Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back in the Pink

Hey Y'all!

You will, if you've been following recent developments, be aware that last month Papa Ben declared one of my all time favourite saints, Hildegard of Bingen, a doctor of the Church. In honour of that, this is your official Catholic trivia tip for the day: According to Hildegard, the cure for excessive menstrual bleeding is rest, sweets, beer and wine. On a not wholly unrelated note, I've spent most of the last month lying about in bed, eating mint chocolate, and imbibing mild intoxicants, which is why I haven't been blogging. Actually, I've been recovering from a miscarriage, which has taken a lot longer than I would have liked.
Apparently 8 pregnancies in 12 years is a major strain on the body, particularly if you're anaemic and have low blood pressure to begin with. Sigh. I always prefer to live in the pleasant Stoic delusion that it's in accord with “right reason” to behave as though bodily limitations are the product of a weak will and that they are best treated with contempt. I finally hit the wall on that one, and now I'm having to reconsider my unwillingness to make concessions to somatic weakness. To all my fellow stoics out there: please feel free to tut-tut, shake your locks and bemoan the tyranny of externals. I'm totally letting down the side. In my defense, I've been ordered to do so by my husband and my doctor, so I can at least argue that it is fitting and in accord with my station in life :)
Anyways, on a more serious note, I'm slowly easing myself back into the saddle right now and there are two major topics that I've been mulling over during the course of my convalescence and which I'm considering as the major themes for the blog over the next month or two. One is Natural Law and NFP, the other is postmodernism.
Those of you who've read my New Oxford Review stuff will have some idea of where the natural law thing is going to go. I'm all in favour of natural law as it appears in Aquinas' treatise on natural law, that is, in the form of offering first precepts for moral reasoning which are universally accessible to all people regardless of culture or ideology. I have serious criticisms of the way that natural law is applied, however, in contemporary discourse – and particularly with the whole language game that's been generated to prop up Humanae Vitae and the practice of NFP. If I go this way, there'll be more about sex, and the subject matter is likely to be heavier.
If I deal with postmodernism, on the other hand, then I'll get to talk about fun things like church architecture, the difference between reasonableness and rationalism, and how I learned to stop worrying and love Foucault.
Let me know, either in the com-box or by e-mail (melindaATvulgatamagazineDOTorg) which you're more interested in reading and I should be back blogging regularly soon.


  1. Um, could you do one and then the other?


    And, bravo on overcoming the stoicism with bed-rest and mint chocolate. My husband is notoriously the stoic one in our pairing - driving himself into the ground on occasion - so I'm just gonna say, You people can be hard to live with! Take care of yourselves already!

  2. Here's one old guy who's been missing you and worrying a bit too. I'm so glad that you are doing OK, but I share (as much as a male can) in the loss a miscarriage represents. Many years ago my sister lost twins and I witnessed the trauma that produced. God bless and preserve you. And take care of yourself. There are a lot of us that value your witness.

    I'm agreeing with Finicky Cat in wanting to hear your take in both lines of thinking. I'm sure I'm not the only one to be unconvinced by the defenses of NFP. How is it not subverting the intent that sex lead to procreation? I can't get my mind around that one.

  3. Melinda,

    I'm sorry to hear about the miscarriage, but so glad you're on the mend.


    Mmmm, well Vatican II rearranged the hierarchical ends of marriage, which had consequences: divorce, euphemistically called 'annulment', and NFP. Although, in some defense of NFP, Pope Pius XII's now famous conference to Italian mid-wives approving in some way the 'rhythm method' set a precedent, also.


    NFP, as you well know, has long been excoriated by the 'rad trads', from Solange Hertz, Michael Matt, SSPX, etc. The grave reasons for using it have disappeared in the current milieu.

    I vote for NFP.

  4. So great to hear about Hildegard!

    I'd like to hear both, though my more immediate interest is in Natural Law and NFP.

    Please take care of yourself, also. x

  5. Voting for Post-modernism...

  6. Melissa...I am glad you are resting and taking care...I am sorry for your loss, and the general weariness that comes from having a body that has limitations while being a mother of a large brood.

  7. First: Melinda, Chris, and family, we're so sorry for your loss, and praying extra for you.

    Second: From where I sit, a thorough consideration of NFP/fertility care includes its medical application, NaProTechnology -- which should be the standard for women's healthcare. In this context, several years ago as a single woman I wrote about the woman of Matthew 9, who touched the cloak of Christ.

    The Orthodox wonder if the unnamed woman was also "Veronica," but we probably won't have that question resolved in this lifetime. As it turns out, she has an epilogue -- told by five early ecclesiastical historians, whose versions have been compiled by our favourite Japanese-American artist. And she has a name.

    You mention in the post above this one that you currently have anemia and excessive menstrual bleeding. I'm not a physician, but as a patient, I've done well with iron injections and cyklokapron (tranexamic acid). Enough that Steve Gershom's latest post resonated all the more.

    Anyway, I can very much recommend St Bernice as a patroness for what you're going through.


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