Monday, February 6, 2012

As Petrik promised, here's the Society of Grandmothers' manifesto. Read up.

Irene Engel noticed a troubling theme in her conversations with other grandmothers. “We were hearing too many reports that CATHOLIC girls did not understand the need for chastity, [for] protecting their bodies, and we made the statement, ‘Somebody should say something.’” A beloved member of the Notre Dame community, Irene shares her full story here:

The Society of Grandmothers Address Sex and the 21st Century Woman

Dedicated to St. Ann, grandparent of Jesus


To make young women aware that they are being exploited, used, and abused, an insult to womankind. To enlighten young women at an early age (eleven or twelve) that society in general and the media in particular have made human beings slaves to their own passions, emotions, desires, and cravings to such an extent that they are not in control of or even aware of what they could be and should be. Common sense comes with knowledge and awareness. When young people understand chastity, it eliminates a lot of other frustrations.


Why Grandmothers? In the series of books published by Sorin Books entitled God Knows, which provide resources to assist readers to enhance their quality of life, we find the Grandparents Make a Difference book. In it the authors Priscilla J. Herbison and Cynthia Herbison Tambornino state that “next to unconditional love, wisdom is the gift most cherished by grandchildren. What is wisdom but the life and breath of the sacred Spirit within us? Even more than that, when we thought about the cherished legacy of grandparents, it struck us that the qualities of wisdom are listed in one of our favorite readings from Paul’s letter to the Galations (5:22-23) in the Bible: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, humility, and self-control.”[1]

“The stories that we’ve collected illustrate this wisdom in action. In The Shape of Living, David Ford writes,

Because wisdom is so much a matter of making the deep connections in the midst of the complexities of life, there is no substitute for seeing how someone does it. But, more than just seeing, it is a matter of being seen. The wise see in us our potential. They listen to us with the ‘inner ear.’ They open us up, inspire us, energize us, and allow us to blossom, and give us the sense that there is always more. Excellence is the aim, yet they are patient with us. It is a gentle, utterly respectful overwhelming, at the heart of which is delight in truth and goodness. The classic sign of this is immense gratitude, increasing as wisdom is tested and developed, together with the desire to pass it on.”[2]

As grandparents, we have the wisdom of our experience and stories to share.

Herbison and Tamborino continue to tell us that grandparents also offer the following fruits of wisdom:

“Spiritual lessons. Grandparents, because of experience, can be excellent spiritual guides and counselors. Grandparents are models of the fine art and practice of contemplation and listening. By sharing their past experiences or just by their behavior, grandparents model for their grandchildren ways to face fear, resolve difficulties, and love others. Included in the top five list among all cultures were generosity, kindness, respect for all living things, gratitude, and calmness.”[3]

“Change.” Grandparents have seen much change, and know how to accept change. They have the courage and wisdom to accept change.[4]

“Happy memories. Time with grandparents can become happy memories for grandchildren.” In other words, warm moments and kind words will embed the values and wisdom grandparents have to share and can provide needed strength in difficult times.[5]

“Calmness and peace. Grandchildren report that they feel secure and content in a grandparent’s presence because their grandparents approach life with a sense of calm confidence. For grandchildren wounded by stress or trauma, being with a grandparent can be a healing experience.” [6]

“One thing we learned in our interviews with many grandparents and grandchildren about their relationships was that, other than love, the gift of wisdom of the grandparents was most cherished. Wisdom is a legacy greater than property, stocks, or money because it is something that nourishes our lives and gives meaning, direction, and understanding. Property will tarnish, stock will crash, and money flows away like water. But the understanding, perception, and depth of meaning our wise grandparents give us endure long after we go to the other side of paradise.

“We listened to the voices of many cultures who have lived and flourished in America, from Native Americans to Chinese, to Hispanic, to African, to European. The voices we heard told the same truths, but as Emily Dickinson would say, told them at a ‘slant.’ There were slight distinctions in the refracted rays of our lights of truth. More often than not, though, there was a wonderful unity of voices. And we learned that the acquisition and passing on of wisdom’s ways is dynamic.

