Peter Baklinski

Stories our world needs to hear: An interview with Author Sherry Boas

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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GILBERT, Arizona, January 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - What does a mother of five children all under the age of 13, one of whom has Down Ssndrome, do with her spare time when she is not washing, cleaning, cooking, and home schooling her children? She writes gripping fiction, of course. Not just any kind of fiction, but powerful emotional novels that are taking the culture of life by storm.

Sherry Boas, 44, devout Catholic, married to Phil Boas, and mother and teacher of her children, says she is passionate for truth and picky about little else, except for how her coffee is “grown, harvested, roasted, ground, stored and brewed.” Sherry places such a high value on friendship, however, that she is willing to “drink even a bad cup of coffee with a good friend.”

Sherry has written a trilogy of novels that set out to “subtly address” as she says “a good number of issues contributing to the culture of death”. These issues include abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, unresponsive medical care, divorce, infidelity, and promiscuity. She sees her writing as a way of responding to what the late Pope John Paul II called “the New Evangelization,” whereby one reaches out to people searching for meaning through compelling media.

Her novels have been hailed by critics as “masterful”, “riveting”, “heart-wrenching”, “brilliantly written”, “truly beautiful”, “fully imagined”, and “made for our times”.

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LifeSiteNews contacted Sherry to find out just who this woman is and what she is offering to the world through her novels.

Sherry and her husband have a strong love for life. After the couple married in 1996 they soon became troubled that they were not able to conceive children. Infertility however did not stop them from having children. The couple decided to adopt their children, four of them, all from various difficult backgrounds. One child was exposed in utero to crack cocaine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Another child they adopted was born with Down syndrome.

They were eventually blessed with a child of their own. But even he had a difficult background, born 15 weeks premature and weighing only a pound and a half. Sherry and Phil are convinced that their biological son John, who is now 6, is a walking miracle.

Sherry holds a B.S. in journalism from Arizona State University and wrote for a daily newspaper for ten years. She has won numerous awards as a journalist. After adopting, Sherry left journalism for what she saw as a move up-the-ladder to the vocation of motherhood.

It was Sherry’s experiences as a mother to her children that inspired her with a message that she passionately desired to convey to the world. After the kids were in bed, she found herself sitting in front of the computer with coffee and ice cream furiously pounding away at the keyboard. She wrote about what she calls “truth” that “resounds in the struggles and triumphs of everyday family life”. While Sherry’s stories are made up, the context of her fiction is as real as the daily events that unfold in the life of her family.

“I draw virtually all my material for my books from everyday family life. I find it a rich reflection of the beauty of God’s kingdom,” she says, adding that family life is a “place of mercy, forgiveness, unconditional love”, a place where “selfishness” is broken down and where each member helps the others “ultimately get to Heaven.”

The author says that her world view has been formed and continues to be formed by the “wisdom and love of Holy Mother Church.” This does not mean, she says, that one has to be a believer to enjoy her books, but it does mean that one has to be “at least somewhat open to beauty, mercy and compassion.”

Sherry’s life is truly a rich tapestry of sorrows and joys, threads from which she weaves into her novels. Readers say that they cannot put them down once they pick them up.

“My great sorrow is all the years I lived outside the fullness of Truth and Light, making up my own rules instead of following Jesus, even in the many moments when He was saying, ‘Come follow me.’ But that’s how merciful Jesus is. He kept inviting and inviting, until finally I could resist His love no longer.”

Sherry shared that her crosses have to do with her own “inner struggles with living up to the joy and love we are called to live as followers of Jesus.” She feels that God has giving her so many blessings and yet, in each moment, she says “I don’t always respond with gratefulness and joy. My crosses are my own impatience, my own selfishness, my own unwillingness to surrender every moment to Him for the simple reason that He gave everything - even His very life - for me.”

But Sherry’s experiences of sorrows and crosses do not have the final word in her novels, rather a profound sense of joy, love, and hope-filled expectation. For Sherry, the greatest joys come from the same coin that has sorrow as the other side.

“I have had many great joys: my coming to fully understand the beauty, love, mercy and life offered to us in the Holy Eucharist; each new baby I hold in my arms, each miracle we witness in our children’s lives, each Baptism, each First Holy Communion.  My work, which has introduced me to so many wonderful people.” One “great joy” that still brings tears to Sherry’s eyes is what she calls the “miracle that allowed me to see my little boy, John, grow up.”

