Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do What I Do--I Mean, What I Say!

Though you would think my tailgating of Mr. Cigarette & Gun Lover would be the highlight of my experiences yesterday, I actually observed another interesting incident on the same road. As I was driving into Front Royal on Happy Creek Rd, just as it turns into E. 6th St., a police officer was driving the other way. I went straight, but he did an illegal right turn onto the Happy Creek offshoot (with the graveyard next to it). That's right, there's a clearly posted "no right turn" sign as you are driving out of town on E. 6th (I know because I've violated it once, in a moment of extreme necessity and impatience), probably because that right turn is well over 90 degrees. The police officer didn't seem to care and executed the turn with a skill that perhaps showed it wasn't the first time he had performed the maneuver. What is the world coming to these days? Before you know it, we will have to do citizens' arrests! :D

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cigarette Control

To the man who, judging from the bumper stickers on the back of his pickup truck, believes so strongly in Second Amendment rights: that's great! Bear arms, I fully support you. Please keep in mind, however, that the world--and Happy Creek Rd. in particular--is not your ashtray! Also, the exhaust from your truck smells horrible; it might be time for a new one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When Not to Laugh

Apropos of nothing, this post nevertheless has the form of a rant. I have noticed in several of my friends the tendency to laugh at another's mistakes, unintentional blunders, accidental failures, etc. I'm not sure why, but this really bothers me: and not because I'm frequently the one at whom people are laughing. Sure, I do silly things, mostly on purpose, and people find them funny. However, I can tell and therefore I think everyone should be able to tell, when someone is honestly embarrassed at her mistake; and it's a mean thing to make fun of her and thereby increase her misery. In fact, I am going to make a sweeping statement here: it's not well-bred to laugh at someone else unless he or she is making a joke or saying something intentionally funny. I don't care who you are. Just stop laughing rudely at people! Ask yourself, "Is my laughter good-natured or is it just mockery?" (Also, if you happen to see me do just what I am ranting against, please please call me out on it--I'm definitely asking for it.)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Concise post from another blogger

My husband forwarded this link to me today. It's a short and concise take on some of the recent Christopher West controversy. It also mentions and links to some interesting articles on the connections between Dietrch vonHildebrand, TOB and West's own approach.

TOB Tuesday: A Pivotal Question

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Question for the Critics

This morning I sat at the train station wondering why some people have so much difficulty recognizing that human sexuality directly relates to divine mysteries. After all, our male and female bodies, capable of mutual self-gift in the martial act, where created so before the Fall. They were blessed and beautiful. When man sinned and lost his original innocence, his body and sexuality became tainted by sin, yet so did his intellect, will, heart and soul. We speak freely of the beauty, the participation in the divine, the redemption possible for these latter faculties, yet for many the body remains "tainted,"redeemable from its "sinfulness" only insofar as we downplay or even reject our sexuality. Such an attitude limits or ignores the extent that Christ's salvific death and resurrection can transform our entire being, body and soul.

By virtue of our redemption every single part of us as human creatures, every member and particle of our being can be transformed by the power of Christ. This includes our sexuality. True it must be treated with reverence, but if the Bible, the saints and the Church speak of human sexuality and relate the marital act to sacred and Divine truths and mysteries, we should also elevate our thinking about these things to the heights of heaven. The most beautiful and intimate traditions of the Church which unite man with the love of God use marriage and sexual language to convey the depth of God's love for us and the call for us to love as He loves.

May we not reject the mystical tradition of the Church and relinquish half of our personhood, our bodies, to the realm of the devil. May we come to see our whole person as reflections of the divine love, symbols of sacred mysteries and a participation in the very life of the Trinity. I will close with one of the most powerful examples I know of this: consider a marital act which results in the conception of a child. At the moment of conception the power of the Holy Spirit overshadows the woman and creates in her womb a human soul. Even if the sexual act was disordered (rape, fornication, etc.) because of it God Himself blesses that woman and touches her in a profoundly personal way, creating within her a person in the very image and likeness of God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Theology of the Body: Cornerstone of the New Evangilization

Recently, there has been a lot of criticism and discussion concerning Christopher West's presentation and interpretation of John Paul II's Theology of the Body. I currently work at the TOB Institute which organizes and promotes Christopher's talks and courses, as well as those of other speakers. Last month, I was privileged to attend a week long course on TOB, taught by Christopher West. Before the course began, I was skeptical about the "spiritual impact" of TOB, particularly since I considered myself familiar with it. I expected to learn more, but wasn't really expecting that God would touch my heart. God certainly had a surprise for me! I came to see that TOB is not just another theology course, nor is it just for people who have been wounded by sexual sins. Rather, TOB is an integral part of the new evangelization and I believe that all people, even Catholics with a strong faith life and years of really good Catholic education, need to read and understand the Pope's teachings in order to develop a deeper love of God and of others.

The goal of the Christian life is God, and since God is love, loving God, others, and ourselves forms the core of our calling as Christians. But how do we live this calling? As Catholics, blessed with the fullness of the Faith, the Sacraments are the foremost means of holiness, and then prayer, mortification, works of charity, etc. But are all those enough? St. Paul says that without love, they are nothing. The practice of virtue and avoidance of sin are doubtless essential to the Christian life, but they must be accompanied by a profound transformation of heart in which we begin to love as Christ loves. Grace, of course, is necessary for any good to be achieved in us, but what about knowing who God is and who we are? Why do we receive the sacraments, avoid sin and practice charity, anyway? Faith is not ignorance, it is knowing in a profound way who we are as creatures of God. This is where TOB is vital to our whole life: it explains who we are in relation to God and in relation to each other.

Before I go on about TOB, I'd just like to address a specific issue which I have heard raised as an objection to Christopher West's presentation of TOB. I have read several people who think that he downplays this dimension of pray, mortification, reception of the sacraments, perhaps even the need for grace. After spending a week with Christopher I would say this: rarely have a seen such a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Blessed Mother, the saints, and a constant recourse to prayer. From his very example, as well as his words urging the need for the Sacrament of Penance, the reception of Communion, prayer to the Blessed Mother, etc., it is clear that these things are absolutely essential for anyone who wants to even begin understanding or living the Theology of the Body. Furthermore, Christopher encouraged us to practice self-denial and penance, both in reparation for sin and as a means to holiness.

