“MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
~Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude




Sometimes, my classes actually provide fodder for contemplation.

“What would faith be like if we acknowledged the image of God in another, whose truth is not our truth?” -E. Johnson.

Well, my Lenten practice was supposed to be going to mass every day. However, that hasn’t worked so well. I’ve been so sick that even if I want to get up in time, I’m too tired. Friday, I was actually up early enough, but the munchkins were over and they’re not old enough to be left home alone.

Especially when they don’t listen to want Brain tells them anyway.

So I will try again tomorrow.

I’ve also been thinking about my last post.

I wish it had been more coherent, but that’s actually a high level of focus for what is usually a gut reaction for me. And unfortunately for my one responder, I don’t think I made my point clearly.

I don’t want to oppose BXVI, I want to enjoy mass in Latin, but given my experience with masses in other languages, I honestly don’t expect to. (Polish, German, Italian, Spanish) I will not be some radical feminist/separatist/any-other-ist and leave the church because of it.

What worries me is this, with or without the commentary on ad orientem, Latin and the rest of the baggage that everyone brings to discussions of liturgical reform:

I’m worried that because I’m female, lay, married, and secular, I’m not going to get the respect that my education and eventual credentials would garner if were male, a religious, or in some other way not who I am.

There, that’s it. I’m afraid of sexism.

I love theology. I want to know everything I can know about God through reason, because (unlike the majority of people I came to faith through reason) and I want to teach.

I want to teach because I believe that one good professor is all it takes to change someone’s life. And if I’m going to be teaching, I want to teach what I love. And I love the study of theology.

Everything else is secondary.

Sometimes guitar masses are wonderful and reverent and everything else that mass should be.

And sometimes they’re not.

And sometimes, mass in the least likely places, with a priest in shorts and a t-shirt and a stole, is more powerful for the community celebrating it than any ad orientem, TLM, or formal mass ever could be.

Because what it boils down to more than music and reform is attitude.

But I think it’s important anyway.

The liturgical reform that Benedict has (searching for the right word…) begun? instituted? inspired? makes me a little weary. Not because I think the grass is as green as the ordinary time vestments and we don’t need change, in fact we do. I admit that, and I have no problem admitting that. I’ve never experienced an Extraordinary Form of the mass; however I have been to extraordinary Novus Ordo celebrations of the Eucharist in a variety of places. So I do understand that there is some serious liturgical abuse going on. (Like the priest who asked for blessings on the Church, in her Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant forms last week at mass. That’s a whole other blog topic that I plan to get to. But thus far thinking about it makes me head hurt.)

But liturgical abuse isn’t actually what I’m concerned with, at least not here.

I’m concerned with what the impact of a more ‘traditional’ Church have on Catholic academia. I put traditional in quotation marks because I believe that even with the reforms of Vatican II we are a Church deeply rooted in our tradition and our use of it to critique modern practice.

And here’s where I’m worried I’m going to firmly plant my foot (and it is not a small foot) into my mouth.

What is the focus on Latin, masses facing Liturgical East (which consequently is impossible in my parish) and more traditional expressions of Catholicism going to mean for my ability to get a job teaching in a well respected Catholic University or Seminary?

That’s it. That’s my concern. And I feel petty and indescribably stupid to be so worried about it that at least a small part of me cannot trust that Benedict is doing the right thing.

I don’t study pastoral or youth ministry, catechetics or music; disciplines in Catholic theology that are generally, at least in my experience, more accepting of women. I study Systematic, Historical and Philosophical Theology. And I generally feel only marginally welcomed in the field. The concern that I wouldn’t fit in with the boyos was completely unfounded. They respect me and my contribution to the class.

But then, they are as completely rooted in a post-Vatican II church as I am. The resistance I’ve experienced isn’t from most of my professors either. They are willing to help me when I ask for it, and generally accommodate my requests for paper topics that push the boundary of the assignment, as soon as I explain that it is related to my thesis topic.

No. The resistance I’ve felt is institutional. When I had my graduate admissions interview, and I expressed my desire for to enter the Masters of Arts program, I was greeted with “Oh, you want to go into the academic program,” as if it was completely unheard of that a lay, married woman, might be interested in learning more about the church in a manner that doesn’t completely reflect ministry.

I am as highly, or more highly educated than a number of my classmates, simply because I’m further along in the program than they are, and I get less respect simply because I’m female and not going into ministry. As soon as I mention that I’m going to get my Phd or what I’m studying, everyone gets scared. Because for some reason my knowledge of the deeper theological meaning of the Eucharist would lead me to schism because I wanted to be a priest.

The other resistance I feel is frequently from students in the permanent diaconate. And I don’t know why. I have no aspirations to be a priest or to say mass. Did I once? Yes, but I trust in the Church to know what is right and wrong and I willingly accept that women shouldn’t be priests.

Am I going to have to metaphorically tattoo that on my forehead until everyone realizes I’m not a threat?

All I want to do is study Aquinas and push the boundary of what we can know about God through reason. That’s it. That’s my ambition. Along with knowing how we got here. So I don’t think I’ll be leading a coup any time soon.

So I’m going to visit Prospective PhD School #1 in March. Its way too expensive to fly, ($500) and I really don’t want to drive the 9 hours by my self. The Brain can’t come with me, he’s got to work. So the question becomes, Amtrak or Megabus?

Amtrak comes to a little over $100 and MegaBus currently comes to about $50. now the obvious thing is MegaBus is cheaper, but I’ve never used them. All in all the travel time isn’t a lot different, but there’s something about trains that I love more than buses, and well, if I miss the Amtrak connection, they have people to help me. I’ll have to see what MegaBus says about combining routes and people.

PPS#1 still has to get back to me on Monday with itinerary for my campus visit, and what not , and I have to see if I can Amtrak to PPS#2.

So what would you do, o wise readers? Bus or train?

meme things


1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
9. Were read children’s books by a parent
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively. I’m from the Midwest, they all talk like me.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs. Scholarships paid for what my parents didn’t.
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp art camp for two years.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels very rarely, but yes. Mostly we went to the family trailer my gram owned.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child yes, and I painted it…
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Well then.


I just found out that my friend Be is engaged. I’m happy for her, I really am. And I’ve got nothing to say about marrying someone who’s not Catholic. Brain is still Baptist. And we’re happy.

But Be’s dad, well lets just say he’s not as supportive of marrying someone who’s not Catholic as my parents were. And there are other things, but I don’t know all the details. Wow. Just wow.