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The Keeping It Catholic Chronicles
NEW! Keeping It Catholic - the Blog!
SAMPLES: The Age of Mary
+++Catholic Study Guide for Homeschoolers!
+++Home Education Guides: What Catholic Hsing Moms Asked For!
+++Keepsake Collection of Recipes
+++Another Reason to Homeschool: #1,001
+++Aragorn: The Catholic Monarch?
+++Are We Good Thieves or Bad Thieves?
+++(A) Baby & Her Parents Need Your Help
+++(The) Catholic-But Syndrome
+++Charlotte Church - The New Material Girl?
+++Charlotte Mason: For Whose Sake?
+++Courageous Expose - EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong (Review) - Nice People & Beautiful Things in the World
+++Deadline Date for Terri: Done on Purpose?
+++England's New Grading System: Politically Correct to the
+++FATIMA: Still in Eclipse
+++FATIMA: The Most Important Part is Still Missing
+++FATIMA: One Secret, Three Parts
+++FATIMA and the King of France: Do We Have Less than 10 Years Left?
+++FATIMA: The Question of Consecration
+++(The) Feast of St. Joseph - with Prayers
+++Flight to Narnia - Delayed
+++Flower of the Catholic City
+++For the Italians!
+++Guidelines: Ohio
+++His Holy Father or My Highness?
+++Home & Family Life: The (Almighty) Schedule
+++Homeschooling = Child Abuse?
+++How Long, O Lord?
+++In the Name of Christ the King!
+++Is There Life after Homeschooling?
+++Jesus' Charitable Warning
+++Keeping It Catholic on the Net!
+++(The) Last Catholic Emperor
+++Little Lessons & Christmas Memories
+++MEN!!!! Pt 1, Missing in [Catholic] Action - Chivalry
+++MEN!!! Pt. 2, I Bid You Stand, Men of the West!
+++Michael Schiavo's Slip-Up
+++Moving Meditation on the Messiah: The Passion of the Christ
+++Not a Blitz, But a Blackout (Terri and the Catholic Media)
+++Open Letter to Homeschool Resisters
+++Pope's Death: What God in His Mercy is Telling Us
+++Part 1 - Is Homeschooling Disobedient to the Church?
+++Part 2 - Lynn's Letter on Homeschooling
+++Part 3 - Fr.Stravinskas’ Problems with Homeschooling
+++Part 4 - A
+++Pope's Death: President Orders Flags at Half-Mast
+++RED FLAG: Blessed are We
+++RED FLAG: Catholic Insights into Montessori Education
+++RETREAT 1: Importance of Meditation on the Passion
+++RETREAT 2: Saints' Love of Christ's Passion
+++RETREAT 3: Devotion to the Passion
+++RETREAT 4: The Charity of God
+++RETREAT 5: The Judas Factor
+++RETREAT 6 : The Lamb of God
+++RETREAT 7: The Paschal Supper
+++RETREAT 8: Jesus' Farewell
+++RETREAT 9: In the Garden of Gethsemane
+++RETREAT 10: Ecce Homo!
+++RETREAT 11: After the Crucifixion
+++RETREAT 12: Christ and His Mystical Body
+++Rosary Novena
+++(The) Secrets of Catholic Homeschooling
+++September: A Holy Month to Start Homeschooling
+++Terri Schindler Schiavo: American Martyr
+++Terri Schindler Schiavo - With God, All Things are Possible
+++Today is the 1st Day (of the Rest of this Blog!)
Books by Marianna Bartold
Catholic Home Education Guides
Keeping It Catholic - with Marianna Bartold
March 19, 2005

Today, Keeping It Catholic asks Catholics nationwide to join us as we pray to God, asking for St. Joseph's intercession to defend and preserve the life of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Please pray these prayers throughout the day, remembering that it is only by prayer and fasting that demons flee and miracles occur. (Matthew 17: 19-21)

To that end, KIC offers the two following prayers that ask for St. Joseph?s special protection:


O glorious St. Joseph, chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, and the head of the Holy Family, and recognized as the heavenly patron and protector of the Church founded by Jesus Christ; with the greatest confidence we implore at this time thy powerful aid. Protect in a special manner with thy truly paternal love, the spiritual and earthly life of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, and that of the entire Church Militant. Defend all those who labor in the midst of the afflictions and tribulations of this life, and obtain the willing submission of every nation throughout the world to the Church, the necessary means of salvation for all.

O dearest St. Joseph, be pleased to accept the consecration which I make to thee of myself. I dedicate myself entirely to thee that thou may ever be my father, my protector and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent love of the interior life. Grant that after thy examples all my actions may be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and with thee. Finally, pray for me and mine, and for all those for whom I pray, that we may attain final perseverance. Amen.

THE ST. JOSEPH PRAYER (For a Special Intention)

In asking for the grace that Terri Schindler-Schiavo?s mortal life may be preserved and that she may be healed from all physical affliction, for the greater glory of God, I turn to thee, St. Joseph, spouse of the Virgin Mary and protector of the innocent.

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all of my interests and desires.
O St. Joseph
, do assist me through thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged below thy heavenly power, we may offer our thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers.
O St. Joseph, we never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name, kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.
O St. Joseph
, patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 15:44 EST
Updated: March 19, 2005 15:51 EST
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Deadline Date for Terri Schiavo: Was it Done on Purpose?

As most anyone who watches the daily news knows by now, Terri Schindler-Schiavo's feeding tube was removed this afternoon. What else can be said about this travesty of justice that has not already been said? And what other lies about Terri's condition can be bandied about that have not already been uttered? And so - What now?

The buzz on the Net tonight says that the phone lines of senators, congressmen, Supreme Court justices, and other government officials have been consistently busy all day. Some claim that is because the government phones were taken off the hook this afternoon, shortly after Terri's tube was removed. Others allege that their emails to these same influential individuals are bouncing back, because the boxes are full. There are those who claim all of this was done to circumvent those who are intent on saving Terri's life. In other words, they believe it's all been done on purpose.

Speaking of things done "on purpose," is it not possible that Judge Greer set this date, March 18, for a specific reason? After all, it's a Friday. For the most part, government officials "don't do weekends" unless those weeknds benefit their next campaign. And Easter vacation starts early for lots of them. As already stated, many of their email boxes are filled; phone lines are busy for hours. Whether it's because it's a Friday, and everyone left their offices early for the weekend, or because they didn't want to answer their phone lines, or couldn't because they were deluged with calls and faxes, is anyone's guess as this time. But it is Friday - and it seems Judge Greer knew exactly what he was doing.

But back to busy phone signals and clogged email boxes of senators, congressmen, Supreme Court justices, etc. Let's hope that, if true, it's due to people petitioning on behalf of Terri's right to life. Those who are opposed to the right to life may very well be filling up their email boxes, too, urging those with some kind of authority that they should respect Terri's last wishes (known only by the hearsay of her adulterous husband), insisting that she be "allowed to die."

"Allowed to die." That's just a new euphemism for euthanasia enthusiasts.

In the meantime, Terri - an innocent woman - is now suffering dreadful thirst. For all we know, her birth family will not be allowed to be with her during her passion. There's been no word on that, either way, from the Terri's Fight website or any other. In sympathy for Terri, I have purposely taken nothing to drink for a few hours now, and I can tell you that my mouth is parched and my lips are already dry.

But I can get up and get a glass of water any time I wish. Terri can't.

Those of us who stand with Terri's birth family are accused of being religious zealots who only care about Terri because they have political points to make. Amazing, isn't it, about the name-calling that goes on when a moral issue is the real issue? And have you ever noticed, gentle reader, that those calling the names are usually the ones that have their own agenda? It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black, plain and simple.

