The family & the sludge

In my view, and that of my colleagues up here in the High Doganate — the finches, &c (I’ve made clear to them that their continued supply of sunflower seeds depends entirely on their agreement with my political and theological opinions) — there is simply no nutrition to be had from the mass media. Let us take Ecuador for example.

A friend forwarded two links from that virtual country. One item was the text of Pope Francis’s address to a very large rally (a million people), on the subject of the family, turning on a reading from the marriage at Cana, and upon his insistence with Mother Mary that, in defiance of general expectation, “the best wine is yet to come.” It was a marvellous homily — exactly what a pope or any priest should say, free of heresy and striking a beautiful balance between the mundane and the mystical. The other item was the report on it from the “news” network, CNN.

This latter bore no resemblance to what was said. It was full of the journalist’s own semi-demented views on the evolution of family life, and his hallucination that the pope secretly agrees with him. The headline, “Pope says families need a miracle, hints at ‘scandalous’ changes for the church,” gives a fair summary. A journalist with any idea of Bergoglio’s previous remarks on this “evolution” — total opposition to it — could not have written anything so perverse and silly. For in this case, as in all others, the pope was defending the “traditional” family (mommy, daddy, children and so forth) against the modern world:

“The family is the nearest hospital; when a family member is ill, it is in the home that they are cared for as long as possible. The family is the first school for the young, the best home for the elderly. The family constitutes the best ‘social capital’. It cannot be replaced by other institutions. It needs to be helped and strengthened.”

I am not, however, under the impression that the “news” article does much harm. The disorientation comes from the multiplication of such articles, and other forms of ignorant and often malicious reportage, and every other kind of callow entertainment, on every conceivable topic; and the fact that, from a very early age, the children of each family are exposed to this poisonous sludge for more hours than they will ever be exposed to their mother and/or father and/or any other guide. This produces in turn, by adolescence at the latest, minds full of poisonous sludge, and contributes thereby to the collapse of civilization.

Let it be said that the solution to this problem is not for the Church to “change with the times.” Surrender to evil is not a solution. The Church wars against the dark forces contriving to dissolve the “traditional” family, and by the instruction of Christ, there can be no surrender. Let it further be said that for all his reckless indulgence in the extempore, the pope does actually get this, and has expressed it repeatedly, with wheels on.

Similarly, the great evil of proposals to tinker at the edges of Church doctrine, in family synods and the like, may not come from any single conference or sound bite. Such proposals will be finally shot down. They instead come from the distraction they offer to the main battle, in which we must somehow restore and uphold that family in its normative, integral, timeless, sanctified, and thus “traditional” form. Even Cardinal Kasper will give beak service to this.