So if prayer, sacraments, mortification is so important to a life of chastity and virtue, why does Christopher West move beyond those things to a deeper, more mature form of chastity? Because that is what the Pope calls us to do. For anyone who thinks that Christopher has made up the following theological and spiritual truths I'm going to talk about, I urge them the read the text of John Paul II's audiences, found at http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM. I have read them and I know this is from the Pope. They are dense and need to be broken down and explained, and I believe Christopher West does a good job of this. But if anyone thinks he makes up certain things, read the documents before judging the interpretation.

God created us male and female. Therefore, our bodies in their "male and femaleness" speak a "language"(JPII) which reveals to us fundamental truths about who we are and how we relate to God and others, and even more precisely, what the relationship is between Christ and the Church. JP II seeks to correct the "modern Manicheanism" which asserts that the body and sex are bad in themselves. Here is where the misunderstanding about West's comparison of Hugh Heffner and John Paul II. He never "favorably compared them". What West says is that each recognized that society was wrong in its rejection of the body and sex as inherently bad. But their reaction was totally different, and while Heffner's devalued the whole human person, John Paul has raised man, body and soul, to the very heights of heaven, for the Son of God Himself came to us in a human body, and was born of a woman.

Of course, JPII was not saying something "new" to Catholic teaching, but he was reminding a world and a Church that had lost a key part of its heritage that man is not Mancheen body/soul duality, nor is he a Cartesian "pure-thought" being. In developing the truth about man as a body soul creature, the Pope drew of the riches of Biblical and Catholic tradition, especially the Song of Songs, St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and the writings of the mystics, especially St. John of the Cross. (Probably why Christopher West frequently quotes John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.) It is in these very Biblical and mystical works that we encounter the rich and complex analogies of human and spiritual nuptial union, the very "sex" which Christopher West is accused of "harping on". But, I read on one blog, isn't this nuptial union of the soul with God, this state of holiness known as the unitive way, isn't it only reserved for and experienced by a few very holy saints? Isn't it too complicated for ordinary Catholics, too far from our everyday experience, too holy for our great sinfulness which has not been purified by intense trials like those of the few mystic saints?

To this, Pope John Paul would answer no; holiness is not for a few special saints, holiness is for ordinary people. (Remember how much he loved St. Therese.) Through his writing on the Theology of the Body, JPII was giving ordinary people the means for understanding man's call to nuptial, even mystical, union with God. Furthermore, once man begins this journey of love for God his journey of loving others, especially in the particular context of his vocation, becomes filled with ever more depth and meaning too. The Theology of the Body is 129 talks in which JPII offers men and women the insights they need to understand who they are and who God is. This is why people like Christopher West are necessary, just as Thomistic theologians are necessary: to unpack the depth of a saint's thoughts for others to better understand. I don't think that West is an "authority" on JPII. The more people the better who read and begin to teach and spread this message of the Pope. But Christopher West has begun the work. He's not perfect, and over the last 15 years his examples and presentation have been developed and will continue to develop.

The need for this mature purity is found directly in the Pope's words:“The task of purity,” as John Paul II observed, “is not only (and not so much) abstaining from ‘unchastity’ and from ... ‘lustful passions’.” In the illuminative and unitive stages of the journey, we discover “another function of the virtue of purity... another dimension – one could say – that is more positive than negative” (TOB 54:3). In this “positive” dimension, we come to experience “a singular ability to perceive, love, and realize those meanings of the ‘language of the body’ that remain completely unknown to concupiscence itself” (TOB 128:3). The reference to the illuminative and unitive stages may lead some to question the practicality of this for ordinary people. After all, aren't most of us going to be in the purgative stage all our lives? From the spiritual works I have read which guide the spiritual life according to these three categories, the writers state that most of us, while on the purgative a lot of the time, enter in to each of the stages at various points in our lives; there is not necessarily a linear progression, though virtue will be increasing. And if Pope John Paul emphasizes the need for such a radical dimension to be realized in our practice of the virtue of purity, is it strange that Christopher West would also emphasis this?

The truth is that as Catholic Christians we are being called to a deeper, much deeper relationship with Jesus, Mary, the saints, and others, than most people have ever heard of. If we are aware of the deeper levels of the spiritual life, we probably figure we're a long way off from that goal. So how can West repeatedly state that all people can develop this more "mature purity", which seems to be a far advanced state of holiness? Not just by observing the external norms of mortifying the senses and avoiding the topic of sex and the body because those things could lead to lust, but transforming our understanding so that we will see them at their true value as part of our divine birthright as human beings. Does this mean that will be able to dispense with prayer and mortification and look at naked images or engage in sexual behavior with no more danger of falling into lust? Of course not! Knowledge, certainly, is not necessarily action, and we can know all this and still feel a temptation to lust. But knowing a person's true value will help us to overcome the temptation.

Now this doesn't mean we should tempt ourselves or put ourselves in occasions of sin just to prove our knowledge. That would be presumption. But we should be better able to view individuals as persons and not objects. For the record, West does not advocate that men go around staring at naked or scantily women; in fact, he encourages them to take the opportunity to pray for the healing of their own sinfulness and to pray for the woman that she might discover her own worth. Also, I think the example, often quoted, of staying in the same house as one's fiance is not to encourage people to put themselves in occasions of sin, but to recognize that our sexual appetites can be governed to the point that an occasion of sin does not become a sin itself.

Also related to this is the idea that those who are not able to control their passions except through distance from any form or occasion of sin are not virtuous. I remember learning very clearly in moral theology that the continent man is not fully virtuous. There are degrees of virtue and Aquinas, JP II and West all mention this fact that there are degrees of virtue and holiness, and the continent man is not yet fully virtuous. Indeed, is it not ludicrous to assert that an unmarried man and woman who can never be alone together without engaging in sexual activity are actually virtuous if they just make sure they are always around other people? It's pretty clear they need a much better control of their passions and respect for themselves and each other (which they would learn from TOB) could encourage them to begin to change their hearts to start practicing virtue.

