Friday, January 13, 2012

My Take on the News: Jeanne d'Arc/Joan of Arc; Joy and Children of God; Mourning a Baby

About a half-millennia ago, a young French woman repelled an invasion of her country. Then she was burned as a witch. Compared to that, America's presidential politics are almost civil.

Saint Joan of Arc, and how Rick Santorum mourned the death of his young son, are my first and third items today. Pope Benedict XVI said a few things about joy and being children of God, which is number two in this list:
  1. Saint Joan of Arc
  2. Joy and Children of God
  3. Mourning a Baby

1. Saint Joan of Arc

A tip of the hat to @news_va_en, on Twitter, for the heads-up on this item:
"Joan of Arc six centuries on..." Vatican Radio (January 9, 2012)

"On Wednesday, 26 January 2011, the Holy Father focused his attention on the figure of Joan of Arc, canonised by one of his predecessors to the See of Peter, Benedict XV back in 1920.

"While Veronica Scarisbrick brings you Benedict XVI's words in English focusing on this French saint who was born six hundred years ago, in a few moments she'll also be sharing with you an English programme production of the story focusing on this witness to the faith.

"A programme which is part of a series by the title 'Witness', written and presented by Jill Bevilacqua and produced by Sean-Patrick Lovett...."

"...the full English text of Pope Benedict's words to the faithful in the Paul VI Audience Hall, originally delivered in Italian.

"Today I would like to talk to you about Joan of Arc, a young Saint who lived at the end of the Middle Ages who died at the age of 19, in 1431. This French Saint, mentioned several times in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is particularly close to St Catherine of Siena, Patroness of Italy and of Europe, of whom I spoke in a recent Catechesis. They were in fact two young women of the people, lay women consecrated in virginity, two committed mystics, not in the cloister, but in the midst of the most dramatic reality of the Church and the world of their time. They are perhaps the most representative of those 'strong women' who, at the end of the Middle Ages, fearlessly bore the great light of the Gospel in the complex events of history. We could liken them to the holy women who stayed on Calvary, close to the Crucified Jesus and to Mary his Mother, while the Apostles had fled and Peter himself had denied him three times...."
I don't know where Joan of Arc stands in American culture these days. When I was growing up, she was either a vague historical figure: or a raving lunatic warmonger who heard voices and did what they said. I'm exaggerating, but not by all that much.

Later, I learned about Jeanne d'Arc - the real Maid of Orleans, not the propaganda construct I'd been exposed to. I can think of several possible explanations for the make-believe Joan of Arc:
  • The 20th-century (pop) psychiatry fad
    • Psychoanalysis of famous dead people and all that
  • Devout secularists
  • America's position as a former English colony
    • With most of our culture and history filtered through English-language media
Maybe 'all of the above,' plus other factors.

I don't think Joan of Arc's armed resistance to an English invasion of France helped her reputation on this side of the Atlantic.

Interestingly, French leaders didn't treat her all that well, after she'd defended their country. After the war she was imprisoned by French - and English - authorities, and eventually burned. The charge was witchcraft. Also wearing the wrong kind of clothes. That was in 1431. I put links to some biographies under "Background," at the end of this post.

Maybe contemporary American politics aren't all that bad, after all. Or not unusually so, anyway.

Jeanne d'Arc was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

2. Joy and Children of God

"Pope Benedict: Renew your joy as a child of God" David Kerr, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (January 8, 2012)

"Pope Benedict XVI used his Sunday Angelus address to remind Christians of the joy of being 'children of God,' courtesy of baptism.

" 'God is the origin of the existence of every creature, and the Father in a unique way of every human being: he has a unique, personal relationship with him or her,' said the Pope from the window of his apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square Jan 8....

"...[The Pope] observed that being a child is 'the fundamental condition that binds us together,' for while 'not all of us are parents,' we are all children.

" 'Coming into the world is never a choice; we are not asked first if we want to be born,' he said.

"During life, though, we can develop an attitude toward life itself so that we 'welcome it as a gift and, in a sense, "become" what we already are: we become children.'

"The development of this attitude marks 'a maturity in our souls and our relationships with our parents, which is filled with gratitude.'

