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The end of normal.

I recently read an article in the magazine County Life about the experience of doing a Caledonian Macnab. John Macnab is a book by John Buchan, in which several fellows who are experiencing ennui decide to do some poaching, taking a stag, grouse, and salmon as a challenge. It is one of John Buchans best books, filled with adventure, good humour, and some excellent but lighthearted moralizing as John Buchan does best. It is a book suffused with Christian themes of duty, and an aristocratic attitude that the world is here for us to enjoy the legitimate pleasures of life that God has given us. It is this aristocratic theme that I want to explore.

As a child in school we used to learn music, singing, and an instrument such as the recorder. We also played sports whether we liked them or not, and we were judged on how much we tried, and entered into the thing. Music, sports, and religion were simple necessities, the normal life of every student in school, and an important part of being educated as a complete human being, a gentleman or gentlewoman.

What was ordinary and common has now become elusive and exclusive. Music was common, making our own. Now only those who can afford to are able to get these by paying for the lessons. People used to be able to hunt, now it is the domain of the wealthy with private property. Buchan used to be read, now only those who teach their children at home read these books.

This is the great modern heresy, it is characterized by being dull, colourless, diffuse, and vague. People try to make up for the lack of any substance with forced enthusiasm, smiles, and handshakes, guitars and encounter sessions. Mary Magdalene said it well, "they have taken Our Lord and we do not know where to find him." But the niceness rings hollow, it is not enough. As my Granddad used to say, "A pat on the back and good kind word, never bought a meal for a humming bird."

Across from my house is a little United church, a wooden frame country church started in the 1800's on land carved from the bush, and built and supported by the faith and hard work of the United Church parishioners for over 150 years. They survived every hardship that living off the land could throw at them, the difficulty of providing volunteers for two world wars, a depression, poverty, failed crops, pests and disease, typical of a life eked out of rocky soil in rural Ontario. These outside enemies and hardships they overcame. But, the parishioners could not survive the decaying fruits of the Lambeth Conference.

Over the past twenty years I have watched this slow, creeping, encroaching death of this gradually aging church. They closed their church this summer. And because there were so few children, there was nobody to help keep their religion alive. On the last day at a jumble sale fundraiser to pay off their remaining bills, several of the men told me that the problem was computers, others blamed the internet, video games, and cell phones. No, the problem is that there are no children, no future, no beliefs, no culture of life.

They are good people who exemplified that great Ontario tradition of community involvement and giving back. These men and women populated the Women's Institutes, service clubs, and any worthwhile cause needing volunteers. They made the history of Canada in churches like this all across the country.

But, even good people age. And, when good people are taught by their pastors that children are a burden rather than blessing, the result is predictable.

Sin, as we know, is sin because it causes suffering. Sins are not sins because of some Divine whim, they are sins because they produce misery for all involved. Birth control is such a sin, and using birth control causes misery: it smears everything with the dust of the culture of death.

What else can anyone expect? Not only does contraception kill individual marriages, it can kill whole churches.

Our Catholic churches are still alive, often in spite of the best efforts to kill them by misguided modernist pastors who preach the joys of birth control. When a baby cries at church, it is the sound of a living faith, one that reminds us that our religion has the Real Presence.
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Author:Beresford, David
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Feb 1, 2015
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