Saturday, June 18, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings, Saturday, June 18, 2011, A Weiner Spectacle

Some scandals are just too miserable to deserve comment; others, in the downfall of the principle actors offer can offer valuable insight into the faults and weaknesses of society at large. The recent sorry spectacle of a U.S. Representative with the unfortunate name of Weiner is one of the latter.

For a long time, I was convinced that the affair deserved no comment, as the news coverage was sufficiently describing the sorry details. I changed my mind when then Rep Weiner announced he was seeking time off to get treatment, as if his problems were of a medical nature. I submit they’re not, the man’s problem is spiritual and moral; he is plainly a man in search of fulfillment and has looked in all the wrong places. He’s a victim of his own leftist world view that he is his own man, not accountable to anyone else, or even more, not accountable, much less dependent upon, God. He’s been shown how wrong he is, but he seems to lost, or too self-absorbed, to see the truth.

The truly sad thing is that he isn’t alone in society; he also serves as a vivid example of the cancer that has been eating away at our society for a very long time. It’s one that we’re in danger of succumbing to, I fear. I find it striking that the situation was described quite clearly by Thomas Merton nearly 60 years ago in his book, Thoughts in Solitude:

No amount of technological progress will cure the hatred that eats away the vitals of materialistic society like a spiritual cancer. The only cure is, and must always be, spiritual. There is not much use talking to men about God and love it they are not able to listen. The ears with which one hears the message of the Gospel are hidden in man’s heart, and these ears do not hear anything unless they are favored with a certain interior solitude and silence.

In other words, since faith is a matter of freedom and self-determination—the free receiving of a freely given gift of grace—man cannot assent to a spiritual message as long as his mind and heart are enslaved by automatism. He will always remain so enslaved as long as he is submerged in a mass of other automatons, without individuality and without their rightful integrity as persons.

This particular political scandal shows what happens when a man loses sight of his, and others, integrity as a person. It is, indeed, a sorry spectacle, but one we shouldn’t soon forget.

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