Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Family Altar

One of the projects I wanted to get done before I started my board fast was setting up a family altar, a place for prayer. Now, ideally, this would be bigger, it would be out in a more conspicuous place, but seeing as my CoC family is over often and they would see this as a shrine to the devil, I decided to make it a bit more discrete. So it's located in a corner of our bedroom, which is quite hidden when the door is open, lol. Here's a description of what all is there:

I got some holiday napkins at Walmart in green, purple, and white, for the different liturgical seasons, and just sewed them up to fit over the little table! (That cost me...like $3! Woohoo!) I'm decoupaging a wine box (lol, it's the only thing that will fit in the little space under the table) and keeping the other table covers, lighters, more candles, etc inside it for convenience.

On the stand, I have a little easle for prayer cards, and several prayer cards to switch out. Right now it has St. Gerard on it (can you guess why? *sigh*) And of course the standing crucifix, and little statue of Mary, and my rosary hanging beside it. A lot of this stuff I got from totallycatholic.com for really cheap!

On the middle shelf I have a small French Bible de Jérusalem, and an old French "Christian manual," which has the New Testament and Thomas à Kempis' The Imitation of Christ in it, which I have yet to read! (Adding that onto my already long list...) There is also an image of Our Lady. Underneath the shelf is a prayer card with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On the top shelf is just a simple Catholic book of common prayers, and an image of The Sacred Heart of Jesus. Good stuff!

I'm excited to start putting my little family altar to good use! I will keep all of my online friends in my prayers!

Board Fast

I've decided that through the month of November, I'm going to be taking a board fast from all the boards and forums I frequent. I know I spend too much time discussing on them, trying to answer questions about Catholicism, trying to correct misconceptions, and just generally chatting and having a good time. I need to remind myself that the world will still go on if I'm not answering questions about Catholicism! I need to focus on my own prayer life and my home...after all, it won't matter how much I talk about Catholicism if I don't practice it! So I'm hoping to take this time to reorganize my priorities, and also to be a bit more productive around the house. Just a few things I hope to accomplish are:
  • Read, read, and read some more. I have so many books waiting!!!
  • Finish our Christmas stockings once and for all!
  • Get into a habit of daily prayer and devotion.
  • Spend some more time in the kitchen cooking, maybe learn some new tricks.
  • Pay more attention to my darling husband who is SO patient with my board addiction.

I will continue to blog and check email, so I'll keep y'all updated as to how things are unfolding! I may even post some comments about the books I read, and some pics of the stockings once I get them done. Meanwhile, I'll be offering up prayers for all my wonderful friends on the many boards I frequent. Love you guys!!

Happy Halloween!

Lol, I thought this cartoon, posted on The Curt Jester was an appropriate post for today!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Praise the Lord and Pass the Salvation

The movie "Jesus Camp" inspired this article from a CoC ex-er.

Think about it. If you truly believed that everyone you knew or liked was damned unless you could open their eyes, you would probably get your butt in gear and evangelize the way these children are seemingly taught to at camp. It does not matter if you hate doing it, or if you find it profoundly embarrassing. Embarrassed isn’t an option when eternal souls are at stake.

Scary stuff...while I personally wasn't quite as scared of Hell, I can still relate, especially to the above paragraph. I always felt guilty that I was so shy and introverted, because it always made it hard for me to evangelize.

I'm so glad that weight has been lifted off of my shoulders...and it's so sad to see the poor children in the movie being weighed down by it. If you haven't seen it already, you can watch the trailer here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

And Even More Absurd TV Catholicism

CSI: Miami...they open a door to find a real goat's head with maggots crawling all over it. Delko remarks, "It's Santeria. I can't touch it." Wolfe asks, "Why not?" He answers, "I'm Catholic. These are holy objects, to touch them would be sacrilege."

Uuuhhhhhhh...WHA???? Caribbean magic/voodoo/evil junk is considered HOLY because it has elements of Catholicism in it?!? What is this guy smoking?

