Saturday, February 11, 2012

An update, and a challenge

Hello, all!  I know it's been awhile since I've updated, so I have a lot of catching up to do with all of you.  Here goes!

This past week, we were "matched" with an adorable little boy from Hong Kong.  I know that this seems amazingly quick to most of you (and it has been relatively quick-moving, mainly because he is a waiting child, with special needs), but in actuality, it's been a bit of a wait to get us to this point.  We first inquired about adoption and started discerning this calling about two years ago.   Once we said "yes," things have moved very quickly, but it's not as quickly as it must seem to everyone out there!   I've started building an adoption-specific blog, to try and keep things relatively private over here.  I don't want to distract people from learning about our newest little one with all my Catholic musings over here.  ;-)  If you're interested in following that journey, here is the link:

Bringing Peter Home

Life has been increasingly chaotic over the past two weeks, and now that we have a little boy that needs our attention (seriously, I have so much paperwork to focus on, and I can't make a mistake!), I haven't been involved in the Catholic side of things for the past few days.  I wanted to make sure to update all of you on those things, too.

As most of you should know by now, on Jan 20th, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate that required Catholic employers to provide (i.e. pay for) contraceptive coverages and coverage for sterilizations to all of their employees.  This has caused an incredible firestorm amongst the American people (first the Catholics, and then others who recognized the precedent that this mandate could set).   My life has been totally consumed for the past two weeks with explaining over and over again how this is an attack on my religious freedom, as a Catholic, and why we need to stand up for each other - Catholic or not - and protect our religious rights as Americans.

It seemed to be making an impression on the White House, who, this Friday, offered what they called a "compromise."  Honestly, folks, the compromise is much worse than the original deal.  Again, they refused to recognize that religious freedoms do not only extend solely to a brick building, once a week, but instead to our rights to live our faith throughout our daily lives.   President Obama can even been seen trying to limit this freedom in just his word choices:  "freedom of religion" has become "freedom to worship."  This is just the beginning, folks.    This compromise - meant to appease the liberal Catholics - has once again, left employers (like my husband's office) out of the exemption, and even worse, has shifted the financial burden from just the Catholic institutions to anyone who pays into the insurance premium at these institutions.  Instead of lessening the burden on American Catholics, it is effectively causing more American Catholics to participate in a intrinsically evil act. 

For more information about this joke of an accommodation, see these links:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Statement from over 3 dozen religious scholars (Catholic AND non-Catholic)

National Catholic Register (Jimmy Akin)

This is not over, folks.  We cannot accept this "compromise."  Please keep fighting, here.

My last bit of info today really boils down to one frustration that's come up over and over again in the past two weeks with this whole HHS mandate thing.  What is it, you may be asking?  Really, it's a lack of understanding out there in the general public world (including amongst Catholics).  I'm really tired of being characterized as a blind, "sheeple" merely doing what she's told by a group of crazy, power-hungry, old white guys.  Seriously, folks, I do not believe wholeheartedly in the Catholic teaching on contraception because I love being barefoot-and-pregnant and want to single-handedly repopulate the Catholic Army.   I believe in it because there is beauty and Truth in the teaching, and it's a teaching that 100% affirms the dignity and worth in human life, especially in women.  I believe in the teaching because it tells me - and the people who are willing to actually listen to it with open ears - that as a woman, I am important, I am valuable, and I deserve to be respected for who I am as a woman.  I am not at war with my own body's biological design.   If you ask me, suppressing the very thing that makes me a woman seems more oppressive than embracing it, accepting it, and loving it.  Does this mean I think every woman out there should be popping out babies every year?  Not at all.   It means that we need to take the time to learn to respect and love our bodies as they were made.  There is beauty in the female body, and the Catholic Church teaching affirms that beauty.  It upholds the value in every woman, as she was naturally made.    This is Truth, and this is why I love the Church's teaching on contraception.

The women I know who believe in - and faithfully try to live out - this teaching on contraception are well-educated (most have bachelor's degrees, and many have graduate degrees), logical, beautiful women who believe in the feminist ideal that all women deserve to be respected and treated with dignity.   They are not blind women, merely allowing old white guys to "oppress" them.   

I'm getting very tired of trying to explain this to people who only have a very elementary understanding of the Church's actual teaching.  I'm honestly getting tired of being told that I - in not so many words - am insane.

Believe  me, I once was on the other side of the fence.  I took birth control pills.  I thought that I was "empowering" myself as a woman.  I thought the Catholic Church was "behind the times" and holding onto an antiquated teaching.

I was wrong.  Very wrong.

How did I realize that?  By opening up Humanae Vitae and reading it with an open mind.  I followed that up with a little Christopher West, some Blessed John Paul II, and some Janet Smith.  I had frank discussions with friends and loved ones, from both sides of the argument.

My eyes - and my heart - were opened to the beauty and the Truth of the teaching.

I want to take a minute to challenge everyone who reads this to spend the weekend reading those documents from the Church (and from Catholic authours) about the subject of contraception.  Actually take the time to remove yourself from the mainstream media, and sit down with one of these documents.  Try to see it from my point of view.  I've been where you are, I really have.    I know how hard it is to separate what our culture says (loudly, at that) from what the Church has been quietly teaching for the past 2000 years.   The Church is finally standing up and saying, "Listen to me!  Look at me!"   I'm challenging you to do that.  Today.   Open your eyes, and try to understand.  I'm not asking you to agree - I know that takes more than just a weekend - but I'm asking you to try to comprehend the teaching, to try and see it from the Catholic point of view.

Here are some links to get you started:

Humanae Vitae

Theology of the Body

Christopher West

Janet Smith

Let me know what you think.

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