Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tired

I'm tired. Very tired still. Pumping full time and nursing full time are tiring (and no, this is not an invitation to tell me to use formula).  Hopefully this will be a short lived thing. And the little guy will hopefully figure out that night is for sleeping soon. But we are all enjoying him immensely.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Meal Plan

We will still be living in the land of easy meal plans and paper plates for the next several weeks. Alan headed back to work this morning and I am still trying to keep up with a nurse, pump, feed schedule for the little one which is a wee bit tiring. Thankfully we still have dinners coming a few times a week which will help.

S: cereal (B), sandwiches/leftovers (L), chicken broccoli alfredo (D)
M: crockpot breakfast casserole (B), sandwiches (L), dinner being brought over (D)
T: eggs (B), pasta salad (L), spaghetti (D)
W: muffins (B), leftovers (L), dinner being brought over (D)
T: oatmeal (B), sandwiches (L), pork chops (D)
F: eggs (B), leftovers (L), dinner being brought over (D)
S: pancakes (B), lunch/snacks at Stokoe Farms during their free military appreciation weekend (L), pizza (D)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Introducing the Latest Edition

Just a quick note to say we welcomed our latest son last Sunday early in the morning.  Seamus Paul arrived 5 weeks early and spent a week in the hospital learning to eat. Ok, he knew how to eat. It's just that he's too tired to care much about it. A trying week of trying to convince the doctor and nurses that the biggest issue was the mandatory only feeding every 3 hours schedule in the NICU that is the absolute worst thing for breastfeeding newbies.  He was finally released on Saturday and is doing much better now that he's on Mom time and not NICU time.
We stopped by to visit my grandparents on the way home. A trip that confirms it doesn't matter how many little ones you have held. Each one still is a little miracle. Yup, kind of a blurry picture from Alan's phone. We weren't completely expecting to have the baby when we went to the office on Friday so we didn't pack the camera.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Meal Plan

S: cereal (B), hot dogs, corn (D)
M: crockpot breakfast casserole (B), chili or taco soup (D)
T: oatmeal and fruit (B), meatloaf, salt potatoes (D)
W: yogurt and granola (B), sweet n sour pork (D)
T: pancake sausage muffins, fruit (B), spaghetti, meat sauce (D)
F: eggs and toast (B), tuna sandwiches/melts (D)

I'm hoping to get a few more freezer meals put together this week. Lunches will hopefully be sandwiches or leftovers. Snacks will be assorted produce, popcorn, animal crackers. And we will make a pink lemonade cake at some point just because.

Vending Machine Theology

There is a new priest at one of our local parishes. A priest who is a breath of fresh air in terms of orthodoxy and reverence with regard to how he says the Mass. The first time the older boys served at a funeral with him, they came home so happy about the new priest because even they can see a difference. Because even they want to see things the way they should be rather than the way that just makes people feel happy.

The priest gave an amazing homily last night and used one of my favorite phrases: vending machine theology. I'm sure this is a trap many children fall into but it is also one I've seen many adults falling into in recent years. Vending machine theology. That idea that all you have to do is pray for what you want and God will automatically give it to you.  Needless to say, God just does not work that way. Prayer was never meant to change God. It is meant to change us. But so many people just don't seem to get that.

I'm going to admit that one of the most insulting, offensive conversations I had with someone after Isabel died was when someone called and insisted/demanded that I have the children pray for something. They used the phrase "I know when your kids pray for something, they get what they want" which led to a conversation on just this topic. Vending machine theology. I said God doesn't work that way. He's not a machine you put a quarter in and get what you want. This person actually argued with me and said it was how things worked. You just have to pray and you do get what you ask for. Do I need to state the obvious of if that were the way things worked, my life would be different. I know my boys were praying like crazy but it just was not God's will. God always answers our prayers but more often than not, that answer is no. And we need to accept that. Prayer is never intended to change God. It is meant to change us.

Vending machine theology might be fine for a 2-year-old but I challenge you to push beyond it because it was never how we were meant to look at our faith.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rights and Obligations of Parents to Direct the Religious Education of Their Children

The following is a guest post from Jeffrey Hite at Barely Controlled Chaos regarding a topic that I know many parents struggle with when it comes to preparing your children to receive the sacraments. You prep your kids at home, know they are ready, but then you approach your parish and are turned away. Your child is refused the sacraments unless you jump through hoops designed by that particular parish. Is a parish legally allowed to do this according to Canon law? Absolutely not. Read on to find out why not.


Recently my wife and I attended a home schooling conference.  To be honest, half the reason we went was because we had managed to talk my parents into staying with the kids so that we could get out of the house without the kids for the weekend.  I think we have managed that twice since we have been married.  Not that we don't like taking the kids with us you understand, but sometimes you just need some adult time.

Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised by the conference.  I didn't spend a lot of time looking over the program before we went, and the first day we really just kind of wandered to whatever talk was going on at the moment, at random, still I learned a lot and was happy to be able to catch a talk by Patrick Madrid.  I have enough other experiences to fill probably two other blog posts, but I mostly want to talk about the last talk that we attended.  This talk was given by Mr. Phillip Gray a Canon Lawyer and member of the St. Joseph Foundation.

Much of this post is directly from the talk Mr. Gray gave on the last day of the conference.  I did a good deal of digging once I got home, but without him, this post would not have been possible.


I really want to talk about this, because I think it is something a lot of parents, home schooling or not, face when dealing with sacramental preparation for their kids.

There are a lot of important documents here, most of which I will link in the text and at the bottom, but also two that I want to mention up front because they have special significance here and are very helpful,  The Charter of the rights of the family (which is right on the Vatican's website) and Responsibilities and rights of parents in religious education (which you can get from Seton for about $2)

So here are the basics:


It is the obligation of parents to educate their children.  Not only in their faith, but also over all. You might remember saying so when your child was baptized. Something along the lines of:

You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him (her) in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him (her) up to keep God's commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?
It is the obligation of society (that includes but is not limited to The Church) to provide support, and not hinder in any way that education. (See the Charter of the rights of the family.)

And it is the right of the parents to determine what societal support (again including but not limited to The Church) is right for them an their family and their children.

So what does all of this mean? I am going to limit my discussion to sacramental prep because with general education there are country state / county / and other governmental laws and regulations that come into play. You can learn more about that on the HSLDA website, and that is a whole other can of worms that I don't want to get into.  Since Sacramental Preparation is only regulated by The Church we can talk about that here.

As the parent you have the obligation to train your children in preparation for the sacraments.  You, as the parent, have the right (not the obligation) to use whatever sacramental preparation program that your parish, diocese or even arch diocese offers.
The wording of that is important.  That means that it is not the director of religious Ed, the deacon, the priest, the pastor, the bishop or even the Arch Bishop who gets to determine what religious ed program, or sacramental preparation program you use for your child(ren).
They cannot make it a requirement that you use their program, no matter how great it is, how much work they have put into it, or how much they really want you too. More than that, they cannot have higher standards for your child, because your child didn't use the program they recommended, than they would for a child who did use their program.

It also means that the director of religious Ed, the deacon, the priest, the pastor, the bishop or even the Arch Bishop do not have the authority, again going back to the Charter of Rights of the Family, over how your child is to be catechized, and in no way may any of them usurp the primacy of the authority of the family.
 
I do want to make it clear. It is the job of the Priest or in the case of Confirmation the Bishop to make sure that your child is in fact, prepared for the sacrament, but that does not mean that they can make it mandatory that you use their program, or that they hold your child to a higher standard because you didn't use their program.
Pope Saint Pius X said that in order for a child to be prepared for Holy Communion they must ONLY be above the age of reason, and be able to tell the difference between regular bread and the Body of Christ.  This right to salvation, supersedes the knowledge we like to impart.

See theCongregation for Catholic Education
where they talk about the parents as the primary educators and these programs the teachers in the schools the pastor or whoever else, are secondary to the parents. This is also backed up by Charter of the rights of the family and further backed up by Can. 793 §1 - §2Having said that I want to repeat that it is priest's responsibility to make sure that a candidate is prepared for the sacrament.  For example:
Can.  891 The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined another age, or there is danger of death, or in the judgment of the minister a grave cause suggests otherwise.

"or there is danger of death, or in the judgment of the minister a grave cause suggests otherwise" Otherwise the candidate needs to meet the three other requirements.  But note that one of those requirements is not that the candidate used the parishes program.  Priests do need to be a filter to make sure that candidates are properly catechized, but they and as parents you also need to know what that means.  Remember that it is the Church's role is to assist parents in the education of their children.  That is by divine law.  Because the family is the primal unit in society, and it is The Church's role support the family.

Alright, so that argument might get you past Reconciliation and First Holy Communion, but what about Confirmation.  In the United states under the USCCB there is complimentary legislation that states that the bishop can determine and age for receiving confirmation.

USCCB: Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 891, hereby decrees that the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Latin Rite shall be conferred between the age of discretion and about sixteen years of age, within the limits determined by the diocesan bishop and with regard for the legitimate exceptions given in canon 891.

It might surprise you to know, that the above arguments also apply to these age requirements.
The Congregation for Catholic Education

in the 1998 case said, "Such complimentary legislation must be interpreted with respect to the general laws of The Church, (Reference 889 §2.)  This making the Diocesan norm is subordinate to the general norms governing the reception of the sacraments."    In this case, and according to Mr. Gray, the majority others the Vatican sided with parents, and the Bishop was told he needed confer the Sacrament on the child.
The Congregation for Catholic Education also said in the same 1998 case,
"Sacred ministers may not deny the Sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them are properly disposed and not prohibited from receiving them.

