Saturday, October 30, 2010

Teachable Moments; Parenting the Teens We Love

In my experience of being a mother of 8 children, many opportunities present themselves throughout the course of the day that provide the perfect teachable moment. In this column I would like to share some of those moments with others in hopes that they too begin to recognize the moments that present themselves as well as examples of how to dialogue with with our kids in a way that they will not even realize we have just taught them about love, faith, forgiveness, respect, honesty, courage and more. I welcome questions from the readers on how to approach any subject they may want advice about as well as some of their own examples of how to raise the children we love in a culture that seem to be at odds with our faith and values. The goal is that our kids begin to embrace their faith for themselves so that they too can live out God's plan for their lives and change the world with their own yes!

My daughter was listening to the radio while doing the dishes and a Brittany Spears song came on. The subject matter of the song was about how Brittany believes that there are only two kinds of people; those who entertain and those who are entertained. My daughter drew my attention to the song and made some kind of comment about how she knew that there was something wrong about the lyrics but was not sure why. As I listened to the lyrics the answer hit me like a ton of bricks. This is what I told her.

Brittany was missing out on the full truth of what it means to give yourself as a gift. It is true that some of us are more comfortable with being in the lime light however, that was not Brittany's point. Her lyrics were not about sharing her gifts with others but with being consumed and used by others as an object or a commodity in her “entertainer role”. She was packaging herself and saying that the “person” Brittany is not as important as her role as an entertainer.

We discussed how sad this was because she was missing out on what it means to be a person made in the image and likeness of God. She was also missing the point that her gifts in music were a gift and should be given away, but Brittany was not seeing this value, her value was being measured by cheers, leers, the ability to tantalize.

We agreed that Brittany was not understanding the basic foundational truth to what it means to love. If she never came to understand this, no matter how successful she became she would still be consumed with emptiness, a feeling of not being at peace with herself and would not be fulfilled in life. St. Catherine of Sienna says that if a person is doing what they are called to do, they will set the world ablaze! We see Brittany's desire to do this, but she will forever fall short if she does not grasp the fundamental truth that she and her life are not an object for use by others.

My daughter and I continued to talk about it for awhile and she began to then extrapolate what I said and apply it to other things going on in school between a best friend and her best friend's boyfriend. I am grateful for that moment because we might not have talked about these other things had I not seized that moment as an opportunity to teach her something about love, her faith and the dignity of the human person. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, take my heart and give me yours”.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Pivotal Question: Christopher West's Response after the Nightline Dustup...

The Pivotal Question:

Christopher West’s Response to the Recent Discussions

When the public conversation about my work unfolded following my appearance on Nightline last May, I did not think it was wise for me to respond until I had submitted the matter to my local bishops. Now that Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop Kevin Rhoades have issued a statement, it seems appropriate for me to offer some reflections as well.

First, I want to thank the many men and women – former students, married couples, catechists, theologians, seminarians, priests, deacons, religious, and bishops – who contacted me to offer their encouragement during this time. Your prayers and support were a tremendous gift to me. I would also like to thank those scholars and teachers of the faith who wrote in support of me, especially Janet Smith, Michael Waldstein, Michael Healy, Father Thomas Loya, Matthew Pinto, and, of course, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Rhoades. Your willingness to speak out on my behalf remains a profound consolation.

Second, I want to thank those of you who offered thoughtful critiques of my work and helpful suggestions on how to improve it. I have taken them to heart. Indeed, I have always weighed my critics’ observations carefully and prayerfully. They have helped me refine my approach a great deal over the years and I remain very grateful for that.

That said, much of the criticism that appeared after the Nightline interview significantly misrepresented what I teach. Rumors were repeated so often that subsequent commentators simply treated dubious accusations as fact. Although I do not intend to respond point by point to the various criticisms, it seems I would be remiss as a teacher of the Theology of the Body (TOB) not to reflect briefly on what seems to be the pivotal point of the conversation. It is “pivotal” in the sense that people’s perspective on this point pivots them in very different directions when evaluating my work. This point is also critical in as much as it leads us to what I, and many others, consider to be “the pearl” of John Paul II’s TOB.

