Time moves with incredible speed as one gets older. It accelerates especially as one’s children advance into adolescence and begin to move off into the world, carrying with them whatever strengths and weaknesses we have imparted. A few years ago our eldest son left for a minor seminary. He fought hard to be allowed to go, and he had an amazing array of arguments to support his desire. The only thing my wife and I had against it was his age. Fourteen is a short number of years to have lived. Is it enough time to outfit a boy to meet the modern world? Has he been sufficiently formed in the hurly-burly of family life to believe in the truths which we are called by God to live, and to know that we shall sometimes fail in the attempt? Has he learned mercy as well as justice? Truth as well as compassion? I stayed up many nights talking the matter over with my wife, praying, thinking — and worrying, as fathers are prone to do in these times.
“What is Truth?” Pontius Pilate
I may be exceptionally naïve, but I began to understand the unreliability of the communications media only when I reached my late twenties. One day, my wife and I and our first-born son were on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, among a crowd of 12,000 pro-life demonstrators, listening to a speech by the British journalist and convert, Malcolm Muggeridge. His words were nothing short of brilliant and prophetic. At the far edge of the crowd a group of about twenty pro-abortion protesters campaigned for attention, chanting slogans and marching in a circle. That night I was astounded to see the event grossly distorted on the television news networks. There was not a single excerpt from the pro-life speeches, no view of the crowd, no mention of its size, only brief close-up snippets of individual pro-life demonstrators-and the networks seemed to have an eye only for tongue-tied people in funny looking hats.