Thursday, April 28, 2005

Aunt Hallie's obituary

My great-aunt Hallie Julian died in November of last year. She was close in age to her niece, my mom Nickey Moss D'Orazio. She was also a close friend to my mom. When Mom died three years ago, I spoke to Aunt Hallie once, and my sister Marie spoke to her three or four times. Neither of us kept in touch. Our mom's cousin Betty Hopkins was probably the only one who did keep in touch. I learned about Aunt Hallie's death from my cousin Anita Moss. I wrote to all my Texas cousins at Christmastime, realizing that it was my mom's and their dad's generation who kept in touch, and that if none of us took it up we'd lose the family ties altogether.

We felt guilty that Aunt Hallie died alone. I was surfing the web just now and came across her obituary. Here it is.

Obit of Julian, Hallie C. - Comanche County, Oklahoma

Submitted by: Gene Phillips 3 Dec 2004
Return to Comanche County Archives:
Copyright. All rights reserved.
:Highland Cemetery--Lawton OK

Becker Funeral Home, Inc. - Lawton OK

Hallie C. Julian

Age 91, Lawton, Funeral services will be at 1:30 pm Wednesday in the
Becker Funeral Home memorial Chapel, with Dr. William F. Watkins,
Associate Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Lawton, officiating.

Mrs. Julian died Saturday at her residence in Lawton.

Burial will be in Highland cemetery under the direction of Becker Funeral

She was born May 14, 1913 in Lawton to Hiram and Georgia (Shafer) Crain.
She grew up and attended schools in Lawton, and graduated from Cameron
College. She married LeRoy “Hoss” Julian on November 24, 1931 in Lawton.
He died March 8, 1973. Her husband was the Lawton Fire Chief for 8 years
from 1945 until 1953. She was a member of the First Baptist Church for
over 50 years, a charter member of Friends of the Holy City, and was a
member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Survivors Include: 2 Nephews: Robert Ward of Fort Worth, TX and Basil Moss
of Lubbock, TX. Niece: Betty L. Hopkins of Hastings, MI and Many Grand
Nieces and Nephews.

She was preceded in death by: Parents and 5 Sisters.

Last modified: June 11, 2004

My life as a vegetable: part 1

I am working with Kim Hassinger on a project to tell her story of ongoing rehabilitation from a persistent vegetative state. Kim stepped forward at the eleventh hour to try to save Terri Schiavo's life by speaking about her experience.

"Give her a chance." Kim told CN8 anchor Arthur Fennell in the short bursts that are her sentences post-PVS. "I came back."

The project is tentatively titled "MY LIFE AS A VEGETABLE". Kim laughed and laughed when I delicately suggested that as a title. She likes it.

Doing some research, I came across a great site about brain injuries called While You Are Waiting. On the survivor's page, Stephanie writes about her experience of coma:

As I am sleeping...

As I am sleeping...

I heard someone say that I am in a coma.

It doesn't feel real.

The noise here is unlike anything I have ever known.

There seems to be activity all around me,

but I cannot move, cannot open my eyes.

There are bits and pieces of memory. Fragments.

Fragments of thoughts, and sound, and sensation.

I just woke up again, but still can't move,

or let anyone know that I can hear.

My body won't move and my eyes still won't open.

For some reason I cannot stay awake.... if this is awake.

I am drifting as though on an ocean.

I drift within sight of shore but can't reach the shore,

or make myself heard. No one sees that I am here.

The tides carry me away again

and blackness envelopes me, and I feel nothing.

When you come to see me please talk to me.

Please tell me something familiar.

I need something familiar to hold on to.

I need your touch and contact with you,

even if I can't respond.

I need a connection with sounds, talk,

and voices that are familiar to me.


copyright © 1997


Original page.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Parish web sites, internet success, & S-E-X

Steve Kellmeyer has an article on why he no longer writes for a leading Catholic internet site. It's quite the cautionary tale.

Not all the points are salutary, in particular there's a reference to C. S. Lewis that I find unnecessarily provocative, but Steve's point is a good one. We Catholics have to become less puritanical about talking about S-E-X.

Read it here.

