To Serve Your Parents

07/17/2014 Comments (12)

This summer, an awful lot of my friends are teaching their kids to cook -- or, even more amazingly, they are making their kids teach themselves to cook.  These enterprising kiddies are preparing no mere sandwiches or cereal for a casual lunch, but they are planning and preparing three-course meals for their entire families, while mom and dad lounge on the back deck, sipping sangria and waiting for the dinner bell.

Late afternoon finds me, on the other hand, slaving over a hot Facebook page, gorging on a smorgasbord of tantalizing photos with captions like: "Here is my 8-year-old carefully chopping the chives she grew in her little garden! This is the second time this week she's made pork...READ MORE

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Some Answers about the Seal of Confession

07/15/2014 Comments (27)

Last week, I wrote a post about the seal of confession, and how a priest in Lousiana is being threatened with contempt of court and jail time if he refuses to disclose what a girl told him in confession. In my post, I said:

However, a penitent may give a priest permission to talk about what was confessed. The penitent may release him from the seal.


If the penitent wants the priest to talk, the priest is no longer morally compelled to keep silent.

This is not accurate, and I appreciate the correction from so many readers. The Seal of Confession is utterly nviolable. According to Canon Law

Can.  983 §1. The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden...READ MORE

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Maite Roche Is a Treasure

07/10/2014 Comments (10)

Back before Easter, I planned to review a lovely little book that came to our house: My First Pictures of Easter by Maite Roche (Ignatius Press).

Better late than never! This book is a treasure. With simple, carefully chosen words and phrases describing the events of Holy Week, it is a springboard for parents to tell their kids the story of the Passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, giving as much or as little detail as they would like. My kids have absconded with the Easter book, but I do have in front of me another of Roche's books: My First Prayers with Mary.  

It's a sturdy little board book with rounded edges. It includes several short, simple prayers to Mary, with large, bright...READ MORE

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Some Questions about the Seal of Confession

07/08/2014 Comments (63)

First, some background about the Seal of Confession. According to Canon Law, 

“The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.” (Can. 983)


“A confessor is prohibited completely from using knowledge acquired from confession to the detriment of the penitent even when any danger of revelation is excluded.” (Can. 984)

In other words, when a penitent tells something to a priest during the sacrament of confession, the priest is not allowed to talk about what was said, to anyone, for any reason. He is not even allowed to acknowledge that the person made a confession...READ MORE

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We Who Are About to Camp Salute You

06/30/2014 Comments (19)

Guess what my husband and I almost got into a fight about the other day? That's right: it was about whether it makes more sense to spend lots of money on air mattresses that get leaky and go flat in a few days, or if we should settle for the ones which are leaky and flat right out of the box.

If you look closely, you will see that there is a small strain a fatalism in our plans. This is because we are going camping. With all nine kids. In two cabins without electricity. For five days. Again.

We're doing this for two reasons: (a) we firmly, if unscientifically, believe it is good for us as a family in some way and (b) I dunno. We made our reservations back in January, when all kinds of...READ MORE

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SCOTUS: Pro-Lifers Are Citizens, Too

06/26/2014 Comments (16)

Score one for the Constitution! The Supreme Court just unanimously -- unanimously -- struck down a buffer zone law in Massachusetts. The law, instituted in 2007, barred protesters, counselors, quiet pray-ers, and even silent witnesses from coming within 35 feet of an abortion clinic. Only patients, clinic workers, and people passing through were allowed to be within the buffer zone.  The law didn't wait until you proved that you were there to make trouble: it simply shut you out, assuming the guilt of private citizens.

In effect, the law created a First and Fourteenth Amendment-Free Zone for a certain class of people. It made it a crime for some citizens to be on a public sidewalk, or to...READ MORE

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The Tabernacle Holds the Heart of the Church

06/24/2014 Comments (19)

When my mother would start teaching catechism to a new group of kids, she would find out what they knew by asking them a single question: "Why do we go to Mass?" 

So ask yourself that question. What's your answer? There are lots of answers, right? We go to hear the word of God, to receive grace and various spiritual gifts, to pray with other believers, and so on.  But above all, there is one answer, and everything else is secondary at best: we go to worship God. We go to Mass to worship Him in a way that is so rich and profound that every other human experience of the good, the true, and the beautiful is subsumed into the experience of bearing witness to and participating in the sacrifice...READ MORE

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Babies as Teachers

06/19/2014 Comments (12)

The director of my kids’ school recently thanked me for doing some carpooling. It’s easy for me, since I have a big van and spend my afternoons driving anyway. But she made a point of telling me she was grateful that her teenage daughter and her friends get to spend some time with my daughter, who is two years old.

And that’s one of the things that makes our local school so valuable: the concerted effort to get kids of different ages to mingle. The idea is that everyone has something to offer, and that everyone does better when we spend time around people who have different talents, different tastes, different joys, different troubles, different perspectives. The school has “all school...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.