Mother gets a gift 71 years after her baby girl’s birth

Since Patricia Hamlin and her biological mother Brooke Mayo reunited earlier this year, they have discovered they have the same almond-shaped eyes, the same fine hair, the same crinkle of the nose when they smile. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) More photos

For decades, Brooke Mayo believed her daughter, born of rape and given up for adoption, was dead. Then a letter arrived.

By Scott Gold

The host was a good cook, famous for his mashed potatoes. No — not potatoes. Beans. Baked beans. That was it. Brooke Mayo held a finger to her cheek. “Old age is getting to me,” she said at last.

The images of that night are somewhere in that head of hers. They’re clear as day, just a little hard to find, like a carousel of slides stashed in the attic a long time ago. After all, it’s been 72 years. Brooke Mayo was 19 then — bright and beautiful.

It was late November in 1941. Europe was in the grip of war, Pearl Harbor was days away, and Brooke was preparing to move to London with a civilian Army corps. But for one night, everyone would try to forget all that. There was a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills to kick off the holiday season. Nice, not too fancy. The famous baked beans. A turkey. The host wore a belt buckle encrusted with tiny diamonds.

Brooke had driven herself to the party. After dinner, she walked down a set of stairs to head home. He came out of nowhere, she said, and raped her. She never saw his face.

You didn’t go to the police. Not back then. “They would have said it was my fault,” Brooke said. “In those days, the man was never at fault. For anything.”

When she found out she was pregnant, she considered getting an abortion. But it would have been a back-alley thing. “Women were dying,” Brooke said. “I wanted to live.”

So she went home. She went home to her mother, and she cried, and together, they made a decision: Brooke would postpone her plans to move to London. She would have the baby. “But I’d have to give her up.”

Patricia Hamlin, left, and her biological mother Brooke Mayo are photographed at Brooke’s home in Paso Robles. Patricia looks uncannily like a painting of Brooke that was done in the 1970s. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) More photos

The baby arrived one morning in 1942. Cherub-cheeked, just like her mother.

When you were giving a baby up for adoption, they were supposed to just whisk her away. But a little before midnight, a kindly nurse bent the rules and brought her into the room for a few minutes.

Brooke named her Delphine.

“She was so beautiful to me,” Brooke said. “I held that little darling. But then I handed her back. I handed her back and I wasn’t going to think about her again.”

Brooke moved to London not long after the birth, staying for a good chunk of the war — arranging housing and other logistics for military officers, scampering underground into the Tube when the bomb sirens went off, gas mask in hand.

After she came back to America, she called to check on Delphine. Just to make sure she was OK.

“I called the hospital,” Brooke said. “The lady said she had passed away. I couldn’t believe my ears. I said: ‘You mean she’s dead?’ She said: ‘Yes. That’s it. She’s dead.'”

Brooke begged the woman for more information. But there wasn’t any.

It felt like Delphine had barely existed in the first place. And now she was gone.

Patricia Hamlin holds her 5-month-old son, Kevin, at their home in Wichita, Kan., in 1962. (Family photo)

Time marched on. Nothing to be done about that.

Brooke worked as a fashion model for a spell — “hats and stuff.” She became a showgirl, and moved for the work, to L.A. and New York. She was a voracious learner; at every stop, she took classes at a local college: mathematics at UCLA, drafting at NYU.

She doesn’t drink now — but back in the day? Please. To this day, she starts stories with things like: “One time, when I was going with a bookie …” She wound up in a few movies. She recalls giving Sammy Davis Jr. a ride to his agent’s office.

She had two more daughters, finally found the love of her life with husband No. 4, and learned accounting to help him with his CPA practice in Los Angeles.

She’d wanted to live. And she did — a good life. A nice life. But the memory of Delphine was always with her — a weight, a yearning.

She kept a box of yahrzeit candles, a traditional memorial in Judaism, in the kitchen, next to the breakfast cereal and the electric can opener. Every August, on the 12th, she would take one out and light it, for the baby, for the dead. She did it for 66 years.

Patricia Hamlin was stumped.  The phone had rung at her house in Wichita, Kan., one day in 1993. It was her older brother, calling from Omaha. His wallet had been stolen, and he needed a new driver’s license. For that, he needed his birth certificate. When he couldn’t find his, he called Los Angeles County, where he and Patricia were born. But the clerks couldn’t find him in the computer system.

