Here’s what’s coming up this week…

I’m going to be received into the Catholic Church this Sunday (baptism, confirmation, and first communion).  Here’s what’s going to be going on here at the blog from now until Thanksgiving.

In the spirit of my blogging advice from yesterday, I’m going to be doing some arts blogging as a lens on some parts of my conversion/spiritual life on Thursday and Friday.  (Fairly musical theatre heavy, natch).

On Saturday, I’ll be on my anti-football hobbyhorse in honor of the Harvard-Yale game.

Sunday, I’ll probably put up a picture from the baptism sometime in the evening, and that’s all you’ll get out of me.

I don’t want to be under too much pressure to distill the Sacraments I’ll receive on Sunday into blog fodder or stories, so I’m precommitting not to write about them for at least the first few days of next week.  Instead, more arts blogging, since I took a bunch of notes when I saw the tape of British staging of Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch, and never got around to turning those notes into posts.

And, on Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting the obvious video.  You can guess, can’t you?

– — –

I know a number of you have offered your prayers for me, so I’d like to invite you to post any prayer requests for you, your family, and friends in the comments of this post and to pick one other person’s intentions to pray for sometime before now and Sunday, if you’re the praying type.

I’ll start: two weeks ago, the first of my college friends had a baby, so, if you have time, pray for baby Theodora and her parents.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as an Editorial Assistant at The American Conservative by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • Phil. A

    Nice. I’ve never commented on any of your posts and I’ve been a reader of yours for quite a bit. So I’d like to ask your prayers for my process of coming back to the Church – one that hasn’t finished yet and will probably take a long time, but God owns time and History. Your posts have been very helpful. May God should reward you richly, Leah. Thx.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    This is going to be the Best. Thanksgiving. Ever. Enjoy the days ahead. It will all fly by. Take tons of pictures. Absorb. Dream. Ponder. Laugh. Pray. Laugh some more. And then just marvel at it all. Ain’t God great?

    Praying for you, kiddo!

  • Joe

    Congrats Leah!! I’ll be praying for you this weekend and thank you so much for blogging your journey these past few years, its really been exciting to follow!!! If you would please pray for the souls of Fr. Kirk Larkin and Fr. Francis De Feydeau OSB. Two great and holy priests. Both passed away from cancer.

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  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com Beadgirl

    Congratulations! I’ll pray for you and your friends.

    If anyone is inclined to pray for me, my family and I are dealing with a large number of problems which are fairly minor on their own but up add up to big headaches, worries, and stress in the aggregate. I’d love for some help from God. Any kind of help. I’m not picky.

  • Jan

    Congratulations! I have two, a FB friend whose husband has brain cancer (pls pray for the whole family) and a friend’s newborn great-grandson who may have meningitis.

  • Dallas

    Welcome home, Leah!
    If you’re so incllned please pray that my children are given the gift of returning to the Catholic Church! I’ll keep you & yours in my prayers.

  • deiseach

    The really important and vital question has to be asked – what are you going to wear on Sunday? :-)

    Congratulations, gratitude for deciding not to be put off by all us crazy Catholics yammering on here, best wishes, and prayer request for my brother-in-law. In return, I will commit to saying the Angelus for the intentions of everyone!

  • http://seriouslywhimsical.wordpress.com Jennifer

    Hi Leah,

    You’ve probably heard about this particular news item, but considering you are about to be officially received into the Church I was wondering what your thoughts were on this murder case:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2012/1114/1224326575203.html

  • grok87

    Congratulations in advance Leah! Baby Theodora (“gift of God”) will be in my prayers as will you and Beadgirl.
    I live in the New York City area and would ask for prayers for all who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy especially those who are now homeless or those who are still without power.

  • Lori

    Congratulations Leah! May you be richly blessed as you enter the Church.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    So happy for you, Leah, and I love the little prayer exchange you’ve got going on, here. Laurel’s husband is waiting to hear back about a job. I’ll leave that intention here and pick one up!

  • http://sylvietheolog.wordpress.com Sylvie D. Rousseau

    Congratulations, Leah! I pray that you will never cease to welcome God’s blessings. Pray for my daughters who are about your age, so that they continue to be solid in the faith.

  • DoctorD

    Leah:
    For the sake of your mortal intelligence and integrity DON’T DO IT.
    STEP BACK FROM THE PRECIPICE. WALK BACK TO THE LIGHT OF REASON.
    Good lawd. Didn’t the bishops’ attitudes in the elections make the church’s position on LGBT persons crystal clear? Doesn’t the murder of the pregnant woman in Ireland make the misogyny of mother church obvious?
    Don’t hate yourself. Walk away now.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com JoAnna

      Except that the woman in Ireland could have and should have been treated. Google “principle of double effect.” It would have been morally permissible to deliver the baby, even pre-viability, if the intent was to save the mother and not directly kill the child.

      That woman was killed by medical incompetence, not abortion laws.

      • http://seriouslywhimsical.wordpress.com Jennifer

        Quote:
        “[The abortion was refused] because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.”

        Oh, yeah. Definitely no trace of religious interference there. Those silly, medically incompetent doctors…

        • deiseach

          We’re still only establishing the facts (there will be an independent investigator leading the enquiry) but everyone already seems to have their battle-lines drawn up.