“We are becoming, as the Reverend Cecil Murray of Los Angeles says, ‘one world—one people.’ We are all the children of God. The gift we bring as grandparents is wisdom, most often heard in our stories. If our stories are truly wise, they transcend time, culture, and religion, and so unite our grandchildren and us with humanity.

“At a conference on wisdom, a Maori shaman said, ‘In our tribe, when a young person comes into puberty, we send them away to the grandparents, aunties, and uncles who will instruct them in how they can grow to a healthy maturity. It is not possible for them to become the individuals they are to become while they are still in the care of their parents because they are still too tied to their parents. If they try to break away (to become their own mature individuals) the tension between them and their parents will be too strong. They will never mature.’

“In response, one harried mother of teenagers said, ‘That’s what I need to do, engage my wise older sister and my parents in raising these kids up!’

“Similarly, a Native America Anishinabe woman married to a Lakota man observed that among the Lakota, the grandparents customarily take their grandchild who is entering his or her teenage years under instruction. She explained: ‘The simple reason is the parents are still to preoccupied with their own issues, coping with parenthood and trying to do meaningful work in the world, and making their marriage strong. So the grandparents, who have the perspective of experience, love of the grandchild, and a heritage of wisdom from our ancestors, are the ones who can be the most effective mentors to our young people. They are the ones who are the keepers of tradition and values.

“There are many stories of African American grandmothers who have been teachers and counselors to their grandchildren, filling in as parents if their children are sick or finishing school, or have passed away.”[7]


In a non-threatening way, grandmothers, mothers, mother figures, young moms, Christian educators, and concerned men need to speak out and share their life development of body, spirit, and mind in such a way that young women can understand there is another way ­– a way to become mature and free by making good decisions before becoming victims of destructive, misguided messages.

Principles involved:

· Defining the body and its many functions

· Developing not only a healthy body but a healthy mind in order to make self-serving and self-sustaining decisions

· Re-establishing phases of development between sexes as a gradual, necessary process from innocent to mature love

· Defining and examining the difference between love and sex

· Realizing why it is important to recognize what true happiness is in relation to love (in the spirit of Pope Benedict XVI)

· Explaining why fertility cults, prostitution, fornication, pornography, etc. can negatively affect our happiness and impact the negation of true love

· Reintroducing counter-cultural words and ideas such as chastity, excellence of character, and self-respect

Modesty, which may provisionally be defined as an almost instinctive fear prompting concealment and usually centering around the sexual process, while common to both sexes, is more peculiarly feminine, so that it may almost be regarded as the chief secondary sexual character of women in the psychical realm (Havelock Ellis, 1899).

In modern terms from Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary, modesty means “reserve or propriety in speech, dress or behavior; lack of pretentiousness.”

C.S. Lewis, a renowned Christian apologist, wrote in the 1940’s of two foundational observations: “First, that human beings all over the earth have the curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.”[8]

The author of Mere Christianity goes on to say, “The Christian rule of chastity must not be confused with the social rule of ‘modesty’…i.e. propriety or decency. The social rule of propriety lays down how much of the human body should be displayed and what subjects can be referred to, and in what words, according to the customs of a given social circle. Thus, while the rule for chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes.”[9]

“Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body—which believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in Heaven, and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty, and our energy.”[10]

The book A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Last Virtue by a Jewish 20-something named Wendy Shalit has cleared the air. As Robin West, professor of law at Georgetown University states in a critical review, “Wendy Shalit has written a book for all of us—feminists, antifeminists, conservatives and liberals. By reclaiming modesty, Shalit argues, we might reclaim not only an overlooked but essential cornerstone of a good and stable life, but also a source of merriment and joy—the wellspring for virtuous and secret eroticism that puts a twinkle in the eye, and shines rather than tarnishes the heart.”[11]

In this must-read book, Wendy Shalit concludes, “Thus, the most compelling rationale for a return to modesty is our discovery that our culture of immodesty isn’t, finally, as sexy as we thought it was going to be…But is our current interest in modesty and codes of conduct just a craze or will today’s young women succeed in changing the cultural climate? I think we may succeed because there is enough dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, as well as a recognition that the revolution our parents engineered hasn’t worked. The most common complaint I hear from women my age is that there is no longer any ‘dating scene.’ Young people go out in packs, they drink, they ‘hook up,’ and the next day life returns to normal. I suppose you could find much depressing in this behavior—for starters, that there is not even a pretense of anticipation of a love that will last forever in the cold expression, ‘to hook up’—but there is also a lot about this behavior that should give us hope, and that is the fact that all of them have to drink to do it.

