Tag Archives: confession

Taking Responsibility: Pro-life Feminism

In all of the hub-bub surrounding the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood, the most disturbing is the accusation that those who support the pro-life/ anti-choice side, or those who just don’t want to support Planned Parenthood by giving them free government money, are somehow anti-woman, or worse, hate women. I am not going to speak for anyone other than myself but here are my thoughts on this sad, sad topic and if I had to sum it up in one word, that word would be: responsibility.

-If you do not have insurance and need medical care, you need to take responsibility. Planned Parenthood is certainly convenient and easy to find but it is not the only option for free/ reduced cost cancer and STI screenings (especially if you find yourself wrestling morally.) The CDC offers a program in all 50 states called the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. If the CDC program is difficult to get to, try calling an OB/GYN office to see how much they will charge for screenings. You never know until you ask, right? One good place to start would be with traditionally Catholic hospitals, or OB/GYNs affiliated with them. Another resource is One More Soul, to find a Pro-Life Physician who might be able to help out.  As far as STI screenings, you can go to your local health department (as STIs are a public health issue.) Obtaining free chemical or physical birth control is a bit trickier. Pregnancy crisis centers usually offer free condoms, but to qualify for free chemical birth control (i.e. the pill,) low-income women may be required to apply for and be accepted into government programs (such as medicaid.) Which leads to…

-If you do not have insurance to cover chemical birth control, you need to take responsibility. Is there something you can do without? Is the data plan on your mobile phone really that needed? What about cable or sateillite? Those weekly mani/ pedis? To be honest, I have not purchased chemical birth control in over 4 years, so I have no clue how much it costs. The costs might be so out of control that simple cutbacks might not be enough. I don’t know. If you are a new reader, you might be wondering how we don’t have a house-full of children running around if there is no chemical or physical birth control involved? The Mister and I decided to learn about our fertility and we practice Natural Family Planning, also called Fertility Awareness. We observe mucus changes and basal body temp (when I am not nursing at night, which I am now, so we rely on mucus,) we track, we chart and when I am fertile, we abstain. That last part is where people usually say “Whoa, stop the bus!” But if you think about it, we have the control to not eat ALL the time, to not lie around in bed all day and to not wale on someone if they tick us off (unless you are on “The Bad Girls Club”) so why is it so odd to expect a couple to abstain when fertile? Which leads to…

-If you can’t afford chemical or physical birth control and you don’t want to learn about fertility awareness or follow the fertility awareness teachings to a T (after all, fertility awareness only works as well as the users using it… kind of like chemical or physical birth control, eh?) then, you need to take responsibility and I have to say it… don’t have sex or have sex with the expectation that there is a chance that you will conceive a child and that child will be it’s own unique creation and all yours to love and care for. If you are not ready to welcome a child, remember we are highly evolved creatures, there are other ways to declare undying love than bumping uglies.

As a parting remark, I want to put it out there that often times, people will declare you a non-feminist if you are pro-life. They will say stuff like “every child a wanted child” or “my body, my choice,” but I have to ask:

-Is it a choice if a woman has to choose between her child and her job?
-Is it a choice if a woman is told “end it, or I am leaving you?”
-Is it a choice if a parent threatens to disown their daughter if she carries her pregnancy to term?
-Is it a choice if a woman has to choose between putting food on the table and having a child?

We don’t want to set women up for false choices. The idea of choice implies that each option is viable in itself, not the lesser of two evils. In my mind, what we are telling women is “You don’t have the capability to do seek out resources on your own, if the government doesn’t give them to you and if you were to get pregnant at an inopportune time, you are better off getting rid of the pregnancy because your life is ruined if you even try to raise a baby and reach your goals.” How is that empowering women?

One of my best friends, and I will not name her here for she knows who she is, is the strongest person I know. She discovered she was pregnant not long after college graduation and she had her baby. She and the father married but later divorced, but she is rocking her life. Her child is amazing, everything that you would want in a child. She is a homeowner, she works full-time and is just an inspiration to me. I don’t know if abortion ever crossed her mind, but I thank God that she chose for life because our lives would be that much emptier without her and her child (after all, having a child changes you.) But that begs the question: Would I have abandoned her had she terminated her child. No, we are called to love and support each other through all times. Tough and Easy. That’s just how it goes.

