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A Beacon Of Light … The Renewal Of Civilization, Rests On The Restoration Of The Sacred

September 20, 2022 Frontpage No Comments


(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn.)

  • + + In every age, there are moments a society or culture can either contribute or diminish the experiences of social life. Usually, as in times past, this is often accomplished through social interaction, but more importantly through the birth of social media. In today’s world, the boom of social media, I dare say, have hurt the growth and integrity of the masses. There no longer exists an opportunity where our social interaction is a cause for education. Rather, we find ourselves moving farther and farther from the values of human existence. Social media has become the means through which a “super relativism” has emerged in our times. The existence of temporal and spiritual elements of human life have been replaced with a solely modern interpretation of life. Understanding this phenomenon can be daunting, and hard to comprehend at times, but if we look carefully its immergence is not that far off.
    The past can offer us glimpses into the future and help to explain how we have reached the difficulties of today. Today, I would like to return to the year 1959, as The Sound of Music debuts on the stage of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City. This beloved musical ran on Broadway for a total of 1,443 performances. It won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. In 1960, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the film adaptation rights and made it into the blockbuster film so many have come to love.
    The Sound of Music offers three allegories, I believe, that need to be restored in order for us to return to an acceptable society. These include a sense of the Sacred, a true understanding and respect of innocence, and the staunch distinction between boys and girls, men, and women.
    Throughout the movie, there are signs of the sacred. In the opening scene, we experience a sense of the wonder of God’s creation as Maria dances in the sprawling hills and fields. Soon we hear the ringing of the Abbey’s church bells calling the nuns to prayer, a sound Maria hears and realizes she will be late again to vespers. In another scene, we hear in the distance the men’s choir of the church of St. Ignatius, as Captain von Trapp drives home with his fiancée, the Baroness Schroeder. The sounds of the men’s choir is fighting against the worldliness of the people in the car, almost as if they were calling Captain von Trapp back to the faith he has never quite abandoned. In another way, the movie reminds us of the importance the Church played in the culture. In Salzburg, as in many European cities, the parish church was built at the center of the town and the architecture was heavenly. The Church played a central role in the lives of the townspeople, who recognized the sacredness of their faith. The “music” itself was used in dramatic ways to transport the experience, a kind of heavenly reality.
    In another way, The Sound of Music, reminds us that there exists something we call innocence. There is such a thing as innocence, unfortunately, society has snatched this away.
    We do not understand innocence, because there is a distortion in our understanding of sin. When the eldest daughter Liesl and Rolf meet in the gazebo, see the danger that the girl is running, even though she herself does not see it. The two sing about how Liesl is only 16, going on 17, whereas Rolf is all of 17, going on 18, and he will take care of her. The irony is that Rolf is a callow boy confused and brainwashed by Nazism and does not understand. Liesl, on the other hand, still innocent, is the aggressor in their dance. There no longer exists this kind of innocence. The innocence of our children is being snatched away by the un-orthodox and progressive pressures being forced by the schools. The fact of the matter is, if we keep pushing the idea of sexuality in 2nd grade, we become complicit in stealing the innocence from our children. This is a distortion of the dignity of the person, and we must fight against it.
    Lastly, this movie does a wonderful job in distinguishing between boys and girls, men, and women. There exists such a thing as these distinctions, they and are God given. The Sound of Music reminds us that true romance flourishes when men and women delight in the various confusions often caused between them. Even more, they delight in the resolution of these difficulties. But we live at a time when masculinity and femininity are held up as lies, as objects of pleasure. Who could now play the role of Captain von Trapp? Christopher Plummer was manly. If not, why would we have cheered when he proposed to Maria? She was attracted to the man in him. Today our children, and many men, no longer know how to exercise the masculinity because they have been feminized by women not knowing how to be true woman. Who could now play the role of Maria, as Julie Andrews did? She was womanly and properly submissive. She knew that there exists a complementarity between man and woman, and that the two must be exercised in particular ways. What if she had been emotionally unruly or a doormat? Why on earth would any sane man propose to marry her? Captain von Trapp is attracted to the woman in her. Here is where we find the major problem with today’s culture. There no longer exists a healthy understanding of the roles of men and women. Unfortunately, today’s culture is exposing our children to a “confusion of gender identity.” Our schools and progressive society, is pushing our children to “become” anything they want, rejecting who God created them to be. Our children no longer are being taught the differences between men and woman, boys, and girls. This confusion has infiltrated the Boys and Girls Scouts of America. Now the Boy Scouts are allowing girls to their ranks, in order to “be with the times.” Being with the times, isn’t necessarily the best course of action for our children. This has the potential to cause even more psychological harm than we know. There are even states that have taken away the parents right, to be the parent, if they do not follow what the school has convinced their child to be. In certain places, if a parent doesn’t accept and allow the child to undergo surgically gender changing surgery, they can be arrested and put in jail. There is something wrong with this picture! It would seem to me, that, forcing a child to undergo a surgical change should not be awarded and celebrated, but considered unlawful and punishable.
    The renewal of civilization, rests on the restoration of the principles above. We need a restoration of the Sacred. Such a restoration attunes us and keeps us focused on the need for God. We also need to restore the idea of innocence in our times. Without it, our children are destined to experience insurmountable difficulties in life, especially in relationships and within themselves. Third, we must, and should recover the physiological, psychological, and emotional distinctions between men, woman, boys, and girls. Even, Pope St. John Paul II, saw the need to recapture this understanding. He was so strong in his resolve of this need, that he wrote an apostolic letter entitled, Mulieris Dignitatem, on the dignity and vocation of women. In this letter, John Paul II, focuses extensively on the need to understand the complementarity of man and woman. Man and woman cannot exist and flourish on their own, they need each other in order to fulfill their highest potential. We, as a Church, must continue to work diligently in society to eradicate the confusion over gender. The future of humanity, and the souls entrusted to our care, need our help! If we do nothing, we fail in our responsibility of being the only moral voice left in the world.
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