A few weeks ago, on the advice of my friend Vince Robson, I watched a television show called “What’s Wrong with the World?”  When one of the speakers, psychiatrist, was asked his opinion, he said, “The answer is very simple.  The world was given to us with a set of rules called the Ten Commandments.  If these had been observed we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in, socially, monetarily and morally.”

Suppose we draw an analogy.  When you buy a new car you are usually given a set of  rules, not mere suggestions.  The manual does not say, “We suggest that you put gas in the as tank, oil in the oil tank and water in the water tank.  But, it’s up to you to decide.  It would also be a good idea to put air in the tires – but decide for yourself.  There are different ways of stopping a car.  You can use the brake or run the car into a wall.  We suggest the brake, but it’s up to you.”

I know this sounds ridiculous but we have to admit that this is basically what we have done with the Ten Commandments.  Turn on the news almost any evening and you are treated to a list of broken commandments – killings, robberies, rappings, adulteries, lies, disobedience to authority, etc.  They can all be summed up under the First Commandment, “Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.” We live in a secular society which has created its own false gods – pride, power, pleasure, profit.  Society seems to have lost the consciousness of sin.

What is nature telling us?

There is a French saying to the effect that, “If you oppose nature, nature will come roaring back at you.”  Perhaps another way of putting it is that, “God always forgives; man sometimes forgives; nature never forgives.”

Analysis on teen sexuality reveals something about this unforgiving quality of nature and what comes from promiscuity.  Each study shows that the rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among teenagers is up all over Canada.  One Alberta study estimated that 2.5 per cent of teenage girls had Chlamydia.  Another federal report suggested that the rage of STDs among female teenagers had reached a “staggering level.”  Observers often decry the amount of health care dollars (over $200 million) which must be spent on STD treatment.  What about the moral aspects of totally disregarding the Commandments of God?

A story out of London, England tells a similar tale.  In an effort to reduce the number of single mothers, the British education secretary decided to make sweeping changes to teaching sex education.  The program is part of Prime Minister John Major’s “back to basis” plan, which aims to reduce government costs by promoting individual responsibility.  “Moral values lie at the heart of education,” the education secretary affirmed.  “No school should be a value-free zone – the family is still the core of society, the cement holding us all together.”

Oh Boy! I wonder if he’d read the statement on the Family in the Second Vatican Council.  “The Creator of all made the married state the beginning and foundation of human society.  The mission of being the primary cell of society has been given to the family by God Himself.”

Again, this British program stresses the financial rather than the moral cost.  If Britain can lead the world back to sanity in the moral sphere, even for the less worthy motive of saving money, she will get the backing of at least one Irishman.  And perhaps the world will eventually come to realize that the Commandments of God are not just unattainable ideals but the necessary guid rules for “keeping the car on the road.”


The reader may be wondering why I headed this article “Lent 1994.”  The reason is that Lent is a time for prayer and penance.  And these are the two most powerful practices for helping to keep the world on the right track.  Christ spent 40 days in prayer and penance in the desert.  He was tempted by the Devil.  The last of the three temptations was, “All these will I give thee if falling down thou wilt adore me.”  (Matthew Chap. 4) That seems to be the final temptation which Satan has held out to modern society, and sadly, we seem to have succumbed.  The obsession for Power, Pride and Pleasure seem to be the bottom line in most of our endeavours.  A serious attempt at prayer and penance this Lent could help each of us to reply to Satan with those immortal words, “Begone Satan.”  But you might say, “What use would my paltry effort be for the rest of the world?”  Remember this, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”