Nathan Winograd has this blog about animal rights, right here at blogspot. On Friday he posted about the deceptions of a proposed mandatory pet sterilization law in CA. It’s rather an interesting piece of work, actually.

What I find intriguing is – two things, actually –

I was disappointed that Mr. Winograd doesn’t allow comments on his blog, but a friend has informed me that he’s received numerous death threats from his book. Go figure. We can push for freedom of speech in this country, so long as you don’t offend the wrong people. sigh.

Second, I couldn’t help but notice as I read, the staunch parallels between his beef against these California/Los Angeles animal shelters, for their heavy euthenasia policies, very very strongly parallels the conflict between contraception and abortion.

He points out that the law to sterilize animals, cats and dogs particularly, got bogged down in so many amendments that it ended up being rather invisible – “This isn’t about sterilization, is it?” “No, it’s not,” the dialogue is supposed to have gone.

Forty years ago, Pope Paul VI warned that the increase of artificial birth control would, inevitably, lead to the murder of unborn children via abortion. The link between disrespect for procreative capability of human beings and the willingness to kill is tragic, and indisputable.

Very interesting, indeed.

playing with a villanelle

As I stand inside the pyre
let me not shrink from these flames,
which round me lap up, higher and higher –

There is nothing more I can aspire,
No greater hope, no dearer claims
As I stand inside the pyre

Than that of sanctity entire
while dross burns amidst false blames
which round me lap up, higher and higher,

til all at last is purged, inspire
and I, in Love’s pure holiness, re-names
As I stand inside the pyre.

I flinch not, tho agonies grow nigher
and humiliations leave no fames
which round me lap up, higher and higher.

So here I stand, my Love, my Buyer
no pretense offer up, nor games –
As I stand inside the pyre
which round me lap up, higher and higher.

Anniversary reflections – a Confession of sorts

I haven’t blogged in a few days. Anniversaries hit me rather hard, and Tuesday, the 12th, was the 32d anniversary of my wedding to the man I now refer to, in my nastier moods, as “the Faerie Prince.” We can also call him DH – because “Dear Husband” also shares those initials for his name.

DH was one of my best friends in high school, and I simply could not bear the thought of ever facing a future in which he was not a central figure. We dated for a year, and married.

We both had our issues. I was the daughter of a mentally ill mother; he was fighting a secret issue that I didn’t learn of until later. I was wounded, emotionally. I saw him as strong, decisive, heroic. I expected him to fill my “love tank.”

He couldn’t.

When we returned from our long weekend honeymoon, he took to a chair in the evenings and hardly had a thing to say to me. Suddenly, this beautiful boy who had been my best friend became a cold, silent, almost-hostile stranger. For years the memory taunted me, infuriated me; I didn’t know how to fight back against such neglect and contempt.

But believe me, I did my best. I became consumed with thoughts of “justice” and “right.” DH wouldn’t be warm or companionable to me? I shut down. I became, I’m sorry to say, more passive-aggressive in the things I refused to do to be a good wife and friend to him.

I didn’t know what his struggles were. What’s worse, at that point in my life, I didn’t care. I’d married him so I could be dear and important to someone; if he wouldn’t give me that which he’d promised, then I’d be damned if I’d stick my neck out for him, either.

I was no help to him in his struggles, in his sorrows. I made his journey even more difficult than it had to be.

I do not absolve him from his part of the failure. He ought to have been honest, before. Of course, we were young, we were ignorant; that kind of honesty was simply not possible for us at that point in our lives. But later on, he ought to have been. Instead, he sat in the counsellor’s office and smirked and said, “I know a good marriage takes a lot of work, but frankly, I don’t want to be bothered.” (I ran into that counsellor, ten years later. She remembered us vividly because of this one comment.)

But I’m sorry, now, that I wasn’t a better, a more mature, a more independent woman. I might have done him some good, and in that, I failed miserably.

I am praying for him, and for his deliverance and his conversion. It’s a small bit of restitution that he’ll never see or know of – but I deposit it “on account” with my heavenly Father Who does see and know all, and Who will distribute it rightly, in His own way.

Okay. What ABOUT "Tolerance"?

Got an email from a very nice-sounding lady who asks, “But isn’t it important to be tolerant?”

Well, of course it is! The problem comes when we use the word “tolerance” when what we really want to convey is “approval.” There are a great many things I tolerate, of which I most decidedly do not approve.

A woman is living with her boyfriend. I do not approve of this arrangement; I think it is detrimental to her dreams for her greatest happiness. However, I am not at her house grabbing her possessions into a box and demanding that she move out right this minute: I am tolerant of her decision, even though I dislike it.

Get the difference?

We are seeing a great misuse of words. People scream about “tolerance,” especially those groups like the radical gay lobby, or the anti-marriage people… okay, let me be candid, here: it’s liberals who talk about tolerance. Conservatives practice tolerance, liberals are among the most intolerant of disagreement of any group of people I’ve ever met. They’re all for peace and harmony… so long as it is on their terms. They will brook no disagreements.