Now...how much respect do you think Delko would pay to a consecrated host if he came upon one in his investigation? Considering his previous promiscuous escepades, he's not a very practicing Catholic. But add Caribbean magic to the mix and WATCH OUT! That's HOLY! Better cross himself and kiss the crucifix around his neck to keep the boogeymen away. *Eyeroll*

Rock On, Ben Stein!

Someone posted this on the NFP board (it was verified by Snopes). With the cooler weather we had here in Texas today, I figured I was allowed a post mentioning Christmas, even if it is still a bit early! ;-) So, here is a commentary about Christmas from Ben Stein:

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

Friday, October 20, 2006

TV Catholicism

Hubby pointed out to me a post on The Cafeteria is Closed about last night's episode of CSI, which was centered around a love triangle between 3 old friends, one of them being a Catholic priest, of course.

It always makes me laugh to see TV's version of Catholicism...first of all, they always happen to have the old cathedrals, the traditional music, nuns who actually wear habits (a young perky one with bangs, reminiscent of Maria from "The Sound of Music," and the obligatory jaded, grouchy, old one), confessional booths...so much of which is actually missing in most modern Catholic parishes! Second of all, the soundbites they have the Catholics say or people explaining Catholicism are usually off the wall ridiculous - like Grissom trying to pit forgiveness and penance against each other, as if they're somehow mutually exclusive. And of course, the old "Catholic guilt" cliché reared its ugly head, along with a misrepresentation of the requirement to forgive, and a confusion of the forgiveness given in confession with personal forgiveness we give. Grissom says to the priest, "You have to forgive him, don't you?" and the priest says, with a look of reluctance, "It's Christ's mandate." Well yeah...but we can choose to follow that mandate or not! There's this little thing we have called free will...and it's (purposely?) ambiguous as to whether he's talking about forgiving him personally, or acting in persona Christi to grant absolution in confession...which are two very different things.

All in all, the picture they paint on TV of Catholicism is so superficial, and often just plain wrong. Would it be that hard to do a little homework and get things right? They probably go to some former cradle Catholics on the set, get their info from them and figure it's accurate enough.

But of course, it's just Catholicism, so who cares, right?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

If Betty Butterfield visited the CoC...

Lol, several people on the ex-CoC board decided to speculate on what she would say, here is some of what they came up with:

I suggest this familiar font for the opening title:

And, of course, 728-B a capella for the opening sequence.

Then Betty comes on in her most depressed, hand-wringing, mood ever:
"This lady at work, bless her heart she don't never seem to smile or have nothin' fun in her life, like maybe gettin' her nails did, or wunna them pedicures, well she done invited me to this church, the 'Church of Christ.' I thought it was like the Church of God so I said Lawsy honey, if we gon' go down to the Church of God you have GOT to get your hair did, an' at least put on some ear-bobs!" but she seemed like the shy type and I thought soon as they get the spirit she'll loosen up ... Lawzy Mercy I do love my ear-bobs, these come from J.C. Penney!"

I looked in the telephone di-rectory and there were bunches of these churches of christ. Sometimes even two on the same street! I picked me out one that had "The Churches of Christ Salute You" printed under their listing. I thought that was real special.

I drove my Honda down to that part of town and like to have never found the place. They must not believe in puttin' up no signs or nuthin'. I drove by the place about 5 or 6 times before I realized it was a church. It didn't have no steeple or windows or anything on it. There was only one little-bitty sign that said "The church of Christ meets here".

I was afraid it might be one of them house churches or somethin' and I almost turned around and went back home, but I saw some men standing outside smokin' so I thought maybe they weren't too bad.

Well in we went and I mean they swarmed me like flies. I got whoozy from all the 'ttention. The ladies in the vestibule shook my hand, and one of them stuck a miniature rose on my chest. She said they gave one to all the visitors. Everything was going real good until I saw one of the ladies starin' at my Joyce Meyer's Study Bible...

They was real nice til they heard I was attending the churches of my choice to learn more about God's houses. Then I heard one of the women whisper, "she's a gonna go to HELL for that"....I couldn't stop my crying.......

