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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Choosing Badly

This afternoon, I encountered a difficulty with a choice I gave 3-year-old Patrick. He was misbehaving and I issued a threat: to withhold his bedtime story tonight. His answer: "ok." I repeated and clarified the ultimatum three times, but he wouldn't budge. He regretted that choice at bedtime, but it was still an interesting quandary. How does our Heavenly Father deal with this? It is so easy to see rebellion in all walks of life, even among people with vows to be faithful. I'm at the wrong generation, probably, to understand how many of my fellow Catholics reacted to Humane Vitae. When Pope Paul IV came out with it and decided against contraception, amidst the new sexually liberated generation of Catholics in the 60's, a tumultous response was dissent. Despite the sobering predictions of the successor of St. Peter, people for the most part opted to ignore the warnings of marital infidelity, lowering of moral standards, the exploitation of women, abuse by government authorities, and reducing the dignity of human life. As with myself in today's encounter with Patrick's bad choice, Pope Paul IV must have been incredulous. It's been a generation and a bit since then, and all of those consequences foreseen have come to pass, and worse. Pope Paul IV is no longer here to say so, but I can easily imagine him saying now, however: this could have been prevented. Back to this new development with Patrick, I'm gonna have to try a something different next time.

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