On Reading Confused Catholic Writers

A Reaction to: “On Dating Nice Catholic Girls
“Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” by Julie at The Corner with a View
On Dating Nice Catholic Girls” by Trista at Not a Minx, a Moron, or a Parasite
“On Reading Confused Catholic Writers” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!


Beware, fair reader, if you’re willing to read all three Bright Maiden posts today, the verse ending in “a woman scorned” will cross your mind. A great upside to Max Lindenman’s article, “On Dating Nice Catholic Girls,” is that he generated discussion.

I saw my friends get upset about the article on Twitter, I vented about it with my family, and here we are writing about it as a conglomerate.

My venting about this article was preceded by a vague support of it. The first time I started reading Lindenman’s work, I thought, “Sexy Puritan? It’s a little insulting, but he’s a Catholic man on a Catholic site. Hopefully he’ll turn this around.” I trusted that he would and waited.

And waited.

At the conclusion of the article, I slumped in confusion. What on Earth was he trying to say?

He jumped several times, going off track, and back on. If he was a train, we’d hear about it on the news, read about it in the grocery aisle, and hold candlelight vigils across the country.

“In other words, the Sexy Puritan is a god-fearing, godawful tease. Come the revolution, I assure you, Sexy Puritans will be hunted from helicopters.”

He could be playing devil’s advocate. He might be showing what the rest of the world thinks of nice, attractive Catholic girls. I’ll keep reading, I tell myself.

(I don’t own the rights)

However, my efforts were in vain. He continued to write about an ex-girlfriend who was attractive and cuddly, but would not go as physically far as he wanted to go (stand up guy that he is, he even talked about his light pressure on her to comply).

Her morals were strong, but her cuddly nature and attractive physique made her a tease.

It would be childish of me to ask Mr. Lindenman, “So nice, Catholic girls should be unattractive and allergic to physical contact? Or, they should be attractive and cuddly, but “follow through” in order to avoid being a tease?”

When he insulted the JPII generation, the gloves were off.

“One thing, though: a lot of these JPII generation girls are starting to look suspiciously like Sexy Puritans.”

What an insult to the work that JPII did for my generation! Theology of the Body has changed my life and many others. JPII is responsible for re-energizing a population that was starting to fall victim to apathy, our sexual culture, and anti-Catholicism.

These women who are both attractive (without having to be “Trad,” or someone who looks like they’re constantly judging those who show their ankles) and faithful to the Magisterium should be praised.

And you, sir, shouldn’t be bitter about “teases.”

They’re doing their part by holding you to a higher standard. Reach for it.

Here’s my suggestion to you, Mr. Lindenman: apply some of the Catholic teaching to your perception of women instead of blaming the JPII generation.

Half measures

Week Five: Issues with the Church

“Half measures” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

This is the fifth post of a blog post series called “Bright Maidens.” We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!

Oooo scandalous. The Bright Maidens are going to share their issues with the Catholic Church! If you were hoping for a crew of young women calling for female priests, contraception (if this is you’re guess, please read this), or a revolt on the Holy See, you will be disappointed.

Though we have some eyes to roll and some heads to shake at the several times in Church history, we contend that Christ founded the Catholic Church and the Holy Spirit has been her unfettering guide. We’re the Bright Maidens because we’re not what the secular world expects of young women who grew up in the Catholic Church.

(I don’t own the rights)
What does growing up in the Church require? 

Is this the right question to ask? Many parents run down the concrete answers to this question like it’s a honey-do checklist. Baptism, religious education, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, *ding* Catholic microwave says you’re done!

Rather than determining how to bring their families closer to God, they go through the motions. Perhaps these parents don’t understand the teachings or they disagree with them, but they want to give their children structure and checklists. I’m sure some worry about suffering the all-consuming condemnation from their own parents or in-laws if they neglect the checklist.

It would be a smaller travesty if their apathy and unwillingness to research and ask questions about the faith only affected their children. However, these parents are mixed in with all parents and assigned to elementary, middle, and high school religious education classrooms.

The parish plops a little “Ask Me Anything” button on their chest and identifies them as the authority in the classroom of eager children following their Holy Spirit-guided noses. Apathetic teachers, volunteers, or parishioners teach children by example and those who answer questions incorrectly misinform entire generations.

Until about three years ago, I thought my faith was just for me. I was meant to bundle up, tie a polar bear coat around it, and pray quietly in an igloo, holding my knees to my chest.

(I don’t own the rights)

Saying “Praise God” when I felt the urge would brand me a Protestant Jesus freak. Rebutting an insult on the faith with anything more involved than, “It’s okay that you believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. We’re both right to us,” would be over the top and somehow non-Catholic.

Somewhere along the way, Catholics started keeping the zeal for Christ to themselves. The darkness in that cave seems to dissolve any zeal left over from childhood.

We forgot it needs to be in the light and breathe. We’re called to bring it to light and pass it around. In forgetting this, we created more of the apathetic parents who teach their practices.

Queue the battle drums call for more involved grassroots efforts in our parishes! We need to make sure kids know this is what it means to be Catholic.

Many parents are busy and can say they have too much taking up their time to learn the answers to the questions they never asked.