Well, we sashayed on up the brown carpet and lawzy I ain't never seen so much brown, they was brown panelin' all over the walls, a brown alter thang and podium, and two brown what-cha-call plaque thangs on the front walls sayin' what numbers to turn to in the songbook and who all attended and how much they give. The pews was brown too, and the bricks on the outside it was built of. They wat'n no steeple or no cross, just a sign and a parkin' lot, not even a swingset for the babies. Them babies had to sit still an' I saw this one woman haul off an' swat her baby's bottom with a songbook, for droppin' her pacifier. I give her a nasty look but then her husband give me a even nastier one. I sure hoped when they got the spirit they was fixin' to git in a better mood.

There was this little swimmin' pool behind the preecher. I thought that was nice. He could get his exercise in that pool after the people went home. The pool shoulda been bigger, though. Were'nt big enuf fer a good swim.

The preacher didn't wear no robes or nuthin', just like a Baptist. An' he hollered like a Baptist too--only what he was hollerin' about was how wrong all the Baptists were! I guess maybe his daddy was a Baptist an' he's takin' out his childhood traumas. Now I ain't takin' up for that Billy Graham, no way no how, lord he's done got one foot in the grave an' he ain't never gotten the holy spirit yet. I keep prayin' the spirit will come on him before he goes to Heaven so he'll know what they're talkin' about in case they speak in tongues up there. Well let me tell you, them church of Christ people don't just think he's behind on gettin' the full gospel, they think he's all the way goin' to Hell, an' I mean for eat-ernity.
Lawd I never heard nobody's ever preached that strict, even them Mormons!

When that preacher finally got through with what-all was wrong with Billy Graham, he read this Bible verse "Baptistm does also now save us" and then he asked the congregation, "WHAT did it say also now saves us?" an' nobody answered so I spoke up. "Baptism, you just said it that's right ain't it" an' he didn't even pay me no mind. Them other people shushed me right quick so's I thought I had the answer wrong!

And den when the praycheer finished talking he offered an invitation. I nudged the lady sittin' next to me and ask her where the party is at? Lawd I love a good brisket and iced tea and that is what they would have at a party. But before she could answer they started singing...again. Dey sang so many songs- but not all the versus. The words are all wrong though. I didn't know I was at the poor church- they didn't even have a piano or organ.

Then a few of the men stood in front of the remembrance table. And wanted to pray again. Then they carried plates that looked like chargers. I've got one at home that I got from JC Penney's. Lawd, it makes my table look so pretty at Thanksgiving. Their chargers had little pieces of crackers in, and people were reaching in and getting just one and eating it. That's jest nasty. I couldn't do that. I guess it was appetizer before the party. If they are gonna be that cheap- they can keep their brisket.

Well, I won't be goin' back to that awful place. (crying) Those mean people didn't even mention God's good grace. I's glad I could smoke with some of the men out front, but Sister Idalene came chargin' out and told me that I had better get movin' out of the lot--they didn't have any room for the likes o me. I'm sa sad, I think I need to go back to the Cath-Licks.

And now I am out of Prozac and it's Sunday and the Dr's office isn't open till tomorrow... Oh Laudy, what am I going to do... What an awful day, just awful I tell ya....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

For my CoC readers...

Just a little reflection on that special week called Lectureship...

He said blood 57 times during his sermon, there were 33 scripture references, 21 calls to repent, and 16 "Amens!" Amens? At a Church of Christ? Yes...it was lectureship, that magical week where it was ok, for some mystical reason, to do something other than sit placidly in the pew. Of course, an "Amen" was the most charismatic things would get, and it was still only the men who were allowed to vocalize their approval, we women mustn't make a peep!

So instead, my best childhood girlfriend and I sat together, making sketches of the backs of people's heads, scribbling notes to each other, and when we really got bored, we started counting amens. Lectureship sermons seemed to drag on forever, and unlike Sunday, where at least we had the singing to look forward to to break up the monotony, lectureship week was mostly full of...well...lectures.

