The Faith Database

I received The Faith Database CD as part of the Catholic Company product reviewer program.

This is a mixed review.

First of all, what is The Faith Database CD?

The Faith Database is a CD-ROM that provides access to over ten Bible translations, a Greek Bible, papal encyclicals, writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the Catholic Encyclopedia, over 1,500 books by famous Christian writers, Church history, Bible art, maps, and much more! The Faith Database is completely searchable, printable, and portable (PDA) — everything is linked together for instant research of any faith topic.

Obviously, having so many resources at your fingertips is a great thing. I thought the Database was fairly easy to navigate, and I was impressed by how much information they squeezed on one CD.

But, I’m not sure there isn’t the same information (or more) to be found just using an ordinary search engine on the internet. In my reluctance to pay for something I can get for free, I’m not convinced I would buy the Database.

However, I do think that I would be much more comfortable having my non-web savvy students browsing the Database for research on Catholic subjects. So, for safe, yet diverse, browsing, the Database would be a great idea.

Lastly, I did have some technical problems and the third or fourth time I looked at the Database, the whole thing crashed and had to be re-installed. Not sure what the problem was, and I’ve only looked at it once or twice since then, so I’m not sure if it will happen again. Routine failure would annoy me if I used it regularly.

Trying to live in 4 dimensions

I met an angel today at Mass.

I was pretty sure it was going to be one of those Masses. Peter was refusing to wear shoes. The girls felt that the 40 degree temps did not warrant tights or coats. Billy wanted to wear a suit jacket with a very casual polo shirt. It was the baby’s nap time.

But we went. Billy with a casual jacket. Katie with socks and her Marys Janes (shoes, not candy). Jenny with sandals and no coat (whatever). Peter with his shoes on the floor.

At church, I went in with all the kids except the unshod one. Bill stayed to coax him into cooperation. By the time Mass began, they had slipped in at the end of the row, and Peter remained quietly over there pretending to nap on the pew. Mary fell asleep during the homily.

After Mass, I turned to see a very old woman talking to Bill. I sidled down to hear the praises of my well-behaved children, for I knew that’s what it was. Having spent most of every Mass for the last month or two in the back with a squirmy toddler, and after last week’s debacle with Peter slicing his head open during Communion, I knew that to get through Mass without some “issue” was remarkable.

The woman gave me the glowing words that I needed to hear about my children being so good. Then she gave me even more: she told me how impressed she was with my husband. “What a good father,” she said, “So tender, so involved. How well he handled the little one (Peter).” She was nearly in tears, and she had my eyes welling. What a sweetheart.

Out in the car, I joked: “You can fool some of the people, all of the time…”

Bill laughed and said he had told her she was lucky to catch him at a good moment (the parking lot just prior to Mass not being a very good moment).


I’ve been pondering over the last few weeks how readily we accept new friends for who they are, even despite pasts flaws or sins, while we linger over the past with those we have known a long time. You can never forgive your brother the time he totaled your car, even though he bought you a new one and it happened twenty years ago and he was 17…but you can admire your hard-working boss who is a recovered alcoholic and spent 3 years in jail on DUI charges. Or that girl from high school might forever be a floozy…but that woman you respect from church with a sordid past awes you with her conversion story.

And I’ve been thinking about how God sees us in (at least) four dimensions (time being the 4th). I think C. S. Lewis used the two-dimensional example in Mere Christianity: we see a pencil in three-dimensions. If we were only two-dimensional creatures, we wouldn’t see the pencil, we would see only cross-sections of the pencil. We could never really be able to imagine that the circle of lead surrounded by some wood and a thin coating of paint was a pencil.

Similarly, God sees us…not just who we are today, or who we were a decade ago or who we will be the day we die. He sees us in our entirety. When we brood over past injuries or freeze in our minds the way someone used to be, we are clinging to a cross-section of that person and refusing to accept that that isn’t who they really are, any more than a pencil is a circle of lead surrounded by wood. And when we accept the imperfections of someone’s past, or present, or future, we get a teensy bit closer to seeing the whole person as God intended that person to be seen.


Today, that old woman saw my husband at his best. I’m sure she’s not foolish enough to think he never raises his voice or gets annoyed by the antics of his three-year-old-I-don’t-want-to-wear-my-shoes-kid. But she saw his capacity to love and his ability to get a disgruntled tot to behave for one hour (without using duct tape).

And her message to both of us, from where she sits and through her eyes: what a good father.

Clinging to Hope (aka: religion) – Part II

Well, it’s been nearly 48 hours since the end of the voting. Despite perhaps two mornings of grumbling into our coffee, complaining on our blogs and maybe even shedding a tear or two, most of us are looking for the good (and wondering just how long four years will feel). There have been no riots, no bloodshed. Nobody’s packing their bags to move to…uh, where?

I love democracy.

But of course, in the last 48 hours, about 5000 babies have been aborted, and about 5000 women have had their lives changed immeasurably.

Sadly though, had McCain won, that statistic would not have changed. Yes, I believe he could have appointed Justices who could have hastened the demise of Roe v. Wade and thrown these laws back into the states’ jurisdiction. But true results would have been a long time coming.

And given the results of more than a few pro-life ballot questions – utter failure – I am doubting the efficacy of fighting these battles through the courts and legislatures.