For further reading about Pro-life Feminism, check out Feminists for Life.
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Lent begins this Wednesday and I’ve decided that for 40 days I am going to avoid these HEAVY topics and try to focus on the spiritual with a dash of levity here and there. I’ll be including the meat-free recipes for your enjoyment and don’t forget, if you have one to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Include your first name for the props!

Pax Christi!

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Mass Warm-Up Act

If you missed Mass at St. Joe’s this weekend or are no where near Cottleville, here’s my 3 minute testimony on Reconciliation. Enjoy!

Good evening/ morning/ afternoon!

My name is Karianna and I’d like to take a few minutes to talk to you about a wonderful gift that we have been given, the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation also known as Confession. I want to share with you some of the things it has done for me and as an extension, my family.

If you mention Reconciliation to a group, you might get a myriad of opinions: That’s only used if you’ve done something REALLY wrong -or- God knows what I do or haven’t done; I don’t have to tell a priest about it -or- I love the way I feel after getting all of that stuff off of my soul! (Betcha can’t guess my personal opinion!)

I know when I am overdue for a confession. I am a little more short-tempered, impatient and irritable and for a married mother of a toddler and an infant… that’s a bad combination.

What I find best about the Sacrament is the forgiveness and graces that follow. As soon as the words of Absolution are said and the Sign of the Cross is made I fee God’s Grace within me. I am more relaxed, more patient and more loving than before. I am ready to give my vocation it’s all.

Sometimes, receiving the Sacrament is easier than other times, but I feel it is in those hard times that it really matters. Pride is something that I struggle with and Pride can make making a good confession difficult, all because of that little voice trying to shame you out of cleansing your soul.

Although it’s been eight years since I joined the Catholic Faith, I still remember my first confession. I remember being scared- not because of what I was about to tell the Priest- but because I wasn’t sure what to do. So, my pre-confession confession of sorts was “I don’t know how to do this!” I remember the Priest chuckling as he told me that he’d help me along.

Bottom line is this: Nothing bad can come of doing an Examination of Conscience and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Only good.

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Middleschool-itis

I wasn’t going to write about this but it seem as if there has been a break-out of “middleschool-itis.” Basically it’s a communicable disease that breaks out in isolated groups, usually affecting women primarily. The symptoms of middleschool-itis are: talking behind one’s back, sending passive-aggressive emails usually in all caps, and and overall failure to communicate well. If left untreated, middleschool-itis can evolve into the more dangerous “highschool-clique fever” in which the affected become even more isolated and irritable and only want to be around their own kind.

If you suspect someone has been affected by middleschool-itis, the best remedy is kindness and good manners. Usually those affected by the disease are not aware they are compromised and usually a booster of kindness is all that is needed to end it all.

Matthew 22:38-40

38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[a] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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A Mother’s Dilemma: the Food Edition

There are times when the New York Times Magazine is eerily on par with what I am thinking. Case in point, this week was the Wellness Issue and one of the articles written spoke directly to me.
This weekend, I confessed to my husband a fear that I had for our girls, not a fear of them getting into “bad” colleges or marrying the “wrong” person or even the fear of them hating me from the ages of 13-17. No, my fear is…

… I fear them getting F-A-T. OK, I’ve said it… sort of. Both of my girls take swim lessons at the Y and so we are there for an hour on Saturday mornings, I am usually out of the pool, while my husband is in. Being out of the pool allows me to do people watching and I was kind of alarmed at the number of heavy little girls in and around the pool. This isn’t the first time I’ve had these issues… after all, I’ve been a parent for almost 3 years.

I guess it would be so much easier if food was just a source of energy for humans but food is so much more than that. I find myself reading labels and asking myself, “Would my great-great grandmother recognize this as food?”;” “How many steps away from natural state is this?;” “Damn, my chemistry background. I can pronounce all of these words… does that mean I can eat it?” Yesterday I walked in to find my husband feeding the 7 month old applesauce that he had purchased… applesauce with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in it. Yup, I freaked a little bit inside but managed to hold my composure. But you know that I am going to be pitching that ASAP. But here’s the rub: I freak only about their eating. Lunch today for the 2 year old: Hummus Sandwich on HFCS-free bread, fresh strawberries, organic HFCS-free fruit snacks and dehydrated veggies. Lunch for me: leftover pre-made lasagne. And you know why the crazy focus? Because what my kids are seen eating and how they look is a direct reflection of my parenting. At least, in my mind it is.