Alberione Tuesday

Barbara Nicolosi
occasionally has her Emily Mondays, where she blogs poems by Emily Dickinson. I'm going to have Alberione days, where I blog thoughts of Fr. Giacomo Alberione, founder of the Pauline Family, beatified two years ago by Pope John Paul II.

On Prayer
Prayer is like blood coursing from the heart to every point in the body, nourishing and bringing life to the entire organism... We must pray, pray, pray... Whoever prays every day gains the grace to pray better. Whoever prays shows that he recognizes his need for God and trusts that he will be heard... Before rising from our prayer, we will have already obtained divine blessing. In other words, just as we constantly take food and constantly breathe, all of us, every day of our lives, must really pray.

Monday, April 25, 2005

baby Rowan: intended to be aborted, born alive, desperate mom tries to get help, abortion clinic refuses

Karen Hall provides this story of yet another "botched abortion", ie. a baby born alive. This one is noteworthy for the first-person narrative by the mother, who had chosen what she intended to be the most humane method of killing her child possible. When her son was born alive, she named him Rowan and called for the abortion clinic staff to call 911. Instead of calling an ambulance, they called the police.

Read this horrific story here.

I want to move to Austin, Texas

I flew to Austin, Texas with my sister Marguerite on Thursday and we spent the weekend with our other sister Marie. What a nostalgic homecoming to a place I had never been. Our mom, who flew target planes during WWII for the WASPs, was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas. She got her pilot's training in Sweetwater. She came up North when she married Nick D'Orazio, our dad, and never returned to the South although to the end of her days she missed it.

"Ya'll Yankees don't know how to live," my mom would say. Irritating me, of course, because ... duh, whose fault was it I was raised a Yankee?

But everytime I go down South I fall in love with it all over again. Austin, which bills itself the Live Music Capital of the World, is a funky, hip city that is Texan to the bone. The New South at its best. I absolutely loved it.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"B16 on a stroll"

This from Sally Wilkins:

"Gotta say, I love this guy already.

(Below is copied from Catholic World News site, which if you don't subscribe
to it you should think about it.


Surprise! New Pope takes a walk through Rome Rome, Apr. 20 ( -
Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance on the streets of Rome on Wednesday afternoon, April 20, as he visited his old apartment near Vatican City to transfer some belongings to his new home in the apostolic palace. The newly elected Pope, clothed completely in the distinctive white vestments of the papacy, caught onlookers by surprise when he chose to travel on foot, walking the few hundred yards to the apartment in the Citta Leonina where he had lived for years. When the news spread that the Pontiff was walking through the city, hundreds of people quickly gathered, and he spent some time in front of the apartment building, greeting the people and blessing young children. Italian police and Vatican security officials did their best to control the crowd, preserving some breathing room for the Pontiff. After a short stay in his old apartment, the Pontiff reappeared, entering a black car that was waiting for him at the entrance of the building. He paused again to wave to the crowd, turning slowly from one direction to another so that he could greet as many as possible. The crowd burst into cheers of "Long live the Pope!" and the chant that has already become familiar: "Benedetto!" Pope Benedict later commented that he was "very moved" as he resumed direct contact with the faithful.

dress up your blog with new togs!

To give back in gratitude during the small window of time I might be getting a flurry of hits on my blog, let me take a quick opportunity to shill for Flirt in a Skirt. She's the one who made my blog's nifty little title page. She can do the same for you, if you donate a modest sum to one of her favorite charities. She is great to work with, creative and flexible. Oh, and fast. Take a look at the other blogs she's togged. You won't be sorry.

Let Flirt or Anna dress up your blog with togs!

St. Blog's parish makes the headlines of the News Journal - spread the word throughout the pews, guys!

Read about it here.

Faithful gather at St. Blog's parish

PS. It wasn't a St. Blog's parish member who called Benedict a vampire -- I hung out on for awhile where the sniping was vicious. At least "vampire" was printable as some other remarks there were not... the irony being, of course, that the forum has a wider potential circulation than the News Journal.

Talking to myself, talking out loud... what is truth?

Okay, so I am going to try to figure out this "truth" thing. I said in my last entry that I wish I could talk about truth like Kate or Chesterton.