          I don’t know what happened there. I don’t know if the doctors really did say what the widower says they said; I don’t know why the woman miscarried; I don’t know if she would have survived even if the pregnancy had been terminated.

          Let’s wait until we find out what exactly killed this misfortunate woman, before making her a token in the ongoing abortion legalisation campaign in my country!

          • http://seriouslywhimsical.wordpress.com Jennifer

            You’re right. The widower probably lied about what they said to further his liberalising agenda.

            … Seriously? Why does this statement not count as evidence?

          • deiseach

            I’m not calling him a liar. I would be surprised if the only reason he got was “This is a Catholic country”. I don’t know who said what and if some doctor or nurse or hospital representative gave him that as the only explanation, then yes, there needs to be answers – which is why we are setting up an official enquiry right now.

            The idea that all that is needed is immediate and unconditional abortion provision is too simple a reading of what went on – and unless you have inside knowledge other than what is coming out in the news headlines, you don’t know anything more than I do.

            Maternal mortality rates (2010)
            USA (has abortion) – 24 per 100,000/12.7 per 100,000 (depends on how you measure them)
            Ireland (doesn’t have abortion) – 6 per 100,000

            To show that this isn’t merely an artifact of the USA having a higher population and thus a higher birthrate:

            Birth rates (2012)
            USA – 13.7 per 1,000 (= 1,370 per 100,000)
            Ireland – 15.81 per 1,000 (=1,581 per 100,000)

            Therefore maternal mortality rates per birthrate:
            USA – 24 or 12.7 per 1,370 = 1.75% or 0.93%, even permitting abortion for endangerment to mother’s life or health
            Ireland – 6 per 1,581 = 0.38%, even not carrying out abortions

            So it’s not simply a question of “no abortion = murdering pregnant women”.

      • Ohtobide

        JoAnna

        You are mistaken. I don’t blame you. Many, many Catholics do not know the teaching of their Church on this subject. A direct abortion is NEVER allowed by the Catholic church, even if it is done to save the life of a woman. Delivering a baby before the age of viability is also not allowed.

        I often think that the Catholic church would not be nearly as powerful as it is if only Catholics were better informed about its teaching.

        • keddaw

          Chapter and verse, or the Catholics won’t believe you.

          All I see is Catholic A saying X and Catholic B saying not X. Prove your point with more than mere assertions please. Catechism is a good start.

          • Ohtobide

            keddaw

            I am not sure if your post is for me. You talk about Catholic A and Catholic B and I am not a Catholic.

            But if you want ‘chapter and verse’ for anything I have said just tell me what and I will try to provide it.

        • Iota

          AFAIK, Ohtobide is actually correct, sort of. And so is JoAnna. The Church, to the best of my understanding:

          Does not allow abortion. Ever. This is predicated on the general rule that it is immoral to do evil so that good man come of it (if it sounds like stupid idealism to you – people obviously do break that rule, but they should not) that abortion is the taking of an innocent life, and – therefore – evil.

          Does allow for any treatment that will foreseeably result in the death of the child but is intended to save the mother.

          The obvious question here – and I do believe we’ll need to wait for the inquest for that – is whether such treatment options existed and how exactly did the treatment go.

          That said, let’s not pretend we all don’t know situations in which medical treatments could in theory exist but it is immoral to pursue them (medical experiments without consent that could, potentially, lead to new breakthroughs in medicine; transplanting vital organs from “less useful” people). The principle isn’t any different than when a young, promising woman dies of, say, cystic fibrosis, the only possible treatment being a lung transplant but no donor being available (i.e. no one having recently died with the right pair of serviceable lungs). Heck, even if somewhere there is a person who is fighting for their life (say, after a car accident) but could be killed to provide the organ (on the principle that they will probably not make it or would have “low quality of life”) I assume most of the people commenting would not have decided to kill the “donor” to obtain said lungs…

      • http://mymusingcorner.wordpress.com Lana

        a c sectin would have risked spreading the infection.

        • R.C.

          But a pre-viable induced delivery would not have risked spreading the infection and indeed would have gotten a lot of the infected fluid and tissue out of the woman’s body along with the baby. And, a pre-viable induced delivery to save the life of the mother IS permissible in the Catholic moral view.

          Look, it’s easily summed-up: If the woman can be saved by a medical procedure (provided it’s a real healing-oriented medical procedure), then that procedure is permissible (and may indeed be obligatory) in Catholic morality.

          From what we know of this case thus far, Catholic morality holds that it is at least permissible, and might have been morally obligatory, for the doctors to induce premature delivery, despite knowing the child would not survive.

          If the laws of Ireland are badly written, so that in attempting to “be Catholic” they actually forbid something that Catholic morality permits, that is not the fault of Catholic morality, but is the fault of Irish legislators.

          And if the laws of Ireland are correctly written to be consonant with Catholic morality, but are poorly understood by the doctors obligated to live by them, that is not the fault of Catholic morality, but is the fault of those responsible for educating the doctors about such things. (I’m not sure just who that is. Hospital administrators? Medical schools?)

          • Ohtobide

            The Catholic church teaches that, as the Catechism puts it: “Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” Notice that abortion is gravely contrary to the moral law even as a means, not just as an end. It is considered an intrinsically evil act, which cannot be morally allowable even if the intentions of the person are good. A good intention does not change the nature of an intrinsically evil act.
            As Pius XII said: “to save the life of the mother is a very noble act; but the direct killing of the child as a means to such an end is illicit.”

