Monday, July 16, 2007

On all that has gone before, and what may be to come

Many of you have noticed, perhaps, that it has been a whole week since I posted in this space, and that I have been uniformly silent on other various comment threads (although I will be perfectly honest, I have been unhappily hitting ‘refresh’ over and over on a number of sites, wanting, and Not wanting to see what people are saying). This silence has, for the most part, been self imposed. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before, and I tend to be a touch (though not extraordinarily) headstrong and impulsive. So, for once, I wanted to seriously stand back and survey the landscape and reflect on what happened, what is happening, what it all means and what a proper Christian response might be.

There remains one problem with my strategy in this case. I had hoped that in a matter of a week (a whole week, a long week, you wouldn’t believe how long) this matter would have found some conclusion. Matt and I, the blogoshere, everyone would have discovered the matter resolved and therefore over. This, however, appears to not be the case. Ms. Kaeton, having returned from her missionary endeavors in Belize, apparently feels persecuted.

I have three carefully considered thoughts.

First of all, as I said last week in the thick of shock, I am not angry with Ms. Kaeton for her words with regard to the murder of my children. Matt and I have forgiven her. We bear her no ill will. We all say things that we do not mean or even things that we fully intend but know that we shouldn't. We are all sinners.

Second, we continue to worry for the integrity of our family because Ms. Kaeton has not, up to the time of writing, withdrawn the threat of calling in the authorities to review our home and our children. Should Ms. Kaeton publicly withdraw this threat, it would go a long way toward bringing peace between us. I encourage her to do so and pray that she will.

Third, I will not clutter up this blog space, which I love and enjoy, with any further posts or material concerning this matter. I have, over the last week, been keeping careful account of all that has gone on, as well as all the delightful things that my children are doing, all the regular stress of life, in my private journal (as, indeed, I have always done), and should the moment ever be right, some of that material may find its way here, but not until this is sorted out. I do not know, at this moment, the extent or content of any posting in the days to come. I am trying to spend more time praying than being on the computer.

I want to say, finally, how much I appreciate all of you who read and comment and call me on the phone to tell me you’ve read my posts. This is a new kind of communicating (as so many have noticed). It is dynamic, immediate and interactive. With a few clicks of the mouse, I can let you into my living room and into my life and show you all that is going on—all that God is doing, all my sin, all my joy. And, as we’ve noticed, that dynamism and immediacy brings with it some dangers. For example, anyone can read, anyone can think anything they like, anyone can draw any conclusion, some of those conclusions damaging and bitter. However, for me, and I suspect for many of you, the creativity and delight of this communication far outweighs the dangers and sin. And so, in short order, you will find me back here, inviting you into my kitchen, my atrium, my life.

In the meantime, please continue to pray for me. I rely on your prayers. This has been, with careful measure, the worst week of my life, and I don’t know that the days to come will be any easier. Please hold me in your prayers, my children and Matt as well. God is so great, so good, so loving. In the midst of the darkness of sin and danger, I will praise Him, I will bless Him, I will seek His glory and his triumph and His grace. He is my Rock and my Salvation. He is my Glory and the Lifter of my head. He holds all things in his hand and in his love, and this Thing is not too big for Him to handle. And so, as I rely on Him and trust Him to show me the way through and sustain me, pray for me. Thank You. May the Lord Bless each one of you, even as He is pouring out His blessing on me, moment by moment.


Judith L said...

Welcome back, Anne. I have missed your posts. The conversations you and Matt have with your children are some of the most entertaining stuff I read on the net.

Anne Coletta said...

God bless your honesty and dedication to the Lord and to your family. Know that many, many prayers are encircling and surrounding you and yours.

Anonymous said...


I very much have been blessed by your transparency and honesty in sharing here, and the obvious love you have for your family, and for our Lord.

So glad to hear that you'll continue to post. Many prayers ascending for you Anne+, and for Mother Kaeton as well.


joie said...


