Fonticulus Fides

Friday, September 30, 2005

Now can we please stop saying that the Church is anti-women?

Great instruction on women from the Holy Father.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

My interview with our Bishop...

Well, it's taken some time to process the whole experience, because I wanted to blog about the interview, but not about the topic of the story I was assigned to write.

Not that it wasn't an interesting topic -- I interviewed Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln about the Vatican-ordered Apostolic Visitation of Seminaries and Houses of Priestly Formation. It's the most "dicey" topic I've been givin in my four months with the paper, and I guess that means that Fr. B trusts me to handle such issues appropriately. The story should be published and distributed today/tomorrow, and if anybody is interested, I'll post the text here.

But what I really wanted to blog about is something that I haven't quite been able to put into words.

In the first place, regardless of what you impressions you may have gathered from the media at large, Bishop Bruskewitz is a very personable man. He is from Wisconsin, where my brother and his wife live, where I myself lived for a short time, and the Bishop has a very Wisconsin-way of conversing with you. He is a straight-forward, amiable, look-you-in-the-eye, thoughtful and intelligent conversationalist. He has a killer vocabulary and the extent of his education and knowledge is evident, but his phrasing is so accessible, he never makes you feel inferior.

What really struck me about the Bishop, though, was that there was something intrinsically different about his personality. It took me some time to realize what it is: obedience. Bishop Bruskewitz is a man who is completely obedient to Christ, to the Church and to the Pope. Which is what he should be, of course, but it's just not something you run into every day. Most people in the U.S. -- okay, at least here in the Plains and in the Midwest, where I grew up -- are "self-made." They pride themselves on their independence, their way of making decisions that suit themselves, their families, their careers best. Most people practice self-actualization, not obedience. So there is something "old-world" or maybe "other worldly" about Bishop Bruskewitz.

He's the first Bishop I have ever met, so I don't know if he's just like all the other bishops or different in some way. He is in no way prideful or superior, even with his position as Bishop. If I asked a question that he didn't have an answer for, he simply said "I have no idea."

And speaking of that, he's going into the two Apostolic Visitations that he is chairing with a completely open mind. He doesn't know what he will find at the two seminaries. He won't speculate. He will operate on the Instrumentum Laboris drafted by the Vatican to guide the visitation program, down to the letter. He and his committe will draft their report without discussing it with anybody else (as ordered by the Holy See), ship it to the Vatican and let the Congregation for Catholic Education do what it must.

Although, if I may hazard a guess, once all the visits are made, and all the reports filed, processed and responded to, and once the general statement regarding the state of U.S. seminaries and houses of priestly formation is issued by the Vatican, I believe Bishop Bruskewtiz can be counted on for commentary.


P.S. I carefully avoided calling him "Your Excellency," because I was nervous enough that I was afraid I'd get tongue-tied and it would come out in some comical error. I also avoided saying, "Your Grace" -- which I was confident I could pronouce correctly -- because it seemed...well, too European. He didn't seem to expect either address and was perfectly comfortable with me asking questions like, "Why do you think you were selected by the Holy See for this role?"

His answer to that was, "I have no idea...except for the fact that I am something of a 'known quantity' because I worked for the Congregation of Catholic Education for many years and I am blessed to have had a long friendship with Pope Benedict XVI."

This political moment brought to you by ABC...

Sorry, I can't help it. The headline I saw on the screen this a.m. when I was trying to get a weather report said, "Will Tom DeLay's Indictment Hurt Bush?"

Uhhhhh....newsflash for all you folks over at Good Morning America. Bush is in his second term. He can't be re-elected. And he can't be impeached because of something Tom Delay did (or didn't do, depending on who you believe). It's called a "lame duck presidency." So no, it won't hurt Bush. Why are you even bothering to ask the question?

I'm so sick of bad journalism these days. Not because I consider myself any stellar journalist -- I'm just a part-time feature writer for the small, Catholic paper around here. This week, though, our local newspaper made the hideous choice to publish the details of a five-year-old's molestation. Completely unnecessary to the story -- it was enough to say the poor kid was molested. But no, they gave ALL the details, which as far as I can see only serves to coach other child molestors (or would-be child molestors) as to how it's done.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Wanna play?

