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Same-sex “marriage” is, in the words of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, “a tragic error”

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said it as well as anyone when he said that the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex “marriage”,  “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us.”

“Marriage is a natural institution with a meaning that precedes both state and religion.  From the beginning, the sexual complementarity of men and women is the basis of a unique communion that expresses something of the image and likeness of God who is a Triune communion of Persons.  We further believe that Christ raised marriage between a baptized woman and man to be a sacrament, an efficacious sign of and participation in the very mystery of Christ and the Church,” the Archbishop further told Our Sunday Visitor.

Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent said that the majority in the decision “discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.”  Even Brian Beutler of the New Republic, who is in favor of the ruling, wrote in that liberal publication, that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s was “a muddled, unconvincing opinion.”

Regardless, same-sex “marriage” is now allowed in all 50 states.  Such a thing was inconceivable even 25 years ago.  Let us hope that when Pope Francis comes to the United States in a couple of months and meets with President Obama and addresses Congress and the United Nations that he does not forget to remind all that, as I said in my last blog, sodomy is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance.

Maureen Williamson

The Pope Should Take Note of What Catholics Really Do Need to Be Reminded

As you may have noticed, I’ve been doing more reviews of children’s books and more news blogs lately.  I’ve just felt that I – and my readers – needed a rest from the depressing issues of the day which, more and more, end up being resolved in ways diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching.

But I guess it’s time to make a comment or two about a what is happening in the world beginning with the Pope’s encyclical.

Whether one agrees or disagrees that global warming is a fact is not a matter of faith and morals.  Therefore in a world where the Church must fight against abortion and same-sex “marriage”, which are matters of faith and morals, why make the environment the focus of an encyclical?  I doubt whether there is any Catholic, either conservative or liberal, who doesn’t have a healthy respect for God’s gift of this earth to us.  Beyond saying that, the Pope should stay out of the controversy.

On the other hand, the United States Supreme Court is likely to rule shortly in favor of the “right” of same-sex marriage.  Supposedly-Catholic Ireland just voted in favor of it.  This is an issue on which there is no theological argument.  Sodomy is one of the sins that cry to heaven for vengeance.

Perhaps Pope Francis should issue an encyclical or, even a major statement, reiterating this in no uncertain terms.  Many Catholics need to be reminded.

Maureen Williamson

An Ageless Story for Children

little house

I discovered a new – for me anyway – children’s book today.  I don’t ever remember that we had The Little House written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton when I was a child and I don’t remember coming across it either when I scouted children’s books for the Conservative Book Club or when I edited Homeschooling Today, which is too bad because it is a delight.  Not to mention a story with a point as relevant today as it was over 70 years ago when it was first published and won the prestigious Caldecott Medal.

“Once upon a time there was a Little House way out in the country,” begins our tale.

“This Little House shall never be sold for gold or silver and she will live to see our great-great-grandchildren’s great-great-grandchildren living in her,” proclaimed the man who built her.

We witness with both words and pictures the idyllic country life day and night, season by season of the Little House. Then little by little things change.  First it is horseless carriages, then a new road, then houses and buildings and stores.  Soon the Little House is surrounded by a city.  “Now she couldn’t tell when Spring came, or Summer or Fall or Winter.”

The story of how things change with more and more urbanization isn’t a new or original one; but for most children it is a foreign one.  The Little House helps them understand the beauty and simplicity of country living and how city living differs.

The Little House has a happy ending – hooray!  Three years ago the publisher brought out a 70th anniversary edition which includes a new introduction by Virginia Lee Burton’s son, noted sculptor Aris Demetrios, and a bonus audio CD of the story (which I have not heard).

This is an ageless story with wonderful text and illustrations.

