Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Missing Pope Pius XII

I've been watching YouTube videos of Pope Pius XII and studying pictures of pre-Vatican II Catholic life.   Such dignity, beauty, and grace.  Talk about longing for the good old days!   While watching a video about Pius XII's death in 1958,  it occurred to me that my husband was so blessed to be born in 1957.   I never thought about that before.   It was kind of a shock to me to realize how so much destruction could take place in just my husband's lifetime.  

 I also watched a video on the canonization of St. Maria Goretti in 1950.  It showed her siblings and her mother in attendance.  The crowds in St. Peter's Square!  Unbelievable!  Wall to wall, honoring her for purity.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Reading for Conversion II

I've got a carrot cake in the oven, so I thought I would try to blast out a post, lest I fall off the blogging wagon once more.

I think my dad may be making progress towards conversion. Thursday at breakfast he told me that he had run into the word "sentient" and that it had been a long time since he had seen it. I thought I knew the definition but wasn't sure, so I googled it right then. I had it wrong. This is what the dictionary said:
able to see or feel things through the sensesMan is a sentient being.There was no sign of any sentient life or activity.

I asked him where he read it, and he told me that it was used in the physics book he is reading, The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe.   The book qualifies as a tome:

Definition of tome in English:


chiefly humorous
A book, especially a large, heavy, scholarly one:weighty tome
The Amazon description pegs its weight at 4 lbs.  And it is definitely scholarly.  My experience of it with Dad has indeed been "chiefly humorous."  When he was doing the prep for a colonoscopy last month--the one where you drink the gallon of nasty stuff, and it gives you death by diarrhea--to save energy he parked himself on the toilet to await the process completion.  As he finished each glass of the Liquid Plumber, he would call me for a refill.  The first time I paused before entering and asked him to please cover himself with something.   He has no discernible sense of modesty.  He said, "Ok.  I'm ready."  I walked in to find him butt naked except for the strategically place Road to Reality.  Then yesterday he had a doctor's appointment.  He can't dress himself because of his arthritis, although he does manage to put on his underwear.  Other than his boxers, his daily attire is his robe.  So when he has to wear real clothes, I dress him.  I entered his room to get him ready and found him waiting for me: sitting on the foot of the bed in his boxers, legs crossed, reading Road to Reality.  He looked so cute!

Boy, did I digress or what?  Back to "sentient."  I read aloud the paragraph with "sentient" in it.  I skimmed through some other parts too, trying to figure out if the book was anti-religion.  I hit upon this one paragraph that included a sentence stating that science without morals was a bad thing.  SCORE!  I was so happy!   I read that sentence aloud, and we discussed it briefly in the light of the book we recently finished, A Song for Nagasaki.  Dad agreed with me.  So now I know that Dad and I have something to build upon.

I mentioned that I missed having a read-aloud book going, and Mom and Dad both agreed that they missed it too.  I asked Dad what he wanted me to read next.  He asked for something about Alaska.  We talked about Jack London and The Call of the Wild and also London's book The Sea Wolf, which we had discussed when I read it in the sixth grade.  Strange to think about us still discussing books 43 years later.  I had been planning on reading With God in Russia to them to continue the Catholic in WWII theme but didn't know if choosing only Catholic books would wear thin with Dad.  That's why I asked him what he would like to read next.  So I guess we'll go to Alaska and maybe then slide over to Russia.  I want to read the companion book to With God in Russia also.  It's called He Leadeth Me.


The carrot cake's done, and I need to make the frosting.

A most blessed Feast of Christ the King to you all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Women Waiting for Marriage: It's Hard to Know What to Do

So I heard recently about an eligible bachelor with a high income and a stable job history, a young man who is intelligent and amiable and wants to marry but with this one twist:  he seeks a bride who earns a high income as well.  He is not Catholic but still I was surprised.  Is this a thing?  Am I that out of touch with the modern world?

I checked in with my husband.

"Honey, did you ever consider how much money your future wife would make as part of the criteria for finding the right one?"

His face contorted.

"What?" he asked, as if I had just asked him if he had ever considered marrying a Martian.

"No," he answered definitively.

I explained why I was asking, and he too was surprised.  "I never heard of that," he replied, shaking his head in disbelief.  He didn't say it, but I could tell he was thinking, "he needs to man up".

