Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Pope Francis highlights the role of women, but will he usher in a female priesthood?

Some would argue that Pope Francis is breaking with tradition.

The pontiffs recent comments about the role of women has brought with them the usual comments about the pope 'breaking with tradition' and therefore the possibility of a change in how women are viewed within the Catholic Church.  For examples see this article in The Guardian! the Christian Post and here in the Huffington Post . All these articles are reflecting the interpretations of groups such as  the Association of Italian Women Theologians, which promotes female experts on religion and their visibility in the Church, whose spokesperson Marinella Perroni said;

"Pope Francis is taking up, with a stronger emphasis, the teaching of previous popes about the role of women in the foundation of faith and the resurrection of Jesus....The fact that the Pope acknowledges that the progressive removal of female figures from the tradition of the resurrection...is due to human judgments, distant from those of God...introduces a decidedly new element compared to the previous papacy." 

All these sources, of course, make a link with the role of women priests.  Is it just me, or are they trying to suggest that the Pope in 'breaking with tradition' is likely to increase women's role within the Church and this will inevitably lead to the priesthood?

But what do Catholics mean by Tradition?

Firstly, let us examine what is meant by tradition.  There is traditional practice e.g. the celibacy of priests, the washing of male priests feet on mourn day Thursday, eating meat etc.  These are what most people see as tradition, longstanding customs or norms. However Catholicism talks about Tradition in terms of scared tradition, those beliefs passed down from the apostles and the Church fathers that enlighten scripture to ensure its correct interpretation.

In Catholicism the magisterium points to the fact that the apostles did not ordain female priests, therefore this enables the Chruch to interpret passages within the Bible to determine whether women can be priests.

Therefore if Perroni, and those subsequently reporting her words, is inferring that the Pope, whose statements you can view here, is about to open up the priesthood to women I believe this is not the case quite simply because he can't. As John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994) declared, “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.” The reason for this lack of authority? Jesus only had men with him at the Last Supper when he instituted the Eucharist, the main raison de etre of the priesthood.

Did Jesus not include women at the Last Supper because of the contemporary male dominated society?

For many years, like others, I was not satisfied with this as a reason.  I heard the arguments that Jesus only did this to conform to the social prejudices of the time, it was easier to only include men;  in reality Jesus would want to have women priests. For a long time these arguements impressed me.  However, upon closer inspection they do not stand up to scrutiny.

Firstly look at Jesus' actions - He was a revolutionary when it came to women and  He certainly wasn't afraid then to go against the social constraints of His time.

  • For example, despite the restrictions reading the scriptures, Jesus taught women.  When Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary Martha calls upon him to admonish Mary; she is left doing all the work, surely Jesus should intervene? Except instead of turning to Mary with the request to get into the kitchen and make his dinner he says "Martha, Martha you are worried about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42). He therefore continues to teach her.  Jesus clearly sees it as more important for Mary to learn than to fulfil her social obligations.
  • Think also of the belief that women should not have authority over men, or teach them.  Who is the first person Jesus announces that he is the Messiah to? (A note here should be made that this is unlike Peter who's understanding of Jesus' mission and nature where revealed to him by the Holy Spirit). A woman, in fact even more significantly a Samaritan woman, therefore He shocked his disciples by not only talking to a woman who is outside of his family, but a Samaritan which results in her teaching others about him.  All against the attitudes towards women and outsiders by the Jewish community (John 4:1-42).
  • Also, was Jesus ever cowered by society into not doing the right thing? How could Jesus, God, be sinless if He ignored the dignity of women and did not allow them a place in the last supper and therefore the institution of the Eucharist if He was doing this only as a result of social pressure?  Therefore it can only lead you to conclude that as He wasn't afraid of making a few ripples with the religious elites when he needed to (it kind of got him killed) and He did this with women continually the fact that they weren't at this significant moment was itself by Jesus' design.  He was saying something about women and men and their natures.  He treated them as equals, but at this moment He significantly treated them differently.

Pope Francise refers to the women finding the risen Lord and it's significance.  I believe it is signifcant in two ways.

How then is the fact that it was women that found Jesus risen so significant?