            The doctrine of double effect does not apply here because the immediate action must be morally good or neutral and direct abortion is considered morally evil.

            Treatment of the woman that will kill the fetus is allowed when necessary but the treatment must be of the woman herself. As the old Catholic Encyclopedia article on abortion puts it, it must be “applied to her organism.”

            That is why a hospital in Phoenix recently lost the right to call itself a Catholic hospital when it carried out an abortion in order to save a woman’s life.

            However, all these things and the Catholic attitude to abortion in general are so well known that I doubt if you are disputing them. I think perhaps you would agree that the Catholic church forbids all abortion even though an abortion is a “medical procedure” but you would disagree that induced delivery of a fetus before the age of viability is forbidden, so that a D and E would never be permitted but an induction might be. Is that correct?

            If you think that please take a look at the old Catholic Encyclopedia article on abortion where it is stated quite clearly that such induction counts as killing a fetus “as directly as it would be killing a grown man directly to plunge him into a medium in which he cannot live, and hold him there till he expires.”

            They reference a decree of the Holy Office of 24th July 1895. Here it is in Denzinger no. 3298.
            And here is the English translation no. 1890a.

            Notice that a doctor who was carrying out such inductions in order to save the lives of women was forbidden to continue.

            Now the Encyclopedia article, Denzinger and the original decree are all fairly old and Catholic teaching does change (sorry, develop). If you think that Church teaching is different now please could you provide a reference where the new teaching is explained. A reference to something from the magisterium that is, not the speculations of the Anchoress or William Oddie.

          • Ohtobide

            Sorry, both the links I have given seem to go to the same page. Let me try again for the English translation.

          • R.C.

            Ohtobide:

            Do you see some way in which what you just wrote contradicts what I wrote (to which you are replying)? I don’t.

            I was letting my parenthetical “provided it’s a real healing-oriented medical procedure” do heavy duty, here; perhaps (in contradiction of my usual habit) I let it stand in for a level of detail that I should rather have fleshed out fully.

            But my intent in that phrase was to contrast between direct abortion (which is a death-inducing procedure in any event, and thus not healing-oriented) and, say, the correction of damage to a fallopian tube in the case of an ectopic pregnancy (which is a healing-oriented medical procedure, although it has the unfortunate and undesired side-effect of producing the death of the child).

            So the question in that case is: Does the premature induced delivery of the child count as putting the child into a medium in which they cannot survive? Here is one of the cases in which the advance of technology can surely make a difference in the circumstances, between 1895 (the year of the Holy Office decree you cite) and now. What was the survival rate of a pre-term delivery in 1895 at any given week of gestation? What is it now? There is clearly a difference.

            I suspect that if the question were submitted for review now, a good deal of review would be given to the question of whether the doctor was neglecting all care and giving the pre-term child up for dead instantly upon delivery, or attempting to save the life of the child, only to have them die due to failure of technology. Not that “heroic” efforts are always morally required, or that there’s any serious likelihood of success for such a very-undeveloped body. But…we’d have said that about a kid at 30 weeks’ gestation, not too many generations ago, and now here we are with 21 weeks being proven survivable. Will we one day, if we make the effort, be able to artificially/externally gestate a fetus rescued from an ectopic pregnancy? It seems likely…if we make the effort to develop the technology. And in such a case, one would be removing the child from the mother not in order to plunge them into an unsurvivable medium, but to place them into one wherein the chances of saving both child and mother are higher than the chances if the child remains in the mother. The removal would then become a moral obligation.

            I point all this out to say that a change in attitude from 1895 to now need not reflect any development (let alone change) in Catholic teaching, but may reflect a change in the circumstances to which the unchanged principles are applied.

          • R.C.

            Ohtobide:

            One other relevant detail: When this Savita arrived at the hospital, she was already undergoing a spontaneous abortion (a.k.a. “miscarriage”). I think that probably has bearing on whether an induced delivery, which would speed up an already-inevitable process, would be licit under Catholic morality in this case. To cover all the relevant bases: If it wasn’t already licit, as I argue that it was, this detail would flip it into the “licit” column; if it was already licit, this detail wouldn’t matter; if there was any question about whether it was licit, this detail should settle the question.

            So I stand by my earlier evaluation: So far as I can see, the doctors did not behave in a Catholic way if they did indeed refuse to hasten delivery. If the laws of Ireland require that they act as they did, then the laws do not correspond to Catholic morality; if the laws of Ireland do not require it then the doctors complied neither with Catholic morality nor, probably, the laws of Ireland.

          • Ohtobide

            I do not understand the point you are making in your first post. You originally said ” a pre-viable induced delivery to save the life of the mother IS permissible in the Catholic moral view.” I presented evidence that the Church does not allow it. Your answer is that the age of viability has decreased and will probably be reduced even more in the future. You are right about the age of viability of course but how is that relevant? A fetus of 17 weeks may be viable in the future but it is not viable now.

            As to whether speeding up an inevitable process would be allowed I refer you to the Response to the Theological Faculty of Marianopolis of 5th March 1902 (Denzinger 3358) concerning the circumstances in which acceleration of delivery is allowed.

