“You are embarassing the angels”

Yes, I think for Lent, I will join Peggy Noonan in this endeavor.

When I see teenage suburban girls talking like 7th Avenue streetwalkers while they flick their cigarettes, I will say it.

When I hear my feminist friend railing at the unfairness of a biology that forces women to menstruate, but not men, I will say it.

When I hear a priest change the liturgy to suit his ego or his ideology, I will say it.

When I see teenage boys wearing pants with the crotches at the knees and their underwear exposed, I will say it.

When I hear parents and children speaking to each other disrespectfully, particularly if they’re flinging the eff word around like sailors, I will say it.

When I see people call presidents and former presidents by tawdry nicknames I will say it.

When “I” am cursing like a sailor-wannabee, I will say it.

When I find myself walking away from my husband or kids with an intemperate mutter and shake of the head, I will say it.

When I imagine myself flipping off another driver while in traffic, I will say it.

When I find my mind wandering during Holy Mass, and realize I was thinking about really stupid, superficial or judgemental stuff while the rest of the congregation praying to the Holy Spirit, I will say it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton once wrote a book called What’s Wrong With the World. He meant to tell us. It took him many hundreds of pages, just to begin.

But the seed for his task had been planted years earlier; a newspaper had contacted him, asking him to contribute to a sort of symposium of prominent men responding to the same question: “What’s Wrong With the World?”

He replied, Dear Sirs; I am.

The book is pretty good, btw. It begins:

I originally called this book What is Wrong, and it would have satisfied your sardonic temper to note the number of social misunderstandings that arose from the use of the title. Many a mild lady visitor opened her eyes when I remarked casually, I have been doing ‘What is Wrong’ all this morning. And one minister of religion moved quite sharply in his chair when I told him (as he understood it) that I had to run upstairs and do what was wrong, but should be down again in a minute.

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About Elizabeth Scalia