There were a few other atypical phonomena that appeared during that exceptionally different yet insufferably dull week, like book sales. It was the one time of the year where objects were allowed to be sold in the church building-Bibles, tracts, booklets, coloring books, activity books, bookmarks with verses written on them-the room regularly used for bible class became a captivating boutique filled with all things biblical. It almost felt deliciously rebellious to buy something from it. I never did understand what it was about lectureship that dispensed the church building from its usual prohibition of sales in the building, but I dutifully believed there must be a good reason anyway, especially so I would feel no guilt after buying a pretty new bookmark for my bible.

Old friends, new friends, and well known preachers from all around came to the lectureship. In the halls, whispers about this or that preacher from this or that town were everywhere. The church building was live and bustling for that week (except of course, when there was actually a sermon being said.) And then, it was done. Everyone went home, the mystical book store was disassembled and no evidence of it was left behind, all the men knew not to say "Amen" anymore, and my best friend and I were happy to be able to look forward to less lecturing, and more singing. Amen!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Don't Be Afraid of Food!!

Food...it's a wonderful thing! Unfortunately, in America we have a largely unhealthy view of it. We equate food with "guilt" and talk about enjoying it as if it's something sinful. One of the biggest culprits, in America's collective mind, is FAT. Fat is an evil to be avoided at all costs. It makes sense after all...if we stop eating fat, we won't get fat! And so, with our wonderful technology we turned our food into science experiments and extracted the fat, and replaced it with chemicals to add some flavor. Mmmm...yum. Chemically altered food.

One would think that after coming up with an abundance of chemically altered foods with low fat and no fat, we'd start shrinking, right? But that hasn't happened...in fact, the obesity has only gotten worse since the war on fat started. So we moved on to obsessing about calories, or carbs...if we only make more science experiments by taking out calories and carbs and call them food, we'll surely start shrinking then! Again, this doesn't seem to have worked. So what's the problem?

The problem is we're looking at food as if it's a science experiment. The problem is, instead of learning some self control, people want to be able to eat as much as they possibly can without the consequences. (Hmmm...sound familiar? *cough* contraceptive mentality *cough*) But by trying to separate real food from its natural nourishment, they're not only compromising their health, they're missing out on a beautiful thing!

Take a look at the French...their obesity rate is much, MUCH lower than the American obesity rate. Are they known for their chemically altered "faux food"? Do they obsess about the fat/calorie/carb content of any given food? NO!(You'll be out of luck if you want to find nutritional info on a lot of foods in France!) They're known for fresh, real, delicious, rich, naturally good food. The difference is, they know how to eat it! They know how to savor it, how to enjoy it, and most importantly, when to stop.

There are plenty of other things Americans need to learn...for instance, that pouring sugar (whether it's fake or real) down our throats during a meal and calling it a drink is just wrong. That wolfing down our food like there's a chance it's going to leap off the plate is not a good thing. That eating "empty foods" all day is simply not going to curb hunger. But I think the number one thing they need to learn is moderation.

It's ok to enjoy some naturally rich ice cream, it's ok to enjoy mashed potatoes made with real butter and sour cream, it's ok to enjoy delicious cheese...don't be afraid of fat in food! We NEED fat to survive! But don't overdo it either, enjoy it in moderation.

A recommended book, which goes into this plus much more in great detail is The Fat Fallacy. (It's along the same lines as French Women Don't Get Fat, but I found it to have more practical info...there are even recipes in the back!)

Bon Appétit!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Betty Butterfield Visits the Catholic Church

Lol...there's a whole series of "Betty Butterfield visits X church," and they're all pretty funny. Here's the Catholic one:

My thanks to the ex-CoC board for pointing them out.

Poor guys didn't know what they were getting themselves into...

I'd bet my house that this guy is Church of Christ!

It's always kind of sad to watch the bewilderment on a zealous Catholic's face when they're told, "Sorry, we can't celebrate our common love for Christ with each other because Catholics are wrong." Kinda makes you wonder what they think of that whole, "he that is not against us is for us" deal Jesus talked about.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Do Catholics Believe Sexual Pleasure is Bad?

