Monday, 28 April 2008

Breastfeeding to avoid breast cancer

Sky News carried THIS story today showing that far too many women are unaware that breast feeding their children can help reduce the risk of breast cancer quite substantially. Of course among NFPers this is common knowledge, and I was a little surprised that so few women knew about the link. I would have thought that midwives would have been trained to mention it to new mums to help encourage breastfeeding. Having said that no midwife has ever mentioned it to me.

It might be worth getting the message out that chemical contraception and abortion increase the risk of breast cancer substantially.
My friend who is going through the process with her breast cancer at the moment realises she must ensure her daughter never uses chemical contraceptives. No professional has advised her of this however, even though she is one of the very young (pre-menopause) women to have cancer-a statistic that is increasing. My friend was put on the pill as a teenager because she was having problems, as many teens do. Doctors were very quick to prescribe the Pill despite its awful side effects, rather than looking at other ways to help teens regulate problems with their periods.
So ladies-get off those horrible chemicals and breast feed.

Psychology of abusive parents

Sky News interviewed a psychologist this morning over the awful case in Austria in which a father had his daughter and some of the children he fathered by her kept in a cellar for years and years. I was interested in what she had to say about the case-partly for personal reasons and partly for (ex)professional ones. My dh still works for CAMHS and it has to be said there are some similarities in the way abusive parents present.

The psychologist said these kinds of parents were very often authoritarian- by this she did not mean parents who have true authority in the home and can set appropriate boundaries for their children's behaviour; but rather a control freak kind of authority in which secrets must be kept. I know parents who would demand absolute loyalty from their children-not healthy loyalty as one would expect from a loving family, but secret keeping-bad secret keeping. Children would be made to feel fear and guilt at the thought of trying to tell anyone else what happened within the confines of the family.

The other thing this psychologist mentioned was the 'respectable veneer' these kinds of parents often clung to.

Again I was struck by this. I too know parents who have done this. They cultivate a sense of being a pillar of society, known in the local community or church as someone 'good'. Under the veneer something rotten lurks of course, and if any whiff of this gets out those parents will usally blame the person who has seen it-cutting themselves off, or even keeping clear of people to avoid being found out.

I have seen families where friends are not allowed to come to the home, where children are isolated from any friends they make at school for fear of any 'secret' getting out.

So, one thing I think I have learned about abusive parents is this; THEY KNOW. They are not ignorant that what they are doing is bad. Healthy families do not ask children to keep secrets like that. They are not afraid that someone might find something out about them and they are not constantly bitter and angry about other people who may or may not have sussed there is a problem.

What fascinates me the most is how boring evil is. Satan is incapable of making anything new; he can only take what is and drain the colour from it, twist it out of shape or break it. I am coming to the conclusion that like Original Sin, all evil is not a 'something' but a lack of something. And I think there is always a deep anger-a fury even, against anyone who might shine a light on them.

I have seen that anger first hand in more than one situation working with or knowing abusive parents. It's something I think social services need to be much more canny about. I am shocked to see families that are rotten to the core being allowed to adopt and foster children.My dh has mentioned a case like that only a few days ago and the results for the child have been utterly dreadful.

Finally the psychologist went on to say she thought a lot more of this kind of abuse went on that we could imagine. I want to disagree, I really do. I want to say, no, it's rare-and I think the extreme cases like this one and the one my dh is working on are fairly rare; but abusive families are not and they need to be.

Dr Ray Guarendi has written about this somewhat in his book Back to the Family. I've mentioned it before. Many of the excellent parents in this book had survived pretty dreadful upbringings and had made an act of the will to NOT behave the way their parents did. It is not inevitable that abused children grow up to abuse, no matter how hurt.

Sometimes cases like this one in Austria may bring back horrible memories for survivors of abuse, but those memories serve only to ensure that act of will remains.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Strikes and that Kipper Tie feeling.

As the rubbish piles up along our street and the schools close-I am getting that 1970's feeling. I could just see us breaking out the kipper ties and brown jackets with orange overstitiching Sick.

I haven't really been watching the news much so although I knew the strike was happening-I have friends who are teachers-I wasn't too sure what it was all about.

The BBC news yesterday was interesting in the way they covered it. Now, I know quite a few teachers. All of them have a very good grasp of the English language and can string a sentence together without a thick accent. They are quite capable of articulating a position, should they be asked.