Throughout the Bible God doesn't use strength; he picks the weakest and the most vulnerable so we can see the power of God.  Think of it, David a shepherd boy, Moses an outcast, Jesus an illegitimate carptenter's son, Mary a girl from a backwater.  Following the days of the Bible the same pattern emerges; Joan of Arc, Catherine of Sienna etc. In fact, those with power and status often lost it in order to demonstrate the Gospel in its fullness; St Francis.

In these times the fact that women were the first to meet the risen Lord becomes of itself significant.  As Pope Francis rightly points out there testimonies is whitewashed out of the letters and communications of the apostles.  Why? Because in the courts of Ancient Israel the testimony of women were seen as less significant than that of men.  However, it is the women's testimony that is recorded in the Gospels.  In other words. if you were going to make this up to convince your contemporaries why would you have women witnessing the resurrection?  It is like bringing the tramp down the street as your character witness to court to confirm your good character. You just don't.  You call the doctor, teacher, local constable etc. It therefore points towards the resurrections Truth for those willing to look.

Secondly, and it is for this reason that I believe that Pope Francis is highlighting women in this manner, the women are the first evangelists of the Good News. Pope Francis is confirming that his pontificate is about evangelism and the first evangelists are mothers, grandmothers etc within the homes.  It is why our role's as women are so significant.  The world looks for power to enforce it's message.  God has always used love and humility.

How has the Catholic Church viewed women?

Pope Francis isn't the first to look for women to bring their roles as the first evangelists and all that their true nature has to offer to the forefront. Kathryn Jean Lopez, in her recent article about the instatement of a female (Kim Daniels) for the role of spokesperson for Cardinal Dolan, includes the words of the then Pope Benedict XVI;
the hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is under-going so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid mankind in not falling.
You women have always had as your lot the protection of the home, the love of beginnings and an understanding of cradles. You are present in the mystery of a life beginning. You offer consolation in the departure of death. Our technology runs the risk of becoming inhuman. Reconcile men with life and above all, we beseech you, watch carefully over the future of our race. Hold back the hand of man who, in a moment of folly, might attempt to destroy human civilization.

By focusing on motherhood and the family in my blog I do not mean to limit women to these role, after all in all stages of life we are called to do different work for the Lord.  However, the most significant position we hold is within that family unit.  This is especially true because of the moral agenda our children are being exposed to later in their lives in our schools and colleges. Without a firm moral foundation delivered in the home how will our children be able to counteract this?  With the best will in the world we cannot be open to all the opportunities of imparting spiritual wisdom when we are tired from working outside of the home.

The New Evangelism calls us to be creative and to reach those not just outside the Church, but those on the peripheries as well. Not all women have been given, or recognise they have been given, the opportunity we have to stay at home and care for our families. That is why we need to cherish it and be grateful and by doing so we witness the importance of life in a culture dominated by material value. We need also to be able to support those whose earthly life and worries is leading them away form the source of peace - Christ. 

What does this mean for women today?

I have recently been searching for playgroups to involve my little one and was struck by how they are all located in secular environments or in our local Protestant churches - but not in our Catholic Church were it is acknowledged the congregation are getting older; what a wasted opportunity! It struck me as so odd as, in attending weekday masses with my sometimes crying daughter, I have been made so welcome by women who obviously love children and this has caused me to think.
We need to think about how can we aid our sisters in Christ to nurture their young as they drop them off at the door of their local, secular, daycare.  
Is there room in your Church for a play group? Are there retired ladies with love and wisdom to give to their younger sisters through this? What a wonderful way to not only provide the physical space and support, but also the emotional and wisdom.  To share our knowledge of the challenges and sacrifices as well as the joy in figuring out family and professional balances. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

I'm praying for Matthew Warren and all victims of suicide.

My experiences of suicide left me devastated.

A couple of years ago I taught a young man. I met him in year 9 and taught him every year until he was seventeen. He was popular, funny, kind and thoughtful. He took his own life.  No-one saw it coming. I cannot describe the shock,guilt and disbelief it left me with. It took me some time to come to the realisation that his loss would be permanent.  He would not return to my class. If I felt his loss so overwhelmingly as a teacher I cannot begin to relate to how his mother and family felt.

His death brought home two things to me. The first was the assumption that is made that young people have no religious belief and the second was the need for hope. We, the Church, could still do as Jesus asked and take part in the redemption of humanity.  In this case this boy.