There's no time to waste in haggling with individuals of that ilk, who are (as usual) showing up on blogs, pro-life email lists, and other public forums (like Free Republic), clogging up Internet space with their fallacious reasoning and their dishonest rhetoric. If you want to help Terri's Fight, please - don't waste your time arguing with those kind of people. Don't worry about the name-callers, the moles or the trolls for now. Instead, put your time to good use.

Keep emailing everyone you can. As I asked before: Fry those phone lines. Burn up the blogs with practical information on how to help save Terri's life. Through it all, keep praying to God, and keep fighting for Terri!

Need contact info? Please scroll down through this blog for more info!

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 01:03 EST
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February 22, 2005
In the Name of Christ the King (Not ML King)

Currently, there is an email letter making the rounds on the Net, written by a Mr. Mark Pickup. In his email, Mr. Pickup describes himself as a disabled man, and he writes in the hopes of rousing Americans nationwide to defend Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Keeping It Catholic has received copies of this same email letter, forwarded by Catholics who spend many hours for many good causes.

Mr. Pickup's letter serves its purpose...and yet, something very important has been overlooked by my fellow Catholics - perhaps because in their urgency, they had not thought of it when the email was forwarded to KIC's attention. And so I will say what MUST be said - in defense of a Very Special Person, and as a gentle reminder to other Catholics who may receive the very same letter in their email boxes.

While "Mr. Pickup" is right on target about the right to life irregardless of "disabilities," as well as the need to stand up and help others who cannot defend themselves, Martin Luther King is his obvious theme from his first paragraph. Mr. Pickup's banner is raised in such a way that might make one think it was Mr. King who was the penultimate defender of those who need defending - the sick, the poor, the lame, the blind, the unprotected, the oppressed, the hunted, those who have none to pray for them, and those who have none to love them. One might even get the (wrong) impression that anything done in defense of those treated unjustly is done in the name of the same ML King.

But it was not Martin Luther King who first said, "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me." It is not ML King Who said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life..."

In other words, instead of asking, "What does Our Lord expect of us?" or even "What would Jesus Christ do?" (which, by the way, was a line first penned by a Catholic priest decades ago - and I have the proof!), we are instead asked, "What would Martin Luther King do?"

Catholics know there is only one KING who is the perpetual defender of the innocent - Christ the King. When we pray, study or act, we do so in HIS NAME.

We cannot "do" what Jesus would probably do - walk into Terri's hospital room and command, "Arise, daughter, and walk." But we CAN fast and pray for that particular intention!

Let us pray and ask Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to stay the hands of those who would harm Terri while pretending to do her a "good" by taking her life. Let us ask for this grace (not only preserve to her life but also to give guardianship to her parents and/or siblings if her husband's heart remains hardened) through His Virgin Mother, Mary, the Mediatrix of All Graces. Let us do so, not because what is happening to Terri might someday happen to us - as Mr. Pickup pleads - but because defending Terri is the RIGHT THING TO DO.

And, if we really believe in and hope for miracles, let us pray that Terri is completely cured from her disability and that her memory, (if it is not now intact) is completely restored so that SHE can tell the world - and the courts - what REALLY happened to her the fateful day she was found unconscious in her own home.

It is with prayerful supplications only "to Jesus through Mary" that Keeping It Catholic shares Mr. Pickup's sentiments, "GOOD PEOPLE OF AMERICA! DEFEND TERRI SCHIAVO!" to which KIC humbly adds:


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 10:29 EST
Updated: February 22, 2005 10:38 EST
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Terri's Fight: "With God All Things are Possible"

"Pray, Study, and Act" is Keeping It Catholic's motto, which is the Church's perennial directive because it was Our Lord's example, His "way of life."
Please forgive me for repeating the motto, but important things bear such repetition. This time, though, I'm going to ask you to speed up the process - keep praying, keep studying, but act now!

Last night, I sent out a notice about the urgency of Terri Schindler-Schiavo's case to the Keeping It Catholic members on our Yahoo list (please join us by subscribing to the Keeping It Catholic faith, family and home education email list; just send an email to

Please keep praying for Terri, whose life is still in grave danger. Last night, John, one of our "KIC Contacts" emailed me with the following update on Terri's case:

"Fox News just reported that a stay has been issued and the tubes will not be pulled until another pending hearing has been held." (Thanks, John!)

If you'll forgive a mix of metaphors - we can't rest on any laurels yet. Now's the time to "push the envelope," "to strike while the iron is hot," and to remember that "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."

It's tougher for Terri and her family. It is not our lives in danger; it is not our daughter or sister whose life is threatened daily by the very man who once promised to love and cherish her all the days of her life, "until death do we part" and who has repeatedly proven he has no intention of keeping his vow before God and man. A man who cannot keep a vow is a man who cannot be trusted, but who also must be pitied and prayed for just as much as he is opposed. If Michael Schiavo would stop pushing for what his lawyer euphemetistically calls Terri's "right to die," there would be no courts involved.

No, Terri is not our blood sister, or daughter, or wife. But let's remember, fellow Catholics, and all visitors to the KIC web-log, Terri really is our spiritual sister, a suffering servant in the Church Militant, and we can help her. All we have to do is choose which of the 3 things we can do today, tomorow and every day while we pray that either her husband's heart is changed and he dedicates himself to Terri's cause in the way Our Lord wishes him to or her birth family gains legal guardianship of Terri. And if (let's show our hope and say when) either of these two prayed-for outcomes are realized, we can still offer our help to Terri and her family when that happy day arrives. In the meantime...

Pray, Study, and Act! Here's how:

1. Keep PRAYING for Terri's intentions and for the continual strength and perseverance of her blood family who work and pray constantly in her defense. What to pray? The Holy Rosary, which is the Church's most highly indulgenced prayer after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Rosary is the prayer for our age, the prayer constantly emphasized by Our Lady of Fatima when she instructed: "Pray the Rosary every day."

2. STUDY the Church's profound and deep teachings regarding the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." This commandment of God's forbids the so called "mercy killings" (euthanasia) or "death with dignity" (which really means the sufferer has decided to take his life, either by his own hand or with the assistance of another, or a major decision maker in the family is weary of caring for or bothering with the sufferer.) Remember what David did to the man who killed the suffering Samuel, who had attempted to kill himself by his own sword and was therefore in agony, begging another to finish the deed and take his life? A man killed Samuel out of pity, and ran to David as quickly as he could to give the news and bring Samuel's personal effects. He wasn't bragging; he was reporting and did not try to lie about his deed. But a thing happened he could not foresee - David ordered that the man himself be slain. Why? David said it was because the man had slain an "anointed of the Lord" and, when questioned further by David, had admitted he had known that Samuel was the anointed king, chosen by God.

Catholics are anointed with holy oil when certain sacraments are administered to them - first at Baptism, then with Confirmation, and also during Extreme Unction (also known as the "Last Rites" and the "Sacrament of the Sick"). Yet even if one is not anointed by the sacraments of the Catholic Church, each human life is precious to God, Who commanded long ago that "thou shalt not kill."

3. ACT! Time is of the essence!

-IF YOU LIVE IN OR NEAR FLORIDA, seriously consider demonstrating outside the facility where Terri will be starved to death.

-LOCAL and LONG DISTANCE ALTERNATIVES. Email or fax Governor Jeb Bush. Email OR or FAX: 850.922.4292,
Alternate FAX 850.487.0801.
MAILING ADDRESS: Governor Jeb Bush, Office of the Governor, The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001.
-CONTACT PRESIDENT BUSH to demand an Executive Order to ban the starvation of Terri Schiavo. Email:
or FAX the President, c/o Andy Card, White House Chief of Staff: 202.456.1907.