I offer these reflections in a spirit of humility and love for all those involved, not in an effort to “defend” myself. I am well aware that those looking for flaws in me will always be able to find them. I, like every interpreter of the Pope’s thought, bring my own personal perspectives,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Explanation of Why CERC did not Post Dawn Eden's Thesis

An Explanation of Why CERC did not Post Dawn Eden's Thesis
Here are some highlights:
Erroneous claims
In a footnote in Chapter 1 Miss Eden states that she will show in the succeeding chapter that Mr. West's interpretation of the symbolism of the Paschal Candle "was condemned by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council."13 Anyone who is familiar with Council's 16 documents will recognize at once that this statement is false. Her own references in the following chapter show that clarification on this point did not come from the Council Fathers, but from a commission formed after the Council ended.14 Moreover, while the clarification and other sources cited by Miss Eden demonstrate that Mr. West was mistaken about Paschal symbolism, the guidance issued was explanatory and pastoral; there was no "condemnation."
None of the possible interpretations of this are favourable to Miss Eden. Either she has failed to check her manuscript to correct an obvious and serious mistake that she later detected, or she does not know the difference between documents issued by an ecumenical council and those produced by subsequent Church committees, or she does not understand the difference between correction and condemnation, or she has deliberately or carelessly used exaggerated and inflammatory language, or she has knowingly made a false accusation. These are not the marks of a thesis that warrants affirmation by thoughtful and prudent people.

Lack of systematic analysis
(there is only part here)
Considering Mr. West's treatment of "occasions of sin" (p. 49-55), Miss Eden introduces an eleventh theme that she neglected to include in the comprehensive overview in Chapter 1: "the association of "mature purity" with a man's ability to actively seek out what would be, for other men, occasions of sin, and – instead of being defiled by them – find in them a source of further purification."27
The only evidence she offers for this "running theme" are stories Mr. West told about two of his personal experiences: one at mass, the other at the beach. It is abundantly clear from both of these accounts – as they are given by Miss Eden – that Mr. West did not "actively seek out" occasions of sin, but turned unsought temptations into opportunities for an increase in grace. It is equally clear – again from Miss Eden's account – that he does not recommend the strategy without appropriate reservations. Despite this, Miss Eden goes on to say:

To the best of my knowledge and research, this idea that one should actively seek out opportunities to engage in a "lively battle" against lust is completely novel in the Church's history. (emphasis added)28

If that is true, then credit for introducing this novel idea belongs to Miss Eden, not Mr. West. Her claim that this is Mr. West's position is contradicted by the only evidence she offers to support it.

She suggests that Mr. West's responses to these cultural artifacts are too much coloured by a personal reaction against "puritanism," and that they reflect an insufficient awareness of the objective dangers of such entertainment.33 Based on the material she presents here and the reflections of John Paul II (again, see note 31) the suggestion is plausible. However, it is also clear from what she presents that Mr. West was offering an hypothesis about their origins and suggestions about how to turn them into "teachable moments." He was not, as her heading states, promoting the work of the singer or playwrights.
Taking Chapter 2 as a whole, Miss Eden has failed to provide a careful, systematic and detailed analysis of Mr. West's work in light of John Paul II's theology. It does not substantiate her accusations
Chapter 3
Chapter 3 of the thesis opens with the statement that the preceding chapters showed "that Christopher West's presentation of the theology of the body is compromised by errors and lacunae."(p. 63) Since the preceding chapters did nothing of the sort, and Chapter 3 relies on this claim, it is not necessary to review it.

According to Miss Eden, Mr. West's presentation of the theology of the body

is "damaging"34

"theologically compromised"35

fails to understand continence as it is defined by the traditional teachings of the Church"36

appears "to validate the culture's preoccupation with sex"37

teaches that the deposit of faith is incomplete and that Church doctrine keeps pace with changing times.38

encourages people to actively seek out occasions of sin, and find in them a source of further purification
None of these accusations are demonstrated by her thesis; the last is shown to be a false accusation by the evidence that she presents to support it.
Sean Murphy

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lady Gaga's "Alejandro": The Occult Meaning | The Vigilant Citizen

Lady Gaga's "Alejandro": The Occult Meaning | The Vigilant Citizen
Alejandro, is God; specifically she means Jesus, she carries a stabbed Sacred Heart in front of the coffin and she makes the hand gesture for the 2 natures of Christ. She also wears a nun outfit and eats a rosary...She is denouncing her relationship to Jesus through her Catholic Faith and is claiming her new spirituality, which is Satanism.