An assumption was made about his lack of religious beliefs.

In relation to the first I was struck by how sad it was that he was never given the opportunity to know his faith more deeply as this could have given him the comfort to overcome his troubles. His mother had been a cradle Catholic and had evidently abandoned her faith some time before; whether out of a lack of belief or effort I do not know.  However, this young man felt a connection with Catholicism and thought deeply about what the Church taught.

He had a very simple and what I believed to be a God given faith.  I remember him asking me once if I believed that Mary was ever virgin.  I have previously spoken about my previous doubts about Mary and as a result I gave a very evasive answer.  I think I said something along the lines of 'as far as I'm concerned Mary was a human being and therefore  following the birth of Jesus her sex life was none of my business' (yes I know.  I can't believe it now either.) He replied very firmly and simply 'I believe she was.' There seemed to be no doubt in him and he was un-swayed by my pathetic reply.  He actually caused me to question the doubts I had in the Church's teachings. Like I said, I believe it was God given.

On another occasion he asked me if he was a Catholic because his mother was a Catholic.  I replied, truthfully, that he needed to be Baptised. I know that the Church teaches a baptism of intention and pray that this is the case for this young man.

When memorial service was being organised by a teacher within the school I asked if it would have a prayers.  Being an RE teacher my colleague may have felt I was trying to impose my views; in any case I felt the reply was guarded.  The young man had no religious affiliation so no element would be included.  In shock I replied that he may not have an explicit affiliation, but he had spoken about his feelings of belonging to the Catholic Church.  Although it obviously gave her pause, no plans were made to include this element in any school memorial. Thank God his uncle, an evangelical, was able to introduce an element of prayer into what would have been a moving, but ultimately barren, service without God's presence.

How many other young people have died with the presumption of their lack of faith? I shudder to think.

Sometime later a the younger sister of one of his close friends approached me to tell me how he had decided to get a rosary tattoo in honour of him.  Again, it was poignant that in a society that had been expunged of all religion for these young people they were finding there only way to express grief.

I told her of the conversations he and I had shared and she was struck by how her brother had chosen the rosary, not knowing the connection he had felt with Mary.

But there is hope. 

Then there is the hope. Following his death the prayer for the faithful departed never ceased to be far from my mind.  It is often said that the Holy Spirit puts into words that which you can't say, well I believe the Holy Spirit guided me to never stop praying for him in that time.  There was something incredibly comforting about this prayer.  I knew, you see, that as I was continually reciting it I was never alone.  I was bound to all the members of the eternal Church, who had been and where yet to come, enabled to touch all these other souls thorugh the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  They had no knowledge of this young man, just as I had no knowledge of the people they had prayed this prayer for, but we were untied in our efforts to bring them before God.  As we say in mass, look not upon my sins, but on the faith of our Church.

God's divine mercy.

A few months later I remembered him on divine mercy Sunday and took him with me to the alter.

I often think of him.  where is he now?  In heaven? I do not believe he is cut off from God's mercy.  If I loved him so much how could God not.  Jesus wept for the loss of Zachariah and raised him up, imperfectly, prior to his sacrficie on the cross.  He would weep for the pain that caused my student to take his life and raise him up surely.  Still, I believe that God wants us to take part in his plan of salvation and he places prayer upon our heart in this way.

How could this enable us to help Matthew Warren and his family?

I have only recently read about Matthew Warren. Despite this, I think it's still relevant to ask you to pray for his father and mother, that in the inevitable questioning that is to come that they do not 'curse God and die'.

But more importantly pray for Matthew.

Eternal rest, grant unto him oh Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace, amen.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Be Brave!

So what is there to be afraid of?

Pope Francis has called on us to ask Jesus “what he wants from you and be brave!”
Wanting to be like this....not succeeding. 

I don't know about you, but at times I fear the culture as it is evolving around me. There seems to be such dogmatic belief in secular culture, enforced by the arm of the state for those not agreeing with the new creeds.  Cases like Adrian Smith's sends shivers down the spines of any government employee; which I was until recently.

Since I started blogging more frequently (previously my job ensured that I had little time to commit to this, despite my willingness to do so) you may have noticed a common thread in my posts. I believe wholeheartedly that our society has raised the material above the family and that the emphasis on equality has paradoxically diminished women, and instead glorified some jobs e.g. lawyers, doctors etc, over the role of raising children. Therefore, what distinguishes women as women, the fact that we uniquely have and nurture children, is devalued.  