"And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 09:28 EST
Updated: February 22, 2005 10:11 EST
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February 8, 2005
An Open Letter to Homeschool Resisters

The following "Open Letter" was written at the request of a number of Keeping It Catholic email list members to the author's mother, Syler Womack. The reason for the request? "Miz Syler,"as I fondly call her, or "Syler cher" as her Louisiana Cajun friends do, had previously offered advice to a mother asking fellow KIC members for tips on how to deal with her 14 year old son's continual resistance to home education. As I recall, the teen boy wanted to go to school not for any lofty academic reasons but only to get involved with various activities, make a few friends and perhaps attain a level of "popularity."

"Miz Syler" provided her own tried-and-true insights, based on her many years of Catholic homeschooling experience - including how she dealt with her once-homeschool-resistant eldest, Chisum, now a man of 27 years. Miz Syler concluded that, if her advice didn't help, perhaps she'd ask her son to have a little talk with the other homeschool mother's son (long distance, yet!).

Well, that - as they say - was that. "Miz Syler" then received a number of requests for her eldest son's own insights in the form of an email letter to the Keeping It Catholic email list.

The resulting letter - which I've dubbed "An Open Letter to Homeschool Resisters" and to which I have added the "bolds" and the italics - is obviously a keeper. It is reprinted here, with the kind permission of Chisum Womack, to whom all rights are reserved:

An Open Letter to Homeschool Resisters

My mother has asked me to address certain home schooled young men who are not satisfied with their options. I'm 27 and I was home schooled from
kindergarten until I went to Texas A&M in 1996. I'm Chisum.

All I can say is this: If all you ever want to do in life is fit in, by all means continue to complain and be uncooperative and eventually your mother may give in. Thank God mine didn't. If you go to public school, you may very well fit in and have a lot of friends. You can spend all your time with them, doing things your parents don't want you to do. Of course, there's no guarantee in public school, and you might end up just being the nerd that everyone picks on all day. Good luck.

My mother made me stick with home schooling, and no, I don't fit in. I made a lot of friends in college, and a few of them were worth keeping. But most of the people I have met in the 10 years since I finally got my wish to get out of home school and went to college have been cookie cutter public school and parochial school alumni with no foundation in the faith and no depth or ability to reason. They are conditioned to think that anything they feel like doing is okay with God, because their "god" is a special "god" who they made up to suit themselves. They are addicted to "relationships" and unable to hold their own in any discussion above the level of football. They are consummate consumers, rah-rah republicans and die-hard democrats who never stop to think about what their government is doing or how it got this way. I suppose they are "happy", and if you really want to fit in, go for it. Go to public school. You won't have to worry about learning big words or high ideals that confuse other people and make them uncomfortable.

Speaking for myself, regardless of the fact that I was obstinate as a teenager, I'd rather be a real, thinking Catholic, even if it means that every time I want to have a meaningful conversation I have to call home and talk to my 14 year old baby sister. Because I'm finally mature enough to understand that the reason I don't fit in is because I'm a leader. I'm out here in front, and so are my brothers and my sisters. We're not lonely because there's no one around. We are the ones other people respect. We're only lonely because it's so hard to find anyone who comes up to our standards. But you go ahead and try to fit in if that's what you want to do. If you're actually able to achieve popularity, you can be popular all the way through high school. Then you can get slammed in college when you find out it's a whole new game. Go ahead. Take all that behavior you learned in public high school and try to use it in college. Let me know when you do so I can come watch.

What makes you think you've got what it takes to be popular in high school anyway? Not without compromising everything you know is right. I know those guys who were popular. Do you want to spend all your time playing those games? Learn to be yourself. Learn that you don't need other people's approval to be happy. Learn to put God first. Learn to stand on your own. You can't do that in public school because the whole system is designed to keep you in line. The teachers are happy when people who express themselves and stand up for what's right are persecuted by their classmates because that means the teacher doesn't have to answer any questions and can spend all day dispensing propaganda. You won't be popular unless you're extremely good looking, or athletic, or a player, or a bootlegger. So if you want to spend all your time conforming and looking over your shoulder and watching your step, go to public school.

I told Mom it wouldn't matter what I said to you, because I remember being you. But maybe this post will remind your mothers not to pay any attention to you. Look, we're talking about three or four years. Don't waste them. You have to decide if you are going to learn and be productive, or drag your butts and be miserable. Your choice. I'm out.

---Chisum Womack. Copyright 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 10:23 EST
Updated: March 19, 2005 02:23 EST
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January 19, 2005
Secrets of Catholic Homeschooling

Dear KIC Visitors:

The secrets I will share with you in this message are not my secrets. In fact, they are not really secrets but simply common sense - the kind of which St. Thomas Aquinas would surely approve. After all, it was the Angelic Doctor who best explained the truth about human reason illuminated by the Catholic Faith.

Dr. William Marra (Bill to his many friends and acquaintances) was a faithful Catholic who gave all his God-given talents toward the continual setup and restoration of the Catholic City. For many years, he was a "regular" at Catholic homeschooling conferences sponsored by Seton Home Study and was an ardent promoter of the need to "Keep It Catholic" in education long before our "Keeping It Catholic" Network existed. A Catholic man of wit and humor, Bill Marra was one of the "pioneers" of what we used to call the "Catholic homeschooling movement." (I haven't heard that particular phrase in years, have you?)

Dr. Bill Marra's usual "lecture" theme was the restoration of Catholic culture - which naturally included Catholic education of the authentic kind. And by authentic, I mean the kind which follows the outlines of the encyclical, Christian Education of Youth. When speaking on the subject of Catholic home education, Bill would offer a brief, true yet humorous guideline for Catholic homeschooling parents, which he usually introduced along these lines:

You Can't Take It With You!: Everything God gave you or allowed you to have on this earth will be left behind when you die. There is only one thing you can take to heaven with you, and that is your children.

To that end, consider the following three steps to get your family to heaven:

1. Think of Hippocrates and His Oath for Physicians: Do No Harm. By taking your children out of the secular humanistic culture, with which the public school system is permeated, you have achieved this step even - as Bill Marra would quip - if you have done nothing more than play cards all day. (Note to the very serious minded: Bill's remark about "playing cards all day" was intended to be humorous and to alleviate stress for parents who worry when they can't accomplish all of their daily homeschool goals. I sometimes hear from those who did not grasp Dr. Marra's humor. His remark should be taken with the spirit with which it was intended - as an over-exaggeration which some speakers make in order to drive home an important point - especially if they think members of their audience possess a healthy sense of humor.)

2. Lead to Heaven the Souls Entrusted to You. Surround your children with the culture of Christ. Supply - and use - Catholic music, books, and artwork. This step begins to lead your children toward Heaven.

3. As you have time, add academics. Now that remark would usually bring forth a wave of laughter (or sometimes, a titter) across the audience, but let's be clear! In no way was Dr. Marra offering a blanket endorsement for laziness when it comes to providing your children a Catholic education at home. Nor was he proposing a host of outside activities which would eclipse academics. Dr. Marra was known to emphasize the restoration of Catholic culture, and - educated yet humble man that he was -Dr. Marra knew that Catholic education holds its place in that restoration. What he was striving at was the absolute need for a total immersion into Catholic life at home so that it would be carried into the future regardless of worldly achievements or viewpoints. Dr. Marra would conclude this point about academics with the following reminder: "It is important to remember that it is better to have a son who may be employed as a trash collector but who is, first and foremost, a good, solid, practicing Catholic than a son who is a Harvard-educated lawyer damned to Hell."

Dr. Marra was right, of course. The Church teaches that the means of Catholic education is intended for one end: heaven.