“They aren’t drinking wine to begin delightful conversation. They are drinking beer and hard liquor to get drunk—precisely to cut off delightful conversation and get ‘right to the point,’ as it were. That is the advertised purpose of most college parties, and this kind of drinking is really quite a stark admission: that in fact we realize we are not just like the lower animals, that our romantic longings and hopes should inform our most intimate actions and that if the prevailing wisdom decrees ‘hook-ups’ don’t matter, that sex is ‘no big deal,’ then we must numb ourselves in order to go though with it. Thus we pay tribute to the importance of modesty by the very lengths to which we must go to stifle it.

“Also, if our hoop-ups didn’t really matter, then why would we have our checkups? why all this guerilla etiquette gushing up from the quarters of the liberated? And why is the most pressing question in all the women’s magazines still ‘how to overcome your hang-ups?’

“These kinds of things give me hope that a restoration of a culture of modesty might not only be desirable, but possible. We’re all modest already; deep down—because we’re human—we just need to stop drinking so much, get off our Prozac, and come out of the closet about it. Like Modesty Anonymous. We would all admit that we are powerless over our embarrassment. That one blush was never enough.

“I’m not a happily married woman, or a spinster who now wants to spoil your fun. I’m writing because I see so much unhappiness to settle for less and because I don’t think you should have to, either…It is possible for a young woman to hope for something more, many of us do, and we hereby enter a plea that society permit us to hope for something more. But consider yourself forewarned: If you refuse to be cured of your sensitivity or your womanhood, if you start defending your right to your illusions, be prepared for people to tell you that you are silly and childish. Be prepared for some to make fun of you directly, and for others to be more sophisticated about it and try to reduce your hopes to various psychological maladies.

“Don’t believe them for a second.

“Because the question has been thoroughly examined, in all of its boring detail, the data calibrated and recalibrated, multiple regressions have been performed, and in fact, not all modestyniks are abuseniks. It’s actually quite within her rights for a young woman to want to be a woman.” [12]


Raising the awareness of motherhood as the very powerful state it is, along with the pain, sacrifices, and responsibilities inherent in that choice of vocation. Preparing our youth for this exalted position in life.


· Ask first the question, “Who made you?” The ideal answer is, “God made me!” Discuss the importance of accepting all creatures that are the handiwork of God.

· Discuss the reproductive system, the sexual process by which organisms generate others of the same kind. Discuss the language of the genitals.

· Sexual intercourse's main purpose is to ejaculate semen of male into female which eventually develops into a fetus, a living being at conception.

· A byproduct of this sexual act is the arousal and experience of powerful pleasure. “Sex is designed for bonding and babies.”

· Discuss what is the ideal mother-to-be, a woman who understands and respects herself and other human beings, who is mature enough to wait for marriage and bond with the only man who will be the father of their children.

· Make aware that virtue and respect and an appropriately healthy attitude toward the opposite sex are important attributes to becoming a good father and mother.

· Babies/children deserve an exceptional mom: they deserve the best there can be, being born of true love.

Problems to further address:

How many different partners does one have to experience before the compatible partner is found—20, 30, 40?

The belief of grandmothers is that nurturing shared warm emotion, experience, likes and dislikes, family and personal beliefs, habits, and even culture can be life long supports for a stable, continuing relationship, and a great foundation for family life. The sexual passion may fade but the fundamental structure on which a great relationship is based, with constant work, will continue. The sacrifice we make for another’s well being is most important, whether for spouse or child.

No amount of sex will help when a partner is old and may be weak, disabled, or in pain. We know! Ask your Grandma or Grandpa. Sex has been greatly overrated for several generations and needs to be put in the right perspective. It is a natural biological process used by humans and animals to impregnate, or plant the seed, that will begin a new life immediately. The pleasure experienced in sexual intercourse is fleeting but the reward and pleasure of a new human being is forever.

