Free Will and Banana Peels

07/12/2011 Comments (7)

When my oldest daughter was very young, she was recounting the story of Eden and the Fall. When she came to God’s instructions, she told it this way: “... Then God said to Adam and Eve, ‘Stay here, be good, and I’ll be RIGHT BACK.’”

Okay, so it was more involved than that. But she had clearly picked up on the parent-child relationship between God and His creatures—and had noticed that, after all, what he was asking from them was really pretty simple.

It’s nice when kids soak up their catechism and translate it into their own language. But sometimes you have to do the simplifying for them. For instance, when we first start talking about being made in God’s image, the subject of free will...READ MORE

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The Vatican Says . . .

07/08/2011 Comments (63)

No such thing.

In this topsy turvy world in which we live, there are so few things of which we can be sure.  But there is one truth which endures:  if someone tells you, “The Vatican says,” then it probably doesn’t.  And what do they mean, “The Vatican,” anyway?  And what do they mean, “says?”

The phrase “the Vatican says” doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s used all the time, in two main ways.

First is when the mainstream media latches onto a headline that’s too juicy to verify.  The typical secular reporter knows as much about the teaching of the Catholic Church as I know about the inner workings of the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, and generally their intention is to...READ MORE

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Who Among Us Does Not Love an Al Gore Joke?

07/07/2011 Comments (68)

Twenty years ago, new consumer technology was usually easy to understand., like:  Oh, it’s a phone without wires, so you can talk and walk around. Oh, it’s a Datasette for your VIC-20, so you can store Q*bert  for later enjoyment while playing Radar Rat Race.  Oh, it’s a crimper, so your hair will look crimpy

Simple, right?  Maybe they weren’t all great products, but they were pretty much self-explanatory.  Even if you didn’t want one yourself, you could at least imagine someone who might.

Nowadays, when I see an ad for something new, I often have no idea what it is.  So my husband explains what it does. Then comes the whole new question:  why would anyone want such a thing?  It’s not...READ MORE

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Ten Cheap, Stupid Ideas For Summer With Kids

07/05/2011 Comments (33)

Got kids?  Got summer?  Got no do-re-mi?  As it happens, I’m an expert in all three of these conditions.  So, as the weeks of vacation spread out before us and I contemplate how much longer I can bear to listen to my sons doing what they think is an appropriate way to spend the day, I offer up this list of actual doable activities for the broke, low-energy parent with a houseful of restless kids of various ages.

1.  Mud painting.  I’m probably revealing too much about my standard of living here, but I just don’t care when my kids mix big batches of mud in the driveway and smear it on the van and the shed.  Then they take the hose and wash it all off.  Then they get it all muddy again. ...READ MORE

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How to Be Immodest About Modesty

07/01/2011 Comments (152)

Corita brought up an interesting idea:  we can behave immodestly while discussing modesty.  I realize that I’m pretty much doing this right now by writing my third straight post about the topic, so—I don’t know, pray for me.  (I’m going to be out of town all day anyway, so if the comment box gets all cluttered up with rabbits and pant suits and whatnot like it did on Thursday, don’t blame me).

Corita said:

I am distressed at least a little by the way that these modesty discussions inevitably draw so much description of the female body, clothed or barely-clothed.
. . . I am totally with you on pants, and modesty being situational.  Is there, though, a limit to how to discuss modesty?  A...READ MORE

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Modesty, Responsibility, and Common Sense

06/30/2011 Comments (244)

Well, that was the most disappointingly reasonable and benign modesty debate I’ve ever seen.  I guess it’s allergy season, and everyone is just too dopey to care.  One point was worth drawing out, though.  One commenter asked why the boys in the article about track uniforms

thought it was appropriate to be ogling and teasing the girl in the first place? Why is it always on the girls and women to cover up, not on the boys and men to behave themselves and act like gentlemen?

She clarified:

I’m the mother of three (soon to be four) boys, and I hope to teach them that no matter WHAT a woman is wearing, it is rude and crass to make comments about her body and make her feel uncomfortable.


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Fast Girls

06/28/2011 Comments (96)

If you are so unfortunate as to be a combatant in the weird and unseemly world of Catholic Skirt Wars, perhaps you have seen the story about the high school girls’ track team that performed better when they ditched their skin-tight uniforms for skorts.

[Athlete Destiny] Phillips used to have to break concentration to fix a uniform that may have shifted unexpectedly, but those days are over. Since the Crimson Tide started competing in skorts in February — the black compression shorts with a miniskirt over top were designed to eliminate embarrassing moments — the Dunbar girls have spent more time focusing on their events and less time feeling self-conscious because of what they’re wearing.


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Some Specifics About the College of Saint Mary Magdalen

06/24/2011 Comments (1)

When I was a student (1993-1997) at Thomas More College in NH, the nearby Magdalen college had an unpleasant reputation.  Some students did well and were happy there, but many were bitter and frustrated:  academics were not as high a priority as the tight control the administration exerted over every aspect of student life.

But last year, the college changed its name from Magdalen to the College of Saint Mary Magdalen, and its new president, George Harne, has promised meaningful reform to the school’s curriculum and student life.  In an interview with the Register from April, Harne said,

This year we renewed and expanded our liberal arts program built on the study and discussion of the...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.