Patricia Hamlin, left, is shown with her brother, Ron Rodney, in 1983 in Omaha. It was Ron’s hunt for his birth certificate in 1993 that led Patricia to begin searching for her biological mother. (Family photo) 

That’s weird, Patricia thought. “So I called too.” The clerk couldn’t find her either, and told her there was only one explanation. Her records were sealed. Because she was adopted.

Patricia was 51 at the time. She knew her life story, or thought she did, and it was pretty simple.

She had been born in Burbank, in 1942. Her father was an engineer with Lockheed Martin, and when he took a job with Boeing, he was transferred to Wichita. She helped run an oil-drilling company in Kansas for 18 years. Now she was a middle-aged woman who liked grandfather clocks and charm bracelets, the mother of three grown children, a volunteer for the Red Cross and an animal shelter.

But she’d never been told that she was adopted.

“So now,” she said, “I needed to get my head straight. As you might imagine.”

That day, she launched a quest to find out what happened. To find herself.

The adoption, it turned out, was “closed,” conducted quietly and privately, as many were at the time, orchestrated by her biological mother’s doctor and the couple who would become the only parents she had ever known. There wasn’t much of a paper trail.

An organization that provides information to adopted adults determined that her papers had been filed in Boone County, Ark., on the north side of the Ozarks — probably, the group surmised, because the doctor had found a judge willing to sign off on the adoption there.

I found her. I couldn’t believe it. I’d been looking for 20 years.”

— Patricia Hamlin

Through friends, Patricia was introduced to the local mayor in Arkansas, then the first of several lawyers who promised to find her records, and the first of several to fail. She flew to California to file a court petition to receive a copy of her original birth certificate, not the amended version she had at home.

Finally, last year, she got the number of a new judge in Arkansas.

“I just called him. He said: ‘Yep. It’s been long enough. Send me eight dollars and fifty cents.”

The paperwork was a window into another time, into the ways the truth was bent to get the deal done, including the suggestion that her adoptive father commuted each day from Arkansas to his office in Burbank. But there was the record of her original name — Delphine. There too, written in tidy, loopy cursive, was the name of her biological mother.

“I found her,” Patricia said. “I couldn’t believe it. I’d been looking for 20 years. Now I just had to figure out if she wanted anything to do with me.”

Earlier this year, Brooke Mayo was at home in Paso Robles. Life was pretty comfortable, and there were few signs that it was going to change.  She and her husband had moved here almost 20 years ago. Since he died, she had lived alone on a cul-de-sac in a planned community dotted with sycamore trees. There was a cat, Bugsy, who slept out front in a flower pot. There were four dogs rescued from the animal shelter, ruled by a trembling Chihuahua with an overbite, name of Killer. There was an old-timey sign hanging in the restroom: “Baths. Fresh, 10¢. Used, 1¢.”

There were, still, candles for Delphine, next to the breakfast cereal and the electric can opener.

The postman knocked on the door. Brooke’s caretaker, Robin Barris, signed for the letter and brought it to her.

“I said: ‘Well, open it up.’ She read it to me. I just kept saying the same thing: ‘They told me she was dead. They told me she was dead.’ I thought somebody was playing a joke on me.”

But Robin, the caretaker, showed her the last page. There’s your signature, she said. It’s you. It’s her.

Brooke emailed Patricia with the OK to call, and the phone rang a short while later.

“Are you sitting down?” Patricia asked.

“I said: ‘Yes. I am,’ ” Brooke remembered. “She said: ‘This is your daughter.’ And she said: ‘Are you all right?’ And I said: ‘Yes. Yes. You have no idea.’ There is no way to describe what I felt. For the rest of my days that I have on this Earth, I will remember that feeling.”

They talked for two hours, putting together the pieces, but realizing too that some things will never be solved: They will never know the identity of Patricia’s biological father, who attacked Brooke so many years ago in the Hollywood Hills; they will never know whether the hospital told Brooke that Delphine was dead by mistake, or so she would stop looking. 

They realized that for a time, when Patricia was little, they lived just miles apart, in Burbank and Hollywood. As a girl, Patricia was one of Adohr Farms’ “Adohr-able Babies,” and her face was on billboards that Brooke drove past time and again.

Patricia Hamlin, 71, left, visits her 90-year-old mother, Brooke Mayo, at Brooke’s home in Paso Robles. Since the two first met earlier this year, they’ve developed an easy banter. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) More photos

This summer, Patricia, now 71, visited Brooke, now 90, for the first time. When Patricia walked in, it was as if they were looking in the mirror: the same almond-shaped eyes, the same crinkle of the nose when they smile, the same fine, silky hair. Patricia looks uncannily like a painting that was done of Brooke in the 1970s.