            In Savita Halappanavar’s case (I refuse to refer to her as ‘this Savita’) the expulsion of the fetus was not inevitable anyway. The death of the fetus was inevitable but the Catholic church does not allow any acceleration of an inevitable death.

            I would like to ask again whether you know of any statement of the magisterium that supports your view.

    • Val

      Give it up. Leah sees all the same things we do, and nothing has shaken her conscience or given her pause. She’s happy in her bubble of musical theater, moral abstractions and the prayerful echo chamber. She’d rather argue books than people, and is comfortably aloof from the real fights she initiates but will not engage.

      If she mattered, if her voice carried any real weight, we might be concerned that she has so happily taken up the standard of the enemy. But she does not, and we need not.

      Done. Enjoy your wafer.

      • Mike R

        Val, yes, I’m done too. Maybe it’s the still-raw anger I feel against Catholic Bishops in my state of Maryland who aggressively campaigned against treating gay couples equally under CIVIL law, but I hope the wafer tastes bitter.

        • Therese Z

          No such thing as a “gay couple.” Only a “gay pair.” Two of the same.

          Opposites, man and woman, XX and XY, can mate. That’s marriage. That’s it.

          Tough noogies. Fairness is not the issue. Biology is.

          • R.C.

            Therese:

            Yikes. Y’know, there are some folks to whom “tough noogies” is enjoyably bracing (I’m one). But they tend to be a minority of readers.

            This is one of those situations in which one can be correct on the merits but preventing one’s audience from being converted through the style of presentation. Not everyone who writes like St. Jerome is therefore a saint.

      • andy

        Apparently she matters enough to take the time to state she doesn’t?

      • LeRoi

        How self-congratulatory.

    • Niemand

      Leah, if the murder via gross malpractice of the young woman in Ireland doesn’t convince you that Catholicism is not right for you, consider how quickly people have jumped in to “explain” why the Catholic church’s position is absolutely right and they are in no way to blame for this act. You’re a young woman. It could be you dying in agony because a Catholic hospital refuses to provide a life saving abortion some day.

      • Edward

        Have humans evolved since Genesis 3? Our lives are temporary, but our souls are eternal. Where are our souls when we know for sure when we are doing an evil act? Are we innocent or guilty?

        • Alan

          Yes, of course they have. Our souls are as temporary as our lives and they are in the same place when we know we are doing an evil act as a good one – in our minds.

        • Niemand

          Where are our souls when we know for sure when we are doing an evil act?

          Are you asking on behalf of the doctors who stood aside and allowed Halappananavar to die in agony or on behalf of the priests who rape young children?

          • Edward

            Doctors, priests, professors, judges, journalists, the brain power is laughable compared to the Creator.

          • Niemand

            If the Creator wants to weigh in on this issue, I’m ready to listen to what She has to say. Oddly enough, She’s silent. Almost as if there’s no one there…But even if there were a Creator, what foolishness leads you to believe that She’d be on your side?

      • Brian

        Ugh. Atheists just aren’t too bright, you know?

      • R.C.

        To reiterate my earlier comment,

        A pre-viable induced delivery would not have risked spreading the infection and indeed would have gotten a lot of the infected fluid and tissue out of the woman’s body along with the baby. And, a pre-viable induced delivery to save the life of the mother IS permissible in the Catholic moral view.

        It’s easily summed-up: If the woman can be saved by a medical procedure (provided it’s a real healing-oriented medical procedure), then that procedure is permissible (and may indeed be obligatory) in Catholic morality.

        From what we know of this case thus far, Catholic morality holds that it is at least permissible, and might have been morally obligatory, for the doctors to induce premature delivery, despite knowing the child would not survive.

        If the laws of Ireland are badly written, so that in attempting to “be Catholic” they actually forbid something that Catholic morality permits, that is not the fault of Catholic morality, but is the fault of Irish legislators.

        And if the laws of Ireland are correctly written to be consonant with Catholic morality, but are poorly understood by the doctors obligated to live by them, that is not the fault of Catholic morality, but is the fault of those responsible for educating the doctors about such things. (I’m not sure just who that is. Hospital administrators? Medical schools?)

        • Ohtobide

          The Catholic church teaches that, as the Catechism puts it: “Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” Notice that abortion is gravely contrary to the moral law even as a means, not just as an end. It is considered an intrinsically evil act, which cannot be morally allowable even if the intentions of the person are good. A good intention does not change the nature of an intrinsically evil act.

          As Pius XII said: “to save the life of the mother is a very noble act; but the direct killing of the child as a means to such an end is illicit.”

          The doctrine of double effect does not apply here because the immediate action must be morally good or neutral and direct abortion is considered morally evil.

          Treatment of the woman that will kill the fetus is allowed when necessary but the treatment must be of the woman herself. As the old Catholic Encyclopedia article on abortion puts it, it must be “applied to her organism.”

          That is why a hospital in Phoenix recently lost the right to call itself a Catholic hospital when it carried out an abortion in order to save a woman’s life.

          However, all these things and the Catholic attitude to abortion in general are so well known that I doubt if you are disputing them. I think perhaps you would agree that the Catholic church forbids all abortion, even though an abortion is a “medical procedure”, but you would disagree that induced delivery of a fetus before the age of viability is forbidden, so that a D and E would never be permitted but an induction might be. Is that correct?