The next day I heard about a son-in-law who left his wife every time they had a new baby or made an expensive purchase like a car.  He has a fear of responsibility.  Maybe that's what is at the heart of the problem with the other guy.

I didn't need another reason to appreciate my husband, but these stories did cause exactly that reaction.

I'm not so sheltered that I am unaware that the majority of married households are made up of two wage earners.  It's just the idea of a man who already earns an income that is more than enough to support a wife and family comfortably, screening potential spouses based on income-producing ability, never occurred to me.   What a complete inversion of the traditional household economy!

The traditional Catholic world is steeped in its own controversies regarding women and careers.  I know plenty of trads who vehemently disagree with the idea of a woman attending college.  They are mostly single young men, insisting that women should stay home and learn domestic skills until marriage.  I also know others, mostly worried parents, who insist that women need to prepare to support themselves for life, to not expect that they will ever find anyone to marry.   I know wonderful, pious young ladies in both situations.  I spoke with a lovely young Catholic woman recently who told me that her traditional Catholic parents had witnessed so much divorce within their own Catholic families, that they advised their girls, growing up in the 1980s-90s, to become self-sufficient and not to become attached to the idea of marrying.

Me?  I think college today is grossly overrated as a means to a career, and I dislike it in general because it is so flagrantly anti-Catholic and ridiculously expensive.  I would prefer women find other ways to support themselves.  I know that not every home situation is ideal for a woman to remain in until marriage and that it is often the case that she has already learned all that she needs to know about keeping house.  I do think that something is lost when a woman becomes financially independent that will make it more of a struggle to let her husband lead the household if and when she is able to marry.  I also think that her husband, knowing that she is capable of earning a good salary, could be tempted to take advantage of this when things get tough, instead of, as my husband says, "manning up" and doing what's necessary to support the family.   Yes, I know that there are situations where the wife works, and she and her husband have worked everything out where it does not cause a strain on the marriage.  I'm just speaking in generalities and with the idea that we're talking about traditional Catholic homes with several/many young children.

Life is full of struggles, isn't it?

What times we live in.

On a lighter note, maybe the answer lies in promoting participation in wife-carrying contests like this one in Houston.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Decluttering and Divorce

One of my sisters recommended a book to me called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  I downloaded the audiobook edition and started listening this afternoon.

"In this book, I have summed up how to put your space in order in a way that will change your life forever," states the author in the introduction.  That sounded good.  I imagined my totally decluttered home and how peace-promoting it would be.

Then she recounted praise for the book--wonderful letters from her private-course clients--who said things like, "After your course, I quit my job and did something I had dreamed of doing ever since I was a child."

"Awesomeness!" I thought to myself.  Maybe I should pause right here, grab some garbage bags and start tossing.

Before I could act on the thought, she read the next letter:

"Your course taught me to see what I really need and what I don't.  So I got a divorce.  Now I feel much happier."

Wait.  What?

This woman threw out her husband along with her old makeup samples and Jane Fonda workout videos?  And this is a good thing?  To be used as promotion for the "Konmari" technique?

Maybe I'll just keep my clutter.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Eat Your Vegetables, Starting at Breakfast

Keeping it real: No cropping out the crumb on the tablecloth in the upper left corner of photo.  Actually, I'm just too lazy.
We've been trying to eat more vegetables and have discovered that we actually like them for breakfast.  A big bowl of steaming, braised purple cabbage is a particular favorite.  Today, being Friday, I tried this Sautéed Shrimp and Spinach recipe.  I added grated parmesan and almonds sautéed in butter.  Pretty yummy stuff.  We feel good all the way till lunch after eating this kind of breakfast.

"To-go" plates for Mom and Dad, ready to be whisked up to their house.
On Wednesday I used this recipe, a long-time favorite, to make some breakfast sausage.  After the sausage was cooked, I stirred in two bags of organic cabbage/broccoli/carrot slaw and cooked it till the veggies were tender, then added grated cheddar on top.  I still had plenty the next morning, so I used it as a filling for omelets.  And there is still some left after making four omelets.  When I make it again, I will add a third bag of slaw or maybe cut the sausage recipe in half.  I don't remember how much the bags weighed, but I am guessing there was 2 1/2 cups of vegetables in each one.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Reading for Conversion and A New "Bells of Nagasaki" Movie

I have been reading A Song for Nagasaki (SFN) to my mom and dad while they eat breakfast and lunch.  We're almost finished.

