Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Dr. and Mrs. GrimmDaniel J. Grimm (’76) and his wife, Rose (Teichert ’76)Having obtained a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology in 2006; having completed 3,000 hours of supervised treatment of couples, families, and individuals; and having passed the two exams specified by the State of California, Daniel J. Grimm (’76) is now a licensed marriage and family therapist. He has an office in Ojai, Calif., and also sees clients at Stillpoint Family Resources in South Pasadena. Additionally, he continues to direct the Thomas Aquinas College Choir, which will be performing Bach’s Mass in B at its Advent Concert on November 30.


While many Catholics across the country, including numerous Thomas Aquinas College alumnae, have protested the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate by citing religious freedom, others are also challenging it on a more fundamental level. They are questioning not only the federal government’s power to force Catholic employers to provide contraceptives and abortifacients, but also its stated reasons for doing so. “Is it really,” they ask, “in the best interest of women, marriage and family, society, or the environment to promote the use of oral contraceptives and other such medications?”

No, says Dr. Pia de Solenni, an ethicist, theologian, member of the Thomas Aquinas College Class of 1993, and recipient of the 2001 Pontifical Prize of the Academies. Last Saturday Dr. de Solenni spoke at The Pill Kills 2012, a national symposium held in Washington, D.C., and sponsored by the American Life League and 30 other pro-life groups. Presenting the teachings of the Church, Dr. de Solenni drew on references ranging from popular culture to St. Thomas Aquinas, noting how modern conceptions of love and sexuality are inherently truncated and unfulfilling.

“All of our cultural references, and all of our examples of ‘chick lit’ — from Bridget Jones to Sex and the City to Bridesmaids — they’re all manifesting a deep dissatisfaction, a sense that you have to do things this way because that’s the way it’s done. And yet they’re all yearning for something more,” said Dr. de Solenni. “When the Church is looking at sexuality, there is a context here, and it is a context shaped by love. Contraception impedes the sexual act between spouses because it holds back fertility. It’s not a gift of self.”

Dr. de Solenni’s presentation is available in the above video, and the rest of the symposium can be found on the American Life League’s YouTube Channel.


Charles GoodrichOn May 14, 2008, two-year-old Charles Goodrich, son of Kathleen (Ellis ’99) and Glen (’00), was killed when struck by an out-of-control pickup truck whose driver and passengers were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This Friday the Goodrich family and many of their friends will gather by Charles’ gravesite, as they do every year around the anniversary of his death, to pray — for the three people in that truck.

Mrs. Goodrich explained this tradition in a Facebook posting last year:

“This coming May 14 is the third anniversary of my son Charles’ death. Most of my friends know this, though I suspect that some of you never heard about it, so really quickly, the bare facts are these:

“I was walking to the store pulling my two and a half year old son in a wagon, carrying my four-month-old infant in a baby carrier. At about 2:15 on a Wednesday afternoon, a couple of known gangsters were joyriding through the school zone I was walking through. The man at the wheel, Roberto Villanueva, two weeks out of prison on parole (and unlicensed) was high on cocaine. The owner of the pickup truck, Albert Garcia, was in the passenger seat drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle. Cindy Nunez, a mutual friend, was in the back seat. Horseplay in the front caused the truck to jump the curb, striking Charles’ wagon and killing him pretty much instantly. The driver regained control and sped away.

“Later on, Albert Garcia pleaded guilty (against the advice of his attorney) to various charges, and asked for full sentencing - he was the one most responsible for the accident. He is serving the third year of his 20 year sentence. Roberto Villanueva, a previous offender, negotiated a little more, but did eventually plead guilty to various charges, and was sentenced to seven years. According to his attorney at the time of sentencing, he has reconnected with his Catholic faith while in prison, and has requested Masses to be said for our family on the anniversary. Cindy Nunez, I don’t know about, but her daughter came to Charles’ visitation and abjectly apologized - their family is very broken.

So here is what I want. The anniversary is TAC Graduation Day, and most of you will be busy. So on Friday, May 13, I’ll be at the Santa Paula cemetery with my children, at 3pm, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for those three poor children of God. When people tell me they are praying for me, I appreciate it very much, and I know that it is the only thing pulling me through. But I am entirely wrapped in love and grace, surrounded by friends and family, supported by strangers and strengthened by the sacraments. These three people are vilified, tormented by guilt, and in probably the last place on earth where they can find comfort. They need your prayers.

“Christ said ‘Today I am sending you with My message of mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my Merciful Heart.’

“Come to the cemetery and join me in prayer, if you like, or if you can’t be there, pray wherever you are. If you don’t have time for the whole chaplet, pray this prayer: ‘O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus, as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You.’