God rest your soul, Bill, and may the perpetual light shine upon you. I remember you with fondness and respect, and I have always taken your good advice to heart. Thanks to God's grace and courageous Catholics like you, there is another generation who work daily to "Keep the Faith" because, by doing that, we are "Keeping It Catholic!"

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 08:49 EST
Updated: January 19, 2005 09:26 EST
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January 13, 2005

Dear KIC Members:

Yesterday, we began a family read-aloud of A Heart for Europe (a poignant and heart-rending history of the Catholic monarchs, Emperor Charles and Empress Zita ) to accompany our current studies on World War I. In addition, we will recap the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima (already known well by my own children, since ours is a "Fatima-centric" family), possibly using Warren Carroll's book entitled 1917: Red Banners, White Mantle. This is our teens' second cycle in the study of world history, including the message of Fatima, together with research into the tragic fate of the Romanov's and the mystery of the Grand Duchess Anastasia.

There are many ways to "Keep It Catholic" in our studies; we just need to do a little searching, perhaps paying attention to timelines we can keep in our own minds. Although the following remark could be applied to all history, the years 1900 and onward are so compelling on a spiritual level, because (in addition to all that even secular history teaches) there lived the great saint, Pius X, who - for reasons known only to God - died when human frailty would judge he was most needed as World War I began; the apparitions and the all-important message and miracle at Fatima took place, followed by the horrid Bolshevik Revolution, the murder of the Royal Family, the allegations of England's betrayal in failing to assist the Czar and Czarina - extended members of their own family! Then came end-of-war negotiations and the unjust and overzealous punishment of Germany, which led to WWII (a lesson to victors that injustice eventually returns to those meting out the injustice), and the Great Depression in the US.

In Europe, the "night illuminated by a great unknown light" foretelling war and persecution manifested itself on the eve of WWII(just as Our Lady of Fatima warned); a great evil arose in Europe through the hands of Hitler and Stalin and Lenin; the A-Bomb was invented and detonated, thus ending WWII but causing unbelievable human suffering to the innocent civilians in Japan; in short, the world's pace stepped up considerably from brisk to frantic and chaotic.

And that is why Our Lady of Fatima came to the world in 1917. It was heaven's wish to avert all those tragedies; all heaven needed was our cooperation. Heaven is still waiting for our total cooperation, most especially by the Holy Father and the bishops when they collegially offer the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Only then will this tragic door of history be closed, to be joyfully replaced by an era of peace promised by Our Blessed Mother herself.

Of course, I haven't mentioned other historic happenings of the first four decades of the 20 century, like the sinking of the Titanic or the Lusitania or the Dust Bowl Years, or the evil Nazi attempts to annihilate whole races. Nor have I mentioned Cardinal Mindsentzy, the fate of Hungary, the communist take-over of China, the Truman years, the Bay of Pigs, or the dim memories of my own childhood revolving around the Vietnam War or Watergate. The point is, these things are not really ancient history (though it may seem so to us) but are a continuing line of events in the temporal order, leading to our own time in history. We must never forget the spiritual lessons of that same history. We must not forget the solution that Our Lady of Fatima gave us. It is the wish of heaven, the command of God and His Mother: Consecrate Russia, who has spread her errors throughout the world!

Until then - and even then - we must pray, study and act. In our homes and homeschools, we must pray for perseverance, we must study to acquire (or nurture) our Catholic conscience in history. (Have you read your Belloc lately?)

We must heed the Church's teachings, especially those in regard to Catholic education. Once we humbly accept our need to "Keep it Catholic", we should seek out more Catholic resources, like the two mentioned above, or others like For Altar and Throne (the historical narrative of the Vendee - that small band of faithful Catholics - during the cataclysmic French Revolution), Trianon, Madame Royale, and so much more.

As we study history, we will find that we no longer see things with a "Catholic perspective" (which is a false notion) but rather with an informed Catholic conscience that understands history from within the bosom of Christendom, even if the walls of Western civilization are crumbling.

The one over-all truth that Catholic history teaches us is that God is with us, despite ourselves, but also that He also leaves mankind to his own devices when he becomes arrogant. (As the only creatures made in God's likeness and image, and on a whole, we human beings simply do not learn the lessons of history.) History teaches us that we needed a Redeemer and that we will always need Him. God keeps letting us re-learn the lesson.

Let's pray for perseverance, not only in our Catholic homeschools, but in learning what we must be and what we must do to persevere unto the end.

Marianna/KIC Founder

We're "Keeping It Catholic" on the Net at

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 11:13 EST
Updated: January 13, 2005 11:34 EST
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December 27, 2004
Little Lessons and Christmas Memories
Dear KIC Friends~

The hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation is over, and now comes the quiet week between two holy days of December 25 and January 1. We may enjoy all of it - even though we may exhaust ourselves - but Catholics know that it is not the trees and ornaments, the gifts and wrapping, the extra baking, or the get-together's that "make" Christmas. We could take all of that away and it would still be Christmas.

This year, during last-minute grocery shopping, I came across two reminders of family traditions that belong to the Christmas Eve's of my childhood. It's amazing, isn't it, how the mind will accept the gentlest of nudges to indulge in time travel?

Memories came flooding out of my mind, all because I was grocery shopping and accidentally came across two specialty items - a frozen "log" of "traditional Italian polenta" and, just inches away, "Italian chestnuts." I hadn't seen either in years, and just spying them on the shelves made me stop in my tracks. To any casual passer-by in that grocery store, I was just another shopper trying to make a decision. In reality, my mind had taken flight, taking me back to a Christmas Eve in Detroit, 39 years ago

In my mind's eye, I saw my paternal grandparents making a huge amount of "polenta," an Italian cornmeal - enough to feed their seven grown children, their spouses, and all the grandchildren on Christmas Eve. I remembered the piles of fresh, silver smelt on my grandmother's counter, waiting to be floured and fried. On the kitchen table, some type of cookie was under way - usually "pizzelle." A look at the large, old-fashioned stove beheld two large pots - one which seemed at least two feet high. Waiting nearby was an overly-long wooden spoon, perhaps as tall as I at the tender age of four years old. In the other large pot there gently cooked my grandmother's homemade tomato sauce - you know the kind, don't you? It was homemade from beginning to end, because the tomatoes came from Grandpa's garden and Grandma canned them. And that was just one of the many things my grandmother did -she is a lady (now close to her 100th birthday) who was an expert at "multi-tasking" before the word was even coined.

There was my father - preparing chestnuts, using a knife to engrave X's on their flat side. The nuts would later be placed on a baking sheet and anxiously watched. When the adults ascertained the chestnuts were ready, they were quickly poured from the sheets into serving bowls and just as quickly brought to the table. It has been many years since I've seen chestnuts, but I do remember that their heated outer hulls turned as soft as banana skins, so that the nuts could be peeled.

Later, sitting at the table, Daddy was singing with the uncles the beautifully moving, traditional Italian song that I know as "Jesu Bambino." After all these years, it is a song that brings tears to my eyes and a heaviness to my heart, so much is it interconnected with the memories I have of my father. For this particular Christmas that I remember was among the last handful of my young father's Christmases. After he died, I never heard my uncles sing that special song again...

Then the midnight countdown began, and we young cousins began vying for the honor of going to the Nativity Set and uncovering the newly-born Baby Jesus.

And as I returned to the present, my hands instinctively reached out for the polenta and chestnuts even as the tears burned my eyes.

All of these things, and more, were part of my Christmases of the long ago, and I treasure them - because they are "little" family traditions in honor of the Infant Jesus, Who was born in poverty, grew up in poverty, and died on the Cross to offer us redemption.