I can easily say that I eat “right” about 90% of the time. We do a lot of vegetarian meals and we watch portion sizes, etc, etc but there are times when you have a “Ho-Ho” moment. Usually it happens like this: I am at the market, with the girls and I am a little hungry and I spy them… Ho-Hos. Chocolate cake and creme filling all wrapped up in a spiral. I stealthily toss them in the cart, away from the eyes of the 2 year old. I get to the check out and play defense against the 2 year old trying to get her hands on the sweet treats at the checkout and I successfully pay for our basket of veggies, legumes, HFCS-free breads, Acai berry juice… and contraband Ho-Hos. It’s about a 5 minute drive from the market to my house, so I slip the Ho-Hos in the door of the drivers side, get the car loaded up, get the girls strapped in and leave for home. And in those 5 minutes, INHALE the Ho-Hos… without the 2 year old noticing.

After my moment of gluttony, there is that feeling… shame of “I-AM-HIDING-FOOD-FROM-MY CHILDREN!!” Or maybe that should read: “I am hiding my weakness of preservative laden “baked goods” from society as to perpetuate the notion that I am a good- no, GREAT parent because I feed my loved ones organic produce and free range, cruelty free meats (there’s an oxymoron for you) and I keep all HFCS out of my house.”

It’s not like I can’t “afford” the Ho-Hos, after all… we go to the Y almost every day of the week and while there, Mama either rides the bike (spin class) or dances (Zumba) or swims and does some weight training. The girls play at the gym. My goal there is to make exercise a normal part of living. I guess, if they view exercise as a fun part of the day, then the occasional Ho-Ho never hurt anyone. But how do I impart healthy habits on my daughters without it becoming a weight/ body image issue?

Sigh. It’s a hot mess. Tell you what… read the article. It’s so much more eloquent than me.

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Sacrament of Penance… who needs it?? I do! I do!

I came home to the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil 2002. I was not engaged to a Catholic man, but I was dating one but marriage was not really on the radar. I was a senior in college and planning on Grad School so marriage was a thought but not the goal. I mention that because when I talk about my conversion, usually people assume that I converted for marriage or some “other” reason. Yup, there was another reason… God called me home.
I first became interested in the Church when I was in high school. I was raised Baptist and regularity attended Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee, WI as a child. That is where the seeds were first planted and cultivated. In high school, 2 of my best friends were of other faiths: Lutheran and Catholic. I attended service with each of them, but the Catholic Church really spoke to me (Sorry, Laura!)
For me, and perhaps for others, the only “difficult” part of Catholicism is the Sacrament of Penance and the thing is that is really is not that difficult at all. Earlier, I wrote about the effect of Pride on our lives and the fear and trepidation that the thought of Confessing your Sins brings stems from the sin of Pride. We don’t want others to know that we are not *gasp* perfect and that we make mistakes and we surely don’t want that man in the Roman Collar to know!
Many non-Catholics (and some Catholics) question the validity of confession ones’ sins to a priest, after all, God is all seeing and all knowing so why can’t I just send up a prayer saying “Oops! My bad!” right to Our Heavenly Father Himself? Well, here are some things from The Catholicism Answer Book to consider:

  • When confessing to a priest, you are not talking to Father Insert-Name-Here, rather you are talking to Christ HIMSELF! A priest acts In Persona Christi and Jesus, through the sacramental ministry of the priesthood absolves us of our sins. (And if you are really shy about your sins, the screen is still there!)
  • The Sacrament of Penance is first and foremost a sacrament, an encounter with divinity and one of the ways that God communicates His grace to us.
  • By verbally confessing your sins to another living, breathing, tangible person, we are given the chance to practice the virtue of humility which counteracts the sin of Pride. Is it embarrassing sometimes to confess our misgivings and mistakes and the low points of our lives? Yes! But any sin in incredibly offensive to God, Our Father, and if you are a parent, you can especially understand the value of your children telling you the truth.
  • The Sacrament of Penance is also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sin separates us from God, it makes us unfit for the glory of Heaven; Confession clears your soul and you once again wear the white garment that you wore on the day of your Baptism.

Confession is not bad, in fact it’s good… no, it’s GREAT! Confession gives you the chance to get those demons off of your chest, the ones that nip at your heels day in and day out; the ones that sit on your shoulder and tell you that you are a bad person and that no one will ever respect you if you tell; it takes the power that Satan has over you away and restores the purity of your soul.

Given all of the benefits, one has to ask… who WOULDN’T want to go to Confession?

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