While perusing the Preacher's Files (what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment!), I came across this thread discussing family size. One member raised the point that sex and marriage are ordered towards children, and that he felt to get married and outright refuse to ever have children was being selfish. Not surprisingly, someone accused him of sounding very "Catholic." He went on to give a good explanation of how our society has distorted sex, and how contrary to modern thought, pleasure is not the primary purpose of sex.

Another poster, wanting to clarify (and most certainly wanting to put immeasurable distance between a fellow CoC member and any remote possibility of sounding Catholic) said this:
Certainly you are not advocating the catholic position wherein sex should ONLY be for the purpose of having children and one should feel guilty if they seek pleasure from their spouse during a time they are not trying to have children??
Now...when I see such misinformation branded about, I feel absolutely compelled to say something. It's my downfall! And so I did. After a bit of banter about whether or not the Catholic Church had "changed their rules yet again," I was asked to prove that the Church has never taught it is wrong to enjoy the pleasure that comes from sex. That's right....I was asked to prove that something never happened. I tried to explain that the burden of proof was on the person making the claim. (It should be simple enough, right? Provide one official document showing this teaching.) Fortunately, the poster who had made the original statement came along and provided what he believed was proof.

I believe I made the comment that Stephanie quoted and said was a lie, [actually, I didn't say it was a lie, "lie" implies ill intent...I just said it wasn't accurate] so I'd like to back up my position.

Pope John Paul II made a comment in a public speech that a husband is committing adultery with his wife if his purpose is for pleasure. He was the "head" of the catholic church when he was the pope, was he not?

Here are some references to that.

First one must understand that not everything the pope says is infallible. Infallibility is only very rarely envoked. What a pope says personally while talking or writing is not automatically infallible, and is not automatically considered Church teaching.

With that said, the very article you provided explains the misunderstanding well:

In one sense the whole episode was a tempest in a cappuccino cup stirred by an example taken out of context. But the fuss reflected secular fears that the Pope might be returning to a view once held by many Catholic theologians that sexual pleasure even in marriage is deeply suspect. That is far from the case. In sermons and writings John Paul has dealt extensively with marriage, and often places a remarkably unpontifical emphasis on matters of the flesh. The book of Genesis, the Pontiff once declared, shows "the pure value of the body and of sex" in God's eyes.

John Paul has been talking about sex at most of his Wednesday audiences for more than a year. The troublesome phrase, in fact, was part of a discourse about the dignity of women and the need to distinguish, even in marriage, between sexual love and mere lust that makes sex objects of men and women alike.

In context, the Pope's ill-fated discourse only repeated a point of Christian teaching that has lately become a routine feminist complaint: a husband has no right to approach his wife simply to "use" her and make her "the object of the satisfaction of his own sexual 'need.'"

So, to more accurately descibe what the problem was, I would add the words "sole" and "primary" to your statement:

"Pope John Paul II made a comment in a public speech that a husband is committing adultery with his wife if his [sole and primary] purpose is for pleasure."

This is quite different than saying that the gift of marital pleasure, in and of itself, is something to be avoided or ashamed of.

The article below state: "Thus the Catholic Church does not condemn the presence of pleasure in marital sexual intercourse, but she does condemn the use of sexual intercourse exclusively for the sake of pleasure."

Yes! Exactly! Thank you for that....this is precisely the point. What I am saying is, the Church does not teach that pleasure is bad. The Church teaches that the pursuit of pleasure, above all else, selfishly, without regard to the other aspects of the marital embrace is bad. In other words, when sex becomes all about one's own pleasure, and not about showing your spouse love, something that is supposed to be selfless and loving turns into something selfish.

