Thursday, July 31, 2008

'Poor little bunny'
Brit comics take on the 'Man Cold'

This is for my friend Billy, who felt embarrassed for complaining about his dental surgery once I mentioned I was on Day 4 off thyroid hormone. (As I have mentioned, the withdrawal from the hormone is in advance of my mid-August radioactive-iodine treatment, which is necessary to kill any cancerous cells left in the wake of my thyroidectomy.) I didn't mean to one-up him. The clip, which has over three million YouTube views, is from a British TV series, which I discovered via Mark Shea.



What I like most about it is that men seem to find it even funnier than women do. It was only recently that I learned, through the writings of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, that men not only have a lower threshold for pain and discomfort than women, they know it.

* * *

Have more to say on my Sydney tour (with more pics), but deprivation from the hormone is hitting me and I must get sleep. Many thanks for your prayers, which are helping a great deal.

Prayer request

From my friend Caitlin Barr, asking prayers for a friend of hers:

Please pray for a young woman struggling with an unplanned pregnancy. Pray that the Lord will give her the grace to care for her child in the best way possible. Pray also for the child, that he or she will be born healthy and in safety.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WYD in Syd—Part 5

That's me in the black cap, obscured by a Sister of Mary, Mother of the Church, as I grant the Sisters permission to record my talk.

The crowd at my July 15 Juventutem-sponsored talk in the cavernous hall at St. Augustine's mostly consisted of Juventutem pilgrims in their 20s and 30s (including fellow New York native and "Recovering Choir Director" blogger Aristotle Esguerra, plus a few older folks. I would say "more mature" instead of "older," but lack of maturity is not what comes to mind when I think of the very well-catechized Juventutem young adults, who are joined by their shared affection for the traditional Latin Mass.

Also in attendance were several members of Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, whom I had had the pleasure of meeting several months ago when leaving Nationals Stadium after the papal Mass in D.C. Seeing them for a second time, now halfway around the world, was the first of many wonderful "God-incidences" I had in running into friends and acquaintances during World Youth Day week, which, as I have written, made the Communion of Saints feel gloriously small.


Hugh Henry, the instigator of my WYD trip, gave me a beautiful introduction that was very moving for me. I instantly felt I was among friends, which made me feel at home in sharing how, under the inspiration of G.K. Chesterton, I was led to Christian faith. (I have not yet shared the entire story online, but you can read a bit of it in an interview I did with Gilbert magazine's Dale Ahlquist when I had received Christian faith but was not yet Catholic.) The story stopped short of my decision to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, as I wanted to save something for those present who might attend my talk the following evening at the Sisters of Life's Love and Life Site.


To leave time for Q&A at the end of my 40-minute talk, I could not speak much about the subject of my book, The Thrill of the Chaste. As I was preparing my talk, I was trying to think of how I could encapsulate the chastity message in just five minutes. Then, two days before I was to speak, I received an Evite from my friend Jon and I had my inspiration.

Jon is a Jewish convert to Catholicism in his early 20s who was then preparing to move from the D.C. area to Manhattan for graduate studies. His girlfriend Meghan, also Catholic, was set to move as well, to attend the same university. The easiest way to describe them would be to say they are devout, but that doesn't begin to describe how they are a light to their friends, who include not only fellow Catholics but also many who are on the fringes of faith.

I read Jon's Evite to the crowd. Tears quickly formed in my eyes and I had to hold back sobs:
*PLEASE DO NOT DISCUSS THIS WITH MEGHAN*

*NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT*

Friends-

God willing, on the evening of July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I will ask&
[here, he put Meghan's full name] to marry me. Assuming she says yes, I will then take her over to St. Charles Borromeo, as Fr. Richard Mullins has generously agreed to say Mass for us there. If it is at all possible, I would like for you to join us at Mass to pray for us, to pray for yourselves, and to pray that we all may live out the vocations God has in store for each one of us.

If you can make it: please arrive at the St. Charles chapel no later than 8:15pm. I will bring my then-fiancee (again, God willing!) by 8:30pm, with Mass starting promptly thereafter (no need to shout "Surprise!" or anything -- your presence will be a joyful surprise in itself). After Mass concludes, we will adjourn for ice cream and various other desserts. (N.B.: If the Holy Spirit reveals that you should make brownies or perhaps cupcakes, I would do as He says.)

If you cannot make it: please pray for us!

And in case it needs to be repeated: *PLEASE DO NOT BREATHE A WORD ABOUT THIS TO MEGHAN* (I have fifty people on this Evite, so I'm relying totally on Divine Providence that she won't hear about this ahead of time.)

I know this is last-minute, so please do not feel any pressure to attend. Regardless of whether or not you can come, please pray for us!

Hope to see you there,
Jon
I explained to the crowd how Jon and Meghan's relationship, and especially the planned Mass and party, expressed the truth and beauty of chastity—particularly the characteristics that all who pursue the virtue share, no matter what their state of life (unmarried, engaged, married, or celibate).

The couple, I noted, were each at a stage in life when people "in the world" would likely urge them not to get engaged, as they had yet to complete their education. Their readiness to take on the responsibilities of marriage stemmed from their having built a solid foundation for their love over time, through chaste courtship, as well as their shared devotion to God, through which I knew they were listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What, I asked the crowd, do a couple typically do after the man proposes marriage—assuming it is even the man who does the proposing? Typically in our modern, Western society, they are already living together. Immediately following a proposal, they are likely to celebrate between themselves for the rest of the night—telling friends and family the next morning. The most secular couples are what Erich Fromm called a "nation of two"—fostering a self-centered form of love that fails to radiate outside the borders of the couple's bodies. There is little or no sharing of this love among community, while the eventual invitation to family to "share their joy" is done largely in the hope of gifts, not prayers.

Such couples do not typically rush to the nearest church before the night is even over, to share in the Eucharist with their friends and family, ask their prayers, and pray for them as well.

What Jon planned, I said, particularly with his request for prayers not only for him and Meghan, but for the vocations of all present, represents what we are all called to do through chastity: to live out our primary vocation—the vocation to love. He was inviting those dear to him and his beloved to share in what he hoped would be a prelude not only to his own wedding feast, but the wedding feast to which we are all called, the wedding of the Lamb.