“I’m not tagging or targeting anyone in this note. I would like as many people to know about it as possible, because I want as many prayers offered for their conversion and peace as possible, but I don’t want to hold myself up as a model of anything at all. Share it with anyone that you think would like to know about it —- share this note on your Facebook profile, send it to your e-mail list, whatever you like. But please pray for this dear intention of mine.”

For those who are interested in joining the Goodriches in their prayers this year, Mrs. Goodrich recently sent out the following invitation:

“Some people have asked me if we are doing anything public to make Charles’ feast day this year. As I did last year, I’ll be going over to the Santa Paula Cemetery on the Friday before (that’s this Friday, May 11) at 3pm to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the needs of the three people who were in the truck that day. Anyone is welcome to join me, in body or in spirit, at that hour or at whatever hour of the day they are able to join in. Feel free to pass this message on to anyone who may be interested.”

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.


For the past few months, the alumnae of Thomas Aquinas College  — in cities across the nation and from class years that span the decades — have taken leadership roles in opposing the the Health and Human Services Mandate that compels Catholic employers to purchase contraceptive, abortifacient, and sterilization coverage for their employees. Citing religious freedom and the Natural Law, these women have been powerful champions of the truth and defenders of the Church.

While proponents of the HHS mandate suggest that America’s women are uniformly on their side, and that opponents harbor misogynistic intentions, the alumnae of Thomas Aquinas College are proving them wrong. These intelligent, educated women — wives, mothers, and professionals — are  letting their opposition to the HHS mandate be heard, championing truth through the exercise of reason, and leading the way. Below are five prominent examples:

 

Eve (Bouchey ’97) McNeil

Eve (Bouchey ’97) McNeil Among the Thomas Aquinas College alumni who participated in nationwide protests against the HHS mandate on March 23 was Eve (Bouchey ’97) McNeil, who spoke at the Reno, Nev., event. “We don’t think Orthodox Jews should have to buy other people’s pork sandwiches. We don’t think Quakers should have to pay for anybody’s ammunition. The law that brought us out today is truly that extreme,” Mrs. McNeil told a cheering crowd. “The United States Department of Health and Human Services has violated Catholics’ right to their own conscience. They have decided that their opinion and their values matter more than ours. As a woman and as an American, I disagree!”

Yet the moment that generated the loudest applause was when Mrs. McNeil declared, “If there is a ‘War on Women,’ it is a war on Lady Liberty!”

 
Angela (Andersen ’87) Connelly

Angela (Andersen ’87) ConnellyAnother participant in the nationwide rallies against the HHS mandate was Angela (Andersen ’87) Connelly, a mother of nine and a member of the College’s Board of Governors. At a rally at Tollefson Plaza in Tacoma, Wash, Mrs. Connelly told the local newspaper, “This mandate is a challenge to the fabric, the core of our lives.” Moreover, she added, the fight against the mandate centers around “the right to religion and to follow our conscience.”


Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93)Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93)

Following the Obama Administration’s ostensible compromise to the mandate (which Thomas Aquinas College President Michael F. McLean rejected as “not acceptable” and “a distinction without a difference”), Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) penned a column for CatholicVote in which she wrote:

“President Obama has offered a so-called compromise on the HHS Mandate. Instead of forcing Catholic institutions to pay for insurance that covers contraceptives, insurance providers will be forced to cover contraception. Yep, same situation, just a different way of keeping books on it. Hmmm, when Enron was exposed, we called it accounting fraud, among other things. Bernie Madoff’s investment practices were denounced as a Ponzi scheme. But when the funny math is proposed by the White House, we call it a compromise.”

Later Dr. de Solenni appeared as part of a panel discussing the mandate at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. The panel, entitled Women Speak Out, featured notable experts from various religious, women’s, and public-policy groups. “This goes much broader than most religious groups because it’s about freedom per se,” said Dr. de Solenni, owner of Diotima Consulting, LLC. “It’s about whether or not individuals have the rights to make decisions for themselves.” Video and a podcast of the forum are available via the Heritage Foundation’s website.

 

Bekah (Sims ’01) Andrews

“I’m a mother to daughters,” said Bekah (Sims ’01) Andrews at the rally for religious freedom in Portland, Ore. “I don’t want them to look at me and say, ‘Mom, why didn't you stand up?’” Speaking to Portland’s KATU News, Mrs. Andrews said, “What you choose to do with your life, that’s your choice. I’m not here to tell you anything about that, but please extend me the same courtesy.”

 

Bernadette (Morey ’06) Moore

Bernadette MooreBernadette (Morey ’06) Moore and her children attended an anti-mandate rally in Fort Worth, Tex., where Mrs. Moore was quoted in a local news story. “They try to talk it up, that it’s about contraception, and it’s not,” she told Fox 4. “It’s not a Catholic issue. It’s a religious freedom issue.” 