Sometimes we adults, so often weary with the daily toil of life, forget that little eyes are watching. It is said that children learn best by example. Watching the adults in the family, I learned about quiet perseverance, and even joy, in doing one's daily duty. As life's daily duties keep us very tired adults occupied, through the holy days and every day of the year, let's remember all that was asked of us by Our Lady of Fatima, especially when she taught us - her children - to "Make everything you do a sacrifice." Let us remember Our Lord, Who later told Sr. Lucia that the sacrifice He requires of us now is to do our daily duty.

It is not easy to "do our daily duty" in a post-Christian era opposed to the Catholic faith or (because it is integrally linked to Catholicism) to anything resembling tradition - whether religious or familial. With the grace of God, however, we will manage to continue to do "our daily duty" - without much fussing or clamoring for attention. What we *can* do is offer all of those daily duties to God, in reparation for the sins committed against the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts and for the conversion of sinners.

Our children will learn these truths by our own words and our example. They are learning every day from every "little" thing we do. As the years pass so quickly by, the children who become teens and then adults will eventually discover that those little lessons of quiet daily duty possess profound depth and meaning. What the world may call little things - both the spiritual and the corporal - are matters of tradition.

And so in memory of Christmases of the not-so-long-ago, which will "keep company" with all the other little family traditions I've tried to keep over the years, I'll be pulling out a little bit of polenta and giving my children their first taste of it. I'll be asking my husband or my older boys to carve X's in the chestnuts I brought home. I'll bake those chestnuts and offer them to the children; I'll even try my first taste of them since I was a very small girl. And again I will enjoy the "big moment" when our youngest removes the cotton hiding the little Infant Jesus in the Nativity set.

I'll be thinking of my father, as I always do, and I'll be remembering my Uncle Jim, who passed away this past June, and my maternal grandmother Nanny, and Grandpa, and many other loved ones... And if my heart can manage it, I may even lead my children in a few bars of what my sisters and I now call "Daddy's Christmas Song."

I will not only remember my loved ones, but I'll be praying for them, too - those who may already be with God in heaven, those that may be in purgatory and desperately need our prayers and sacrifices, and those here on earth.

May God bless you and yours this Christmas and always,
Marianna Bartold
Keeping It Catholic

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 03:48 EST
Updated: December 27, 2004 04:53 EST
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February 28, 2004
Are We Good Thieves or Bad Thieves?
Last night was the first Friday of Lent but, for me, it was like no other. As I wrote yesterday, the movie about which everyone is talking, The Passion of the Christ, is more than a movie. It is best described as a living, "moving" meditation on what Our Lord willingly endured to redeem us.

I know that I am not alone when I say that meditating upon the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary will never be the same for me. I again "see" Our Lord in the Garden, I see Satan tempting Him (and asking this Man who keeps appealing to the Father, "Who are you?"), I "see" that most terrible Scourging, the incalculable cruelty of the Crown of Thorns, the painful exhaustion in carrying the Cross, the Lord crawling to that Cross and stretching Himself upon It...

It was no different when our parish priest led The Stations of the Cross last night.

And sometime in the late hours, the thought came to me that those who are making the outrageous statements against this moving meditation, The Passion of the Christ, as well as those who criticize Mel Gibson's movie with the most trivial, quibbling remarks, are no different that those who refused to see who He truly was, who lied in the High Priest's kangaroo court, or who screamed 2,000 years ago, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

And even worse, there were those who were not moved to pity after seeing Our Lord mercilessly scourged, almost to death, and still demanded not only His death, but a criminal's death by His Crucifixion.

Just like you and me, all those who have seen the movie have also been offered the opportunity to remember their Savior's sufferings. The Holy Ghost teaches, "Forget not the kindness of thy Surety, for He hath given His life for thee."

As the book, "Meditation on the Passion," reminds us: "The Passion of Jesus Christ is the surest means of kindling love...We see in His Sacred Passion what the forgiveness of our sins cost Him, and how much He has forgiven us. We see how His love was so great that He suffered, not for His friends alone, but for sinners; for those who neglected, outraged, and insulted Him, that He might win them to God. Then how can we fail to love Him, who loved us and gave Himself for us? Meditation on Jesus' suffering is a subject well calculated to hearten and encourage us; to make us ashamed of our moral weakness and spiritual cowardice in the past; to stir us up in high aspirations, and help us to set before ourselves noble ideals in the future." (p. 17)

Those of us who can respond to The Passion of the Cross with any criticism other than the self-criticism, "I am guilty," lack what My Imitation of Christ calls "compunction of heart."

Those criticizers, may God forgive them, need a few responses from Catholics. What should those responses be? The Catholic response must be what Our Lord expects of us:

Forgiveness, prayer and sacrifice for them, our fellow sinners.

Let us always remember that Our Lord interceded with Our Father in Heaven for every person on earth - those that are, those that were, and those that are yet to be born.

Let us always remember that He interceded for all sinners, each of us who, to our great shame, have - at one time or another - mercilessly scourged Him, spat in His face, tore at His hair, ripped open His skin, mocked Him, and who showed Him not one ounce of pity: "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do."

And as we saw in The Passion of the Christ, Our Lord takes this abuse while pouring out His grace, until the time of grace in our own lives is over. But even grace is not enough.

We must accept each grace as it comes to us and use it as God intended. We don't "see" graces, and we don't hear least, not the way we expect. But they make themselves known.

We clearly saw these truths about grace with the actions of the Good Thief and the Bad Thief. While dying, there was one Thief who acknowledged his sins, who repented and who confessed. And there was one who mocked God and dared to question Him to His face! To the Unrepentant Thief's accusations, Our Lord said nothing. He seemingly did not hear, but He did. He did not respond but He waited...just as He still waits for sinners to come to Him. And we begin to understand when the Holy Scriptures tell us that Our Lord is "long-suffering"! And so the dying Lord waited...but for what?

The Lord on the Cross, whose very Presence is grace, was waiting for the reaction of free will. And there was a good response, but it came only from the Good Thief.

Although also suffering great pain, he was both alarmed and outraged by his former friend's mocking of Christ and asked in tortured breaths, "Don't you fear God?" And he went on. He declared the innocence of Christ while confessing their collective guilt. Think of the Good Thief's honesty and charity. He used words like "We deserve" and "our crimes." He didn't just accuse the other thief; he included himself in the accusations! And so he confessed his own sins to Our Lord, he accepted his death as punishment for his crimes, and finally asked Our Lord for one thing only..."Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom." By calling Jesus, "Lord," the Good Thief knew that Jesus Christ is God.

And what of the Unrepentant Thief? When rebuked by the Good Thief, the unrepentant one had no more words to hurl against Our Lord. He had no defense at all. Instead of following the right example of the Good Thief, he instead chose to sink into final despair. He, like the Good Thief, could have repented and confessed his sins. He, like the Good Thief, could have offered his sufferings as reparation for his crimes. His own cross, like the Good Thief's, could have been a source of merit if only he had responded to God's grace by accepting it and offering it to God. But he did not. In his soul, he turned away, and the final grace offered him was lost.

Two sinners, both given the same grace to die alongside Our Lord, to repent and to confess their sins, to seek pardon,to offer their deaths in reparation for their sins, to receive God's forgiveness after confession, to pray, and to merit eternal salvation. But only one died in sanctifying grace.

By confessing, and by seeking and receiving both forgiveness and absolution, the Good Thief died a Catholic in the state of grace. By offering up the punishment of death on the Cross for his crimes, he died with the promise of heaven. For Our Lord Himself said to him, "...this day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise."

And so, when other sinners see The Passion of the Christ and can only respond by mocking, arguing or quibbling instead of accepting the Truth set before them...

When others refuse to remember The Passion of the Christ was and is also for them...