I closed my talk asking all present to pray for the couple as Jon prepared to propose to Meghan the following evening—and begged them to keep Jon's secret. They did, I am happy to say—and I learned upon my return that Meghan said "yes."

The top two photos are by Aristotle Esguerra; the third was snapped by another friend with my camera. Continued tomorrow ...

Good morning! Was planning to write more about Sydney today, but got caught up in the latest news from Hong Kong—see below!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Thrill of the Chinese!
My book is launched at Hong Kong fair


Alternate title: 'Wok' Away, Renee (Just kidding.)
Click on photo for larger image.


This just in: The Chinese-language edition of my book The Thrill of the Chaste just debuted in Hong Kong and Taiwan and made a splash at the region's largest book fair, according to editor Helen Ng at FES (Fellowship of Evangelical Students) Press:
The response to "The Thrill of the Chaste" at the Hong Kong Book Fair is quite good. According to the colleagues who worked in the book fair, this book is the second best sales among FES Press new books at our booth.
Check out the item about the book on the FES Press Web site (translation by Google).

I do like the chic, Mod stylings of the cover model. The angle is provocative, to be sure, but the opaque tights and medium-height heels (as opposed to stilettos) make it modest by "Sex and the City" standards. Ultimately, it looks like what is being sold is not so much sex as mystery. It's perfect for enticing young hipsters to pick up a book that invites them to rethink their idea of what a love relationship should look like.

How exciting to see my book translated into SpanishPolish, and now Chinese!

Since I hope to have more news about this edition in future, your (G-rated) suggestions for a better headline for further Chinese Thrill posts would be most welcome in the comments section below.

WHERE TO BUY IT: If you would like to purchase the Chinese Thrill (printed in the Traditional Chinese written language) retail or wholesale, write FES Marketing Department, 12/F., Hip Lik Ind. Bldg., No. 181 Wai Yip St., Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2755 7711; Fax: (852) 2799 6977. The publisher may also be reached through its Web site or by e-mail: wholesale@fes.org.hk.

Quote of the day

"Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them, and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation. He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or jingling jazz tunes turned out by the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilization, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilization. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world."

— G.K. Chesterton"Babies and Distributism"

Found via Crifton.

Games papal play



Spotted on the Facebook page of Episcopalian Rev. Tommy Allen, pastor of Church of the Holy Cross, Sumter, S.C.

Tech question for audiophiles

OK, I've figured out why so few of my vinyl records sound like they're worth keeping—besides the realization that I've gotten on pretty well without them for 13 months. The TEAC GF-350 that I bought on Charles G. Hill's recommendation with the intent of converting my LPs to CDs turned out very quickly to be a dud. I had forgotten this until I unpacked it yesterday after more than a year. The problem is that it is playing my LPs at least one whole tone too fast—and it doesn't have pitch control or tracking, as far as I can tell.

I'm very disappointed, as I am getting too old to fiddle with stereo components, so it was a relief to have a system with built-in speakers that could do nearly everything I needed it to do. The only addition I had made was to attach a cassette deck so I could transfer my cassettes to CDs as well, something I can still do now, but which is not as important to me as being able to put my vinyl on CD.

It looks like if I want to transfer my vinyl without risking pitch problems, I will have to buy an MP3 turntable with pitch control and hook it up to my Mac. Alas, none of those turntables appear to come in all-in-one systems with built-in speakers.

Here is my question: Is my best bet to buy the Numark TTi Numark TTUSB*, or is there a better model that is the same price or less? If I do buy the Numark TTi, is Amazon's price competitive? Bear in mind that driving to an electronics store is not an option, as I am carless; if Amazon isn't the way to go, I'll have to buy the turntable online or from a store that's near the Washington, D.C. Metro. Also, bear in mind that I don't own an iPod and don't plan to own one. If I buy the turntable, I will burn the CDs straight off my Macintosh iBook G4. Many thanks for your advice!

Thanks to Father Cory Sticha for tipping me off to the TTUSB, which is more my style since I don't need the TTi's iPod dock. Plus, it's about half the price of the TTi.

Meet Planned Parenthood's latest sex-ed spokesman:
Your friendly neighborhood child molester

American Life League reports on Planned Parenthood's latest teen Web site, TakeCareDownThere.org.



As usual, ALL errs on the side of restraint, demurring from showing the most offensive material on the site. In plain fact, TakeCareDownThere.org, which is run by Planned Parenthood's Pacific Northwest chapter Planned Parenthood Columbia Williamette, is so gratuitously exploitative of underage teenagers that it makes the national organization's Teenwire look like Abstinence Clearinghouse by comparison.

I am sorry to be in the position of recommending you view the site. It is especially not for those who practice what Christians call "custody of the eyes" (and ears). But, because TakeCareDownThere is a taxpayer-funded site that targets children, I believe it is important to have an idea of just what Planned Parenthood is promoting. The site's pro-promiscuity agenda is truly degrading to human beings in general and children in particular. It presents the pedophile's dream of an omnisexual kiddie "cuddle puddle" as though such activities were normative teen behavior.

So, if you can stomach it, shut the kids out of the room for a moment and look at the TakeCareDownThere video clips, like the ones labeled "Threesome" and "I Didn't Spew." In each one, a creepy Chester the Molester type—who looks like a younger version of "adult" film star Ron Jeremy—pops in on teenagers engaged in sex acts, to set them straight about condom use or testing for STDs. Gross, gross, gross—yet this organization enjoys the full support of Barack Obama, who, if he had his way, would allow it to teach sex ed to kindergartners, no doubt on the taxpayers' dime. By the way, guess who paid $336.7 million to PP last year so it could produce trash like TakeCareDownThere? Your and my tax dollars at work.

Monday, July 28, 2008

WYD in Syd—Part 4

I was awakened the morning of Tuesday, July 15, by a phone call from a producer for "A Current Affair." The call didn't come as a total shock, as I had been profiled along with 20-year-old Melbourne chastity advocate Ruth Russell in the previous day's Australian, but it did require me to hastily put on a "TV outfit" and change my plans to go straight to St. Augustine's in Balmain, where I was to give a talk sponsored by the Latin Mass-loving young-adult group Juventutem that afternoon.

After Ruth and I got verbally battered with prurient questions (one of which was so none-of-your-beezwax that I outright refused to answer it) by the "Current Affair" reporter, I managed to escape to St. Augustine's.