“In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked, lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men… All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics. Oh! if I might ask the Divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? The answer would not be doubtful: With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries. And this reproach can be levelled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries.” —Pope St. Pius X, Discourse at the Beatification of St. Joan of Arc, Dec. 13, 1908

Take the time. Catch yourself on FIRE so you can show the Church’s children how to be on FIRE for Jesus. We make up the Church He founded!

Beyaz Yourself

 Week Two: Contraception
“Beyaz™ Yourself” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day 

This is the second post of a Lenten blog post series called “Bright Maidens.” We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!
 

***I’m tempted to not put a disclaimer here. The reason I will disclaim is because I want you to know my intentions are to spread love. “The road to hell” being what it is, I know the diaspora that occurs between intention and effect. I understand many women are on hormonal birth control for medical reasons. Just consider what I’m saying, I’m not attacking anyone… except maybe the interns who concocted this commercial…***

“You know what you want today, but you never know what you might want tomorrow. It’s good to have choices…” This is the introduction to the most recent Beyaz™ commercial.

Hey ladies! Life is like shopping! Yeah, in your designer outfits, perfect hair, and thin bodies, you walk around a pale pink store placing life decisions in the shopping cart, one by one!

First stop: grad school. How could you pick up a degree? Well, having sex outside of marriage is a given, of course. Are you expected to complete a degree without the occasional stress release? So, the next logical step is birth control.

(I don’t own the rights)

Now, which birth control should I use? According to the Bayer people, Beyaz™ is formulated with a little extra folate. Yup, that’s right. Prenatal vitamins built in, just in case you get pregnant.

Good choice! You’re hitting the world with a double whammy of responsibility. Wack, wack, take that.

However, as the next shot shows, if you get pregnant, though your baby will have sufficient calcium, he or she will make the diploma fly off into the air to another part of the store of life.

In our walk around the store, we see other admirable life goals like “picnic at a waterfall,” “trip to Paris,” and “buy a house.” People with babies don’t do these things. Celibate people definitely don’t do these things.

When picking out a significant other, as the label portrays on the shelf, one must choose carefully, but not too carefully. After all, there is a whole shelf of them and you’re “protected.”

In fact if you had sex and used this birth control, you’ll probably go to Paris with the goofy Ken doll you just picked out two tables ago.

(I don’t own the rights)

Oh, but watch out. Don’t turn down the wrong isle or you’ll bump into the stork carrying a purple, heavy-looking sack. Awkward. No need to worry, this birth control is 99.99% effective. Just shake your head at the silly bird and move on.

To be clear, there are no men in the commercial. No wining, no dining, no actual romantic dates, just little miniature ones trapped in glass boxes like action figures.

The women are strolling along, presumably having sex figuratively as they walk in this dream-like state through the store without concern.

Natural

Why would a puritan like me disagree with this “freedom” these women have over their own bodies? The world tells us, “Sex is natural” and it is.

Let’s talk about what is unnatural. Birth control. Contraceptives. Separating an entire reason for the marital bond in order to use your significant other, husband or wife for pleasure only. That is unnatural.

Literally: look at the ingredients in hormonal birth control or barrier contraceptives, ask a 3-year-old to pronounce it for giggles. Then ask a 15-year-old to pronounce it. After that, try pronouncing it yourself.

Woooo blod clots. Actual Beyaz girl.

Crystalina and Jason Evert break down the carcenogenic that is “the Pill” in this article and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a scientific answer to your question.

As a sneak preview, hormonal birth control can cause heart attack, blood clot, stroke, liver cancer, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, headache, bleeding irregularities, ectopic pregnancy, weight gain, mental depression, yeast infection, changes to the curvature of the eye, excessive hair growth in unusual places, loss of scalp hair, acne, partial or complete loss of vision, and more.

Put that in my shopping cart, right away!

My ex-boyfriend, who is very involved in the pro-life movement, once exclaimed that the anti-contraceptive voices should be detached from the pro-life movement. Detached.

No. The pro-life movement gives away too much when it says contraception is okay.

It means we’re okay with irresponsibility. You can have all the pleasure you want without “risk,” but if biology WHOOPS gives you a baby, then you have to start being responsible. Let’s be clear, a baby is always a potential result of sexual intercourse, even if it’s “protected.” A baby is never the result of not having sex.

Unless you’re Mary.

The only “safe” sex is that between two people who are entirely committed to one another. This doesn’t include people who are paying rent together, people who have bought meals for each other, or people who met ten minutes ago. This includes those bound in matrimony.

Two bound in matrimony are not granted permission to lust for each other and “have at it.” That corrupts sex. They are invited to share in God’s gift of making love, or the “intimate sphere,” as Alice von Hildebrand calls it. This is only fully realized when the two unite in pleasure and understanding that a child may result from their physical manifestation of love.

More pet peeving

You know what is most annoying about this commercial? Most of the things that these women are shopping for are related to men. If you’re so independent and you haven’t been “duped” by your biology like those of us who are oppressed by abstinence, why are you still tied to how a man sees you and how you spend time with a man?

The picnic by a waterfall and trip to the “most romantic” city in the world are certainly supposed to be shared with one of the Ken dolls in an earlier shot. How are you more independent with this birth control?

I was going to share with you the video for the commercial, but it has been removed. I can’t find it anywhere. Perhaps they made a sour choice and now they see the backlash?

UPDATE: John Jansen found it!