          If you think that, please take a look at the old Catholic Encyclopedia article on abortion where it is stated quite clearly that such induction counts as killing a fetus “as directly as it would be killing a grown man directly to plunge him into a medium in which he cannot live, and hold him there till he expires.”

          They reference a decree of the Holy Office of 24th July 1895. Here it is in Denzinger no. 3298.

          And here is the English translation no. 1890a.

          Notice that a doctor who was carrying out such inductions in order to save the lives of women was forbidden to continue.

          Now the Encyclopedia article, Denzinger and the original decree are all fairly old and Catholic teaching does change (sorry, develop). If you think that Church teaching is different now please could you provide a reference where the new teaching is explained. A reference to something from the magisterium that is, not the speculations of the Anchoress or William Oddie.

  • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com JoAnna

    Congratulations, Leah!

  • http://moralmindfield.wordpress.com Brian Green

    Blessings to you for your first sacraments! Blessings to baby Theodora and family! And if anyone can spare a prayer for some job interviews I have I would greatly appreciate it!

  • Cam

    Congratulations, Leah.

    I have a question regarding your baptismal date. In the parish in which I attend RCIA, baptisms are only done during the Easter season, except in cases of emergency, of course. The catechists gave the impression that this is when baptisms should take place. Do you know anything about this?

    • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com/ Robert King

      The normal custom is to initiate (baptize, confirm, admit to communion) adults at the Easter vigil, but adults may be initiated at any time “for serious pastoral needs,” as the RCIA ritual puts it.

      Catholic Answers has a good explanation.

    • Kristen inDallas

      It’s fairly common in big cities. The fact that some parishes could not accomodate everyone requesting RCIA if they only held it once per year constitute a serious need, even if it isn’t a personal emergency.

  • http://www.oceanofocd.com JRM

    Leah, I wish you the best for the big day. Your writing has been very helpful and inspiring to me as a young man returning to the Church. Who knew the world could be so beautiful. Please pray for my girlfriend, who is an atheist, and our relationship. I will pray for you.

  • Solarcat

    Congrats Leah. I think all those sacraments are much more deeply appreciated as an adult then when cradle born Catholics receive them at such young ages. Continue to enjoy your journey in your new faith.

    It would be nice, for me, to live long enough, and if we still have this kind of social media around to see where your journey has taken you 50 years from now. I did a bit of reverse from you in my middle 20′s going from RC to UU and now around 50 years later I’ve added back some of the RC and am pleased I’ve been able to do that.

    If I had had a daughter I’d have loved to name her Theodora. I’m not totally sure why. My 1st name is Theodore and that is part of it, but I’ve always liked Theodora as a name.

    Prayers would be nice for my son and grandchildren who have been going through difficult times the past couple of years. Will keep you and others here in my prayers.

  • keddaw

    And Johnny Lee Miller!

    “pray for baby Theodora and her parents”

    As a relatively sensible person, what exactly do you think praying can/has/will ever achieve? Do you have any evidence of prayer ever doing anything apart from making the person praying thinking they are doing some good when, in fact, they have zero impact on the actual outcome?

    I’m not saying this to be snarky, but simply as an outside observer it does seem as if you’re jumping the shark with both eyes tightly shut and your fingers in your ears shouting “la-la-la I can’t hear you…”

    • http://mymusingcorner.wordpress.com Lana

      I have seen miracles. I saw a boy, completely blind, see after praying for him in a small group in a house. (no, he it was not a faith gathering or anything to do with health, wealth, prosperity. it was just a few friends and someone felt led to pray about the blind situation)

      I could go on and on about miracles. In fact, prayer is the only thing that has kept me in Christianity at all. So much of the bible makes no sense to me, but I can come up with scientific answers to everything I’ve seen.

      • DoctorD

        And I have a bridge for sale….

        • Mark Shea

          Love it. Accusation of fingers in ears and “La la la. I can’t hear you.” Fake Question asked. Question answered from experience. Response: “La la la. I can’t hear you. I refuse to look. You are a liar. Not listening.” Because we all know that religious believers are fools who will tell themselves anything to prop up their pre-conceived notions while atheists are hard-headed rationalists who look the evidence in the face and follow the Truth no matter the cost.

          • ACN

            Sure Mark. Every comment someone makes on the internet without an iota of evidence to back it up must be true. In fact, the fact that it’s an incredible claim presented without evidence, must in fact be evidence to support it!

            It’s not our fault that it’s a problem for your omnipotent deity that he never seems to cure anyone of any disease that people can’t recover from on their own. Or if he does, it’s always in some dubious “I SAW IT HAPPEN!!11!” comment on the internet, and never in front of a real doctor. Have your deity call me when he decides to heal an amputee, then we’ll talk.

          • Iota

            (comment nesting problem)
            ACN,

            > and never in front of a real doctor

            Just for the record: I don’t mind people not believing in miracles. I have never seen anything I would publicly call a miracle with the intention of convincing anyone to theism/Christianity/Catholicism (I’m not even sure that approach works).

            That said the “I only see ‘evidence’ from random, untrustworthy comments on the Internet approach” is something that just boggles my mind. As a rule you only see stuff you are actually looking for. If I participate in a debate about archaeology, someone offers a hypothesis and I say “Well, I haven’t seen any REPUTABLE sources backing THAT up” the obvious next question is: “how much reading have you done, Iota”? Because if I only read, say Wikipedia entries, I’m probably not qualified to say that a hypothesis is untrustworthy because I have seen no basis for it, because I have not looked.