Don’t get me wrong: I firmly believe that unborn children should have their rights protected under the law. I am thoroughly convinced that pro-abortion laws have, in effect, given women little choice but to abort. And I know that if FOCA passes, (and it would not have a chance of passage under McCain), there will be virtually no restrictions on abortion, not even for minors who are legally not responsible enough to make any other medical decisions for themselves.

But in the effort to save lives – and I don’t mean just unborn children, and I don’t mean just preserving a body, I’m talking about a whole person, body and soul, and two victims, mother and child – in an effort to save the life of a child and to preserve the dignity, the mental and physical health, and the immortal soul of a woman, I have no confidence in politicians or judges, nor in laws or mandates, nor in marches or protests.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7

I’m not sure of all the things that go through a person’s mind when deciding for whom to vote, but of one thing I am convinced: abortion is not a paramount issue for most voters. And it is that, not any other disagreement with someone’s politics, that gives me a sickening feeling. If the Dems want to raise taxes (and they will, despite the rhetoric), if they want to give all my money away to my neighbors, if they want to try to pacify rogue nations with summits, if they want to re-define the family, and tell me that I’m full of hate because I have strong convictions about morality, and criminalize my expression of this opinion – all this, I can bear.

But the apathy to the unborn? Dear God, have mercy!

The technology is there, showing itty bitty babies doing cute things in the womb. We’ve all seen it. And yet we insist “it” is sub-human. We turn a blind-eye and a deaf-ear because to admit our inhumanity in our actions is too difficult. To admit that an unborn baby is human and worthy of the same inalienable rights as the ones who were (intentionally) born, would be to admit that we are monsters, because only monsters could allow such a slaughter.

Ending slavery required a war. Ending the Holocaust required a war. I can not accept that ending abortion requires a war. But I am admitting defeat in ending it through legal means.

Instead, we are left with the hardest road. Prayer. Sacrifice. Sackcloth and ashes. Educating the ignorant. Counseling the doubtful. Charity in thought, word and deed.

And being filled with joy despite the carnage in which we live, because nobody loves a dour saint.

I believe that God is in control. I don’t believe that He is pleased that infanticide is sugar-coated as “choice.” But I believe it is His will that we struggle. Perhaps had McCain won, we would have all gone back to our cushy lives comforted that we did our part in voting for pro-life politicians, and that would be the end of it until the next election.

But now we all know that we have a LOT of work to do. We will have no help from the government, so we can stop placing our hope there and turn to Him who can do all things.

If you’re running like a scared rabbit, maybe you’re doing something WRONG

Some of us might get pumped up at a political rally. Some of us may feel patriotic flipping switches at a polling station. Some of us may work for a campaign and get thrilled at the prospect of making a difference.

And some of us may get all warm and fuzzy feeling inside after committing misdemeanor theft and squelching somebody else’s free speech:

In his blog post, Busse said “yanking out the signs and running like a scared rabbit back to my idling car was one of the single-most exhilarating and empowering political acts that I have ever done.”

Several days ago, Billy asked his dad if he could take some Obama signs down. He’s 8. We can excuse him for not understanding fully the right to freely support any person and the right to tell the world for whom you plan to vote and the right to try to convince others that “your guy” is the best person for the job. I will consider myself a failure as a mother if he reaches adulthood and thinks stealing yard signs is acceptable, let alone “exhilarating and empowering.”

Where does the money go?

Silly me. I thought that money we donate at church would be used by Catholic organizations to help the needy and disadvantaged.

Note to self: collections slated for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) should be avoided.

The CCHD sent $1,037,000 to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in 2007, including a $40,000 grant to an ACORN affiliate in Las Vegas that was raided last month by the Nevada attorney general’s office in a voter-fraud probe.

The Catholic aid agency has given more than $7.3 million to ACORN over the past decade for about 320 projects, according to the Catholic News Service.

If I want to donate money to ACORN, I will donate money to ACORN. If I don’t want to donate money to ACORN, then I can’t donate to the CCHD either.

What other non-Catholic organizations are getting my money?

Day is Done

Sunday to-do list

  • Mass
  • Take Peter to ER for two staples to the back of the head
  • Nap
  • Drink wine cooler
  • Sit next to Bill and do nothing much for 10 minutes
  • Shop online for some Christmas presents
  • Drink another wine cooler
  • Finish dishes (sorry, Flylady, maybe tomorrow)
  • Set up bread maker for tomorrow morning
  • Prep stew for tomorrow’s dinner
  • Go to bed early

I think I’ll take care of that last one right now.


Katie and Peter were the only ones to use the same costumes for Halloween that they used for the All Saints party.

Fritz was Indiana Jones (as were about 1 in 10 other boys).

Jenny went as an ice skater. Do not confuse her with a ballerina just because she had to wear shoes to get around!
I made this. Leotards are surprisingly easy to make.

I managed to get a picture of Mary before she fussed her way out of her dragon/dinosaur costume. Peter wore this last year. I made it and a green one for my oldest boys many years ago.

Billy went as The Scarecrow. Not Dorothy’s friend…
…rather, Batman’s enemy.

And Peter passed out after I got him in his PJs, but before I got him washed up and with brushed teeth. No mother of the year awards here, I’m afraid.

And can anybody tell me why the company that manufactures Mary Janes (the candy) is still in business? And why, oh why, do people hand them out? Nostalgia? Sadism?