Tag Archive for ‘family’
It was another episode in a series of shocking crimes against children. Little Sasha, just three years old, was pulled from the frigid waters of the Pekhorka River in January 2009. He was bound to a car battery with adhesive tape, his body battered and bearing the marks of cigarette burns. It was the second death of an adopted child in the Grechushkin family: The December before Sasha’s body was discovered, their one-year-old’s death had aroused suspicions. The third child was placed in an orphanage, and the adoptive parents were arrested.
New York City-based IAV, which studies and comments on the state of the culture, reported the other day on the problems faced by our basic civilizing institution, the family. The report packs no surprises, at least for Americans old enough to have glumly watched the steady erosion of valuable inhibitions on wrong behavior over some years.
Condemnation, the wrath of God, patterns of personal holiness—for mainliners, meaning Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Congregationalists, and the like, such stuff has the penetrating odor of mothballs and cedar chests. Sweet tolerance and gentle affirmation are the hallmarks of today’s mainliners.
January 25 of this year marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise announcement of Pope John XXIII that he intended to convoke a general council. From 1959 to 1962, the soon-to-be-jettisoned constitutions and decrees that would have been discussed were composed by preparatory committees of eminent Roman theologians. Among these is one document that is remarkable for its keen prescience and consequent pastoral anxiety. It never even made it to the floor of the council.
Xenophon’s Oeconomicus offers a pragmatic alternative way of looking at questions of wealth, property, and human happiness. He is neither an economist nor a philosopher, only a man who, though he valued courage and honor above wealth, understand the true significance of property as the foundation of prosperity and happiness. In these dark times, his common-sense pagan wisdom has much to teach us.
I began this discussion with a promise to elucidate the question of Ms. Palin’s candidacy. In general, I have been pointing out that by nature, tradition, and revelation, the sexes have been assigned quite different functions. It has been alleged, without much foundation, that the Catholic Church has abandoned this tradition to champion the “right” of a woman to a career, but whatever “rights” women may hold in this respect are fulfilled, in Catholic thought, by a religious vocation. I do want to make it clear that I am writing about the natural family and the Christian tradition, not about everyday reality today that may well make it inconvenient or undesirable for women not to pursue a profession or go to work. God help a poor woman who has to depend on the fidelity, diligence, and maturity of an American male under the age of 75! In some cases, a woman who has no profession has made herself helpless and deprived herself of the second-best social life that is often the only one available. As I explained earlier, I do not like automobiles, computers, telephones, television, and air travel, but to live without these things I could not be a writer or editor and could never escape from Rockford, either in thought or in deed.
The nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate (a phrase suddenly suggestive) has reopened the question not only of women in politics but a woman’s role in society. I am finishing a book, tentatively titled Thicker than Water, sketching out a political order based more on blood-ties and marriage than on theoretical individualism. I am going to post up a few bits from one chapter as background to why I believe it is wrong for women to be in politics at all.