When others fail to love Jesus Christ because He is their Lord and Savior, let us first remember that we also are sinners, but we are now Good Thieves, sinners who respond as we should to grace. Good Thieves are those Catholics who continually repent of our sins, who frequent the Sacament of Confesson, who seek forgiveness and absolution, who pray...and who accept our crosses for both punishment of our crimes and the purification of our souls.

Like the Good Thief's words in the movie, we might say to unbelievers, "He prays for you!" We can also say, "He died for you. He died for me." But we, too, must pray for the unbelievers and the fallen-aways.

And as we pray for the conversion of unrepentant sinners, let us also recall that "it becomes our duty to make reparation for their indifference and ingratitude. In proportion to the world's forgetfulness should be our remembrance. This solemn obligation rests on us all as Catholics." (Meditation on the Passion, p. v)

~ Marianna Bartold, Keeping It Catholic

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 07:41 EST
Updated: February 28, 2004 10:22 EST
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February 26, 2004
The Moving Meditation on the Messiah: The Passion of the Christ

I sit here, trying to collect my thoughts. I have literally been grieving since I saw The Passion of the Christ last night, the evening of Ash Wednesday. I did all that I could to prepare myself to see it. Throughout the years and with various books and prayers (like the Rosary), I have meditated upon what He endured for us. I prayed for strength and courage to view The Passion. And yet, I didn't want to see this movie; I felt I didn't need to see it to believe - but it might be what I needed. For what? To truly see. Why? To experience what is called "the second conversion," to know with my whole being what He endured, to understand it, to love Him more, to possess perfect contrition ever after.

But seeing this movie is not just "seeing" a movie. It is a profound, life-transforming experience. Any Catholic with a modicum of faith who sees The Passion will become a living witness, a disciple, not "just" a believer and a practicing Catholic. Protestants will understand The Passion in a way never before explained to them. I believe this for I sat next to a Protestant woman with whom I had conversed earlier. She wept as I did; she said afterward she had no idea...Total unbelievers who may see it should walk out converted. It is morally impossible to see The Passion and leave it with any other thought than, "My Lord and my God! Forgive me!"

Words only cheapen The Passion and no words of mine will ever do it justice. I hope what I say doesn't seem cheap, because anything I have to say may sound contrived. Please know that it isn't; it comes from a mere human heart, a woman's heart, a mother's heart. And so I will write as best I can, to share what I saw and what I experienced.

First, would I see it again? I bring that question up because it's already been asked of me. My answer: Seeing The Passion again would, I believe, also cheapen it. Would one want to see one's Beloved tortured again? Die once more? Once is enough. Once should be enough. Ever afterward, adoration and supplication and thanksgiving at Mass, as frequently as possible, will almost be enough to show the Christ how much sorrow I have for my sins but how much I love Him for the Redemption.

The Passion of the Christ is what it says it is: It is about what the Christ - the one and only Messiah, the Son of the Living God, the Lord and the Savior - endured for us, what the worst that perverted human imagination and human brutality could thrust on Him. Many times during the course of the movie experience, Jesus spoke to the Father in heaven, renewing the offering of His sacrifice. "My heart is ready, Father..." were the words He uttered before He was whipped, raked, and literally ripped during the Scourging. "My Heart" - the Sacred Heart!

When the Cross is thrust upon Him - and we who know the story by heart are horrified to see a Man so brutally tortured also expected to carry this Cross - He is kneeling, but He literally embraces It. And He is mocked for it. Throughout The Passion, the cruelty of man never ends; neither does the meekness of Our Lord as He utterly submits Himself.

To say this movie is about anything else other than the Lord, the Christ, the Messiah taking upon the sins of the world is indefensible. I feel it is unworthy of any Christian to bother acknowledging those who believe it will rouse anti-Semitism. What it did rouse for me, and should rouse for others, is a greater aversion to committing any sin. After seeing The Passion, life on this earth recedes. Our small and big problems are reduced to nothingness.

I wept in the movie as I weep when I am anticipating a death or when I grieving a death. I realized later that my right hand was constantly over my heart, in an agony of anxiety, when it wasn't lifted to my face to wipe away tears.

I empathized with Peter when he crashed to his knees in front of our dear Lady, who put her hands out to console him, and he recoiled and cried out, "Mother! I am not worthy!...Mother, I denied Him!" Think of it. Mother. Think of it. A Confession! Each of us can cry out those words, because we've all denied Christ in some way. Don't we deny Him when we sin?My Father in Heaven, I ask Thee with all my heart to grant me this grace: To never again deny Christ, in any way. Mother, I am not worthy but please ask Your Son for this grace, for He denies you nothing because you ask nothing that is not in comformity with His will, and He wills our salvation.

The scourging scene can never be goes on and on. One watches, and one recoils, and one sickens, and one wonders, "How could they do this to Him? How did He endure that? Stop it. Stop it. STOP!" And Our Lady asks a question, one that is so very human and yet shows plainly that she knew Who He truly was.

As my husband Tim and I left the theatre, he was silent and I was trembling and dizzy, as though I had been holding my breath too long. I looked at all the people waiting in line - there were so many. A part of me wanted to stand apart from them, walk by unnoticed in my grief; a part of me wanted to say something to all of them. Bits and pieces of thoughts went through my mind. There was nothing I could say. Words don't do justice to the experience and I was immobilized by grief.

When we reached outside, I leaned against the wall and waited for the cool air to snap me out of it. It didn't. I told myself to snap out of it. I didn't. One does not just "snap out" of grief.

Tim was quiet as he took my hand and walked with me across the parking lot. I should say, he walked me, because I had to hang onto his hand tightly so that his sheer force of will could help me take those steps. Otherwise, I would not have been able to move. As we walked, I could see brake lights across the distance. The line-up of cars trying to exit the parking lot was surreal.

Anyone who has lost a loved one for the very first time in their lives will understand exactly what I am talking about. The question that eventually comes to your mind as your grief intensifies, while everything around you is going on as though your grief didn't exist, is always, "How can the world go on as it has?"

I won't tell you how many times grief overwhelmed me. I will say it gripped me again when I thought I had managed to calm myself. And it hit me again when we quietly entered the only Catholic Church in town. In my line of vision were two men. I wanted to be alone with my husband; our grief was real and deeply personal. I looked to see if the confessionals were open. There was no priest in sight.

So I sat on one side of the church, but Tim urged me to go to the right side, where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. (At this particular parish, Our Lord also resides in a larger Tabernacle in the center of the church, as He should be, and so I cannot understand why this church has another smaller Tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament on the right side of the main altar; it is a grief to me since it misplaces Christ and it confuses, if not outright scandalizes, the faithful). There was a man already in a front pew near the Blessed Sacrament which rests on the right side of the church, so we took a seat across from him.

I took one look at the Blessed Sacrament exposed in that side Tabernacle, and the grief hit me again. I tried to contain it but I sobbed aloud; I couldn't help it. I bowed my head in sorrow and resigned myself to the grief that would not release me. That man in the pew across from us was very kind...he left for awhile and then came back with more tissues for me.

What happened in that church? I prayed inside a vortex, and the only two there were Jesus and me. But there was a third presence, and it was that of Our Blessed Mother. I looked at Christ within that monstrance and I could only think, "Lord, forgive me. Lord, don't ever let me forget. If ever I should even THINK of sinning, put your Passion right in front of my eyes." And then I prayed "Hail Mary's" repeatedly...

I later looked at a statue of Our Lady, and I thought, "Mother...forgive me, I have always been unworthy" and the tears came again. Every cheap joke I ever made, any stupid utterance, every selfish act...came to mind and my sins made me sick with grief. I'm a Catholic; I know better. I should have known better. Dear God, forgive me my weaknesses.

