Today’s feast of the Holy Family reminds us of the fundamental importance of this ‘basic building block’ of each and every society, not just Catholic ones. Although Christian revelation and practice elevate and perfect the family unit, making it a true ecclesia domestica, a kind of domestic Church, there can be no society at all without the family even at a natural level: Husband, wife and children. Any deviation from this ideal leads to some level of diminution in society, and the greater the deviation, the worse will be its effects. We are sadly witnessing, even amongst Catholics, a tolerance of, even State support for, deviancies of the most bizarre variety: From adulterous liasons, homosexuality, three-person-parents, polygamy, grandmothers bearing the children of their own sterile daughters, and on it goes.
We could despair, or just quietly read today’s meditation in the Office of Readings by Pope Blessed Paul VI, which tells us to sit in silence before the Holy Family, to learn the value of hidden work, of obedience, of evangelizing the world not just by our own public example, but by the very fact that we do unknown work for God and His kingdom.
So to all the families out there: Hang on and persevere! You know not the full benefit and effect of your work, and how much you are truly sanctifying the world!
It was sad to hear of the lonely death of pop star George Michael on Christmas morning, whose life, after early success with Wham! and as one of the most successful solo acts, descended into drug use, solitude and pathetically seeking after anonymous sex in public toilets and other, ahem, hangouts. Mark Steyn has a very good retrospective, contrasting George’s rise to fame, but eventual obscurity, with his former Wham! buddy Andrew Ridgeley, widely laughed at as the one who did not ‘make it’, the lesser talent of the two, Garfunkel to Paul Simon. But as Steyn points out, Ridgeley faded into relative obscurity, but is happily married Keren Woodward of the all-girl pop-band Bananarama, and seems more content than his former, more famous, richer, but tormented and anguished pop-colleague Michael did. But see above, that happiness is found not in fame, but in finding who one is, and fulfilling oneself in the eyes of God. As one might expect, one recent article already blames George’s ‘problems’ on the fact that he had to hide his homosexuality all those years. But could it rather be the fact that his deviant homosexual tendencies were themselves a source of shame and a torment? Chicken and egg and all that. Peruse the sad reflections of Oscar Wilde, one of the early ‘public’ homosexuals, and what he thought of his condition, until recently considered a psychiatric disorder. But as we well know, from another pop star, still living in ripe old age, and as far as anyone knows not a homosexual, the times they are a changin’.
Today is the first day of the truce and the peace in ravaged Syria, praised be to God. The agreement was reached primarily by Russia and Turkey without the help or input of the U.S. of A, a fitting testament to the ineptitude of Barack Obama, who is going out like one of the lamest of ducks, and may well be remembered as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. Of course, the blame is not all his, for America has many faults and failings that preceded and that will follow the eight-year tenure of Mr. Obama. But we should not underestimate the moral wreckage which he has helped to wreak, and what he has done little or nothing to stop. One could have predicted such a decade ago, as the most radically pro-abortion president in history took office; for in most men, their ideas has some sort of consistency. And any man that believes in the universal state-sanctioned right to murder the unborn from conception right up until they are partially born is a man with a deeply skewed, or in Saint Paul’s terms, seared, conscience. I hope in his retirement he reflects, and finds what peace with God he might. As one of his last acts, Obama the other day expelled Russian diplomats from U.S. territory and imposed sanctions on Russia. Mr. Putin has not responded in kind, as his advisers recommended, but, for reasons we know not, perhaps political, but perhaps, just maybe, something as simple as good Christian charity and Christmas spirit, has rather invited U.S. diplomats and their families to a New Year’s party.
For a certain take on these curious events, we might turn to Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a Kremlin foreign-policy advisory group, who declared: Russia views these not as U.S. sanctions, but Obama sanctions, so he will go and we can both decide that we don’t bear any responsibility for the actions of a jackass.”
Hmm. Not the way I would have framed it, but the fact that President Obama has this reputation as he departs office is a troubling sign of the future of American hegemony.
So on that note of finding peace and good-will with men of all kinds, with which we began, here’s wishing all of our readers many joys and blessings in 2017, as we continue these last few days of Christmas, and enter the new year…