Where religion has grown weak the family has shown a corresponding tendency to disintegrate.  When religion is strong, it stands as a protective armor, safeguarding both individual and family.

U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1957

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Look at the year: 1957.  We are now 59 years past that date.  Have we not proven the truth of the above statement and is it not the case that hostility to God and faith has accompanied the dreadful and shameful decline in the American family?

Decline?  Yes.  Count the divorced people you know.  See the broken families where custody of small children is split between Mom and Dad. Look at the families where father is not present – gone, out of the picture and the children are fatherless.  Or where Mom has simply walked away because she wanted to.

You see this image in oh so many television ads: the mother in a well-appointed home handling a problem with her children and no sign of Dad. Yes, an image purporting a norm, an image that more often than not brings problems to children.

Decline.  Look at abortions.  Look at cities where particular segments of the population have family after family with no man present. See the poverty, the addictions, the violence, dependence and disorder so often in those places.

Adultery.  See it in real life and portrayed in movies and on television – again making it something of a normative value.

Decline.  Out of wedlock births.  Children born to teenager girls, far from ready to be a mother.

The courts re-definition of marriage.  The wrath of abhorrent sexual conduct. The cheapening of intimacy, love, sacred commitment.

Let’s be absolutely candid: we face very perilous times.  Others see us not as admirable and as leaders, but as a problem, a corrupt culture.  Would not our changed attitude about faith and family be one gigantic and positive change in who we are and how we behave?

You know the answer.  I do too.

Family and faith.  Attend to these.  Doing so is urgent at this point.  Stop coddling those who destroy families and put us all at greater risk and far greater social cost.  And, defeat those who oppose God and religion by restoring your faith life and placing God at the center of your life.  And be public about your faith – do so with courage and conviction.

Shalom.

Note: I recommend a short video created by the students at East Catholic High School. It brought tears to my eyes as it has done for others.  It is a “must see.” You can locate it at:

http://www.facebook.com/EastCatholicHighSchool/video/1031698306852693.

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