We All Have Rights, Because We All Have Responsibilities

02/03/2016 Comments (12)

"We all have guns," said Nancy Fine to an NPR interviewer yesterday. Fine lives in Burns, Oregon, where protesters have been congregating in solidarity with the militants who have been occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for a month. Fine went on:

"But none of us wear them on our hip and kind of flaunt them around. We consider that extremely rude and ungentlemanly at best." 

Fine says one sure way of identifying an outsider is a prominently displayed sidearm. She shoots a scornful glance at a trio of men standing in front of her, their arms crossed, their holsters hanging out.

According to the story, a good many of the residents of Harney County, Oregon, agree with the...READ MORE

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Love in the Time of Zika

01/27/2016 Comments (37)

When Pope Francis' environmental encyclical Laudato Si came out, some Catholics rolled their eyes. ISIS is beheading Christians, and Planned Parenthood is beheading unborn babies! If we're supposed to be pro-life, why aren't we wringing our hands about these problems?  Catholics should worry about real issues that affect actual people. The spotted owl and the rain forest can go pound sand.

Enter the Zika virus. It's a nasty, mosquito-borne disease that is spreading through South America and Latin America, and is the likely cause of thousands of serious birth defects. Mosquitoes thrive in warm, wet environments without enough cold to cause die-offs. If the world is getting warmer and...READ MORE

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Lord, You Said There Would Be Wine

01/20/2016 Comments (2)

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), ”The Wedding at Cana”

How can you tell a great work of art from a merely pleasant one? A great work of art never runs out. It can hang on your wall for years and years, and you'll still be struck, from time to time, with some new aspect you never considered before. 

So it is with the Gospel. Last Sunday, we heard the account of the Wedding at Cana, which is when Jesus began His public ministry, and which I've heard so often, I could tell it in my sleep. I've thought before about what it means that He chose to make wine (the first thing He wants us to do, when Jesus comes into our lives, is to rejoice!); that it was an enormous quantity of wine (when He comes through, He comes through big time); that it was wine...READ MORE

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Now Let Us Praise the Extraordinary Freedom of Catholic Life and Skin Care

01/13/2016 Comments (10)

If you heard some wild cackling last night, that was just me, lying on the couch and getting a little too much fun out of reading the latest exquisitely inane piece from Slate's Rebecca Schuman. 

“Radical Self-Care: Meet the feminist academics who love K-beauty” is the article that gave me so much pleasure. In it, Schuman explains that she likes to put a lot of fancy creams and things on her face to make her skin look good. At first she felt weird about it, because something something patriarchy, but then she realized it was actually the most radical feminist thing ever, because something something reasons something.

If you think I'm being unfair, I invite you to read Schuman's piece in...READ MORE

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Let the Grouchy Lady Come To Me

01/06/2016 Comments (60)

Tommy Tighe sets us up nicely for a little twist in his essay, A Letter to the Lady Annoyed By My Kids at Mass. He starts out with a complaint I've heard a thousand times -- a legitimate complaint, but maybe somewhat overplayed: Hey, fellow Catholic. I'm just here being pro-life, walking the walk, doing what Jesus told us to do, letting the little child come unto me, and you mean Catholics were mean to me!

Here's how he begins:

[L]ast Sunday you felt inspired by the Holy Spirit (I’m assuming) to let me know that I was handling the situation all wrong.

Didn’t I know there was a crying room where I could let my children be as crazy as they want to be? Could I take the screaming baby...READ MORE

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Give It Away, But Give It Some Thought

12/30/2015 Comments (29)

Frans Francken the Younger (1581-1642), "The Seven Works of Mercy"

Last week, Zoe Romanowsky made the sensible call to "stop giving our junk to the poor." She asked us to ask ourselves:

Does what you’re putting in that box honor the people it will go to? Is it your junk, or is it a sacrificial gift?

She challenges us to ask ourselves if we are giving sacrificially, to help the poor, or are we giving just to get rid of stuff, to help ourselves; and to ask ourselves if we're giving away stuff that will make the poor happy, or if we're giving stuff that seems good enough for them, because they are poor, and we are not.

Jane the Actuary at Patheos responded with a few questions of her own, trying to refine our standards for how and what to give. She...READ MORE

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Oh, That Final Verse!

12/23/2015 Comments (3)

The other day, my sister posted the sheet music for a lovely Christmas carol I haven't heard in many years. It's called “Would I Were Nigh,” and it's from An Irish Carol Book (published by McLaughlin and Reilly) compiled by Fr. John Fennelly, arranged by Fr. Fennelley and "J.G.P." who is J. Gerald Phillips, my sister's choir director in college. I can’t find a recording anywhere, so here is the music (thanks to Sam Schmitt for hunting down and sharing the sheet music!):

This is my favorite kind of Christmas carol: gentle, tender, and spare, with enough details to make the scene human, but also eliciting a sense of wonder.

The sheet music above shows that the choir director wanted the...READ MORE

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We Shall All Be Changed Into Soup

12/09/2015 Comments (2)

May I make a suggestion?  The caterpillar should be the official mascot of Advent.  Advent is the time for change, and the caterpillar knows all about that – or at least, he will. Advent is the time for realizing that we are just humble creepers, hungry and helpless.  Advent is the time for hanging in a transitional state, waiting to be reborn. Into butterflies! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful butterflies.

Yeah, have you ever taken a close look at a butterfly -- at the body, not just the pretty wings?  Maybe we had it vaguely in our heads that a butterfly is just sort of a slimmed-down worm, plus fluttering -- that the elegant butterfly body is what's left after cracking out of a thick and...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 daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.