Allow Me to Inspire You This Lent

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 3:15 PM Comments (24)

Our college chaplain used to encourage us to take on thoughtful penances for Lent -- but not to tell everyone what we had chosen.  "It's not . . . " he would say, carefully, screwing up his cherubic face (and we knew he was going to bring out the big guns). . .  "It's not helpful."

And he is right.  A sacrifice is a personal thing, and nothing good can come of telling other people what you've decided to do for Lent.

He had nothing to say, however, on the subject of telling other people what to give up for Lent. So that's what I'm going to do. 

  • To anyone in the secular media attempting to write a story about the Catholic Church: give up winging it.  Listen, the Church is complicated....READ MORE

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Reading Suggestions for Lent

Thursday, February 27, 2014 2:40 PM Comments (12)

If you're going to find a book for Lent, you have less than a week left to find it!  Here are a few suggestions:
 

Through the Year with Pope Francis:  Daily Reflections A collection of short excerpts from the talks and writings of Pope Francis, paired with questions and reflections that draw out an encouraging or challenging idea for the day.  A good accompaniment for daily prayer -- or a "bathroom book" that anyone in the family can pick up and browse through.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis What I'm currently reading aloud to my kids, ages 11 and up. It's a bit over the heads of some of them, but it's lively and entertaining and full of "Ouch, that's familiar" moments.

The...READ MORE

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Don't Shoot Those Helicopters Down

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:17 PM Comments (50)

Oh, there was lots to hate in my post from last week, "Gay Man Denied Last Rites?" Some people hated the idea that homosexual behavior is sinful; some people hated the idea of homosexual people calling themselves "gay" (why? It's just descriptive). A few people pretty clearly just hated homosexual people, period.  And several readers really hated two specific lines I wrote:

The Church is just taking its first steps in developing a compassionate, humane approach to serve gay people.  The Church's history in this matter isn't pretty.

This comment sums up readers' objection to those lines:

There is an effective pastoral approach. it is called confession. Just like the rest of humanity.

...READ MORE

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Gay Man Refused Last Rites?

Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:38 PM Comments (119)

Boy, does this story make my spidey sense tingle:  Gay patient says Catholic chaplain refused him last rites  The Washington Post reports,

A Catholic chaplain at MedStar Washington Hospital Center stopped delivering a 63-year-old heart attack patient Communion prayers and last rites after the man said he was gay, the patient said Wednesday, describing a dramatic bedside scene starting with him citing Pope Francis and ending with him swearing at the cleric.

The heart patient, Ronald Plishka recounts their conversation, in which he indicated that he had been raised Catholic, and did not come out as gay until he was in his 50's.  According to Plishka

I said: ‘Does that bother...READ MORE

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The Catechesis of the Snow Shovel

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 1:06 PM Comments (31)

So.  Maybe now you all know what I'm talking about when I say "snow."  Now you all have wakened from your charmed sleep of winter weather innocence.  You've seen your world transformed, your priorities have suddenly shifted, and you've faced the fact that if you want to leave your house, you're going to have to do something -- yes, you personally -- about all that ridiculous white stuff that's come between you and the life you used to know.  Certain truths about yourself, and about life in general, become unavoidable.

This is why I think that all candidates for confirmation should spend at least one winter month in the Northeast, or at a similar latitude.  No kidding! Spend just a few...READ MORE

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What Planned Parenthood Needs

Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:23 PM Comments (106)

As if Valentine's Day weren't upsetting enough, Planned Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards, has launched a Twitter campaign to let the world know "What Women Need."  You're supposed to take a picture or video of yourself holding a placard with a heart, and fill in the heart to explain "What Women Need."  Here is a screenshot of the vine (super-short video) that Richards is circulating on social media:

Wow, who would've thunk it?  "What Women Need" happens to be the very thing that keeps Planned Parenthood in business. 

Oh, no, Simcha!  Abortion only accounts for 3% of Planned Parenthood's services! 

Yuh-huh.  That is an adorable game with numbers that any two bit accountant...READ MORE

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Death of a Giraffe

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 1:24 PM Comments (49)

I tried hard to be annoyed at the people who protested when a zoo in Copenhagen announced plans to kill one of their giraffes.  The giraffe was healthy, but superfluous, and the zoo wanted to avoid inbreeding.  So they announced their plans: shoot the animal in the head, dissect it in a display open to the public, and feed its meat to their lions.

Inevitably, protesters signed petitions and massed outside the walls, rending their garments over the "cruel" decision to shoot the young giraffe and feed its body to the lions.  You have to laugh a little bit at these crowds of mourners (who can't all have been vegans).  What do they suppose happens in the wild?  Do the predators there...READ MORE

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Speaking of Empty Promises

Thursday, February 06, 2014 3:13 PM Comments (34)

In a frenzy of disgust over his dissolute father, Ivan Karamazov cries out, "Why is such a man alive?"  Poor Ivan wrestled and sweated over the problem of evil in the world.  It's hard not to get a little Ivan-ish when we read the headlines lately.  Sometimes it's not even human evil that makes us writhe in mental anguish.  Sometimes it's human stupidity. 

Take, for instance, this story from Illinois:  School officials are no fan of gun ban signs.  It explains that schools and other buildings statewide will begin displaying signs that designate an area where no guns are allowed.  The sign shows a silhouette of a gun inside the standard "prohibition sign" -- a red circle, with a diagonal...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.