Patricia’s husband, Richard, quietly kept a list of their similarities: They both needed glasses as girls. They are both left-handed. They are both klutzes. They both collect grandfather clocks. They have the same taste in jewelry, in home decor. They have virtually identical personalities.

They’ve developed an easy banter. They trade off walkers — Patricia missed a step recently and wrenched her ankle — and both accuse one another of driving recklessly. Brooke has met grandchildren she never knew about, and great-grandchildren are next on the list.

“It’s a gift,” Brooke said, shaking her head. “It’s a gift that God gave me. I must have done something right in this world. You know?”

They are spending the holidays together for the first time. On this, they needed to meet in the middle: Brooke is Jewish, and Patricia was raised Christian. So, in the living room, a stuffed Santa Claus sits next to the menorah. There are gifts under a small, sparkling tree, which Patricia calls a Christmas tree, and Brooke calls a Hanukkah bush.

On Christmas, they will exchange presents. They’ll make prime rib.

“I will thank the Lord,” Patricia said.

“And I will ask the Lord to bless this house and all of the people in it,” said Brooke. “And to bless this family.”

“Then we’ll eat,” they said, at the same time. They laughed. It was the same laugh, the sound of two women who have discovered that life can feel very long and very short, messy and perfect, all at the same time.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-c1-mother-child-reunion-20131225-2-dto,0,369057.htmlstory#ixzz2obMgNdoD

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-c1-mother-child-reunion-20131225-2-dto,0,369057.htmlstory#ixzz2obKpFhsX

Vanishing Catholics

Vanishing Catholics

According to recent demographic surveys, it seems there are presently 30 million people in the U.S. who identify themselves as “former Catholics.” That figure is both surprising, and, for Catholics, disheartening.

 

 BY 

Over the past 50 years or so, a profound change, other than that effected by Vatican II, has taken place in the Catholic Church. It might be described as the phenomenon of “vanishing Catholics.” The Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor, has identified four major challenges facing the Church today. First on his list is the exodus of young adults from the Church.  According to recent demographic surveys, it seems there are presently 30 million people in the U.S. who identify themselves as “former Catholics.” That figure is both surprising, and, for Catholics, disheartening. It represents a little less than 10 percent of the total population of this country. It also means that had those persons remained Catholic, approximately one in three Americans would be identified as Catholic. Only two religious groups represent a larger percentage of the U.S. population: Protestants (cumulatively) and current Catholics.

This phenomenon is disheartening not only for bishops and priests, but also for faithful Catholics generally. Many older Catholics are saddened at the sight of their children and grandchildren abandoning the Church.

Questions naturally arise. What has caused such a massive defection? How might one account for this phenomenon? It hardly seems possible that any single factor could explain a phenomenon of such magnitude. Various reasons for people leaving the Church are well-known.  Many of them have been operative from the earliest times of Christianity. In his first letter to Timothy, St. Paul reminds him that “The Spirit has explicitly said that during the last times some will desert the faith and pay attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines …” (1 Tm 4:1-7).  In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of dissensions and divisions among the faithful (1 Cor 1:10-16).

From the first centuries up to modern times, there have been doctrinal differences (heresies) which led to great numbers separating themselves from the Roman Catholic Church. Many others have left the Church for what can be described as practical reasons, rather than doctrinal differences.

Among the latter, there are many who separated themselves from the Church because of marriage problems. There are those who left because they became greatly dissatisfied with inadequate preaching, uninviting liturgy, and minimal hospitality in their parishes. It seems worth noting that expecting church attendance and public worship to be therapeutically satisfying often leads to disappointment and eventual alienation.

Not a few have left the Church because of real or perceived mistreatment by bishops or pastors. Reactions have a way of becoming overreactions. An overreaction to clericalism and paternalism in the Church resulted in autonomy becoming absolute. Evelyn Underhill offered a helpful analogy in this regard. She likened the Church to the Post Office. Both provide an essential service, but it is always possible to find an incompetent and annoying clerk behind the counter.  Persons who expect all representatives of the Church to live up to the ideals proposed by the Church will typically become disillusioned and leave. Persons with such expectations would have left the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Most recently, a cause for many leaving the Church is the scandal of clergy sexual abuse. This has been a stumbling block not only for those directly affected, but for Catholics generally.  Because of the questionable role played by a number of bishops, their moral authority is diminished. The time when bishops could command is past. Now, they can only hope to persuade and invite. Loyalty to bishops had been widely identified with loyalty to the Church. As the former loyalty diminished, so did the latter.

