Sadie Hawkins and Lent

02/19/2015 Comments (14)

When I was in high school, every February saw the annual ritual of "Sadie Hawkins Day." Sadie Hawkins was a character in the old cartoon strip "L'il Abner" who took things into her own hands when it came to datin', courtin' and all the rest of the male/female frou-frou that so occupies the adolescent mind. She didn't wait for a guy to ask her out. She asked him.

So, once a year, in honor of dear Sadie, my alma mater held a dance in which the girls asked the guys out for a change. The net result of this arrangement was to create a social situation in which a small but stable group of insecure boys were reminded for four years straight that no girl in the school would touch them with a barge...READ MORE

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Of Catholics and Capybaras

02/19/2015 Comments (24)

Think you know more or less what Lent is about? Nope, nuh-uh, wrong-o. You haven't plumbed the depths of contradictary human behavior until you've spent several years observing Lent as only a Catholic can do. 

Luckily, I've been doing it for nearly forty years, so I can help you save some time. Here are a few questions you might have about Lent and Catholics, all answered as well as they possibly can be. 

Q. People were being really weird about the ashes. Some people told me I would be sinning if I washed them off before midnight, and then my mother-in-law said it would be a sin of vanity to check in the mirror to see if they look as goofy as my husband's, and then my sister said that...READ MORE

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Lawmakers to San Fran Archbishop: Drop Morality Clauses for Teachers

02/19/2015 Comments (73)
Lauren Cater/CNA

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.

– Lauren Cater/CNA

A group of California lawmakers asked Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco to remove "morality clauses" from a proposed contract for teachers in high schools under his jurisdiction, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The new language in the contracts direct teachers in four archdiocesan high schools to avoid public statements or actions that oppose Church teaching on contraception, pre-marital sex or homosexual relationships. My story on the proposed change in contract language is here.

In their letter to the archbishop, the California lawmakers argued that the morality clauses "conflict with settled areas of law and foment a discriminatory environment in the communities we...READ MORE

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Psychiatrist: How Fifty Shades of Grey Changes Your Mind and Body

02/18/2015 Comments (8)

The blockbuster success of the film, Fifty Shades of Grey, brings this cautionary guidance from Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Irvine medical school.

Couples who may be insoired by the film and books to spice thinge up should check out two  recent studies Kheriaty cites in a post on The Public Discourse.The studies link women who  have read the Fifty Shades books with an increase in behaviors associated with abusive relationships. The 2014 study is here, and the  2013 study is here.

Here is his explaination for why we should be wary of mixing romance with violence -- even in the entertainment we consume.

"Human beings have neural networks related to...READ MORE

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An Online Conference Just for Catholic Moms

02/18/2015 Comments (1)

- Catholic Conference 4 Moms

In the years I’ve been working online and connecting with other moms online, I’ve come to realize something critical: we women—and specifically moms—need each other. Motherhood can be very isolating, even as it demands everything from you.

It’s all too easy to focus everything on your children and your work and to forget about your self. Motherhood is a giving endeavor, and we all need a reminder to take a step back to put the proverbial oxygen mask on ourselves.

Tami Kiser is planning an online conference tailored for moms, the Catholic Conference 4 Moms, March 6-9, designed to provide quality presentations and content for moms to consume in the midst of their busy, everyday lives. 


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9 things to know and share about Ash Wednesday

02/17/2015 Comments (4)

Here are 9 things to know and share about Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is upon us again!

Here are 9 things you need to know and share . . .


1. What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is the day that Lent begins (see: 9 things you need to know about Lent).

The name comes from the fact that a particular rite is always celebrated on this Wednesday in which the faithful have ashes put on their foreheads.

According to the Roman Missal:

In the course of today's Mass, ashes are blessed and distributed.

These are made from the olive branches or branches of other trees that were blessed the previous year [on Palm/Passion Sunday].



2. What does the putting on of ashes symbolize?

According to the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy:


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Oh, the Lents You Can Lent!

02/17/2015 Comments (7)

How should we observe Lent? Catholics are often eager to share what works for us, and eager to warn others away from what turned out to be disastrous for us. But, as Jimmy Akin points out

The traditional custom of giving up something for Lent is voluntary. Consequently, if you give something up, you set the parameters. 

Not only do we set the parameters for what we give up (sugar in coffee? A second cup of coffee?  All the coffee?), but we decide what kind of thing we want to give up (or take on) -- and why. Here are a few broad categories of ways to observe the penitential season. One or the other may be more spiritually fruitful for you, but none of them is really wrong.


Lent as...READ MORE

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Islamic Terrorists Vow to "Conquer Rome." The World Wonders What They Mean

02/17/2015 Comments (64)

ISIS executioners killed 21 Coptic Christians in a horrific video released this week. The lead executioner speaking in English, pointed his knife and vowed “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission."

And the world wonders what he means by this cryptic statement.

Heck, the world can't seem to figure out who the terrorists are or what their motive is, despite them telling anyone who will listen their goals.

So we look to our political leaders, our best and brightest to offer some clarifying answers on this perplexing mystery. The White House, commenting on the massacre, lamented the loss of "Egyptian citizens." In its statement, it failed to mention the faith of the victims which seemed...READ MORE

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