The thought that went through my mind as we left the quiet church? "Why aren't the priests here? The confessionals should be ready." Today, I am going to call the parish and speak with the pastor and respectfully ask him if he would consider timing Confessions after the local theatre's every showing of The Passion. People will be seeking Our Lord at the church; they should be able to find Him, both in the Tabernacle and in the Sacrament of Confession.

If this movie doesn't change peoples lives for the better, if it doesn't make people want to be as holy as they can be - let me correct myself! as holy as God desires them to be, the same God who desires not the death of a sinner! - I cannot imagine what else in this world can. The Passion brings perfect contrition, and a firm purpose of amendment to confess our sins, to do penance, and to amend our lives, which is only possible with the help of God's grace...

Go see this movie - this religious experience that transcends all time. It is more than a movie, but a "moving meditation" in more ways than one. Be prepared to have your life transformed in a way you really can not imagine. Surely, The Passion of the Christ is one of God's last mercies to this sinful generation.

~Marianna C. Bartold, Keeping It Catholic

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 06:13 EST
Updated: February 26, 2004 10:50 EST
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January 31, 2004
Catholic Insights into Montessori Education

Dear KIC Readers:

A few months have passed since I last added anything to the blog. November and December are always whirlwind months, and January proved to be no different. I do hope the last few months have been good to you! I also hope to get "back on track" with (at the minimum) weekly entries to the KIC Weblog.

Of late, I have received a few emails inquiring about either the Maria Montessori or Charlotte Mason "methods" of education. All of the questions center around one theme; that is, they ask me what's really wrong with one or the other?

It seems the word is out regarding Red Flags and Methods in the Keeping It Catholic Home Education Guide Volume I. (It seems more Catholic homeschoolers are sharing the info that the same book examines the problems with both Mason and Montessori, ala "the Catholic Red Flag Lady, Marianna Bartold") ;)

For the sake of the truly polite inquiries, I will do my best to provide, on this weblog, a very modest glimpse into the question of Montessori. (I do promise, however, that there are more quotes in my book regarding both Mason and Montessori.)

But what about Charlotte Mason? Well, I already have much to share (about 10 pages's worth) about Mason in my book, so it would be impossible for me to repeat it here. As for Montessori, my book provides quite a few quotes from Montessori herself, regarding her philosophies, too.

Still, there are Catholics who claim that, since Montessori was Catholic, what she taught regarding the rearing and education of children must be acceptable to Catholics. That would be true if we lived in a perfect world, but we don't. We all know that we live in a fallen world and that our own natures are wounded, that we are disinclined to abandon our own thoughts and ideas, and that - for the most part - we human beings do not easily bend our wills to God. (If we dare to say otherwise, we really are guilty of pride.) The truth of the matter is that we can easily make up all kinds of excuses to continue doing what we want to do, and we easily defend ourselves because we do not want to admit we were is so much easier to do those two things instead of obeying the Church's teachings.

Regardless of the nay-sayers, please realize that no, despite her book, The Mass Explained Montessori's educational philosophy did not coincide with Catholic Church teaching. Most of the time she sounded like a rationalist/evolutionist (I'll explain why later.)

Montessori had some very strange ideas about child-raising and child education. And no, we are not talking about "hands-on" learning. Contrary to popular belief, "hands-on" is not what Montessori was about.

For example, Montessori did not allow fairy tales or folklore, although she did promote her own "mythological" story about the world's creation - certainly a contradiction! So fairy stories and folklore were forbidden, but her own "fantasies" were to be promoted to children everywhere. Yet how many Catholics are aware of even that one Red Flag?

Incidentally (and as I point out in my book, Keeping It Catholic Home Education Guide, Volume I), there are similarities in Charlotte Mason's original educational philosophy, many of the latter which coincide with those of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the "father" of the "Enlightenment." The Enlightenment was that "rationalist" era of thought which led to the French Revolution, the invasion of liberalism throughout Europe and into the Church, and which has culminated today in the heresy of modernism.

While I understand that many Catholic homeschoolers might not appreciate hearing such things, I ask them to remember Church teaching on Catholic education and Catholic philosophy.

I strongly recommend that interested homeschooling parents read Montessori's own works for themselves - not just another author on Montessori - and judge according to Church teaching (not just personal opinion). Just to pique your curiosity, I will provide a few examples from Montessori's book, To Educate the Human Potential. Brief background: Maria Montessori told her "creation" story to children, and she wanted it to be told by others who employed her methods. But why? It was because Montessori desired that children should mull upon the evolutionary processes.

Montessori's creation story begins with the oceans (not God, not the Word), and of the "Tribolites" which were "three-lobed creatures, with many legs and numerous other appendices for swimming...other proud ocean dwellers were Cephalopods- literally meaning with legs on their heads - of which Nautilus is most famous."

A little later, Montessori wrote: "We can imagine a committee of Angels or Devas, according to the religion we profess, older sons of God who direct earth's natural forces, sending forth a call for volunteers, and interviewing those creatures who responded with an offer of service..." My questions: The angels interviewed the tribolites? How does this absurdity correspond with the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures? Why did Montessori acknowledge another name for angels - i.e., devas? Why did she write "according to the religion we profess"? As a Catholic educator, it was her duty to promote the Catholic faith, not religious indifferentism (which the Church teaches is a sin). When and if necessary to acknowledge other "beliefs" (as opposed to truths), the opportunity to charitably clarify those truths should have been included.

Montessori told children that beautiful plants evolved from algae, moss, etc: "The evolution of plants of earth is estimated to have taken about 300,000,000 years, from algae, mosses and lichens, through ferns to ever more complex forms of strength and beauty." And children were, and are, to believe this nonsense just because Montessori said so?

Monetessori told children that birds evolved from monsters: "If evolution just meant growth, how could sweet birds have come from ferocious monsters, joint-heirs of their kingdom? Nature evolved by strengthening what had been a weak point in animal behavior, bestowing the new energy called Love. This was to be a powerful passion as long as it dominated, able to make a small bird forget fear and care for self. Significantly it goes with warmth of blood."

Montessori told children that the earth was beautiful - so beautiful that the monsters had to go: "The earth must have been truly beautiful, and monsters in their gross stupidity and ugliness were unfit for it. Some tried 'slimming,' shortened their legs and managed to survive, especially those who had the intelligence to turn themselves into snakes. Those who were too lazy to make the effort to adapt themselves had just to perish. Snakes were the lineal descendants of dragons and were not poisonous before the advent of man."

Are you also recognizing those waving Red Flags, dear Reader?

Now for Montessori's story about the appearance of mankind: "The earth was trembling with expectancy and glad foreboding. Her heart moved in sympathy with creation's joy; tremors ran through her frame and emotional tears coursed through her in new streams...she was moved throughout her whole being to feel the near approach of man, her destined lord, and gifts were brought forth in new abundance for his use...all kinds of metal that the earth had been preparing in her laboratories were brought to the surface and deposited...of this largesse of mineral wealth, India received in rich measure, as the scene of earth's greatest emotion...Earth greeted her son with joy,but offered him toil, no enfeebling ease!" (My observation: In other words, mankind is the child of Mother Earth!)

Montessori told children her version of the purpose of man's existence, yet she made no mention of the Catholic Church's clear teachings that we were created "to know, love and serve God so that we might be happy with Him in heaven." Instead, Montessori wrote:

"Man, too, like all beings, has the two purposes, conscious and unconscious. He is conscious of his own intellectual and physical needs, and of the claims on him of society and civilisation. He believes in fighting for himself, his family and nation, but has yet to become conscious of his far deeper responsibilities to a cosmic task, his collaboration with others in work for his environment...Victory in self-fulfillment can only come to the All, and to secure it some are content to sacrifice their own progress towards perfection of form, remaining inferior and humble workers, like the corals, or static usefulness. Other species, having unconsciously reached their limit of usefulness and being unable to adapt themselves to conditions making new demands on them, disappear from the ranks of life in which only the obedient and disciplined will continue to march, to the joyful music of the Song of Life."

