Katie van Schaijik

Joined: Aug. 12, 2011


Restless, melancholic soul of Irish descent. Born and raised in Connecticut, married to a Dutchman, mother of two daughters and three sons. I love books, conversation, friendship, delicious food, gardens, long walks and beautiful places. I am easily ensnared in politics and web-browsing. I crave silence, sweetness, poetry and peace. I am always wanting to write and ever-failing to write. All my hope is in God’s power and will to save; all my trust is in His promise.

Most recent posts by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)

Attending to the interior

Dec. 21 at 5:54pm | Comments: 2 | Most recent comment: Dec. 21 at 9:59pm

At Mass this morning I was struck again by something I've noticed before. Mary's response to the angel's announcement that she would bear a child, "How can this be, for I do not know man?" is outwardly very similar to Zechariah's, when an angel appears to him and tells him that his wife Elizabeth will bear a son. "How can I know this? I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years?" Yet, Mary's question is favorably...

Random personal encounter

Dec. 10 at 4:32pm | Comments: 0

I had a funny experience today at my weekly hour of adoration. There was a man in the chapel I'd never seen before. Sixty-something, grey-haired and bearded, he was a bit disheveled looking, with the red-rimmed eyes of illness or addiction. He looked at me with an intense, plaintive expression when I arrived. I smiled and said prayers for him, half expecting to be accosted for cash. (It's happened before at this chapel.) At some points during my hour he...

Some power struggles are good and necessary

Dec. 4 at 2:18pm | Comments: 4 | Most recent comment: Dec. 8 at 11:43am

Power struggles are a consequence of the fall in Eden. Human persons are meant to live as equals. Christians are called to give ourselves in love and service. The strong, in particular, are responsible to serve the weak, the rich the poor, the well the sick. But it doesn't follow that all power struggles are wrong. Sometimes they are called for. Whenever someone takes what is ours by right, or usurps a prerogative, or treats us with condescenion instead of...

The problem with “consenting adults”

Nov. 21 at 9:46am | Comments: 9 | Most recent comment: Nov. 23 at 2:09pm

The operative ethical principle in our society seems to be: "Anything goes, provided there's no coercion. If it's between consulting adults, it's no one else's business." I had a conversation with a Catholic libertarian friend along these lines not long ago, when I linked this article about how Sweden has managed to dramatically reduce prostitution by adjusting its laws to focus on the problem of the exploitation of women. The clients are punished by law; the prostitutes are offered help...

Cutting ties

Nov. 19 at 10:02am | Comments: 8 | Most recent comment: Nov. 29 at 11:46am

I've heard many Christians, including priests, teach that "we have to stay in relationship" and that "nothing is more important than unity." In other words, they hold that it's not okay to cut ties. To me, this seems manifestly false—out of accord with Scripture, Church teaching, and ordinary moral experience.  At 17, I took a life-saving course, and learned that a drowning person has to be approached from behind, because he will instinctively treat his rescuer as a...

Latest comments by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)

Re: Attending to the interior

Dec. 21 at 9:59pm | see this comment in context

Probably I got it from him and forgot. :)

Re: Some power struggles are good and necessary

Dec. 8 at 11:43am | see this comment in context

A qualification on my point in response to Rhett:

I don't want to seem to say that we always have to fight for our rights, when those rights are being trampled by someone else. Sometimes, abandoning our rights can be a sacrifice of love, as Jesus did in allowing himself to be crucified.

I only want to say that sometimes the moral call of the moment is to stand on our rights or defend our boundaries—in one way or another to refuse to cooperate with our own illegitimate subordination.

This is especially true for people who have a habit of being too passive or slavish.

Re: Some power struggles are good and necessary

Dec. 7 at 6:31pm | see this comment in context

I think it's important to keep the context of that verse in mind. The preceding verses indicate that what outrages St. Paul is not so much that Christians have disputes with each other, but that they are resorting to the "ungodly" Roman courts to settle them. Better to be cheated than to bring your complaint to a corrupt secular court.

If disputes arise (which is regretable in itself), Paul says, "appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?"

He is reprimanding the Corinthians for their corruption and their wordly-mindedness. He is not prohibiting them from standing up for their rights. He himself stands on his rights as a Roman citizen when he's arrested.

Re: Cutting ties

Nov. 28 at 10:23am | see this comment in context

About St. Francis' father, if he repented, I don't recall the story. And if it was a deep and true repentance, I think I would have. It would have been a beautiful and amazing story.

For a proud, ambitious and habitually-egotistical man to humble himself in front of a son who has publicly embarrassed him is very difficult. Like a heavily-laden camel having to pass through the eye of a needle. It can only happen through a miracle of grace.

We can hope he was saved in the end though, even if like a man escaping from a burning house. God's mercy is big enough.

Very often that kind of egotism is as much an inheritance as a vice, if what I'm reading is true.

Re: Cutting ties

Nov. 28 at 10:11am | see this comment in context

Thank you, Leonie.

I think there's no question that we are witnessing an epidemic of narcissism and spiritual abuse. And yet, those who experience it often feel very alone and not-believed. Their particular plight isn't recognized or addressed in conventional Christian wisdom. When they turn to the Church (in the "People of God" sense), they get bad advice, like, "You have to forgive," or "You have to stay in relationship," together with discrete forms of victim-blaming. Even to use the term narcissism is to be condemned as hysterical or outrageous or whatever.

I remember an online discussion among Legion critics and defenders just as the truth about Maciel was becoming known. I said that a woman I know told me, trembling, that she felt "spiritually raped" by the Legion. (She had been on a retreat where a third party was listening in on confessions and taking notes.) I said to one of the Legion's more passionate defenders, "What do you have to say to a woman like her?" 

His response: "I'd say she's a bit hysterical."

This is something I see often. Rape victims don't come forward because they're not believed.

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  • Re: Attending to the interior
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