In France there are many women who believe that being a mother should take second place behind a woman’s primary “vocation” of being alluring and feminine. Historically, French women have indeed been so, and it is a role they delight in. Having lived in France, I can attest to their success in this. French women are second to none in the world for beauty and femininity. Perhaps it is appropriate, then, that “Eve” be a French name: for the first woman created must have been preternaturally beautiful and alluring, coming, as she did, fresh from the hands of the Creator.
But surely French women hold to an erroneous idea. While not underestimating the power of beauty or femininity, nonetheless what makes life so wonderful is—children.
Who can fail to be cheered, in our troubled and vexed world, by the lovely simplicity, innocence, and charm of children? To be sure, children have their moments; and a badly-reared child is a reproach not only to himself but to his parents, whose primary role is to raise well-mannered, kind, creative, loving, responsible, and well-educated children. Indeed, children well-raised and well-educated are “the world’s fresh ornament,” and bring a blessing to the earth as nothing else can. Love might seem to be a rival, but it isn’t: love is (or ought to be) the begetter of children; and children, therefore, ought to be the offspring of love. Children can provoke a kind of wonderment at God’s creation, and are, perhaps, in the scheme of things an eternal reminder of how life was once in the Garden of Paradise: fresh, simple, innocent, receptive, and endlessly entertaining.
This is one reason why war and poverty are so terrible: they despoil what for children ought to be life at its purest and most innocent, and disfigure and scar both their body and soul, with life-long consequences.
The Iraqi war-logs, for example, show how terrible and out of control violence is during war-time—even for Superpowers with advanced and precise weaponry; and how all too often it is the innocent who suffer and die. War is a plague; once unleashed it destroys and maims as it will, and none may control it. For just this reason Jesus called peacemakers “blessed.” For without peace nothing else is possible. And Africa today serves as a painful reminder of just how widespread, destructive, and searing is the condition of poverty in much of the world—how political corruption, mismanagement, and greed give rise to poverty in the first place, and thus how intractable it can be.
Within the Catholic Church, its crisis over child abuse is all the more terrible because church officials thought only about controlling a damaging scandal to the church—and perhaps were fearful, as well, of civil or criminal charges being laid against the priests and bishops involved—but gave hardly a thought to the emotional or spiritual damage done to its young charges, whose safety and health is, or certainly should have been, a fundamental duty and responsibility.
And within each society this is also why education and health care are of the first importance and ought not to be politicized: a proper education must train young minds to think, and to think well, if society is to flourish and not stagnant; and a society that intentionally politicizes health care, calling national health care “socialist” (a bogey man which conservatives use to frighten uneducated people with) so that the medical profession, hospitals, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies can continue to reap their exorbitant profits off the sick bodies of its citizens, young and old, is an affront to God and His purposes in creation. Avarice rightly is numbered among the seven deadly sins.
In politics, then, the care and maintenance of the whole society at all times ought to take precedence over individual greed and the destructive avarice of large corporations. But in America today the worship of money and power has superseded all else, with the corporation, and its single-minded drive for profit, now ruling over our lives whole and entire. In the pursuit of unlimited wealth and power in America the value and sanctity of human life has been left behind.
The good of the whole society is the rationale and raison d’être of any government. Under no circumstances can the “welfare of the people” be altered to favor only the powerful and wealthy few. It then becomes tyranny; and as Jefferson has urged, all tyranny must be opposed.
Leonard Sive, Jr. – Daily Babel