However, the reality of leaving my job to do this has not automatically led to a clear understanding of this new role as housewife, mother, homemaker. Many of the blogs I have read about being a Christian SAHM has focused on these qualities.  Don't get me wrong, I think this is wonderful and incredibly challenging.  I am still trying to organise myself into some kind of plan so our home is welcoming and functional, I'm trying to learn to cook and raise and teach my child to a level slightly above the stereotypical mum in leather pants with a fag hanging out of their mouth standard. It is hard. I'm not very good at it.

It is Godly to want to change society.

Nevertheless alongside the need to get better at the management of a household and the belief that this is valuable is a wider desire to reach society and change it.  The two can be combined.  It is godly to want to change the world for the better.  Read woman of valor; 

"She spreads out her palm to the poor and extends her hands to the destitute....She opens her mouth with Wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue......a God fearing woman, she should be praised.......Give her fruits of her hands and she will be praised at the gates for her own deeds."

I love this proverb because of the strength and humility of the woman.  

It is important to note here that she spreads out her palm to the poor and destitute.  However, this need not be the financially poor, but the spiritually.  A source of spiritual strength has always been the family.  However, in the last 50 years the familial institution has been marginalised to the point that it is now a lifestyle choice.

How did we become so poor?

I think there are an awful lot of women and men who are tired, tired of the expectations that this brave new world has forced upon them.  When you are told often enough that you 'have to have it all' you believe it.  We tire ourselves out trying to achieve it to the point that we don't take time to consider do we even want it? We have overburdened ourselves to the point that women who want to put their children first no longer feel they can.  By building our lives around two incomes until we no longer believe we are able to live on one as we would have previously the only people we have served are the truly wealthy; we work harder to make them richer.  

There is a reason that Jesus said that we should go to him for rest, because his burden is easy, is yoke is light. 

How are we then to counteract this?

Firstly, as stay at home mums we need to understand that we are in a unique position - we need not be afraid for our jobs! If our husbands support us we cannot be sacked. We are therefore able to speak out where others fear to! 

This leaves only one other fear - the fear that we will be mocked or attacked for holding beliefs that challenge current attitudes.

One of the ways to overcome this is to prepare ourselves. We should therefore be teaching ourself not only what the Church teaches about the nature and importance of marriage, the sanctity of life, the role of women and their importance, contraception. We should be asking God to illuminate our studies in oder for us to understand why the Church's teachings are correct despite the insistence on the world that they are wrong.  We should also be studying to prepare ourselves to defend and explain these beliefs so that when we are challenged, with prayer, we can offer a defence for our beliefs.

Just think, even when Jesus was
like this Satan could not overcome Him.  
Note I said with prayer then.  This is necessary to not only win the argument, but to do so with love. "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge.... but do not have love, I am nothing..... Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

Who is there to inspire us?

If you are looking for inspiration for bravery in this matter think of William Wilberforce.  Not only did he stand against the consensus of the day - that slavery was good - and won, despite severe personal hardship, he stood against the moral malaise that engulfed Georgian society.  He stated clearly that God had put two things upon his heart; the abolition of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.

When I first began to desire changes in our society and its treatment of sexual morality I was told so many times that 'it had gone too far now'.  This is a key tactic of Satan - and I don't bandy that word around lightly.  Think how many times you are told that 'you can't turn the clock back'.  That this 'progress' being made is inevitable.  It weakens your willingness to fight. 

When you feel weak think of those like Wilberforce, crippled by illness and criticism, but able to overcome with the Grace of God. As Mother Theresa said; "God does not call the equipped. He equips those he calls".

Be brave.  We have not lost; Jesus promised the gates of hell will not prevail against us. This suggests a fight, but one with he knowledge that we will overcome.  Now that is inevitable.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Mary Mother of God, pray for us....

A follow on from my last piece really.

John Paul 2 also said in his letter about the rosary to pray it for the family as "the family, the primary cell of society, increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole. The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age."

From both my careers, as a police officer and teacher, I have seen first hand how the disintegration of the family affects society and children/young people in particular. As a result when we first spoke about having children my husband and I were clear; one of us should stay at home to look after them.

