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I heard this story on NPR yesterday on my way home.

Last November, a 27-year-old woman was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. She was 11 weeks pregnant with her fifth child, and she was gravely ill. According to a hospital document, she had “right heart failure,” and her doctors told her that if she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was “close to 100 percent.”

A nun, after what was reported as going through an agonizing thought process, allowed the termination of the pregnancy to save the woman’s life.   She was excommunicated by the Catholic church which the article states is “the most serious penalty the church can levy.”

This is a sad story.   It should be noted that this isn’t an attack on the Catholic church in general…but this is just unacceptable.   The general public is wondering how can this woman who saved a life be so severely punished when the church is known to not punish those who have abused children.  What message does this send?

To me it still says….

1) A woman’s life is unimportant and she is nothing but a baby-carrying vessel.  If she dies too, so be it.

2) A woman of the church (a nun) is held to a different standard of actions than compared to the men of the church (the priests).

3) Intent to follow canon does not matter.  The nun and the hospital tried to do what the church would have wanted.

“But the hospital felt it could proceed because of an exception — called Directive 47 in the U.S. Catholic Church’s ethical guidelines for health care providers — that allows, in some circumstance, procedures that could kill the fetus to save the mother.

There is no way that the priests were thinking of following the church doctrine when they were abusing the children of the church.

4)  Hospitals and churches should not mix.

Another thing I learned from reading the attached hospital report (link from NPR as well) was that the woman who became pregnant was taking “great efforts to avoid it.”  She knew she had a health condition that would be very dangerous should she become pregnant.  But being the good Catholic (she already had 4 children at 27), it appears that she would not take any birth control measures.

There also was a statement by the Diocese of Phoenix.   I understand and can appreciate some of what they are saying, but really…this part summed it up (emphasis mine)….

What is the purpose of excommunication?
The purpose is to repair scandal, to restore justice and to reform the offender. It is a scandal to the entire Church that a woman religious would consent to and encourage an abortion.  It is also a scandal that a Catholic Hospital would perform such a reprehensible act. Furthermore, it is a grave injustice to the child who was killed, as well as to the mother who was told that it was permissible.  Finally, a person who has been excommunicated definitively knows that by their own evil action, they have removed themselves from communion with the Church. The action of excommunication is a call to repentance and conversion.

No priests have been excommunicated for their evil actions.   According to the church’s own words then, by not excommunicating the priests, they do not want to repair the scandal.  They do not want to provide justice to the victims.  They do not want to reform the offender.

I just don’t get it.

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I recently heard on NPR a piece highlighting a Pulitzer prize winning story. The author, Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post, wanted to gauge the reactions of subway riders in the metro DC area to an exceptional musician. It’s a pretty short interview, but basically, one day Gene was going to get on the subway and he heard a very talented keyboard player and was astounded that no one stopped to listen. So, he solicited the help of a renowned violinist, Joshua Bell.

At first, the researchers were worried about crowd control, but only one person recognized him. He made about $30 in 40 minutes…which the author scoffed at, but I don’t think thats really that bad. (NOTE: I just found out why $30 in 40 minutes is laughable…Weingarten talking about the lack of money Bell received that morning, “This is from a man whose talents can command $1,000 a minute.” Ohhhhh…..)

So, the results…hardly no one stopped. Hardly no one acknowledged this great music. Weingarten stated, “I don’t think it means that we are unsophisticated boobs and I don’t think it means we can’t see beauty. I think it means we are in too much of a hurry…There is something wrong with our priorities if we can not be wakened out of the stupor of a morning rush hour by something that we are likely never to see again.”

Well, I thought about this and I have come up with my own theory. It’s not lack of artistic appreciation. It’s not even that we are too busy. I think no one stopped because we are cheap. I can think of numerous times I have enjoyed the music someone on the street was playing, but didn’t stop to listen….even though I wanted to…I had the time and the appreciation but I didn’t stop because I was afraid I would be guilted into giving money. (Most of the time, I avoid eye contact all together.) Maybe, I’m just another kind of boob. The cheap kind.

Anyway, you should take a listen to his performance. (You can hear the subway noises in the background a bit, but can still hear the beauty of the music.) It’s free of charge and if you are reading my blog, I’m guessing you have the time to check it out.
🙂

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Foolishly Yours

So, Happy April Fool’s Day everyone! Thankfully for you, there will be no fake news here—only fond memories of the April Fool’s Days of yester year.

I went into work this morning really cheerful after listening to NPR pranks (They were in an art gallery and the radio host “broke” a priceless artifact. You hear a crash, some arguing, and some apologizing…To clarify, they announcer stated that the gallery was open weekdays, 9 – 5 and today, April 1st.) and unreal commercials (There was a commercial touting plastic surgery for babies. “Having a child should be a wonderful and exciting time of your life…but what do you do if your baby is ugly?”) and completely seeing right through them. I think my favorite NPR prank was from a few years ago. It was shortly after cell phone users obtained the ability to keep their number, including their area code, regardless or their carrier or physical location. The host was detailing a new piece of legislation that would allow individuals to keep their zip code as well. They interviewed people that said things like, “I’m just attached to this zip code. Why should I have to change it even if I move? Why shouldn’t it move with me?” The absurdity of it just made me chuckle. It almost makes it more amusing because I sit in my car picturing these people being scared for the radio hosts’ job after he breaks the artifact or appalled at the vanity of people who are willing to perform plastic surgery on their newborn baby while I silently know better…it’s all a ruse. I was WELL aware all day that it was April Fools Day.

