She testified to the effectiveness of NFP, though it involves a break from Western reliance on artificial intervention: “So clear – those people in the street, those beggars – and I think that if our people can do like that how much more you and all the others who can know the ways and means without destroying the life that God has created in us.” There is no excuse for westerners, she proposes.
Further, NFP is consistent with the Church’s teachings on chastity and the importance of self-mastery: “The other day one of them came to thank and said: You people who have vowed chastity you are the best people to teach us family planning. Because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other.”
Mother Teresa’s remarks place natural family planning abstinence in continuity with the celibacy vows of priests and religious sisters and brothers. The Church calls all people to chastity, to integrate their desires with appropriate love of self and others.
Seen in the light of a consistent call to self-giving, her excoriation of abortion is not a “dogmatic” scourge upon women that her ideological detractors claim it to be, but a call to see the value of the person in a places, at all times, even within the womb. It is perhaps surprising that the nun renowned for caring for the aged and dying used her fame to speak for the other side of life, those still being made inside their mothers.
She saw the West as suffering from its own type of poverty, a poverty that could not see the value of human life. Her work and her words in their own ways testified to great worth she saw in each person, and she instructed those who would listen to do the same: “I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there” (1979).
I did something so hopelessly cliche it makes me laugh, but it was fun and that’s what matters: a book-signing at Busboys and Poets. I had begun reading Lit by Mary Karr with the Contemporary Catholic Writers reading group … Continue reading →
I’m sorry to review Harry Potter and The Cursed Child as one of the biggest reading disappointments I’ve had since I started reading for pleasure again after my kids were born–so in the last four years.
I loved the original Harry Potter books and the movies: the magic, the adventure, the fun, the characters. I grew up with it, and I wanted to love Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Yet, from page one, I was disappointed:
little new plot material
sloppy emotional outpourings
SPOILER ALERT – consider yourself warned, though I have avoided things that could ruin the one real surprise.
There is only a little I could spoil because the new plot mostly revolves around the plots of the original seven books. What’s new is that that Harry’s son, Albus, and Draco’s son, Scorpius go, back in time with a time-turner in attempt to right certain wrongs from the past. They revisit Triwizard Tournament a few times, remind us of the Chamber of Secrets and go back to that fateful day when Voldemort gave Harry his scar.
The only present day conflict is that Albus and Harry don’t get along well. The Cursed Child is about the next generation wrestling with the scars of the past, which is of course a real struggle, but I was hoping for new present-day problems and adventures.
Yet the back-in-time plot, while a bit trite and logically-suspect, also tries to do too much.
At one point, Scorpius encounters an alternate universe where Voldemort is king, where all is dark, and Dumbledore’s Army is completely underground and he must find them, and convince them to help him and get time aright again. During this one-scene gargantuan plot piece, three (THREE!) characters throw themselves at Dementors to help save Scorpius. The full undermining of the alternate world is accomplished merely as a step in rest of the story–which is about the importance of letting things stand as they were. That one scene has to do a bit too much emotional and story-telling work for the amount of time it gets. And it seems a little too easy for Scorpius to sweep in and right this all-goes-wrong world in a few sentences. Continue reading →
Something of interest to book readers in the area or perhaps even in general, the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival is happening here in Washington DC on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Washington Convention Center.
Stephen King will be speaking, and Marilynne Robinson will speak and receive an award. My good friend and fellow reader, among other honors, Meg, had this to say about the latter:
“Marilynne Robinson wrote Gilead, a really beautiful book. It won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, and was notable for prominently featuring faith as its theme. It is written from the perspective of a Midwestern pastor. She once said that authors today are afraid of writing about faith, but she finds that writing about it, authentically, produces some of the best writing there is.”
The book festival is free, features dozens of authors and will have children’s activities and appearances by children’s writers.
There will be also be poetry readings and poets. 😀