Alicia's Meme Rules:

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to it).
3. Find the 5th sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

But she's well-practiced at evangelizing Catholics, so after a little hemming and hawing while she collected her thoughts, she brought out a couple of the arguments she has with the Church.

Fortunately, this was one of my better posts, so I won't be embarrassed if you go read the whole thing (it's not too long).

I visited the Summa Mamas before Fructus Ventris this a.m., so I got it from MamaT instead of Alicia.


Sad tale...

...of a young woman with Down's Syndrome who was sexually assaulted. When she was 28 weeks pregnant, she was taken to an abortion clinic. It is not clear as to whether or not this was her choice -- it could have been her parents, who, as guardians, had control over such legalities. Long story short, the chemical abortion went awry, the abortion clinic staffers tried to practice regular medicine (instead of just abortions) and failed, and by the time she made it to the Emergency Room, it was too late. She died along with her baby. And her parents and the clinic have tried to keep it hush. Don't let them. Read her story here.


Friday, September 23, 2005

As you pray for those in the path of Hurricane Rita... I hope you will, please also pray that God will reveal to you what you can do to help.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Finally, chocolate yogurt that is actually GOOD

I don't get paid for messages like this, but I'm happy to pass on information to my friends. When you want a tastey treat that's actually good for you (well, a little), try the new Yoplait® Chocolate Mousse Whips®. They have a little too much sugar in them (23 g) but ony 160 calories, so it's a legitimate snack. And there's 2.5 g of saturated fat, which isn't the best, but if you are going to indulge yourself, getting 10% of the daily recommended amount of vitamins A & D, calcium and phosphorus, plus a bit of acidophilus, offsets the decandance a little bit. Can't get all that out of a Hershey bar.

I prefer the chocolate raspberry flavor, because the raspberry flavor naturally masks the tang of yogurt. Of course, I usually prefer chocolate and raspberry together in whatever form they take, so it might just be me.

Yoplait is running it's "Save Lids to Save Lives" campaign, which is admirable in some ways. Unfortunately, all the money they donate to breast cancer research goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, which, for some strange reason siphons off a portion of their donations and forwards them on to Planned Parenthood.

Call me crazy, but I prefer the money I give to charity to stay with the charity to which I've given it.

I don't understand the hand-off (particularly to an abortion-based organization, when there is evidence -- though many say not definitive evidence -- that any early end to a pregnancy can increase the odds of breast cancer). There are other ways to help in the fight with breast cancer which are not tied to Planned Parenthood, so I find that I must throw the Yoplait lids away and do that instead.


Lemmee get this straight...

Even though Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) believes it's important to help the children who were victimized by Katrina to get back into school, and even though he says he opposes discriminiation, he thinks it's perfectly okay to discriminate against the high percentage of New Orleanian children who attend private school. That's the story.

Fortunately, Catholics are taking matters into their own hands and getting those parochial school children enrolled and stocked with books, backpacks and uniforms, for free.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I have to interview the Bishop tomorrow. I'm completely unprepared on the etiquette! How do I address him? "Your excellency?" Or is that just for Archbishops? Do I put forth my hand to shake his or wait for his lead? Do I wait to sit until he has taken a seat? Do I just say good-bye at the end of the interview or ask for a blessing or ---- ???

I've inteviewed a lot of priests and sisters and most of them end the conversation with "God Bless You" but not anything terribly formal.

I've only met the Bishop once before, and that was during RCIA, at the Rite for candidates. I did shake his hand then, but we were all going forward to shake hands with him in a line. This is different.

Somebody help me learn what to do!!!! Quick!


UPDATE: REPRIEVE TILL FRIDAY -- Interview moved to Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. My Google search has told me to call the Bishop "Your Excellency" (or "Your Grace," which I like better because it's easier to say and I'll be nervous) and kissing his ring is not only optional, it's practically archaic in the U.S.

