I took the above photo at Tower Hill Gallows site, the site of the execution of SS John Fisher and Thomas More whose feast we keep today, in the early summer of 2007. On that occasion I had led a group of young people on a Martyrs Pilgrimage to the Tower and Tyburn. These two towering saints died defending God’s plan for Marriage and society.
A State that doesn’t recognise what morality is is a dangerous State; society’s urgent need today is to be formed morally. Our society is currently immersed not in an economical crisis but a moral one. Yet the context in which we live indicates that Christ is the most important presence in our world.
We are in a period of transition from a status of civilisation to another status. The catalyst of this transition was our interference with natural processes, starting with Contraception and, currently, the imagining of same-sex couples.
Daniel Yanklelovich, Preofessor emeritus of Sociology of New York University, now 88 years old, published in 1981 the book “New Rules”, in which he describes the transition from a family based civilisation and morality to a new ethical philosophy which he calls “Selfism”. Professor Yankelovich does not write from a religious or a Christian perspective, but simply from Sociology.
In the recent past, our lives were focussed, he says on the family and looking after the members of our family. We had, in the recent past, no need for Life Insurance, such was the nature of the extended family.
Today, we have inaugurated a new ethical philosophy – Selfism. This, he defines, first as placing one’s primary obligation to oneself and to activating all of one’s potentialities. Second, he says, is the criterion for processing conflict – I must always put myself first. Third, he says, is to seek success in whatever one attempts.
The first symptom of Selfism, he says, is Abortion. The most important consequence of Selfism, he says, is loneliness. He also goes on to say that Selfism will destroy itself!
In a “Selfist” society marriage is impossible; whether homosexual, heterosexual or whatever kind of union you choose, it is not Marriage. Selfists cannot enter into Marriage.
In such a context as this we find Jesus Christ, the one who laid down his life for His friends – which is the opposite of Selfism. In such a State/state of disintegration and loneliness the Church has a pressing call - to be Christ to others, to reach out to others.