Rae1: So then, Rae, why can't you talk about truth?

Rae2: Because I'm too self-conscious. If I try to express how I understand the claim that the Catholic Church has the "fullness of truth", I hear all those scolding voices yelling at me.

R1: Well it's no wonder, Rae. I mean come on now, the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth? Megalomania, much?

R2: See, that's what I mean! You're scolding me already. I'm just stating the claim. If I didn't think it was true, I wouldn't be Catholic.

R1: Well, you do sound delusional. I mean... how can anyone claim to possess the fullness of truth? As Pontius Pilate said to Jesus Christ when they were chatting at his trial, What is truth?

R2: But you notice Christ didn't answer his question. Pilate's question was rhetorical. He was basically giving the party line of the pragmatic at that point -- stop talking about this truth stuff, kid, don't you know you're just minutes away from a sentence of death? Talk about delusional... wake up, Mr. Christ, get with the program and say something that makes sense, because all your talk is about to land you in deep, deep doo-doo.

R1: So what is truth?

R2: Ah, here's where I need Kate or Chesterton. I can't talk about truth in the abstract, I can only think about it in connection with Christ. He didn't answer Pilate, but earlier on he had answered one of his disciples who queried him similarly.

R1: So what'd he say?

R2: "I am the Truth," he said. "I am the way, the truth and the life."

R1: How can a person be these philosophical abstractions?

R2: That's the conundrum of Christ. But my head is starting to hurt. See, I can't think about truth too long. Especially when the world I live in is convinced that the claim of truth can only and inevitably lead to wars & inquisitions & terrorism & forced conversions and the like. Pope John Paul II recognized that a primary obstacle to us 20th & 21st century folks understanding the jewel that is the Catholic Church with its teachings, sacraments & continued guidance of the Holy Spirit and presence of Christ is the blind and violent alleyways taken in the past. That's why he offered all those apologies, and sought forgiveness on behalf of the Church. He knew that the dark side is always most tempting to those in whom the Force is strong. And the Force is strong in the Catholic Church.

R1: So Yoda is a hero too?

R2: No, Yoda is just Frank Oz, whom I like more as Grover anyway. Grover is so cute and furry. When I start talking in Lucasisms, it's probably time to go back to bed.

R1: Well, keep thinking about this truth stuff. I'll be here.

R2: You always have been, Rae. Catch ya later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

ah, to be in love in springtime!

Just added Fructus Ventris to my blog list, after having my heart tugged at by a post (see the link a little further on) from someone who says she is "treading the Tiber." It took me back in time some eight or ten years ago, when Andrew & Cathi Riddle, along with Tom Stapleford, came into the Church. The RCIA was splendiferous that year -- and Andrew, Cathi and Tom, knowing so much more about Catholic thought than most of the RCIA team, kept Fr. Wiggins and Pamela et al on their toes. Now Andrew and Cathi are teaching natural family planning for the Couple to Couple League, and Tom is at Notre Dame being brilliant. They were enthusiastic evangelical Christians - now they are ecstatic Catholics. Which by the way, someone commented on once upon a time. When Protestants become Catholic, they retain fond ties and affections with the churches they left behind. When Catholics become Protestant, they are usually angry at the Catholic Church and often become virulantly anti-Catholic.

Thinking of the enthusiasm of converts and "reverts" reminds me of my first visit to Franciscan University of Steubenville with Bill, where we saw hundreds of twenty-somethings singing and clapping with such wild enthusiasm at Mass under the big tent during the Defending the Faith summer conference. It was my first experience of intellectual charismatic Catholics. That night I went to the San Damiano grotto and church on the university grounds, and saw college-age students in prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. It made me cry to see such faith in kids so young, thinking back to my college days when I was definitely not spending my Friday night that way.

I love to see that infectious joy. It contrasts so starkly with the hesitancy of people who want the Church to take its cue from the times. They are so busy trying to cut, reshape, and alter the wedding dress that they never get the thrill of letting the Bride do what brides do best - glow with love.

Read it here. Happy people saying come on in, the water's fine, let the feasting begin.

