The issue of child sexual molestation is deserving of serious scholarship. Too often, assumptions have been made that this problem is worse in the Catholic clergy than in other sectors of society. This report does not support this conclusion. Indeed, it shows that family members are the most likely to sexually molest a child. It also shows that the incidence of the sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than among the Catholic clergy, and that it is significantly higher among public school teachers than among ministers and priests.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
There have been times, especially during the summer when Sunday morning CCE is out, that I’ve missed a number of Sundays here or there. It’s easy to tell yourself you’re too busy, you deserve an extra hour of sleep, it’s just this once. The longer you’re away, the easier it becomes. Life keeps moving and you might not even miss spending that hour in prayer and communion with Christ. But before you know it, a hollow emptiness grows unaware.
I stumbled on my Lenten journey in that I allowed the business of family, work, and travel to distract me from daily readings, meditation, and prayer. But returning to the Mass filled me up and I left feeling renewed and restored.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Lisa and I both received emails about this really cute First Communion Stories Contest sponsored by Aquinas & More. From now until March 31 (next Wednesday) they’re inviting you to submit a story based on a true and positive memory about you or your child’s First Communion. Come back to the site during the month of April to vote on the stories and winners will be announced on May 3. First prize is a First Communion Dress or a $100 gift certificate.
The offer of a First Communion dress prize made me think about my own dress. When I made my First Communion in 1978, the dresses were shockingly short. Our shoulders were covered, but our bare knees stood out. My veil, a mess of tulle scrunched onto a too-tight, ear-pinching headband with a long piece of my mother’s original veil laid over it, draped far below the hem of my dress.
When I shopped for my older daughter’s dress, we had no trouble finding one of sufficient tea or floor length. However, we had trouble finding one with sleeves that covered her shoulders, so many dresses used spaghetti straps or were sleeveless. I’m sorry that Lisa and I don’t live closer so that we could more easily shop for our daughters’ dresses together.
Do you have a fun or interesting memory about First Communion? Consider sharing your story.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Last year my husband fell in love with West Texas and repeatedly announced we would be moving. This year he resumed this mantra as soon as we hit the Davis Mountains. As he announced his plan to move over and over, I grinned from ear to ear. It's hard to visit the West Texas/Trans-Pecos region and not fall in love with this special place.
Monday, March 22, 2010
When the movie “The Passion of the Christ” first appeared in theaters, I heard repeatedly how watching this movie would change me and my understanding of the Passion & Resurrection. But I challenge that these recorded passages by Bishop Sheen are more moving, more passionate, and more thought-provoking.
Bishop Sheen speaks with passionate authority that is not condescending, but emotionally strong and resonant. I strongly recommend that you listen to these words as you prepare for Holy Week and the Easter Season. Bishop Sheen states that the purpose of God coming to this Earth is to bring us in perfect union with our Father. Take advantage of this CD from The Catholic Company to help you develop that union and meditate on the True Meaning of Easter.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Oh, what a beautiful morning!
Oh, what a beautiful day!
I've got a beautiful feeling
Everything's goin' my way.
- lyrics by Rogers & Hammerstein
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
For my two older children who can read, I have printed and taped prayers on their bathroom mirror for each of them to learn or practice. After watching how much it reminds them to start the day in prayer, I have done the same for myself, only mine are on the wall above my computer.
- CatholicMom.com Lenten Activities for Children
- Catechist's Journey - 40 Ideas for 40 days Calendar
- Lent Begins at Home - Family Prayers and Activities
- Lent is for Children
- Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Bryan told me a story he’d read years and years ago about a worry tree. The main character (a man) would come home from work and hang all of his worries on the tree before entering the house to spend time with his wife and kids. It’s a story I’ve tried to emulate in my own career.
Finding the right balance for myself, my husband, my kids, and my career took a lot of thought and work. So what’s the secret?
Being a type A personality?
Loving what I do?
It’s all about focus. When I’m at work, I mentally shut off the part of my brain that is thinking about meal planning, grocery shopping, softball practice, vacation plans, and library book due dates. When I lock up the office and walk to the car, I switch gears. I mentally shut off the part of my brain that wants to continue thinking about reference questions, document processing, catalog data entry, exhibit outreach, and meetings.
When I’m at work, I’m at work and when I’m at home, I’m at home. And ideally, never the twain shall meet. (Ha!) It’s when the two of me begin to overlap that things get a little crazy and out of balance.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
The basis for his objection was a law recently passed by the Democrat controlled Congress and signed by President Obama called "Pay-Go". This legislation calls on Congress to pay for spending bills without adding to our national debt. This $10 billion extension of unemployment flies in the face of that Pay-Go law.
While watching CNN rip Bunning apart on Tuesday, the question I found they repeated over and over was, "Why now?" The anchor and reporter both alleged that his actions were immediately causing Americans to suffer and simply a partisan ploy by an abrasive old man who is not respected by his party. For some reason it never occurred to the anchor that Bunning might be listening to the majority of the American people who are calling for a reduction in out of control federal spending. Bunning admits he has cast some bad votes in his thousands of votes over the years, but the idea of Congress treating American's tax dollars as an endless slush fund for their personal benefit must end.
In spite of what the media reported, Bunning did not simply object to the passage of the bill, but he also submitted an amendment offering a way to pass the extension of unemployment benefits while paying for it out of the unspent money left over from the Stimulus Bill. The Democrat majority on Tuesday agreed to allow a vote on Bunning's amendment to fund the bill, but in the end used a procedural maneuver to avoid the vote on his offered amendment. The Senate was not permitted to debate or vote on a bill that provided funding for the extension of benefits. Only an up or down vote on passing unfunded benefits that would add $10 billion to the national debt.
