Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Staned Glass, Stained Hearts in our Suffering

Back in the mid 1980's while I was still a Protestant, a friend of mine had a sister who was a nun. We went and visited her at her convent and she took us on a tour of the chapel. When she came to the window which depicted St Catherine of Siena, she paused dramatically and said with a flourish of her wrinkled hand, "...and here we have OUR doctor of the Church, St Catherine of Siena." Funny thing, she wasn't Dominican, and yet she felt such a strong kinship with one of the few women doctors of the Church. "OUR Doctor."

I suspect there was more kinship here than meets the eye. "Strong" women in the Catholic Church have found themselves advocating for womens' ordination for years. They point to the gifts of women like Catherine of Siena as evidence of the validity of womens' priestly calling. I won't go into the arguments pro and con here today. Nor can I hide the fact that I support the Church's practice or ordaining only men to the ministerial priesthood.
However, I'd like to look deeper.... from the stained glass to the stained hearts of those who experience the suffering a delayed or denied vocation can cause.
Bitterness, disallusionment, listlessness.... My own experience is that this agony itself becomes the fount of a deeper identification with our Lord in his suffering. The old Catholic adage of "offer it up" stands up against the worst tests we can put to it.
Bloodied hands and side and the interior bloodied hearts, need not be signs of weakness, victimization, or defeat. If, in the citadel of our souls, we bend to accept God's will, whatever that might be, we can join our sufferings to the One who made Himself as nothing for us. It is the way of the inward stigmata, the way in which Catherine of siena walked. It is the sword which pierced our Blessed Virgin's heart also, all unseen and unknown by any but her most intimate Confidant, the Holy Spirit.

This hold true for almost any unchangeable circumstance in our lives. Here are some relevant quotes from St Catherine, well worth meditating on for this her Feast Day:

"It is not the hour to seek one's self for one's self, nor to flee pains in order to possess consolations; nay, it is the hour to lose one's self." -----Letters of St. Catherine

"I turn me and lean against the most Holy Cross of Christ Crucified, and there I will fasten me." -----Letters of St. Catherine "What hast Thou taught me, O Love Uncreated? Thou hast taught me that I should bear patiently like a lamb, not only harsh words, but even blows harsh and hard, and injury and loss." -----Letters of St. Catherine

"To the servant of God . . . every place is the right place, and every time is the right time. -----Letters of St. Catherine
"I have no other desire in this life save to see the honor of God, your peace, and the reformation of Holy Church, and to see the life of grace in every creature that hath reason in itself." -----Letters of St. Catherine of Siena

St Catherine of Siena asked for the privilege of receiving the pain of the stigmata without the outward marks thereof. May we do so also and happily pray as St Paul did (Colossians 1:24-29):
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God,

the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.

It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me."

St Catherine of Siena, pray for us!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two Theresas with One Thirst

Are you and I as thirsty for the good for others as Jesus is?

Recently I have been convicted how little my conscious motivation is to bring the love of God and His good to souls. I was remnded once again of Jesus' great passion for souls, a passion shared by many of his saints, including Therese of Liseux and Mother Teresa.
In that connection, I bring an excerpt from a recent book,
I THIRST: SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX AND MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA by Jacques Gauthier. (Staten Island, New York: Society of St. Paul)
"The thirst of Jesus, his thirst for love and for souls, is one of the major reasons for the mission and extraordinary significance of St. Therese. It is this thirst which explains the mission of Mother Teresa.

She wrote in her Spiritual Testament that everything about the Missionaries of Charity is intended to quench the Thirst of Jesus. As Mother Teresa stated, "As long as you do not know in a very intimate way that Jesus is thirsty for you, it will be impossible for you to know who He wants to be for you, nor who He wants you to be for Him."