If a survey were taken, and maybe it has, the reason for divorces could be from sexual incompatibility as passions, desires, feelings, expectations, and the saturation point changes over the years. So what good did it do to find sexual compatibility as the basis for a commitment to marriage?

There is another trend for several generations that has come to our attention. Mothers, out of the kindness of their hearts, have been misguided to believe that if they began their teenage daughters on birth control, they would avoid pregnancy. This sends the very wrong message to these daughters.

Ask Grandma what she survived on before marriage. Tender hugs, gentle kissing, necking, and lots of sharing of compatible ideas, likes, dislikes, experiences, and mutual respect.

In discussing the “morning after pill,” a television program interviewed a young woman who described her pregnancy as an “accident” because she didn’t use proper precautions. What was she thinking? Having sexual intercourse is the only way to get pregnant at present. Since “accident” is defined as an “unexpected and undesirable event,” biologically, this is what her action was intended for: pregnancy. The only way to avoid such an “accident” is abstinence. This woman needs some sound knowledge and a new hobby!

All other challenges to being a free spirit also reduce a woman to being a slave of her desires, passions, and emotions, reducing her to an uncontrolled animal state of being. Such challenges include oral sex, fertility cults, masturbation, prostitution, pornography, fornication, manual sex, and dry sex.

A recently reported problem that is increasing with 13 year olds in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio is internet child porn and its related temptation to inappropriate, sinful behavior.

It has been reported that policing cannot keep up with the rate it is being produced. Sex predators come from all segments of society­–including lawyers, doctors, and teachers–groups in a position of authority from the perspective of a child.

The newest concern is the attempt by the Department of Health and Human Services to vaccinate young children at the tender age of 7 to counteract a sexually transmitted condition later in life known as human papillomavirus (or HPV). No mention is made that abstinence is a choice.

If speaking with women in high school:

We all know God made the world and everything in it (see Genesis). We also know nothing is possible or impossible without God. So who made you and I and all human beings? We know God made us. Now God expects us to care for our body, not just by dieting to have a slim look and strong bones, not just by pumping iron to have firm muscles and abs.

We are obligated to be concerned about sexual activity outside of marriage. We all experience hormone surges. It is the way a person handles the emotional and physical cycle of her sex drive that determine whether she will be used and abused or true to herself and free.

You will never be free if you turn to unacceptable behavior, unacceptable to God and to yourself. This giving in to temptation will only make you a slave to your own desires, emotions, passions, cravings. Who wants to be a slave, a prisoner–not in control of her own body and destiny?

Yes, DESTINY, because as you practice destructive behavior you will crave it more and more. The partner or partners you interact with have also become slaves to their own self-centered passions and desires. If you are innocent and are seduced into this behavior, you have coupled up with a true sinner, and will be used and abused the rest of your life, married or unmarried. That is your destiny.

I viewed a commercial the other day in which a young lady was begging and pleading with the man driving the new snazzy sports car to please not break up. How humiliating, how degrading! Why would she want someone who didn’t want her? She is destined to be his slave for the rest of their relationship.

As grandmothers, we watch the socially accepted behavior of our young ladies today. Society, through electronic media and literature, has reduced womanhood to slaves of all their cravings, emotions, and desires.

And yet, womanhood is the most exalted position in the world. Women are capable of producing a live human being, loving and nurturing this person to full adulthood. No man, pope, male president, or male star athlete can do this. This is power!

Because we have this potential, we need to expect respectful treatment and imagery. But at the same time we need to deserve this respect by displaying high values, good common sense, virtuous behavior, and most of all, our own self-respect, showing we are in control of ourselves. God will bless you with a valued partner who will be a father to your children. Part of the need to be virtuous requires that you not seduce another into inappropriate sexual activity. You could appear to be the slave driver, but because you have debased yourself, you are both caught in a web of deception and destruction.

