“Now women are just the same as men.” Says my Father to round out his argument that women have arrived at parity with men in the legal profession. “When they first started they were terrible, weeping and week, but now they are the same as men.” This on the heels of a discussion of the deterioration of our society in general as we sat around the dinner table after my Niece’s first communion. It was just lobed up there so pretty, I couldn’t let it pass. Deep breath, glance down at the table and pray, “Come Holy Spirit”.
“Dad, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing, for women to be just like men. I’m not so sure that isn’t one of the very issues undermining the fabric of our society. I’m not so sure that the very foundation of the problem isn’t the advent of artificial birth control and the radical feminism that followed on it’s wake insisting that women should be just like men. It seams to me that to devalue the very nature of what it means to be a women to suppress our natural inclination to nurture home and family and to alter our very bodies to accommodate the insistence that we be just like men is ground zero of the destruction of our society. Moreover, the Church saw it coming though our American clergy has been rather quiet, it has always been the Church’s position that birth control would lead us to exactly where we stand in terms of the dedregation of the family. Once the family is undermined the very underpinnings of our society have been removed and chaos ensues. Furthermore by removing God as the baseline of morality individual opinion becomes the baseline of morality. Without Truth anything goes.”
A hearty Amen from my Brother at the end of the table, the brother I’m not as close to so I wasn’t sure how he would take my little diatribe. “No, no Anne, you are wrong says my Mother, men do dishes now and laundry and help around the house, and women used to be treated as chattel.” “I’m not talking about sharing domestic tasks Mom, I’m talking about an expectation that women elevate professional achievement above the care of her husband and children.” “Well look at your brother (the other one, who’s position on such things I am much more familiar with) Heather works and what you’re saying is disproved right here in this family.” “No Mom” Heather chimes in, “I only work when the kids are in school, and only then just for something to do during the day. My family always comes first.”
With that the little dinner party ended, my parents befuddled, my generation united, and the kids with questions after the grandparents left. My parents were both born in the early 1930s. In their lifetimes society has undergone radical change. Concurrent with that their Church shifted radically in the aftermath of the second Vatican council. Not the doctrines or dogmas of the faith, but the practice of the faith, the day in day out rhythm of Parish life shifted. My parents have been carried along by the currents of American culture, and in the process have lost their marriage and their faith. This evening, their kids lowered a lifeboat from the barque of Peter, on a search and rescue mission. Hoping to bring them back to Jesus the same way they brought us to Jesus, hoping to close the Sacramental loop from Baptism to Last Rites via a stop for First Communion along the way.
Lord teach us to honor our father and our mother, as the LORD our God has commanded us, so that we may live long and that it may go well with us in the land the LORD our God is giving us. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.