Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Catechesis versus Method

The following question has arisen indirectly in a couple of forums recently:

"How great is the responsibility of a NFP teacher to catechize?"

My initial feeling is that the primary goal of anything we do is to lead people to God. Unfortunately, this is not easily accomplished in a direct manner. I wish it were, then I could just say, "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" and the converts would roll in. Ash Wednesday experience clearly teaches otherwise.

In practical experience, a roundabout approach seems more effective. For example, when a woman comes to a crisis pregnancy center, it seems unkind to baldly assert the truth directly, "If you have an abortion you will kill your unborn baby." It seems much more charitable to help her in any moral way possible, in order to encourage her to keep the child. Obviously, one can never deny the truth and must honestly answer that abortion kills a baby if directly asked.

Now, it is the duty of the bishop and his fellow priests to catechize his flock. This should be a constant and expected duty, concerning all areas of life, and occurring primarily during the homily at Mass. I would think that the second catechesis comes from the parents, especially the father. It is the parents' duty to raise their children in the Faith since they best know their children and have the time and relationship to delve into deeper questions. The third catechist would be the individual, especially in the first world where tremendous resources are available with a few mouse clicks. We each have a responsibility to form our own conscience. Experts like NFP teachers or professional apologists seem to come in last in my opinion since they serve primarily as consultants for someone who has already made a moral decision. These experts can offer direction and guidance on particulars, thereby more deeply catechizing someone who has already chosen the high road.

Personal experience teaches me that experts don't have much effect on unwilling students. For example, the only students ever to be required to take our class spent the majority of the time with tremendously negative body language and avoided all conversation after the first class. Our charitable words seemed to have some effect up until the charitable assertion that the future bride would have to stop taking the pill, then it was a freeze out.

Especially considering the growing trend of using NFP for health reasons, instead of religious ones, our charitable example is far more important than being able to expound on Humanae Vitae (as glorious as that document is). Our charitable example is a better witness than any number of words, but then again I have a Franciscan bent. I see all this as falling under Christ's injunction that without love, we are a gong clashing uselessly.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A woman who knows men

My wife is a wonderful woman and has a blog which I frequent since she is busy figuring out how to be a woman while I try to figure out manhood. Our blogs complement each other.

Via her blogroll comes this post, an excellent synopsis of much of my thought on manhood. I guess this means I am somewhere on the right track. Women are amazing at revealing the truth about men. Even Adam didn't understand himself, he was alone, until God created Eve.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Transforming Choice

So the greatest brother in the world took me to see Transformers for my birthday. It was a spectacular movie, in the sense of a special effects spectacle. It was indeed a "summer blockbuster" but I think it avoided campiness (by a micrometer or two) and told a good story by itself, all while pleasing long-standing fans like myself.

Inside jokes and reference abounded if you were familiar with the cartoon show and the original movie and some divergence was taken from those sources, but none which was unsettling. One particular divergence which I enjoyed was the relation of Autobots to Decepticons. In the cartoon, the difference was one of substance. Autobots were good and useful machines like cars and trucks and Decepticon were evil and destructive machines like fighter planes and handguns. The movie diverged from this point and made all Transformers have a common creator, the "All Spark," and they were good or bad depending on their choices.

Autobots protected humanity while Decepticons wished to destroy it. The description of the word Autobot could have easily applied to all of the Transformers since it only described their substance, not their allegiance to Optimus Prime. Whereas, the word Decepticon wasn't directly used but it was explained that Megatron deceived the Autobots and seized power. Much like fallen human nature, the choice to protect the weak or to dominate them is the choice that determines which side we are on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Salt Lake Tribune, not sure how I feel

Here is an interesting article in the Salt Lake Tribune. I know its some Planned Parenthood flunky releasing articles with my federal tax money but at least natural family planning made a mention. I tire of the debate that NFP is not contraception.

The statement that I feel reveals the author's snobbery is towards the end, where she expresses surprise that some people don't use contraception. The pro-choice label is revealed for the lie that it is. She is not pro-choice. She does not support the choices other people make. She assumes they are ignorant of the variety of family planning "options" available to them. Or else, why would they choose to not use them?

