Vincible Ignorance

11/04/2011 Comments (37)



courtesy of Thomas L. McDonald)

Alphonse Ratisbonne, a French Jew and devout hater of Catholicism and religion in general, converted more or less without warning, and apparently without effort.  He happened to travel to Rome in 1842, where Our Lady herself appeared to him.  He says:

All I can say is that the moment when the Blessed Virgin made a sign with her hand, the veil fell from my eyes; not one veil only, but all the veils which were wrapped around me disappeared, just as snow melts beneath the rays of the sun. . . I am asked how I attained a knowledge of these truths, since it is well known that I never opened a religious book, had never read a page of the Bible, and...READ MORE

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Vatican Does Horrible Job of Being Anti-Science

11/03/2011 Comments (56)

In a move utterly devoid of shock value to Catholics who have been paying attention at all, the Vatican has announced plans to fund NeoStem, a small adult stem cell research company in New York.  According to the Los Angeles Times,

[NeoStem CEO Dr. Robin] Smith . . . was quick to emphasize that the Vatican is not investing in her company, which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Most of the collaboration will involve a nonprofit company established by NeoStem, the Stem for Life Foundation, she said. The Vatican’s role will include fundraising, launching educational campaigns, contributing to research and sponsoring the Rome conference, Smith said.

The Vatican signed a $1...READ MORE

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Unearned Love

11/01/2011 Comments (60)

As the old joke goes, I used to have several theories on parenting.  Now I have several children, and no theories.

This line rings because there are so many different kinds of children, and also because there are so many different kinds of parents.  If we all tried to raise our children the same way, most of us would fail miserably, because our personalities are gifts from God as much as our skills and talents are, and we are supposed to work with what we have.

Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something terribly wrong with one mother’s approach.  She wrote in to Slate’s advice column:

Q. I have been told that I am a cold and unloving mother because when my children get...READ MORE

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On-screen (and On-couch) Behavior

10/28/2011 Comments (73)

Since the world doesn’t always accommodate a Catholic idea of modesty, we are supposed to maintain “custody of the eyes.” We work at keeping our eyes to ourselves, learning not to stare at things we shouldn’t be seeing, whether they’re in real life or on the screen.

I once startled someone (really, she was extremely startled) by describing how, when my husband and I watch movies or TV, we sometimes reach scenes that make us shield our eyes or make mood-killing noises until the scene is over. She could see why a single person, or a dating person, or a married person trying to abstain would want to guard himself from temptation. But a married couple with, shall we say, a green light? What is...READ MORE

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My Brilliant Parenting Idea

10/27/2011 Comments (35)

Sometimes parents have to make dramatic changes in our lives: break habits, shift gears, or renounce cherished parenting theories for the good of our children. Sometimes, though, we can do something really good for our kids by just looking at the natural pattern of our lives, and squeezing every bit of good we can out of what’s already there.

I’ve written about the advantages of having siblings, and I no longer worry that having a big family inevitably means that the kids will be neglected. It does take some vigilance, however, to make sure our kids feel important. No matter how much nurturing and support and benefit kids get from each other, they do need one-on-one time with their...READ MORE

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Twofer Costumes for the Conflicted Catholic Family

10/25/2011 Comments (45)

I really don’t want to talk about Halloween.

I didn’t manage to prepare anything spectacular (read: anything) to celebrate All Saints’ Day this year. 
I do, however, want to immerse my children in the richness of the liturgical year. 
I don’t, however, have the energy to come up with any contorted logic about how dressing up as a zombie with bleeding eyes is actually a corking good, theologically sound method of laughing at the devil. 
I do, however, let my kids wear costumes involving fake blood, severed limbs and terrifying mustaches, if the spirit so moves them. 
I don’t, however, live in Amityville or Sunnydale, so as long as the little temporary pagans don’t show any particular...READ MORE

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Falser Words Were Never Spoken

10/21/2011 Comments (114)

As a mother, hearing outrageously false statements is my bread and butter.  I didn’t even blink when my four-year-old daughter told me that four of her (she has five identical alter egos) grew wings and are flying around outside today.  I said that I would love to see them (and I can’t actually imagine a more glorious sight), but she said they are invizzerbul, but that if I listen closely, I will hear them walking around on the roof.

Some of the tall tales I hear are not quite so charming.  My two-year-old, for instance, hollered that she was NOT POOPY, even though the evidence of this falsehood was so overwhelming that the very air around her lower half was visibly quivering with...READ MORE

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The Grass Is Just as Complicated on the Other Side

10/20/2011 Comments (155)

Despite the kind words of Mark Shea, I actually think it’s a good idea for nice Catholic girls to wade into the world of radical feminist blogs from time to time. Why?

The Catholic echo chamber can skew your perception of how many people agree with you.  Constant affirmation (or squabbling over minutiae) dulls your debating skills.  And it’s healthy and useful to hear opposing argument straight from the horse’s mouth.  We also all need to be reminded that even people with beastly ideas aren’t The Enemy—that they and we share a common enemy, Satan.  Those of us who know how to pray ought to be doing it for those of us who don’t.

But the main reason I often check out radical feminist...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 at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.