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Evangelization Faith Formation Ink Slingers Jeanne Matrimony NFP and contraceptives Pro-Life Issues Respect Life

Why we DON’T use Birth Control

Yesterday, the popular website, Buzzfeed, gathered 22 female employees for an article highlighting why the women use contraception. Other articles circulating social media had snippets of reasons that women use birth control. Most of these recent pro-birth control articles have been written in response the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.

The Catholic faith teaches that contraception is immoral. Why? Because sex is for babies and bonding and contraception serves neither of those purposes. It thwarts our call to be open to God’s gift of children and it doesn’t allow us to offer our spouse the fullness of ourselves as part of sexual love, because we’ve removed our fertility from the offering. The Church does recognize that women may need to use hormonal contraception for health reasons; article 15 of Humanae Vitae states that a woman may use hormonal contraception to control disease if she doesn’t implicitly intend to use it to prevent conception. Fortunately, there are other, healthier ways to overcome many of the problems hormonal birth control aims to fix and we encourage our readers to investigate those options.

To that end, we’d like to share some of our reasons for NOT using birth control. These are our beliefs and we don’t wish to force anyone to accept or follow what we believe, but we do wish to educate others on a perspective that is rarely offered in the media. Because while all faithful Catholics eschew contraception, our reasons for doing so are as varied as the women themselves.

We do not use birth control…….

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“Because observing and charting my fertility is empowering!”

“Because my fertility shouldn’t be treated like a disease and medicated away.”

“For I don’t want to ingest a class 1 Carcinogen, which is what the Pill has been designated by the World Health Organization.”

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“Because the hormones can lower your sex drive (and cause weight gain). And I like having a sex drive!”

“Because I consider working with my fertility a form of feminist empowerment.” 

“Because I don’t want the side-effects–especially the lethal side-effects!–of hormonal contraception.”

“Because I spend too much time and money on organic, non-GMO and hormone free foods to fill my body with synthetic hormones.”

“Because there are doctors who can work with my fertility to actually heal my reproductive health problems and they can’t do that if I’m on birth control.” 

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“Because my fertility is my superpower.”

“Because I don’t like how the hormones affected me psychologically.” 

“Because I don’t think it’s healthy for my body to think it is perpetually pregnant.”

“Because I think the delayed gratification of using NFP to avoid pregnancy is good for our marriage.” 

“Because having a family is on my bucket list and I want to be my healthiest when that time comes.”

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“Because I cannot imagine one of my children not existing.”

“Because in addition to suppressing ovulation, hormonal contraception can prevent pregnancy by flushing out a newly conceived child before it implants. And I’m pro-life.”

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“Because I accept my body the way it is.”

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“Because fertility is not a pathology.”

“Because I am responsible and make mindful decisions, accepting the consequences to every action I make.”

“Because we like our sex environmentally friendly.”

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“Because I think the self-control needed for periodic abstinence is good for me and our marriage.” 

Because I don’t like the idea of drinking water with other people’s estrogen in it.”

“Because when my husband is willing to wait until my body says we can be together, it makes me feel respected and appreciated as a woman.”

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“Because I love the first little flutters of a baby growing within me.”

“Because a baby in mommy’s tummy makes my older kids so excited.”

“Because I love babies!”

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“Because it is against my faith.”

“Because I don’t like feeling like I’m solely responsible for our family planning; I want my husband to participate in the decision-making process as often as I do.”

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“Because the first thing my mom’s oncologist asked her when she was told she had breast cancer was, “Were you on the pill?”

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“Because I don’t think the very natural, normal condition of fertility ought to be medicated.”

“Because siblings are a gift.”

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“Because nothing in the world smells better than a baby’s head.”

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“Because sex isn’t a right, it is a gift.”

“Because I love that my husband desires all of me–including my fertility.”