I arrived at the church (which was quite lovely) in a hurry at about 12:15 p.m., thinking I had missed the 11 a.m. Tridentine Mass. As I was about to hustle on through the front door, I was arrested by the sight of a man on his knees, just outside the front door, facing the interior. It turned out the Mass was still going on; it was the moment of consecration. I knelt too. There was a strange and beautiful moment of silence, strange in that we were just outside the church, and yet the street and the air around us felt so peaceful. Then it came time to stand, and I managed to find my way to a back pew for the rest of the Mass, making a spiritual Communion as the others stood up. (It didn't seem right to get into line when I arrived that late.)

The church was well nigh packed. I suppose that if you consider there were some 400,000 pilgrims and this was the only daily Latin Mass, it wasn't a huge percentage of the pilgrims numberswise. But, for the Juventutem faithful, I am sure it was a wonderful opportunity to see that hundreds of their young-adult peers shared their love for the beauty of the old Mass. Their level of devotion certainly inspired me.

After Mass, I located Hugh Henry, who had been in the choir (I think he was directing it that day as well), and with his help found a room in the rectory where I spent a half-hour getting my notes together for my talk. When I emerged, I went to the hall where I was to give my talk and asked the parish priest, Father Joe, for a blessing.

"You don't want me," he said humbly, with a smile. "I'm the wrong rite."

For a moment, my brow wrinkled quizzically. Surely Juventutem couldn't have held its Mass in an Anglican church?

Then he blessed me and I realized with a laugh that he had been joking. He simply meant he only knew how to bless me in English, not like the traddie Juventutem priests would have done.

More tomorrow ...

Now playing

Finally unpacked my turntable, only 13 months after moving to the D.C. area.

So far tonight, I have listened to:

The Golden Age Singers—John Dowland's  Ayres for Four Voices (side one)
Dwight Twilley Band—Sincerely (side one)
Van Dyke Parks—"Number Nine" and "Come to the Sunshine" (from a compilation)
Patrick Campbell-Lyons—"The Hero I Might Have Been" (from the album of the same name)

Update: Also listened tonight to:

Stephen Monahan's Kapp album (three songs)
The Byrds—Mr. Tambourine Man (side one)
Harper's Bizarre—Anything Goes (side one)

All but the Parks and Dowland are now going into my giveaway pile. Going without LPs for over a year has made me realize how few of these albums I really need. But it will be much harder to part with my 45s ...

'Vitae' validated—again

Rome, July 25, 1968:

"Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone."

Pope Paul VI"Humanae Vitae"

London, July 28, 2008:

"Children as young as 11 should be given compulsory sex education including lessons on how to put on a condom, says a Government report.

"All secondary school pupils should be taught about sexually-transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and contraception, according to a panel of sexual health experts.

"But family rights campaigners lambasted the plan, saying it was appalling that teachers could give explicit lessons on sex to children even if local parents were opposed."

Daily Mail"Children as young as 11 should have lessons on how to put on a condom, says government report"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Candace Bushnell, call your lawyer

Italian is not my strong suit, but it appears that a writer reviewing a translation of G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday for the Web site of the Diocese of Rome says the book worked the miracle of converting me. That's true—but he mistakenly identifies me as "la creatrice di 'Sex and the city.'" Would any reader who knows Italian care to send the site a a correzione?

UPDATE: Translator and arts critic Marion Lignana Rosenberg (whose Web site links to her extensive writings on Maria Callas) translates the relevant portion of the Italian book review thusly: "'The Man Who Was Thursday' touches very profound notes, which are not only Christian, but belong to all those who, one day, find themselves thinking against the tide. It's a novel that has brought about veritable miracles, as in the case of Dawn Eden, the creator of 'Sex and the City,' who attributed her recent conversion to a reading of 'The Man Who Was Thursday.'"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quote of the day

"[Married] love is above all fully human, a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.

"It is a love which is total—that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.

"Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.

"Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. 'Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare.'"

Pope Paul VI"Humanae Vitae, July 25, 1968

WYD in Syd—Part 2

With 20 hours in the air between D.C. and Sydney, I planned to pray all 20 decades of the rosary on the way. As it happened, I only made it through 15—but I did fulfill my promise to pray for Dawn Patrol readers. I prayed for readers while in Sydney as well.

Arriving at Sydney airport at 7 a.m. Sunday, July 13—two calendar days after I left Washington— I cabbed it to the home of my hosts, Tim Blair and his wife Nadia. Tim, whom I met in August 2004 when he was in NYC covering the GOP convention with Reason's Matt Welch, very kindly offered to put me up when he learned I was coming to town, even though I am far less famous than the usual Americans who come to call.

After dropping my bags at Tim's and changing out of my travel clothes, I trekked to St. Mary's Cathedral for Sunday Mass. The celebrant was none other than Auxiliary Bishop Holley of my own archdiocese, making me feel strangely at home upon arriving halfway across the world.

Back at Tim's, I fell into a deep sleep until evening, when Tim took me to meet a couple of his friends at a fabulous seafood restaurant across the harbor from downtown Sydney. It was in a posh development that looked like a more gorgeous version of Georgetown Harbor, only it was called something like Woolamaroo. Australia is very New World in its place names—every locality either has a terribly British-sounding designation, like Middlesex, or an aboriginal name, like Hopatcong. Oh, wait, those are places in New Jersey. But you get the idea.

To be continued ... still have jet lag ... must get sleep ...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Something 'WIC'-ked this way comes
Feds steer poor women to Planned Parenthood

Visit the USDA's WIC Learning Center, the official Web site for the U.S. government's Women, Infants and Children program, and you will find a link to the home page of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

That's because a hefty chunk of the $5 billion in taxpayer funds for the program designed to help feed and provide health care for low-income pregnant women, new moms, and young children go to Margaret Sanger's organization.

Considering that some 61 percent of WIC recipients are nonwhites, the government's efforts to steer them towards Planned Parenthood dovetails neatly with the nation' No. 1 abortion provider's efforts to prevent births in the black and Latino communities.

Granted, the federal money that pays Planned Parenthood to serve WIC clients technically does not go towards abortions. But any money given to Planned Parenthood by the federal government keeps the organization's lights on and its paychecks coming, enabling it to spend its $115 million surplus on expanding its abortion business. And does anyone doubt that Planned Parenthood will attempt to impress upon a pregnant WIC client that it can make her un-pregnant if she wishes? Especially when the client walking into its clinic is greeted with posters like this ...



