Over time things change. Sometimes the changes are so little that you hardly notice them, ignore them or absorb them into your personal stream of consciousness. The changes are like soft summer days that blend together wrapping you in a comfortable cocoon that you suddenly find that you must break or suffocate. Or, those little gray hairs that you ignore until your stylist suggests a color that she thinks will be perfect for you. Those are small things that may effect your personal life, but have little or no impact on your circle of friends, nor on society in general. There are other shifts in social mores that seem isolated, at first. For instance, the couple down the block divorce, a distant cousin lives with a man and has a baby out of wed lock, your best friend goes into therapy and then stops coming to church.

This week a world-wide conference on Family Life was held in Philadelphia. It coincided with a visit from Pope Francis to the City of Brotherly Love. One of the local television channels ran continuous live coverage of the Pope’s visit. I watched a great deal of the media coverage of the visit which also included portions of the Family Life conference. I think of myself as a perceptive person with an open social conscious, but I was taken by surprise by the fact that the family, the basic unit of society is, not just being threatened, but is crumbling. Couples are less and less committing to spend there lives together in a social contract, i.e., getting married. Even when they do marry, more and more frequently they choose not to have children. This is a societal tragedy.

The family unit is the first place that a person learns that he/she is loved. As a result, the child learns to love. The absence of love is not hate. It is chaos. Total chaos leads to the desire for oblivion. Legal and illegal drug companies are around to help the unloved find nothingness. Only the loved can produce the loving. Only love (commitment, sacrifice) can save us from …….. .

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