When I was growing up, it didn’t happen very often, but every time there was a tornado warning, my dad would go outside and look toward the horizon where the tornado was supposed to be coming from. He wanted to see with his own eyes whether a funnel cloud was coming toward our house. There were a couple of occasions when everyone in our family went downstairs and stayed in the basement until it was safe to come up.
When I was 11 years old, every Friday my dad made me write a personal letter to a woman he hardly knew. The woman’s name was Miss Miller, and she was my sixth-grade teacher at St. Mark Catholic Grade School. I don’t remember if it was her idea or his idea. All I remember is that after she called him on the phone a few times to complain about my behavior in class, they developed a scheme in which I was forced to write the following letter on a blank sheet of paper every week:
A couple of years ago, one of my relatives — I’ll call her Jane — posted a message on Facebook that ordered anyone who was a friend of hers who was also a supporter of President Trump to immediately unfriend her. She made it clear that any supporter of Trump was not a friend of hers and she didn’t want to have anything to do with them.
When I was in law school (1979-1982), one of the weekly magazines I subscribed to was TIME magazine. Back then, there was no internet, satellite television, or national talk radio programs. If we wanted to know what was going on in our country, we had to rely on newspapers, magazines, network television — ABC, NBC, and CBS.
The recent riots have exposed a reality that those of us who are devout Catholics have always known to be true. What is that reality? That there is an epic battle that has been taking place since the beginning of time. While the battle has involved different types of weapons and different forms of communication, the participants in the battle have always had one thing in common — they have always been separated into two opposing camps.
I’ve written before about how my wife and I raised seven children — one boy and six girls. An interesting thing happened with some of my children. When they turned 18, they got tired of me telling them what I thought they should be doing and declared that because they were 18, they were now adults who could make their own decisions. The first time I heard that proclamation, I laughed and asked what happened on their 18th birthday that transformed them into the type of person who no longer needed to listen to their parents. The response I got was, “I’m an adult now and I’m old enough to make my own decisions.”
I recently listened to an interview of a business consultant who said that he blames Thomas Jefferson for many of the problems in the United States, because Jefferson was the one who came up with the phrase in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The consultant said that he had no problem with the life and liberty part of the phrase, but that Jefferson’s use of the words “pursuit of happiness” was a mistake.
On Monday, August 20, 2018, a Catholic priest was physically attacked while he was praying in the sacristy of St Michaels Byzantine Catholic Church in Merrillville, Indiana. According to the Merrillville police chief, Joseph Petruch, the attacker grabbed Fr. Basil John Hutsko by the neck and “threw him down on the floor and immediately started slamming his head against the floor, both sides, front and back.”