... or this ...



or this:



Incidentally, the WIC Web site is far from the only U.S. government Web site promoting Planned Parenthood. An online search for "Margaret Sanger" alone turns up not one but two articles on federally funded Web site that lionize Planned Parenthood's founder, one on the CDC's Web site and another on that of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Have more to write about my World Youth Day experience in Sydney, but my jet-lagged self only had enough energy tonight to write the post above, so it'll have to wait.

Act today to protect freedom of conscience

Jill Stanek just reported an effort by pro-abortion legislators to kill a proposed regulation that would protect health-care providers' freedom of conscience. Read on Jill's blog about what you can do to ensure that hospitals, health care workers, and pharmacists aren't forced to participate in abortion or dispense potentially abortive drugs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WYD in Syd—Part 1

World Youth Day began in spirit for me when I boarded a plane in San Francisco July 11 for the last leg of my trip to Sydney and found myself seated in a row with Brazilian members of the Catholic movement Neocatechumenal Way, including a young priest. There were several other priests on the flight as well, along with their groups of teens, one of which were dressed in cowboy hats and red T-shirts identifying them as parishioners of a Texas church.

Upon arriving in Sydney, I would discover that was the norm for World Youth Day; groups typically carried their country's flag and wore national dress. The city's streets were like a living, Vatican-flavored "It's a Small World After All" display, with pilgrims from throughout the globe making processions, chanting praises accompanied by the inevitable acoustic guitar and tambourines. Having spent my college years in Greenwich Village, I usually assume that a distant tambourine means an approaching army of Hare Krishnas; not anymore.

[Jet-lagged ... must get sleep ... to be continued ...]

Five in six nuns love Vegemite

The Sisters of Life's love for Vegemite has now earned them newspaper glory thanks to a feature in today's Sydney Telegraph. Got to love the expression on Sister Joan Marie's face. Remember, you—and, I am informed, the the Telegraph— read it here first.

Fairer sex
There is no love without vulnerability*

Baptist pastor Bob Bixby today takes a page from George Gilder's book to note the unexpected fallout of the sexual revolution.

He writes in an online article, "Women who sought so long to be freed from men are now finding that there are no men from whom to be liberated!"

While I think Bixby's level of cynicism about his own sex is over the top, his observations echo a bitter comment made to me last week by a man in Sydney, that the same women who, in their thirties, complain that there are "no good men" spent their twenties corrupting men. It's no wonder, he said, that men are reluctant to settle down after having been made to feel disposable by women who wanted them sexually but insisted on delaying marriage and kids.

The Catholic young-adult community in Australia seems particularly hard hit by women's buying into the feminist ideal of "freedom," which requires them to refuse to marry until they have proven they are emotionally and economically able to survive without a spouse. I met a number of faithful, intelligent Catholic men during my short time there who, while not as openly resentful as the one who complained of being corrupted, seemed more ready to settle down than many of their female counterparts. I think the Germaine Greer influence must still be strong there, which perhaps also explains why women there took so readily to "Sex and the City."

Having now traveled literally around the world to see the supposedly liberating effects of a de-Christianized sexual culture, I am still waiting to find women who genuinely seem happy in their supposed freedom. Instead, they are experiencing the spiritually stifling effects of "a freedom without responsibilities"—what Pope John Paul II aptly termed "utilitarianism ... the opposite of love."

Attempting to bond sexually without the protection of marital commitment—which, for all its faults, remains far more secure than relationships lacking such vows—leaves them without a net. In order to survive an environment where there are so many opportunities for them to use or be used, they necessarily become hardened, and so are less able to let love in.

By contrast, I often meet young women, particularly in their late teens and early twenties, who are not only countering the culture in striving to live chastely, but are downright joyful about it. I was reminded of this when meeting 20-year-old Ruth Russell and some of her contemporaries in Sydney last week. They know that the road they have chosen is not easy, but they have seen the damage that "going with the flow" does to their peers. It helps that they actively seek like-minded fellowship, encouraging one another and evangelizing those around them with their witness at least as much as their words.

These chaste twentysomethings have an advantage in that they are children of the children of the JP2 generation, so they tend to get reinforcement from their families. However, the generation of women who came just before them—those in their thirties and older—were catechized by the culture, not the Church—or, rather, their churches and families caved to the culture. They were sold a bill of goods by their feminist forebears and have nothing spiritually meaningful to show for it. It is those women in particular who are the so-called lost generation I had in mind in writing my book.

I don't think it's at all too late for my thirty-plus generation, or their male counterparts who have lived "the life," to share the joy of our younger brethren. But to get there, we all need to seriously think about how our actions have affected those around us, and resolve to treat others as we would be treated ourselves. That means being willing to admit that we cannot control how the person we would like to love will respond to us. It means being soft-hearted instead of hard-bitten. It means being willing to begin to love, chastely, at the risk of not receiving love in return.

*Edited and amended since original post—timestamp shows when last edited. Last added the paragraph beginning, "Attempting to bond sexually ..."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mass exodus



Exhausted again after another fantastic day, my last full one in Sydney. That's me amidst the sea of pilgrims exiting the papal Mass at Sydney's Randwick race course. Later on, I had the great pleasure of meeting Campion College president Father John Fleming, receiving a tour of the college, and having dinner with him and some of his family (a convert from Anglicanism, he is married and has children). Have more to share, but need to get sleep before flying home tomorrow. Please pray for traveling mercies—I'll need them during the 20-hour trip.

My back pages

A dear friend sent me an e-mail today with the intriguing header "I Know What You Did Last Century."

It contained a few old newspaper clippings he unearthed when he input my name into a genealogy archive, including this gem from September 17, 1973 (click on image to see it full size).



Even at that age, I could not conceive why my schoolmate John Crawford would not want his face in the newspaper.

(Eden is my middle name, in case you were wondering.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lebanun!

Do check out my interview with Sister Marla Marie Lucas, foundress of the first-ever U.S. congregation of Maronite Catholic female religious, in today's InsideCatholic.com.

