Teaching Contempt for Rules

04/08/2014 Comments (39)

It's never happy times when my tiny hometown makes national news. Matt Drudge doesn't pick up the story of a really successful chili cook off in Broad St. Park, you know? Nothing really awful happened in the story he did run -- just something so stupid that it makes me remember why I now live here instead of there. 
First, a little background. Three weeks ago, Christopher LeBlanc, a young male math teacher, was arrested for having sex with a fourteen-year-old student in the classroom. That's not what made national news, though. The headline that made the Drudge Report was about a different teacher, a long-term substitute, quit after decades of working for the school district, rather than...READ MORE

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Great New Children's Book about the Papacy

04/03/2014 Comments (4)

Lots of wonderful books for kids coming out of the Ignatius/Magnificat team this year. One of my favorites is Our Holy Father, the Pope: The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present by Don R. Caffrey (Magnificat, 2013).

 I haven't seen another book quite like this. In very simple terms (suitable for ages seven and up), it gives kids a basic but substantial introduction to what the papacy is:  how it was established, what happened to St. Peter, what it is that popes actually do, how a pope is chosen, and some brief sketches of the lives of popes who will be especially interesting to children.  

The deft, light-filled illustrations by Emmauel Beaudesson show a masculine, compelling Christ....READ MORE

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Simcha Fisher (1974 - 2014)

04/01/2014 Comments (107)

It is with heavy hearts and only the tiniest, most fleeting sense of relief that the National Catholic Register notes the passing of Simcha Fisher, prominent Catholic blogress. She was not as sturdy as she looked. It was her children who finally finished her off on this two thousand fourteenth first of April of Our Lord. 

The Fisher family prided itself on its sense of fun and lightheartedness. But not before coffee. And thus it was that Fisher, having cleaned ketchup off the toilet seat, peanut butter off the milk jug handle, food coloring out of the sugar bowl, and some kind of humorous brown goo off the walls, having removed all the dog food and toothpaste sandwiches from the lunch of...READ MORE

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Mary as Hero

03/25/2014 Comments (25)

Has it ever occurred to you that Mary is a hero? I think it occurred to Tolkien.  As Joseph Pearce points out in his 2003 piece on Christian themes in Tolkien, it's no coincidence that the One Ring was destroyed on March 25.  Pearce says:

The significance of this date will not escape the attention of Catholic scholars, though it is certainly overlooked all too often by Tolkien's non-Christian admirers. Tom Shippey, an Anglo-Saxon scholar and Tolkien expert, states in his book, The Road to Middle Earth, that in "Anglo-Saxon belief, and in European popular tradition both before and after that, March 25 is the date of the Crucifixion." It is also, of course, the Feast of the Annunciation,...READ MORE

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Desperately Seeking Spring

03/20/2014 Comments (11)

Somewhere underneath the dark, jagged crust of ice outside my window, my crocus and daffodil bulbs are waiting.  Maybe they're even sprouting, but I'll never know, with all that snow.  Suspended somewhere in the middle of that same snowbank is the sled we abandoned halfway through the winter, because it was too cold to go sledding; and frozen to the top of that snowbank is the bag of garbage we flung there when we couldn't find the garbage can, because it was buried in an even bigger, awfuller snowbank.  Bag of gargage as white flag:  you win, winter. You killed us all.

But no! It's the first day of spring. It's International Happiness Day! I refuse to mark this day by writing about frozen...READ MORE

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Why We Can't Have Baptisms During Lent

03/18/2014 Comments (44)

Did you just have a baby?  Did you call the rectory to schedule a baptism?  Did you hear that you'll have to wait, because they don't do baptisms during Lent?

At first, this may not make sense to you, but I assure you, there is a very good reason for this policy.  You see . . .

Lent is all about acknowledging our fallen nature and appealing to the Holy Spirit for help in conquering sin. Lent is about remembering that sin has wounded and weakened us, and that we are in desperate need of God's grace and salvation. We can gain this grace by engaging in ancient practices which engage both the body and the spirit, and we emerge refreshed and reunited with God, humbly giving thanks for His...READ MORE

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Beyond Ashes

03/13/2014 Comments (19)

It has come to my attention that many parishioners, and even many music directors, are not especially happy to find themselves singing "Ashes" every Ash Wednesday -- but they feel that there is no alternative. It's sort of like the way we eat turkey on Thanksgiving at our house. Nobody really enjoys it, but it's hard to imagine doing anything else on that day.

But no.  There are lots and lots of wonderful Lenten hymns to be found, even if your church isn't trained in polyphony.  Best of all, these hymns not only avoid heresy, they are actually rich lessons in doctrine and even in Bible history, if you pay attention to the words. Here's an example, where the first verse gives you a quick...READ MORE

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Jesus Isn't Fair

03/11/2014 Comments (59)

Teaching catechism to little kids is a deliciously straightforward enterprise. You get to tell them wonderful, captivating stories, and then drop the bombshell:  "And guess what?  It's all true!"  And they are delighted. When those same kids get older, though, you will find yourself stretching your apologetics muscles a bit more -- at least, you will if you're doing it right!  If the kids have no questions, it means you're not conveying the urgent, glorious strangeness of our Faith.

As I prepped the younger kids for their first confession, one of my seasoned students started to scowl.  She knew all about original sin; but, from the vantage point of her teenage years, it suddenly struck her...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.