Still nervous. If you've got pointers, let me hear from you.

Prayer request

She says she doesn't want sympathy, but prayers for a full recovery (physically and emotionally) are in order. M'lynn miscarried last night. Please seek God's mercy and blessings for her and her husband, their baby and the rest of the kids.


Disgusting news

Free or low-cost abortions now offered to women displaced by Katrina.

Yeah, that's the way to help them. Add to their emotional stress/depression/devastation with an abortion that brings even more emotional stress and could lead to depression, too.

Can't we just give them shelter, food, a job, medical care and reunion with their loved ones instead?

Hat tip to the Summa Mamas...


Monday, September 19, 2005

Music fun

According to Alicia, we're all supposed to go to this site, scroll down to the bottom and click on the year we graduated from high school. You'll get a list of the top 100 songs from that year. You're supposed to bold the ones you like, underline your favorite, and cross out the ones that send you running for cover.

1. Physical, Olivia Newton-John
2. Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor
3. I Love Rock N' Roll, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
4. Ebony And Ivory, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
5. Centerfold, J. Geils Band

6. Don't You Want M, Human League
7. Jack And Diane, John Cougar (I like John Cougar sometimes, but songs about teen sex just tick me off.)
8. Hurts So Good, John Cougar (so do co-dependant diatribes)
9. Abracadabra, Steve Miller Band
10. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Chicago
11. Tainted Love, Soft Cell

12. Chariots Of Fire, Vangelis
13. Harden My Heart, Quarterflash (too bitter)
14. Rosanna, Toto
15. I Can't Go For That, Daryl Hall and John Oates

16. 867-5309 (Jenny), Tommy Tutone
17. Key Largo, Bertie Higgins
18. You Should Hear How She Talks About You, Melissa Manchester
19. Waiting For A Girl Like You, Foreigner
20. Don't Talk To Strangers, Rick Springfield
21. The Sweetest Thing, Juice Newton

22. Always On My Mind, Willie Nelson
23. Shake It Up, Cars
24. Let It Whip, Dazz Band
25. We Got The Beat, Go-Go's
26. The Other Woman, Ray Parker Jr.
27. Turn Your Love Around, George Benson
28. Sweet Dreams, Air Supply
29. Only The Lonely, Motels

30. Who Can It Be Now?, Men At Work (Finally!!!)
31. Hold Me, Fleetwood Mac
32. Eye In The Sky, Alan Parsons Project
33. Let's Groove, Earth, Wind and Fire
34. Open Arms, Journey
(Can I cross this one out twice?)
35. Leader Of The Band, Dan Fogelberg (Sappy)
36. Leather And Lace, Stevie Nicks and Don Henley (Stupid)
37. Even The Nights Are Better, Air Supply
38. I've Never Been To Me, Charlene
(Ridiculous feminist backwash)
39. '65 Love Affair, Paul Davis
40. Heat Of The Moment, Asia
41. Take It Easy On Me, Little River Band
42. Pac-man Fever, Buckner and Garcia
43. That Girl, Stevie Wonder
44. Private Eyes, Daryl Hall and John Oates
45. Trouble, Lindsey Buckingham (???)
46. Making Love, Roberta Flack
47. Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me, Juice Newton
48. Young Turks, Rod Stewart

49. Freeze-frame, J. Geils Band
50. Keep The Fire Burnin', REO Speedwagon
51. Do You Believe In Love, Huey Lewis and The News (I am soooo close to crossing this one out.)
52. Cool Night, Paul Davis
53. Caught Up In You, 38 Special

54. Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, Diana Ross
55. Love In The First Degree, Alabama
56. Hooked On Classics, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (??? Seriously?)
57. Wasted On The Way, Crosby, Stills and Nash
58. Think I'm In Love, Eddie Money
59. Love Is In Control, Donna Summer
60. Personally, Karla Bonoff
61. One Hundred Ways, Quincy Jones
62. Blue Eyes, Elton John
63. Our Lips Are Sealed, Go-Go's
64. You Could Have Been Wih Me, Sheena Easton