Maureen Williamson





The Intelligent Catholic’s Guide News and Notes for Catholics

what do you really wantIgnatius Press and Magnificat have three new titles in their Catholic children’s line:  Let’s Pray the Rosary, A Missal for Little Ones, and Catholic Saints for Children…Wyoming Catholic College has announced that it will not participate in federal student loan and grant programs.  “By abstaining from federal funding programs, we will safeguard our mission from unwarranted federal involvement – an involvement increasingly at odds with our Catholic beliefs, the content of our curriculum, and our institutional practices,” said college president, Kevin Roberts….Father Robert Barron’s latest is a commentary on 2 Samuel, part of the Brazos Theological Commentary series….Tan Books is now the exclusive publisher for the American Chesterton Society.…In What Do You Really Want?  St. Ignatius Loyola and the Art of Discernment author Jim Manney shows the faithful how to separate what’s imperative in life from what’s irrelevant or distracting.

Maureen Williamson

For Your Children: A story about a family that is a wonderful example for us all

sarah and simon

David R. Godine is a small publisher founded in 1970 which, unlike many publishers today, has remained independent.  A few years ago a children’s bookseller recommended Edward Ardizzone’s Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint, first published in 1965, to one of their editors.   If it is not in print, “please do all you can to publish it,” the bookseller urged.  Luckily for us, Godine has done so – something I doubt a large publisher that is part of a conglomerate would have done.

Edward Ardizzone is both author and illustrator of Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint as well as many other children’s books.  Although born in Vietnam in 1900, he spent most of his life in England.  In 1956 he was awarded the first Kate Greenaway Award for the year’s most distinguished work in book illustration.

Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint was first published in 1965 and tells the story of two children and their family including their struggling artist father.   The family is poor; but Sarah and Simon’s father is painting “a big picture which he called his masterpiece.”

“Somebody will be sure to buy it for lots of money,” he tells his wife when they are in great need of money.

The portrayal of this poor; but happy and loving family is most attractive.  The descriptions and stylish duotone pictures capture a bygone era when the family was the center of society and when even young children did their part.  The two children in the title are especially likable and their efforts to help their parents form a major part of a plot that is sure to appeal to children.  There is a predictably happy ending, of course.

I recommend adding Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint to your children’s library.

Maureen Williamson

Musings and Recommendations from The Intelligent Catholic’s Guide

After the Irish vote approving same-sex “marriage” I couldn’t help but think of all the Irish who were, at worst, killed and tortured, and, at best, treated like second class citizens because of their faith.

Interesting piece by Elizabeth Adams in the National Catholic Register called, “How Catholic Ireland Became the First Country to Vote for Same-Sex ‘Marriage’.”  She reports that an American non-profit called Atlantic Philanthropies donated “approximately $17 million” to “the main groups who were part of the Yes Equality Campaign group.”  Her piece makes for interesting reading.

brideshead revisistedC-Fam is reporting that “the White House is quietly moving forward with a policy change that will require all charitable humanitarian groups to accept LGBT applicants in order to qualify for government funding, even religious groups with sincere religious objections.”  Surprise, surprise.

“Is it time for the Benedict option?” asks Father Dwight Longenecker, referring to T. S. Eliot’s  (and others) idea that “after the disintegration of Western society, civilization would be conserved and restored by a new monastic movement.”  I don’t think something like this is far away.

Tom Piatak in his Chronicles blog reminds us that May 28 is the 70th anniversary of the publication of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.  It is my favorite novel.  I’ve recommended it before, and I’ll recommend it again here.

Maureen Williamson

Two More Court Loses

Two more court loses for Catholic entities who have challenged the Obama administration’s HHS Mandate forcing these entities to pay for employee medical insurance that provides abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations.  The DC Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges by the Archdiocese of Washington and Priests for Life.  The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Notre Dame.  The National Catholic Register quotes the Archdiocese of Washington as saying it “would very likely be appealing the ‘erroneous’ decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Things are fast going downhill for Catholics in this modern world.  Ten years ago who could have predicted it?  President Barack Obama is responsible for much of what has happened recently; although, of course, it has been building for decades.  I leave you with the thought that, in his own words, the President’s “first job [as a community organizer] was funded by the [Catholic Church’s] Campaign for Human Development.”

