July 6, 2009

2/3 of what I am

If I had to describe myself in 3 words they would be wife, mother and Catholic. I love being all of those things and I try very hard (most of the time) to live out those titles well.

Today I came across a few blog posts that were good food for thought on the mother and Catholic sides of things.

Jen at Conversion Diary has a great post about a couple who are adopting 2 HIV positive children from Ethiopia. I loved the things this adoptive mother had to say about how she felt God calling her to this path. I also admire her courage in following.

Travis and I have always discussed adoption as an option in our lives. I am friends with a woman who has adopted 2 baby girls through the foster care system. Seeing her and her husband grow their family in such a beautiful way has always made me want to do the same, in a very ambivalent, non-committal way. Last winter I heard a talk given by Catholic Charities that really made me think about becoming a foster parent and possibly adopting an older child instead of an infant. They told the story of a almost 18 year old girl who never was adopted, had no real family and was soon to be released from the system. She told the Catholic Charities employee that she still wanted to be adopted, to have a family to go home to during her college breaks. (Break my heart!)

This is not the time to pursue adoption, but I do feel like I should keep the idea of foster care and adoption tucked away for later. But I also know I first need to deal with some fears I have such as, Will bringing an older child into my home also bring the potential of danger for my own child if the foster child has a history of being sexually abused? and How do you bring someone into your home and earn their love and respect when you're a crazy woman? and What if I don't "click" with the child? Will I just hurt and reject them even more?

Fr. Longenecker at Standing on My Head has a series of 3 posts on Authority and papal infallibility. He wrote them as a "thinking out loud", as he describes it, and I think they are all interesting reads. As many non-Catholics (and even "Cafeteria Catholics") have serious issues with the Pope, I think Father does a good job of talking about the relativism that can come forth without an authority. Especially when the only authority many want to claim is the Bible, which is a collection of separate books assembled, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, by Catholics during early Church Councils. (Council of Laodicea in 360 and Council of Rome in 382, followed by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage. All of these councils list the same Old and New Testament books that can be found in modern day Bibles.) See here and here for where I got my details.
The reason I love to hear Fr. Longenecker's perspective is because he was raised Protestant and even attended the fundamentalist school Bob Jones University. He then converted to Anglicanism and became an Anglican priest while living in England. However, as the Anglicans began to squabble, he searched for an answer and was led to the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, as a Catholic, one could argue that he's biased to our ways, but he seems really well educated and has passionately lived out his faith in a variety of ways which definitely brings a different perspective to my way of seeing things.

Authority 1:
To put it simply, the non-Catholic Christian (without a recognized infallible authority) can only be relativistic, but in order for his world not to drift and melt away totally, he has to behave as if his personal opinion or the opinion of his pastor or the decisions of his denomination are, in fact, infallible.
Authority 2:
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, is the only religious grouping which can claim to be both historical and relevant, universal and local.
Authority 3:
Furthermore, it must not only be intellectually credible, but it must have the underlying intellectual tools to construct credible responses to the world.


  1. I love the part about the fostering/adoption. It has been on my heart for years, but we have yet to see if God's will is for us to do so in the future.

    Re: the rest of the post... I need more time to read what you've referenced. Off the top of my head, the logic behind Authority # is simply not true nor, for that matter, logical. I am relativistic as much as I am human and fallible myself, which is true of every human being, not just Christian non-Catholics. My ultimate authority comes from God, who is truly the only one who is infallible (infallible in that He is without error, without sin, without fault in any way). The Bible says "All men have fallen short of the glory of God", which includes the dear Pope himself, whom I respect as a Godly man and as the highest authority in your faith, but is still a man dealing with the same flesh nature as us all. Maybe I'm missing something here. I will read more, I promise, when I have more time. All that being said, in direct contradiction to what is stated in Authority #1, I do not guide my life or behave simply according to my opinion or that of my pastor, my church, my elder board, or whomever. I guide my decision making and my opinion from the Word of God as the first and foremost authority as well as through guidance from the Holy Spirit (which would never contradict Scripture, as all Scripture is God-breathed through the Holy Spirit himself). I know I'm fallible. I know my pastor is fallible. To make such a claim that any person is infallibile, other than Jesus Christ in human form himself, is blasphemy and directly contradicts the very Word of God. Again, I will read more when I get a chance so I can be more educated on the subject. Maybe I'll be enlightened.

  2. Sorry for all the typos in the previous post. I'm trying to type quickly with a two year old literally hanging off my 37 weeks pregnant back. Gotta run.

  3. Audrey, I'm so glad you responded - this gives me the opportunity to better understand your view and I hope you add more as you read more and think about it.

    But I do want to clarify something: the Pope is not infalliable on everything, only when he is teaching on issues of faith and morals.

    And, I am thinking, this is also where many of us would claim a sort of infalliability. For example, some Christains believe that gay marriage is forbidden by God and some believe that it is not. Same with ordination of women, abortion, contraception, IVF, embryonic stem cell research and other tough moral topics. When your pastor teaches that abortion is wrong (which I assume he does, based on what I know about you) then he is teaching it as an absolute truth. Surely prayer, Scripture, logic, science, and teachings of other holy people came together to help sort out and affirm this belief, and he can see that it is God's will and way. And when he preaches that abortion is wrong, his teaching on that matter (unless he goes into things that are against God such as abusing women who have had abortions or bombing clinics) is "infalliable". There is no fault in it. It is a perfectly true teaching on God.

    Do you agree on that much, or where do your thoughts differ?

    My last thought: The Bible never comes out and clearly names abortion as an evil. But yet the majority of Christians see it as such, and we see that teaching as an Absolute Truth. The specific teaching that abortion is the taking of an innocent life (or that women should not be ordained, IVF is wrong) has to be upheld by some authority. Who is that authority? If there is not one head to guide, don't we end up with the thousands of denominations and the troubles of the Anglican Church?

  4. Hey, Bonnie. Just wanted to catch you up, as I wasn't sure if you check my blog. We scheduled a c-section for me for next week. I'm in crazy-woman mode now, flying through the house trying to get a million and one things done. I've also been a bit of an emotional wreck today because of the situation. On top of that, I think we may have the baby earlier, as I think I just lost my mucous plug. Not sure, though, as I never got this far with my daughter. Ugh. Anyway, I don't know when I'll get a chance to follow up on the topic of this post. *I really want to, though* So, maybe sometime between my baby's arrival and your baby's arrival, I can take some time to follow up on it. I just didn't want you to think I'd forgotten if you didn't hear from me for awhile. - Audrey