Truth. I wish I could learn to talk about truth the way Kate does, and Chesterton. It's not that the Church thinks it has the monopoly on truth, that's a misperception both its critics and some of its fans seem to make. As Vatican II and the Catechism makes clear, the Holy Spirit is present wherever truth is found, and truth is found everywhere. But the fullness of truth -- that's something different than a monopoly on truth. Christ himself did not have a monopoly on truth when he hung out with the disciples and fed the crowds and taught up a storm. The Torah and the prophets oozed truth. But Christ did have the fullness of truth, because of his particular mission. Like the Blues Brothers, Jesus was on a mission from God. Or is it the other way around? And because God willed it to be so, Christ was able to pass that fullness of truth on in the living community of faith, one generation building on the previous generation, saints and prophets and mystics and ordinary folk moving from grace to grace, blessing to blessing, because the house on which they stood was built of rock, not sand.

"You are Peter," Jesus said to one of the weakest and most impulsive of his apostles. "Yes, you are no longer Simon, from now on you are Peter [petra... a pun on petros, rock], "And upon this rock I will build my church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. "

The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Take that, Lucifer. Go bear your dark light in other realms than these.

Time for bed. G'night, all.


Babelfish makes the occasional poignant (instead of funny) translation. This is from Benedict's homily, addressed to the world's youth:

With you, young beloveds, future and hope of the Church and the humanity, I will continue to converse, listening to your waits in the attempt to help you more and more to meet in depth the living Christ, the eternally young one.

Benedict XVI's 1st message translated from Latin by babelfish

I love the Internet. Here's how altavista's babelfish program translated Benedict's first homily as pope from Latin to English. It starts out like this:
Venera You Siblings Cardinals,
most expensive Siblings and Sisters in Christ,
you all, men and women of good will!

1. Grace and peace in abundance to all you (cfr 1 Pt 1,2)! In my mind two contrasting feelings cohabit in these hours. From a part, a sense of inadequacy and human turbamento for the responsibility that yesterday me has been entrusted, which Successor of the apostle Peter in this Center of Rome, in the comparisons of the universal Church. From the other part, I feel lives in me a deep gratefulness to God, than - as it makes us to sing the liturgy - he does not abandon its flock, but he leads it through the times, under the guide of those who It same has elect vicari of its Son and has constituted shepherds (cfr Prefazio of Apostles I).

Read the rest here.

Thanks to John DiMarco for the link!

C.S. Wayne - this one's for you

Looking around for fun images for a picture of me for a fun piece on Cathlic blogging, I ran across this pamphlet my buddy Curt Wayne and I did as a guide for non-Catholics when we got the ACIT Sweaty Nerds to come to Mass once years ago.

Remember this, Buddy?

Nerds Guide to Mass

I'm mad as hell & I'm not going to take it anymore....

I have had it with the use of the words "liberal", "conservative", and "progressive" to describe Catholics. The words are badly enough applied in the world of pure politics, but even worse when applied to members of a 2000-year old FAMILY/INSTITUTION which is the epitome of the BOTH/AND approach to reality rather than the EITHER/OR approach. In the adopted words of the little Jeff Lebowski, aka the Dude, the Dudemeister, or His Dudeness if you're not into the whole brevity thing, this terminology will not stand!

I excise these terms from my vocabulary. In our antagonistic society, they seem only to serve as sticks & stones to break the bones of one's enemies.

And the Christ I follow says love your enemies, don't try to break their bones.

So I am making a vow of vocabulary abstinence... :-)

I hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the butt. Last Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving), three young ladies from Delaware were arrested for going to our local shopping mall and publicizing "Buy Nothing Day".

You can read about them here.

I was so annoyed that I publicly declared, in a letter to the News Journal, that I would never patronize the Christiana Mall again. Abstaining from shopping at a mall is not exactly a hardship for me, but I had a hard time finding a Trappist fruitcake for my husband this Christmas, since I couldn't go to the mall where I usually find it.

I'm not a liberal. I'm not a conservative. I'm not a progressive. I'm not a reactionary. And now, neither is anyone else.

Here I stand. :-)

(... and no, this is not just to promote my "homestyle Catholicism" meme although truthfully, I think the HOMESTYLE/CAFETERIA dichotomy is the most accurate distinction there is, and I intend to promulgate its use. Then the SSPX folks would rightfully become the cafeteria Catholics that they so despise. Because they pick and choose as well.)

