We've Tried Nothing, Lord

04/28/2015 Comments (19)

 Ludwig Bemelmans said, "It's always wonderful when something altogether wrong ends right, without the help of either religion or the police." I suppose by "religion" he meant what most people mean: pompous, hypocritical, out-of-touch, glory-seeking blowhards who rake in the dollars of the gullible without ever lifting a finger to offer real help.

He didn't mean what we saw yesterday, when something like 150 members of local clergy of various faiths linked arms and processed down the street in downtown Baltimore, past burning cars and over rubble, calling for an end to violence. Reporter Deborath Weiner was with them, and described how they knelt down in the street, praying for peace. This...READ MORE

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Archbishop Joseph Naumann Replaces Finn, Signalling Change in Missouri Diocese

04/23/2015 Comments (18)

On Tuesday, the beleaguered Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph got a new interim leader, Archbishop Joseph Naumann. Naumann is stepping in to replace Bishop Finn, whose resignation was accepted by the Vatican two days ago. Finn has been at the center of a fierce debate about how he dealt with Fr. Ratigan, a priest in his diocese who took hundreds of pornographic images of children.

In 2011, Finn pled guilty to a misdemeanor of failure to report suspected abuse, becoming the first American bishop to be found criminally liable for abuse that occurred under his watch.

Finn's critics say that he deliberately ignored clear signs that Ratigan was a sexual predator, and that the Vatican was...READ MORE

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Worth Another Look: Joe Versus the Volcano

04/21/2015 Comments (8)

It's always perilous to revisit movies you loved as a kid. Last weekend, we took a chance with  Joe Versus the Volcano (1990). My husband can't stand this movie, and not only because it is so chock full of Meg Ryan, who plays three roles. He says that it's a playwright's movie, which really does explain a lot. He complains that the characters are sloppy and ill-defined, and that many of the lines are delivered on a silver tray labelled "Significant and Memorable!" ("What's with the shoe?" someone asks Joe, who has stumbled and torn the sole on a sharp edge. "I'm losing my soul," he moans.  Womp womp!) And for a movie with "volcano" in the title, you sure had to wade through a lot of movie...READ MORE

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Love Isn't Supposed to Be Efficient

04/16/2015 Comments (14)

As a mother of lots of kids, I think a lot about treating them fairly. They make sure I think about it a lot:  "Hey, she got more pudding than I did!" "Hey, you never let us watch Jaws when we were that age!" "No fair, he got an extra ten minutes on Minecraft, but I didn't even get to save my chickens!"

It's enough to make you crazy, or crazier. But in a big family, especially, it really is necessary to keep track of things and try to keep them just and fair and evenly distributed. If you don't keep track, you're likely to find out that one especially squeaky kid has gotten all the grease, while a more reserved child gets unintentionally gypped. So I do constantly assess how fair I'm...READ MORE

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Ten Pleasures Gwyneth Paltrow Will Never Know

04/14/2015 Comments (65)

"We felt very nice and snug," says Ishmael in chapter 11 of Moby Dick,

The more so since it was so chilly out of doors; indeed out of bed-clothes too, seeing that there was no fire in the room. The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrastIf you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and...READ MORE

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Salon Christianity Secrets: The Fine Art of Doing Zero Research

04/09/2015 Comments (76)

Oh, this is fun. I stopped by Salon.com to see what my intellectual superiors were up to today, and their huge headliner made my eyes bug out: 

Jesus went to hell: The Christian history churches would rather not acknowledge: Prior to his resurrection, Christ descended to the underworld -- a paradox most churches would rather not confront.

Yup, that's right: it's a shocking, unbelievable exposé about . . . something that Catholics say out loud that they believe, every single Sunday. Or more often, if they say the rosary. The lede from Salon:

“It was Saturday that Jesus Christ went to Hell.”

 This is one phrase that Christians, whether mainline or evangelical, Catholic or Protestant,...READ MORE

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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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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.