It's like...the primary purpose of eating is nourishment, right? This is the most important reason we eat. However, eating is also pleasurable! (Thanks be to God for such a gift!) It is not wrong at all to enjoy the pleasures of eating, it is good! It is natural! However, if we make the pleasure of eating the primary purpose of eating instead of nourishment, we can become gluttons. When we decide we only want to eat cake and cheetos because we like how they taste, and ignore our duty to be good stewards of our body, then we are abusing that pleasure. The pleasure itself is not wrong, it is the abuse of it that is wrong. Another example would be someone who purges themselves...they want to have the pleasure of eating, without accepting the consequences - the calories, the nourishment, etc. When we try to separate eating from its primary function, and elevate the by-product (pleasure) as the primary goal, then we have distorted the natural function of eating. So it is with intercourse.

Now I have a question regarding this catholic doctrine.....when a woman reaches the age of menopause, must she and her husband discontinue having sexual relations with one another???

Absolutely not. Again, the point is not "You must have babies with every sexual encounter, and you can't enjoy it." The point is, "You must use the gift that God gave you naturally without perverting it." When infertile couples (young or old) participate in the marital embrace, it is natural and good.

Here's a catholic source "free from doctrinal error" (see notation at the bottom of the pamphlet Nihil obstat and Imprimatur) that regarding foreplay (including oral sex) "The spouse is not the focus of the sexual foreplay; rather, sexual stimulation is the focus. It could almost be said that one spouse is having sex with sex rather than with the other spouse. This focus on sex rather than on the spouse is a poison to love and marriage."

In other words, the above "infalliable" opinion seems to imply that pleasure can not go hand in hand with "love and marriage." In fact, it is a "poison."

FIRST, a Nihil Obstat does not mean something is infallible. Here's an explanation of that:

Imprimaturs (and nihil obstats) are not infallible; it is possible for an imprimatur to be granted in error. There are cases where a book has been granted an imprimatur, only to have the imprimatur be revoked later when doctrinal problems in the book have come to light.

Also, an imprimatur doesn't meet that what the book says is correct; it only means that believing what it says does not conflict with the faith. Thus, a book that supports evolution could have an imprimatur, because this belief does not conflict with the faith. But a book supporting creationism could also have an imprimatur, because this alternative belief also does not conflict with the faith.

In short, an imprimatur means that you are allowed to believe what a book says, not that you are required to believe what it says.

SECOND, there is debate about this among Catholic theologians. The specifics have not been infallibly declared anywhere (and aren't likely to be considering the nature of the topic)...but we have some good guidelines.

The most famous writings on this subject are JPII's "Theology of the Body," and there is a book written to explain the TOTB in easier to understand ways called "The Good News About Sex and Marriage," by Christopher West. I know for a fact in this book, oral sex as foreplay is seen as perfectly fine, as long as the act is completed in the...proper place, if you know what I mean, so that it is not distorted. So again, there is debate among Catholic theologians about this...nothing is yet set in stone. The link you provided with the Nihil Obstat says only that it is not CONTRARY to the faith to believe oral sex is a distortion of the marital act. It doesn't say this is positively Church teaching. In other words, there are other places that also have the Nihil Obstat that say it is ok to use oral sex during foreplay, as long as there is proper completion. When there is not yet official teaching on something, Catholics are free to decide for themselves...a Catholic can believe either side and not contradict his faith, that is what the Nihil Obstat tells us in this case, not that this is infallible Church teaching.

THIRD, your statement, "...pleasure can not go hand in hand with 'love and marriage.' In fact, it is a 'poison,'" is not true. Even IF it were infallible teaching that oral sex, even in foreplay, is wrong (and it's not), this does not mean that pleasure itself is poison, as you said. It said, to focus on the pleasure alone to the detriment of the spouse is poison! You are confusing the idea of making pleasure the primary and sole purpose of sex, with the idea that pleasure accompanies sex. The pleasure itself is not bad and not something to be ashamed of. It is when pleasure becomes the sole purpose for sex that there is a problem. Do you see the difference?

I could go on and on. A simple google search finds many catholic resources that declare that physical pleasure within a marriage is sinful according to them.

Again, putting self-pleasure above the needs of one's spouse, making self-gratification top priority rather than wanting to give pleasure to one's spouse, only looking to receive instead of to give is the problem, not the pleasure itself. There's a big difference there!

