Monday, July 29, 2013

7 Mistakes Women Make with Men

Do you sometimes feel like you’re speaking English and he’s talking Martian? Chances are it's more than bad communication. In this Lifescript exclusive, relationship guru Alison Armstrong reveals the 7 common mistakes women make with men, and how to relate to guys on their wavelength. Does this sound familiar? Your significant other hears criticism when you’re actually teasing him affectionately. Or he doesn’t ask about your job, and you’re hurt by his lack of interest. Are you a dysfunctional couple with bad communication skills?  No – just different genders.
 “Women look at men and see a hairy, misbehaving woman,” says Alison Armstrong, author of Making Sense of Men: A Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Love, Care and Attention from All Men (Pax Programs). “Her response is to train him, punish him or keep a distance from him.”  Women are “frog farmers”: They unwittingly turn princes – good guys – into “frogs” by trying to change them, says Armstrong, who has spent decades studying men and how women relate to them.  Her conclusion: You can’t change men, and once women accept their fundamental nature, their relationships can improve.
“We don’t need to disempower men; we have enough power of our own,” Armstrong says. “That’s what’s really cool. Men love strong, competent women. It’s the ‘What-do-I-need-you-for?’ attitude women often cop – that keeps men at a distance.  Shrinking the distance is the core of Armstrong’s successful “Understanding Men” series of national seminars ( The workshops demystify the opposite sex and help women view men as partners, not adversaries.  “The course was a total light-bulb moment for me,” says Cathi Yates, 51, of Athens, Ala., who attended Armstrong’s Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women workshop. “My attitude and awareness about men has changed, and the way men respond to me has changed.”

Here are 7 common mistakes women make with men, according to Armstrong:

Mistake #1: Seeing men as misbehaving women.
Women take everything personally, Armstrong says. When a man doesn’t do what we want, we think he doesn’t love us, care about us or respect us.  “Otherwise he wouldn’t be misbehaving.”  But men are more forgiving than women. “They allow for mystery with women and find it fascinating.”  Want more man decoding tips? Check out 6 Things You Don’t Know About Your Guy.

Mistake #2: Reading into his words.
Take men literally. If he says he’s busy Saturday night, it means he’s busy Saturday night, Armstrong says.  “It doesn’t mean he’s tired of you, bored of you or wants to break up with you.”

Mistake #3: Expecting his time to be yours.
When he becomes your boyfriend, you expect him to sync up with your daily planner.  The problem?  “He doesn’t see it that way. Men have whole lives. They don’t consider they owe you all their time,” married or not, she says.  Men owe you their best effort to make you happy, and to love and respect you, Armstrong says. But expecting him to cater to you makes you appear “domineering, bitchy, disrespectful and disempowering.”

Mistake #4: Interrupting when he’s speaking.
You’ve asked your man an important question. He starts to answer and you butt in.  “That’s how women mistakenly end up thinking men are shallow,” Armstrong says.  When interrupted, a man will just stop talking. Instead, listen to what he says. When he’s finished, listen some more. That’s when the best nuggets often emerge.

Mistake #5: Thinking a man can multitask. 
Women are biologically designed to multitask, says Armstrong.  “We watch TV and knit a sweater; we drive and plan our day; we’re on the phone while checking email.”  Men don’t. Why? Because they’re hunters, Armstrong explains. They have to be single-focused to keep their eye on the target.

Mistake #6: Believing a man is ignoring you.
You’ve probably accused your guy of ignoring you while he’s driving or watching TV. He really isn’t. He just can’t do two things at once.  If he’s watching TV or dressing, “He’s just watching TV, just getting dressed,” Armstrong says. “We think he’s doing something and ignoring us because we can do that.”  No wonder most women feel abandoned!  “We keep our attention on [men], and we feel upset when their attention is not on us,” Armstrong says.  So next time your man’s ”hunter” kicks in – and you’re feeling disconnected – take a deep breath and remember: He’s wired differently; it’s not personal.  Then again, he may be just plain weird. Check out these 7 guy types to avoid.

Mistake #7: Competing with a man’s mission.
“I’ve trained my daughters not to hit dad up about anything” until we’re on the freeway, Armstrong says. “It’s all about getting the mission on track.”  Same thing goes when a man is immersed in a new business venture and less available.  “All his energy is going into this thing that he’s sure is going to provide for his family,” Armstrong says.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking he’d make more time for you if he cared more. It’s not about you. And forcing him to pay attention “will be excruciating for him,” Armstrong says.

