In Good Company
August 15, 2013
A bodacious witness to women
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

Two utterly unrelated stories have me thinking about what Pope Francis means when he says the Church must “go out.”

The first comes from Francis himself, who recently told reporters that the Church “need[s] to develop a profound theology of womanhood.” That jarred me a little initially. Bl. Pope John Paul II’s 1988 encyclical on the role of women, together with his Letter to Women, changed my life and the way I think about what it means to be a woman. Does the Pope mean to...

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July 10, 2013
Chill out, moms
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

"Motherhood is not my highest calling."
That provocative headline from blogger Elizabeth Esther got my attention a few years ago, and a lengthy recent conversation with a guilt-ridden mom brought it to mind again. Esther observes that misplaced idealism robs motherhood of its joy:

This incredible weight of expectation places an almost impossible burden on mothers and non-mothers alike. When we artificially inflate the importance of motherhood, then average, everyday, good-enough mothers are...

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June 21, 2013
Religious liberty ain’t the Bishops’ job
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

The 2013 Fortnight for Freedom – two weeks of prayer, fasting and education to defend religious freedom between now and Independence day – kicks off today. Before you move on, confident the nation’s bishops are taking care of it, you might be interested to know Pope Francis is asking the laity to step up.

In recent with meetings with European political leaders (the President of Italy for example), the Holy Father has repeatedly stressed the need to defend religious liberty, which is...

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May 27, 2013
Obedience as a path to faith
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

In a recent essay, Humblesse Oblige, writer Simcha Fisher makes a lovely case for the neglected virtue of obedience, reminding us that the Church doesn’t impose obligations simply to throw her weight around, but because she understands our feelings aren’t always adequate to the situation.
 “If obedience for the sake of obedience seems shabby and pathetic to you,” she writes, think of a mom putting nutritious meals on the table for her kids. Sometimes cooking seems like just the...

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May 14, 2013
In the aftermath of Mother’s Day
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

I can’t believe I am about to defend Mother’s Day – I who dislike being fussed over and think of the occasion mainly as the day I’m going to be forced to stand and feel conspicuous in the middle of Mass.

Nevertheless, I’ve seen some attacks on Mother’s Day from strange quarters over the years, beginning about 20 years ago when I went to greet a priest friend after Mass and overheard him being reamed out by some lady telling him he had no business speaking about mothers in...

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April 16, 2013
Helpers in Boston
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

I had a column almost written on an entirely different topic this week – and then my son texted me to turn on the news because there’d been explosions at the Boston Marathon.

I tuned in for about a minute to get the gist of the story, but quickly turned it off again. I’ve grown almost allergic to the kind of reporting that accompanies this kind of event. It’s all heat, no light.

Experience has shown repeatedly that the first reports from the scene are almost always false in...

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March 26, 2013
Holy Week and the patience of God
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

Something charming Pope Francis has been doing his first week as Pope is celebrating daily mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican guest residence where he has been living since the start of the conclave. He’s invited all the Vatican workers – the janitors, the groundskeepers, the secretaries – to attend.  The Pope as parish priest, almost.

During Tuesday’s homily the Pope preached the patience of the Lord, drawing his lesson from the Gospel passage...

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March 12, 2013
His law on our hearts
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

What’s your favorite part of the Sermon on the Mount?

My evangelical protestant mom, who in “retirement” tutors for a Christian homeschool co-op, recently posed that question to her students.

Though they come from serious Christian homes, she was surprised to find that none of them had an answer. Even when given a moment to gather their thoughts, the kids couldn’t identify a single specific thing Jesus teaches in the most famous homily of all time.

Mom mentioned this to the...

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February 19, 2013
Always united in prayer
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

When the alarm radio broke the surprise news of the Pope’s abdication a week ago, my involuntary tears were as unexpected as the announcement. 

All I could think of was the physical and moral suffering that must have brought gentle Joseph Ratzinger to the decision, and my heart ached for him.
For myself too, if truth be told, because Benedict XVI’s intellectual fearlessness, absolutely lucid writing, and constant focus on the joy of relationship with Jesus has been an important...

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January 25, 2013
Marching for hearts
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

A young man smiles a salacious smile. Sniffing brandy in front of a fireplace, in sultry “let’s-get-it-on” tones, he makes love to the camera:  “Hey, Baby,” he purrs, “happy anniversary.” As the film rolls, we begin to understand that he is not addressing a woman, but the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, 40 years old this January 22.

The video (linked here) was produced by the Center for Reproductive Rights to celebrate Roe v. Wade.

My initial reaction was to wonder if...

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April 19, 2014

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