Which Is To Be Master?

Connecting with people you’d like to have known is a nice hobby, and I can claim to be just three handshakes from Abraham Lincoln and only five from George Washington.

Recently at the opera, I put several people three handshakes from Puccini.  Alas, an employee in a sporting goods store near Grand Central was unmoved when I put him four handshakes from Mendelssohn.  Just two handshakes from the Alice of Wonderland, I spent many hours in the rooms she knew when her father was dean of the college where I studied and where Lewis Carroll wrote the stories for her.  Alice Liddell, later Mrs. Reginald Hargreaves, died in 1934 at the age of 82, shortly after she visited New York to be honored by Columbia University.

In Through the Looking Glass, Humpty Dumpty boasts: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”  “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”  “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

When the State tries to be master over nature, behavior becomes disordered.  The results of the disastrous legalization of the destruction of unborn children prove that, and now it is happening again in attempts to “redefine” marriage.  So far, eleven countries have done it, as well as nine of our own states, along with the nation’s capital.  Hundreds of thousands have publicly protested the attempt of France’s Socialist president to play “master.”  It should be obvious to all except the dense and the willfully ignorant, that the next step will be to attack the Church through civil penalties for refusing jto accept the authority of the State to invert the natural order, of which the State is only a steward.

Pope Benedict XVI has said: “. . . if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation.  Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him.  [Rabbi] Bernheim [the Chief Rabbi of France] shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of right, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain.  When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied, and ultimately man, too, is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being.”

At the wedding in Cana, Christ’s mother said, “Whatever my son says to do, do it.”  We are free not to do what he says, and to play Humpty Dumpty with nature, but when the social order has a great fall, all the politicians will not be able to put it back together again.


This article originally published in From the Pastor, 1/20/13

Cover art: Peter Newell

Fr. George W. Rutler


Fr. George W. Rutler is pastor of St. Michael's church in New York City. His latest book, Hints of Heaven: The Parables of Christ & What They Mean for You, is available from Sophia Institute Press.

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  • rosebud

    I haven’t gotten to the point of believing that Humpty-Dumpty will have his way in regard to changing “Image of God/ Natural Law”. I want to believe that the current surge of anti-Gospel/ Church energy is akin to a rat being cornered; Relativism (Spirit revealed in Pilot saying; “Truth, what is Truth ?”) is lashing out like a cornered rat because it knows its time is short; Largely due to instantaneous communication which makes its use of deceipt much more difficult. I like to imagine the fall of Relativism (man’s pride of self determination) coming about as suddenly/ surprisingly as the fall of the Berlin Wall. This will usher in “The New Springtime” alluded to by recent prophetic figures & “The Period of Peace” promised at Fatima. [Our Lady’s words were; “A period of peace will be given to the WORLD”. There hasn’t been WORLD-WIDE peace since this promise was given.] I’ve been accused of being a “Pie in the Sky” guy, but there are only 2 other possibilities; 1)Peace will be much slower & more difficult 2)We’re doomed [ Peace Recipe(Fatima); “Make reparation for the outrages committed against The Immaculate Heart of Mary.” (console Mama); “Rejoice Queen Mother, Your Son our God has gone into the depths of darkness & illumined it with the Victory of Divine Mercy. It has penetrated the hardness of our selfish vanity & softened our Hearts into praise & thanks for God (who longs to share His Glorious Love with us).]