Clearly there are times when the Church is more of an obstacle than a help to faith.  At Vatican II, the Council Fathers pointed out that the Church is always in danger of concealing, rather than revealing, the authentic features of Christ. Often enough, members of the Church’s leadership have been guilty of a sin typical of many religious teachers—namely, being more concerned about preservation of their authority than about the truth.

While specific reasons can be cited, it is helpful to recognize several underlying attitudes that are operative. (1) There is an anti-dogmatic spirit which is suspicious of the Church’s emphasis on fidelity to traditional teachings. (2) There is the widespread belief that one can be free to ignore, deny, or minimize one or more received doctrines without feeling compelled to break with the Church. (3) There is also the belief that, guided by their own conscience, regardless of how that matches—or fails to match—generally accepted Catholic teaching, persons can develop their own understanding of what it means to be Catholic. Someone has coined a phrase that describes persons with those attitudes, calling them “cafeteria Catholics,” i.e., those who pick and choose what to accept of official Catholic teaching and ignore the rest.

Two questions arise in the face of the phenomenon of “vanishing Catholics.”  One question is of a more theological and ecclesial level: are those departed to be considered heretics or schismatics? A second question arises at the practical level: how can those who have left be reunited with the Church? Regarding the first question, it is worth noting that, while speaking of dissension and division among the faithful, and of separation from the community of believers, the New Testament does not make a distinction between heresy and schism. Since the definition of the Pope’s primacy of jurisdiction, it is difficult to see how there can be a schism that is not a heresy.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (§2089), heresy “is the obstinate, post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith, or it is, likewise, an obstinate doubt concerning the same.” Schism is “the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff, or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” The Theological Dictionary, compiled by Karl Rahner and Herbert Vorgrimler, defines heresy as “primarily an error in matters of faith. The heretic takes a truth out of the organic whole, which is the faith, and because he looks at it in isolation, misunderstands it, or else denies a dogma.”  “Schism occurs when a baptized person refuses to be subject to the Pope, or to live in communion with the members of the Church, who are subject to the Pope.”

In any case, given the variety of reasons for people leaving the Church, the degree of separation, and especially assuming good will on the part of those leaving, it is difficult to classify them as heretics or schismatics. Church authorities have the right and the duty to take measures against heresy and schism when those become evident. Clear denial of a dogma cannot be tolerated. But between this and a purely private, material heresy, there are many shades. Not every challenge to accepted theology is heretical. There are many partial non-identifications that endanger faith and unity but do not rise to the level of schism. Nor does every act of disobedience to human laws in the Church imply schism.

While speculative questions about heresy and schism are significant and need to be addressed, they pale in comparison to the practical question of how those departed can be reunited with the Church. That question is as complex as are the reasons for people leaving the Church. That question is further complicated when one addresses the question of the underlying attitudes that are operative.

Obviously, the Church must work at removing any obstacles to reunion. With Vatican II, that work was begun. The Council recognized the Church is semper reformanda, always needing to be reformed. The actual return of individuals requires something more than an adjustment in Church practices or new programs. It is a matter of God touching the individual with his grace.

A final question that can prove troubling is how the massive defection from the Church is to be reconciled with God’s providence. This is simply one of many instances in which we are challenged to believe in an omnipotent God, who is also a loving, provident Father. Providence is not an occasional, intrusive, manipulative presence, but one that is with us both in tragedy and in joy, in the joy that consists not so much in the absence of suffering, as in the awareness of God’s presence. To find the strength to experience calmly the difficulties and trials that come into our lives is a tremendous challenge. If, however, we are able to do that, every event can be “providential.” In a sermon on the feast of the Ascension, Pope Leo the Great said: “For those who abandon themselves to God’s providential love, faith does not fail, hope is not shaken, and charity does not grow cold.”

There can be a very subtle, almost imperceptible temptation to think we know better than God how things should be. We can be like the naive little girl, who, in her prayers, told God that if she were in God’s place, she would make the world better. And God replied: “That is exactly what you should be doing.”