It was quite evident that Mother Teresa quenched the thirst of Jesus in loving the poorest of the poor. The author calls upon the imagery of the Samaritan woman to illustrate the awareness of thirst within the Gospel narrative.
A second major connection between Mother Teresa and St. Therese was their call "to be love" in the Church. St. Therese in writing to her sister Celine illustrates: Jesus wills that the salvation of souls depends on the sacrifices of our love. He is begging for souls from us. . . Let us make our life a continual sacrifice, a martyrdom of love, in order to console Jesus.

In a later piece of correspondence the following year, she states: "He has so much need of love and He is so thirsty, that He expects from us the drop of water that must refresh Him! Ah! Let us give without counting the cost."

Watch and Pray through Temptation, a la Cardinal Newman

I am auditing a class at St Paul Seminary and this morning our instructor, Fr. Andrew Cozzens, made reference to a homily of John Henry Cardinal Newman concerning those who know God's will but choose not to follow it.

Stay with this- even though the first two thirds of his homily seem a little hard to take. Newman takes his fellow countrymen to task, especially those who don't know God's will, or or who know it but just turn away for a variety of reasons.

The pay off comes in the last third where Newman addresses those of us who want desperately to do God's will, but find ourselves falling short or down again and again and again.

He addresses such sweet words of comfort to us, that I felt I had to share it. Those words are in boldface red way down at the bottom. You can skip there, but it pays to read the whole thing.

Sermon 3. Knowledge of God's Will without Obedience

"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." John xiii. 17.

{27} THERE never was a people or an age to which these words could be more suitably addressed than to this country at this time; because we know more of the way to serve God, of our duties, our privileges, and our reward, than any other people hitherto, as far as we have the means of judging. To us then especially our Saviour says, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."

Now, doubtless, many of us think we know this very well. It seems a very trite thing to say, that it is nothing to know what is right, unless we do it; an old subject about which nothing new can be said. When we read such passages in Scripture, we pass over them as admitting them without dispute; and thus we contrive practically to forget them. Knowledge is nothing compared with doing; but the knowing that knowledge is nothing, we make to be something, we make it count, and thus we cheat ourselves.

This we do in parallel cases also. Many a man instead {28} of learning humility in practice, confesses himself a poor sinner, and next prides himself upon the confession; he ascribes the glory of his redemption to God, and then becomes in a manner proud that he is redeemed. He is proud of his so-called humility.

Doubtless Christ spoke no words in vain. The Eternal Wisdom of God did not utter His voice that we might at once catch up His words in an irreverent manner, think we understand them at a glance, and pass them over. But His word endureth for ever; it has a depth of meaning suited to all times and places, and hardly and painfully to be understood in any. They, who think they enter into it easily, may be quite sure they do not enter into it at all.

Now then let us try, by His grace, to make the text a living word to the benefit of our souls. Our Lord says, "If ye know, happy are ye, if ye do." Let us consider how we commonly read Scripture.

We read a passage in the Gospels, for instance, a parable perhaps, or the account of a miracle; or we read a chapter in the Prophets, or a Psalm. Who is not struck with the beauty of what he reads? I do not wish to speak of those who read the Bible only now and then, and who will in consequence generally find its sacred pages dull and uninteresting; but of those who study it. Who of such persons does not see the beauty of it? for instance, take the passage which introduces the text. Christ had been washing His disciples' feet. He did so at a season of great mental suffering; it was just before He was seized by His enemies to be put to death. The traitor, His familiar friend, was in the {29} room. All of His disciples, even the most devoted of them, loved Him much less than they thought they did. In a little while they were all to forsake Him and flee. This He foresaw; yet He calmly washed their feet, and then He told them that He did so by way of an example; that they should be full of lowly services one to the other, as He to them; that he among them was in fact the highest who put himself the lowest. This He had said before; and His disciples must have recollected it. Perhaps they might wonder in their secret hearts why He repeated the lesson; they might say to themselves, "We have heard this before." They might be surprised that His significant action, His washing their feet, issued in nothing else than a precept already delivered, the command to be humble. At the same time they would not be able to deny, or rather they would deeply feel, the beauty of His action. Nay, as loving Him (after all) above all things, and reverencing Him as their Lord and Teacher, they would feel an admiration and awe of Him; but their minds would not rest sufficiently on the practical direction of the instruction vouchsafed to them.
They knew the truth, and they admired it; they did not observe what it was they lacked. Such may be considered their frame of mind; and hence the force of the text, delivered primarily against Judas Iscariot, who knew and sinned deliberately against the truth; secondarily referring to all the Apostles, and St. Peter chiefly, who promised to be faithful, but failed under the trial; lastly, to us all,—all of us here assembled, who hear the word of life continually, know it, admire it, do all but obey it. {30}