I have spoken about how this decision, normal in previous years, is suddenly controversial.  I have also spoken about how the reality is harder than I imagined.

Both my previous jobs, although stressful, did not prepare me for the isolation that having a family can make you feel.  In previous years you would have known people close by in the same position as you.  However I sometimes feel I am the only one doing this.  Everyone else I know who had children returned to work.

Additionally, I have begun my role as a mother with a 17month old who's cries I don't completely understand (you don't want in the pram but you don't want to walk????) and no-one who to talk it through with. I have no extended family structure around me - my parents live in France, my husbands in London and all the women in my extended family are working, but not in this city.

Just as I was feeling particularly sorry for me I began to think of Mary today.  She too went against the grain of society - try getting pregnant when your engaged to a man in ancient Israel!

She too was isolated - separated from her family as they flew to Egypt because of persecution.

But Catholic teaching is that Mary was immaculate, free from the stain of original sin.  She never had to fight the selfish nature that we all have.  Where I have to fight at times to love Mary did not because of the Grace of her son.

As a mother I want to be like Mary; filled with the Holy Spirit, full of Grace, raising a child as not only mine and my husbands adopted daughter, but God's too.

Litany to Mary, Queen of the Family

Mary, our family like so many families are in desperate need. We require your protection. We need your guidance.

Mary, Queen of Families, we implore you!

Ours and so many families have become lax in their faith and even entangled in error. We need your clarity and security. We need your courage and strong faith.

Mary, Queen of Families, we implore you!
Ours and so many families lack spiritual and material possessions. We need your help. We need your intercession.

Mary, Queen of Families, we implore you!
Ours and so many families have become too weak in order to resist temptations. We need your strength. We need your purity.

Mary, Queen of Families, we implore you!
Ours and so many families experience difficulties in educating their children. We need your motherly love. We need your educative hand.

Mary, Queen of Families, we implore you!
Ours and so many families are torn apart through a loss of true love. We need your goodness. We need your loving understanding.

Mary, Queen of Families, we implore you!

Prayer for Mothers 
Good and Gentle God, we pray in gratitude for our mothers and for all the women of theory who have joined with you in the wonder of bringing forth new life. You who became human through a woman, grant to all mothers the courage they need to face the uncertain future that life with children always brings.
Give them the strength to live and to be loved in return, not perfectly, but humanly.
Give them the faithful support of husband, family and friends as they care for the physical and spiritual growth of their children.
Give them joy and delight in their children to sustain them through the trials of motherhood.
Most of all, give them the wisdom to turn to you for help when they need it most.

Entrusting my child and family to Mary

I'm an unusual Catholic in that I have had a very wary relationship with Mary.  I believe the Church's teachings about her, they make sense to me. However since coming to faith following a conversion experience on 9th April (Palm Sunday) 2006 I returned to the Church through the arms of Protestant Christians.

Please don't misunderstand me; I have enormous respect for our Protestant brothers and sisters.  However, I listened to their concerns about Mary and the possibility of idolatry of Roman Catholics. As a result it took great soul searching and prayer to arrive at a point that I can believe the Church's teachings.

Nevertheless, like all areas of faith, feelings can at times cloud my judgment.

As a result I have never committed myself to pray the rosary. Having said that, since starting to pray to Jesus for the Holy Spirit to help me understand, the Hail Mary seems to reverberate within me.
I have been looking for a way to pray with my daughter.  She really doesn't speak yet; she only says mama, dada, baa, hiya, hey, gy (that's sky) and bup (starting to say up). So prayer where she is involved seems somewhat redundant.

This is where I think the rosary would be beneficial.  It teaches the main elements of our faith and I am certain she understands far more than she can say.

One of the ways I managed to overcome my fear of praying to Mary was that Mary taught the disciples so much about Jesus, so much of his hidden life.  I am certain that Luke met Mary when he accompanied Paul on his journey in Acts.  It is within his gospel that we see glimpses of the child Jesus.
She obviously spoke to him about her joy of receiving the news of her pregnancy and her belief in what was to come; the Magnificat. She spoke about the visits from the shepherds and their retelling of the angels appearances to them and how she treasured these things and pondered them in her heart ( Luke 2:19) along with the prophecies that a sword would pearce her heart, the moments she found Jesus missing and how he returned to Bethlehem where he was obedient to herself and Joseph. Luke became a believer; was this through the quiet revelation of Jesus through Mary? He made a thorough investigation after all, it says so in the introduction of his Gospel, Mary must have been a compelling witness. What convinces me of this is that so many of these apparently inconsequential stories where included in his writings. They obviously had a profound impact upon him.