"Morning Show" greets Dawn



Going to bed after another long and wonderful day at World Youth Day week in Sydney, but want to say thanks so much to those of you who answered my prayer request for my appearance on Channel 7's "Morning Show."

I thought the segment went very well; the hosts were gracious, and I was able to get my points across. The doctor who countered me argued that abstinence "didn't work." I responded that in a truly "pro-choice" culture, youths deserved to learn about the optiion of abstinence, especially as it offered "the only 100% protection against disease, unwanted pregnancies, and the tragedy and depression that follows abortion. Yes, my grammar was off—but I had to get the words "tragedy," "depression," and "abortion" in the same sentence, as such sentiments are rarely voiced on TV, even though they are the experience of many post-abortive women.

{CORRECTION, 7/18/08: I just got ahold of a DVD of the clip, and my grammar was better than I recalled. I said, "We should teach that abstinence is the only 100% certain way of avoiding disease, avoiding unwanted pregnancy, and avoiding the real personal tragedy and depression that follows abortion."]

Afterwards, my friend John Lamont, a Dawn Patrol commenter who had very kindly offered to take me around Sydney, escorted me to St. Augustine's in Balmain, the World Youth Day headquarters of the Latin Mass-supporting group Juventutem, for a Pontifical Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, celebrated by an Australian bishop. It was moving, and the chants were gorgeous.

As I stood outside chatting with fellow pilgrims after Mass, one of them urged me to peek inside. There, I saw something quite stunning that I had never seen before in my life: three priests, each celebrating Low Mass at an individual altar—left, right, and center.



Much more to tell, but I will leave you with this overview of the scene as the Pope addressed pilgrims upon his arrival at Sydney Harbor. I took it from a window at the Observatory Hotel, where Juventutem pilgrims and friends enjoyed an amazing view.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Prayer request

Writing quickly, as I got in late tonight (it's near midnight Wednesday Sydney time) and need sleep after having a wonderful experience speaking at the Love and Life Site (and being interviewed for "Life on the Rock")—more on that when I have time. Am being interviewed at 9:50 a.m. Sydney time Thursday a.m. on Channel 7's "Morning Show." Opposite me will be Dr. Sally Cockburn, aka "Dr. Feelgood"—who aggressively agitates for easy access to RU-486 and other causes dear to the abortion lobby. Please pray for Holy Spirit guidance for me, everyone involved in the show, and the viewers, so that I will give a good, articulate, calm, and loving witness.

UPDATE: Many thanks for your prayers, which greatly helped me. Thanks too to American Papist for noting my request for spiritual backup.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Going against the 'Current'

With curled lip, Australia's "Current Affair" hostess introduces a segment featuring Ruth Russell, the 20-year-old chastity proponent featured in Monday's Australian, and me (click the image to open the video in a new window):



As you can see, the condescension continues throughout the tabloid-TV segment. It even goes so far as to interject the tale of an abstinence advocate gone to the dark side, with the seeming implication that Ruth might end up the same way. Interestingly, the producers were apparently unable to find a joyful ex-abstinent. The unintended impression is that as the nonmarital sex life begins, the light fades.

Still, it was exciting to be featured on TV, and I am happy that I was able to say what I said. It is great to have any opportunity to drop pennies in the ocean, so to speak.

After the segment aired, I had the blessing of receiving an e-mail of encouragement from an appreciative viewer who had read my book. She wanted to let me know that, contrary to the show's implied message that Ruth was on her own, there was at least one other virgin-'til-marriage in Australia.

Speaking of Ruth, it was a joy to meet her at the show's taping this morning at Bondi Beach. She is a gifted young woman—brave, poised, and on fire for the faith. She is also excellent at explaining what chastity is and how people suffer when they are not chaste, so I was surprised to learn from her that she has only recently begun speaking on the topic—and, she added, the inspiration came from reading my book.

I told her I was surprised and honored that my book would inspire her so, given that I wrote it for people who had sexual experience and wanted to change their lives. She answered that she liked being able to show my book to her friends who were not virgins, saying, "See, it's not impossible!" My boldness in speaking out made her want to do the same, she added. Hearing that touched me more than I can say.

The way Ruth held her own on "Current Affair" impressed me even more when I learned afterwards that it was her second TV appearance that morning, as she had come to the taping straight from Australia's "Today" show (click the image to open the video in a new window).



The "Today" interviewer was more sympathetic than the "Current Affair" one, as you can see. I really like Ruth's answers, especially her observations on how people rationalize choices that are damaging to them by convincing themselves they are "in love."

After taping the "Current Affair" segment, I gave a talk in the hall of the beautiful St. Augustine's in Balmain, sponsored by Juventutem. I would go into detail about it, only I stil have jet lag and need to now get sleep in advance of my talk at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday (today, actually—it's after midnight here) at the Love and Life Site. (Contrary to what the "Current Affair" host said, it will be on "The Magnetic Appeal of the Pro-Life Witness," not "the joys of celibacy.") For now, I just want to thank Juventutem's Hugh Henry, whose fund-raising efforts and organizational talents brought me to Australia, and everyone who came to my talk. It was a beautiful experience, one I will remember, and I am all the more eager to address more pilgrims at my Love and Life Site talk.

TRACKBACK: NewsBusters reports on the reports.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Spreading the love


If there is anything cuter than American nuns getting their first taste of Vegemite, I don't know what it is.

The congregation is the Sisters of Life, and they reveal their varied opinions on the Australian delicacy on the official blog of their World Youth Day Love and Life Site.

Having volunteered for the Sisters when I lived near New York City, I am looking forward to seeing them when they host my talk on "The Magnetic Appeal of the Pro-Life Witness" in Room 12 of the Love and Life Site on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. In the meantime, I am very excited about my first WYD talk tomorrow afternoon to Juventutem—see the organization's Web site for details.

As always, I would be very grateful if you would pray for me while I am on this tour. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it makes for me in giving talks when I am prayed for.

I'm featured in today's Australian

Many thanks to Caroline Overington of The Australian for publishing a very generous feature on me in advance of my World Youth Day appearances. For a mainstream publication, the article shows an unusually deep understanding and appreciation of what chastity is, while acknowledging the objections to it that some might have.*

As I noted yesterday, Overington showed similar sensitivity in her profile of chaste WYD pilgrims. She also does so in an excellent sidebar to her feature on me, detailing the odyssey of a Melbourne teenager who rejected her school's promotion of "safe sex" in favor of an option not taught in school: abstinence until marriage. The subject of that article, Ruth Russell (whose photo may be seen alongside the feature on me) beautifully describes the countercultural aspect of living chastely in the modern world.