Find an outlet for your hormonal drive through vigorous exercise, sports, sharing hobbies and life interests with others. Look to the way you dress. Are current fashions flattering or degrading? Look to where you hang out. Is a bar the appropriate place to find a good companion? Will drinking liquor or using drugs calm your emotions quiet your sexual drive? Is your choice of words intellectually useful or scandalous?

In developing a friendship with the opposite sex, you are at an age when kissing, hugging, and holding hands add no undue pressure or stress to your life. Enjoy these years. Too soon you will be in your 20’s and mature enough to experience more.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).


Woo: to seek the affections with intent to marry; to court a woman.

Courting: trying to win the affections or love of another person.

Counter culture: wooing and courting always involved a man looking for life, a virtuous virgin to be a mate and mother to his children.

Seduce: to draw one away from proper conduct, corrupt, to induce to have sexual intercourse, to win over into a desired position or state (can be very inconspicuous, sneaky, sly, vague, subtle).

Lust: intense or unrestrained sexual desire, an overwhelming craving or obsessive desire.

Illegitimate: against the law, born out of wedlock, bastardly.

Chastity: virtuousness.

Chaste: not having experienced sexual intercourse; decent, modest, morally pure, celibate.

Abstinence: denial of the appetite of sex, drugs, liquor, or other undesirable.

Modest: observing appropriate proprieties in speech, behavior, dress.

Preoccupation with oneself: absorption with self; self-centered.

Overindulge: to yield to desires and whims to an excessive degree.

Self-denial: abstaining or limiting one’s own comfort or pleasure.

Self-respect: esteem and concern for oneself and one’s character and conduct.

Virtue: moral excellence and goodness.

Character: distinctive features of emotional, intellectual, and moral qualities.

Self-discipline: training and control of oneself and one’s behavior.

Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage, through all patience and teaching. 2 Tim 4:2

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinth 3:17

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, to let the oppressed go free. Cf. Luke 4:18

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the pioneers. Cf. Is 61:1

He did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God. Rom 4:20

Amen, Amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master, nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. Jn 13:16

Trust God and he will help you. Sir 2:6

May the Lord our God bless us in all that we undertake. Amen. Cf. Deut 14:29

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. Romans 2:8

He poured forth his words of wisdom and in prayer gave thanks to the Lord, who directed his knowledge and his counsel. Cf. Sir 39:6-7

Be doers of the words. James 1:22-25

The spirit of the Lord fills the whole world. It holds all things together and knows every word spoken by man, Alleluia. Wis 1:7

The love of God has been poured into our hearts by his Spirit living in us, Alleluia. Romans 5:5, 8:11

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us. Heb 11:1-2, 12:1

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? Rom 6:16

You have been purchased at a price. Do not become slaves to human beings. 1 Cor 7:23

May the God in whose ways our fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been our shepherd from our birth to this day, the Angel who has delivered us from all harm, bless us and help us in peace. Amen. Cf. Gen 48:15-16

Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now then we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw of the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:11-14

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel. Prov 31:26

Go then! It is I who will assist you in speaking and will teach you what you will say. Ex 4:12

Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of god may not be discredited. Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves, showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized. St. Paul to Litus 2:1-8, 11-14

Let us turn ourselves to better actions while the remedies are still in our power…let us not neglect the fleeting time of salvation. St. Caesarius of Arles

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!” Is 6:8

I am the Lord, your God, who grasped your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” Is 41:13

I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them. Is 42:16

Let the Lord God show us what we should take and what we should do. Cf. Jer 42:3

Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor 3:16

Be free, yet without using freedom as a pretext for evil, but as slaves of God. 1 Pt 2:16

Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires… Rm 6:12-18

For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say. Luke 12:12

Wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will please your soul, discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you. Saving you from the way of evil man, from men of perverse speech, who leave the straight paths to walk in ways of darkness, who delight in doing evil, rejoice in perversity. Prov 2:1014

Every day offers a choice; what sort of reading, what sort of TV, what sort of conversation, what sort of friends will we choose? p. 119, Aug. 9, 2007, Magnificent Vol. 9. # 6

We are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them. Eph 2:10

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in every affliction, s that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. 2 Corinth 1:3-5

