Broken Families, Broken Words

Broken Families, Broken Words July 9, 2014

“When . . . you have killed a word you have also, as far as in you lay, blotted from the human mind the thing that word originally stood for,” Lewis wrote in 1944. “Men do not long continue to think what they have forgotten how to say.” Writing as a guest on Elizabeth Scalia’s weblog, Irish Catholic (and Irish Catholic) writer Ben Conroy explains what happens when “family” is one of those words and what challenges this presents when the family is broken.

[W]hat happens to talk of God the Father in countries like Ireland and the US, where around a quarter of children don’t live with their fathers? What happens to understanding the Church as the family of God in a society where family meals — and all their attendant fights, laughter and Epic Chats — have become less and less common?  Nothing good. The family will only remain as the basic unit of civilization as long as people have an intuitive sense of things, a ‘social imaginary’ that includes the idea families are Important Things. The family can’t effectively function as an icon of the Trinity when its members are too busy to talk to one another.

He has some ideas about what the Church should do.

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