It's my second effort at communicating Catholicism to them in the most accessible way I know.  My mom converted a couple of years ago while still in the rehab hospital after her stroke; my dad is agnostic.  

First we read The Shadow of His Wings (SHW).  Both books are set during World War II.  This theme as a backdrop is helpful, since they can identify with it well, having both been born in 1933.  It has made it easier to have discussions because of their personal memories of events.

The two books are ideal conversion tools for my dad because of his great respect for education, which is emphasized in both books, and science in particular, which is a main theme in SFN.  It does an excellent job of debunking the idea that science is in conflict with religion, a matter of utmost importance with my dad.  The idea that a truly Catholic priestly formation includes serious study of philosophy and logic and that a priest can be both supremely masculine and celibate, as modeled by Fr. Goldmann in SHW, also got my dad's attention.

My mother thoroughly enjoyed SHW, often excitedly interjecting some comment that I guess could be considered as the equivalent of an "Amen!".  Father Goldmann's many escapes from death, but especially any mention of Sister Solana May's interventions, elicited these responses from her.  With SFN, she is entranced by Dr. Nagai's wife, Midori, and fretted about what had happened to her after the A-bomb was dropped.  Midori is an excellent role model for Catholic wives, and I think her way of handling difficulties was a revelation to my mom.

The fact that a movie was made in 1950, based on Takashi Nagai's Bells for Nagasaki, was mentioned several times in SFN.  This sent me scurrying to the internet to see if I could find it.  I will have to look again, because in my search results was the exciting news that a new movie is being released in English, based on Bells for Nagasaki.  The UK release date is Nov. 15, and it is called, All that Remains.  Here is a page about the filmmakers and a promo video of the film. I couldn't find any information on when it will be available in the US.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Guild Prayer of Restoration

I've been adding the intention to my rosary or begging St. Joseph that a truly Catholic pope and hierarchy may assume authority in the Church.  I really should be asking for a rollback to the pre-1955 liturgy as well to excise all of Bugnini's Masonic handiwork, because ditching Vatican II, while necessary, isn't enough to restore the Church.  But I guess the first order of business is to get a pope who holds the Faith of St. Peter, whole and entire.  I found this prayer today on the Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula site and have committed to saying it every day:

Almighty and Everlasting God, * we beseech thee to restore unto this world of sin * that faith which St. Peter thy first Pope and Prince of the Apostles * did once humbly confess; * and commit once more, * through thine infinite mercy, * the government of thy Church * unto a worthy Vicar of thy Son; * that he may be bestowed with such virtues * as may be pleasing in thy sight; * and that being so adorned, * he may lift from the Church and from all nations * the heavy weight of heresy that presseth down upon us; * and rendering Christendom once more acceptable in thy sight, * may bring at length all nations to render due homage at the feet of their divine King, * even Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, * who liveth and reigneth with thee, * in the unity of the Holy Ghost, * ever one God, * world without end.  * Amen.

This is the Guild's take on the status of the Church:

THE CHURCH Members of The Guild shall acquiesce and adhere to The Guild’s position on the status of the Church, namely that Vatican II has failed to provide for the good of the Church and its people, and that it is no longer possible to recognize in the post-conciliar “Church” the infallible teaching authority it possessed before the Second Vatican Council. Faced with this unhappy conclusion, we find ourselves forced, like orphaned children, to “fend for ourselves” until such time as we may once again see the light of the true Faith expressed in Rome. For the sake of the unity of The Guild and its future security, we cannot welcome as members anyone who holds a view at variance with this position. While we believe others to be free to hold different opinions, we must determine a moral ground for ourselves so that we can act in harmony as a group with a unified purpose. This position, however, is not to be construed as a condemnation of others who have reached different conclusions. Our priests and religious shall continue to welcome all Catholics of good faith to our Masses, our services, and our sacraments.

I think the part that says Vatican II "failed to provide for the good of the Church and its people," needs to be re-written.  It needs to specifically state how Vatican II contradicts past teaching.  I do agree that "it is no longer possible to recognize in the post-conciliar "Church" the infallible teaching authority it possessed before the Second Vatican Council."