65. You Can Do Magic, America
66. Did It In A Minute, Daryl Hall and John Oates
67. I Ran, A Flock Of Seagulls
68. Somebody's Baby, Jackson Browne
69. Oh No, Commodores
70. Take It Away, Paul McCartney
71. It's Gonna Take A Miracle, Deneice Williams (???)
72. Love Will Turn You Around, Kenny Rogers
73. Don't Stop Bellevin', Journey
74. Comin' In And Out Of Your Life, Barbra Streisand
75. Gloria, Laura Branigan
76. Empty Garden, Elton John
77. Yesterday's Songs, Neil Diamond
78. Crimson And Clover, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts

79. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Police (My favorite only because the list isn't so great.)
80. Here I Am, Air Supply (Ick...too much Air Supply on this list. What a lousy year for music.)
81. I Keep Forgettin', Michael Mcdonald
82. Get Down On It, Kool and The Gang
83. Any Day Now, Ronnie Milsap
84. Make A Move On Me, Olivia Newton-John
85. Take My Heart, Kool and The Gang
86. Mirror Mirror, Diana Ross
87. Vacation, Go-Go's

88. (Oh) Pretty Woman, Van Halen
89. Should I Do It, Pointer Sisters
90. Hot In The City, Billy Idol (Three out of 100!?!?!)
91. Kids In America, Kim Wilde
92. Man On Your Mind, Little River Band

93. What's Forever For, Michael Murphy
94. Waiting On A Friend, Rolling Stones
95. Do I Do, Stevie Wonder
96. Working For The Weekend, Loverboy

97. Goin' Down, Greg Guidry
98. Arthur's Theme, Christopher Cross (I know the drummer from this album. Great drummer, great guy...still not my cup of tea.)
99. Through The Years, Kenny Rogers
100. Edge Of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks

In case you lost count, I crossed out 64 and liked only 3. The rest I'm either iffy on or I can't remember them.

So by now, I s'pose you are wondering who I was listening to in high school: definitely the Police, and it seems like I was also listening to Pet Shop Boys. But then, my pal Virg used to slip me cassette tapes mixed from her import albums during homeroom, so I may have been exposed to some of the European bands before they were technically available in the U.S. I also listened to Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Little Feat, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a lot of 50s and 60s rock. I was totally counter-culture. At least, I thought I was.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

On Toddlers and Mass

Lola is proving to be alternately the most eager to participate in Mass among my children — and the most difficult to take to Mass.

She definitely wants to dip her hand in the holy water font and bless herself, and then she immediately goes to the nearest pew to kneel down (a bit of an excessive genuflection, if you will). It’s adorable. You should see all the older folks completely charmed by the sight of this little 20-month-old in her blue gingham “church dress” who already has the affection of a saint for those two little rituals. Why, she’d do them six or seven times if we’d let her. And if we don’t let her, she howls at the top of her lungs.

I’ll tell you, she’s got some pretty big lungs.

Seriously, in the last month and a half, we’ve gotten through approximately 75 seconds or less of Mass before the howling begins and one of us must extradite her from the situation.

And yes, we must take her out. Our church is old and the acoustics are fabulous ñ made for days long before microphones and speakers. Her little voice can create an ear-splitting din that the priest cannot be heard over anywhere in the sanctuary.

At home, we just ignore these tantrums, operating under the principle that if the tantrums do not produce the desired effect she wants, she’ll soon stop wasting her energy on them. At Mass, we cannot compromise everybody else’s worship, so we move her out and ignore her elsewhere in the church ñ hopefully out of earshot for most of the parishioners.

Siiiigh. I don’t remember either of the other children being this difficult.

