Goodbye, Papa

02/12/2013 Comments (54)

On the news, they keep saying that Benedict XVI has been pope for "a mere eight years."  Yes, and my eight-year-old has only known his father for a mere eight years.  Doesn't seem that short to him.

I was about four years old when John Paul II was elected pope.  My mother hung his smiling picture in our bedroom, and I half thought he was my grandfather -- he had the same round head, the same crinkled eyes and broad grin.  I grew up knowing that this was our papa who loved us and who would always be there.  Even when I wandered away from the Church, that kindly smile and strong shoulders reminded me that I was the one who was wrong -- that back home, back in the Church, was solid ground....READ MORE

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Lenten Rookie Mistakes

02/08/2013 Comments (63)

Apparently the number of "active Catholics" declined by 5% recently.  I suspect that one reason for this is that, thanks in part to our suddenly more vocal bishops, at least 5% of Catholics have suddenly become aware of what it actually means to be an active Catholic -- and have realized that they don't actually want any part of that. 

Either way, I feel like I can't walk ten feet without bumping into an enthusiastic new convert, which is delightful, and so encouraging!  Welcome, everybody!  We papists have a little saying:  Venite intus; horribilis est!

Heh.  Anyway, you may be looking forward to your first Lent with enthusiasm but some trepidation.  If so, you're ahead of the game: ...READ MORE

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For God, Or for Your Bod?  Some Thoughts about Fasting and Dieting

02/07/2013 Comments (26)

A reader writes:

    I can't figure out how to make fasting not about losing weight!  As you know as an American woman we struggle so much with eating/exercising/body fat etc.    I am going on retreat this coming weekend and was thinking of attempting a fast. But it always turns into this thing about how much will I weigh afterwards etc.

I got this note some time ago, but since Lent is coming up, it seems like an especially relevant question.  Obviously, unless we are exempt, we are required to fast according to the Church's rules on certain days, no matter what our motivation.  Here is what the Church says about required fasting

The law of fasting requires a Catholic from...READ MORE

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Like the Dewfall

02/05/2013 Comments (43)

If you'll allow me a moment of dorky liturgical self congratulation, I would like to announce that last Sunday, I made it through the Mass without even glancing at the cheat sheet!  Yep, I even remembered to say, " for our good and the good of all His Holy Church," which is an especially sneaky passage because it's 99% the same as it was before, and lulls you into a false sense of familiarity -- and then BAM, "all his Holy Church." 

We all know that the main reason we go to Mass is winning the liturgy -- much like the two robbers in Freddy the Detective, who are having a contest (one singing, one on the harmonium) to see who can get through the song first without skipping anything.  I'm...READ MORE

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Looking for Choice?  How About Abortion Pill Reversal?

02/01/2013 Comments (49)

There has been much ado lately about the label "pro-choice."  Planned Parenthood, and other organizations who accept and promote abortion, are nervously backing away from that label, and are encouraging people to stop using the label "pro-life" to describe people who promote alternatives to abortion.



"These labels limit the conversation," purrs the video's narrator.  "The next time you talk about abortion, don't let the labels box you in.  Have a different conversation, a conversation that doesn't divide you, but is based on mutual respect and empathy."

Don't mind if I do!  Here is a fine example of a supportive, respectful, empathetic doctor offering real choice to a...READ MORE

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Book Review:  Fill These Hearts by Christopher West

01/31/2013 Comments (14)

Like many Catholics, I've read a lot more about Christopher West than I have read things by Christopher West.  I am very familiar with what his critics say, and also with what his fans say.  And when I read his newest book, Fill These Hearts, I discovered that his critics and fans are both right, up to a point.

Fill These Hearts doesn't have any new ideas in it -- and this is a good thing.  West has woven together many old and extremely important ideas and presented them for a new audience, one that desperately  needs to hear the message that he brings.   His writing is clear, accessible, and easy to understand -- but the ideas in it are profound.

He systematically demolishes the...READ MORE

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The Pushmi-pullyu at the March for Life

01/25/2013 Comments (38)

In Tuesday's post, "Eight Reasons Not to Use Graphic Abortion Images at the March for Life," I argued that gory, graphic photos of aborted babies can be an effective pro-life tool in some situations, but that, for many reasons, they should not be displayed in public places.  There was a huge amount of variety in the responses to the post.  Many people agreed with me, but many did not.  The interesting thing was, there was variety even among the people who agreed with me, and among the people who disagreed with me:  Even the people who agreed with each other didn't agree with each other about why.

I tried to find out whether the organizers for the March for Life had an official policy on...READ MORE

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Like It Was Part of His Name

01/24/2013 Comments (40)

My husband and I both work at our computers off and on throughout the day, and we email back and forth a lot.  Every once in a while, I get what looks like an empty message from him -- just a series of dots in a box.  This makes me  laugh every time, because I know what happened:  It's just Gmail being too smart for its own good again.  When you end every email the same way, Gmail thinks it's your signature, and thinks it doesn't have to include it in every email, especially if it's a response to a response to a response to a response to a response.  The recipient must know who it's from by now.  So smart, right?

And so, when I get an empty email from my husband, I know it's because he...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.