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Archbishop's Desk

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  • Trusting in God’s mercy

    Since The Catholic Transcript is published only monthly, this edition looks forward to Easter...

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Milestones

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  • Fairfield University alum makes $10 million gift to his alma mater

    John C. Meditz FAIRFIELD – A Fairfield University alumnus and trustee, John C. Meditz, ’70, of...

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Youth

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  • Bee spells victory for students

    Cameron Murray, fourth-grade state champion of the annual spelling bee sponsored by the...

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demarco_halfIf we can answer one simple question correctly and carry out its logical implications, we can gain an understanding of ethics that is an outline for good behavior, joy and fulfillment for all human beings. The question is this: To whom does the mother’s milk belong?

The natural evidence indicates conclusively that the mother’s milk belongs to the baby she is breastfeeding. From the standpoint of its ingredients, the milk is ideally suited to the child’s biological needs. It provides proper nourishment and strengthens the child’s immune system, protecting him or her from infection and disease. The milk is of no special benefit to the mother. Psychologically, breast feeding fosters a loving bond with the mother and helps give the child both a sense of self as well as a sense of belonging. Nature has made it abundantly clear that mother’s milk is intended for the child and to be provided by the mother.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, combining insight with a touch of humor, once stated, "A pair of substantial mammary glands has the advantage over the two hemispheres of the most learned professor’s brain in the art of compounding a nutritive fluid for infants." Nature does naturally and spontaneously what science cannot do deliberately and painstakingly. Can we say that breast milk is better than any udder milk?

The demonstrable fact that the milk belongs to the baby establishes the fact that a human being is not an isolated entity riveted to its own selfish needs. The mother is for the child, just as Adam, from whose side Eve was taken, is for his wife, and Christ on the Cross, from whose side gushed blood and water, is for all other human beings.

In other words, human beings are persons, which is to say, they have their own unique individualities, but also live and love in relation to other persons. A human is far more than a mere individual. The network that results, ultimately, from a series of interpersonal relationships is a good society of ethical people.

We can say, therefore, that the image of the mother giving milk to her infant serves as a prototype for all ethical human relationships. Ethics honors the nursing mother by recognizing that she sets in motion a series of interpersonal relationships. The father is needed to provide for his children something other than food. As theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar contends, mother and father must provide both a "hearth and a horizon." Hence, the fundamental role of marriage and the family comes into view. The family, then, becomes the fundamental unit of society. In this way, the milk of human kindness permeates society and nourishes all its inhabitants.

When St. Augustine said of the nursing Madonna that "[s]he gave milk to our bread," he was referring to the Eucharist and how it provides both corporeal as well as spiritual benefits for all human beings. The nursing mother, then, is a prototype for all ethical relationships insofar as she represents the fullness of personality, offering to others both bodily and spiritual nourishment.

It has been said that breastfeeding is a gift that lasts a lifetime. The truth of this statement lies in the fact that breastfeeding offers a powerful and long-lasting experience, as well as an icon, of what it means to be a person. And being a person, in the ethical sense, is to live in relation to others in a spirit of giving and receiving.

Ethics, as Pope John Paul II liked to say, is actually nothing more than "anthropological realism." What he meant by this, simply, is that we behave ethically when we are acting as real human beings. We may learn a great deal at our mother’s knee, but that learning process had its origin at our mother’s breast.

The mother’s breast is the one material reality that simulates the spiritual reality of love. Just as love grows by giving it away, mother’s milk replenishes itself to the degree that it, too, is given away. All other material things are depleted when given away. It is the glory of love and generosity that, as Christ said, will increase our lot a hundredfold.

Ethics need not be a difficult subject to grasp. All we need do is understand that a mother’s milk belongs not to her or to anyone other than her baby. Ethics, then, far from leading people into the morass of relativism or skepticism, is really baby simple.

 

Dr. Donald DeMarco is professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell and Mater Ecclesiae College in Greenville, R.I.