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition. Mk 7:8

How shall the young remain sinless? By obeying your word. Ps 119:9

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’ Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.’ ‘Abraham is our father,’ they answered. ‘If you were Abraham’s children,’ said Jesus, ‘then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.’ ‘We are not illegitimate children,’ they protested. ‘The only Father we have is God himself.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.’” John 8:31-42

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1:2-7“Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Psalm 111

Suggested Reading:

The Bible (Especially Jn 8:31-42)

Humanae Vitae—Pope Paul VI

Theology of the Body—Pope John Paul II

A Return to Modesty—Wendy Shalit

God Knows Grandparents Make a Difference—Priscilla J. Herbison, Cynthia Herbison Tambornino

Mere Christianity—C.S. Lewis

[1] Herbison, Priscilla and Cynthia Herbison Tambornino. Grandparents Make a Difference. Notre Dame: Sorin Books, 2003. Pg. 8-9

[2] Herbison, 9

[3] Herbison, 35

[4] Herbison, 35

[5] Herbison 36

[6] Herbison, 36-37

[7] Herbison 33-35

[8] Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1943. Pg 7

[9] Lewis 74

[10] Lewis 77

[11] Shalit, Wendy. A Return to Modesty. New York: Touchstone, 2000. Critical Praise

[12] Shalit 236

Monday, December 12, 2011

Grandmother speaks out about chastity

COMING SOON: Irene Engel's Society of Grandmothers manifesto

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Philosophy on Education

At a recent panel for Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture's annual fall conference, I had the opportunity to receive some valuable insights on an approach to education strategies.
Apparently, there is an issue when it comes to how "student-centered" a course should be. In engineering the design and goal of a course, faculty members are confronted with the problem of content versus process that complicates this issue. Professors, as such, have a responsibility to offer content for coursework, since they alone possess the robust scholarship necessary to make such decisions. There is a duty, however, to engage the interests of the students attending the university who are pursuing studies in various disciplines. The question is, how much dialogue should there be between students and faculty to ensure that courses are constructed with the balance that provide challenging, yet stimulating content for students. The process of a course pertains to how the method by which the content should be explored. The same happy medium is required here to ensure similar success. The problem that happens most frequently, from my perspective, is that it is either the professor's course or the student's course. Basically, either the professor has designed a course with strict and rigid parameters without allowing for pedagogical adaptations or the professor has compromised on too many issues, allowing students the course settings they desire while simultaneously relinquishing content of any real substance.
The solution? Humilty.
According to one of the panelists, humility in curriculum is essential to foster an optimal setting for learning. Ultimately, what this means is that the professor has to assume the virtue of humility to acquire a perspective of both his students and himself that will elevate that student-teacher relationship to its highest good. A professor with humility will become, in a sense, a student once again. He will realize that, despite years of experience in scholarship and research in his chosen field, he is not above the force of education. He, too, can engage his students and the course content in a way that will ensure that he will never stop learning. Professors often speak of the enriching experience of being an educator which usually implies that there is still much to gain.
Socrates supposedly said that "The only real wisdom is knowing that you know nothing." According to the panelist, it is this humble perspective that may inspire a sense of awe and wonder in a classroom setting that may inspire students to engage readings and material purely for the sake of education, the perpetual quest for truth. The responsibility of casting this aura over the classroom center rests mainly on the professor, whose agency is vital in setting the proper tone for a learning atmosphere.
Some of the greatest courses I have taken during my time at Notre Dame have been ones that have created this same atmosphere. The professor engaged the text as if he too were a student. Feeling that this was the case, the professor joined us in discussions, the hierarchy was disbanded, and grades became objects of little or no importance. The thirst for knowledge was instilled by an overarching sense of humility which loudly admitted that "we know nothing." The virtue of humility involves another balance. It takes humility to say "I know nothing" but this can turn into despair and dejection if it is not accompanied with a healthy sense of pride that completes the phrase: "I know nothing, but I possess the capacity to learn." It is with this complete, humble realization that we find ourselves looking at the world from an awesome perspective that spurs us towards the wonder of truth.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stimulating what?

Thought I'd take the opportunity to post a link to the new DOL report on jobs lost since the stimulus was passed. Apparently jobs were gained in a whopping TWO states (and DC - shocker with all that government spending).