By Stephanie O’Neill, Special to Lifescript.  Published December 06, 2010.  Copyright © 1999 - All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Our Role in Rape Culture

When I was a college freshman, one of the first things I remember being told was not to walk across campus alone at night. At the time, this made perfect sense; after all, a solo teenage girl heading to her dorm in the dark was subject to all manner of horrific fates, most notably sexual assault.
Of course, a few weeks into the semester, I found myself walking home alone quite frequently—from the gym, the library, the newspaper. I knew I was taking a chance, and I did my best to walk with confident strides, keep my eyes and ears open, and be ready to run, scream, or defend myself with whatever resources I could muster. I knew that if something did happen, I would have brought it on myself by taking this risk of being a woman alone in the dark.  Without realizing it, I had become part of rape culture.
The concept of rape culture pervaded the news this past March, after the verdict in the Steubenville, Ohio, case in which two high school boys raped an incapacitated girl and then went online to brag, post photos, and otherwise degrade their victim. Much of the media coverage of the verdict focused on the ways the boys’ lives had been altered forever, their names tarnished, and their futures ruined.  The female victim? Lost in the shuffle.
If Steubenville seems like an extreme case of gender-based injustice, it’s not. It’s simply one of the most publicized. The fact is women continue to be second-class citizens in the United States and around the world, marginalized politically, socially, and domestically in ways both big and small. These acts are not always rape, but they absolutely are a part of rape culture.
We’re well versed in the physical aspects of rape, and fortunately there is increasing awareness of the emotional and spiritual consequences. But what remains lacking is the acknowledgment that those outcomes—humiliation, intimidation, feelings of shame and worthlessness—are perpetuated every day as part of a culture that routinely tells women they are weaker and less valuable than men.
Take the college-campus example. How many freshman boys—no, young men—are told not to walk alone? How many are made fearful of what might happen to them after the sun goes down, or if they’ve had too much to drink?  How many have been explicitly told that a teenage girl is a holy creation that should be not only respected but treasured?  How many teenage girls have been told that? The fact is, we teach girls how not to be raped and spend a lot less effort teaching boys not to rape. And almost none of that teaching, on either side, relates to the core issue of why all of this matters: the essential God-given dignity of a human being. After all, as stated in Genesis 1:27, “God created humankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NRSV).
A Pervasive Problem That we even still talk about these topics in the context of “women’s rights,” and not just human rights, is telling.  We have made a distinction and created a paradigm in which our culture seems inexorably stuck. When Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and thus one very influential woman, wrote Lean In:  Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, her promotion of the book quickly morphed into a defense of it. She made people uncomfortable with the observation that women sometimes don’t pursue business success as aggressively as their male colleagues because when women act as strong leaders, they tend to be deemed “bossy” for the same behavior that lands a man a promotion. That reality is part of rape culture. The fact that women still earn about 77 cents to the dollar a man makes is part of rape culture.  Obviously, the hypersexualization of women in the media is a huge part of rape culture, but not everything is so blatant.  When politicians and activists spew rhetoric about women, reducing half the population to a bargaining chip, that’s rape culture. (And both pro-life and pro-choice advocates are leaders of the pack on this front.)  When a parish prohibits girls from serving on the altar during holy days or special occasions, even though it technically is within their rights to do so, that’s part of rape culture.
We want to think our Church is above the fray, but it’s not. We want to think us as individuals are above the fray, but we’re not.  If we stop and look at our own behaviors and thought processes, we’ll discover that intentionally or not, each of us has played a role in allowing rape culture to continue. Once we recognize that, it’s our duty as Catholics—as human beings—to play a role in ending it.

Jennifer Scroggins, F R A N C I S CA N M E D I A. 0 R G, JULY 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Canonization of Saints

The veneration of saints has been a common practice since the early church, but it was only gradually that the identification of who is a saint came to be regulated by bishops and pope. Beginning in the 10th century, the Roman Church asserted that no one could be venerated as a saint without its approval. The first recorded canonization of a saint is Ulrich of Augsburg by Pope John XV in 993.
The process of canonization became a part of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church and developed into a long and complex process. This process was simplified by the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister of January 25, 1983.
The process of canonization is slightly more informal in the Orthodox Church. Saints are usually canonized by the synod of bishops within a particular autocephalous church, but sometimes saints come to be popularly venerated without official canonization.
The Significance of Canonization

The primary purpose of canonization is to officially authorize veneration and intercession of a particular saint. The investigation process that precedes canonization seeks primarily to ensure that the person is in heaven and God is working through him or her.
Being canonized as a saint means that:

1.      The saint's name is added to the catalogue of saints (meaning that veneration is authorized)
2.      The saint is invoked in public prayers
3.      Churches may be dedicated in the saint's memory
4.      The Mass can be offered in the saint's honor
5.      Feast days are celebrated in the saint's memory
6.      Images of the saint are made in which his or her head is surrounded by a halo
7.      The saint's relics (remains) are enclosed in vessels and publicly honored.

