Monday, November 13, 2017

Hollywood Headlines

The headlines from Hollywood and New York say all anyone really needs to know about the situation. I learned quickly enough not to read the articles: TMI does not begin to express it. Of all the conversations that have since sprung up, some only appeal to the issue of consent (essential, of course, but not at all sufficient contain a problem of abuse of power). Emphasis on consent presumes parity among the parties, but equality is precisely what molesters effectively deny. Yet without a transcendent reference point what else is there to appeal to?

Then this morning while attempting to put the papers in my office into some kind of order (well, to get them out of sight is more like it), I came across a slip on which I had written this, probably from the personal journals of Alexander Schmemann, one of my favorite writers:
Back in 1973, Schmemann commented on two books he had recently read:
"Both authors describe the strength of lust for power--a never-ceasing, wild struggle for power, for success. While reading, I felt really frightened by the force, the energy that struggle, even in the smallest worlds--a force that can move mountains and be quite poisonous. The struggle for power is the quintessence of our world. ..."
In another place, Schmemann remarked that often we fail to recognize just how fallen this world is, because we think that what we are witnessing is just "natural" when it, in fact, is seriously broken.

Meanwhile on Twitter, over 200,000 people signaled this post:
I was surprised by the number of negative responses it provoked. Some of those who objected did no on the grounds that even within marriage there can be abuse of power, domestic violence and rape. It seems to me that these sad and sinful realities highlight even more what Schmemann had to say, while also inviting insights from Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body: The most sacred relationship of man and woman can only be lived in its fullness when it is lived "in a complete gift of self" that seeks not one's own pleasure or purpose, but the good of the beloved. And yet this kind of love and respect cannot be mandated by law or social pressure; it is the work of grace, a participation in the way God loves.

Stories of love and the gift of self don't make as many headlines as do sordid tales of lechery, so we need to use all our resources to broadcast them ourselves. Do you have a beautiful story of love to share?

2 comments:

Ron said...

Thank you Sister Anne, your writing is always powerful and truth telling. Bless you.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

God bless you, Ron!