 

http://www.hprweb.com/2013/12/vanishing-catholics/

CDF PREFECT MÜLLER: “LEFEBVRIANS ARE DE FACTO SCHISMATIC”, LIBERATION THEOLOGY FOUNDER “HAS ALWAYS BEEN ORTHODOX”

 

 

 

 

 

 

CDF PREFECT MÜLLER: “LEFEBVRIANS ARE DE FACTO SCHISMATIC”, LIBERATION THEOLOGY FOUNDER “HAS ALWAYS BEEN ORTHODOX”

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Posted by New Catholic  rorate-caeli.blogspot

 From the interview granted by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and President of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’, Abp. Gerhard Müller, to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, published this Sunday:
 
With the failure of discussions, what is the position of the Lefebvrians?
 
“The canonical excommunication due to the illicit [episcopal] ordination was lifted from the bishops, but the sacramental one remains, de facto, for the schism; because they have removed themselves away from communion with the Church. That being said, we do not close the door, ever, and we invite them to reconcile. But they also must change their approach and accept the conditions of the Catholic Church, and the Supreme Pontiff as the ultimate criterion of membership.”
 
What can you say about the meeting between Francis and [Fr. Gustavo] Gutiérrez on September 11?
 
“Theological currents go through difficult moments, things are debated and clarified. But Gutiérrez has always been orthodox. We Europeans must get over the notion of being the center, without, on the other hand, underestimating ourselves. To broaden the horizons, to find a balance: I have learned this from him. Opening up to a concrete experience: seeing povery and also the joy of the people. A Latin American Pope has been a heavenly sign. Gustavo was overwhelmed. I was as well. And also Francis.”
 
(Source, in Italian; tip: Il Blog di Raffaella)
 

Oh good grief! Homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, get over it!

The Daley Gator

Of course, many things are sinful, according to the Bible, and EVERYONE, yes EVERYONE is a sinner, according to the New Testament. Even Christians are sinners aren’t they? Like the bumper sticker says, Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. Here is the thing that drives me crazy. If you do not agree with what the Bible says about sin, or Homosexuality, or drunkeness, or gambling to excess, or lying, then by all means do not become a Christian. But honestly, this idiotic notion that we can just change what the Bible says to be more PC is a fool’s errand. Smitty has more on one such fool

Such as O. Wesley Allen Jr.:

But other Bible experts said the Scripture Robertson cited isn’t quite clear about homosexuality.
“A lot of people misread this text because it’s so complicated,” said O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor at Lexington Theological…

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Well, another American icon irredeemably tarnished…..

A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

Another story via LifeSiteNews, the 2014 Rose Parade will conclude with, you guessed it, a sodomite pseudo-marriage:

It’s the West Coast equivalent of New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – the world-famous Tournament of Roses Parade held each New Year’s Day in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena. The parade, featuring giant festive floats colored not with paint, but with millions of fresh-cut flowers, usually draws a huge crowd: Last year, an estimated 800,000 people showed up to watch in person, while another 80 million around the world watched on television.

This year, the event’s viewers will see more than just the family-friendly parade they’ve come to expect over the event’s more than 100-years-long history – they’ll also witness a controversial same-sex “wedding,” courtesy of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).

According to the Pasadena Star News, a pair of homosexual hair stylists will “marry” on the parade route…

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Catholic High School Students Stage Mass Protest After Vice-Principal Is Fired For Same-Sex Marriage

 

Eastside Catholic School Students Protest 

Students at a private Catholic high school in a Seattle, Washington suburb have thrown their school into turmoil protesting in support of a popular vice-principal who was fired after his marriage to another man.

Photos of the protests — in which students staged a sit-in in the school’s cafeteria — have gained mass attention on Reddit, and a petition in support of former Eastside Catholic High School vice-principal Mark Zmuda has over 10,000 signatures as of Friday morning. 

“The student body is outraged that an incredible administrator, coach, and human being was fired solely because of his love and marriage for another human being. We are uniting in order to change the Catholic Church’s opposition of gay marriage,” the petition states.

In a letter to parents, the Catholic high school said that Zmuda’s employment was terminated because his same-sex marriage violated his signed contract with the school.

Eastside closed early Thursday following the student protests, and cancelled Friday’s classes due to predicted snow “and in light of the difficult day,” according to The Seattle Times.

Here are some pictures from the Eastside Catholic School student protests:

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/eastside-catholic-high-protests-gay-principal-2013-12#ixzz2oCr57ZT5