The Importance of Miracles

If a person is martyred for the faith, miracles are not necessary to be declared a saint. As mentioned above, the purpose of canonization is to verify that the person is now in heaven, and all those who die as martyrs are believed to go straight to heaven.
For those who died naturally, however, at least one miracle is necessary to be declared Blessed (beatified) and at least two miracles are necessary to be declared a saint (canonized). These miracles must have occurred after the person's death (to demonstrate that the person is in heaven and able to assist the living), but miracles during his or her lifetime are also taken into account as evidence of God's favor.
When considering a reported miracle, the Church often consults with medical, scientific and theological experts to see if there might be alternative explanations. If the experts can find no explanation, they report that to the Church (they do not declare the event to be a miracle, just that they could find no natural explanation).
Phenomena investigated as miracles after a would-be saint's death include the following:

  • Healings attributed to intercession of the saint or contact with relics.
  • Incorruptibility – the saint's body does not decay after a long period in the grave. Example: St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380) still has not decayed.
  • Liquefaction – the dried blood of the saint liquefies every year on the day of his or her death. Example: St. Januarius (c.275-305), patron saint of Naples, September 19.
  • Odor of sanctity – body exudes a sweet aroma instead of the normal stench of decay. Example: St. Teresa of Avila (1515-82) – sweet odor from her grave for nine months after her death.

Miracles during the life of the saint that have been reported:

  • Levitation – the saint floats in the air. St. Joseph of Cupertino (1603-63) often levitated during prayer.
  • Stigmata – the saint's body exhibits five wounds of Christ, which usually bleed during Mass. St. Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio are examples.
  • Bilocation – the saint reportedly appeared in two places at once. Padre Pio (1887-1968) is an example.

The Process of Canonization

The process of declaring a deceased Christian to be saint was originally quite informal, but became increasingly regulated over the centuries and is now defined by canon law. The steps for becoming a saint are as follows:

  1. Usually between 5 and 50 years after a would-be saint's death, a formal request made to consider person as saint. The group making the request, called the Actor Causae, consists of people from the candidate's church and community, and the request is directed to the bishop of the diocese where the person died. The request includes testimony of the person's exceptional virtue and dedication to God.
  2. The bishop decides whether the evidence is compelling enough to take it to Rome. If so, he asks the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for permission to open the cause.
  3. If permission is granted, the bishop opens a tribunal and calls witnesses to attest to the quality of the person's public life. The person must be shown to have been virtuous, devout, religious, and characterized by love, kindness, prudence and other virtues (concrete examples are required). Miracles are not necessary at this point, but they are recorded if mentioned. If the person passes this step, he or she is called a Servant of God.
  4. The bishop sends a report to Rome, where it is translated into Italian. This step is called the Apostolic Process.
  5. A summary called the Positio is presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
  6. Nine theologians scrutinize the evidence and documentation. If majority pass it, goes to Congregation.
  7. If they approve, the Prefect of the Congregation authorizes person to be called Venerable.
  8. If any miracles are reported (which qualify the person for beatification or canonization), the Prefect presents the cause to the pope to decide. Canonization is considered a function of papal infallibility, as it is important that believers venerate and pray to only those who are actually in heaven.
  9. The pope declares beatification or canonization at a special Mass in the saint's honor.

Ceremony of Canonization

The formal declaration of beatification or canonization occurs during a special Mass conducted by the pope. It usually takes place outdoors in St. Peter's Square before large crowds, but sometimes is conducted in the saint's home country. In 2001, over a half million people attended the canonization of Padre Pio (1887-1968). Four months later, Josemaria Escriva was canonized before 300,000 faithful.
The canonization ceremony is conducted as follows:

  1. The saint's life history is read aloud.
  2. The pope chants the following in Latin:

  1. In honor of the Blessed Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the growth of Christian life, with the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and Our Own, after lengthy reflection, having assiduously invoked God's assistance and taken into account the opinion of many brothers of ours in the episcopate, we declare and define [name] to be a saint [or "to be blessed"], and we enroll him in the Catalogue of the saints, and we establish that in the whole Church he should be devoutly honored among the saints. In the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
  2. The person is officially recognized as blessed or as a saint at this point. A large tapestry with an image of the saint is unfurled before the faithful to admire and venerate.


  1. "Chapter 15: Calling on the Canonized," in John Trigilio, Jr., and Kenneth Brighenti, Catholicism for Dummies (Wiley, 2003), pp. 273-292.
  2. Camillus Beccari, "Beatification and Canonization." The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. II (1907).
  3. "Canonization." F.L. Cross, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford UP, 1997).