The Anchoress on Benedict XVI

Thanks to the Cranky Professor, here are some words of wisdom from The Anchoress:

I have one thing to say to all of this - to all of the breathless ranting from the left and the grim, woe-is-us prognostications of SOME members of the press. It is this:

Fer cryin’ out loud, CHILL OUT.


Take a pill, take a breather, take a belt of tequila and consider that maybe, just maybe, the same people who thought they knew everything about John XXIII and were wrong, will think they know everything about Benedict XVI, and they will be wrong, again.

. . .

And maybe consider giving Benedict XVI at LEAST the same benefit of a doubt you would want for yourself, were you put into a job for which others thought you unsuited.

. . .

Jesus did say the path was a narrow one, but we’ll put that aside for now.

. . .

I don’t know what they actually expected. It has always seemed very odd to me that people would think the Catholic church will suddenly put a finger to the chin and say, “you know, we’ve been all wrong about this stuff, all this time! Abortion is okay! Jesus didn’t really mean it about divorce! That whole thing about marriage being between a man and a woman, why that was just written in by some homophobe or other!”
. . .

I must say, they really, really HATE him, and they’re not even trying to hide it. No honeymoon for Benedict XVI. I just heard someone on CNN call him a “Catholic NEOCON.”

You KNOW how much they hate neocons! Basically the press seems to be saying, “Oh, no! They elected a CATHOLIC! Liberals are doomed! DOOMED!”

The Anchoress has more to say, including a bunch of good links from bloggers all around. It's definitely time I added her to my blogroll.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

whew... an exciting day

I wound up at Holy Family Outreach tonight for what I thought would be my first solo gig -- my pal Karen Kral is leaving the Tuesday evening spot to become treasurer of Friends of the Newark Library. Karen and I had a wee drop at Bit o' Ireland, then she dropped me off at Outreach by myself. Nothing was going on so I cranked up the old computer with the old modem to do some Pope-surfing. Lo and behold in walked Margaret McCalpin and we spent the next two hours talking it up about Benedict XVI. Margaret was surprised that I was initially disappointed, and I was surprised that Margaret thought Ratzinger would do a decent job. She said if it had been ten years ago she would have been so angry she wouldn't've been able to talk to the kids at school so calmly, giving them an assignment to research the new pope's bio.

The hardest thing for me, I think, will be to stop calling him "Ratzinger" and start calling him ... what? "Benedict XVI" is a mouthful. Eric Ewanco or Richard Chonak, I forget who, asked is it too early to start calling him B16?

I am pleased with the choice. I find it hard to believe I was disappointed at first. I guess I was just thinking of my dear Andrew Greeley and the others who might have an apoplexy. But not only did Greeley give his good analysis of the strengths of a Ratzinger papacy, but Richard O'Brien himself reminded the world that Benedict XVI was a moderate at Vatican II.

Let us not forget that the last transitional pope confounded the world when he convened the Second Vatican Council... But I don't expect Benedict to do anything like that. He'll be working hard to continue the implementation of Vatican II. Can't have a new council when the old one is just starting to be truly understood and worked at.

I am heartened by reports that Benedict's reputation as a cold hard-ass is not really earned. One commentator who lives in Rome and served on a committee with B16 said that he was a very kind man, very approachable by anyone who worked with him, a gentle man with a good sense of humor, far different than his "papal Rottweiler" reputation suggested. Hey -- if your job is to be vice-principal, then you let the principal play good cop while you play bad cop. Now we'll have another guy in charge of the Office of the Doctrine of the Faith, and the former Ratzinger will get to play good cop.

A long, exciting day. G'night all. For the last time I'll say it. Habemus papam!

Oh -- and did anyone notice how when Benedict gave his first Orbi et Urbi to the folks in St. Peter's Square, he did it in Italian and the translators gave it to us on tv in English? But when he gave his first papal blessing a few minutes later, he gave it in Latin and nobody translated it on tv. Do you suppose the networks have nobody that can translate Latin on the run? That would be my guess. They should have called on Fr. Reginald and his Latinites in the labyrinths of the basilica. He requires his staff to speak in Latin in the office.

