7 Quick Takes – Volume 17 (No Need to Argue)

— 1 —

This blog was started in the hopes that it would be a platform for all the things I had to say about pretty much anything I wanted.

What it has become is a once a week 7 quick takes.

I also feel called to spend more time and energy on the other blog, Real Catholic Love and Sex. It seems like people have a lot of misconceptions about sexuality and marriage and not many people are addressing them in a way that real people can relate to. So much of the material out there is overly dense and theological, negative and judgmental, or simply too idealistic and abstract to be of any value.

I don’t have the time or energy to write for one blog, much less two. Since this blog is no more than a vanity project anyway, I doubt I will be doing more posts than a 7QT.

— 2 —

Perhaps I spend too much time arguing on the internet. It’s easy to get worked up over things, but it can be hard to let them go.

duty_callsI usually do learn something from discussions with others, but at some point it’s time to drop it and move on. A good sign of this for me is when I start to become emotionally invested in the argument.

Besides, as Catholics we really don’t need to spend all this time and energy discussion theology. Prayer and the sacraments are far more important.


— 3 —

Excellent post from our 7 Quick Takes host on her thoughts on having more children.

My own take is that Jennifer has an excellent understanding of how Church teaching on avoiding pregnancy should be viewed. NFP is not meant to be “Catholic birth control” or “marriage insurance” or the best thing that ever happened to marriage, as some NFP advocates claim. Nor is it something the Catholic Church looks down upon, as if it were a concession to human weakness with the most faithful couples just having babies as God sends them.

The Catholic Church NEVER concedes to human weakness in matters of moral theology. To do so would be heresy, denying the power of God’s Grace to help us overcome these weaknesses. This is why NFP is not and cannot be a “Trojan Horse in the Catholic bedroom”.

Instead, the Church teaches that new life is a gift and couples should welcome it. Sometimes, however, responsible parenthood demands that couples avoid pregnancy for a time. But, as Jennifer’s article illustrates, pursuing new life is supposed to be the joyful, happy part of marriage and avoiding pregnancy is supposed to be the sacrifice. Ironically, both secular culture AND the ultratraditionalists both have it completely backwards.

This is why I believe that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to abuse NFP out of selfishness. When couples are having problems in this area, the problems are more often rooted in fear, not selfishness, which is a completely different problem. Taking a negative, judgmental tone toward couples who use NFP only makes the anxious more anxious, the faithful scrupulous, and those who aren’t there yet want to run away.

This is not meant to be anti-NFP at all. The fertility charts can be very useful in diagnosing women’s health problems, so it’s always good to learn the method and to chart, even for single women. But no couple should feel judged for following the “rules” to avoid or not following the “rules”. That’s between the two of you and God.

— 4 —

Teen ministry is usually pretty cheezy, but this is a pretty good article from LifeTeen.

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And yet another reason why we shouldn’t judge people who are doing their best to follow Church teaching, even if they aren’t as as far along as we are. Nor should we judge ourselves if we aren’t as far advanced in our spiritual lives as others.

— 5 —

An excellent observation about the U.S. political system and each party’s attitudes toward women and children.

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Holly Grigg-Spall is a U.K. citizen and is not Catholic, but her observations are relevant to Catholic discussions on the issue. A “Catholic” Vice-Presidential candidate who is obsessed with the Atheist philosophy of Ayn Rand is as much of a “Cafeteria Catholic” as one who supports gay marriage and does not oppose legalized abortion. (Interestingly, Catho-publicans forget that Joe Biden is not as supportive of gay marriage his predecessor, Dick Cheney, and that once you cut past the partisan rhetoric, Biden’s position on abortion is actually closer to Mitt Romney’s than Barack Obama’s.)

— 6 —

Yet another great reason to pray the rosary.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 6.26.17 PMIt seems vaguely sacrilegious, but insomnia was what got me started praying the rosary. Hey, what could be a better way to fall asleep than repetitive prayers? Good to know I’m not the only one.

— 7 —

But then again, maybe good sleep is one of the gifts of the rosary. So many problems are caused by poor sleep, especially for parents.