Edyn went through a wandering phase, when she just wanted to explore the church, but she was always very quiet. And in the last year, she’s just become too shy to do much other than sit on our laps, often with her face hidden in one of our shoulders. She’ll still do that for most of the Liturgy, all the way up to the last 10 minutes or so, when she finally gets comfortable. Her worst offense in all her 3+ years has been shouting “BYE-BYE” to people as they leave, which she did shortly after her first birthday for about three months. And Fr. W. used to like that, especially when we sat in the back right off the center aisle. It made people feel embarrassed when they tried to leave right after Communion instead of sticking around for the benediction and final hymn.

As for my son….well, there was that awful Sunday right after his first birthday, when we were still going to the tiny Anglican Church. Fr. Ray always preceded the liturgy by bringing up whomever had a birthday in the prior week for a blessing. My husband wasn’t there that day ñ he was filling in as worship leader at another church. I didn’t want Zooey to miss his first birthday blessing, though, so I packed the diaper bag, dressed him in a nice shirt and pants and took him solo to our church, rather than visiting the one that had hired my husband.

When Fr. Ray called Zooey up to the front, the little guy slid off my lap and trotted forward. He folded his hands and bowed his head for the blessing. How my heart swelled with pride at that dear little boy, so smart, so capable! He ran back to our seats and threw his arms around my neck, and all was right in the world.

For about a minute. As the processional began, Zooey started fussing in the diaper bag for something to play with. I had a few small, stuffed toys in there and several books. He dropped the books on the floor (soft thumps, thanks to the carpeting), and then to my horror, grabbed one of the stuffed toys and flung it with all his might toward the front, smacking a lady on the back of the head!

I snatched his hand and hurried up the side aisle to whisper mortified apologies and retrieve the toy. The victim ñ a mother herself ñ was gracious, even bemused, God bless her.

Back in our row, Zooey decided to try out his pitching arm again, but this time, I caught his elbow in time and the toy landed harmlessly at my feet. I angrily whispered “NO THROWING” in his ear, and he laughed at me. Laughed.

Time for time-out. Actually, time-in. At that age, we have always felt that having a child sit quietly on our lap for a short time, with discussion, is a better technique than expecting them to sit alone in a chair.

I picked him up and ducked out the side door, into the hall. A brief word of instruction, he was up on my lap -- no talking, no playing. Zooey remained quiet for the full minute. When I asked if he was ready to go back in, he said he was. When I asked if he remembered the rules, he did: “Be quiet, no throwing, look at books, stay with Mommy.”

Excellent! We returned to the sanctuary. Before we’d even sat down, Zooey shouted something (sorry, I’ve blocked it out of my memory, so I can’t tell you what it was). Half the congregation gasped in horror and the other half burst out laughing.

Having disturbed worship for everyone, it was back to the hall for time-out. Zooey started sing-songing, “Time-out, time-out, time-out in the hallway.” I knew everybody could hear him, and desperate to snap him out of it, I clamped a hand over his mouth. He licked my hand (bleh!), and when I moved it away to wipe it off on my pants, he started singing again, louder. “TIME-OUT, MOMMY’S MAD, TIME-OUT, TIME-OUT!”

I saw the light switch was in reach and flipped it off, thinking that plunging Zooey into total darkness would do the trick. Now he was shrieking, ”TIME-OUT, TIME-OUT IN THE DAAA-ARK!”

Embarrassed, frustrated, I whipped Zoo around until we were nose to nose. “QUIET,” I seethed through clenched teeth.

“OWWWWWWWW!” he screamed. As if I had spanked him. Which I was actually thinking about doing, but a wailing child isn’t any less disruptive than one who is having too much fun, and anyway, I prefer not to spank my kids, but to correct them in other ways.

There wasn’t anything left to do. I threatened him into silence with the promise of his dad’s wrath (something I swore I would never do), snuck back into the sanctuary to grab the diaper bag and left.

After I strapped him into his car seat, I slumped down on the seat next to him and sobbed. I was just so embarrassed. And convinced that I was the World’s Worst Parent.