EWTN has its Pope Benedict XVI web page up!

See it here.

An even better refutation of the smear on Benedict XVI's "Nazi past"

This one's got quotes from Cardinal Ratzinger-that-was, Pope Benedict XVI-that-is himself, specifically addressing his past in WWII Germany.
Read it here.

our new Pope's past

If someone wants to tell you that the new pope was a Hitler Youth and a Nazi collaborator, here's the story and context:

"The son of a rural Bavarian police officer, Ratzinger was six when Hitler came to power in 1933. His father, also called Joseph, was an anti-Nazi whose attempts to rein in Hitler’s Brown Shirts forced the family to move home several times.

In 1937 Ratzinger’s father retired and the family moved to Traunstein, a staunchly Catholic town in Bavaria close to the F├╝hrer’s mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden. He joined the Hitler Youth aged 14, shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941.

He quickly won a dispensation on account of his training at a seminary. “Ratzinger was only briefly a member of the Hitler Youth and not an enthusiastic one,” concluded John Allen, his biographer.

Two years later Ratzinger was enrolled in an anti-aircraft unit that protected a BMW factory making aircraft engines. The workforce included slaves from Dachau concentration camp.

Ratzinger has insisted he never took part in combat or fired a shot — adding that his gun was not even loaded — because of a badly infected finger. He was sent to Hungary, where he set up tank traps and saw Jews being herded to death camps. He deserted in April 1944 and spent a few weeks in a prisoner of war camp.

He has since said that although he was opposed to the Nazi regime, any open resistance would have been futile — comments echoed this weekend by his elder brother Georg, a retired priest ordained along with the cardinal in 1951.

“Resistance was truly impossible,” Georg Ratzinger said. “Before we were conscripted, one of our teachers said we should fight and become heroic Nazis and another told us not to worry as only one soldier in a thousand was killed. But neither of us ever used a rifle against the enemy.” "

Read the story here.

" Cardinal Ratzinger was a moderating influence on Pope John Paul II"

Fr. Daniel Doyle, Professor of Theology at Villanova, said our new Holy Father was a moderating influence on JPII of blessed memory. He said Benedict XVI reined in what might have been even more hard-line stands from Pope John Paul II, citing women's ordination as an example. JPII, according to Fr. Doyle, wanted explicitly to apply or invoke papal infallibility when he said women could not be ordained. Cardinal Ratzinger urged him not to proclaim this "ex cathedra".

Fr. Doyle also said that Benedict XVI is a very prayerful man.

Habemus papam!

Benedict XVI that is, Joseph Ratzinger that was!

I hope Andrew Greeley does not have a stroke. He's getting up there, you know.

I love Andrew Greeley, he helped bring me back to the Church. But he's gone off the rails a little in his later years.

Let the punditry begin.

Among other places, read it here.

Monday, April 18, 2005

homestyle Catholicism in the press...

They done right by me in the News Journal. Thank you, Gary Soulsman. All the quotes were accurate, including the one where I gave either three or four negatives in one sentence. My husband, from the grammar police, honed in on that one of course.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

who would I be if I lived in 1400?

I took a test to see who I would be if I lived in 1400. Monk just slightly beat out Lady. Not sure what to think of that. You can take the test after you read about me. It's all about me, me, me :-)

The Monk
You scored 26% Cardinal, 53% Monk, 50% Lady, and 45% Knight!

You live a peaceful, quiet life. Very little danger comes you way and
you live a long time. You are wise and modest, but also stagnant. You
have little comfort, little food and have taken a vow of silence. But
who needs chatter when just sitting in the cloister of your abbey with
The Good Book makes you perfectly content.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 33% on Cardinal
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 83% on Monk
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 83% on Lady
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 50% on Knight
Link: The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave on Ok Cupid

Quote of the day, from Karen Hall

"In fact, I discovered that if you have dinner with Fr. Fessio, there are only seven Jesuits on the planet who will speak to you after that."

Read the full story here.

Which reminds me, where is my Jesuit friend Fr. Joe Sands? I haven't heard from him in awhile. Are you out there, Fr. Joe?