But, wait, wasn't the stimulus suppose to save and create new jobs?

Just waiting for someone to figure out how to count "saved" jobs and I'm sure we'll find out that this bill saved millions from breadlines.

link to Big Government .

Monday, October 4, 2010

Surprise! Conservatives make for the more generous donators

"On the surface, the notion that liberals are the world’s most charitable individuals could easily be accepted. After all, many on the left talk quite a bit about helping the poor and providing social safety nets."

The findings:

-Conservatives donate about 30 percent more than do liberals (though, on average, conservatives earn less than liberals.)

-Conservatives are 17 percent more likely than their liberal counterparts to donate blood.

-In 2004, George W. Bush carried 24 out of 25 of the states in which charitable giving exceeded the national average.

"[I]t’s no secret that liberals are more prone to accept the notion that it’s the government’s responsibility to provide direct services to the people. While conservatives are by no means opposed to essential state-sponsored programs, they place a higher value on personal responsibility and the building of self-driven social capital."

Read more:

Nobel Prizes, Pretty worthless now-a-days

For those of you who still think the Noble Prize holds any worth, this year's Noble Prize in medicine ought to disabuse you of that notion.

This year's winner was Robert Edwards of Britain who developed in-vitro fertilization. He was selected over the favored Shinya Yamanaka (story here).

Yamanaka has done some amazing research with great potential. He figured out a way to take fibroblast cells (most abundant cells in your body, a sort of generic connective tissue) and to make them pluripotent (with the ability to become any cell in your body). These cells are referred to as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPS Cells). Not only do they allow for stem cell research without the destruction of an embryo, they also allow for new tissue to be developed which is not seen as foreign by your body (because the tissue can be grown from your own cells). In fact, Yamanaka has grown all sorts of tissue from these cells; even that of beating cardiac tissue. This is a major medical breakthrough and that is why most experts thought Yamanaka was a favorite to win the Nobel prize in medicine.

However, the researcher who developed in vitro fertilization won instead. This is much less medically interesting, and, given the political bend of the Nobel awards, it only makes sense to me if I assume it was purely political. How disappointing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"A dark and delightful sunday afternoon read"

Hot off the press, medical thriller The Ensouling is poised to move hearts. One customer reviewed:

"In this action-packed medical thriller, Petrik delivers a dark and delightful Sunday afternoon read.

Petrik's protagonist, the eminent neurosurgeon Dr. Killeen, is a man without a conscience whose egomaniacal wickedness is as perversely fun to watch as Dorian Gray's. Helped by his substantial medical and scientific talents, he lies, manipulates, and murders his way into a prominent position on the faculty of a fictional Louisville University, a financially favorable marriage, and the skirts of innumerable subordinates. His research lab--whose denizens' personal lives make for some of the book's most humorous and tenderest moments--is on the brink of a monumental discovery when a tragic accident threatens Killeen's future and his life. True to form, Killeen risks everything on a final series of daring and horrific crimes that will leave him forever scarred and leave us realizing, like Dorian, that we are witnessing a portrait of our own corruption.

As well as a knack for the swift pace and spare, descriptive language of a good thriller, Petrik posesses a facility with medical and metaphysical arcana to delight the heart of a nerd. The plausible scientific detail brings home the chilling fact that this book is set in the present, and the questions it raises are ones that doctors are grappling with even now, in this time of high hopes for clinical trials of fetal stem cell transplants: [...]. In the tradition of fathers of science fiction like H. G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke, Petrik delivers his moral bluntly, and readers put down The Ensouling both satisfied and perturbed."

Available to download on Amazon.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'm sorry Congressman, the correct answer is "What is the Bill of Rights?"

The absurd claim: "I think that there are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life."

-Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif.

The rebuttal: “Congress is subject to checks and balances by other branches of government, as well as to specific constitutional limits. The First Amendment, for example, says ‘Congress shall make no law’ on freedom of religion, speech, assembly and petition. The Second Amendment protects ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms.’ The 10th Amendment says all powers not specifically enumerated for the federal government ‘are reserved to the states, or to the people.’ Washington politicians like Stark should get familiar with the founding documents, particularly this radical Constitution whose present advocates among his constituents make him so uncomfortable. After all, every two years for the past nearly four decades, he has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution, vowing to bear ‘true faith and allegiance to the same.’”