Ultimately, debates and criticism about Christopher West miss the point that it's not about Christopher West. It's about the truth that Pope John Paul II offered humanity, that man could better learn to know and love his Creator and his fellow human beings. If you don't like West's approach, than read the documents themselves or someone else's books on TOB. And if you think that Christopher West is misleading people, read the testimonies of those touched by his talks and classes. There are dozens on the TOB Institute website and it's hard to believe that every single one of those people who went to a Christopher West talk went away changed: but it's true.

In the words of a recent TOB student: "I am CONVINCED that theology of the body will heal the world. This is because theology of the body reminds us that Christ, the Bridegroom, is the ultimate answer to all the brokenness we face in this world."~Sr. Miriam Heidland

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How About Them Anglicans?

By now I hope everyone has heard the exciting news regarding some of our separated brethren. Come back! To the fold! The One Fold of Christ--His Church! It's super amazing the way Pope Benedict has taken a pastoral approach even to Christians outside the visible herd. Also, praise be to God, here is the response by the Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion. He's darn right in saying, "It more than matches our prayers." To be honest, I had forgotten a little bit about the Anglicans. Even though my mom is a member of an Anglican-use Catholic parish, and even though I recently visited England itself, I seem to forget the plight of English people who long to be in communion with the Catholic Church. I kind of assumed they would have to just "suck it up" and convert, but Fr. Z makes the point that it really isn't that easy. Conversion is always a crucifixion, no matter if it's made easier by the pope's provisions or not. I think that's especially why this action of his imitates Christ, the Merciful Shepherd.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Excising Quantity

When everything goes well, we can suppress our tendency to count. Think about it. We're always counting things: how many minutes till we're off work, how many days until an important event, how old so-and-so is, how many cookies we have to bake to feed X amount of people, etc. You could pretty much keep counting forever and ever, always thinking of new things to count. You can count how many more pages are left in the book you've been reading for months. You can count how many years it's going to take you to finish graduate school. You can (but shouldn't) count how many childbearing years you have left.

Anyway, there occasionally occur some magical moments when counting ceases. I recently attended a dinner party during which that happened. I didn't count anything or think in terms of quantity at all for quite a long time. Before I knew it, I thought to check the time in my cell and it was 10:30 p.m.! It was mysterious how it happened. I know I had a second cookie, but it didn't strike me at the time to count up how much of everything I had eaten. I just ate and was satisfied. I didn't count how many people were there or how old each of them were. I didn't count how many people were dressed up and how many were casual. I really didn't think to count at all. There's something so liberating about excising quantity!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ad orientam

This is a shameless posting, directing you to my other blog. I found an article on NLM that referenced Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, and his recent decision to celebrate his Cathedral Masses ad orientam. Bishop Slattery gives a reasoned and careful defense of his decision, and reminds us of just what we are about when we go to Mass. In lieu of Healthily Sanguine's last post, I also realized we needed something to improve the tone of the liturgical posts on this blog. Enjoy! (And read the original article.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Devout Catholic's Nightmare

Last night I had a terrible dream. As is typical for a dream, I was in a surreal place, a bit like an island or a foreign country. I knew my way around pretty well and was showing someone else around the place. However, almost purposely, I was late for Mass. I realized as I walked into the enormous, beautiful church (something like a cross between a large basilica and St. Alphonsus in Baltimore) that I had munched something a little while ago, thus breaking the one-hour fast. I quickly rationalized that whatever it was didn't count. I knelt down to pray for Mass and then noticed that I was not only late for Mass, it was already towards the end of the Communion line. My companion went up to receive Communion and, somewhat reluctantly, I followed. The reason I was reluctant was not due to the prior munching, which I had already pushed to the back of my mind, but because I was wearing my black one-piece bathing suit and orange flowered beach shorts! I felt a bit self-conscious. Nevertheless, I went up anyway. Before the final blessing, the priest said a few words about respect and reverence, the importance of wearing proper clothes and NOT wearing a skin tight tank top and shorts to Mass. I knew the words were directed at me, and though I felt somewhat chastised and very embarrassed, I soon returned to not caring. Then I woke up.

Monday, July 27, 2009


What are you doing today to be pro-life?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Me: "Sometimes it's so disappointing to examine my own behavior and find I have no one to blame for it but myself . . ."
A friend: "Welcome to the human condition, my dear."

Being human means enduring a constant state of transition.

Things always appear worse before they get better, such as when you are trying to lose weight and parts of you look thicker than others, giving you the impression that you are making no progress at all.

If anyone knows where I can find a decent recording of a soprano singing Bizet's Agnus Dei, please let me know!

Can anyone ever tell when affairs are truly coming to a head? They must. For instance, Mark Sanford's self-revelation about his affair with the South American woman--he knew when he was toast.

--Thoughts from my second cup of coffee

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Married People

Single people use the word "we" in the context of an "I"; married people use the word "I" in the context of a "we."

The Importance of Telling the Truth to Children

I was musing this morning on the importance of telling kids the truth, rather than fiction. As reasonable and moral adults, we have a serious responsibility to the truth. We have to tell the truth, in love, to those we know and care about in order to help them. This same principle applies to children. Don't let your own, or anyone else's, child fall victim to the abuse of truth! Of course there are scenarios where it is necessary to conceal part of the truth; however, kids are already so vulnerable in this regard. Wouldn't it be better to say, "I will not tell you," or "That is not for you to know yet," rather than making up some tale to answer a child's question? Also, while we might abbreviate facts, in order to simplify them for the child's understanding, we have to guard the sense from distortion. I'm not sure how a child's development might be influenced by having parents, and other adults, tell him made up stories, but I think it must be an adverse effect. A lie is always a lie, even a small lie, even to a small person. Lies harm people.