In the end, the Democrat controlled Senate, which had passed "Pay-Go" just a few weeks ago, passed the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 without providing a way to pay for the benefits granted in the bill.
What Bunning did, took great political courage. He stood up for the majority of Americans who want runaway federal spending stopped. His actions revealed the hypocrisy of the majority - they claim to utilize fiscal discipline with laws such as "Pay-Go", but actually are only paying lip service to the principles of fiscal responsibility. Senator Bunning's words say it best,
"If the Senate cannot find $10 billion to pay for a measure we all support, we will never pay for anything."
"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."-Thomas Jefferson
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Eighth graders portray Jesus, Mary, Simon, Veronica, the guards and the women, with a narrator introducing each station and reciting a prayer about that station. When Jesus is crucified, a lone guitarist played Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, a beautiful haunting melody. The song played again at the end when they placed the stone in front of the tomb.
The First Station - Jesus is Condemned to Die.
The Second Station - Jesus Carries His Cross.
The Third Station - Jesus Falls the First Time.
The Fourth Station - Jesus Meets His Mother.
The Fifth Station - Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross.
The Sixth Station - Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face.
The Seventh Station - Jesus Falls the Second Time.
The Eighth Station - Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem.
The Ninth Station - Jesus Falls the Third Time.
The Tenth Station - Jesus is Stripped.
The Eleventh Station - Jesus is Nailed to the Cross.
The Twelfth Station - Jesus Dies on the Cross.
The Thirteenth Station - Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross.
The Fourteenth Station - Jesus is Laid in the Tomb.
I’d never really considered the history of how and why this tradition came about in our church, but found a well-written essay on the origins of the Stations of the Cross from Our Sunday Visitor. I encourage you to read it, but a very short summary might be: Medieval travelers making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land would stop and pray at specific locations along a route from Calvary to Pilate’s home in their effort to connect with Christ’s passion, suffering and death. Upon returning home, many pilgrims brought back sacred relics and fostered a desire to recreate this sacred way for those who couldn’t travel and experience it firsthand.
The Franciscans are often credited with the modern development of the Stations of the Cross; Pope Innocent XI granted them the exclusive right to build stations in 1686. Pope Clement XII extended the right to non-Franciscan churches in 1731. Knowing this brief history, I can almost picture it in my minds eye. Travelers coming to connect with Christ, to seek Him in the physical as well as the spiritual; being so moved by the journey that they feel called to bring the experience to others. I hope you have an opportunity to walk and pray the Stations of the Cross during this Lenten season.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Fellow-Citizens of Texas: The enemy are upon us. A strong force surrounds the walls of the Alamo, and threaten that garrison with the sword... Now is the day, and now is the hour, when Texas expects every man to do his duty. Let us show ourselves worthy to be free and we shall be free. -Henry Smith, Washington - March 2, 1836
Though our great state only existed as an independent Republic for nine years, our patriotism and pride in our Texas Founding Fathers and their vision still remains. I invite you to read the comments made by Dr. Steven Hardin on The Myth & Meaning of Texas Independence.
- John Steinbeck
Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession.
Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I was having a conversation with Lisa this week about her new regular column at Catholic Mom. I’m so proud of her in how she’s developing as a writer and I’m impressed with her Little Moments and insights about daily events. She wanted to know when I’d be submitting regular columns to Catholic Mom. She seemed surprised when I told her that I don’t really feel like a “Catholic Mom.”
And I don’t. When someone asks me who I am or what I do, Mom is not the first response that comes to mind. I’m simply “Shelly” and the titles that follow are complex.
After years of developing and evolving my own self-identity as a daughter, sister, college student, graduate student, employee, Archivist, wife, sister-in-law, mother, and Catholic, I never considered myself just one of those things. Because I had a career that I loved first, and did not have the choice of leaving it when I had my first child, I’ve never really thought of myself as “Just a Mom.” I’ve always been a “Working Mom.” I’ve worked hard to find and maintain a sufficient balance in my two lives and do what works for our family.
I still love my career. I’ve been very fortunate to have a supportive employer and access to positive, trustworthy, childcare. My job is five minutes away from the house and elementary school. The school is dominated by some wonderful stay-at-home moms who are as high-powered in their role as “Mom” as I am at my office. Ironically, at a time when many of my friends who left their careers to stay home with infants ten years ago are re-entering the workforce, I find myself wondering what it would be like to stay at home.
When I read posts that are 100% focused on being a Mom, I don’t always connect. I can easily see and understand the working-mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate. I occasionally listen to Lisa vent about having to do this or that and not having any time and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Yeah? Well I have to do the same things and I’m working 40 hours a week around it.”
I’d like to write more for Working Moms out there – our struggle to find that balance. My challenge will be finding the right tone. I don’t want to come across as complaining. I love my job. I love my family. I want to be successful at both, even though I recognize that I won’t be perfect at both.
I want to connect with more women who know what it means to feel conflicted when they can’t take a day off work to go on the school field trip with their kindergartener. Or who have to say to their older child you can’t join the church choir because they practice from 4-5 p.m. and I just can’t get you there. But they also love their career, their job, and know that feeling of satisfaction on the days when it all just clicks into place and you feel like you truly have it all.
So I’m challenging myself to write more, perhaps once a week, for those of you in the same situation. Please let me know you’re out there and what you’d like to hear about. We’re “Catholic Moms” too, even if we don’t feel like it all the time.