In John Paul II apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis he talks about how Mary's rosary helps us to contemplate Jesus as Mary is such an example of just how to do this. Mary, who for nine months carried Him in her womb imagining what He would be like as He kicked and moved. Who saw His face covered in blood as He left her body; defenseless and vulnerable. When I think of JP2's words about her contemplation I think of Mark Lowry's lyrics for "Mary did you know?"; He too knew of Mary's contemplation, revealed by the Holy Spirit as He meditated on the nativity stories. 

In Catholicism there is a saying; through Mary to Jesus. I hope then that Mary reveals Jesus to my child and my husband. He is an atheist\agnostic.  When we were trying for children we conceived just once, but subsequently lost the child we had named Gabriel. This caused me to question my faith.  However oddly, my husband began to believe that Mary held our child.  In fact, shortly after our lost we bought a statue of Madonna and Child as a symbol of this belief. It reminds me of John following Jesus declaration that Mary was now his mother, that he took her into his home from that day onwards. My husband has taken Mary into her home, she cannot help but introduce Jesus there, she is after all His mother.

I am starting to do this when my daughter goes for her lunchtime nap. She doesn't fall asleep straight away, so may the prayers and the Holy SPirit will lull her into a blessed slumber!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The tyranny of silence.

Like most British people I have an antipathy towards Americans.  I readily go with the stereotypes; loud, crass, greedy etc.  Nevertheless the abortion debate has started to encourage me to look again at my cousins across the pond. There has been a resilience within their anti-abortion movement which has meant that the acceptance of the practice has not become, as was prophecised by its supporters, inevitable. One poll suggests 56% of all Americans (and, significantly, 58% of the 18-29 category) that abortion is morally wrong.

In contrast the UK it is suggested by the YouGov poll that only 6% of people wanted to ban abortion altogether. Even when it comes to what restrictions there should be on abortion and what rules should govern its availability i.e. the 24-week limit that applies to most abortions - we are depressingly pro.  Looking again at the YouGov poll for 2012 found 39% supported the status quo or a longer limit, 37% supported a lower limit. Only 37% support a lower limit! Just to be sure we're on the same page here is a 24 week old which survived birth...

Why am I so opposed to abortion? One of the reasons is because of what I have witnessed during my time teaching in our secondary schools.

As a society we do not want any limits to our sexual freedom and as a result we cannot place any on young peoples. Worse, in what appears to be vain-glory, the adult population are encouraging the sexual appetites of the young.  For generations now the people who are meant to protect them have one by one removed any barriers to sexual control and as a result left them to fend for themselves.

What makes me even more angry about this is that those in positions of power have the money and influence to protect their young. As always the weakest and poorest bear the brunt of the 'revolution'.

Despite fostering sexual licence, society does not want to pay for it and as a result contraception, the morning after pill and abortificants are promoted to our young as solutions to the problems that inevitably result with this new morality. I often here people say that there is no morality, but I disagree.There is a morality being advocated very clearly.

For example did you know that under the age of 16 girls can obtain an abortion without parental consent and that this is often arranged through the school system? Abortion and the right to choose are seen as so inherently good that parental rights can be removed by the state. this means that when a child, and those under the age of sixteen are still children, are going through a traumatic emotional event there parents may not even know about it.

Some may argue that such laws are designed to protect the rights of the young who should have the ability to decide what they do in such a situation without interference from parents.  In my experience the stereotype of the parent limiting this is religious, Christian and a bit fundamentalist.

However, I have witnessed how these issues are introduced to the young. Despite the claim that these young people should be free to choose, there is no genuine choice at all. The information given to them is deliberatley limited. I have actually sat in a classroom where the school nurse repeatedly said the morning after pill caused the lining of the womb to be ejected prior to the egg being able to be implanted.  When I asked her to clarify that when she was referring to the egg she was speaking about a fertilised egg she became extremely uncomfortable prior to her acknowledgment of this.  When I asked her if she informed people of this prior to giving them the pill she replied; "people who want the morning after pill don't want to know that".  A pretty big decision to make on someone else's behalf, what they want to know.