Final note: Kids can handle much more of the truth than adults realize or imagine. I am the first proponent of sheltering children--I was a product of this educational strategy myself--but I think the point of sheltering is to prevent kids from having bad images or firsthand experiences of the ugliness and sin that they are too young to absorb. It's not to prevent open communication or to prevent the kid from knowing about matters in the world. When a child asks a question, the default mode should be to answer it as you would for an adult--and then you apply the filter of what this particular child can digest.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Female Cantors?

The other day I overheard someone (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) say that female cantors were not welcome at the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, even if the female cantor could do all the propers for the Mass and thus provide for a sung/high Mass. At the time, and since it wasn't my conversation, I let the observation slide, but it has resurfaced to bother me, like a splinter that goes in at the ball of your foot but later erupts through your toe. That really happened to someone I know, by the way. I digress. The main question is whether this statement, that it is better to have no music at all (i.e. to have a low mass) rather than succumb to the snare of a female cantor, no matter how good she may be, is correct. What is the feeling on all-women's choirs singing for the TLM? And if both women cantors and women choirs are to be shunned, how is this not simply misogyny and stuffiness of the worst degree? :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Novena

Tomorrow, the Friday after the Ascension, starts the day of the first novena ever said, by Our Lady and the Apostles as they waited for the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow, the Church recommends that we, too, pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Here are some links to novenas.




Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Voting as Catholics

From Archbishop Burke's address at the National Prayer Breakfast:

Too often, in our time, our inability to accomplish all that we should for the sake of the defense of the right to life and of the protection of the integrity of the family is used to justify the direct choice of a political leader who espouses a position or positions in violation of the natural moral law. The Servant of God Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, addresses at length the question of cooperation in evil which violates the dignity of innocent human life. He offers as an example the case of a legislator who has the possibility of voting for a law which would restrict the evil of procured abortion, even though it would not eradicate it completely. He concludes that the legislator could vote for the legislation, while his own opposition to procured abortion remains clear, for his vote does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects (Pope John Paul II, Encylical Letter Evangelium vitae , On the Good and Inviolability of Human Life, 25 March 1995, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 87 [1995], 487, no. 73). In an analogous manner, as voters, we are often faced with a choice among candidates who do not fully oppose unjust laws. In such a case, we must choose the candidate who will most limit the evil effects of unjust laws. But, there is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, which a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the unborn, euthanasia or the recognition of a same-sex relationship as a legal marriage. The respect for the inviolable dignity of innocent human life and for the integrity of marriage and the family are so fundamental to the common good that they cannot be subordinated to any other cause, no matter how good it may be.

This is a pretty weighty statement. I was wondering if anyone had any input as to how the section in bold affects the lesser of two evils argument? I read it as though one may vote for a candidate who limits unjust laws, though he will not eradicate them, one may never vote for someone who supports positions so contrary to the natural law as those listed above.
Or, it is possible he is addressing the common argument that fighting poverty is equal to fighting abortion, or other such erroneous beliefs.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Law Question

Does a bishop who has spoken clear heresy still hold the authority of his office?

This is sort of a spin-off of the sedevacantist question. How should this situation be handled, in the case of a latae sententiae excommunication?

Can. 1331 §1. An excommunicated person is forbidden:

1/ to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever;

2/ to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments;

3/ to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, or functions whatsoever or to place acts of governance.

Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Thoughts for Holy Week

A phrase from day five of the Divine Mercy novena jumped out at me. It is from the fifth day of the novena:
Today bring to Me The souls of those who have separated themselves from my Church and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.

Though we are firmly rooted in time, time does not exist in heaven. It may be that this novena is speaking in a figurative way, but I don't think so. By praying and working for true unity, Christ's sufferings even on the day of His Passion will be slightly lessened. That is pretty incredible.

The Divine Mercy Novena starts on Good Friday. Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a rock.

At first scientists thought the lights and noises were created by a Russian rocket, but when that rocket turned up in Taiwan, they decided it was a meteor. Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory said, "This is what makes science fun!"


Monday, March 30, 2009

Flash and Boom--but why?

Last night I was excited to see what I thought was lightening in the distance. Yet, the weather predicted no storms, and there was no thunder. Very weird. This was in the news today:


As of yet, no one knows what caused it. Anyone know?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What Kathleen Meant to Post

This post comes from Kathleen. I, Sylvia, may be the one actually typing it, but the idea for the content came in my gmail inbox from her. As we know, gmail is related to Blogger as both are subsets of the same huge conglomerate that is the omniscient Google, so in a way Kathleen sent it to this blog. Google just isn't advanced enough to process it yet. Now onto the matter at hand (and the irony is that I'm posting this to procrastinate my work):
The Cult of Done Manifesto!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Support Pope Benedict XVI

Click here to support Pope Benedict!

There's been a lot of talk on this blog of supporting and backing our Holy Father, as is right and obedient for us faithful Roman Catholics to do. Now it's time to put your contact info where your mouth is! Take a few minutes and electronically sign this petition in support of the Pope Benedict's recent statements against condoms, showing his true solicitude for African Catholics and especially victims of AIDS. As in so many other cases, he has spoken only the truth, and the media has heinously distorted it with their characteristic lack of care for the facts of the case.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Archbishop Burke on the Liturgy and Married life.

Introduction: Two different but related subjects

In writing to you this week, I want to address two different but related subjects of concern to us all. The first is the recent publication of new liturgical norms pertaining to the celebration of two forms of the Rite of the Mass, the form used by all until 1970 and the new form introduced by Pope Paul VI. The new norms, given by Pope Benedict XVI on July 7, have been the subject of much discussion in the media. For your better understanding of the new norms, I want to offer you my reflections on the norms and their implementation in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

I also write to you about National Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week, which we will be celebrating next week, July 22-28. The weeklong observance, designated by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, provides us all with an opportunity to understand more deeply the crowning of married love, which is the generation and education of new human life. The observance is centered around the 39th anniversary of the publication of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical "Humanae Vitae (On the Regulation of Birth)," issued on July 25, 1968. In a timely way, it brings to greater consciousness God’s plan for married love and procreation. In a culture which is so filled with confusion about human sexuality and its conjugal meaning, attention to the procreative dimension of the conjugal act is indeed timely.