Sherry says that she has learned many important lessons while journeying through life. “The great lesson I have learned is that holiness consists in the complete surrender to the will of God.” She and her husband believe that their infertility taught them their “greatest lesson” which allowed them to turn a “personal tragedy” into their “greatest joy”.

“I am grateful for our infertility. Without it, we would never have known these four children who have made our lives so rich. Our adoptions have so clearly been guided by God. We see adoption as just another way that God builds families - brings souls together on this journey to Him.” The couple is convinced that God’s plan for their family with their adopted children “far surpasses our wildest dreams.”

Sherry draws from this deep well of sorrow, joy, gratitude, faith, hope, and love to craft her profound tales. “I feel my calling is to write fiction that is laden with truth. Fiction is the path I have chosen to reach a world that might not be open to the pro-life message presented in a straight-up fashion,” says the author.

Sherry pointed out that Jesus reached out to people in a similar way through parables which are similar to fiction. “If reaching the culture through fiction is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.” It is her hope that through works of art, including works of fiction, “we can take the message of hope and gospel truths to a society that is becoming increasingly secular and resistant to the message of Life and beauty.”

The primary message that the author hopes to give her readers is that “hope reigns and mercy is unbounded”. Sherry believes that the world is thirsting for the message of “hope and mercy”.

“The problems our world faces today are caused by fear. Love and fear cannot co-exist. Where there is love, fear flees. Why does a woman have an abortion? She is afraid of something. Why does a woman carry a child, bearing all the discomfort and pain that goes with it? She does it out of love.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, AZ has called Sherry’s novels “made for our times,” adding that they are “another sign that the Lord is building a culture of life today, even as the culture of death rages around us.”

“Thank God for writers like Sherry Boas whose words could only arise from a heart that is familiar with the mystery of the cross,” said the Bishop.

Note: An upcoming piece to appear on LifeSiteNews will examine Sherry Boas’ Lily Trilogy more closely. Stay tuned.

Sherry Boas’ books are available at LilyTrilogy and Amazon.

 

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Dr. Miriam Grossman speaks to large audience in Mississauga, Ontario Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Lianne Laurence

VIDEO: How DO you to talk to kids about sex? US sex-ed critic gives practical tips

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

MISSISSAUGA, ON, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.

“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.

After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”

“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.

A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”

And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.

To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”

After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”

“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”

She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”

And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”

“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”

However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”

That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”

“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”

“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”


Know your child and guard your home

But as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”

“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted.  “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.

So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”

“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”

And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”

Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”

And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”

So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”

Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”

“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”

Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”

She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”

Grossman urged parents to visit her Facebook page, website and blog. “I have so much information you can get there that you’ll find useful,” and added that she will be publishing books for children, and has posted her critique of New York City’s sex-ed curriculum, which is similar to Ontario’s.

The parental backlash to that sex-ed curriculum, set to roll out in the province’s publicly funded schools this September, has been “amazing” Grossman noted.

Grossman’s seminar was sponsored by Mississauga-based HOWA Voice of Change along with the Canadian Families Alliance, an umbrella group representing more than 25 associations and 200,000 Ontarians opposed to the curriculum. The report on her devastating critique of the sex-ed curriculum can be found here, and the video here.

Ontario readers may find information and sign up for a September 2 province-wide protests at MPPs offices here. So far, there are protests planned for 92 of Ontario’s 107 constituencies. The parents’ movement seeking removal of the curriculum is urging all concerned citizens to join this special effort to influence individual Ontario legislators.

See related reports:

Ontario’s dangerous sex-ed is indoctrination not science says U.S. psychiatrist to large audience

Videos: US psychiatrist tells parents “stand firm” against dangerous sex-ed

See the LifeSiteNews feature page on the Ontario sex-ed curriculum containing nearly 100 LifeSite articles related to the issue

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Did the pope just endorse a gay children’s book? Of course not, says Vatican

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

ROME, August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- While mainstream media is gushing with news today that Pope Francis allegedly praised a children’s book that promotes gender theory, the Vatican is decrying what they called the "manipulation" of a cordial letter from an official in the Secretariat of State to suggest that the Vatican is promoting teachings contrary to the Gospel.

