There’s no need for me to write a post about what the Holy Father said about condom use in his recent interview with Peter Seewald.  There is, however, a need for you to know what he said so that we can correct the misunderstanding.

I say there’s no need for me to write a post, because they’ve already been written.  It’s important to read the remarks in context, which many people aren’t doing.  Here’s the whole section.

Next, I’d recommend the following blog posts.

It’s all still being discussed and debated, which in some cases, is healthy for the People of God.  But I think you’ll find clarity in those blog posts.  And, it’s possible that just by reading his comments in their entirety, you’ll see that he’s not telling everyone to go out and use condoms.


books, books, and books

You can never have too many books.  This was a lesson I learned from growing up in the Watson household, and it’s a lesson I’ve learned well– considering I have three bookshelves in my apartment [my dining room is my library :)] and enough books for two or three more.

A few weeks ago, my teaching travels brought me to a little parish that was cleaning out their old library.  The room where we were teaching was lined on one side by tables full of books — all of which were going to be donated to the public library, unless anyone claimed them first.

I was in heaven — it was like a giant scavenger hunt, looking for the good ones amongst some crazy ones.  And there was quite a selection.  I found Louis deWohl’s book on St. Francis, which I recommended to one of my fellow teachers.  When she said she hadn’t read any deWohl yet, I told her The Spear was my favorite – deWohl’s book about St. Longinus, the Roman solider who pierced the side of Christ with his lance.  At our next break, I was looking through the books again, and found an old 1970s copy of The Spear!  Every time I went to the tables, I found something else.

This is the little stash I came home with — minus a few that are not pictured because they’re crazy and I don’t want to scandalize anyone.  (Hey, if you’re going to study theology, you need to know what the wackos are saying/have said, too)

The loot included:

The Lord by Romano Guardini.  I haven’t read any Guardini, and I’m looking forward to it.  (Someday.)

Cardinal Mindszenty Speaks.  I recognized the Cardinal’s name and picked this up because I had a sense it was important.  It turns out that Cardinal Mindszenty was a Hungarian cardinal who asked that a collection of his papers be made public in foreign countries as a “white book” in case he was arrested.  This is part of  that collection.  It says on the front page, “Published by the order of Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty.”  It should be an interesting read.

The Creed in Slow Motion, by Ronald Knox.  I love Knox.

St Joseph and Daily Christian Living by Francis Filas, SJ.  I had never heard of Father Filas, but he’s supposedly an expert on St Joseph.  This might be my Advent reading.

This is the Holy Land, by Fulton J. Sheen.  Love Fulton Sheen.  Love his “this is…” books.

Love’s Sacred Order, by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis.  I was given his “the Way of the Disciple” as a gift and really enjoyed it.  So I grabbed this one, figuring it must be good.  It’s on the Four Loves.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, by Father George Lee.  This was just a cute little book- published in 1946 – on the apparitions, the historical time, the results, etc.  I couldn’t pass it up.  I can rarely pass up cute old books.

I think I need another bookshelf.

retreat back to move forward

Earlier this week, Sister and I headed up to Lake Barkley in Kentucky for a regional meeting/conference/retreat for the catechetical leaders from eight surrounding dioceses.  Although we could only go up for two days, instead of the full four, it was wonderful to escape work for a bit- while still being refreshed in our mission as catechists.

It was a beautiful location.  I hadn’t really known what to expect, so my expectations were automatically exceeded.

There was a lodge with several hundred rooms, with each room having a private balcony overlooking Lake Barkley.  The rooms were very rustic, as you would expect, with vaulted wood ceilings, soft lighting and wood and stone everywhere.

The “Lodge” was actually a covered walkway outside with little bridges to our individual rooms.  Then the walkway led to a large building with a restaurant, game room, etc.

Our first evening, we had a little visitor below our rooms:

The next morning after Mass, I skipped out of the breakout sessions and spent the morning reading and walking by the lake.  We were blessed with beautiful weather.

Here you can sort of see how the Lodge is built as a U:

That afternoon, there was an optional boat ride on a house boat.  There’s something incredibly relaxing about being surrounded by water.