The two topics seem to be quite diverse. In fact, however, they are closely related. The sanctification of our lives through participation in the liturgy, especially the Sacrifice of the Mass, is expressed concretely in the manner by which we fulfill the daily responsibilities of our vocation in life. For the married, the communion with our Lord in the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the source of their communion of life, also in its sexual or conjugal expression. The more we grow in reverence for the sacredness of the liturgy, the more we also grow in care to live a holy life in all things.

-Archbishop Burke.


I found this statement to be interesting in relation to a recent discussion prompted by a seminarian's experiment concerning possible sacrilege occurring due to Communion in the hand. Is it a coincidence that when our world has lost all respect for the smallest of humans, we also lose all respect for the smallest particles of Our Lord's Body?

Good News Stories

I am on an email chain called FlyLady, which I like because it's extremely positive and helps with organization and ordering of one's life. I don't read all the emails, but occasionally I like to see the stories/inspiration she sends. Today, I opened up an email entitled "Good News Letter" and what do I see but the following story (by the way, "DH" stands for "dear husband" in case you are confused) . . .

The good news about losing one's job:

I got laid off, but my DH is still employed. The good news is that our lives improved and it costs less to live.

-Transportation: one vehicle now needs fuel only once a month instead of twice a week; fewer oil changes; less tire wear. Garaged vehicle doesn't get as dirty, can be washed at home instead of at the drive-thru. We're considering selling it to lower insurance & other costs. But it's paid off, and nice to have on Errand Day.

-Drycleaning: dropped to practically nothing.
-Clothes: t-shirts, blue jeans, socks & tennies cost less than blouses, suits, pantyhose & high heels.
-Food: Biggest cost saver. Groceries instead of eating out. Plenty of time to shop for bargains, plan & cook meals.
-Utilities: We pay more attention to lowering the thermostat, turning off lights, using & heating less water.
-Exercise: Who needs the gym when there are daylight hours & the great outdoors?
-Housework: Amazing how much can be done during an extra 60 hours per week.
-Sleep: Finally being able to get to bed on time, wake without an alarm clock. No more chronic sleep deprivation.
-Material things. With time to take good care of what we have, less needs to be replaced.
-Repairs. Why hire someone when there's time to do it oneself.
-Entertainment. Doesn't need to cost so much. Time to find & attend free local stuff instead of traveling & paying big bucks.

Other benefits:
Waking up DH with the smell of breakfast. Greeting him with my hair combed & freshly brushed teeth instead of bedhead & morning breath. Homemade coffee in a thermos. Baking goodies from scratch. Time to meet neighbors, walk & ride bike in the neighborhood, garden, volunteer in the community, play.

We don't have children at home anymore but for those who do, consider:
-Childcare costs
-Being home when they get out of school
-Quality time
-Buying fewer clothes because of time to pay attention
-Better nutrition at lower cost
-Getting to know their friends
-Knowing how they spend their time
-Attending school, sport, music & other functions
-Being there to notice small changes in behavior, first signs of illness
-Taking sick ones to the doctor or clinic instead of the emergency room

"When one door closes, another door opens."
"Clean begets clean, just as clutter begets clutter."

Flying in Colorado

I just thought it was great to see in a secular source (I believe FlyLady is a Christian, but the messages are very generic when it comes to "spirit") a practical defense of the traditional family arrangement. I like my job a lot, but I don't think I'm alone among my fellow ladies in not really wanting to work forever. I enjoy keeping house! Being always focused on action and results really takes a toll on women, as this story illustrates.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Episcopal Lineage

Here is an interesting fact.

About 90% of the world's bishops trace their episcople lineage back to a single bishop of the sixteenth century.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More on Austria

Kath.net reports this, translated by cathcon.

Windischgarsten parish priest Wagner defends himself against malicious rumour, which apparently played an important role in the not-so-voluntary resignation - Rome is involved – Presently no statement from Bishop Schwarz (www.kath.net)

The Windischgarsten parish priest Gerhard Maria Wagner defends himself against a malicious rumour which was disseminated about his episcopal appointment from specifically ecclesiastical circles of the Diocese of Linz.

A few hours before Wagner announced that he was to ask the Pope to withdraw his nomination, he was confronted by the Linz Bishop Ludwig Schwarz with an until now not proven story,that Wagner had a few years ago given money to a woman (the name is known by kath.net ) to obtain an abortion.

The Bishop of Linz told him of the allegation at a meeting, Wagner said a few days ago to KATH.NET. This had so taken him back that he subsequently was prepared to ask the Pope to withdraw his nomination. However, this was not in any sense an admission of guilt, Wagner was clear.

He was so disappointed by the Bishop of Linz, the parish priest of Windischgarsten said openly. The rumour apparently had been fed to the bishop of Linz cathedral chapter. Who handed the letter over to the cathedral chapter, is as yet unclear

"The whole thing is a pack of lies," he stressed. "It is simply incredible, especially because I have always helped women and children!" The Windischgarsten priest is well known in his parish for always supporting people in emergency situations.

The rumour was, however, circulating for days in ecclesiastical circles of the Diocese of Linz. Even Bishop Schwarz spoke in recent days of "serious allegations" against Wagner as KATH.NET experienced. The Bishop of Linz, however, until now has not even reviewed the allegations. Schwarz did not even tell him of the name of the woman nor gave him a copy of the letter, criticized Wagner.

He will take legal action against those who have placed the matter in the public domain, emphasized the Windischgarsten parish priest. Meanwhile, one wave of rumor has followed another: Journalists have been informed, as has an influential political party in Upper Austria, information which party officials used for their own purposes.

From well-informed Church circles, there was a threat to disseminate the rumor a few days before the planned consecration of Bishop Wagner on 22 March via some Upper Austrian media.