However the BBC reporter managed to interview three teachers (I think it was three) all of whom came across as rather lacking in basic educational ability. The idea that these were qualified teachers was rather shocking. But just as they may have persuaded me to have no sympathy with their position at all they flicked across to Ed Balls, a sinister minister extraordinaire. The kids had all come charging into the room at this point so I couldn't hear what he said-but even my son commented on his scary bulging eyes! How does he make his face do that!?
So my rubbish sits on the pavement, and the kids in the neighbourhood are not at school, and while I think nurses have received an equally bad deal on the pay front and they are not striking-the fact that teachers have Ed Balls in charge of them is all I need to offer them sympathy in their plight.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica is 85 today! Happy Birthday Mother!
I have been watching the Pope's visit to America on EWTN either on TV or because I don't get the time, in bits online. You can catch it all HERE.
She has given us a great gift with EWTN and at times like this; when I know I would not be able to trust the coverage offered by the MSM having her network to turn to is a Godsend.
I receive the little newsletter from the Poor Clares. They have been sending it ever since I wrote asking for their prayers for someone in my family during a rather difficult time. I know God hears the prayers of Mother in a special way because she loves Him so much.
Thanks to her Catholic media has taken off over the USA and that means people like me living in the UK have access to the Truth in a way that was unimaginable when I was a teen looking for answers.
I know that all the stuff I listen to; Catholic Answers, Relevant Radio, Fr Stan Podcasts etc have come from her dream, from her work and her pain.
So God bless Mother Angelica.

The Pain of Infertility

You might think this is a rather strange topic for someone with six kids to write about. But as it happens I seem to be coming across this terrible pain a lot recently. I personally know the horror and grief of miscarriage and how that messes with your head-and your soul. I am also coming to terms with the difficult fact that I really should not have another baby. Then I am coming across more and more women, open to life, who either cannot conceive, loose their babies to miscarriage or are having to postpone pregnancy indefinitely because of very difficult circumstances.

Those of us with more than the acceptable 1.7 children (and a dog) are well aware of the negative comments and just plain bewilderment from those around us. WHY are we having SO MANY children? Blah, blah, blah... but I have come across something among big families that I think is just as unattractive. I have seen a 'I'm better than you because I have lots of kids' kind of attitude. "If you are a good Catholic you would have more children," and "You must be contracepting" attitude. Bizarrely I had a woman who is infertile herself and has adopted her children tell me from her high and mighty Catholic position that she knew everyone at my parish contracepted. As it happened I know a lot of mothers in my parish who have small families because they have NO CHOICE. I know their stories and I know the pain they have suffered. This woman's judgemental and uncharitable view shocked me.
Christ and His Church calls us to be open to life. That does NOT mean having lots of children; it means having the children God gives us and being the very best, loving and responsible parents we can be.
Some of the holiest, saintliest Catholics I can think of had NO children at all; Alice and Deitrich von Hildebrand (although Deitrich had a son from his first marriage) and Frances and Gilbert K Chesterton.
I am so so grateful to God for all my children, especially my youngest who I came so close to loosing right on the day she was born. I have only had one straightforward healthy pregnancy so I am very blessed indeed to have managed to have six live children. I pray for all those I know who long for a child to hold- God bless you abundantly.

And I beg my fellow big family mums (dads don't seem to do this as much) don't be so proud-be grateful and never assume that others are not open to life. You don't know that.

Coincidentally I have been working through the story of Hannah and Samuel with my son. Hannah was married to a husband who loved her very much, but she had been unable to conceive. Her husband had another wife who had lots of children and like some of the mums of big families was a bit too full of herself about the fact-uncaring of Hannah's pain.
Hannah went to God and prayed and begged Him to hear her. Old Eli the priest gave her his blessing (after being assured she was not drunk) and God answered her prayer. She was the mother of the great prophet Samuel. She gave her son to God as she had promised and God rewarded her; she had other children.
Eli seems to have been a gentle man, but not a good father. His sons were wicked men-not a credit to Eli at all; and in the end through Samuel the gift to a desperate woman, God told Eli there was a price to pay for bad parenting.
Like Hannah we need to remember that our Twinkles from God's Eye belong to Him. Just as she gave Samuel back so we are called to ensure we can give our children back-ready for heaven.
Let us support one another in this endeavour whether we have one child, no children or many.

Horton Hears a Who

A friend took three of my kids and me to see 'Horton Hears a Who' yesterday. It was great fun and a remarkably true to the tale presentation.

I was a little saddened by the unnecessary snide remark about homeschooling at the beginning-but that was soon forgotten as the film unfolded the story of Horton the elephant who hears the call of the Who and protects the speck on his clover flower, come what may. He is 100% loyal and will not sacrifice the Whos of Whosville to the unbelieving horde around him.

I took my 14yr old, 5 yr old and 3yr old. They loved it and I have to say I think the 16 and 19 yr olds would have too :)

I was interested that a girl who lives with my friend (my friend took her in when her family life broke down) couldn't see the point of the film at all. "It's just an elephant talking to a flower!" she told my friend before she left for the cinema. "Why do you want to see that?"


The Pro-life movement have taken Horton very much to heart. "A person's a person no matter how small" is an important truth. Sadly it seems that Dr Seuss himself did not actually recognise the truth he had written. The man is dead now so he can't speak for himself so I will be cautious about what he meant when he wrote the story. It is true Seuss wrote very clearly about all sorts of issues both political and moral-and I treat some of those tales with caution too-but Horton speaks clearly that a person does not have to be big and powerful to BE a person.

Whatever the answer-it's a fun movie and the fact is "A PERSON IS A PERSON NO MATTER HOW SMALL."