*As is to be expected when a reporter types rather than records, the quotes in the article are not mine exactly. Other quotes, from my writings, appear to have been garbled in the editing process. For example, I did not actually say in my book how old I was when I lost my virginity. Rather, I focused on how I lost my spiritual purity, my innocence—which happened long before I became sexually active. Also, I did not make the "jaded whores" comment in the interview; that was within the context of my American Spectator online article "Sex and the Kiddies." That said, the article is wonderful overall.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sydney sunrise

My plane arrived in Sydney at dawn yesterday (it's 1:34 a.m. Monday as I write. With the pink and orange light coming in on the horizon as we touched down, it couldn't have been a more beautiful start to my World Youth Day experience.

The Sunday Australian included an article by Caroline Overington on WYD pilgrims' embracing chastity. I like how she notes that "young Catholics do have ideas about sex that would be unrecognisable to old-school Catholics." By "old-school," she means the poorly catechized generation of their parents and grandparents, who rebelled against what they saw as values based on shame.

WYD pilgrims, Overington writes, believe in saving sex for marriage because sex is meant to be good, not bad. They understand that its goodness is dependent upon their properly integrating it into their lives—having it within the context of the vowed self-gift of marriage. This is the generation I will have the honor of addressing Tuesday and Wednesday, and I am so happy to be here.

Today's pick to click

"Normally, I'm a-political. As far as I'm concerned, politics exist mostly to fix things: each party insists he can make life the way it should be or at least better than it is. Except we're human and we’ve never been all that good at fixing things. Eve was convinced she could fix her lack of wisdom by eating the forbidden fruit. Since that day, we human beings have been busyL fixing whatever we can get our hands on."

— So begins "Suffer and Hope," Drusilla's response to "Catholics for Obama"—read the whole thing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

World Youth Day is Dawn-ing

Got a wonderful surprise while packing for my flight to Sydney: I am featured on eBenedict, the official World Youth Day Web site of Sydney's diocesan paper and several other Australian Catholic organizations. I like the way writer Cotton Ward put the piece together from researching my blog and interviews—great job!

UPDATE/PRAYER REQUEST, 2:10 p.m.: Leaving for Sydney now. I would be very grateful if you would pray for traveling mercies for me and also pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me and those who attend my talks. A schedule of my WYD talks is on eBenedict; check this blog for last-minute updates. Will blog from Sydney when I can. Will also pray for Dawn Patrol readers there and on the long flights there and back. God bless!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This is not 'a woman's body'

A reader who takes issue with commenters' comparisons of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger with Nazis who shared her views on eugenics writes, "And telling women what to do with their bodies is a fascist thing as well."

Last I checked, a woman's body has only DNA blueprint, not to mention one brain, one heart, one pair of hands, one pair of feet, etc.

I challenge that reader to watch this video all the way through and tell me its subjects are 'a woman's body.'



U.S. Supreme Court decisions dictate that every child whose ultrasound appears in this video, including the one at 36 weeks, could have been legally killed at that point in its development, at his or her mother's whim.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One week to my first World Youth Day talk!

Just a reminder that I'll be giving at least two talks at World Youth Day in Sydney next week. See the Appearances page on thrillofthechaste.com for details. My talks are also mentioned on the Web sites of my hosts, Juventutem (I will be speaking to them on The Thrill of the Chaste) and the Sisters of Life's Love and Life Site (where I will speak on "The Magnetic Appeal of the Pro-Life Witness").

Monday, July 7, 2008

Margaret Sanger tells Mike Wallace of the 'greatest sin'






There's no eugenicist like an old eugenicist.

In a jaw-droppingly blunt 1957 television interview conducted by Mike Wallace, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger shows that she was still the same woman who, in 1932, urged Congress to set up a Parliament of Population "to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization."

The interview is available online in its entirety, as is a transcript. Wallace does an admirable job confronting Sanger with her own pronouncements, including her having told his own researcher that " it should be made illegal for any religious group to prohibit dissemination of birth control—even among its own members." Not for nothing is she Barack Obama's heroine.

Watch the interview and learn the foundation of the philosophy that underlies Planned Parenthood to this day:

WALLACE: What are your religious beliefs, Mrs. Sanger? Do you believe in God in the sense of a Divine Being -- who rewards or punishes people after death?

SANGER: Well, I have a different attitude about--the divine--I feel that we have divinity within us, and the more we express the good part of our lives, the more the divine within us expresses itself.I suppose I would call myself an Episcopalian by religion and there's a--many other, if you travel around the world you get quite a bit of the feeling of all--all religions--have so much alike in the divine part of our own being. And I suppose you just couldn't just put that into a book or you couldn't put it to a phrase or a sentence.

WALLACE: Do you believe in sin -- When I say believe I don't mean believe in committing sin do you believe there is such a thing as a sin?

SANGER: I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world--that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they're born. That to me is the greatest sin -- that people can -- can commit..

WALLACE: But sin in the ordinary sense that we regard it -- do you believe or do you not believe.

SANGER: What-what would they be?

WALLACE: Do you believe infidelity is a sin?

SANGER: Well, I'm not going to specify what I think is a sin. I stated what I think is the worst sin.

WALLACE: Yes, but then you asked me to say what--and I said what and ah--you refuse to answer me?

SANGER: I don't know about infidelity, that has many personalities to it--and what a person's own belief is--you can't, I couldn't generalize on any of those things as being sins.

WALLACE: Murder is a sin...

SANGER: Well, I naturally think murder, whether it's a sin or not, is a terrible act.
Thanks to Kathy Schmugge for the tip.

No protection

The cervical-cancer vaccine that Planned Parenthood and its allies promote for school-age girls has sparked 7,802 "adverse event" reports from the time the FDA approved its use two years ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My life in 'Closeup'

Many thanks to Christophers producer Tony Rossi for featuring me on this week's "Christopher Closeup" radio show, broadcast yesterday on Sirius Catholic Channel and available today as a download from the Christophers' Web site.