On the other hand, the bible states that we are to pleasure our spouse so that they/we are not tempted to find it elsewhere.

And if you read the Theology of the Body, you would see just how firmly we Catholics hold to this belief as well.
So, as we can see, Catholics do NOT believe it is wrong to enjoy the pleasure that comes from the marital embrace, God created this and it is good. The Church simply teaches it is wrong to separate sex from its purpose, to elevate pleasure as the end goal, and to abuse sex as simply a means to achieve that goal.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Singing the Mass

There's an interesting blog post and discussion going on over at Amy Welborn's blog concerning liturgical music. Lol, I had to laugh at this part, as it brought to mind my own recent experience (which I blogged about here.)
People feel so strongly about liturgical music, and most of the people who seem to be reading and posting on Catholic blogs feel strongly negative about most of the music they hear in Catholic Masses.

(And I am careful not to generalize to the broader Catholic population here. There are plenty of folks out there who love the music that many of the commentors and bloggers despise. I am always reminded of this when I'm unfortunate enough to be present when Let There Be Peace on Earth is used - usually as a final hymn, correct? And the congregation usually blasts it - unlike any other piece in the repertoire. That part that makes me want to pour lye in my ears ...to taaaaake each moment and liiiiiiive each moment in peeeeeace eternaleeeee-eeeeee! ...usually raises the roof. So go figure, and don't generalize, is the lesson of the day.)

But the real point of the post is not to pit one form of music against another or argue about which is better or prettier or more reverent...it calls into question the very purpose of music in mass. And I think Fr. Vidrine summed up the idea nicely with a comment he made on the post, "Simply stated, the Church calls us to SING THE HOLY MASS, not sing AT Mass." This is a pretty new idea to me, and one I'd like to read more about. As much as I love the old traditional hymns, perhaps even those are not technically the best way to make the mass into a "seamless whole."

On a related note (bad pun alert), one point that was made in the comments that I very much agreed with was that, the way hymns and praise 'n worship type songs are used in many modern masses (say that five times fast!), it often ends up seeming more Protestant than Catholic, more of a collection of disjointed songs and spoken prayers than a unified whole, and that's really quite unfortunate. I'm certainly not even close to being an expert on this issue, but it would be something if our liturgical leaders could help us find the intended use of sacred music in the liturgy so that we could all experience the mass at its best, and perhaps that means learning to sing the mass instead of just singing at mass.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How'd He Get Into My Head?

The feeling I get when reading stories of other CoC converts to Catholicism never ceases to amaze me - it's as if someone stole the very words out of my own head. The description of the progression of thoughts and feelings is just so strikingly similar to my own! Here's an example from one Joe Stauffer, who describes his reaction after reading in an Encyclopedia as a young teen that the CoC was a product of the restoration movement:
I was very young and very naïve. I was crushed. First of all, this was not the story I was fed from Day One. I had grown up believing that the COC had been around since the Apostles. The famous Pauline greeting, "The Churches of Christ salute you!" was proof positive that my church, the COC, was not only the true church (after all, where in the Bible do you find reference to the Methodists, Lutherans, or Catholics?) but had been around since New Testament times. I recall how utterly fortunate - and amazed - I felt to have been born into a family that belonged to the one true faith. That feeling of good fortune was amplified when I reflected on how precious few of us there seemed to be in the world. Now common, ordinary library references were telling me that a denomination calling itself the COC did not even exist until this century. I felt so stupid for thinking that "Church of Christ" was some sort of registered trademark, an appellation that could only be, and was, used exclusively by one particular denomination.

I could have written this, word for word! Simply amazing!

Fr. Corapi's Faith Quiz

Take it here. Don't worry, it's not that hard =)

You scored 100 ! Knowing your faith is important, but this is not enough. Use your God given strength and knowledge to help others learn. If you haven't already, consider starting a prayer/study group, teach others about the Catechism of the Catholic Church, etc...

Hmm...or perhaps start a Catholic blog?