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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bringing back the family


Dear Editor: I deem it fitting especially to write, as I do now, on Sunday, Dec. 30, which for Catholics is the Feast of the Holy Family, in reply to a story in The Western Star, and most likely also in The Telegram, on the previous day, about yet another politician — this time PC Leader Ches Crosbie, who wants to “restore faith in government,” for all the world as if the provincial government could be the head of what some might call “our Newfoundland family.”

Faith has two meanings: belief and loyalty. Belief that a given government will serve us well is what allowed, or enabled, a government to get us into the mess called the Muskrat Falls hydro-electric project, now the subject of a commission of inquiry.

Loyalty is required of the government towards its people, not so much of people to their government. Rather people should look to their country, which is made up of their families.

It is to the family, as the essential unit of human generation and economic production, that we ought to want to restore confidence (mainly its self-confidence). We should want to restore the self-reliance it had had for most of history.

Things normally belong to those who make them. That means that families ought to be able to grow or make what they need, not depend upon some larger corporate unit or an unwieldy economic system driven almost entirely for the benefit of people far more adept at organizing others than at producing what is actually needful.

I believe it quite likely that the Catholic Church, which has celebrated the Holy Family, will lead the restoration of “the ordinary family” by preaching to its members that those among them who are not fishers or farmers and who don’t practise a trade that mostly serves directly the fisher or farmer, ought to live what the Catholic Church calls “the single life in the world” until family life in the world is thoroughly reformed in the image of that family whose feast the Church is observing as I write.

The Church might thereby try to have its modern members make amends (“do penance”) for a regrettable lack of moral rigour in the domesticity of the generations that immediately preceded and had produced, them.

For the Church does really think in terms of such interdependence among souls of living and dead. Someone once said, Catholics, if no others, need not a Church which “moves with the times” but a Church which “moves the times.” That is its purpose.

That the existence of the family no longer seems to justify itself might be one reason why I seem to notice that in much television “crime drama,” as also in “The Game of Thrones” television saga, though not in the series of books on which that is based, villains try to excuse great villainy by claiming they “did it for family.” This might be intended to cast “family values” in a bad light.

This ought to remind us that the good we do ought to be done for and in and by our families, whose members should seldom be obliged to do for others what they do not first do for themselves.

Colin Burke,

Port au Port

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