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Map

Here's a cute story to think about as we venture through all this political turmoil:

A little girl wanted to know what the United States looked like. Her father tore a map of the United States out of his magazine and cut it into small pieces. He gave them to her and said, 'Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today...'

After some minutes, she returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly.
'Oh,' she said, 'on the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged, then our country just came together.'

Sooo... when we get Jesus back where He belongs --- our country will come together!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Behold, the Triumph of the Canine Spirit!!

I found this awe-inspiring jewel of a story on Fox News and I felt compelled to post a blog on some of the thoughts that crossed my mind thereafter.

The pictorial story featured in the Fox News story is merely a single example of a growing trend that appears to be more harmless than it really may be. This trend is a movement to personify animals as if they possess the same emotional, psychological, and spiritual capacities of human beings. For instance, the Fox story features Lucy, a paralyzed dog, who scales to the summit of Mt. Washington (2,290 feet) with the help of a dog wheelchair to become the first paralyzed fog to ascend such a distance. The heart-wrenching story concludes with Lucy’s owner commenting on how her dog is such a “go-getter.” In my humble opinion, this may be giving the dog a little too much credit. After all, it’s only a dog. Although it is an impressive feat to witness your handicapped pet succeed at such a challenging feat, it’s important to realize that it’s nothing like the drive and the passion that fuels our very own human spirits.

Just the other day, I heard a broadcast on the radio that praised the nimble efforts of local firefighters extinguishing a blaze that endangered the residents of an entire apartment complex. The report concluded with the reassurance that all pets had been safely rescued. My immediate reaction to this story was, “Pets? Really?” This response came from the realization that there was no mention of any children that were safely evacuated. It seemed like the pressing matter was whether or not the domestic animals were saved.

For some, household pets can be valuable companions. Dogs can be loyal, cats can be cuddly, and fish can be awesome too. The problem arises when an undue amount of care or attention is paid towards these animals, which can potentially place values within these pets that elevate them to the same status as humans. The distinction between man and beast lies in personhood. Animals don’t have that trait. They are beings, but they are not commensurate to human beings. They lack the ability to think, to reason, to hope, and to love because they lack interior life, a soul. That is a statement that is subject to protest since it is difficult to claim that an animal’s existence is devoid of an interior life when you cannot simply sit down with a squirrel, a wombat, or Lucy the dog over tea and crumpets to discuss the matter. Regardless of that unfortunate circumstance, I cannot leave this point to a matter of opinion: animals do not have souls, therefore they are unequal to humans.

Now, I am the first to tell you that I am no animal lover (except for the occasional non-slobbery dog or an irresistibly cute kitten), but I am also no enemy to PETA. That is, I don't run about seeking to indiscriminately abuse or exterminate animals. When I make the point that animals are not akin to human beings, it is because I believe it is an important distinction to make in a world where individuals and small circles of society hail treat these creatures with the same sort of dignity. As patrons of the earth it is the duty of humanity to respect these animals as such without forgetting that they were fundamentally placed on earth for human purposes.

I enjoy cutting into a good steak, bacon is delectable, and there’s nothing quite like barbecue chicken for a summer cookout with family and friends. My palate for processed, cooked, and seasoned animal flesh (sounds delicious if you put it that way, hm?) is in no way inspired by an insatiable hatred towards particular members of the animal kingdom. At the same time, I never find myself lamenting the death of another cow, pig, or chicken. With no strong aversions or affinities towards animals, I simply co-exist with them. It’s not because I am a ravenous carnivore or an insensitive dolt that I exhibit this sort of apathy. Rather, it’s through the acknowledgement of the essential distinction between man and beast and the natural hierarchy that follows allow me to accept that animals have been placed on this earth primarily for the good of omnivorous human beings.

This story on Lucy, the mountain-climbing canine, is a presentation on the formidability of the animal spirit, but this pales deathly in comparison to the human soul.