There is not yet an official opinion from the Bishop of Linz, which already was confronted by kath.net. The fact is that the affair has reached the ears of Rome and there is already a congregation involved in the matter.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Novena to St. Joseph

Tomorrow, Wednesday, is the day to start a novena in honor of St. Joseph, ending on his feast day.



Others can be found here:

Now, Venerable Brethren, you know the times in which we live; they are scarcely less deplorable for the Christian religion than the worst days, which in time past were most full of misery to the Church. We see faith, the root of all the Christian virtues, lessening in many souls; we see charity growing cold; the young generation daily growing in depravity of morals and views; the Church of Jesus Christ attacked on every side by open force or by craft; a relentless war waged against the Sovereign Pontiff; and the very foundations of religion undermined with a boldness which waxes daily in intensity....
From the same fact that the most holy Virgin is the mother of Jesus Christ is she the mother of all Christians whom she bore on Mount Calvary amid the supreme throes of the Redemption; Jesus Christ is, in a manner, the first-born of Christians, who by the adoption and Redemption are his brothers. And for such reasons the Blessed Patriarch looks upon the multitude of Christians who make up the Church as confided specially to his trust - this limitless family spread over the earth, over which, because he is the spouse of Mary and the Father of Jesus Christ he holds, as it were, a paternal authority. It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.

Pope Leo XIII, Quamquam Pluries, 1889.

Monday, March 09, 2009

We Live in Interesting Times

The head of Moscow Police Pronin delivered a profound morality lesson to the press on Friday, in which he stated:

"“It’s unacceptable, gay pride parades shouldn’t be allowed. No one will dare to do it, such “brave-heart” will be torn to shreds."
“The West can say we’re bad guys, but our people will see it’s right. Our country is patriarchal, that’s sums it up."
“I positively agree with the Church, with the Patriarch, politicians, especially with Luzhkov, who are convinced that man and woman should love each other. It is established by God and nature.”

If Russia manages to preserve marriage in their culture, it will be interesting to see what the world will look like in 30 years.

Source: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=5779

The German District Superior of the SSPX issued a response to the German Bishops Conference's recent statements. In it, they say that the Bishops should accurately represent their positions, especially concerning Vatican II, which the SSPX does not reject as a whole, contrary to what others have said. Also:

"The bishops are bound by the eighth commandment, which reads: "Thou shalt not give false testimony." We therefore urge the Episcopal Conference to take back the defamatory accusation of anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish sentiments within the SSPX. In the Williamson affair, the SSPX Superiors have reacted immediately. The German District has stated immediately after the publication of the unspeakable statements clearly and unambiguously condemned any kind of trivialisation of Nazi crimes and apologised to those who were injured by the statements. We would again point out that the father of Archbishop Lefebvre lost his life in Sonnenburg Concentration Camp."

Also, in their request for fair treatment, Fr. Schmidberger points out:

"The SSPX on the contrary detects within the German Episcopate a subtle rejection of papal authority. The attitude towards papal decrees of the recent past in this context is relevant:
a. The desire of the Pope to translate correctly the falsely rendered words of consecration, was ignored by the German bishops.
b. The motu proprio for the liberation of the old Mass is implemented by some bishops so restrictively that it almost remains ineffective.
c. The Good Friday prayers of the Pope were also erroneously described by some theologians in Germany as antisemitic.
d. The clear position of the Pope about the ecclesiastical understanding within Protestant communities was made in Germany overwhelmingly misunderstood.
e. Despite repeated calls, the German bishops do not withdraw the Königstein Declaration which makes the encyclical "Humanae Vitae" of Pope Paul VI ineffective.
f. Finally, the declaration "Dominus Jesus" was strongly criticised by German theologians because it only talked about the unique path to salvation offered by the Church. "

Hopefully this will encourage the Bishops Conference to open dialogue with the SSPX, which they have previously refused to do, despite requests from the SSPX. They say that "The integration of the SSPX into the Church which is a goal of the Apostolic See, remains given the current experience a project with dubious prospects of success."

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Dr. Blum on the Enlightenment

Dr. Blum delivers a lecture to ISI on conservativism and the Enlightenment.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Priorities Askew?

Cardinal Schoenborn:

At a time when the Church should really be dealing with the crucial worries that face people today such as the financial crisis and unemployment, it is confronted with debates about a small group of people who refuse to recognise the Second Vatican Council, or at least crucial parts of it, who think the Pope and the Church are on the wrong path and who consider themselves as the true Catholic Church.

Wow. That totally undermines pretty much everything the Catholic Church teaches and upholds.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Yesterday in class I found a copy of Chesterton's Orthodoxy online. I forgot how much of a pleasure Chesterton was, especially his Ethics of Elfland. His justification for moral law is great. Why should we complain about the way things are when they didn't even have be. Simply put, we should not be surprised by the fact that a man can't marry multiple women. Rather, we should be surprise that man has the honor of looking at a woman, much less marrying one. He goes on to suggest that the reason we see so much regularity in nature is not because of a law of science, but rather because God still finds great pleasure in making the sun rise and the daisies appear as they do. It is a great reminder abut how great life is, even in this season of Lent.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oh Vienna...

Storm clouds are gathering in Austria right now. A few of you might have been following the case of former Bishop-Elect Wagner, an orthodox priest with a healthy parish who was recently appointed by Pope Benedict to become the auxiliary bishop of Linz, Austria. Linz is a pretty liberal diocese. He gave a fantastic interview:


In it Wagner states, "What unifies us, is our Catholic faith. Those who dissent should consider whether it is not really they who are being divisive. I fail to see why I should portrayed as divisive when I step up in defense of the Church and align myself with the Pope. Something is not right there."

Recently, the Austrian Bishops' Conference held an emergency meeting to discuss this "crisis" of an appointment, led by Cardinal Schonborn. They mailed petitions to parishes all over Austria to have Bishop-Elect Wagner resign, and to ask Bishop Schwarz, who was going to do the ordination, to refuse to ordain the Pope's man. Result: Bishop-Elect Wagner resigned.