The same person was appalled at the repeated requests for the morning after pill made by the same young pupils and was, naturally concerned about, the impact this may have on them. She didn't seem to see the connection with the way this was presented to them and there lack of concern of its outcomes.

This is done under the guise of sexual education empowering pupils with knowledge in order that they can make informed decisions and therefore reduce teenage pregnancies.  However, not only is the outcome never as predicted (teenage pregnancies continue to remain high) but it is clear that information is carefully selected to ensure the right outcome i.e. if an 'unforseen' pregnancy occurs then an abortion/morning after pill follows to ensure the state doesn't have to foot the bill.

Abortion is advocated so strongly and in such a biased format for two reasons I believe;

  1. because of the automatic veneer of 'compassion' and intelligence the promoter can garner, 
  2. it ensures that people do not have to monetarily pay for the inevitable outcomes of sex without genuine commitment. 
The recent failure to mention the Gosnell case did not surprise me at all. To question abortion would mean we would either have to pay for these inevitable outcomes as a society (in other words children) or we would have to start admitting that the sexual revolution was actually more damaging than we would care to admit.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Letting go...

On March 11th I left work on adoption leave with the intention to become a SAHM. For quite some time I had to adjust to resetting my brain to this.  All my life I've worked in demanding jobs.  I've had two major careers; teacher and police officer. To a greater extent I have defined myself by what I do. All of a sudden I am the millennial equivalant of the Baldwin sisters in The Waltons; except rather than not being married/having a family, I'm married, with a family and I actually want (shock, horror) to look after them.
At first I had a bit of a mini melt down.  I swear, if my husband wasn't due to come home  I may have stayed in my dressing gown all day.  We waited for our little girl for so long and the plan was always that I would give up work. The reality though is something else.  I had in my mind that I had to be supermum/wife. Interacting with my daughter so she becomes a super-genius, in a super clean home, cooking perfect meals. There are some problems with this so:

  1. I can't cook, 
  2. my daughter doesn't speak yet and I find it really hard to keep up a one sided conversation about bricks 
  3. and I was so unsure about what to do with her when I wanted to pee, let alone get on and clean the house.

When I did manage to to pull myself together to get dressed I was still unsure about what to do with her.  I mean, how long is it ok to leave a 16 month old for? I was therefore diving in and out of my bedroom to check up on her as she was on the upper landing (with a baby gate ). I was so busy playing peekaboo to entertain her that I accidentally flashed the neighbours house. I don't think they saw but to add to my blue mood I suddenly thought to myself that it wouldn't be so bad if I was my role model
but to be honest I'm a bit more like this
but without the housekeeping skills.
As I started to freak out at failing at a job that the majority of society think is second rate I gave myself permission to be a good enough mummy.

The other thing I did was to trust in God.
The amount of people who have judged my choice and who seem to override it with comments like "and you can always go back when your adoption leave is up" (Toby and I would like me to remain at home with little one until they're at school) - I interpret this as " you've got time to come to your
senses!". Even my mum, always an advocate of the importance of motherhood in the early years, doesn't seem
to apply his to me.  Apparently she can't see me being happy staying at home doing nothing!!!!

I started to question - if all these people assume I'll go back within the year time frame, how will I ever get back into the job make after a prolonged absence? Cue hyperventilation.

The bottom line is this. I believe God guided me to the choice of my beloved career, teaching. I believe he guided me to the choice of adoption and my beloved daughter. He said not to worry, not to be afraid. God can get me a job.
Today I got up, dressed my little one and myself (sad that I'm boasting about that - yes?), went to mass, managed to keep her relatively calm throughout it, brought us home, gave us a healthy lunch, BAKED A CAKE, clean the house and had a friend over for tea. Then my daughter, who up until now has only taken 3 steps accidentally on her own or through coercion, took twenty steps unaided across the living room. Repeatedly. Awesome. Vindication of my faith right there me thinks.
For all those SAHMs out there doubting a picture of Bree to keep you going. We might not be ale to live up to the dream, but isn't the dream lovely?