I agree with you on very little about how to be a mother, a wife, and a priest. However, I would not have liked Elizabeth's comments, either. I do admire Elizabeth in most ways, though, and I doubt she is actually pondering calling the authorities. Her style tends toward the dramatic (at least on her blog) and this time it was misdirected, entirely. Maybe if you wrote directly to her this would get settled and you wouldn't have the anxiety of wondering anymore. Don't be a martyr. Do what you are empowered to do to take care of the situation.


Summersnow said...

Kaeton+ chose to make her comments in a public forum. If she chooses to contact Anne privately, and make peace retracting her public statements, I anticipate that she will be received in a spirit of grace. However, it is not being a martyr to hope that such comments are made publicly as the original comments were also made publicly.

Blessings Kennedy family. You are still in my prayers.


joie said...

You didn't understand my meaning. Public, private, it doesn't matter when one is speaking of one's anxiety over their children. The point is to do whatever it takes to love and protect them and have God's peace at home. Instead of saying any more about it, contact should be made one way or the other without the internet as a forum. Doesn't matter who started what when.

Anonymous said...

Anne, I am a fairly recent visitor to SF and have been immersed in the last week's events. I just want to say that as a mother of four (they're grown now, but it doesn't seem so long ago that I was in your shoes.) I can really identify with what you are going through with your little ones. It is such a busy time, but so blessed.
It seems to me that expectant and new mothers are so very vulnerable. I remember that when I was at this stage of life, many people felt that they had the right to ask personal questions about whether my babies were planned and even felt free to make comments which I'm sure that they thought were witty and cute-- "you haven't figured out how that happens yet?", etc. This was only on the third and fourth pregnancies, however. There is a lot a social pressure to have just two children, and if you have more that that, many assume that it was a mistake or an accident (or that you are just crazy). I would never in a million years have wanted a child of mine to think he or she was an accident, but it always caught me off guard when others commented and questioned. I finally learned that if I told them that my husband and I believed that all children are blessings from God, they would drop the subject. I really didn't care if they thought I was crazy.
We always told our youngest that she was our best reward--we must have done something right to deserve her. And make no mistake, there were plenty of times, especially when they were really young that I wondered if God knew what He was doing giving me so many children. And I prayed alot for patience and wisdom. But I always knew that if He believed in me enough to entrust these wonderful children to me, then I could do what I needed to do. My children are wonderful young adults now and they remain very close to each other. I thank God for them, they are truly life's greatest blessing and treasure.
On another note, in my professional life, I am an elementary school counselor and as such am a mandated reporter if I suspect neglect or abuse of my students. I can not find what in the world is reportable here. In my state, there has to be something of substance for a report to be accepted, and for the life of me, I cannot see what Ms. Kaeton is concerned about. In my state, this would probably be thrown out as a nuisance report. Child Protection services strikes fear in the hearts of all parents-- no one would want them to come knocking, myself included. But there are plenty of children who truly need their protection-- children who are not fed and protected as they should be, as well as those who are abused. Please do not worry about this agency--my experience with social workers is that they are very caring people very busy with real cases. I am very sorry that you and Matt are having to be concerned about this though, and I keep you and your family in my prayers.

Peace to you and yours,
Sarah Elizabeth

Anne Kennedy said...


We have attempted to contact her privately, that is part of our anxiety. When we did so she reiterated her threats of "professional" intervention in our home...leading us to believe that she is not simply being "overly dramatic"

Tom Head said...

I don't know much about New York DHS, but surely there are plenty of families up there who use NFP...? I don't know why Elizabeth+ thinks she would have a case. There are plenty of low-income families with 10, 11, 12 kids (both of my grandparents came from HUGE families of comparable size--and they weren't rich), and you're a dual-income family with 5. What would be the basis of her complaint? "I think she fed her children WATERMELON one night. And didn't pick up a broken cereal bowl off the floor for HOURS." Good thing she never visits Mississippi; she'd be calling DHS on every family within a 200 mile radius.

Re the "helping professions" people (who, curiously, seem to have no concerns about violating professional canons in this regard): In another forum I used to participate in, many years ago, there was someone who would occasionally post ominously about "key political figures who have significant power" or "extremely dangerous individuals in the criminal underworld" who were ostensibly watching every word we were writing, and he would recommend, in a friendly way, that we stop before these always unnamed, always angry, and always powerful individuals intervened.

