Thought-Provoking Reads, vol. 9

Chelsea Anne, Holy Sparkle, “On Faith, Masculinity, and Vulnerability”:

Image: Holy Sparkle

However, I have gone and complicated my life (immensely) in that I am not only a feminist but also a Catholic. Reading this as article as a Catholic, I found myself scratching my head. Have Catholic theologians, along with Christian thinkers from other trinitarian traditions, failed to convey to the general public that the person at the very center of our spiritual tradition is a symbol of male brokenness and vulnerability, tenderness, gentleness, bravery and strength?

Samuel D. James, First Things, “Purity and Prejudice”:

At the heart of the #MeToo moment in American culture is the dawning awareness of just how unfair revolutionary sex can be. This isn’t only about raising awareness of violent acts of rape or assault, though it certainly is about that. The architects of #MeToo see the movement as a referendum on something much bigger….

If nothing else, the failure of contemporary sexual politics to deliver a better experience for women should make us reconsider our assumptions about progress. Why have decades of porn and pills failed to snuff out male privilege? It could be because our gatekeepers were wrong about what a more feminine society looks like.

Meg Hunter-Kilmer, Held by His Pierced Hands, “An Extra Hard Mother’s Day with an Extra Bit of Grace”:


I wanted to spend today just celebrating the many, many amazing moms I know. But instead, God asked me to sit with the many other women who are suffering. Their pain shouldn’t take away your joy–you don’t have to feel guilty about having children or a great mom. But knowing how other people are suffering today should make you even more grateful for what you have and should call you to reach out to them in their pain as well.

It’s a hard day. It’s a beautiful day. Because motherhood–womanhood–personhood–is hard and beautiful.

Emily Archer, FemCatholic, “The Female Priesthood: What I Learned and What I Know Now”:


The all-male Catholic priesthood is an issue I know doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to a lot of people, and I completely understand, having been there myself. Still, I find it really tragic that more people aren’t talking about this question of women and the priesthood – especially Catholics. The Catholic faith is really amazing in that, no matter how much you explore and learn, you can always go deeper. So in a certain sense, there are things that we accept without understanding. But we’re also thinking human beings, and questioning what we don’t understand can lead to a greater depth of faith.

Brandon McGinley, First Things, “Her Name is Monroe Christine”:

The reality star is upset that Trent’s lawsuit might “tarnish the most amazing experience of [his] life,” which was watching the girl he paid a clinic to manufacture be evacuated from the womb he rented while cameras rolled and he mused about the birth mother’s substandard grooming. He paid good money for that girl; that womb; that experience. He “thought this was over,” like any other temporary contractual relationship.

It may someday really be over for Alexandra. She might move on; a financial settlement might help her do so. But it will never be over for Monroe. She will always have been born on television. Her childhood will always have been a marketable commodity. She will always be the product of the will and the checkbook of two men who wanted a bespoke parenting experience….

Remember Monroe Christine when you hear words like “equality,” “autonomy,” and “identity.” Who is equal, and who is a symbol of someone else’s equality? Who is autonomous, and who is an expression of someone else’s autonomy? Whose has an identity of his own, and who is an extension of someone else’s identity?

Who is a person, and who is an accessory?

Who is an end, and who is a means?

Who is a girl, and who is a pet?

That is the question.

Simcha Fisher, America, “Suicide and abortion stem from the same lie: that some lives don’t matter.”:

Image: Unsplash, Eric Ward

Those looking from the outside can readily see that severely depressed people do not actually need or deserve death, no matter what they say. Instead, they need and deserve to be rescued from the dark lies that call death their only choice….

Choosing death only seems like the answer to those mired in lies. Suicide seems reasonable to those who have been deceived by despair, and abortion seems reasonable to those who have been deceived by a systemic derangement of the heart.

If it is a tragedy when panic, fear and despair lead to suicide, then how can we twist ourselves into contorted forgeries of compassion when panic, fear and despair lead to abortion? We must excoriate our own hearts and search out the dark holes where lies find shelter. We must not allow ourselves to make cover for death. If we reject suicide as an answer to sorrow but cannot bring ourselves to always reject abortion, then we must ask ourselves why. Why?

Haley Stewart, Carrots for Michaelmas, “Is This Why Some Women Regret Motherhood?”:


I wonder if what she regretted was the understandable difficulty of her situation, not the existence of her son. She regretted having to raise him alone. She regretted the lack of support and the overwhelming expectations of modern motherhood.

So is it the difficulties of life and the model of parenthood our culture has embraced that’s causing the regret? I think it might be. Having small humans depending on you is never a walk in the park. But why have we made motherhood so horribly difficult? It’s as if by making motherhood a choice through contraception we’ve completely altered the expectations of parenthood.

Carolyn Shields, The Young Catholic Woman, “The Ones That Are Called to Rise”:

Ben Giesbrecht

And that moment in the chapel, or in your car, or on your bed at 4a.m, when you finally consent…it begins in that moment when you get over your littleness, your perplexed bafflement that your empty vessel of a body is going to harbor the Host, and that you will act as a channel for Him to work. It begins in that moment when you let go. Begrudgingly, fully, hesitatingly, bewilderingly…

Because you’re right: you are just you. So let Him use you, let Him fill you, and if you’re empty, all the better. The Blessed Mother was bewildered too, but it’s not about how you say yes, it’s that you do.

Elizabeth Scalia, Aleteia, “Are all these sexual abuse revelations triggering you? They are me!”:


All of these revelations have created a unique moment in our history: This is the precise time that Americans need to start looking at their lives, whether they have been sexually aggressed upon, or they have been the aggressor, and process these truths. We need to have courage to speak the truth, and feel the feelings — including feelings of humility, for where we have hurt the lives of others.

Laura Kelly Fanucci, Mothering Spirit, “when hearts become ashes”:


Everyone we love will die. Of course you don’t want to read that; I don’t want to write it; no one wants to believe it.

But it is truth. Can we hold it between steady hands? Look it straight in the face? Even see beyond?

The beloved we kiss before bed tonight. The children who burst through the door this afternoon, sugared and sticky, valentines fluttering.

Remember that you are dust. And unto dust you shall return.

The mistake is thinking dust is the end. Go back to the beginning.

Dust is always the beginning.

Jenny Uebbing, Catholic News Agency, “It’s a miracle that…”:

Image: Kristin Loboda

I tend to dismiss the miracles God has done for me. I dismiss them by failing to give thanks, I dismiss them by failing to call them to mind over and over again, rejoicing anew at His faithfulness and His provision, and I dismiss them by attributing them to some benign, dumb force of equilibrium that I imagine – even unconsciously – that the “universe” is maintaining for me.

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