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As someone who has had anxiety issues, I can easily get into a negative feedback loop: Anxiety -> Poor sleep -> Unable to deal with life -> More anxiety. Although a good night’s sleep isn’t an official “Promise of the Rosary”, perhaps it should be?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


6 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes – Volume 17 (No Need to Argue)

  1. I’m in a similar spot as far as blogging goes. I have lots of thoughts, but real life takes precedence over writing online. Although I have been pretty active in some discussions on facebook. I do hope you keep writing especially on the other blog. I know it has been very helpful for me and others I have talked to, particularly of the very scrupulous variety.

    I did read Jennifer’s article. It’s an awesome example of faithfulness and bravery, but in some ways it also disturbs me because I doubt I would have the same fortitude in the same situation, and I think my husband would be pretty freaked out as well.

    • Actually, your comment has given me an idea for another post for the other blog.

      I really liked Jennifer’s most recent article, but I have to admit that I found some of her older material very disturbing. There is a fine line between “faithfulness and bravery” and “presumption and foolishness”, and I don’t think her older columns made that clear. They could easily be misread as promoting pursuing new life at all costs, despite health risks.

      Her more recent columns have done an excellent job of explaining the risks she thought she faced and that her and her husband understood the risks and made the decision to accept them in order to have more children. She has done a good job explaining what a personal decision it was. My understanding is that the Fulwilers are relatively affluent and have excellent family support, which makes a big difference.

      There is such a fear of life in this culture that I think that some Catholics have gone too far the other way, promoting the idea that ALL fear related to pregnancy and/or parenthood is bad, even legitimate fears. But that’s not the teaching of the Church.

      As for the guys’ perspective, I think in some ways it’s got to be harder on her husband than on her. It’s one thing to accept risk for yourself, it’s another to watch someone you love be in danger.

      • Yes exactly. ” There is a fine line between “faithfulness and bravery” and “presumption and foolishness.” They sound like they’ve gotten to a really good spot about it. But I do worry that people reading her when they have really really really good reasons to postpone possibly indefinitely might feel that somehow they are not open to life enough.

        Maybe it’s one of those things that you get the strength to deal with only when you are in the situation, but I’m pretty sure if I went through something like that my husband would insist on total abstinence or sterilization for one of us. I don’t think he would be able to deal with the thought of losing me due to a mistake in charting on our parts. And really I don’t think I could deal with leaving my kids due to it either!

      • “But I do worry that people reading her when they have really really really good reasons to postpone possibly indefinitely might feel that somehow they are not open to life enough.”

        Yes, exactly. That is my concern, too. I think her latest columns do a better job of explaining her situation, but it’s very easy to get that impression from some of the older material. Jennifer and her husband are relatively new Catholics (they don’t call it “Conversion Diary” for nothing) and that shows in some of the older material. I’ve learned a lot since I’ve started blogging, and I imagine she has too.

        One thing I’ve learned is that situations like this are where we reach the limits of what amateur bloggers can do.

        The Church’s teaching is that sterilization is never permissible. I have to admit, however, that it would be VERY tempting in that situation.

        Pope Pius XII once mentioned that in some marriages, the reasons to avoid would be so serious that total abstinence is necessary. With modern technology not available in Pius’s day, quadruple cross-checked, super conservative NFP would give the couples a high level of security without total abstinence. Nevertheless, such conservative use of the method would put a strain on most marriages.

        This is where pastoral guidance comes in. Any couple in such a serious situation needs to be working closely with a faithful and merciful priest or spiritual adviser. There is no one-size-fits-all advice. What would grow one couple in holiness would send another to divorce court.

        The purpose of the faith is not to follow a set of rules, but to bring us all closer to God. It is a life-long journey and one we cannot do alone. That’s easy to forget on the internet.

      • Yes exactly. I think you are right about a spiritual director being essential in a case like that. I know that sterilization is never acceptable, but in a situation like that I just don’t know that we would have the strength to stick to it, you know? I know the Church is right, but I know we are weak. And I know that extreme NFP for many years or total abstinence is a tough thing to get through too.

  2. I start a few Hail Mary’s too when I’m tired but can’t go to sleep, because my mind is too full, or when I wake up scared from a nightmare. (Yes, i still have those.) I think Mary’s a mother who understands.

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