Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The War Against Children

The War Against Children

Just since December, we’ve heard some horrific stories about crimes against children.  At Sandy Hook Elementary School, a class full of kindergarteners was slaughtered.  Then, in Alabama, a man snatched a child from a school bus and held him for days in an underground bunker before the child was finally rescued.  In Georgia, a mugger shot a baby in the face when his mother didn’t have any money.  And in Los Angeles, a ten-year-old girl was kidnapped from her own bed in the middle of the night.
We have also seen American politicians block a ban on sex selective abortions, the FDA approve the “morning after” pill for girls of all ages over the counter, reparative therapy denied for children in California and beyond, and both Jerry Brown and Barack Obama refuse to defend laws in court that would uphold the definition of marriage.
What is happening?  We have all heard the stories from people in my parents’ generation who reminisce of summer days when their parents would let them go in the morning with their friends, on their bikes, to a ball field, etc., and simply expect them home for supper.  They never worried about their children being victims of crime, and they had little reason to.  A parent who did that today would be hopelessly naïve.
Entertainment programming in those days, especially on television, was tailored for families.  Years ago I interviewed the great comic Sid Caesar for an article I was writing and I remember him saying that in his day, a pregnant woman was referred to as “with child,” and even that was considered risqué language for children.  Innocence was valued and protected.  Not anymore, at least not in this culture.  In 2013, destroying a child’s innocence is considered an acceptable end for any entertainment venture.
So again, what has happened?  There are many answers culturally, and we can look to certain historical events and movements, but fundamentally the answer is spiritual.  It seems to me that the devil is throwing everything he can at the destruction of childhood and children.
Why are children so vile to the devil?  Well, he hates everything that is beautiful, everything that is holy, everything that God particularly loves.  So we see violent attacks on the priesthood and religious life, and the family.  And children.  The innocence of children; their openness of spirit, and willingness to trust must be so repugnant to the enemy.
This front in the spiritual war waging around us is particularly troubling.  So what are we to do?  First, of course, we are to pray.  And then, we have to dedicate ourselves to the love and protection of children.
If we are fathers, we must be the best fathers, true images of God the Father.  If we are mothers, we must care for our children with the tenderness and sacrifice of Our Lady as she loved her Divine Son.
If we are teachers, or coaches, or youth ministers, or scout leaders, or whatever, we have to jealously guard the innocence of the children in our care.  And we must be proper examples.  There is nothing a child can smell out more easily than a fake.  If we struggle with sin, we must take it to the Lord in Confession and spend time with Him in Adoration. 
The devil is throwing everything hell has to muster at our children.  But Our Lord crushes the head of the serpent, and oftentimes He uses us to do it.  We are His Hands and Feet to the children in our lives.  So let us strive for holiness and model that to our youth, so that, when this battle is finally over, we may stand victorious with them in Heaven.