            In other words: have you read, say, reports by the ? I assume you didn’t and probably also don’t consider them trustworthy in the first place (although, form what cursory reading I’ve done, the commission is supposedly intentionally skewered towards scepticism). Or say stories like this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/content/articles/2007/12/07/pq_faith_healing_feature.shtml (I assume that you’d say Ms. June Clarke either faked it so well that the system first gave her benefits or that she experience spontaneous, explainable healing)

            Notice, I’m not even arguing that those kinds of cures prove God’s existence for example (personally I am of the opinion miracles prove nothing to anyone except the person affected). All I take umbrage with is the “it’s always in some dubious “I SAW IT HAPPEN!!11!” comment on the internet, and never in front of a real doctor.” part…

          • Iota

            Crappy HTML failure. Should have been: ave you read, say, reports by the International Medical Committee of Lourdes?

          • ACN

            Ah, Lourdes.

            Where the mother of god herself appeared a peasant girl 18 times, and couldn’t manage to communicate anything more useful than “pray, do penance, and check out the sweet spring water”. As I recall, didn’t it only took like one appearance of her son to give Paul the inspiration to actually write a significant quantity of theologically significant work. Is there some dose-equivalence between marian vs. jesusian apparitions that might explain this difference?

            More importantly, if the waters of Lourdes actually had magical powers, wouldn’t you think that it would be about as difficult for the magical waters to miraculously re-attach severed limbs as it would be to cure paralysis or blindness or whatever things the 67 or so folks claim to have been miraculously cured of?

          • Iota

            ACN,
            Re: apparitions I’m assuming most of this is rhetorical questions with a liberal dose of snark. If these are really questions, please confirm that.

            Re hearings: Catholic theology holds that there is no such thing as “magical powers” related to God. People can be healed just as well by going to Lourdes as by praying in their backyard (if God so chooses and they have faith) and can not be healed despite going to Lourdes (if God so chooses). They can be healed while not being Catholic, just as well as they can never be healed while being Catholic. I.e. there is no action-result guarantee. And the general problem of why God just doesn’t heal everybody and be done with it had been around since 30 AD I guess (I remember hearing about an Early Church case – I cant source that now – where those who had NOT been healed bodily but still remained Christians were specifically being applauded as witnesses to faith)

            Frankly, I have no idea whether anyone had been healed from an amputation recently – I haven’t been collecting data (this sounds outrageous, I know, but we are talking about standards of evidence and evidence involves research, right?). I know a historical report of that mind of miracle you won’t care much about (Miracle of Calanda).

            I have no doubts that’s, in principle, no less possible than a resurrection Assuming it doesn’t happen: I have no idea why. (I know the standard atheist answer would be “duh, because God doesn’t exist, stupid”). Though, frankly, I have no idea why miracles happen at all, either.

          • Free Thinker

            To ACN,
            I find the old amputees argument not a good argument for atheists to put forward.
            Now what are amputees?
            To amputate – to cut off surgically.
            One person causing the loss of limbs of another person (in rare cases it is one and the same person)
            It is caused by people. You go to a doctor and he chops off your leg to save your life – due to gangrene, diabetes etc..
            Going to the doctor to have your leg chopped off is 100% predictable.
            The outcome was 100% expected – the doctor chops off your leg and you instantly become an amputee.

            So for the atheist to ask why does not God heal amputees, is like asking why doesn’t God intervene in any or all “HUMAN CAUSED” (see context above) injury/accident/operations.

            It is a stale argument atheists use.
            The atheist principle is therefore:
            If one man causes injury or otherwise to another man, either on purpose or by accident, why doesn’t God heal the victim/patient.
            Are you suggesting that God should intervene in every piece of suffering/accident/surgery?

            To fix the problem are you suggesting that God removes all those who cause suffering?
            Have you caused suffering to another?

          • Free Thinker

            ACN

            Lourdes.

            Have you read about Dr Carrel?
            This unbeliever scientist WITNESSED a miracle personally before his own eyes.

            Dr Carrel’s credentials at the time were very significant among his peers.

            Dr Carrel wrote of what he saw.

      • R.C.

        My mother’s friend from church had M.S.; she couldn’t walk down a hallway without pausing in the middle to sit propped on the wall and rest.

        She complained to Jesus about it, pointed out she wouldn’t be able to go on teaching Sunday School this way.

        So God told her to go to one of these faith-healing services…in fact, one of the famous-name ones; the guy was in town that month.

        She went, but the famous-name fellow never prayed for her or anything special. God told her to leave early; she started leaving. As she was leaving, she felt something happening in her body. Long story short, the M.S. vanished over the next few days or so. Doctors confirmed (so far as one can) the result: Apparently it’s gone. That’s a few years back.

        She’s teaching an over-50 aerobics class now. I’m happy for her. This kind of thing happens.

        Now, of course, the whole event is scientifically explicable: It was a spontaneous remission of advanced long-term M.S.

        These things happen in the natural course of things. It would always have happened…because the molecular-level events were triggered by atomic-level events, which are ultimately the outcome of quantum-level events. And these, if you’re a determinist, are traceable in principle back to the Big Bang; and if you’re not a determinist, they’re traceable in principle to the laws of quantum mechanics.