Homestyle Catholicism

I talked last night to Gary Soulsman, who is religion editor for the News Journal and a cool guy when it comes to covering Catholicism or any religion. He's got no axes to grind. We talked a bit about "cafeteria Catholicism", and he suggested I was a traditionalist Catholic because I adhere to all the teachings officially promulgated by the Church. I thought, Nah. I don't yearn for a return to the Tridentine Mass, and I positively love the teachings of Vatican II. Not a traditionalist.

So am I orthodox? Yes, and I used to call myself an "orthodox Catholic", but that sounds too... well, eastern. Faithful? Loyal? Obedient? Yes, but those sounds like the characteristics of a good family dog.

Suddenly it hit me.

Homestyle Catholics! That's what folks like me are. Homestyle.
We're not cafeteria, we don't go by with trays and pick and choose what we
want. We are home-style Catholics. We trust that the folks in charge of the kitchen have prepared nothing but good, nourishing food for us. We sit down to the table, we pass around the serving plates and we take liberally from everything they've put on the table, family-style. Because we are a family. Not a family where the father is always bellowing, the mother screaming or nagging, and the siblings always yammering at you and throwing the food around. But a loving, lively, connected family with plenty of spunk and independence, all eating the same healthy food from the same well-laid table.

I'm a homestyle Catholic.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

University faculty slug it out (philosophically): Does God Exist?

Rae D. Stabosz
Telephone: (302) 831-6551 (day)
(302) 731-8184 (night)
Fax: (302) 831-6459

Does God Exist?

NEWARK, DE – April 13, 2005 – The most important question in the world is:
Does God Exist?

Richard Hanley (Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language) and Kate Rogers (Philosophy of Religion, Medieval Philosophy) both of the UD Philosophy Department will argue the question on May 4, 2005 from 7-9pm in 101 Brown Lab. This will not be a mild-mannered “exchange of opinions” or a “discussion” but rather a philosophical debate, with Hanley arguing that the evidence is against the existence of God, and Rogers arguing that the evidence favors the existence of God. After the debaters state their positions and respond to one another, the floor will be thrown open to questions and comments from the audience, followed by refreshments. Come prepared for an always friendly, intellectually high-powered fight over the most important issue there is.

Sponsored by Catholic Scholars at the University of Delaware, the UD Department of Philosophy, the Secular Students Alliance, Students Advocating Values and Equality (SAVE), and the Student Pro-life Vanguard.

See our cool ad here

# # #

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Why was Mae's granddaughter & hospice accused of starving and dehydrating her?

I am trying to clarify the situation with Mae Magouirk, the woman whose heart problem resulted in her being put in hospice care by her granddaughter rather than being treated aggressively. She is now out of hospice and under aggressive medical care. I am happy for that. But I am not happy about the murky understanding of what are legitimate decisions that patients and caregivers can make when an elderly person has had a catastrophic medical event.

Here is what I wrote on

What I want to know, and will keep insisting upon knowing in each of these cases until I get a straight, consistent answer from you BlogsForTerri folks WHO I HAVE SUPPORTED CONSTANTLY FOR THE PAST TWO MONTHS, is "Why is food and liquids by mouth not an appropriate treatment at the end of life?"

I realize that part of the decision hangs on whether a person is at the "end of life" or not. We do not have information on Mae's own wishes. We do know that her living will asked that she be given food and hydration unless she were in a vegetative or comatose state.

But I repeat, in different words: How was the hospice ignoring her living will if it was providing food and water by mouth? How can anyone say she was being dehydrated and starved if she was offered food and hydration by mouth?

This is a very important question to me, because it touches on decisions my family made when our mother said she did not want a feeding tube or any more hospitalizations, after fighting to recover from a stroke for about seven months. At that time, she decided she did not want to fight any longer. As I understand my own Catholic faith, her decision was not immoral. Our decision to respect her and not have her hospitalized and not have a feeding tube inserted was not immoral. We continued to provide her with maximum nutrition and hydration delivered by mouth.

