A few years ago I met Don Renzo Bonetti, parish priest near Verona, Italy. He is the founder of a family movement, The Great Mystery Project (“Mistero Grande” in Italian). He said he was “forming the families who will rebuild Western Civilization after it collapses” and wished me luck with my work in the social sciences, which he thought could play its own role (rather limited) in this rebuilding.
Western civilization is collapsing very quickly — silently in Italy and other European countries, as they gradually disappear, demographically, before our eyes — raucously in US. Our debate may be the first stage of the next great awakening. It is not yet a response but there is a widespread awakening to the level of the crisis and a growing desire to do something about it.
The solution, the rebuilding of America, will be aided by our deepest roots as a nation, which are not in our being a particular people or race but in the ideals of freedom, articulated by our Founders as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But these ideals alone will not be enough to carry the day.
Many institutions need rebuilding: schools, universities, media, movies, and churches. The reform needed for our ideals to flourish again in these will never take hold without the first and most basic reform – the rebuilding of our families.
Such rebuilding of the family is most likely to happen within communities of worship, because it is there that our national experts in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are most to be found: the intact married family that worships God weekly.
Where is life most abundant? In the intact married family that worships God weekly. Where is death most absent? In the very same place.
Where is liberty most abundant? Where are children free? Where are women and men most free to achieve the good they desire? In that same place.
Where are people happiest? In that same place. The data is incontrovertible.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness occur most in the intact married family that worships God weekly.
This is the place where the two great loves are most present: love of others and love of God. And these loves are both the seed and the soil of the rebirth of America. These families know what to do and they are the most likely to help. This is America’s “Great Mystery”, its great resource.
Spread the word.
Pat Fagan is the director of the Marriage and Religion Research Initiative at The Catholic University of America. He is publisher and editor of Marripedia.org. Republished from the MARRI blog with permission.