Thursday, January 31, 2008

Proficient Underachiever

I think I have created my new motto:

"Conserve your passion."

As a perpetually moving man, I often burn out on projects. I have a supernova of interest and shortly thereafter, I collapse into a white dwarf burning myself up. One of the tips I picked up from Robert Kiyosaki's books was to be an underachiever. Or, said in a more positive light, don't do everything you want to do right now, save some of it for later. I have found this to immensely improve my drive and interest in my various schemes. It also forces me to focus on those things for longer periods of... Look! Something Shiny!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How Chaste a Foundation

A book review of Emily's Hope by Ellen Gable
Full Quiver Publishing

by: James F. Volpe

The Couple to Couple League is updating all of its materials, as well as its method, in the first overhaul since inception. The Creighton System's NaPro Technology is having tremendous success and expanding all over the nation. The NFP movement has passed through its infancy and is in the growth spurts of puberty along with the daughters of the current generation of NFP users. All NFP using parents are concerned with how to pass on the beauty of the Church's teaching on sexuality to their daughters. Since many NFP users have discovered this beauty only after hard lessons in life, they wish to spare their daughters from these same growing pains.

In order to impart these lessons in sexuality, Ellen Gable has adopted my favorite pedagogy, teaching through novelization. In Emily's Hope, Mrs. Gable alternated between telling the story of Emily, living in the seventies and Emily's great-grandmother, living at the turn of the twentieth century. This proved to be a brilliant device which allowed for simultaneously explaining the separate time frames where contraception and abortion were legalized. The story of Emily covered many situations which those in the pro-life community experience: bigotry from doctors, confusion from friends, silence from family, witnessing to deaf ears, and sympathy from no one except a spouse. The story of Emily's grandmother covered the militancy and cold-heartedness of the birth control movement as well as the rationalizations often used by pro-abortion advocates. The book teetered on the edge of covering too much with these instructional vignettes, but, thankfully, the scenes did not become overwhelming and the story held together on its own merits.

As I witnessed Emily and her great-grandmother travel through their lives, I was reminded of another gloriously educational novel, How Firm a Foundation, by Marcus Grodi. That novel covered the tale of a Christian pastor as he followed the lonely road of Christ across the Tiber and into Roman Catholicism. Mr. Grodi wrote his novel to explain his journey to his parents, whom he loved very dearly but who could not understand his conversion to Catholicism. Mrs. Gable's novel covers the conversion of a young woman's heart. She wrote her novel to explain the beauty of the sexual powers to her goddaughters in case they could not understand the witness of her life. Both novels are works of love, explaining how deep love can be.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Photo March for Life

I used my photos to capture those who attended the march but whom I didn't expect to see:




Joe G. from the Penn State Newman Club,

General Robert E. Lee,

and, of course, Hillary.

And here are the pictures of the counter-protest by pro-choice advocates:


Oh, wait, I didn't see a single one another first for this March for Life, and hopefully the beginning of a trend.

"First" March for Life

This wasn't actually my first March for Life, it was actually number 4 for me, however, it was a march full off first time experiences.

It was the first time I stayed with the group I came. At my first march, I ditched my high school to march with my girlfriend. At my second and third marches, I ditched my parish to march with a friend's pro-life committee from a different parish. I tried to ditch my parish this time to attend the Blogs For Life event, but it didn't work. I was pleasantly rewarded by getting to know the wonderful pro-life committee at my parish.

It was the first time that I heard a presidential candidate speak. Alright, I know it was only Ron Paul but he was impressive.

It was the first time that I took pictures. I will post some soon.

It was the first time that I saw a complete rainbow, and felt hope that the end of the massacre is near.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Punish the Prophet?

Since word seems to be spreading, here are my two cents on this story. A brief synopsis: a priest gives a homily on sexual morality and NFP, a publicly known lesbian interrupts him and leaves during the Mass with her companion, and the bishop removes the priest from the parish.

I am fully aware that I lack reservation and often discuss things publicly which should not be discussed publicly. The text of the priest's homily is certainly innocuous in itself but it is quite possible that he deviated from the text in exceedingly frank ways. By analogy, homilies about abortion should also be somewhat indirect since I certainly don't want my three-year-old to ask me why a doctor would crush a baby's skull and suck out his brains with a vacuum. However, I completely understand a priest's desire to shake a parish out of its somnolence while heinous sins like contraception and abortion are overtly accepted. Still, such a drastic response for a first offence seems well beyond the bounds of justice and gives the impression that the bishop can be manipulated easily. In a world where some bishops barely rebuke heresy from the pulpit, it is sad that the Good News is punished so severely.

Friday, January 18, 2008

PNFPN Conference

The PNFPN and Philadelphia Catholic Medical Association will have an annual conference on March 1, 2008. It will be about Marriage Prep and will include some great speakers including Matthew Pinto who is both enlightening and funny. Go to PNFPN's website to register. Leave me a comment if you are going so I can meet you face to face, dear reader.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Friar By Any Other Name

A friend, who is also a Dominican Brother, has written an excellent article on the power of the Holy Name.

