November 2017 Print

Letter from the Publisher

Dear readers,

“Why would I have to do this? Can’t I do what I want with my time?” These and similar reflections are commonly heard coming from the lips of teenagers, today, as yesterday. Is this simply because of a generational gap? Is it indicative of a perennial difficulty elders have in understanding their subjects? It seems to be rather the perennial paradox of harmonizing individual liberties with social authority.

Any sociologist will readily admit that no group can exist without some leader who, ultimately, is responsible over it. Whether we are talking about a Saturday bicycle club or an established nation, someone ultimately needs to make decisions and be made accountable for them. From the family unit under the father to the CEO of a big corporation, running through the primary school teacher and the family business, we see all these entities being managed by a superior in charge of subordinates. The subjects are always better off when they tune in with their competent and dutiful leader.

Yet, this double line of communication has been encumbered with much static ever since the 1950s. In the United States specifically, an onslaught raged against everyone from the humble parental authority all the way to the presidential power. Just think of the endless Hollywood movies degrading the father figure; think of the sexual revolution, of unruly university students lobbying against teachers; of well-fed hippies speaking of peace on the back of Prisoner of War.

The little we can surmise is that the “powers that be” are not targeting this or that leader, this or that entity. What is at stake is the very existence of authority ruling over man at all rungs of society, human and divine. Before we become the horrified witnesses of our social structure sinking into anarchy, let us get back to basics and see the impact of authority—or the lack thereof—in the various sections of human life. Perhaps then we can better appreciate what is being eroded today.

Fr. Jürgen Wegner