So, I’m at work sharing these stories with my co-workers…when my boss says, “Oh yeah, its April Fools. Well, all I can say is don’t call your parents!” Now, the average individual who has little connection with my family may be perplexed by this, but a truer statement has never been made. The other night at a work dinner party, somehow the topic of April Fool’s Day came up, so I had to share my experiences with the group. Afterwards, judging by the looks on the faces around the table, I think I either made myself sound extremely gullible with little to no common sense or I made my parents seem like the sneakiest couple alive. I can only hope that you will not judge us too harshly as you read over our adventures in tomfoolery.

Lights Out: One year, my parents decided that it would be hilarious to convince my sister and I to go to bed early…I mean REEEAALLLY early. They changed all the clocks in the house so we would think it was much later than it was. I’m guessing it was about 4pm when they put us in our jammies, got our juice, and tucked us in. When we protested stating that it was still light outside and there was no waaay it was bedtime already…they simply replied, “Well, that’s Daylight Savings Time for you!!” I think we were in bed for about 20 minutes before they came in and got us back up. “APRIL FOOLS!!!!” It wasn’t until years later that my mom confessed to me that even though they did get up back up, they wondered what would it hurt to just let us stay in bed until the next day……I mean, since we were already there…. haha

Caller #15: One time, my mom called us posing as a DJ from a radio station. (The details of this are a little fuzzy. I have no idea how one could be fooled by her own mother’s voice…) My sister was the lucky grand prize winner if she could answer this one question: What is Garfield’s favorite food? I’m jumping up and down in the background shouting, “LASAGNA!! IT’S LASAGNA!!!!” So, as the ‘DJ’ goes to tell us what we won, we got a big dose of “APRIL FOOLS!!” I was so disappointed. My dream of free stuff and public notoriety for being a big contest winner went down the tubes…..

Chef’s Special: It has always been tradition for our family to eat dinner together. One night, my parents got up and announced that they had a special treat for desert that night. They came out with (what I remember as) a big whipped cream delight topped with chocolate sauce…I even think there was a cherry on top. A cherry!!!…who can resist a cherry on top. Soooo, what I’m not describing is what was underneath the whipped cream. It was tree bark. They had delved into our firewood supply for our special desert. I really am not sure how I could be so oblivious, but I dove right in. After one bite of that fiberous material, I looked at my parents with hurt and disbelief….and then I started to cry. I had been duped again. (I think my sister was smart enough to sit back and watch silly little sister chomp down.) I really think my parents had no idea that I would actually eat the stuff and they felt pretty bad afterwards….but they still managed to announce…”APRIL FOOLS!!!” with pride.

I used to think I would be able to get them back…but many years have passed and I have yet to come up with a prank remotely as cool as theirs. The closest I came was to put a black hair tie around the kitchen sink sprayer handle and aim it toward the area a person would most likely be standing. All the water was sent directly through the sprayer, so that when my dad when to fill his coffee pot in the morning, he’d get a shower at the same time. (I still giggle about that one….)

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Anyway, those were the highlights of April Fools Days of my childhood. I can completely understand why my boss told me not to call my parents for fear of what they may be cooking up…but secretly, I was waiting for the call, waiting to see what they were going to come up with next. 🙂

(PS – Thanks Mom & Dad for your creative fun……that is the stuff memories are made of!)

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Women in combat

As I was driving home from work yesterday listening to NPR (as I usually do to trick myself into thinking the time spent in the car is not wasted), I heard a story that really got to me. I encourage you to listen to it (there are 2 parts), but at a minimum, skim the article.

NPR has been doing a series about women in combat roles and yesterday they were discussing how women were more likely to experience forms of post traumatic stress disorder than men. At first, I thought to myself, “Great! They are going to go on air and talk about how women ’emote’ more…and therefore are more affected by the violence and trauma in combat situations.” How wrong was I….

The piece was discussing how the double trauma of the actual combat situation combined with the growing instances of sexual trauma was often more than one could handle. The part that really struck a chord with me was the following quote; “A 2003 survey of women using the Veterans Administration health care system reports that 28 percent experienced at least one sexual assault during military service.” 28 PERCENT?!? Now, granted, I do not know the average number of women that are sexually assaulted in everyday society, but that number just seemed so high. What makes it more sad is when you consider that sexual assault is often underreported for reasons they discuss in the series. I started to cry for these women while driving down I-75. I cried partly because I felt bad for them and the struggles they are going through because of their service….and partly because I was furious. How dare our they treat the women like that…their own fellow soldiers!? One woman said, “I wasn’t myself, and I realized that. But I had to be [numb] to survive from the enemy and my own platoon members.”

They are making sacrifices for our country … & they deserve better.

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