Is it not so? is not Scripture altogether pleasant except in its strictness? do not we try to persuade ourselves, that to feel religiously, to confess our love of religion, and to be able to talk of religion, will stand in the place of careful obedience, of that self-denial which is the very substance of true practical religion? Alas! that religion which is so delightful as a vision, should be so distasteful as a reality. Yet so it is, whether we are aware of the fact or not.

1. The multitude of men even who profess religion are in this state of mind. We will take the case of those who are in better circumstances than the mass of the community. They are well educated and taught; they have few distresses in life, or are able to get over them by the variety of their occupations, by the spirits which attend good health, or at least by the lapse of time. They go on respectably and happily, with the same general tastes and habits which they would have had if the Gospel had not been given them. They have an eye to what the world thinks of them; are charitable when it is expected. They are polished in their manners, kind from natural disposition or a feeling of propriety. Thus their religion is based upon self and the world, a mere civilization; the same (I say), as it would have been in the main, (taking the state of society as they find it,) even supposing Christianity were not the religion of the land. But it is; and let us go on to ask, how do they in consequence feel towards it? They accept it, they add it to what they are, they ingraft it upon the selfish and worldly habits of an unrenewed heart. They have been taught to revere it, and to {31} believe it to come from God; so they admire it, and accept it as a rule of life, so far forth as it agrees with the carnal principles which govern them. So far as it does not agree, they are blind to its excellence and its claims. They overlook or explain away its precepts. They in no sense obey because it commands. They do right when they would have done right had it not commanded; however, they speak well of it, and think they understand it. Sometimes, if I may continue the description, they adopt it into a certain refined elegance of sentiments and manners, and then the irreligion is all that is graceful, fastidious, and luxurious. They love religious poetry and eloquent preaching. They desire to have their feelings roused and soothed, and to secure a variety and relief in that eternal subject which is unchangeable. They tire of its simplicity, and perhaps seek to keep up their interest in it by means of religious narratives, fictitious or embellished, or of news from foreign countries, or of the history of the prospects or successes of the Gospel; thus perverting what is in itself good and innocent. This is their state of mind at best; for more commonly they think it enough merely to show some slight regard for the subject of religion; to attend its services on the Lord's day, and then only once, and coldly to express an approbation of it. But of course every description of such persons can be but general; for the shades of character are so varied and blended in individuals, as to make it impossible to give an accurate picture, and often very estimable persons and truly good Christians are partly infected with this bad and earthly spirit. {32}

2. Take again another description of them. They have perhaps turned their attention to the means of promoting the happiness of their fellow-creatures, and have formed a system of morality and religion of their own; then they come to Scripture. They are much struck with the high tone of its precepts, and the beauty of its teaching. It is true, they find many things in it which they do not understand or do not approve; many things they would not have said themselves. But they pass these by; they fancy that these do not apply to the present day, (which is an easy way of removing any thing we do not like,) and on the whole they receive the Bible, and they think it highly serviceable for the lower classes. Therefore, they recommend it, and support the institutions which are the channels of teaching it. But as to their own case, it never comes into their minds to apply its precepts seriously to themselves; they know them already, they consider. They know them and that is enough; but as for doing them, by which I mean, going forward to obey them, with an unaffected earnestness and an honest faith acting upon them, receiving them as they are, and not as their own previously formed opinions would have them be, they have nothing of this right spirit. They do not contemplate such a mode of acting. To recommend and affect a moral and decent conduct (on whatever principles) seems to them to be enough. The spread of knowledge bringing in its train a selfish temperance, a selfish peaceableness, a selfish benevolence, the morality of expedience, this satisfies them.

