Over the last few weeks there have been heart wrenching accounts relating to the tragic events surrounding the case of Alfie Evans the little boy whose plight confronted and in many respects confounded the various “orthodoxies” of the Establishment; mainly the fundamental right to life and the inalienable rights of parents. I am not going to comment on the case as others like Joe Shaw and Fr Dwight Longenecker have done that for us.
For my part as a father myself, I simply want to pay tribute to the courage and tenacity of Tom Evans [Alfie’s father] and to Alfie himself by the following quotes which I think sum up beautifully the testimony of both their lives to the moral power that God has invested in both of them.
“There is only one adventurer in the world, as can be seen very clearly in the modern world, the father of a family. Even the most desperate adventurers are nothing compared with him…. Everything is against him. Savagely organized against him. Everything turns and combines against him. Men, events, the events of society, the automatic play of economic laws. And, in short, everything else. Everything is against the father of a family, the pater familias; and consequently against the family. He alone is literally ‘engaged’ in the world, in the age. He alone is an adventurer.” – Charles Peguy in Clio 1.
“Early in the 8th century, the Bishop of Avranches, St. Aubert, wanted to build a shrine to the Archangel St. Michael on the site of a pagan monument, but the last stone of the old temple was too heavy to overturn. The men of the area were ordered to bring their sons, but they were not help enough. The Bishop asked if all had been brought and the father of sixteen admitted that he had left one at home but he was an infant. “Bring him!” bellowed the Bishop, and when the saint placed the child’s tiny foot against the stone, the whole pagan edifice fell. By God’s grace the great stones of pagan pride in our society can be overturned. Great men and women with learned voices and worthy example will lead the way; but the final stone will be overturned by a mother’s baby. Each baby is the conscience of a culture. And when the last stone falls and a Christian age begins to flower… A newer song will be raised to the Mother of God and our Mother: “Hail Mary full of grace!”‘ –Seven Wonders of the World. Fr GW Rutler