24 May 2007

Changes are afoot over at Patum Peperium. Stay tuned!

18 May 2007

America's Happiest Profession

From the Catholic League's April 19, 2007 Chatterbox:
So much for the image of the grumpy, emotionally-repressed clergyman: a new University of Chicago survey shows that being a “man of the cloth” is the most satisfying profession in the U.S.

The university’s National Opinion Research Center found that 87% of America’s clergy, spanning all religious backgrounds, are “very satisfied” with their chosen profession.

For Catholic priests, the numbers look even better. Five years ago – even while the entire priesthood was being slammed in the midst of the sex abuse scandal -- the Los Angeles Times reported that 91% of priests claimed happiness with their vocation.

13 May 2007

Allons y!

We are in the middle of applying for all the proper visas for a long stay in Dijon, France. What an involved and complicated process it is. It's made much simpler, fortunately, because of my dual French and U.S. citizenship. I was born a French citizen in Viet Nam, and after the fall of Saigon, our family moved to France, where we stayed several years. At age 10, I became a U.S. citizen--but my French citizenship has always remained. I've only got to renew my Carte Nationale D'Identite Securisee (which requires sending off for my birth certificate stored in Nantes, France), and apply for a French passport. (If all of that had been in order two weeks ago, I could have voted for Sarkozy.) The nice thing is that we'll have access to the French system of health care while there.

01 May 2007

Freedom of Choice Act

Congress's latest attempt to protect abortion virtually wipes out the effect of Gonzalez v. Carhart (the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the federal ban on partial birth abortion). It's called the Freedom of Choice Act, introduced into both the House and the Senate, and among its provisions is the following:
A government may not--

(1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--

(A) to bear a child;

(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or

(C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

(2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.
This bill, if passed, could go much farther than any past Supreme Court decision protecting abortion, because it nullifies practically all federal and state interference with a woman's choice to abort. Planned Parenthood itself asserts that
FOCA will supercede anti-choice laws that restrict the right to choose, including laws that prohibit the public funding of abortions for poor women or counseling and referrals for abortions. Additionally, FOCA will prohibit onerous restrictions on a woman's right to choose, such as mandated delays and targeted and medically unnecessary regulations. As a result, women will be freed from improper governmental interference with their right to choose a pre-viability abortion. Women who require a post-viability abortion in order to preserve their lives or health will also be protected by FOCA.
(Emphasis added)

No wonder National Right to Life is calling this the Freedom for Partial-Birth Abortionists Act. The Senate Bill is supported by Senators Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Joe Lieberman, and other Democrats.

The Secret of the Rosary

Every once in a while one comes across a little book that has the power to change one's life. I've had a handful myself (e.g., St. Therese's Story of a Soul, which transformed the way I see God). Recently, I came across St. Louis de Montfort's The Secret of the Rosary. What a treasure. If anyone wants to understand the power of the Rosary, the meaning of the Rosary, the utter necessity of the Rosary to overcome any obstacle, and how to pray the Rosary well in spite of distractions and dryness, this is the book.
This life is nothing but warfare and a series of temptations; we do not have to contend with enemies of flesh and blood but with the very powers of hell. What better weapons could we possibly use to combat them than the Prayer which our great Captain taught us, and the Angelic Salutation [Rosary] which has chased away devils, destroyed sin and renewed the world? What better weapon could we use than meditation on the life and passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? For, as Saint Peter says, it is with this thought we must arm ourselves in order to defend ourselves against the very same enemies which he conquered and which molest us every day.

"Ever since the devil was crushed by the humility and passion of Jesus Christ he has been very nearly unable to attack a soul that is armed with meditation on the mysteries of Our Lord's life, and, if he does trouble such a soul, he is sure to be shamefully defeated." (Cardinal Hugues)
The Secret of the Rosary, p.66

Prayers Requested

I've just received word from an acquaintance that her relative is in dire need: a Catholic mother in Sri Lanka has just given birth to a premature boy (2 pounds, but doing well), and she has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her 6-year-old son, while visiting her in the hospital, fell out of the fourth floor window and died. This mother used to be a devout Catholic, but left the Church some time ago. Please pray an Ave (or two) for her and for her husband, who has just lost his firstborn son, and faces the prospect of losing his wife and raising his newborn son alone.

Notre Dame's Catholic identity: Whither Goest Thou?"

This Friday, May 4th, Notre Dame will host a panel to discuss the fate of Notre Dame University's Catholic identity (Room 131, Debartolo Hall).

On a related note, a recent graduate expressed her personal opinions on the Vagina Monologues (which at present is receiving no faculty sponsorship). An excerpt:
I looked down at her "bikini" - the words wrapping around her said "Date Rape Free Zone." I looked up again into her eyes and asked, "Have you ever been raped?" Almost puzzled by the directness of my question, she cocked her head to the side before answering "no." I asked all the girls there - not one of them had actually been raped. I turned and walked away, feeling rather violated all over again because two years prior to graduation, I had been the victim of rape.
As I became acquainted with most of the faculty and students involved with the production of "The Vagina Monologues," I quickly noticed a rather common trend. Despite being dedicated to the protection of women, most of the women I encountered who were directly involved with the production of "The Vagina Monologues" held a very limited and sometimes even warped understanding of a woman's true beauty and power. They simply equated sexual forcefulness with liberation and healing. In essence, they advocated a position that it is healthy for women to act in a similar manner to the men who had hurt them - domineering, insensitive and completely self-absorbed.