They call for “tolerance” of their ideas and their causes, yet they practice none, demanding the suppression of opposition and even resorting to dishonest or illegal means to get what they want.

This is not tolerance. It’s an attempt to engineer society for their pleasure.

And it is, worst of all, dishonest.

Catholic Sex – Being Open to Life

I’ve already pointed out that there are three basic rules for Catholic sex:

1. Sex must be limited to husband and wife.
2. Sex must be open to life, and
3. Sex must be approached with reverence and respect – both for one’s spouse and also for the vast Mystery of which marital sex is analagous.

Being “open to life” certainly deserves some elaboration. It is, after all, one of the requirements for what the Church recognizes as a sacramental marriage, a valid marriage.

First of all, being open to life does not obligate us to bear children. For example – I am fifty years old, decidedly perimenopausal, and my chances of being able to conceive, were I presently married, appear to be negligible. Moreover, there are couples who suffer the agonies and heartbreak of infertility. Does this mean our marriages would be invalid? not honored by the Church?

Of course not! The point of the matter is that we do not willfully and deliberately seek to thwart the natural outcome of our union, in the marital embrace, with our spouses. If, by some miracle, I or some infertile couple were to conceive, that child would be welcomed – not hindered – from that conception.

And therein – the deliberate and willful attempt to thwart the natural outcome of that activity which is created by God to result in conception – lies the issue of being open to life.

Conception occurs as the natural consequence of sexual intercourse. Sperm meets egg – voila! a new life is begun. This is a marvelous, almost mysterious occurrence – one that inspires awe in all of us (I’ve noticed that even women who scorn having their own children can go ridiculously and disproportionately ga-ga over puppies, kittens, and foals, which are produced by the same mechanical means).

Fruitfulness is one of the commands that God gave Adam and Eve, our first parents. It is a mandate as well as a privilege to be able to multiply.

Moreover, being childless was considered a curse from God. Remember how Sarah, then Hannah (mother of the prophet Samuel) begged God to remove the curse of their infertility? Throughout the Scriptures, and throughout history, childbearing is a blessing and a joy, both for husband and wife.

Does that mean we have to throw away all common sense and self-control and have as many babies as our bodies will allow?

No! The Church has never taught that husbands and wives have to leave conception, and the number of children they bear, to mere chance. The lament – taken to ridiculous extents in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life,and I’m normally a Python fan but I’ll make an exception to that one, of Catholics being condemned to bearing a child every year is just not realistic.

Yes, it happens – and for some families that is their choice! but that it happens is not the fault of the Church.

According to the Church, if one doesn’t want to make a baby, one must refrain from that act which naturally leads to conception.

This shouldn’t evoke groans and protests from the crowds. After all, insofar as Judeo-Christian history goes, we’ve only had a brief period of treating sex like an inalienable right and a purely physical right at that – something like forty years out of several thousand. Jewish law required periods of sexual abstinence during a woman’s “uncleanness” – during her menstrual period and for several days afterward, until she had undergone ritual cleaning.

Interestingly, the green light for Jewish couples to resume marital relations also coincides with the beginning of the woman’s approaching fertility.

Sex should never be motivated by selfishness. One of the worst wrongs arising out of the push to approve and accept artificial birth control is that it can dangerously reduce sex to little more than a recreation. We take away the “risk” of conception, we remove the reverence of the ultimate meaning of the act itself. We – and I say this as one who used to actively contracept – do little more than mutually masturbate one another.

Rather than an act of self-donating love, entered into with the full realization that our union could result in new life, and reverencing the fertility that God endowed us with, sex becomes an animal pursuit of personal physical gratification.

Think about why artificial contraception was developed in the first place. It wasn’t to protect women from untimely pregnancy; it was to allow males unfettered access to sexual pleasure. Men have had access to condoms for generations. They, after all, are never infertile. And with the development of contraception for women to use, they are absolved, not only of the burden of self-control, but also of the responsibility for choosing self-control. How many times have you heard men criticizing their pregnant wives or girlfriends for becoming pregnant – because she was supposed to be “taking care of that”?

Too many.

We’ve inculturated a whole generation of males, and are well on our way to ruining subsequent generations, to believe that abstinence and self-control are burdensome , unreasonable, and unrealistic. Everything in our pop entertainments and in the subtle and direct messages we are adopting as a culture says that sex is nothing more than physical pleasure.

I have a lot more to say about this, later.

No Gay Gene!

A major British gay activist has admitted that there is no such thing as a “gay gene.”

I’m glad to see that one such activist has had the honesty and integrity to admit what a lot of us instinctively knew already.

God would be a liar to “create” a homosexual and then to prohibit homosexuality. He doesn’t work that way.

More later.