Cosmic task? The "All"? The Song of Life? What do these terms mean? They certainly are not Catholic terms. In light of their context, they are NOT intended to be Catholic.

There is more, and there are other Montessori books, but I trust the few excerpts above will inspire the prudent to further study Montessori - in her own words.~ MCB

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 20:55 EST
Updated: January 31, 2004 22:29 EST
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November 2, 2003
Is There Life After Homeschooling?

Keeping It Catholic Email List members have brought the following article to my attention. It is an article you might want to keep handy and ready the next time anyone asks you one of those "S" questions about your homeschooling endeavors. :> (By the way, all emphasis below is mine.) -MCB


Largest-Ever Study on Homeschooling Reveals Very Positive Outcomes

Salem, Oregon, Oct. 30 (

Dr. Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute has just released the largest-ever study looking at the lives of over 7,000 adults from across the United States who were home educated during their elementary and secondary school years. "For nearly 20 years, critics and the curious have been asking about the homeschooled: But how will they do in the 'real world' of adulthood? As a corollary, they have also asked: What about socialization?" asked Ray. The study entitled, Home Educated and Now Adults, answers those questions.

A summary of the findings by the Home School Legal Defense Association which funded the study indicates that homeschoolers attain more post-secondary education than do their non-homeschooled peers. Over 74 percent of home-educated adults ages 18-24 have taken college-level courses, compared to 46 percent of the general US population.

An astounding 95 percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed are glad that they were homeschooled. In the opinion of the homeschool graduates, homeschooling has not hindered them in their careers or education. Eighty-two percent would homeschool their own children. Of the 812 study participants who had children age 5 or older, 74 percent were already homeschooling.

Addressing one of the most important issues for many parents -- happiness for their children -- the study indicates that 59 percent of the subjects reported that they were "very happy" with life, while only 27.6 percent of the general population is "very happy" with life.

With regard to the transmission of faith from parents to children-- a major reason why many families homeschool, 94 percent of the homeschooled adults agreed with the statement, "My religious beliefs are basically the same as those of my parents."P>

Only 4.2 percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed consider politics and government too complicated to understand, compared to 35 percent of US adults. The study found much greater political involvement of adults who were homeschooled. Seventy-six percent of homeschool graduates surveyed between the ages of 18-24 voted within the last five years, compared to only 29 percent of the same US population. The numbers of homeschool graduates who vote are even greater in the older age brackets, with voting levels not falling below 95 percent, compared to a high of 53 percent for the corresponding US populace.

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 07:53 EST
Updated: November 2, 2003 08:22 EST
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November 1, 2003
Rosary Novena: From All Saints to Christmas Eve

It's been a few weeks since I last posted to the KIC weblog. During that time, the entire KIC email list was keeping long-distance vigil with Terri Schindler Schiavo, posting updates to each other, emailing Florida reps and continually praying for Terri's intentions.

While we were relieved at the reprieve provided via Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, we all realize the fight for Terri's RIGHT TO LIVE is not yet over.
In the meantime, we continue to keep vigil.

Today, November 1 (All Saints' Day and a First Saturday), the KIC list begins yet another 54 Day Rosary Novena. It will conclude on December 24, Christmas Eve.

We began the 54 Day Rosary Novena on KIC many years ago and it has become a "custom" among our email list members. We are happy to say that, as some members began their own email lists, the "custom" of announcing another Novena and listing members' intentions also went with them, for the Rosary is the most powerful prayer on earth. St. Padre Pio said that Our Lady's Rosary is "the weapon" against our adversary, the devil, especially during these evil times.

Our current Rosary Prayer intentions are as follows:

1. For the collegial consecration of Russia, to be done exactly as requested by Our Lady of Fatima

2. For Terri Schindler-Schiavo, that God grants her a morally superior legal guardian (preferably her parents), continues to preserve her life and protect her against those who would take her life or harm her in any way

3. For the intentions of all of KIC members, their family, friends and associates

4. For the poor souls in purgatory


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 12:31 EST
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October 17, 2003
Terri Schindler Schiavo: Not a Blitz But a Blackout

With the exception of Free Republic, Seattle Catholic, Terri's Fight, and World Net Daily, I've seen no other influential media coverage on Terri Schindler-Schiavo, the young Florida woman unjustly condemned to die by dehydration and starvation - solely by the will of her legal husband, Michael Schiavo.

And while Catholics may be angered that no secular newspapers are covering the case, we should be shocked that our "mainstream" Catholic luminaries have, for all intents and purposes, remained silent about Terri on their websites, radio shows and television broadcasts. If I had my own Catholic television or radio show, I would, at the very least, publicly keep vigil with Terri, begging viewers or listeners to call their bishops, senators, the President - anyone who could possibly intervene on Terri's behalf. This is what I expected to see and hear via our Catholic media...but I did not.

Where is the mainstream Catholic media blitz? Where are all the Catholic "pro-life" groups now? Why aren't they covering the vigil outside of Terri's hospice and broadcasting it on EWTN? Why is there not round-the-clock coverage on every Catholic television and radio station? Why are they not interviewing her parents and siblings? Why aren't they networking with each other - as they can and often do - to get this information to the general public? Why did they have no course of action ready - like a pilgrimage to the hospice where Terri is forced to abide? Why have they not converged on our bishops, on Governor Jeb Bush, and even the Holy Father himself to demand Terri's right to life?

There is no Catholic media blitz - but there is a blackout. Why?

Terri, may Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, and St. Michael the Archangel, our protector against the snares of the devil, be at your side and protect your physical life just as they have guarded your spiritual journey all these years. May they sustain your parents and siblings in their moral courage as they stand with you as you carry your cross. Dear little sister in Christ, I pray to God that He delivers you from the hands of your enemies and safely into the hands of your family who loves you.~ MCB

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 00:28 EDT
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October 13, 2003
CBS: Homeschooling Equal to Child Abuse?

This just in from a KIC Contact:

The "homeschooling special" advertised at the CBS link below is "planned to air on Monday and Tuesday, October 13-14. There needs to be a response. How many of the kids involved in school shootings are homeschoolers? How many of today's prisoners are homeschoolers? How many of today's welfare recipients were homeschooled? How many of those accused of being homeschoolers and committing crimes are actually parents of preschoolers? But how many of today's winners of geography and spelling bees, etc are homeschoolers?"

"Following discussions that Hal Young, the president of NCHE (North Carolinians for Home Education) had on Friday with the CBS Evening News producer, it is anticipated that CBS will be running a 2 part series on Monday & Tuesday evening on homeschooling (The report is already complete, but be mindful that other news may possibly preempt it)."

"This report is expected to focus on the handful of child abuse cases over the past 5 to 10 years involving 'presumed homeschoolers' including the murder/suicide of 'non-homeschooled homeschoolers' in Johnston County, NC two years ago. The CBS reporters will be highlighting various murders, suicides, etc. involving 'homeschoolers' nationwide and will attempt to argue that 'Homeschooling is out of control.' The woman producer stated directly to Hal that he 'would not be pleased with the report,' and that the intent of the report is to encourage further state and federal government regulation of homeschooling."

Check CBS News and email them for further information regarding this planned television broadcast. Better yet, if you have a television, privately tape the CBS broadcast so you can review it as needed - or in the event you feel a need to respond to CBS. - MCB

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 08:51 EDT
Updated: October 13, 2003 09:19 EDT
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