The thought in this discussion seems to be that if one is not on a feeding tube, one is being starved and dehydrated. This is, to me, contrary to my understanding of food and water as normal care, that may be given by mouth if the patient is able to receive. If this is what was happening to Mae Magouirk, how can we say she was being starved and dehydrated?


Thursday, April 07, 2005

"Grandmama is old and I think it is time she went home to Jesus"

Here we go again. An 81-year old woman, not comatose or PVS, lucid when she entered a hospital for treatment for a heart problem two weeks ago, has been transferred to a hospice where her niece has ordered no nutrition, no hydration.

This dehydration is being carried out against the explicit directions of this woman's living will.

Read it here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

winding down for a bit

The past month I have written so much and worked so hard outside of my UD job that I am going to take a breather. Only from writing, not from prayer. The world needs all of the latter that it can get.

Monday is Sister Kathryn James' talk on discernment at UD. I just finished sending out the last of the press releases, got it into my parish's Sunday bulletin, sent emails to every I know, etc.

I think I need a vacation. Marguerite and I are going to visit the other D'Orazio sister, Sue Marie who is in Austin, in three weeks. That will be cool.

Life is tough, and then you get more life and it gets tougher! That's the hidden secret behind accepting the love of God and Christ's own life in the sacraments. But tough is not all that tough with the joy that accompanies it.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

information & a prayer request


1. First, the information:

Sr. Kathryn James & Sr. Madonna Therese of the Daughters of St.
Paul, aka "the media nuns", have spent the last few months preparing the
website which is a summary of Pope John Paul II's
life and legacy and which also explains the process of a papal conclave.

This is an excellent, thorough, and orthodox resource to send anyone
who asks about the Holy Father or the papacy. They meant it particularly to
handle questions from the press that ask, "What next?"

I recommend it if you have questions of your own, or if you need to
explain this moment in Catholicism to curious non-Catholics or to the press.

2. Secondly, the request:

Tomorrow morning I am going on to CN8's Your Morning show, along
with Sister Kathryn James and Sister Madonna Therese, on a two hour segment
devoted completely to the Pope and the Papacy. Your Morning airs at 9-11am
EST on CN8 up and down the mid-Atlantic states. Our segment will likely come
up at 9:30am EST.

Please pray that all three of us are able to use whatever time we
have to speak clearly and attractively of the Church, the Holy Father, and
the papacy itself. The producer told me that in their morning planning
session, their staff came up with all sorts of questions about the "secrecy"
of the Vatican, the nature of the papacy, why Catholics are the only major
religion that has this elected office whose authority extends over churches
and peoples worldwide.

Please pray that the Holy Spirit guide us in a teaching moment about
a misunderstood aspect of the Faith, and that throughout the world during
these next days, He guide Catholics everywhere to give true and attractive
witness to Christ and His Church. So that those who have ears to hear, may
hear, and God be glorified in this wounded world that so much needs to know
how near and how loving He is.

Under the Mercy,


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Il Papa, Giovanni Paolo II

I was attending the annual conference of the Delaware Pro-life Coalition, clapping as the afternoon speaker, a medical doctor, finished up an impromptu presentation that he threw together this morning, abandoning his prepared talk. The talk he gave instead focused on end-of-life issues as they were played out in the media with Terri Schiavo and the Holy Father.

After the talk, one of the conference leaders came to the podium to announce that the Pope had died. Fr. John Grimm gave a prayer, and lead us all in an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the Pope. Fr. John Grasing, this morning at Mass, had lead us in 3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys, and 3 Glory Be's for the same intention. What a privilege on both occasions to be part of the communion of saints, praying our earthly shepherd into his reward.

I wrote this on christifideles just now:
History will remember him as THE towering spiritual and intellectual figure of the 20th century.

"Be not afraid." Over and over again, he repeated the message that God sent through the angels at key moments in salvation history.

When I read his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, for the first time I felt a connection from a living Pope back to St. Peter himself. Not St. Peter before Pentecost, but St. Peter afterwards, who spoke so clearly and powerfully of the Lord Jesus and his intimate, saving love for us. JPII wrote like he too had walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, ran as the soldiers took Him, denied Him, and come again to proclaim his gospel with courage throughout the world.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
And perpetual life shine upon him.
May his soul and the soul of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.