Why is this relevant? The Austrian Bishops' Conference published an open letter to all parishes in the country, declaring war on the pope's ability to appoint bishops. Some excerpts follow:

"We bishops are convinced that the procedure provided for in canon law for the selection and the examination of candidates has proved its worth, if this procedure is really followed. Therefore, before the Holy Father takes the final decision, reliable and thoroughly tested basic information must be provided on which he can rely. In Austria in the next few years a number of bishops are to be appointed. The faithful are legitimately concerned that the process of candidate search, examination of the proposals and the final decisions should be carefully undertaken and with pastoral sensitivity are possible. This can ensure that bishops are appointed who are not 'against' but 'for' a local church. We bishops will make every possible effort to support the forthcoming episcopal appointments in the sense of monitoring these procedures in close cooperation with the relevant Vatican offices."

"The situation in the vast diocese of Linz makes the bishops worry - this even after the resignation of Father Gerhard Wagner. There is much good news from this diocese, which is often too little seen, even if some problems should be mentioned...It is not just about differences of opinion in terms of structures and methods, but ultimately the question of sacramental identity of the Catholic Church. This especially this concerns the ordination for priests and deacons in relation to the general priesthood of all the baptized. The pastoral path can only be followed which is in accordance with the worldwide church. For all differences, this path of the church persevering in prayer and in conversation with the universal Church should be undertaken on the basis of the Second Vatican Council."


The good news from the diocese to which they refer might be that of over 5,600,000 Catholics, fewer than 801,000 attend Mass on Sunday.

Though the language of the letter sounds friendly, remember that refusing to accept Rome's instructions when it comes to consecrating bishops is what sparked the largest schism, or more accurately the largest potential schism, of the past century in the situation of the SSPX. It is a very serious action--they are effectively stabbing the Holy Father in the back. In this very public letter, the Austrian Bishops' Conference is clearly throwing down the gauntlet to the pope and his attempt to keep the Church focused on Christ and His teachings. Their boldness might inspire other conferences to do the same.

Though this grave act is not yet a schismatic one, it certainly shows that the country may be on that trajectory.

They need prayers badly. I encourage everyone to continue in the novena for the Holy Father, ending on February 22nd, the Chair of Peter.

(say 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, and 1 Gloria)

V: Let us pray for our Pope Benedict.

R: May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

V. Thou art Peter,

R. And upon this Rock, I will build My Church.

Let us Pray,

Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon your servant, Benedict, our Sovereign Pontiff, and guide him in your goodness on the way of eternal salvation; so that, with the prompting of your grace, he may desire what pleases you and accomplish it with all his strength. Through
Christ Our Lord.

V. Mother of the Church. R. Pray for us

V. St. Joseph. R. Pray for us

V. St. Peter. R. Pray for us

V. St. Paul. R. Pray for us

V. St. Benedict. R. Pray for us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stuck in the Middle with You

Be forewarned, this post is all about money. It's the unfinished story of a very crazy girl who wants lots and lots of money, probably so as to get much chocolate and joie de vivre (French things are expensive!).

As Valentine's Day approaches, I am reflecting, willingly or not, on possible future marriage partners. It's a continuing theme often taken up by my girlfriends and myself. Today what struck me was the economic difficulty in finding my perfect match. The difficulty is as follows: I make a pretty good amount of money. That in itself is not a problem (can anyone say DOWRY??). The problem comes when you apply two key principles (whether they be rigid principles I leave for someone else to dissect): one, because a man feels threatened by a woman who makes more money than he does, the man should make more money in a relationship; two--and this just dawned on me today--a lot of people nowadays, men or women, who make above a certain amount of money tend to have certain goals and ways of life that are not strictly compatible with a strong spiritual life. They are the rich young man in the Gospel story.

I am the last person to say that you must intentionally become poor in order to live out your vocation as a Catholic lay person, but there's no denying the strong temptation that a sizable income provides to material attachment. This attachment is especially prevalent in single people like myself. Without a family to provide and sacrifice for, singlets can easily indulge themselves with money and possessions; I know that all too well from experience. That brings me to the quandary: I don't want a man who is so focused on career and money that he cannot see true spiritual goods in their proper and ordered light (i.e., WAAAAAY more important than your bank balance). However, though I don't strictly aspire to "marry rich," I would prefer to marry in my general social class. Therefore, I do want a man who makes more money than I do, even a lot more money. He also has to pray a lot.

Is there a man out there who makes plenty of money yet spends ample time on his knees? Probably, because there's all kinds of people, including crazy me. It's interesting, though, to see how unlikely and unusual such a person would be. Moreover, perhaps this is as close as I'm going to get to making an online dating profile, so that might amuse you too. I make great cookies! :0)

Friday, January 30, 2009


In a refreshing show of unity, House Republicans voted against the new stimulus bill, a bill that the Wall Street Journal calls "a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years" (article here).  

All of the Republicans voted against it.  Every last one.  Impressive.

While I do not hold strictly to the ideals of either left or right, I believe that we are indeed in an economic crisis right now, one partly of our government's creation.  As such, now is the time for reasoned discussion and bridge-building (both literal and figurative).  Bi-partisanship is not simply a nice idea, it is a neccesity during these times.

To say we haven't been seeing much bipartisanship in the House would be an understatement.  As Peggy Noonan aptly noted:

Consider the moment. House Republicans had conceded that dramatic action was needed and had grown utterly supportive of the idea of federal jobs creation on a large scale. All that was needed was a sober, seriously focused piece of legislation that honestly tried to meet the need, one that everyone could tinker with a little and claim as their own. Instead, as Rep. Mike Pence is reported to have said to the president, "Know that we're praying for you. . . . But know that there has been no negotiation [with Republicans] on the bill—we had absolutely no say." The final bill was privately agreed by most and publicly conceded by many to be a big, messy, largely off-point and philosophically chaotic piece of legislation. The Congressional Budget Office says only 25% of the money will even go out in the first year. This newspaper, in its analysis, argues that only 12 cents of every dollar is for something that could plausibly be called stimulus.