Remember that the next time the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asks for a donation.

Maureen Williamson

The Intelligent Catholic’s Guide News and Notes for Catholics

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has a new book from Image: The Catholic Advantage: Why Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful….Sacra Liturgia USA 2015, an international conference on liturgical formation in light of the new evangelization, will be held in New York from June 1-4 with a keynote address by Raymond Cardinal Burke….In The Joys & Challenges of Family Life eight “regular” Catholic men write about the triumphs and challenges of modern Catholic marriage and fatherhood….Franciscan University of Steubenville plans several conference for both adults and young adults this summer including a “Defending the Faith Conference” focusing on the theme “Always Forward? Siempre Adelants!” with speakers including Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Jennifer Fulwiler, and Peter Kreeft.  Visit the Steubenville website for more information….The Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, Augustine, Francis of Assisi, the Curé of Ars, modern saints like Maximillian Kolbe, Mother Terese and Kateri Tekakwitha  are among those in Ignatius’s Catholic Saints for Children.

Maureen Williamson

Books, Books, Books

I came across a book first published in 2007 called The Library that captivated me.  Written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small (her husband), the story turns out to be not quite what one would think.

The text is written in rhyme which always enthralls children.  It is full of gentle humor as it follows the life of the main character, Elizabeth Brown, about whom the author tells us:

 She didn’t like to play with dolls,

She didn’t like to skate.

She learned to read quite early

And at an incredible rate.

So we have a book full of other books.  No vampires.  No computers.  No vulgarity.  Just books and an amusing character who loves them.

I also like the illustrations which remind me a little of Lois Lenski’s illustrations albeit a bit more modern.  The pictures capture Elizabeth as she grows from a baby to an old woman.  There are wonderful little touches like the posters of Virginia Wolfe and Tolstoy on Elizabeth’s bedroom wall as a girl.  The cats scattered throughout many of the scenes will enchant cat lovers.

The story ends when Elizabeth donates her lifetime of books to the town for a library so others can enjoy them.

The Library is dedicated to “The memory of the memory of the real Mary Elizabeth Brown, Librarian, Reader, Friend.”  I wish the author had told us a little more about her.

Maureen Williamon

The Logical Conclusion of Liberalism

A couple of weeks ago James Kalb wrote a piece for Catholic World Report on how we can be  “good Catholics and good Americans” pointing out that: “Until recently that did not seem to be an issue to most of us.  Separation of Church and State appeared to reconcile the Faith with a secular pluralist public order.”

This order and the separation of Church and State that we are all used to is fading quickly.

One of Mr. Kalb’s recommendations for Catholics in today’s America is to “follow Dorothy Day’s example.  Her Catholic Worker houses refused to apply for tax-exempt status.”

This is most interesting given the arguments at the Supreme Court over legalizing gay “marriage.”  Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation reports that “One of the more startling portions of oral arguments today at the Supreme Court was the willingness of the Obama administration’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, to admit that religious schools that affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman may lose their non-profit tax-exempt status if marriage is redefined.”

Anderson reported that when Justice Samuel Alito asked whether a school which affirmed the traditional view of marriage would lose its tax-exempt status, the Solicitor General replied, “It’s certainly going to be an issue.  I don’t deny that.”

It is also interesting to note that at a recent speech at the Women in the World Summit presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that with regard to “access to reproductive health and safe childbirth” that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”  “Reproductive health” is, of course, the code word for abortion, contraception, sterilization and the like.

It is hard to imagine a serious presidential candidate making such a statement even ten years ago.  The political and cultural climate has changed enormously in the blink of an eye.

Those of us in the pew as well as in the hierarchy including the Vatican need to change our thinking on how the Church can exist in this new world; but I am not sure that many of either realize it.  It is liberalism which has let this happen and there are all too many lay Catholics, priests, bishops, cardinals, and even the current Pope who think like liberals.  Do they realize that what is happening is the logical conclusion of such thinking?

Maureen Williamson



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