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25 July 2013

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MrsDarwin

I really appreciate this series. Thanks for bringing Elisabeth Leseur to our attention -- I've ordered the book, and just reading the biographical intro has given me so much to think about and mediate on.

I love the distinction you've made between the types of smiles -- a spontaneous/deliberate distinction, which still assumes the practice of virtue. I've grown very tired of models of etiquette (particularly advice for dealing with the opposite sex) which assumes an adversarial relationship with humanity rather than a virtue-based system of interaction.

Jenny

"Your second responsibility is for your family... With the church, I believe that the whole structure of our moral, national, and social life is based on the family, and I am convinced that everything done for the family enhances the greatness and strength of peoples and societies; on the other hand, they are irretrievably destroyed as soon as the family, the cornerstone of the structure, is attacked."

Such a powerful quote given the near complete destruction of family life in some segments of society. I wonder if people have always felt like family life was under siege or if that is special to our age. Casti Connubii was written about twenty years after these letters. Was there an air of impending doom during that time suggesting the family was about to be destroyed? I feel that we live with the fallout from society not heeding their advice.

bearing

We certainly do live with the fallout.

I'm not so sure I would say that the "greatness and strength" of a society is "irretrievably destroyed as soon as the family... is attacked." Irretrievably? As soon as the (first) attack happens? I think that's overstating it. But attacks on the family do risk undermining the social structure.

Jenny

I agree it is overstated. It takes sustained attacks to irretrievably destroy anything. Even now I do not believe society has been irretrievably destroyed though the family has endured 100 years of attack. I just keep running into quotes from the first half of the 20th century that basically say, "Mess with the family and you will pay a terrible price." And what did we do? Messed with the family.

Bearing

We are definitely paying a terrible price. But there remains hope that it is not irretrievable.

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