"It is this attitude that makes people capable of being parents themselves 'not biologically, but morally.'..."
Pope Benedict XVI said more, some of which is in the CNA article, translated into English. There's a transcript and video on the Vatican's website, linked from the "Latest Publications" page, but as of earlier this week those resources are in Italian.

Joy gets mentioned fairly often in the Catechism's discussion of virtues (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1803-1832), and in the Glossary, under Happiness:
"HAPPINESS: Joy and beatitude over receiving the fulfillment of our vocation as creatures: a sharing in the divine nature and the vision of God. God put us into the world to know, love, and serve him, and so come to the happiness of paradise (1720)." ("Glossary," Catechism)
I like to be reminded that Christianity is about joy. Also hope. I've posted about that before, including: Then there's the idea of being childlike: not childish. We can be childish rather easily: being selfish, petty, or sulking because we didn't get our way. Being childlike: accepting the gift of existence, loving God because it's the right thing to do? That can take some doing. But I think it's worth the effort.

3. Mourning a Baby

This isn't a 'political' blog, in the sense that I uncritically praise one candidate or party: and heap ridicule on anyone who doesn't agree. I've posted about citizenship and why I try not to be 'too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good' before:America has a presidential election coming up this November, so I need to wade through more 'political' news than I might like. Like this:
"Santorum defends mourning loss of newborn son" Michelle Bauman, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (January 2, 2012)

"Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that only those who 'don't recognize the dignity of all human life' might think that he is 'somehow weird' for how he dealt with the loss of his son in 1996.

"To those who think a baby is merely 'a blob of tissue that should be discarded and disposed of,' recognition of a dead baby's humanity is something that 'should be subject to ridicule,' the former Pennsylvania senator said at a campaign event in Iowa on Jan. 2.

"Santorum was recently criticized by political commentators for his actions following the death of his premature son Gabriel, who died just two hours after he was born.

"In a Fox News interview, Santorum explained that he and his wife, Karen, decided to take their son home 'to have a funeral at home and then to bury him later that day.'

"They also showed the child to his siblings, so they could get a chance to see their baby brother....

"...On a Fox News segment on Jan. 2, political commentator Alan Colmes criticized Santorum for 'some of the crazy things he’s said and done, like taking his two-hour-old baby who died right after childbirth home and played with it for a couple hours, so his other children would know the child was real.'

"In a Jan. 5 interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson also ridiculed Santorum and his wife for taking their son home 'to kind of sleep with it, introduce it to the rest of the family.'

" 'He's not a little weird,' said Robinson, 'he's really weird.'..."
The youngest member of the Santorum family is a "he," not an "it." Maybe calling the dead baby an "it" was just 'a cultural thing:' an unconsidered part of the regional mindset. American culture tends to refer to infants as "it." I'm not entirely sure why, since a human being's sex is determined at conception - and patently obvious at birth in all but a handful of cases.

Harrumph! I Certainly Didn't Do That!

My youngest daughter died shortly before birth. We nearly lost my wife, too: and that's almost another topic.

My wife and I didn't take our daughter home when she died. We were almost 50 miles away from home by then, and my attention was focused on supporting my wife. If it had been a practical possibility, would I have taken Elizabeth's body home? Probably not.

Do I think everybody should be like me? No.

I've been around long enough to know that not all cultures have the same customs regarding death. Much less all families. I'm not going to criticize the Santorums because they're not just like me.

I'm glad to see that attitudes toward death and mourning have changed in America. Or are changing. What follows is not what I would have expected to see, just a few decades back. Not from 'experts:'
"...The American Pregnancy Association advises parents of stillborn children that they 'can find comfort in looking at, touching, and talking to your baby,' and that they may wish to allow their other children to see the baby as well.

"Making memories can also be a natural part of the grieving process, the association said on its website, explaining that this can be done by bathing and clothing the baby, or even reading or singing to the child.

"[A senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Peter] Wehner decried the 'particular delight and glee' with which the political commentators showed a 'casual cruelty' towards Santorum...." (CNA)
I don't know whether I would vote for Mr. Santorum or not. I'll be learning more, as needed, before election day. But I do not think that he is "weird" because he isn't just like me, or because he sees his children as people: even when they're small, or dead.

Related posts:Background:

No comments:

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.