Bulletin (September 2, 2001)

A few weeks ago I got an early birthday card from the Washington State Department of Licensing. As you know, renewing ones driver’s license is relatively simple, although they do ask some personal questions, like height and weight. Since the last renewal, I had gained fifteen pounds. It didn’t bother me, just made me aware of one more way Holy Family has been good for me. I’ve received lots of affection in the form of tacos, popusas, lumpia – and of course delicious Vietnamese food.

I notice some of my contemporaries are retiring at age 55. I cannot say I envy them. It seems to me these are the best years and, if one has received a modest gift of health, one should try to make whatever contribution they can. Besides, the only place any of us will enjoy an enduring rest is when we reach the lovely shores.

Having been born in 1946, I was at the beginning of the Baby Boom. I read an article which stated that the Baby Boom is soon to become the Geezer Glut! We are entering an era that will experience the full brunt a declining birth rate: Less children, less young adults, plus more and more seniors is not a good combination. This has come about largely because the Baby Boom generation embraced the whole contraceptive mentality. When the Pill was introduced in the late fifties, it was seen the solution to our societal problems. It did enable men to become irresponsible in ways they never previously dreamed of, but it must be asked if the overall benefits were so great. At least I see young people posing those questions and looking for an alternative. I believe we have one – not an easy one, but a viable and beautiful alternative – in our Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

That teaching, which is really the teaching of Jesus, needs to be re-examined if we are going to find a way out of the great moral dilemmas that face us regarding the manipulation of human embryos. We got into them because, in the twentieth century, people began separating sex from babies and babies from sex. Once a society has done that, it becomes difficult give a reason for not producing human embryos for research or cloning a duplicate human being to harvest organs. At present most people consider that idea repugnant and wish to ban human cloning, but consider this: Something which was repugnant to most people thirty years ago – namely, conceiving a child in a petri dish – has now become widely accepted. Unless we recognize the root error, how will we avoid a society which becomes more and more de-humanized?

Someone who is working valiantly to get our society back on the right track is Fr. Bob Spitzer, S.J. Before he became President of Gonzaga University, he founded the Center for Life Principles. In a very appealing way he grounds the pro-life principles in the universal desire for happiness. He shows that by only looking at happiness in utilitarian terms, we miss its deepest meaning. If you have an opportunity to hear Fr. Spitzer’s presentation or read his book, Healing the Culture, I encourage you do so.

In our society we are engaged in a great struggle for hearts and minds. Of course the most important group we want to reach are our own children. As we begin a new school year, I ask you to keep them, their parents and teachers in your prayers. We are most fortunate at Holy Family that Mr. Stephen Morissette, our principal and almost all our teachers are returning from last year. Our enrollment is good, a sign that parents value the formation their children receive at our parish school.

Some of our parents have undertaken the challenge of schooling their children at home. We also want to support them in their efforts. I was with a home school family recently and amazed what the mom was teaching her children – and learning herself.

Whether children attend our parish school, public schools or are home schooled, we want to support parents as the primary educators. Our school – and parish – exists to help them in their awesome responsibility. While their children are ultimately not their own – they belong to God – still parents have a duty to care for their temporal and eternal welfare.

Final notes: This Thursday, Sept. 6, Fr. Ramon and I will be available for confessions from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Church. Also that evening we begin our RCIA. If you know someone interested in the Catholic faith, invite them – or even better, accompany them – to the course. Next Saturday is our Parish Festival. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please plan on participating. It will be a lot of fun – and a great way to support Holy Family.