The power of a name is one of the many lessons which my father taught me through example. He is fond of giving nicknames to anyone and any pet who he saw frequently. My aunt and uncle seemed to think that my father's naming of their new dogs was nearly as important as the baptism of their children. They waited eagerly for my Dad's pronouncement of Chester as, "Chester the Molester" or Clancy as, "Clance-dog." Dad also created nicknames for his sons, "Pasta and Chi-chi bean." To this day, we never found out which one of us was which so I guess it is a collective nickname. Dad called my wife's bunny rabbit, "Silver" for about 2 minutes, henceforth he is referred to as, "Hi Ho." (Say them together.) Dad makes special names to match the special relationships he has, and continues to mete out special relationships generously. Although, I think he is most fond for his own special name, "Pop."

Interestingly enough, Br. Peter has a special nickname which was not assigned by my father but by the Newman Club at Penn State. I couldn't get through a post on names without mentioning "JoeFromErie."

Monday, January 14, 2008

When Disney Was Right

While zombifying my children to Cinderella, I noticed that Disney used to transmit a philosophy of beauty. The first characteristic used as a comparison between Cinderella and the stepsister was their beauty. Cinderella was described as beautiful and charming while the stepsisters were described as awkward. We were taught as children that beauty was on the side of righteousness.

Contrast that to modern versions, where the antagonists are beautiful and the protagonists are awkward. Although beauty is often discovered by the protagonist, this just makes everyone beautiful, even her enemies. I think the lesson is better learned when beauty is aligned with obedience, charity, and humility from the beginning and evil is always ugly, no matter how hard it tries to be pretty.

Or, in other words, "Truth is beauty and beauty, truth."

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Holiest Strike Ever!

The Creative Minority Reporters have great news, a strike in Spain is saving hundreds of lives every day. The abortion workers union is striking and babies all over Spain are rejoicing. The Spanish government fears rampant birthing could ensue, destroying the environmentally-friendly national birth rate of less than two children per woman which the government has worked so hard to reduce. Furthermore, the government fears that increased tax revenue from all those children going to work in their adulthood could prop up failing government programs, alleviating the need for more taxes.

Pedro Dues, a bureaucrat for many years said, "The question isn't what happens with these births, but what happens to the after-births?"

Boosting the Business of Death

Thanks to Dawn Eden, I read this study which showed that most women who have abortions were using contraception at the time of the unplanned pregnancy.

This clearly demonstrates the economical reasons why Planned Parenthood encourages contraception. By encouraging more women to join the ranks of the hormonally altered, PP increases the pool of people who are more likely to have abortions and generate revenue for PP. Conversely, if PP chose to encourage women to abstain, those women would be statistically less likely to have abortions and therefore decrease revenue for PP.

Gateway drug to abortion is yet another reason to reject contraception, aside from the lethal damage to young babies, the physiological damage to the user, the pschological damage to a relationship, the environmental damage to the world, and the moral damage to your soul.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Zen and the Art of Tangelo Peeling

After crushing a few tangelos into a horrible pulp, I have decided to listen to my wife and learn some grace and delicacy. I took a lesson from "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and decided that the first thing to do was to be at peace. I actually prayed for peace. I then prayed that God's will be done with this tangelo peeling. It was amazing, I never prayed so intently for something so small. Would that I could pray intently for big things so that His will be done. And I would not turn more important things into pulp.

Discount for Life

I have just enrolled as a pro-life blogger with the Catholic Information Center in D.C. As a lucrative benefit, I can receive a 15% discount on anything that I purchase in the store on January 22. I hope to be able to march but I am not sure about the logistics with the girls. If you are fortunate enough to be marching, go to the CIC and buy many things. You will also be able to meet Dawn Eden and get her to autograph your copy of her book, The Thrill of the Chaste. She will be selling them at 25% off.

I hope to create a variety of scintillating posts to entertain the throngs which will flock to my blog now that I am a registered pro-life blogger. Y'all come back now, y'ear!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I love Grandparents

Although I often fear that my kids' grandparents will spoil them rotten, a feeling directly attached to the mound of Christmas generosity which is still under our tree, I have been very thankful for their help of late and I wanted the world to know.

Over Christmas vacation, Pappy rose early in the morning as was his usual routine and he would watch my eldest daughter so that I could happily return to my long winter's nap. I bet I netted six extra hours of sleep while Maria got her fill of the Disney Channel with Pappy.

Recently, we have set up recurring, in-home babysitting with Mom-mom. She stops by twice a month to watch the girls while I either futz around the house or attend my Knights of Columbus meeting. On her last visit, I completely finished my daily to-do list and accomplished a few bonus activities from the seasonal to-do list. It was sweet!

Friday, January 4, 2008

So Little to Do, So Much Time

Strike that, reverse it.

Jen at Et-tu has this great post on organizing household life that I hope my wife reads. We both need practice on throttling back and being at peace with how little we can reasonably expect to accomplish in a day. I am reminded of the words of a truly sagacious friend of mine, "The years of small children are the years of tiredness."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Married to This World

Dawn Eden has this great post on a topic of exceeding interest to me. I have been trying to understand the Biblical verses relating to how married people are focused on this world and I think she has some real insight. Not surprisingly, the answer to my unspoken dilemma over the proper use of my material goods in this world is to love God more deeply. Why am I always surprised?

Happy New Year!

I have not forgotten about you, loyal reader. We have continued our usual Christmas tradition of contracting a virus of some virulent stripe. I have noticed that not only does the frequency of illness increase with more children, but the duration of illness increases also. I had great difficultly being convalescent while preventing my, now recovered, children from pulling ornaments off the Christmas tree and striking each other with their new toys.