Monday, 14 April 2008

The unchurched the beautiful and the ugly

I was listening to Drew Marianai on my MP3 player this morning. (Relevant Radio). He said researchers have discovered to their surprise (what planet do these researchers live on?) that unchurched people preferred beautiful, traditional churches to the the modern utilitarian ones.

To quote my 14yr old daughter, "Well duh!"

When we are seeking God, surely we use our senses; sight, hearing, smell, etc. We want to see true beauty so we can try and see a little of God. Why on earth do people think anyone is going to find God in a box?
The church on the left was photographed by UKOK-and is lovely. Those who build it made a genuine effort for the glory of a God they obviously love.
An ugly box church surely also says how those who built it feel about God.

When I invite someone into my home I try and make the place look cosy and welcoming. We clear away the clutter of homeschool and kids (well we try) and get the fire lit (in winter). No one wants to come into a home that is as cold and clinical as an operating theatre do they? What makes those who commission and build ugly utilitarian churches think anyone will find them attractive places to find and worship God?
Perhaps they don't think God is there-if the building is just a warehouse for the hopeless on a Sunday morning well a box will do. If it's just a meeting place for a few songs and a sermon before the REAL deal of coffee and cakes over a good social, then a box will do.
But many of these hideous churches actually cost a huge amount of money. I don't get it.
Peter Kreeft on his website has an downloadable lecture on beauty. ALL architects should be made to listen to it.
we need to remember the Temple of Jerusalem was a stunningly beautiful and magnificent building, stars across the ceiling a garden of Paradise around the walls an embroidered into the great curtain over the Holy of Holies. Gold was everywhere.
Mother Angelica understands this and the church she build for the Love of Her Life shows her great love and Who she knows should be given the very best we have.
The first act of worship recorded is that of Cain and Abel. The brother who gave God the very best he had was acceptable.
Our churches are part of how we evangelise. They need to stand out as holy places so that those who are seeking will find. AND they need to be open.

Friday, 11 April 2008


Please offer your prayers:
Traditional Mass for all the unborn babies, and for all those involved in abortion in the Oxford area.
Saturday, 26th APRILHoly Mass - 3pm,
at St Anthony of Padua Church, Headley Way, Oxford. (Parking available)
Afterwards we will have the pro-life witness as usual at the entrance to the John Radcliffe Hospital.To commemorate the anniversary of the abortion act 1967.
Please try and join us on this important date.Refreshments available after the witness in St Anthony of Padua Church Hall.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Jesus was an embryo

On 31st March we celebrated the Solemnity of the Annuciation, when the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and asked if she would consent to being the mother of the Messiah. She gave her Fiat-her yes to God and the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. At that moment The WORD was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. The word became a zygote. He was a single celled person with all His DNA written into Him. He already had His bloodgroup, eye colour and so on written into Him.

He began to form more cells. Jesus grew in just the same way as we all grew from day 1.

It is a week later and today could be called Holy Implantation Day.

Jesus implants, snuggling into the womb of His blessed mother. (And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus).

Without these hidden days we would not have had our Messiah and He could not have saved us.

Remember this when scientists and media pundits tell you it's just a few cells. It doesn't hurt to experiment and destroy them.

All those children are being murdered. Every child is a made in the image and likeness of God because He creates and we procreate. God came to us as fully human and fully divine and He grew as any man will grow from zygote onwards.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Oh hell

As the Feast of Divine Mercy has come and gone Fr Dwight has some concerns which I think are valid. Far too many people are not at all concerned that God is a Just Judge. The message of Divine Mercy is NOT, God is a big softie and so long as we are nice all will be well. The message clearly states that those who do not throw themselves on the Mercy of Christ will have to face His justice-and that has hell as a very real possibility.
Those who do love Christ's Divine Mercy do so because we are all too aware of sin in our lives and in the lives of people we love.

Thinking you have a "Get Into Heaven Free" card-as my sister calls it, is very likely a bad idea.
It goes with that little rhymn:
Mr Smith was very good
He went to church each Sunday
But Mr Smith-he went to hell
for what he did on Monday.

Many of us have friends and family who we see are far from God and we are worried about them. it isn't easy to say-or face up to-but some of the people we care about might very well end up in hell. I am sure most of us would not want to see even our enemies end up with such a fate. The tradgetdy is beyond comprehension; that a person made in the image and likeness of God could so shun that image as to turn from Him forever and suffer the misery of eternal hatred.
I pray all the time for a friend who I fear for who died in bad circumstances. I pray for two people who I can't say I love, but I still don't want them to end up in hell; they abused their children.
I have a friend who seems not so much to be agnostic (and miserable) but actually afraid of God. She's had two abortions.
Another who has lapsed from her Catholic faith-after a horrible 'Catholic' upbringing and later an abortion.
The list goes on.
I don't want any of these people to have to face God's justice; I pray for His Mercy.
It's because sin is so real, Satan is there and hell is waiting that we turn to God's Mercy.
Frankly the people I know who don't believe in hell don't believe in mercy either.