After a few months of this, we realized he was playing "good cop, bad cop" with an imaginary bad cop and we just ignored his threats. He and I got to be buddies after that. Of course he wasn't a priest, but apparently Elizabeth+ doesn't see herself in those terms either, so maybe the same dynamic is in play here.

Regardless, she has done immeasurable damage to her movement.

But I can only imagine how chilling that threat must be, and I don't blame you a bit for going private with your family stuff. Not when there are people like Elizabeth+ lurking around on the other side.

Bless you, Anne+. You and your family have been and will continue to be in my thoughts. Your extremely gracious and charitable response to this demonstrates (among other things) considerable pastoral skills on your part. If I were in your shoes, I am reasonably confident that I would not be a model of Christian charity right now! Elizabeth+ should give your blog (particularly the past few entries) a read with less judgmental eyes; she might learn something.



More Martha than Mary said...

Dear Anne,
I will join in on the thanksgiving for your witness in this whole ordeal. It is quite the model to so many of us! Your devotion to the Lord and obedience to his call on your life is quite apparent. May he continue to guide you and bless you each day.

Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Thanks be to God!!

Christie said...

Dear Anne;

I am praying for you. I loved reading your blog and your transparency. I am so sorry for you, Matt and the children.

Selfishly, I am angry that I will miss your openess. I did feel like a friend dropping in for coffee.

Shalom my virtual friend.

Your catachist friend.


DBW said...

Oh, please. As a public school teacher, I reported families for real abuse--in one case, a thirteen y.o. daughter who was being called on to "service" her father's needs... and another time when a father whipped his 13 y.o. daughter with a razor strap, leaving marks up and down the backs of her legs, for getting a B+ in my class. Protective Services merely visited the homes. Unless there is something nasty or abusive going on (and in that case, you SHOULD be living in fear)
Last I knew, Protective Services did not remove children from homes where the mother failed to be a militant feminist. Unless you or your husband are beating the children hard enough to leave marks, or starving them, or locking them in cages, or something worse than that, the worse thing that would happen would be a social worker would show up and snoop around the house and ask a bunch of nosey questions.
This is disgusting to me. You and Kaeton have so much in common-- you both responded to God's call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, you both have a strong appreciation for the liturgies of the Book of Common Prayer, you both chose to make your careers an endeavour in caring for God's children-- you have so much in common, but a bunch of stupid church politics makes you into adversaries. Father, forgive us, we know not what we do.

Aghaveagh said...

I have always counted myself firmly in what is known as the "reappraiser" camp, but indeed, let us put all such politics aside now. I admire the way you have conducted yourself in these very trying times. I pray for you and your family. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne,

I am very sorry that you had to endure comments that were not kind spirited and were an attack on you and your family. I don't understand an ad hominem attacke was necessary. I probably fall on Elizabeth Kaeton's side theologically and poltically, which means I probably am of a different persuassion as you. But I do not agree with the comments on her blog.

I wish you and your family all the best.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne,

Our prayers are with you and your family. Your blog is an inspiration to all those who love the Lord are trying to raise families in these trying times.

Have you considered contacting +Beckwith, the bishop of Newark, directly about the reiterated promises of Kaeton+ to intervene? The bishop certainly has the authority to order Kaeton+ to cease and desist her monitoring and any envisioned activity. Without speculating on her actual reasons for not standing down, such actions clearly have the appearance of being motivated by political or personal reasons. Any good bishop, regardless of theology, would want take steps to prevent actions taken by priests within their diocese that have the appearance of impropriety.

Mrs Falstaff said...

dbw writes:

the worse thing that would happen would be a social worker would show up and snoop around the house and ask a bunch of nosey questions.
(end quote)

Excuse me? Are you a parent? Have you any idea how terrifing that is?? I've been on the receiving end of a snoopy social worker, and it was the most frightening experience of my life. Perhaps you should engage brain before starting tongue.