Alicia Colon, columnist for the New York Sun, takes the new encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, and applies it to the inner city horrors with which we have become all too familiar:
The death earlier this month of 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown has created a firestorm of protest against the Administration for Children's Services, which allegedly neglected the child's abuse by her stepfather. The response, of course, has been calls to flood the city agency with more money to hire more caseworkers to monitor at-risk children.
Most commentators on this tragic case can't relate to any of the participants. They tend to categorize the alleged perpetrators as "lowlifes" or just plain evil. This is much easier than delving too deeply into the factors that create dysfunctional and dangerous families for children to grow up in.
Having lived most of my life in or near neighborhoods like Nixzmary Brown's, I can trace the decline of morality in them to the day it became fashionable to claim God was dead. Oh, I can hear my critics moaning, "There she goes again, bringing up religion." But I know the people who live there, and though many of them are about as low as humans can sink, no one starts out that way in life. Alcohol and drugs may release the inner demons, but those demons thrive where there's a spiritual vacuum.
And that emptiness began when welfare began offering young women long-term support for their children - but only as long as there were no fathers around. What did we expect the results would be? Now we have generation after generation of children who were raised by single mothers dependent on government subsidies for their livelihood.
She's not writing from an ivory tower, or from a heart removed from human suffering. She has seen the wisdom of the new encyclical and has laid it down where the rubber hits the road.
How does society deal with the wreckage it has spawned through misguided social programs? We've witnessed the damage that a sexually liberated culture inflicts on children. When the Bush administration proposed advocating the benefits of marriage, liberals snorted at such a naive notion. But the nuclear family of husband, wife, and children is best for a stable society. In his encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI describes unconditional love between a man and a woman as "the epitome of love." Children born from such a union are unlikely ever to need the services of ACS.
Kudos, dear sister; excellent work. Remember that this is no religious journal but a major daily in one of our largest cities; neither is it a professional theologian pontificating, but a woman with a mother's heart using her common sense. Benedict would be thrilled.