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“Because I love the way my husband puts his hand on my pregnant belly.”
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“Because knowing where I am in my cycle every day gives me a feeling of control over my reproductive health.”
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“Because life is a beautiful thing. Always.”
ETA: We thank each of you for your comments and feedback. We encourage everyone–Catholic and non-Catholic–to research what the Catholic Church truly teaches about contraception and family planning, because this issue is one of the most commonly misunderstood tenets of Catholicism. Our beliefs about family planning are best understood within the context of God’s wholly positive plan for sex and marriage, which John Paul II beautifully explained in his series of talks commonly referred to as the “Theology of the Body.”  For more information on Theology of the Body, please visit www.theologyofthebody.net. 
Categories
7 Quick Takes Abortion Getting to Know the Ink Slingers Ink Slingers Jeanne Respect Life Series Spiritual Growth

7 Quick Takes No. 21: An Interview with Leticia Adams

 

This week’s Quick Take features a friend and fellow blogger, Leticia Adams. She is a former pro choice supporter turned pro life. Her story of conversion into the Catholic faith and onto the “pro-life” side is nothing short of inspiring. Leticia, like many who are pro-choice, was convinced that abortion is a personal choice, and more so, believed that Planned Parenthood was helping women. Her priests convinced her of the dangers of Planned Parenthood through pro-life homilies, and suggested she meet with Elizabeth McClung, a pro-life activist. Leticia’s pro-life adventure began shortly after, and she now spends a lot of time in peaceful prayer on sidewalks outside abortion clinics, available to counsel women against abortion, in Texas. Leticia is a parishioner at St. William’s parish in Round Rock, Texas.

1.

How long have you been involved as a sidewalk counselor?

I was trained as a sidewalk counselor by Elizabeth McClung, about 3 years ago. At the time, I felt that I was being called to the ministry because I had been a teenage mother myself, and I knew my experiences could help the women facing unplanned, crisis pregnancies. After I came to the realization and truth of abortion, through books and photos, I had a great desire to be on the sidewalk.

2.

Can you share with us how a typical day might go while sidewalk counseling?

Most of the time on the sidewalk,  it is quiet and I just pray. If I see women go in, I try to talk to them, but for me, I realize that shouting at them isn’t very effective. So mostly I pray.

That is where I saw that truth for myself. No girl is going into that building with a smile on her face. I have seen the guys who take these girls just drop them off and the clinic workers just put them outside when it [abortion] is over to wait for their ride. I saw a girl throwing up outside a clinic once and nobody cared. I couldn’t go and help her because it would be trespassing, so I called the clinic to tell them and they said that it was none of my concern but they never came out to help her either.

3.

What has been the most challenging aspect when you are on the sidewalk? Does the pressure of the situation ever get to you?

Pride is the hardest thing. To think that somehow if I don’t say or do the right thing then the baby is going to die, or that it’s because of me that the baby’s life is saved. I realize it is not me at all. Every mother makes the decision by herself, and is responsible for that choice. I can only offer the mother resources, and allow God to talk through me, but in the end, it is the woman’s choice that she will have to live with. I can only make myself available.

There are times when taking care of my family must take priority over going out on the sidewalk and it is a reason that I have cut back my time spent out there.  It is very hard to step away because like I said, I suffer from the pride of thinking that I HAVE to be there or babies will die. God is in control, He has plenty of people who are helping moms and babies.

4.

What has been the most rewarding aspect?

It is the smiles on the moms faces, once they have decided against abortion and have chosen life. I have two girls who I am really close to. I am so proud of these girls, they both had appointments to abort their babies. One of them even after seeing the sonogram and finding out that she was having a girl. Both women have recently delivered their babies… one boy and one girl!

The most rewarding part is having them say they are grateful for my support because I know that I’m grateful for all of those people who supported me.

5.

At one point, you were a pregnancy consulate for the John Paul II Life Center. How did that gig come about?

I saw a post on Facebook that there was a position open at the John Paul II Life Center for pregnancy consultant. I really wanted the job, so I applied and got it. It was the best job that I have ever had. I loved talking to the girls. I loved telling them about my life and my grandbaby so they could see that there is always hope; that everything will be ok. I am no longer there because I was not very good at the office stuff. The director needed someone who could help her more than I could. I really just wanted to talk to the girls, but there is more than that to running a PRC.

6.

How has the recently passed law in Texas affected your work?