They care for none of the truths of Scripture, on the ground of their being in Scripture; these scarcely {33} become more valuable in their eyes for being there written. They do not obey because they are told to obey, on faith; and the need of this divine principle of conduct they do not comprehend. Why will it not answer (they seem to say) to make men good in one way as well as another? "Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, are they not better than all the waters of Israel?" as if all the knowledge and the training that books ever gave had power to unloose one sinner from the bonds of Satan, or to effect more than an outward reformation, an appearance of obedience; as if it were not a far different principle, a principle independent of knowledge, above it and before it, which leads to real obedience, that principle of divine faith, given from above, which has life in itself, and has power really to use knowledge to the soul's welfare; in the hand of which knowledge is (as it were) the torch lighting us on our way, but not teaching or strengthening us to walk.

3. Or take another view of the subject. Is it not one of the most common excuses made by the poor for being irreligious, that they have had no education? as if to know much was a necessary step for right practice. Again, they are apt to think it enough to know and to talk of religion, to make a man religious. Why have you come hither today, my brethren?—not as a matter of course, I will hope; not merely because friends or superiors told you to come. I will suppose you have come to church as a religious act; but beware of supposing that all is done and over by the act of coming. It is not enough to be present here; though many men act as if they forgot they must attend to what is going {34} on, as well as come. It is not enough to listen to what is preached; though many think they have gone a great way when they do this. You must pray; now this is very hard in itself to any one who tries (and this is the reason why so many men prefer the sermon to the prayers, because the former is merely the getting knowledge, and the latter is to do a deed of obedience): you must pray; and this I say is very difficult, because our thoughts are so apt to wander.

But even this is not all;—you must, as you pray, really intend to try to practise what you pray for. When you say, "Lead us not into temptation," you must in good earnest mean to avoid in your daily conduct those temptations which you have already suffered from. When you say, "Deliver us from evil," you must mean to struggle against that evil in your hearts, which you are conscious of, and which you pray to be forgiven. This is difficult; still more is behind. You must actually carry your good intentions into effect during the week, and in truth and reality war against the world, the flesh, and the devil. And any one here present who falls short of this, that is, who thinks it enough to come to church to learn God's will, but does not bear in mind to do it in his daily conduct, be he high or be he low, know he mysteries and all knowledge, or be he unlettered and busily occupied in active life, he is a fool in His sight, who maketh the wisdom of this world foolishness. Surely he is but a trifler, as substituting a formal outward service for the religion of the heart; and he reverses our Lord's words in the text, "because he knows these things, most unhappy is he, because he does them not." {35}

4. But some one may say, "It is so very difficult to serve God, it is so much against my own mind, such an effort, such a strain upon my strength to bear Christ's yoke, I must give it over, or I must delay it at least. Can nothing be taken instead? I acknowledge His law to be most holy and true, and the accounts I read about good men are most delightful. I wish I were like them with all my heart; and for a little while I feel in a mind to set about imitating them. I have begun several times, I have had seasons of repentance, and set rules to myself; but for some reason or other, I fell back after a while, and was even worse than before. I know, but I cannot do. O wretched man that I am!"

Now to such an one I say, You are in a much more promising state than if you were contented with yourself, and thought that knowledge was every thing, which is the grievous blindness which I have hitherto been speaking of; that is, you are in a better state, if you do not feel too much comfort or confidence in your confession. For this is the fault of many men; they make such an acknowledgment as I have described a substitute for real repentance; or allow themselves, after making it, to put off repentance, as if they could be suffered to give a word of promise which did not become due (so to say) for many days. You are, I admit, in a better state than if you were satisfied with yourself, but you are not in a safe state. If you were now to die, you would have no hope of salvation: no hope, that is, if your own showing be true, for I am taking your own words. Go before God's judgment-seat, and there plead that you know the Truth and have not done it.

