Today in My History2000: Me and Granny Muffin
2001: Ready or Not, Here I Come
2002: California Thru the Back Door
2003: Mountains and Molehills
2004: Do I Remember?
2005: Catching the Wild Yeast
2006: And Then There Were Seven
2007: Heavy Sigh
2008: Technological Quagmire
2009: ^%$# Drivers
2010: So Much to See, So Little Time
2011: Where Are You When I Need You?
Books Read in 2012
"Travels with Alice"
Most Recent on My My 70th Year
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My Compassion Kids
The Pen Pal Project
7 April 2012
Bad person that I am, I don't usually think about Good Friday when it rolls around, since I'm not aware of the passage of the church year, since I don't go to church. Walt never comes home with palm fronds in his hands or ashes on his forehead, so I can't rely on him to give me clues.
But I was thinking about the Catholic church (again) today when I read this unbelievable headline:
Pope Says Couples
Who Conceive Through In-Vitro Fertilization
The man who goes about in ruby slippers, a stylish big hat and dripping with gold and jewelry warns "against the 'easy income' that could be made from the 'fascination of the technology of artificial fertility.' Both scientists and the families who benefit from scientific advances in fertility treatment are guilty of 'the arrogance of taking the place of the creator,' Benedict said."
Now there is the pot calling the kettle black! I can understand, though don't agree at all with the ban against any form of birth control, but now coming after infertile couples who are trying to have a baby...and especially calling them arrogant?
Does the pontiff mean to suggest that any manipulation of the world that God gave us is a bad thing? Is it a sin to use the intelligence that we were born with to make our world better? Is it arrogant to even think of improving on God's creation?
God gave us wheat and he gave us grapes. Are we arrogant for assuming that if we crush those things and mix them with other ingredients to get bread and wine we are arrogant for improving on the gifts that we were given? Are we arrogant for adding sugar to rhubarb or lye to olives to make something edible out of something which is decidedly not edible to begin with?
Are milk chocolate bunnies evil because they come from processed cocoa beans. And what about Peeps? How evil are Peeps??
In light of these statements, the Pro-Life Action League has staged a protest trying to block a fertility clinic in Naperville, IL and if they are not successful, they promise to "protest it just liked Planned Parenthood."
As the church rushes headlong into the 12th century, I am reminded of happier, more innocent days when I believed in this crazy religion, when Holy Week meant spending a lot of time in church, when Easter meant that my father could rush home from Mass to break his lenten fast of alcohol and fix himself a gin fizz. The years when Good Friday meant keeping "the 3 hours," which meant that we kept silent and prayed for the thre hours that Jesus hung on the cross (making adjustments, of course, for the time zone between Jerusalem and California).
Now, when you are in grammar school, and you are pumped full of religious zeal and wanting to participate fully in the spirit of Good Friday you start out with all good intentions. A couple of blocks from where I lived in those years was a hill where we used to play a lot. I think we called it a mountain, but it was really just a big hill. There is now a big apartment building on the land, but in those days, it was a fun hill to climb, and at this time of the year the grass was already dying off and so we were scampering among the dried weeds.
I remember the year when a group of us, our bibles in hand (or maybe it was prayer books, since Catholics, as a general rule, don't --or didn't in those years-- read the bible) headed for the hill. Our own little Calvary. We each camped out a spot on the hill, resting up against our own rock, and we settled in to study our prayer books for three hours.
I don't know if we lasted three minutes but it wasn't long before there where shouted whispers back and forth and I'm sure it was before the end of the first hour that we were not only finished with our prayers but also starving and ready to go and find a snack.
I'm sure Jesus forgave us. He forgave the apostles for falling asleep while he prayed for strength in Gethsemane, for Pete's sake. We were just little kids with good intentions and short attention spans.
I don't think we ever tried that again, but I do remember spending 3 hours in Church, with our class, where the teachers should shush us or click those ubiquitous little clickers to keep us in check.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Sheila's on guard; all's right with the world.