Archive | Uncategorized

‘Brutally honest’ with the Vatican


Not at all surprised that no one’s paying attention to the church on sex. Is anyone?

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican conceded Thursday that most Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant and officials pledged not to “close our eyes to anything” when it opens a two-year debate on some of the thorniest issues facing the church.

Core church doctrine on the nature of marriage, sexuality, abortion and divorce isn’t expected to change as a result of the debate that opens in October. But Pope Francis is well aware that the church has lost much of its relevance and credibility in today’s secular world and he is seeking to redirect his ministers to offer families, and even gays in civil unions, a “new language” that is welcoming and responds to their needs.

The Vatican on Thursday issued the working document for the synod discussions, which in itself marked a sharp change from past practice: The Vatican sent out a 39-point questionnaire seeking input from ordinary Catholics around the world about their understanding of, and adherence to, the church’s teaching on sexuality, homosexuality, contraception, marriage and divorce.

Thousands of ordinary Catholics, clergy and academics responded, providing the Vatican with an unprecedented compilation of grass-root data to guide the discussion. Usually, such working papers are compiled by bishops alone.

The responses, which were summarized in the working document, were brutally honest.

“A vast majority” of responses stressed that “the moral evaluation of the different methods of birth control is commonly perceived today as an intrusion in the intimate life of the couple and an encroachment on the autonomy of conscience,” the document said.

“Many responses recommend that for many Catholics the concept of ‘responsible parenthood’ encompasses the shared responsibility in conscience to choose the most appropriate method of birth control.”

At least I did this right

Homework Help!

As a parent, I spend a lot of time feeling guilty. So I was happy to read this.

I wasn’t involved with my kids’ education — not the way parents today are. But I always had a pretty clear idea that homework was for the kids, not me, and all I did was check to make sure it was done. I didn’t go over it with them, and I didn’t coach them. I told them if they really didn’t understand something in their homework, they were to ask the teacher the next day.

And no, I never volunteered at their schools, although I did join the PTO.

Many of my friends are appalled when I tell them this, and it made me feel guilty. It honestly didn’t occur to me to be any other way, but my kids are both smart people and I don’t think anything I did changed that. Okay, maybe a little.

What I did do was expose them to a lot of politics, art, music and culture, and kept a lot of different reading material around the house. They knew I cared about how they did in school, but that was their job and there was no hovering. I was working 50-60 hours a week, there was no time to hover. The only time I ever intervened was when one of my kids had learning difficulties.

And fortunately, my hands-off approach turned out to be the right thing:

One of the central tenets of raising kids in America is that parents should be actively involved in their children’s education: meeting with teachers, volunteering at school, helping with homework, and doing a hundred other things that few working parents have time for. These obligations are so baked into American values that few parents stop to ask whether they’re worth the effort.

Until this January, few researchers did, either. In the largest-ever study of how parental involvement affects academic achievement, Keith Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Angel L. Harris, a sociology professor at Duke, mostly found that it doesn’t. The researchers combed through nearly three decades’ worth of longitudinal surveys of American parents and tracked 63 different measures of parental participation in kids’ academic lives, from helping them with homework, to talking with them about college plans, to volunteering at their schools. In an attempt to show whether the kids of more-involved parents improved over time, the researchers indexed these measures to children’s academic performance, including test scores in reading and math.

What they found surprised them. Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire—regardless of a parent’s race, class, or level of education.

Do you review your daughter’s homework every night? Robinson and Harris’s data, published in The Broken Compass: Parental Involvement With Children’s Education, show that this won’t help her score higher on standardized tests. Once kids enter middle school, parental help with homework can actually bring test scores down, an effect Robinson says could be caused by the fact that many parents may have forgotten, or never truly understood, the material their children learn in school.

It’s interesting, go read the rest.

Men on top


Business as usual in Vatican City!

Pope Francis has reaffirmed Pope Benedict XVI’s rebuke of the main leadership group of U.S. Catholic sisters and approved a plan to place the group under the control of three U.S. bishops, according to the Vatican.

Reaffirmation of the move came in a meeting Monday between the leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to a statement from the Vatican.

During the meeting, the Vatican said, Müller told the LCWR leaders that he had “recently discussed” the issue with Pope Francis, “who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform.”

The meeting was the first between LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of the United States’ approximately 57,000 sisters, and Müller, who became head of the doctrinal congregation in July.

LCWR confirmed that its leadership met with Vatican officials in a statement Monday and said the conversation was “open and frank.”

I hope the nuns tell them to fuck off, metaphorically speaking.

Life after killing OBL

It still astounds me how we eat our young –how poorly we take care of the troops after using them. CJR has an interview with the Seal team member who killed Osama bin Laden:

“No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job,” Barack Obama said last Veterans’ Day, “or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.”

But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:

Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.

Since Abbottabad, he has trained his children to hide in their bathtub at the first sign of a problem as the safest, most fortified place in their house. His wife is familiar enough with the shotgun on their armoire to use it. She knows to sit on the bed, the weapon’s butt braced against the wall, and precisely what angle to shoot out through the bedroom door, if necessary. A knife is also on the dresser should she need a backup.

Then there is the “bolt” bag of clothes, food, and other provisions for the family meant to last them two weeks in hiding.

“Personally,” his wife told me recently, “I feel more threatened by a potential retaliatory terror attack on our community than I did eight years ago,” when her husband joined ST6.

Site Meter