 

Events Calendar

April 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
Date :  April 13, 2014
14
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
Date :  April 14, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
Date :  April 15, 2014
16
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven, East Haven, United States
The annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that began on March 5 continues at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at [...]
Date :  April 16, 2014
17
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
Date :  April 17, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 18, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 19, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 20, 2014
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07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 21, 2014
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07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 22, 2014
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06:00 PM
Mercy Hall, University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
WEST HARTFORD – The Art Gallery at the University of St. Joseph (USJ) will present the 2014 Vincenza Uccello Fine Arts Lecture featuring [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Full of Grace: Gentle Yoga and Centering Prayer will meet for seven Wednesdaysat the Caritas Christi [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven, East Haven, United States
The annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that began on March 5 continues at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 23, 2014
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06:00 PM
Pope John Paul II School, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Pope John Paul II Catholic School in New Britain will have an open house for new and prospective students [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Dr. Tim Gray's study of the Gospel of Luke expliains the fundamental themes of Jesus' messianic mission. [...]
07:00 PM
St. Brigid Parish, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The St. Brigid Ladies Guild annual Monte Carlo Whist Party will be held at 7 p.m. April 24 in St. Brigid [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:00 AM
St. Martha School, Enfield, Enfield, United States
St. Martha School in Enfield will hold an open house on Thursday, April 24, from 10-11:30 a.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Tours will be conducted; and teachers, students, parents of students and administrators will [...]
Date :  April 24, 2014
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06:30 PM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
An international food, wine and beer tasting will be held to benefit Immaculate Conception Shelter and [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 25, 2014
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04:00 PM
Connor Chapel, University of St. Joseph
HARTFORD – Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus will join the combined choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony [...]
06:30 PM
St. Mary School, Newingtonn, Newington, United States
St. Mary School in Newington will host its annual wine and beer tasting event from 6:30-9:30 pm. March 1. [...]
06:30 PM
St. Mary School, Newingtonn, Newington, United States
St. Mary School's annual wine tasting and auction will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. April 26. The event will be hosted by NBC TV personality Brad Field.  Some of the items to be [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
07:30 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, will present music and prayer for the Easter seaso at 7:30 p.m. [...]
09:00 AM
St. Monica Church, Northford, Northford, United States
NORTHFORD – St. Monica's Rosary Society will have its spring craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 26 [...]
09:00 AM
St. Mary-St. Michael School, Derby, Derby, United States
DERBY – Back by popular demand, organizers say, St. Mary-St. Michael School will sponsor a community shred day from 9 a.m. to noon April 26 at the school, located at 14 Seymour Ave.  Eco Shred [...]
09:30 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
"Making Friends with the False Self," a contemplative prayer program, will be presented by Father Bill [...]
Date :  April 26, 2014
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02:30 PM
St. Ann Church, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St.  Ann Church in Bristol will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on April 27 with a Mass at 2:30 p.m. [...]
03:00 PM
Legion of Christ Seminary, Cheshire, Cheshire, United States
A Divine Mercy Holy Hour will be held at 3 p.m. April 27 at the Legion of Christ Seminary in Cheshire. It [...]
03:00 PM
Mary Our Queen Church, Plantsville, Southington, United States
Divine Mercy Holy Hour - Mary Our Queen Church, Southington, 3-4 p.m. April 27th.  Benediction, Homily, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Veneration of relic of St. [...]
04:00 PM
St. Michael Church, Litchfield CT
HARTFORD – Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus will join the combined choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
11:30 AM
Pope John Paul II School, New Britain, New Britain, United States
The new St. John Paul II Catholic School in New Britain will be re-dedicated on April 27, when a series of [...]
12:45 PM
Charter Oak Cultural Center/Riverfront Mortensen Plaza, Hartford, United States
NEW HAVEN – The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) of the Archdiocese of Hartford, in [...]
Date :  April 27, 2014
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07:00 PM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
09:00 AM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
Date :  April 29, 2014
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07:00 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
HAMDEN – Caritas Christi Center will sponsor a day bus trip to St. Joseph the Worker Shrine in Lowell, [...]
07:00 PM
St. Anthony Parish Center, New Haven, New Haven, United States
The St. Anthony Society of St. Anthony Parish will have its 37th annual raffle and card party at 7 p.m. April 30 in [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Full of Grace: Gentle Yoga and Centering Prayer will meet for seven Wednesdaysat the Caritas Christi [...]
09:00 AM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
09:00 AM
Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Plainville, Plainville, United States
Our Lady of Mercy Parish will offer a five-part program for lay Catholics titled “We the People of [...]
Date :  April 30, 2014

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