about the scandal (free registration is required to view any articles).

I read as much of the DA's report as I could before I became physically ill. One of the credibly accused priests was in my high school while I was there. That's as close as my brothers and I ever came to one of those sick sick men (I hope).

What is extrememly disheartening about the whole situation is what people have said over and over again since all of this started coming out in Boston 3 years ago: the Cardinals were more interested in shielding these men, their brother priests, than in protecting any of the kids those sick men hurt.

To read tesimony from the victims is crippling: The boy who was told by the priest who molested him that his parents agreed to let the priest do these things to him for money, The boy who was being raped in the sacristy when another priest walked in on it and did NOTHING to stop it, it goes on....

Now Justin Cardinal Rigali gets to clean up the mess.

This is hard for me since I have sort of admired Cardinal Krol until now (I've been lukewarm on Bevilacqua since he ordered the closure of several high schools when I was a high schooler in the Archdiocesan Schools in the '90's). He was committed to preserving the liturgy and implemented the changes of Vatican II sensibly (some might say with an iron fist). But do you reconcile this to your idea of that man, a trusted advisor of JPII? He had to answer to God for that. And Cardinal Bevilacqua will have to as well.

It is more important than ever for us to pray for our priests. More scandal in the news = Harder for a priest to be a priest. St. John Vianney, pray for them. St. John Neumann, pray for them. St. Charles Borromeo, pray for them.