This is {36} what you frankly own;—how will it there be taken? "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee," says our Judge Himself, and who shall reverse His judgment? Therefore such an one must make the confession with great and real terror and shame, if it is to be considered a promising sign in him; else it is mere hardness of heart. For instance: I have heard persons say lightly (every one must have heard them) that they own it would be a wretched thing indeed for them or their companions to be taken off suddenly. The young are especially apt to say this; that is, before they have come to an age to be callous, or have formed excuses to overcome the natural true sense of their conscience. They say they hope some day to repent. This is their own witness against themselves, like that bad prophet at Bethel who was constrained with his own mouth to utter God's judgments while he sat at his sinful meat. But let not such an one think that he will receive any thing of the Lord: he does not speak in faith.

When, then, a man complains of his hardness of heart or weakness of purpose, let him see to it whether this complaint is more than a mere pretence to quiet his conscience, which is frightened at his putting off repentance; or, again, more than a mere idle word, said half in jest and half in compunction. But, should he be earnest in his complaint, then let him consider he has no need to complain. Every thing is plain and easy to the earnest; it is the double-minded who find difficulties. If you hate your own corruption in sincerity and truth, if you are really pierced to the heart that you do not do what you know you should do, if you would love God if {37} you could, then the Gospel speaks to you words of peace and hope. It is a very different thing indolently to say, "I would I were a different man," and to close with God's offer to make you different, when it is put before you. Here is the test between earnestness and insincerity. You say you wish to be a different man; Christ takes you at your word, so to speak; He offers to make you different. He says, "I will take away from you the heart of stone, the love of this world and its pleasures, if you will submit to My discipline." Here a man draws back. No; he cannot bear to lose the love of the world, to part with his present desires and tastes; he cannot consent to be changed. After all he is well satisfied at the bottom of his heart to remain as he is, only he wants his conscience taken out of the way. Did Christ offer to do this for him, if He would but make bitter sweet and sweet bitter, darkness light and light darkness, then he would hail the glad tidings of peace;—till then he needs Him not.

But if a man is in earnest in wishing to get at the depths of his own heart, to expel the evil, to purify the good, and to gain power over himself, so as to do as well as know the Truth, what is the difficulty?—a matter of time indeed, but not of uncertainty is the recovery of such a man. So simple is the rule which he must follow, and so trite, that at first he will be surprised to hear it. God does great things by plain methods; and men start from them through pride, because they are plain. This was the conduct of Naaman the Syrian. Christ says, "Watch and pray;" herein lies our cure.

To watch and to pray are surely in our {38} power, and by these means we are certain of getting strength. You feel your weakness; you fear to be overcome by temptation: then keep out of the way of it. This is watching. Avoid society which is likely to mislead you; flee from the very shadow of evil; you cannot be too careful; better be a little too strict than a little too easy,—it is the safer side. Abstain from reading books which are dangerous to you. Turn from bad thoughts when they arise, set about some business, begin conversing with some friend, or say to yourself the Lord's Prayer reverently. When you are urged by temptation, whether it be by the threats of the world, false shame, self-interest, provoking conduct on the part of another, or the world's sinful pleasures, urged to be cowardly, or covetous, or unforgiving, or sensual, shut your eyes and think of Christ's precious blood-shedding.

Do not dare to say you cannot help sinning; a little attention to these points will go far (through God's grace) to keep you in the right way. And again, pray as well as watch. You must know that you can do nothing of yourself; your past experience has taught you this; therefore look to God for the will and the power; ask Him earnestly in His Son's name; seek His holy ordinances. Is not this in your power? Have you not power at least over the limbs of your body, so as to attend the means of grace constantly? Have you literally not the power to come hither; to observe the Fasts and Festivals of the Church; to come to His Holy Altar and receive the Bread of Life? Get yourself, at least, to do this; to put out the hand, to take His gracious Body {39} and Blood; this is no arduous work;—and you say you really wish to gain the blessings He offers. What would you have more than a free gift, vouchsafed "without money and without price?" So, make no more excuses; murmur not about your own bad heart, your knowing and resolving, and not doing. Here is your remedy.