        Of course, if you’re a determinist Theist, then you observe that God foresaw her prayers and “detonated” (so to speak) the Big Bang at exactly the trajectories He desired to produce this particular outcome billions of years later. What difference if He causes it directly, or with billions of years’ planning-ahead?

        And if you’re a non-determinist Theist, you observe that God wrote the laws of quantum mechanics and in one way or another determines the outcome of every seemingly probabilistic quantum-level event.

        The problem with all this is not that miracles aren’t reported. They are.

        And it’s not that there aren’t a lot of really surprising and inexplicable events left over, even after the hoaxers have all been exposed. There are.

        The problem is that, to quote C.S.Lewis, “Nature is an accomplished hostess.” When a supernatural event imposes upon nature from outside her, it ceases to look supernatural the moment it enters her. Indeed, it ceases to be supernatural (except with respect to causation) the moment it enters her. It’s like a meteorite which, having fallen from the heavens and landed in a shallow pond, now looks green and gray because it takes on the hues of the light filtering through the water of the pond.

        So of course miraculous water from the rock makes you wet, and miraculous fire from heaven burns you, and miraculously-multiplied bread fills your stomach and pads your waistline. And anyone who says, “it’s just water” or “it’s just fire” or “it’s just bread” or “it’s just a spontaneous healing of eyesight / remission of M.S. / regeneration of a chopped-off-ear” is right, so far as it goes. Hold a thermometer up, take pictures: There is no illusion. It’s plain old matter. Once the miracle is “inside” Nature, it is a part of her.

        So what’s the difference between a miracle and something that “just happens?” (Let us set aside for a moment the sense in which nothing “just happens.”) Lewis addresses this, too. He says that people who know God the best will know whether it is in His character to have done such a thing. Those folk smile at these events — when they see them, which some never do, and others no more than once in a lifetime, and only a very few multiple times — and say, “Thank you, Father” and go on with life.

        At any rate, once a miracle has happened, one is always able to register it a purely material phenomenon. One can even call it an absurdly low-probability event. (But if it’s low-probability enough, then the term “thermodynamic miracle” raises its head, which is a less-than-reassuring appropriation of language!)

  • http://ayearoflivingadventurously.wordpress.com Emily

    Praying for you, of course, and the other intentions posted here.
    I am excited to see what musicals pop up.

  • Eddie S

    Please pray for the love of my life, my wife of 32 years, who died two years ago last Thursday.

    Leah, did you adopt a confirmation name/saint? If so, would you be willing to share with us the who and why?

    God bless.

  • Seamus

    Mazel tov!

  • Noe

    Your thoughts and feelings on rugby?…The Science has determined through extensive research and testing that rugby is related in truth, beauty and goodness to hurling, while football is both stupid and ugly.

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  • Mike Melendez

    What was keddaw saying? All I heard was “la-la-la I can’t hear you…”.

    His Peace, Leah. Never stop studying. The well is very deep.

  • Daniel W

    God bless you, Leah! I’ll be praying for (and with) you this Sunday.

    I, too, am interested in finding out your confirmation saint, if you care to share….

  • jenesaispas

    Prayers said.
    Sounds like a great week (although I don’t like Frankenstein, Cumberbatch is a good actor:).

  • TerryC

    Congratulations Leah. Please pray for a special intention. (For non-Catholics that means pray for an intention that the requester doesn’t want to state publicly. They know what it is and so does God. The prayer of the petitioner is as effective as any prayer, even though they don’t know the specific intention.)
    By the way double-blind studies have been done on prayer and show that they are indeed effective. So either you believe in some kind of ESP, New Age, Sci-Fi telepathic/telekinetic force involved or you believe in God. Good luck with the New Age, Sci-Fi telepathic/telekinetic force thing.

  • DoctorD

    You want to belong to this club?
    “Barnesville teen denied Catholic confirmation after Facebook post supporting gay marriage”
    http://www.parkrapidsenterprise.com/event/article/id/34896/group/homepage/

    • Brian

      Most Catholics here would probably well up with some pride over that story, DoctorD, so sorry. Me, I am a bit shocked by it. Just a while ago, a priest was reprimanded for denying communion to a lesbian Buddhist apostate. At the time, I was outraged that a priest would be disciplined for doing the right thing, but I was persuaded by those Catholics who said that the priest nevertheless did not act in accord with the protocol of the Church. But now, I guess, it’s okay for a priest to deny Confirmation to a kid? I dunno.

      • R.C.

        It may or may not be okay; there’s a procedure for everything and the question is whether the priest followed the correct procedure with respect to the kid.

        My understanding is that there was indeed something procedurally off-kilter with respect to the lesbian Buddhist apostate, although I think most folk respect the intent of the priest. There’s such a thing as having the right intentions, but botching the execution.

        But I know next-to-nothing about either case. A good canonist (someone like Ed Peters) familiar with the cases would be able to answer definitively.

        When it comes to Canon Law…well, there’s a lot of it. It’s like the U.S. tax code in ways. Some questions have really obvious answers. (Q: “Is it okay to pay no taxes on a million dollars’ unearned income last year?” A: “No.” Q: “Is it okay to give a consecrated host to P.Z.Meyers even though I don’t know what he plans to do with it, since whatever he does, it won’t be me doing it?” A: “Not unless you already consumed it a week ago.”) But other questions can get quite tricky and tangled, as you might imagine.