Bishop Steib of Memphis seemed to enjoy the relaxing trip, too:

I don’t know if you can see it in this picture above, but there’s a nest on top of this tall marker — during the flood in May, you could drive past this in a fishing boat (not to mention the double-decker house boat we were in) and look down into the nest.  When I heard that, I got chills– in the middle of a 60,000 acre lake, imagining the water level that high, the water that would be present for that to be possible, the damage that water would do in Nashville… it really hit home.

It was a beautiful, relaxing, rejuvenating few days.  Not only did I have much-needed quiet, personal time, it was also fun to spend time with everyone, like the local DREs.  I knew many of them from our classes or from the DRE meetings, but it was fun to get to know them better over dinner, drinks, or on a boat ride. I was the youngest person there, but that generally doesn’t bother me too much.  We all have the same mission, and when the mission is as hard as it is, it’s important to support each other.

Good times.


Well, dear readers, this is as close as I got to the CMAs tonight.  Okay, that’s not quite true– I drove past the Bridgestone arena, so I guess I was a little closer than this picture.  There were about 20 police cars outside, tons and tons of news crews (several streets were blocked off behind the arena for all their trucks), and more limos than I’ve seen in one spot in my entire life.  There weren’t many people walking around, which surprised me, but they were showing the show on a big screen set up outside on the sidewalk one of the honkey-tonks.  I guess people were probably inside the honkey-talks watching it, and then will come outside when it’s over and the stars leave.

My friend Ann and I actually talked about splurging on tickets and going.  Even if we were in the nosebleeds, it would have still been pretty cool to be there.  Even though I don’t particularly like country music, I like Brad Paisley (he’s hilarious) and it just would have been neat to witness an awards show.  When we were at the Bridgestone the other night for a hockey game:

we realized we wouldn’t be that far away in the nosebleeds, and almost bought tickets on the spot.

But then we remembered we had Bible study tonight.  No CMAs for us.

When I was driving to the Bible study, several limos passed me driving towards the Bridgestone.  Famous people were in my midst!

So after the study, since I was only about a mile away from the arena, I drove downtown to say I did it.

And that’s my story.

er, that’s what I meant.

A few days ago, I was at a conference and was getting coffee at the little continental breakfast table.  As I was adding my Mini Moos, the woman next to me, in her 60s, commented,

“I should have brought my mug from my room.”

I agreed, fingering my styrofoam cup.  “Yes, you just feel more civilized drinking out of a real cup.”

The lady sort of laughed, paused, then said, “I was thinking of the environment.”

Oh.  Right.

a very good place to start

Sadly, I haven’t been cooking lately as much as I’d like.  It’s a combination of being extra busy and extra lazy.

But the other day I had the day off, so taking advantage of being able to start making dinner in the afternoon before I was starving, I actually had a nice meal ready by the time dinner time rolled around.

And as I began, I remembered why I loved cooking.

Can it get better than a recipe that begins like this:

Seriously, the smell of cooking garlic and onions?  Wonderful.

(I got a little carried away with the crushed red pepper, though.  It looked pretty, so I kept dumping it in.  Whoops.  Oh well, it’s good for the sinuses.)

And this start is  so versatile —  I could go in a number of different directions with this.

I chose to add veggies:

and made soup.

Soup that I then ate for days and days.

Good thing it was yummy.

On the Road mix: requests

I still live in the iPod-less dark ages, so I still enjoy making things called “mixed CDs,” instead of “playlists.”  I have a road trip coming up, and after my last road trip, I decided I needed to make a road trip mix.

You know the songs — those ones that seem to be part of a soundtrack of your life, the happy, breaking-free, windows rolled down, singing at the top of your lungs songs.

Except my windows will be rolled up because I’ll be on the highway.

But just go with it.

Anyway, I have a little list started, although I know I’m missing some great ones.

Any ideas? I know that it’s hard to recommend songs for other people — sometimes music is so interwoven with events in our lives, that our ideas of “happy, breaking-free, windows rolled down, singing at the top of your lungs songs” might be different for us than for someone else. That’s the case with a number of the songs already on my list, anyway.

But I still welcome ideas.