Italian children’s author Francesca Pardi was reported by The Guardian to have submitted a parcel of children’s books promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory to Pope Francis in June after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro publicly banned the author’s newest book, Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg), from children’s schools. The book was criticized by pro-family leaders for promoting non-natural family structures of two men and two women.

In a letter accompanying the books, Pardi wrote: “Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us. We have respect for Catholics. ... A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”

The Guardian is reporting that Pardi has now “found an unlikely supporter in Pope Francis,” who through his staff has responded to the author and is presented as “praising her work.” It quotes the following from a July 9 letter to Pardi from the Vatican.

“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Peter B. Wells, a senior official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a the letter The Guardian is reporting it has seen.  

While the letter gently calls the author to use her talents to spread “genuine human and Christian values,” The Guardian takes it as the pope’s endorsement of gender theory.

“Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children's book,” the paper’s headline states. “Italian book that explores different family types including same sex was banned by mayor of Venice, but pontiff becomes unlikely supporter,” reads the subtitle.

In a press release that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi sent to LifeSiteNews on Friday, the vice speaker of the Vatican, Ciro Benedettini, made clear that the friendly reply letter to the author in no way approves of attitudes or positions that are contrary to Catholic teaching and the Gospels.

The Vatican's statement also says that in the original letter from the secretariat of state Wells merely "acknowledged receipt" of the materials sent by Pardi, and also made clear that the letter was private and not meant for publication. 

"In no way does a letter from the Secretary of State intend to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel," says the statement, decrying the "manipulation" of the letter.

Benedettini said the blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was meant to be for the author herself, and not to affirm positions concerning gender theory that are contrary to the Church's teaching. Using the letter to this end is erroneous, he said.

Pope Francis has strongly condemned the notion of “gender theory” on numerous occasions, saying that it is an “error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Poll suggests most US Catholics wrongly believe Pope Francis backs gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A considerable majority of U.S. Catholics are in conflict with Church teaching on abortion and marriage, a new study says, and a startling number of those also believe Pope Francis backs homosexual “marriage.”

Despite Church teachings, Catholics in America also closely parallel the general populace in their support for abortion and homosexual “marriage,” falling short in the Biblical call to be “in the world but not of the world.”

The findings suggest what many Catholics have said is a climate of confusion in the midst of the Francis pontificate. Concerns over that confusion prompted a coalition of pro-family groups to respond with an international petition effort asking the pope to reaffirm Church teaching, drawing more than a half-million signatures.

The survey, conducted by Public Religions Research Institute, found that 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics favor legalized homosexual “marriage,” compared to 55 percent of all Americans. Likewise, 51 percent of Catholics think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 53 percent of the general population holding this view.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman, mirroring Christ and the Church respectively as bridegroom and bride.

The Church also teaches that life begins at conception, that each human life possesses dignity as a child of God and is to be afforded protection, making abortion an intrinsic evil.

Catholics, accounting for 22 percent of adults in the U.S. population, have a favorable view of Pope Francis, the study said, but they are very confused about his take on homosexual “marriage.”

Of the Catholics who back homosexual “marriage,” 49-percent also think the leader of the Catholic Church backs it along with them. Fifteen percent of those Catholics who oppose homosexual “marriage” also mistakenly believe Pope Francis supports it.

Pope Francis has made numerous statements in support of life, marriage and family, but the confusion remains.

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"After Ireland and the U.S. Supreme Court both approved same-sex 'marriage,' a strong reaffirmation of Church teaching could save the sacred institution of marriage, strengthen the family and dispel the lies of the homosexual revolution," TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie stated.  "Young Catholics -- even non-Catholics -- look to the Church as a beacon of morality and stability in our Godless culture, but some of our shepherds have issued confusing statements."

TFP Student Action is a part of the lay Catholic organization American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, and is part of the alliance behind the Filial Appeal, the petition asking the Holy Father to reinforce Catholic teaching at the Vatican’s upcoming Synod on the Family in October.

Ritchie explained how the confusion was aiding the Church’s enemies, and warned of the potential consequences.

"This prayerful petition asks Pope Francis to clear up the moral confusion that's been spreading against Natural and Divine Law," he said. "If the enemies of the family continue to chip away at holy matrimony, the future of the family and civilization itself will be in even more serious peril."

At press time more than 500,000 signature had been gathered for the appeal, including five cardinals, 117 bishops and hundreds of well-known civic leaders.

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