    • R.C.

      Brian’s correct on this re: Catholic reactions.

      And, is that so unreasonable? It’s nice, for a change, to see truth-in-advertising.

      One receives Confirmation after declaring that one believes and professes everything that the Catholic Church in her Magisterial authority believes and professes to be true: The whole Catholic faith, soup-to-nuts.

      (I wonder where that expression comes from, “soup-to-nuts?” Funny expression. Anyway…)

      So it seems only a sign of taking the matter seriously that the priest or bishop should say, “Hey, don’t go lying to God, or me, or everyone else, or yourself and saying you believe in accord with the Church, when you actually don’t.”

      Now the issue could actually be more complex than that.

      The kid might actually believe that…lemme see, here…something like, “Sacramental marriage, being a thing ordained by God like maleness and femaleness, is impossible for anyone other than a man and a woman. But some form of civil union, optionally if confusingly called ‘gay marriage,’ ought to be available to gay couples (or trios, or crowds) in order to make things like hospital visitation, power-of-attorney, inheritance, and the like more readily available. Such purely contractual arrangements are already available to tennis partners, law partners, business partners, and chess partners, and it would truly be a failure of equal protection if they were explicitly denied to sex partners. And since more sex partners are interested in pursuing such arrangements than tennis, law, business, and chess partners, it’s reasonable to draw up a standard set of forms and make available an expedited process.”

      The kid could take a view like that, and express it in less detail on the Facebook post, and what would happen is that a faithful bishop would want to delay confirmation until the exact nature of the kid’s views was determined, to see if he did or did not thereby contradict a teaching of the Church. If, in the end, he didn’t, I imagine that Confirmation would proceed as originally planned.

  • Erin

    Praying for you and all the intentions here. You are clearly a target of attack, not just verbal, so I will especially pray for your clarity, faith, and strength. The Truth exists, and we can know Him.

    • Alan

      His name is L Ron Hubbard

  • http://branemrys.blogspot.com Brandon Watson

    Definitely congratulations; it is quite a magnificent experience. The Baptism always seems the most overwhelming at the time, but I’ve found that Confirmation very much grows on one over time: among other things it’s the sign of moral battle, that good does not magically descend in utopia but starts with human beings as they are, flawed, foolish, and sometimes dreadfully misguided, and works its way outward from within; that even in the midst of gracious gift the good has to be fought for, both within and without; that it is worth fighting for, and remains so no matter how often we ourselves, or anyone else, fail to be worthy of it. To adapt an image used by Philippa Foot to an end somewhat different than she had in mind, it’s a permanent mark and reminder that none of us are worthy even to be in virtue’s army, but that we still may and must volunteer, and that we must do so not merely in our own heads but also as a community, in view of a community, and for the sake of a community. And, of course, it is many other things.

  • http://www.jrganymede.com Adam G.

    Anti-football hobby horse? Sometimes you are less pro-equality than you are anti-man.

  • Mark Shea

    You want to belong to this club?
    “Barnesville teen denied Catholic confirmation after Facebook post supporting gay marriage”

    Always mysterious when an atheist says, “These bronze age magic rituals signifying assent to the Church’s teaching are a waste of time–and I am very angry when somebody who does not assent to the Church’s teaching is not allowed to participate in these bronze age magic rituals.” One does sense a certain lack of grip.

    • Will

      Like the Catholic-baiters take on “women’s ordination”… “TheChurch is nothing but a nefarious cabal whose only purpose is to CONTROL people! And even worse, they won’t let women be part of it!”

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  • Nick R

    I am sending one (1) internet hug and hoping you don’t read the comments on this post because you ought only to be considering happy and joyous things at this time. :)

  • Jez

    Leah, you will be in my prayers. If you’ve found peace and contentment through Christ and the Church He founded then i wish you well. Remember, its not about what other people think about how you live your life. Its about whay you think about how you live your life. The world’s full of people who lecture on being free to choose whatever they want, yet for some reason the choice you’re making is the one choice they’re not willing to tolerate.
    Your first Sacraments will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, i can promise you. God bless you.

  • Steve S

    Congratulations, Leah! May you continue to give glory to God by your faithful witness. To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, please pray for my sister who is going through some difficult times.

  • http://www.whatkidsarereading.wordpress.com Laura

    Welcome Home, Leah, and God Bless. I have been happily at home in the Catholic church since 1999.

  • http://www.brutallyhonest.org Rick

    Congrats Leah… it’s exciting to see yet another seeker finding home in the Catholic Church… would you and your readers lift up my two sons (Ryan and Richard) and pray that they too would do the same.

    Thanks much.

  • WSquared

    Congratulations, Leah! I’ll be praying for you. :)

  • Free Thinker

    Dear Leah,
    Congratulations.
    You’ll get a mention in my family’s prayers down here in Perth Australia which in the future.
    We get to see tomorrow before you :-)
    The journey you’re on is amazing and never boring.
    Truth matters.
    God bless

  • http://equusnomveritas.blogspot.com/ JC

    Congratulations and welcome into the Church. May you find lots of room to grow and bloom here.


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