Reclaim the Culture for Christ

On the evening of the Super Bowl, we had several teenagers, several adult couples and a few children over to watch the game. It was my son Stephen’s fifth birthday and we spent halftime singing and cutting cake. We missed the whole Janet Jackson fiasco. After the party was over, my husband left to drive children home and I settled in the now quiet house to read a copy of the January 29, 2004, issue of The Declaration my father had brought me from Charlottesville. The Declaration is the weekly student newspaper at the University of Virginia, my Alma Mater. Dad thought I’d enjoy a trip down memory lane. In that quiet evening, the heart of this mother mourned for the innocence of her children’s generation.

The “Poodah Corner” featured one coarse, anti-Catholic, offensive anti-pope “joke” after another. The cover story, “Blushing No More,” applauded the university’s support of the Queer Student Union — from funding to facilities to faculty support. An article entitled “All Thy Neighbors,” encouraged us to embrace homosexuals more wholeheartedly. And a column about a young man’s trip home for the holidays was liberally sprinkled with expletives (is the vocabulary of Virginia’s finest so limited that they must use words like this to make their points?).

I sent a note about the anti-Catholic comments to the Catholic League. I passed the paper on to a couple of Virginia state legislators, who weren’t surprised but were appalled. And I mentioned the paper to a few thousand Catholic mothers, with this question: Are we carefully nurturing children with high moral standards to send them out into the world to take on this culture day after day? I have little doubt that children raised in good, moral homes could withstand the barrage of filth, but I find it very sad that they would have to swim against the tide of the culture in the muck and the mud of indecency the entire time they are in college.

Several weeks later, a friend of mine took her daughter to visit UVa. They took a campus tour and picked up another newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. There, in the April 5 edition, was an article entitled “Spit or Swallow His Pride,” by the sex columnist, Gretchen Zimmerman. I can’t even begin to quote the article without offending this audience. It’s a crime that a newspaper picked up on a college visit isn’t fit to be read by the high school girl who was visiting. Why is there a sex columnist at UVa? Why are our tax dollars funding how-to sex articles at public universities?

“This is the culture,” comes the nodding and sighing community at large, “Not much we can do about it.” Oh, yes there is! We can be countercultural. We can take back the culture and we can protect our children from the harmful effects of this culture. We know that casual sex, homosexual sex, and “free” sex are part and parcel of the culture of death. And it is time we take fighting it dead serious. The very lives of our children are at stake.

We can begin by watching what we invite into our living rooms. The father of two teenaged girls who sits down to watch Sex and the City sends those girls a clear message: I approve of the way these women act; I approve of the way they are treated; I think this attitude towards sex and women is wholly appropriate — even for you. When he watches Friends and laughs at the mate-swapping escapades or the jokes revolving around Ross and Rachel’s illegitimate baby, he tells his children, “This is what I want for you. It’s funny. It’s hip. It will make you happy.” Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is cool and cutting edge. Will and Grace is humorous and lighthearted fun. And the child sitting in the living room is desensitized to the rampant immorality. Forget Janet Jackson’s five-second fiasco, what does Dad listen to on the radio while he carpools his boy to baseball? What message does Mom send her daughters when she purchases their clothes at Abercrombie and Fitch, when she reads Danielle Steele at the beach this summer, when she allows the all-night mixed-gender party? Cool, hip, deadly. This is our culture.

This is the culture of sexually transmitted disease, of abortion, of divorce, of heartbreak and grief that is the inheritance of our children. It is time to reclaim the culture for Christ. Every May, Catholics honor the Blessed Mother, the model of purity for all generations. During this time, we should consecrate our children, our homes, and our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. With our nation at war and our sons and daughters at risk overseas and on our own soil, it is more important than ever that we pick ourselves up from the muck of immorality and pornography and return to purity and prayer. Only if we turn our hearts and minds to God will He continue to shed His grace on this great nation of ours. We can beg for that grace and we can banish every last remnant of the evil culture. If we will only commit to purity in our own homes — one home at a time, under the protection of its Blessed Mother — a nation will return to its loving Father.

Elizabeth Foss is a freelance writer from Northern Virginia. Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss can be purchased at

(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)

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