I frequently receive via email various kinds of poems, articles, jokes, patriotic or religious compositions, and things like that. I am rarely tempted to send them on to others, but one came recently that I think is worth sharing with you. It begins by saying that we senior citizens are blamed for all sorts of things and for getting the world into the state that it’s in at the moment. But it goes on to say: remember it was not we who took the melody out of music; the pride out of appearance; the courtesy out of driving; the romance out of love; the commitment out of marriage; the responsibility out of parenthood; the togetherness out of family; the learning out of education; the nativity scene out of Christmas; the refinement out of language; the dedication out of employment; the ambition out of achievement; and God out of government and school.
I find all of these timely and profoundly true. In fact, just this week I read an article by Archbishop John Foley, an American who heads the Vatican’s Council for the Media. In it, he answers the simple question: “What advice do you have for Catholic families trying to raise children in the ‘media age’?” He makes a number of suggestions, one of which is that each family eat together at least once a day without there being a TV set playing in the room where they are taking their family meal. That is part of what that list of removals refers to when it speaks of taking togetherness out of family. And as for taking pride out of appearance: would you ever have believed that you’d see people dressed—or undressed—and tattooed and pierced the way many appear in public nowadays? It isn’t just a question of youthful fads. It strikes at the very heart of human dignity. It denies in effect any connection between beauty and decorum with the proper behavior of the human person. We need to be aware of this warfare of the media and the trendy fads against the fact that we are created in the image and likeness of God. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.