Well were it if men could be persuaded to be in earnest; but few are thus minded. The many go on with a double aim, trying to serve both God and mammon. Few can get themselves to do what is right, because God tells them; they have another aim; they desire to please self or men. When they can obey God without offending the bad Master that rules them, then, and then only, they obey. Thus religion, instead of being the first thing in their estimation, is but the second. They differ, indeed, one from another what to put foremost: one man loves to be at ease, another to be busy, another to enjoy domestic comfort: but they agree in converting the truth of God, which they know to be Truth, into a mere instrument of secular aims; not discarding the Truth, but degrading it.

When He, the Lord of hosts, comes to shake terribly the earth, what number will He find of the remnant of the true Israel? We live in an educated age. The false gloss of a mere worldly refinement makes us decent and amiable. We all know and profess. We think ourselves wise; we flatter each other; we make excuses for ourselves when we are conscious we sin, and thus we gradually lose the consciousness that we are sinning. We think our own times superior to all others. "Thou {40} blind Pharisee!" This was the fatal charge brought by our blessed Lord against the falsely enlightened teachers of His own day. As then we desire to enter into life, let us come to Christ continually for the two foundations of true Christian faith,—humbleness of mind and earnestness!

Can you see Him in her?

"Our body is a cenacle,
a monstrance:
through its crystal the world should see God."

St Gianna Beretta Molla
Wife, Mother, Doctor, Martyr,
Italy (1922-1962)
FEAST DAY - April 28

St Gianna, pray for us!

Monday, April 27, 2009

the Professor(s) and Mary Ann, Here on Jenkin's Isle

I am not a copy cat (not usually) but as a Notre Dame grad I follow with interest Father John Jenkins' hi-jinks and especially appreciate Mary Ann Glendon's reasoned response- see Rocco's choice piece below.

Also, I heard through the grapevine that Notre Dame is fishing around for a second choice to whom they can offer this year's Medal...

"Hey, the Prom's Saturday night, wanna go with me? Mary Ann dumped me."

Laetare, Declined
via Whispers in the Loggia by Rocco Palmo on 4/27/09

A full update on the continuing controversy surrounding President Obama's selection as Notre Dame's commencement speaker is in the works... in the meantime, however, just hitting the wires comes news that former US ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, the intended recipient of the university's highest honor, the Laetare Medal, has declined the award, citing "the very serious problems" raised by the university's invite -- one taken, she said, "in disregard of the settled position of the US bishops."

Long ago dubbed "God's Lawyer" and the "First Lady" of the Stateside church, the Harvard law prof -- a highly-respected figure at the Holy See -- made the announcement in an open letter to University President Fr John Jenkins CSC published this morning by First Things, whose site is currently down, ostensibly crashed from the demand.Glendon received notice of her selection as the Medal's 127th winner in December, months before the President's appearance at the 17 May ceremonies was arranged.More soon -- as always, stay tuned.

SVILUPPO: As the FT site's still down for the count, here's the letter's fulltext....

April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
PresidentUniversity of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”
• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon

Hiatus ended

Well, it's been, how long? over 18 months since I last blogged. I've taken several classes at seminary, done a lot of spiritual direction and soul searching, and it seems like the right time to resurrect this blog and begin with baby steps once again in order to share some thoughts.

Suffice it to say right now that I am still on my vocational journey, still intimately connected to the Catholic Church, both through my work and through my role as Oblate of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank.

I noticed that there is still traffic to my site- although that has been going down over time. I hope this reminds me that my goal is not to drive the numbers up but to be faithful in sharing my thoughts.