Listening to it, I'm impressed at how well Tony got me to open up to him. Never before have I relaxed so much in an interview. He asked me about my (successful) treatment for thyroid cancer, how my personal and spiritual growth improved as my relationship with my father did so (which I mention in The Thrill of the Chaste), and many other subjects I do not normally discuss in "buy my book" interviews.

It is difficult for me to listen to the beginning of the interview because I sound like a member of the mythical self-help group for rambling speakers—"On-and-on-and-onymous." But hang in there—it starts to get better about eight minutes in. That is when I talk about how my blog readers' prayers helped me as I underwent my thyroid operations and recovered from them. On the whole, it is as close as an interview can get to how I really talk when I am speaking to a friend.

If you would like to sample other "Christopher Closeup" interviews, Tony's blog gives a good overview of some of the other interviews he has done.

Oh—and do buy my book!

Photo by Kristina J. Grabosky.

Churchy la femme

Yesterday evening, after Mass, Ryan, an altar server, asked me if I would be willing to serve on occasion as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

It was a tough question, being that I am a tradition-loving convert who is trying to get into the habit of receiving Communion on the tongue so as not to handle the consecrated host with my greasy little paws. (I say "trying," as it's a bit of a challenge to receive in the manner the Pope advocates; my outsize front teeth get in the way.) And I'm not fond of seeing lay people distribute the hosts, either. It wasn't long ago that, upon realizing I had unluckily landed on the side of the Communion line where a layman or woman was doing the honors, I would try to furtively sneak over to the priest's side. Only with effort did I train myself to remember that the Eucharist is the Eucharist.

So, I answered, "I'll do it. I should tell you, I don't approve of extraordinary ministers. But I'll do it for the church."

I was surprised at how good it felt to say that. Ryan was relieved—and, perhaps because he is a tradition-loving convert as well, he could relate.

Distributing Holy Communion will take some getting used to for me—and not just if it pits me against someone with teeth like mine. I really hope the Vatican once again rules that only priests do the job. But until it does, it is a good feeling to realize that, in a matter of my personal opinion versus what the Church permits and what it needs, the truest way to follow my conscience is to help the Church. No, it's more than a good feeling; it is strangely freeing to choose to help the Church. I don't know if someone who is not Catholic could understand.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tell 'em, Sister!
Love and Life Site organizer announces my World Youth Day talk

"[R]ock concerts, Celtic fiddlers and dancers, friar bands, an awesome talk show 'Under the Southern Cross,' a screening of 'Bella,' Dawn Eden, World Youth Alliance, [Eucharistic] adoration, a beautiful set design … oh, and, really so much more."

That's the wonderful Sister Mary Karen Toomy of the Sisters of Life, telling a Zenit reporter about the Love and Life Site's World Youth Day 2008 lineup. It sounds like it's going to be terrific, and I am thrilled to be part of it.

While thrillofthechaste.com awaits an update, here is my current WYD schedule. I will be in Sydney July 13-21, so more dates may arise.

Tuesday, July 15

Talk to Juventutem pilgrims on "The Thrill of the Chaste" St. Augustine’s, 3 Jane St., Balmain, Sydney, Australia, 1:30 p.m., free. All are welcome. For more information on Juventutem, visit them on the Web.

Wednesday, July 16

Talk on "The Magnetic Appeal of the Pro-Life Witness," Sisters of Life’s Love and Life Site, Notre Dame University (Broadway campus), Sydney, Australia, 6:15 p.m., free. All are welcome. For more information on the Love and Life Site, visit it on the Web. Co-sponsored by Knights of Columbus and the John Paul II Institutes.

On Independence Day, remembering a woman who gave all
A guest post by MARK EDWARD SOPER

It was one month ago today, Fr. Roger J. Landry writes (via NRO's Corner), that Polish volleyball champion Agata Mroz died at 26. The daughter of sports coaches, Agata led her teams to numerous national and international championships while providing a great example of leadership on and off the field.

Her greatest challenge, though, was her long fight with leukemia. She was first diagnosed with a precursor, MDS, when she was 17. By 2007, her condition forced her to leave the game, and by the time of her marriage in June, she was too ill to honeymoon with husband Jacek Olszewski.

After becoming pregnant and being warned that she needed a bone-marrow transplant, she opted to wait until her daughter Lilliana was born to undergo transplant surgery. The bone-marrow transplant took place on May 21, but Agata caught an infection and died on June 4.

On a day when we celebrate a free nation and the sacrifices made by so many to assure its freedom, Agata's story reminds us that the love of God and the love of a mother for her child are older and greater than the love of country, and make the love of country possible.


Mark Edward Soper is a technology writer, a daily reader of the Dawn Patrol, and an occasional commenter.

Dancing with the sitars

More great American music for your Independence Day: The Cyrkle, ca. 1966. Drummer Marty Fried's joie de vivre is contagious.

Even rhinestone cowboys get the blues

Some classic American pop for your Independence Day: Glen Campbell sings Brian Wilson (with lyrics by Russ Titelman).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Quote of the day

"All my life, the message I had heard loud and clear was that sex was for pleasure and bonding, that its potential for creating life was purely tangential, almost to the point of being forgotten. This mind-set became the foundation of my views on abortion. Because I saw sex as being by default closed to the possibility of life, I thought of unplanned pregnancies as akin to being struck by lightning while walking down the street—something totally unpredictable and undeserved that happened to people living normal lives.

"My pro-choice views (and I imagine those of many others) were motivated by loving concern: I just did not want women to have to suffer, to have to devalue themselves by dealing with unwanted pregnancies. Since it was an inherent part of my worldview that everyone except people with 'hang-ups' eventually has sex, and that sex is, under normal circumstances, only about the relationship between the two people involved, I was lured into one of the oldest, biggest, most tempting lies in human history: the enemy is not human. Babies had become the enemy because of their tendency to pop up and ruin everything; and just as societies are tempted to dehumanize their fellow human beings on the other side of the line in wartime, so had I, and we as a society, dehumanized what we saw as the enemy of sex."

— Jennifer Fulwiler"A Sexual Revolution," from the current issue of America magazine. A beautifully and powerfully written article, highly recommended for sending to friends who believe abortion is a moral "choice."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If you've found this blog after watching me on tonight's repeat of "Faith and Culture" on EWTN, welcome! I wrote earlier this week about what's happened in my life and work since that show was taped last September—please read the update and do come back!