It didn’t really have time to affect anything I was doing, since I had left the Life Center before the law went into effect. But, I was present both times when it was being passed, and it was a very sobering experience. I learned more about the polarization that is being created by the issue of abortion and I stood in the middle of a “Us versus Them” crowd, with both sides shouting at one another.

I realized that if we are going to say that we are pro-life, we have to respect ALL life, not just that of the unborn. I listened to countless women yell about their abortion experience; both those who regretted it and those who thought it was the best thing they had ever done, and I realize that we do not listen to one another enough. I heard some of the craziest accusations from both sides about the other. It is really something that I will never forget. It changed how I talk to pro-choicers. I can disagree with them all day long on the issue of abortion but the second that I don’t talk to them with the respect owed to them as human beings, I have failed. I have failed before to respect their dignity and that is what this fight is really all about, the dignity of the human person.

7.

Are there any events coming up that you would like to share about?

There is not much going on right now that I am aware of, but I might just be out of the loop since I have taken some personal time away to be there for my family and to begin writing a book. Pregnancy centers are always looking for volunteers and resources, so it is good to get involved.

Information for the 40 Days for Life campaign and upcoming life chains in your area can be found here.

Leticia and one of the babies she helped to save from abortion:

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Leticia’s personal blog can be found here.

Want to read more interesting Quick Takes?  Visit Jen over at Conversion Diary!

Categories
Jeanne Ordinary Time

Summer Bucket List: Catholic Edition

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I’m a list gal, and when I saw “The Bucket List” a few years back, the idea proposed in the film resonated with me. The two stars (Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) spend the movie checking off their final list of dreams. Since the film, the population of “bucket lists” have spread, inspiring many of us to make lists- to help us accomplish our dreams and goals, even over a short period of time.
In January, I posted some suggestions to stay “Spritually fit” in 2012. To expand on that, I would like to bring you, The Summer Bucket List: Catholic Edition.
1. Attend a Parish Picnic.
2. Sign the kids up for a week of Vacation Bible School.
3. Volunteer throughout the week at VBS.
4. Visit a new Parish for Sunday Mass. Nothing unites us as “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” Church like being able to attend Mass anywhere, and still participating in the same celebration. *If traveling, visit here to find Mass times. Don’t forget to support your home Parish the weekends you are away.
5. Tour a Shrine or a Basilica.
Shiela and I met at the Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, DC) last August:
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6. Visit a Catholic bookstore. My kids love checking out the children’s section.
7. Check out some Catholic books at the Library.
8. Celebrate a Feast Day or a Saint’s Day. We love making cakes and cupcakes around here. Here are our brownie shamrocks from the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity:
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9. Make a Rosary garden or place a Blessed Mother statue in your yard.
10. Attend a Saturday Vigil Mass and go out for ice cream after.
11. Attend a daily Mass.
12. Teach your children a new prayer.
13. Say a Novena.
14. Go to Adoration.
15. Go to Confession.
16. Attend a Baptism.
17. Go to a wedding.
18. Go on a Spiritual Retreat. Even if it is disguised as a camping trip.
19. Have a “say the Rosary” play date.
20. Invite your Priest to supper.

Feel free to share some of your own ideas to have a faith filled summer.
Have a blessed Summer Everyone!

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Ink Slingers Jeanne

Missed Opportunities

When the Patriots lost Superbowl XLVI to the Giants a couple of weeks back, I did some bit of whining and play analysis and concluded that It was simply a game of missed opportunities. Could have, should have, and would haves. And It got me thinking.
How many days and moments in my life have turned into missed opportunities? Sadly, the answer is probably more than I’d like to admit. Every day we are given moments and chances to bring the Gospel to others, whether through or words or our actions. It is our choice to make the most of them or let them pass as missed opportunities.
Of course, there is a down side to good intentions- they are just that unless they are acted upon. For every good intention come a million reasons, er, excuses as to why we can’t, and eventually don’t. And if you’re like me, you’ve also found that the more excuses are made, the easier they are to come by.
As we begin Lent, let us look for the “missed oportunities” we have. The opportunity to befriend an enemy, pray for someone, be there for someone, visit with someone, the list is endless, the ideas are endless.
I’m going to challenge myself each of these days of Lent to have one less missed opportunity. I encourage you all to do it for yourself….. and for others.
Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ’Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ’Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?’ And the king will answer them, ’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.’”

