As some of you might remember, I was at my cousin's wedding in Kerry a few weeks ago. As I was stumbling back down the aisle after the interminable ceremony, punch-drunk from the assault of hyper-Catholicism (did you know that the full version of the Catholic wedding vows requires you to promise not to use contraception, which my cousin blithely did?), I found this on the bookshelves at the back among piles of The Irish Catholic
Wow, I thought. The Church are sufficiently on the ball to produce a parents' guide aimed specifically at old-school punks (of modalverben
's vintage, perhaps) who have settled down after their wild youth and are dealing with parenthood. And sure enough, inside I found concerned letters like these:
"Despite all my efforts to get my son into the Pistols and the Clash, he insists on filling his ears with commercial, manufactured chart-pap. What can I do to save him from this vile and dangerous habit?"
"All my daughter wants is a job at Citibank, working her way up the financial ladder, and all the designer trainers she can wear at the weekends. I have done my best to teach her right from wrong. Where have I messed up?"
"While cleaning my son's room, under the mattress I discovered a stash of literature from the Conservative Party. I fear he may have joined it in secret. How do I broach this awkward subject?"
Of course, Father Paul Andrews (S.J.), writer for The Sacred Heart Messenger magazine
, handled all these questions adroitly and soothingly. The world needs more people like Father Paul.