Makes you wonder why its called "Planned Parenthood." Maybe it should be "Planned Childlessness."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Go NYTimes

Here is a good op-ed piece from the NYTimes. Not sure if she is anti-contraception or not but at least she is shoring up the defense of menstruation. That is to say, menstruation is not a disease.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm cool!

I tend to hate memes with the specific, mild hatred I reserve for chain letters. However, now that I was tagged by Creative Minority Report, a blog which I respect and admire, memes are like, totally cool!
The Rules:Those tagged will share 5 things they "love" about Jesus. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers. Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here with their name so that others can read them.
1. I love that Jesus wept only once, enough to teach me that it is acceptable for men to occasionally weep. Also, giving me my first chosen memory verse.

2. I love that Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers only once, enough to teach me that anger has its place. Also, reminding me not to live in that place permanently.

3. I love that Jesus chose Peter to be the rocky rock of His Church. By this, he shows me that impetuousness and rash action can be tamed to follow the Lord.

4. I love that Jesus allowed Simon of Cyrene to help carry the cross. How gracious of Him to set an example of asking for help.

5. I love that Jesus died for us. I mean, nothing is really greater than that sacrifice.

I hearby tag: Lap of Luxury, Blah blah blah blog (who hasn't posted in too long), Mommy Log, Paul's Web Log, and Roman Catholic by Choice. Leave a comment if you actually do the meme, all the cool kids are doing it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Yet Another Article

A good friend reminded me of this old EWTN article on fatherhood which happened to be written in Philadelphia so it got bonus points for being local interest.

Pro-choice Resolution Aborted

This article is a good reminder that phone calls and letters work. I know it happened a while ago, but I am so proud of all my fellow Philadelphians who stuck up for the unborn innocents.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A New Dawn

Blog Review by James Volpe

Blogging is a new form of mass communication which I have been involved in for the past few years. Since blogs are often equivalent to a public publishing of a private diary, it is easy to feel that I really know a blogger even if I have never met them. One of the bloggers who generates this feeling of friendship is Dawn Eden of The Dawn Patrol (http://www.dawneden.com/blogger.html).

Miss Eden has used her blog to discuss her rather sordid past, her conversion story, politics, journalism, and her newly published book. All of these subplots combine to provide an amazing portrait of a woman trying to live her life for Christ, especially through the virtue of chastity. Her years spent as a rock-and-roll journalist in New York City make her an unlikely, and very interesting person to preach on chastity and she freely imparts the lessons learned on her blog, although she would love to have you buy the book as well.

Her recent conversion to Catholicism and her appreciation of many great Catholic authors, such as G. K. Chesterton, let her serve as a translator. She experienced many of the pitfalls of modern society and she can explain these pitfalls in terms that those in the Church can understand. She daily gives a captivating portrait of Generation X: one that is as dark as the deepest pits of depression, yet hungers to be washed whiter than snow.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Babies aren't Green

Via Roman Catholic by Choice, comes this post concerning British environmentalists who hate babies.

I find it interesting that this organization would even write an article expecting to convince anyone. The British people who are having more than two children are most likely deeply devoted Muslim immigrants who are not going to be swayed by any non-religious argument. I will leave all other commentary to the blogger who does a good job critiquing the Optimum Population hoopla.

Fornication is irrational, even to an atheist

Via Curt Jester, comes this post. John C. Wright is a sci-fi author, Christian and former atheist. He recorded many of his atheistic thought processes and repeats them for commentary on his journal, aside from writing new pieces. His most recent piece is the rational, logical, non-theistic argument against fornication. It is great philosophizing, though it includes many literary references which are beyond my experience.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Chemical Warfare against Men

Via Curt Jester comes this story about synthetic estrogen in Colorado streams. The hypocrisy of the environmentalist movement in the area is exposed. Genetically modified food to help feed people is heinous despite no evidence but synthetic estrogen causing male fish to vanish is not a pressing issue. Maybe the environmentalist movement considers it chemical warfare against their biggest threat, humanity.

That being said, I much prefer organic food to genetically altered food. Ironically for the greenies, my dedication to natural family planning lead me to my current "chrunchiness" (or natural family life) and seems to lead may people towards a greener worldview.

Since I've only fathered girls so far, maybe I should buy a reverse-osmosis filter for the house if I want a son.