God and the Hungry Belly

08/07/2014 Comments (55)

It's easy to find reasons not to help the poor. We can say that we can't afford to help, or that they're not really poor, or that it's their own fault that they're poor, or that they will never stop being poor if we help them.

In the United States, these issues can be muddy. Most of us probably know someone who really isn't poor but pretends to be, or who really is to blame for being poor, or who really doesn't want to stop being poor. Mark Shea shows why these anecdotes still don't excuse us from serving the poor:

[Jesus] pronounces a special blessing on generosity and love to people who will not and cannot reciprocate.
No.  Really.

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When...READ MORE

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A New (Old) Way to Apologize

08/05/2014 Comments (24)

Last May, this post got well-deserved attention among my mom friends: A better way to say sorry. The author is a teacher who realized that when kids hurt each other, it didn't exactly instill true repentance or healing when she forced them to apologize. But what choice did she have? You can't just let bad behavior go.

So she came up with this alternative formulation, and made erring kids go through it step by step, every time:

I’m sorry for…
This is wrong because…
In the future, I will…
Will you forgive me?

She says that the kids really took to it, and even the one kid that nobody liked jumped at the chance to acknowledge that he was annoying everyone.

 He apologized to the whole...READ MORE

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Chemo While Pregnant? L'Chaim!

07/31/2014 Comments (29)

There's a very important piece on Catholic Stand this week: Evangelizing for Life -- Chemo while pregnant.  Birgit Jones explains that her daughter Erika was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 20 weeks pregnant. Jones says

That she was given only two options – abortion followed by treatment or waiting until after birth for treatment – is typical of advice most frequently given across the country. 

Luckily, Jones' daughter is "a molecular biologist, Howard Hughes research scholar, and former forensic biologist," and so she had the confidence and know-how to discover that she didn't need to choose between killing her child or letting her cancer go untreated. Jones says:

What she...READ MORE

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Prayer Doesn't Make Things Happen

07/29/2014 Comments (32)

Have you seen this meme?



Here's a satisfying response from Domini, da mihi hanc aquam!.  He simply lists some of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of priests, bishops, and friars who, as scientists, engineers, and researchers, did indeed get up and make a better world. Not despite of their religion, but in exquisite harmony with their religion. 

It's a gratifying post, and instructive to all the smarty-pants atheists who sincerely (if inexcusably) don't realize what a desperate shambles the scientific and intellectual world would be in without the contribution and sustenance of Catholics. Even if you don't believe in God, you can't read a list like this and conclude that...READ MORE

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What NFP Means to Me

07/24/2014 Comments (18)

Perhaps you are unaware that it's NFP Awareness Week. Perhaps you are even unaware of what the letters "N" "F" and "P," when arranged in that order, signify to the princely figure of nearly 4-5% of Catholics. Perhaps you hear the letters “NFP” and nothing at all springs to mind. Doelike you stand, innocent and incorrupt, your mind as blank and pristine as a spring meadow.

You lucky son of a gun.

If you’re anything like me, the past week has seen you absolutely saturated in thinking about, talking about, promoting, defending, clarifying, and occasionally innappropirately oversharing about NFP. I’m about as tired of thinking about NFP as a man serving a life term is tired of hearing his...READ MORE

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A Chat with Mary's Shelter Founder Kathleen Wilson

07/22/2014 Comments (2)

On August 23, I’ll be the Keynote Speaker at the Summer Soiree for Mary’s Shelter in Fredericksburg, VA

Mary’s Shelter offers housing and support to women and children in need, helps them learn basic life skills, and guides them toward getting an education, a job, and stable housing.

Yesterday, I called Kathleen Wilson, the executive director, who is also one of the founders. We were chatting about our kids, and I discovered that she has ten children . . . and then some. Here is part of our conversation:


KW: Besides my ten, I have two kids who are now five and six. They were with their dad, and he abandoned them in a shelter. The mom got them back, but things fell apart, and she...READ MORE

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To Serve Your Parents

07/17/2014 Comments (12)

This summer, an awful lot of my friends are teaching their kids to cook -- or, even more amazingly, they are making their kids teach themselves to cook.  These enterprising kiddies are preparing no mere sandwiches or cereal for a casual lunch, but they are planning and preparing three-course meals for their entire families, while mom and dad lounge on the back deck, sipping sangria and waiting for the dinner bell.

Late afternoon finds me, on the other hand, slaving over a hot Facebook page, gorging on a smorgasbord of tantalizing photos with captions like: "Here is my 8-year-old carefully chopping the chives she grew in her little garden! This is the second time this week she's made pork...READ MORE

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Some Answers about the Seal of Confession

07/15/2014 Comments (27)

Last week, I wrote a post about the seal of confession, and how a priest in Lousiana is being threatened with contempt of court and jail time if he refuses to disclose what a girl told him in confession. In my post, I said:

However, a penitent may give a priest permission to talk about what was confessed. The penitent may release him from the seal.


If the penitent wants the priest to talk, the priest is no longer morally compelled to keep silent.

This is not accurate, and I appreciate the correction from so many readers. The Seal of Confession is utterly nviolable. According to Canon Law

Can.  983 §1. The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden...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.