America 'mistakenly' sold mailing list to abortion-advocacy group

Father James Martin S.J., associate editor of America, has confirmed in an e-mail to me that, as I reported yesterday, the Jesuit magazine sold its mailing list to an abortion-advocacy group, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Here is his statement:

"As a result of an error by our business office staff, the magazine did inadvertently sell its list to that organization, and apologize to subscribers who received their mailing. Our publisher will request that they no longer use our list for their mailings, and we have already put in a tighter system to ensure that we don't mistakenly sell to any group remotely like this one in the future."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Heroes
A guest post by FATHER JOSEPH LODY



Written for the 27th annual Chesterton Conference

[Note from Dawn: The following was written by Father Lody after he was asked to prepare a "backup homily" for Mass at the end of the American Chesterton Society's Chesterton Conference last month, in case Father Dwight Longenecker was unable to stay the duration of the conference. (As it happened, Father Longenecker did stay, and has since posted his address.) Father Lody graciously forwarded me his own homily after I wrote to ask about it. His words touched me, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share them.]


We all look for heroes in our lives
be they children, husbands or wives
or presidents, athletes, it doesn’t matter
someone whose role is simply to shatter
the status quo of our own existence
that returns with such dogged persistence
that everything now must be new and improved
flashier, shinier, we must be in tune
with the sacred space of our own imagination
that gives preferential option to culture’s determination
that everything bound with respect to tradition
should somehow be treated as acts of sedition
but we’ve all heard it, G.K. Chesterton has said
we are to honor our elders, it’s the democracy of the dead.

And where humanity at some point must certainly fail
we turn to ideology, believing it will prevail
but the persistent disquiet within our soul
won’t let simple concepts fulfill the role
that God has ordained
but we have refrained
from letting Him in
by persisting in sin.
So we keep on looking and latching and falling
because we continually miss our calling
to be the fathers and mothers, children, husbands and wives
in His own kingdom, of which we form part
united in love around His most Sacred Heart.

So no wonder we keep searching for someone to lead us
no wonder we think ideology will complete us
it’s the natural consequence of boxing God in
when we ignore the Beginning, we know not where where to begin
no, this act of non-faith is not inconsequential
when you remove the supernatural, what’s left is un-natural.

So where do we begin in our search for His grace?
It is always before us, right in our face
they have two eyes, a nose, two ears and a mouth
and they come from all over, yes even the South.
The Kingdom’s comprised of those before us and after us
and most profoundly experienced among those who are with is
to single out those to whom we show love
is to miss completely the point of living above
to live transcendental lives is to care for His grace
to cherish it, nourish it, living on pace
with His hopes for us, prodding us, with gentle correction
never, even once, expecting perfection
just hoping that someday, we’ll come to rely
on His love, instead of looking for yet another alibi.

Our hero’s our own Father, whose love for His son
runs deeper than Isaac, but now we have won
we who grab onto His thorns, His nails and His tears
and gone are distractions, false worship and fears
when Life conquered death, it is we who have won
we who refuse to let go of the Triune One.

So why do we look for a hero? For hope.
When God is left out, we’re at the end of our rope.
Hope springs not eternal, it springs from the eternal
and without this acknowledgement, our life is infernal.
So we lean on Tradition, on those who got it right
we lean on the Eucharist, and day springs from the night
we lean on each-other, there’s no need to search
for someone to save us, get us free from this lurch
unless of course it’s Chesterton, who always pointed above,
in his daily attempts to personify love.

Love is patient, it is kind, it is most profoundly blind
and if we attempt it, we know we will find

the One who’s been beside us, waiting to be found
the One who’s been watching us run our lives into the ground
in our hurried and harried, “no time for” existence
He’s been quietly hanging, in patient insistence
in desire that one day we will turn around
to see glimpses of His kingdom, on earth, heaven-bound
glimpses caught in distractions, in constantly buying
glimpses caught up in anger, in people so trying
in people caught up in aggression, or some other obsession
still the Kingdom is present, though very much hidden
it may be there only when we bring it, where God’s peace is bidden.
Wherever just a few of us are gathered in His name
we know that our lives can never be the same
because the harvest is abundant, and the laborers are few
and constructing His kingdom is what He expects us to do

so it’s not about us, it’s not about how we feel
when it comes to His mandate to make His love real

because He knows what will happen to us when we respond
we’ll be united with Him in an inseparable bond.

Love is patient, it is kind, it is most profoundly blind
and if we attempt it, we know we will find

Christ.


Father Joseph Lody is a priest of the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.

Campbell's super
One more chance to catch me on EWTN's 'Faith and Culture'

If you missed seeing me interviewed Sunday morning on Colleen Carroll Campbell 's "Faith and Culture" show on EWTN, the show will be repeated tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Pacific.

On the show, I discuss The Thrill of the Chaste and what I've learned in speaking about chastity to young adults.

Watching it Sunday for the first time since taping it last September, I was reminded what an excellent interviewer Colleen is. Her questions were deep and thoughtful, making for a decidedly different viewing experience than the various network morning-show experiences I've had. EWTN's "Life on the Rock" did do a similarly in-depth interview with me, but that was geared towards teens, whereas Colleen led me onto topics that, while still G-rated, are more of interest to adults.

If you don't have EWTN, you can watch it by going to the network's Web site and clicking the "Live TV" link from the "Television" pull-down menu.

Two sides of America

America magazine has published a "pro-life" issue. I read one article from it online and it was very good.

Would that every issue of of the magazine were a pro-life issue.

I am refraining from linking from this blog to America's site until the magazine announces it is not or is no longer selling its mailing list to the NARAL- and Planned Parenthood-backed Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. A friend of mine who subscribes to America told me he received an RCRC mailing just last month that he believes came via the magazine's list.

Being pro-life, my friend tried to figure out why a plea for funds from the abortion-advocacy organization showed up in his mailbox. Then he looked at the mailing labels of his subscriptions and found that only his one to America matched the wording and punctuation of his address on the RCRC mailing.

I don't know if the RCRC currently receives direct financial support from Planned Parenthood, but certainly it receives a great deal of promotion from the organization. In any case, I don't believe its money is untainted by blood.

UPDATE: America has confirmed the sale of its list; acting publisher Father James Martin S.J. calls it a mistake.