You have to love conversion stories, from the very real Saul on that road to Damascus, to the fictional Scrooge on a Dickensian Christmas morning, all the way to the stories of ‘Jane Roe’ and Bernard Nathanson, of which I wrote a few days ago, and so many countless others. They warm the heart, and provide a bit of comfort to us cradle Catholics that, hey, it all really is true.
Repent and believe in the Gospel, begins the evangelical account of Saint Mark: Metanoia, as they say in the original Greek, quite literally to ‘change one’s mind’, to alter one’s perspective, on life, on eternity, and how they interconnect. For only in the light of heaven and, for that matter, the potential darkness of hell, does this transient existence make any sense at all. And it is that light that burst upon the zealous Pharisee, transforming the egotistic Saul into the humble Paul, the ‘little one’, the least amongst the Apostles, but who, by grace, did immeasurable work for God and His kingdom.
Speaking of conversions, here’s hoping the erstwhile leader of the provincial Conservatives, Patrick Brown, himself undergoes some sort of metanoia, after the recent accusations made against him by two females. I sort of pity the poor man, a 39 year old bachelor, whose private life is a mystery to the public at large. He is charged with that global and vague crime of ‘sexual misconduct’ which, in the modern, positivist, politically correct, legalistic sense, means any sexual behaviour that is even remotely non-consensual, even if after the fact. To be accused in today’s climate is itself the punishment: One is tainted forever, with an unshakeable cloud of suspicion hanging over one’s head, like poor Pigsty in those Peanuts cartoons.
Of course, the Church takes a broader and more universal view: Sexual misconduct means any sexual behaviour outside of a validly contracted and ratified marriage, from dwelling upon impure thoughts, all the way to pornography, masturbation, fornicatio simplex, adultery, sodomy and so on, whether consensual or not. The modern world, whose worldview Mr. Brown seems to have adopted, has it exactly backwards: The consent does not make the act good, but, rather, the act first being good then allows one to consent.
I would not mind hearing Mr. Brown expand upon and clarify the ‘values’ he claims, in his emotional denial, would forbid him engaging in any of the alleged ‘sexual misconduct’. What values might those be, I wonder, and are they part of the Conservative platform?
It is difficult to be a chaste and continent bachelor in this sex-sodden milieu, where modesty is quite literally cast off, even to some degree amongst well-meaning Catholics. One is helped, so the wisdom of the Church goes, by some knowledge of moral principles and human anthropology (Theology of the Body), a daily prayer life, self-reflection, with regular Communion and confession, some asceticism, along with consistent study, exercise and work, fostering healthy friendships, while also maintaining modest emotional and physical boundaries.
This is not easy, and if one is missing any of these ingredients, especially the help of sacramental grace and prayer, I, for one, do not know how it would be possible to avoid ‘sexual misconduct’ of some sort.
Whatever Mr. Brown did or did not do, he does deserve due process, and I agree with Christie Blatchford that such is now denied men: On the word of two women, who remain anonymous, he has been cut down, in hours and now, as Blatchford says, ‘any man is vulnerable’, even a saint, one might think.
In the meantime, I must confess that I am not sad to see him go, taking with him his disdain for social conservatism, and his support for all sorts of ideological idiocies, from ‘gay rights’, to a woman’s ‘right to choose abortion’, all the way to his flip-flopping on the scandalous sex-ed curriculum under Premier Wynne.
Patrick Brown was baptized and raised Catholic, and what I do hope is that this retreat, of sorts, provides him with some leisure for reflection on that gift he has been given, to ponder time and eternity and what it all means. May a light from heaven burst upon his conscience, and the scales fall from his eyes, so that, like Paul and Scrooge, he takes the longer view, and sees that life is far bigger, and far more important, than politics.