Bernadette MooreAnother alumna of Thomas Aquinas College has spoken out against the HHS mandate that would require Catholic employers to purchase contraceptive, abortifacient, and sterilization coverage for their employees. Bernadette (Morey ’06) Moore and her children attended last Friday’s rally in defense of religious liberty in Fort Worth, Tex., where Mrs. Moore was quoted in a local news story. “They try to talk it up, that it’s about contraception, and it’s not,” she told Fox 4. “It’s not a Catholic issue. It’s a religious freedom issue.”

If any other alumni have stories or photos to share about their opposition to the mandate, please send them to tacweb@thomasaquinas.edu. Thank you!

Related:


“I’m a mother to daughters,” said Bekah (Sims ’01) Andrews at a recent rally for religious freedom in Portland, Ore. “I don’t want them to look at me and say, ‘Mom, why didn't you stand up?’”

Mrs. Andrews is just one of many alumni who participated in last week’s rallies against the HHS mandate that compels Catholic employers to purchase contraceptive, abortifacient, and sterilization coverage for their employees. “What you choose to do with your life, that’s your choice,” Mrs. Andrew’s told Portland’s KATU News. “I’m not here to tell you anything about that, but please extend me the same courtesy.”

If any other alumni have stories or photos to share from protests they attended, please send them to tacweb@thomasaquinas.edu. Thank you!

Related:


Eve McNeil

Another alumni participant in last Friday’s nationwide rallies against the HHS mandate was Eve (Bouchey ’97) McNeil, who was one of the speakers at the Reno, Nev., event. “We don’t think Orthodox Jews should have to buy other people’s pork sandwiches. We don’t think Quakers should have to pay for anybody’s ammunition. The law that brought us out today is truly that extreme,” Mrs. McNeil told a cheering crowd. “The United States Department of Health and Human Services has violated Catholics’ right to their own conscience. They have decided that their opinion and their values matter more than ours. As a woman and as an American, I disagree!”

Yet the moment that generated the loudest applause was when Mrs. McNeil declared, “If there is a ‘War on Women,’ it is a war on Lady Liberty!”

If any other alumni have stories or photos to share from protests they attended, please send them to tacweb@thomasaquinas.edu. Thank you!


Angela ConnellyAmong the Thomas Aquinas College alumni who participated in nationwide protests against the HHS mandate on Friday was Angela (Andersen ’87) Connelly, a mother of nine and a member of the College’s Board of Governors At a rally at Tollefson Plaza in Tacoma, Wash., Mrs. Connelly remarked, “This mandate is a challenge to the fabric, the core of our lives.” Moreover, she added, the fight against the mandate centers around “the right to religion and to follow our conscience.”

If any other alumni have stories or photos to share from protests they attended, please send them to tacweb@thomasaquinas.edu. Thank you!


Mary Rose (Bacani ’03) Valenti Ever since her graduation from the College, Mary Rose (Bacani ’03) Valenti has done beautiful work for Christ and His Church as a producer and reporter for Salt + Light Television, including documentaries about the Nashville Dominicans and St. André Bessette. Now we have word that Mrs. Valenti is leaving the world of broadcasting to serve the Lord in a very different capacity — as the full-time mother of her baby daughter, Chiara. “I have decided to stay home with her,” writes Mary Rose, “and see what opportunities God provides us.”

Baby Chiara is a blessed child. Thomas Aquinas College offers prayers of thanksgiving for her, her parents, and all of her mother’s great work — past, present, and future.


Chez VH

“Love2learn Mom” is an alumna of the College, a wife, a mother of six (including a member of the Class of 2015), and — in her spare time — a blogger, chronicling her musings and the details of family life over at Chez VH. In a recent post, she had these insights about the blessings that the College’s use of the Socratic Method has been in her life:

I strongly believe in the concept of changing the world by changing one's own self. Our culture today, and our human nature in general I suppose, tends to focus on what the other guy is doing wrong. Any critique of myself or my favorite politician (or whatever) is viewed as an attack. I believe that we will never get anywhere good in politics until we hold ourselves and "our side" (whichever side that may be) accountable for our faults and stop making excuses.

I think this is related to part of what makes traditional liberal arts education (such as what my husband and I encountered at Thomas Aquinas College) so valuable — especially in an age where education is so often considered to be equated with a list of information stored in one's head.

In our round-table, seminar-style classes, we learned to take some else's ideas, make sure we understood them, formulate our own opinions about the material, articulate those opinions to others and thus lay them open to challenge and critique. We had to sort out the criticism as objectively as possible in a context that helped us not just respond emotionally to the fact that someone disagreed with us, but work our way through the questions and problems in a reasonably logical manner. The whole program helped us to develop skills that I find myself using on a daily basis in the real world — to fully understand what others are saying and respond in an appropriate, not a reactionary manner.