But that was it for Zooey. Maybe it was the crying that did the trick. He has never, ever been difficult in church from that day on. Oh, he has had fidgety moments, and he’s been distracted by other kids or tried to distract them by waving or whatnot. He’s laid on the pews, complained, kicked the kneelers — all the usual stuff, but a whisper of correction is generally enough to stop the poor behavior immediately.

But Lola — every week is a repeat performance with her, much to my chagrin. I’m a little less embarrassed, but only a little. We know we don’t give into her tantrums at home, and she’ll eventually stop trying to use that technique. We know we are doing our best to teach her how to participate in Mass, so she can become too busy to misbehave. It just seems to be taking her much longer to get the drift.

I am thankful I don’t get the horrified looks any more, like we used to get at the Anglican church (at one point, we were only going to worship once a month because most of the congregation made it clear that Zooey was not welcome there — very few kids in that group). In our Catholic parish, I’m more apt to get a sympathetic smile or an understanding nod. The ushers try to help distract Lola by making faces at her or waving (which, by the way, doesn’t help, but the dear fellows are doing their best).

And our new parish priest, Fr. D., has been very nice about it. He said to me, “My vocation is to be a priest, and if I were to leave the pulpit to tend to a crying child, I would not be fulfilling my vocation very well. But your vocation is to be a mother, and when you tend to a crying child, you’re being a good mom.”

He reminds me not to withhold myself from the Eucharist on these occasions when Iíve only been in the Sanctuary for 75 seconds or less. “God understands,” he tells me. “It’s only a phase.”

I just hope it’s a phase that doesn’t continue much longer.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Just because...

I have lots to say and am too mentally scattered to get it all down on paper. But I am trying. In the meanwhile, I am frequenting the Shakespearean Insulter a couple times a day. Not a good use of my time, but good for a laugh.


Monday, September 12, 2005

God bless baby Susan!

Such sad news -- little Susan Torres has died only weeks after her mother's passing. The family must be devastated, so we must all pray for them. They all had such hope in baby Susan, and now she has gone to join her mother with the angels.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Happy Birthday, Dear Blessed Mother!

Go on, bake a cake or something. Celebrate. Wear light blue. Do something nice for somebody. Labor in prayer for the hurricane victims, the hungry, the poor, the oppressed.

Find a lovely image, prayers and activities here and another set of readings and prayers here.

A brief history of the feast is here.

Read Pope John Paul II's homily from one year ago today.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Where I’ve been

Teaching Edyn how to roller skate (she loves it!)…

Reminding Zooey how to roller skate (It’s been a while, but I finally found a pair of skates big enough for him at a thrift shop…though he’ll outgrow them by years’ end to be sure).

Trying to keep track of all the new words Lola can say…

Walking everywhere we can to save on gasoline, even picking Zooey up from school on foot (it’s about a mile away from our house)…

Marveling that I actually was elated to see gasoline drop to $3.09 a gallon…

Watching too much CNN…

Praying for hurricane victims…

Praying for Kaylie’s family (saw a smile on her dad’s face for the first time since she took a turn for the worse and died. God is merciful, and they take such great comfort in knowing that He would never abandon their sweet Kaylie)…

Writing stories for the paper (though I got bumped from last week’s edition because of the hurricane)…

Finding out that M’Lynn is expecting again!!!!

Blowing some of my last check from the paper on a family outing to the children’s zoo (we walked and brought our own drinks and snacks, and Lola is free, but it was still $32!)…

Fretting that Zooey is so bored at school (they are still “reviewing” and we reviewed all summer, so he’s getting irritable about not learning anything new)…

Arguing with the local bike shop owner because all the tail lights he has in stock are made in China. He said there was no other option, but I told him I didn’t believe him and he should try harder because of China’s human rights violations. I had to buy the light anyway, because my husband is riding his bike to work now, and it’s dark before he gets home. It’s illegal to ride without a light at night. The bike shop guy gave me a 20% discount on the headlight – which was made in Japan – and a 50% discount on the made-in-China tail light and said he would try harder in the future…

Finishing the magazine (this week, please, please, please!!!)…

And that’s just the highlights.

So, how are YOU?