I Don't Know Nothin' About Raisin' No Babies, Apparently

04/07/2015 Comments (26)

"Assume I don't know anything." This is what I always tell the nurses in the hospital when I have a new baby. And I'm not just being modest or cute or something. I have picked up a few things about caring for babies in the last seventeen years (SEVENTEEN YEARS); but there are a few things that I will never, ever learn.  For instance:

1. That baby is asleep. Sleeping babies breathe very shallowly. If you really, really feel the need to freak out over whether she is breathing or not, you can slowly, quietly go in real close and listen, and you will be able to tell if she is breathing. It is not medically necessary to swoop down upon the child, hear her gasping with fright, and then clasp her...READ MORE

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Grace Is Free, But Not All Fees Are Simony

04/02/2015 Comments (31)

Here's welcome news: the diocese of Pittsburgh has joined the list of those who will not charge for annulments. According to the Star-Tribune (h/t Deacon's Bench

 The fees [for annulments] in the six-county diocese ranged from $50 to $650 depending on the complexity of the case, said the Rev. Thomas Kunz.

In some dioceses, the fee are even higher.  Pittsburgh's Bishop Zubik said,

"My hope is that this decision will enable many people to participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church."

Catholics are rightly pleased at this development. The expense of obtaining a decree of nullity makes it difficult for some people to come into full communion with the Church. When...READ MORE

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Nobody told me!

03/31/2015 Comments (43)

There was a commotion in the communion line. I couldn't hear what the deacon was saying, but the woman who approached him was responding to him in a loud, conversational tone that rose above the reverent murmur in the church. "What are you talking about?" she called out. "Is this what you mean? This?"

Horror: she was waving around a consecrated Host like it was a business card or a cookie. I started to put the baby down, preparing to rush over and tackle this woman before she did something unthinkable.

Then I realized she was smiling, embarrassed. She gave the Host back to the deacon and said, just as loudly, "I didn't know! Nobody told me!" And she walked away. As far as I can tell, she...READ MORE

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Let's Ditch the Prom

03/26/2015 Comments (51)

A Pennsylvania Catholic high school is requiring girls to submit photos of their prom dresses for approval, before the actual night. Deacon Greg Kandra passses along the story here

Such policies always sound a little heavy-handed (and students claim that the guidelines were issued at the last minute, which means that already-purchased, non-returnable dresses may be ruled inappropriate), if not downright oppressive (well, by American standards of oppression), but I sympathize with the school.  If students showed up in appropriate dresses, the policy would not be necessary; but flat out hooker wear is still very much in vogue. So schools can't simply count on kids, or their parents, to...READ MORE

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What Can Catholic Parents Learn from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?

03/24/2015 Comments (41)

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarneav is on trial today, and we know something about the argument his defense team will make. They will say that, while Tsasarneav is indisputably guilty of carrying out a ghastly plan to murder civilians in the streets of Boston, he was no ruthless mastermind, but a vulnerable young man pushed around by his older brother, Tamerlan. The 19-year-old Dzhokhar was in a country foreign to him, just beginning college when his parents were divorcing; his home life was unstable, money was tight, and the only stability and guidance he could find came in the person of his violent, radical brother. Tamerlan took the opportunity to radicalize the teenaged Dzhokhar,...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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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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Hot Showers for the Homeless, Courtesy of St. Peter

02/10/2015 Comments (9)

It's been many years since I was in Rome, but I remember my first impression of the city: it's extremely beautiful, and it smells like poop. Part of that smell comes because Italians tend to have dogs, rather than children. And part of the smell comes because, at least when I was there, public bathrooms are few and far between, and they are coin operated. The phrase "eternal city" takes on a whole new meaning when you are penniless, on foot, and have nowhere to go for hour upon hour.

For a college sophomore spending a semester abroad, this discomfort had its exotic charm. For the thousands of homeless men and women who live in Rome, having nowhere to relieve themselves -- and nowhere to...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.