What was needed? Not pork, not payoffs, not eccentric base-pleasing, group-greasing forays into birth control as stimulus, as the speaker of the House dizzily put it before being told to remove it.

Read the entire post here.

Right she is.  It is ironic that House Democrats, upon gaining ascendency, promptly used their newfound power to shut down fairness rules that had been instituted for their benefit, and put together the only piece of legislation that could manage to unite every last splintered Republican into a single, angry body.  Well done, Nancy.

I mean, they just went nuts.  And, even though the bill passed, the Republicans sent a clear message: throwing a "we're in the majority" party is inappropriate right now.  We've got a sick nation to mend.

If Obama ever wants bipartisanship and change, he's going to have to see his House majority for what it is: a bloated good-ol'-boys network intent on solidifying their hold and pleasing their motley collection of interest-groups.    

Current attitudes must change.  The House should not be the playground of the current ruling party.  We're involved in serious times.  We should take this situtation seriously.  Obama must recognize that change in Washington often involves stomping members of his own party.  He's the president, it's his prerogative. 

So here's my advice.  Stomp Nancy Pelosi.  Threaten to veto any legislation that reeks of pork, no matter who came up with it.

But then again, this is Obama.  Chicago politics is the name of his game.  To that, I say: watch out, my pragmatic Mr. President.  Enjoy your majority while you can, because at this rate, it won't last.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Post about Cats

I am allergic to cats. And I have a cold.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Doing Your Part

We all know what is happening today. We cannot underestimate the hope that so many (millions) of Americans have in this one man. He, in their eyes, is the embodiment of greatness and virtue. Remarkably, he gives them, postmodern and jaded Americans, the idea that there still is greatness and virtue. What can our response as Catholics be, in light of the heavy burden of the truth that we carry?

First, we must not be dour. We know exactly what we are up against, the slimness of the odds, the gravity of what is at stake. Nevertheless, who can say we are at a disadvantage? Who can say that though Obama fans put their trust in a man and we put our trust in the Son of God, they oppress us? That's why an ad like this one on CatholicVote.com is an excellent response. It's not that opponents of life have something good that we must tear down in order to show them the light. Rather, they are now looking for brightness and we have to show them that the true Light of the world is much brighter than they expect.

Second, we have to pray. Please join me in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day at 3:00 (the hour of Mercy) for our new president. We won't succeed by bringing down God's justice upon us. We don't want that for ourselves, so we can't want it for others--who can stand blameless before the face of God? Let's pray, then, that for the sake of the Sorrowful Passion of Jesus, God will have mercy on all of us, most especially President Obama.

Finally, as Fr. Fasano reminded us in his homily on Sunday, though we pray in the knowledge that all depends upon God, we should also throw ourselves into action as appropriate to our state in life. Therefore, we should most definitely keep writing (or start writing, as the case may be) our elected officials and representatives both on the state and federal levels. They need to know our support for truth, and for the moral law. Moreover, we should participate in events like the March for Life if possible. Many of us already do pro-life work for a living. If we do not, we should not hesitate in contributing financially to these organizations and keeping ourselves apprised of the news about our ailing culture.

What say you?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Don't Call Me While I'm Driving . . .

. . . in fact, don't call me on my cell at all!

Today on Google News, I saw this article explaining why the National Safety Council wants to ban cell phone use while driving. Overall, I think the reasons are sound. The fact is that driving an automobile is one of the most dangerous things we do, and we do it routinely, every day. It's honestly a life-threatening activity. Why would we want to split our focus, then, between driving and having a telephone conversation?

Some commenters on the article I linked to argue that they might as well ban passengers in the car, as these people cause distraction when the driver talks to them. Well, I don't know about you, but when I'm a passenger in a car I'm sensitive to the driving conditions and the driver's need to pay attention to the road. I "pause" my conversational flow as needed, and don't generally get into deep or engrossing conversations because I can tell the driver should concentrate on his surroundings. Usually, the person on the other end of the cell phone can't have the same sensitivity. The problem with this scenario is that choosing to talk & drive doesn't just impact you but also affects the fellow drivers around you. I'm going to make a conscious effort not to be distracted and not to talk on my cell while driving.

In the oddly enough category, just this morning a friend emailed me an article about the health risks of cell phones in general. I choose not to link to that article, because it contains nudity (!) and also because I doubt the authenticity of the research. Still, some people still worry about whether cell phones are completely safe. It's a question people are not asking right now, and sometimes those are the questions most worth examining.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

It's a Guy Thing

Contrary to the claims of radical feminism, there are a lot of things in life that girls simply don't have figured out. Certain facets of day-to-day existence puzzle and mystify us, though only the most feminine of us dare to express our bewilderment. A better course of action, surely, is to fall back on the handy expression, "It's a guy thing." This phrase can explain just about anything that ladies do not understand. Why do I have to have my tires rotated? It's a guy thing. Why are some people ambidextrous? It's a guy thing. Why is electrical tape black? It's a guy thing. Why do we have a complex system at work of owing "the universe" lunch using Whopper Jr's as currency? You get the idea. The "guy thing" concept can bring peace and equanimity to one's life without the complications and headaches that further knowledge can introduce.

Another area of widespread confusion is the issue of the tube of toothpaste. Many people have asked themselves the following question: What is the most logical thing to do with a tube of toothpaste? The answer, clearly, is carefully to roll up the bottom of the tube of toothpaste as you use it, so as to get as much out of this precious commodity as possible. So much for the toothpaste itself. The problems occur when another person is introduced into the equation. Is it more prudent to insist upon the logical course with regard to the toothpaste tube as such, or to defer to the squeeze-happy person who insists on following an illogical course of action in employing the aforementioned? The answer, sadly for folks whose compact and neatly organized brains delight in order, is to let the toothpaste fall where it may. The person is more important than a $2.99 tube of Colgate. Luckily, I myself have not experienced this scenario; I can squeeze my toothpaste tube from the middle with impunity.