... Indeed, the longer the conferral of the sacrament is delayed after the age of reason, the greater will be the number of candidates who are prepared for it's reception but deprived of its Grace for a considerable period of time.

and in the Council of Trent:
[Page 58]


ON CONFIRMATION
CANON I.-If any one saith, that the confirmation of those who have been baptized is an idle ceremony, and not rather a true and proper sacrament; or that of old it was nothing more than a kind of catechism, whereby they who were near adolescence gave an account of their faith in the face of the Church; let him be anathema.
It is clear by these two that if you present your child for confirmation and you have properly catechized them and they are above the age of reason then they should be able to receive the sacrament.  But what does Canon Law say about this?

Can.  843 §1. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.


Can.  889 §1. Every baptized person not yet confirmed and only such a person is capable of receiving confirmation.

§2. To receive confirmation licitly outside the danger of death requires that a person who has the use of reason be suitably instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptismal promises.

You can clearly see that Canon Law confirms both what the Congregation for Catholic Education and what the Council of Trent has said.

Did you know that Confirmation is supposed to come before Communion? If you have ever been to a Easter Vigil Mass when they bring in RCIA candidates and they do the confirmation before the holy communion.  Believe it or not, that is the way it is supposed to happen. The doctrine of The Church states that order of Sacraments should be Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Communion. That is because confirmation completes baptismal Grace.  Take a look at The Council of Trent.
ON THE SACRAMENTS IN GENERAL

CANON I.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord; or, that they are more, or less, than seven, to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony; or even that any one of these seven is not truly and properly a sacrament; let him be anathema.

And again quoting the Congregation for Catholic Education
said in the 1998 case,
"Sacred ministers may not deny the Sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them are properly disposed and not prohibited from receiving them.

... Indeed, the longer the conferral of the sacrament is delayed after the age of reason, the greater will be the number of candidates who are prepared for it's reception but deprived of its Grace for a considerable period of time."

In conclusion, If you have instructed your child in the sacraments and they are properly prepared, then they can receive the sacraments.  But what do you do if the religious Ed director, the deacon, the priest, the pastor, the bishop or even the Arch Bishop say no?  It is laid out in cannon law and is based on Mathew 18.  If you have a problem with your brother, go to him.  If he does not listen take witnesses, if he still does not listen take him to The Church.  That last step is where the St. Joseph Foundation comes in and can help you appeal your case.

You can learn more about the St. Joseph Foundation and how to contact them threw their website

Lest you think that I am just reading into this what I want, here are most of the references to the original documents I have referenced above. I have linked to most of them in the text but in case you missed them or just want to get to them faster, here they are again:

The Code of Canon Law
The USCCB
Congregation for Catholic Education
Council of Trent
Council of Trent - The 7th session (where I pulled most of my information
Charter of the rights of the family (which is right on the Vatican's website)
Responsibilities and rights of parents in religious education
St. Joseph Foundation
and the HSLDA website



Can. 793 §1. Parents and those who take their place are bound by the obligation and possess the right of educating their offspring. Catholic parents also have the duty and right of choosing those means and institutions through which they can provide more suitably for the Catholic education of their children, according to local circumstances.


§2. Parents also have the right to that assistance, to be furnished by civil society, which they need to secure the Catholic education of their children.

Can. 794 §1. The duty and right of educating belongs in a special way to the Church, to which has been divinely entrusted the mission of assisting persons so that they are able to reach the fullness of the Christian life.


§2. Pastors of souls have the duty of arranging everything so that all the faithful have a Catholic education.

Can. 795 Since true education must strive for complete formation of the human person that looks to his or her final end as well as to the common good of societies, children and youth are to be nurtured in such a way that they are able to develop their physical, moral, and intellectual talents harmoniously, acquire a more perfect sense of responsibility and right use of freedom, and are formed to participate actively in social life.


And
Pope Saint Pius X said that in order for a child to be prepared for Holy Communion they must ONLY be above the age of reason, and be able to tell the difference between regular bread and the Body of Christ.  This right to salvation, supersedes the knowledge we like to impart.


And
 
Can.  843 §1. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

Can.  889 §1. Every baptized person not yet confirmed and only such a person is capable of receiving confirmation.

§2. To receive confirmation licitly outside the danger of death requires that a person who has the use of reason be suitably instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptismal promises.

Can.  891 The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined another age, or there is danger of death, or in the judgment of the minister a grave cause suggests otherwise.


USCCB:

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 891, hereby decrees that the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Latin Rite shall be conferred between the age of discretion and about sixteen years of age, within the limits determined by the diocesan bishop and with regard for the legitimate exceptions given in canon 891.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Teaching Contentment

This is my question. In a society that teaches anything but, how do we teach our children contentment. So many people struggle with this on a daily basis and so much of what society now thinks of as must have items, are truly splurges when we get right down to it. So how do we teach contentment with what you have? Wish I knew. But I did stumble upon this post today which I think provides a bit of food for thought.