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Ink Slingers Jeanne

This is a Marathon, Not a Sprint!

For the first time in recent memory, I ended a year on a Spiritual high note. I wasn’t running on fumes through Advent, I’ve enjoyed Christmas, and I’m excited to start 2012 and grow in our beautiful faith even more. So, as we’re less than a week into a new year, I thought I would share some ways to keep our spiritual “endurance” throughout the year.

What came to mind was a Homily that my husband and I heard while attending Saint William of York (Stafford, Virginia) in August. Father made some remarks about “Lapsed” Catholics, also called “C&E’s” (Christmas and Easter) sometimes. This (very large) group of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are not the ones that we see every Sunday. We likely won’t see them while they’re vacationing, and we also most likely won’t have many conversations with them about our Catholic faith. However, it never fails that come Christmas and Easter, they all show up. The parking lot is full, the pews are full, the Church is very warm. Father Magot made us all chuckle when he said, “why choose the busiest Masses of the year to go to? I’d rather go in August. There’s plenty of parking spaces, room to sit. Communion lines are shorter.”
Obviously the point he was trying to drive home is that EVERY Sunday Mass and Holy Day of Obligation are important. We are obligated to attend them all. And without a serious excuse, we are committing a mortal sin if we do not go.
And so we have begun 2012.

About ten years ago, I had a gym membership. It was a 24 hour gym and my regular workouts began around 10 PM. The following January, I think I witnessed fifty “New Years resolutions” happen before my eyes. Tredmills were all of a sudden full, weight machines had lines, and the classes in the room off to the side were full of energy. To be honest, the sudden surge of people was someone of a distraction as well as annoying. Not because I didn’t want these people to get into shape or to be healthy, it was because they didn’t stick around.

Come February and March, the New Years resolution crowd dwindled out in numbers. Few were left to continue on their mission. The rest had given up.
And after sharing these two stories, I can’t help but think of the similarities between the two. Just as a journey towards becoming physically fit and healthy takes a lot of work and dedication, so does growth,in our faith. It cannot and does not happen overnight. Any surge in energy or bursts of the Holy Spirit may only seem temporary, unless they are nourished.

Through,our Baptism, we are initiated into the Church and given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Through the Eucharist, we are nourished and strengthened, and through our Confirmation, we are sealed in the gift of the Holy Spirit, thus completing our initiation into the Church.

As we continue in this year, let us keep in mind the promises we made through our Confirmation, to grow in our faith and to share our faith with others.

I would like to end with some suggestions to keep the flame burning:

1. Make it a duty to attend Mass regularly. Every Sunday and every Holy Day of Obligation. While daily Mass is not an obligation, attending regularly can only help us grow in our faith.
2. Make time for prayer. I was recently gifted a book on The Family Rosary. How cliche to hear, “A family that prays together, stays together.” Say bedtime prayers with your children. Say a prayer at meal times. Pray when you wake up. Prayer is simply conversation with God, and the more we’re talking to him, the less likely we are to fall into sinful behavior. Also, drive around with a CD of the Rosary being recited, or religious music playing. It’s hard to be in a bad mood while listening to “How Great thou Art.”
3. Go to Confession regularly. If you haven’t been in a while- go! It will give you,the grace to sustain you and keep your soul in good shape.
4. Join a Catholic group or look for a Spiritual Advisor. Having someone to guide us along the journey is imperative to our growth. For me, I have a lovely group of women who I have become very close to. We talk every day. All things Catholic, and sometimes not.
5. Do something within your parish. Whether it’s volunteering as a CCD teacher or singing in the choir, assisting in a number of ministries or on the parish board….. whichever interests you. When you’re accountable to others for something, you’re more likely to follow through.
6. Wear our beautiful faith on your sleeve, figuratively speaking. Mention to others in conversation that you are Catholic. Invite friends to go to Mass. Find or answer questions friends may have about our faith.

We have a whole long year ahead of us. There is no doubt that it will fly by. But our job is to come out on the other end stronger in our faith than when we started last week. So, I challenge you all. Make it count!