Advent, The Princess Bride and Environmentalism

Catherine Fournier

I don't want to spend too much time telling you the long story of how this magazine came into existence. To do that properly I think I'd have to go back to the life of our grandparents, and work forward. So, in the words of Inigo Montoya; "Let me sum up."*

I am a convert to Catholicism, and my husband Peter is a returned cradle Catholic. I began reading about Catholicism when I was pregnant with our first child, because I promised to bring our children up in the Catholic faith. Can't teach what you don't know, I thought. The more I read and the more I learned, the more I wanted this faith for myself as well as for my children. During what became my conversion process, Peter read history and apologetics first to keep up with my questions, and then to satisfy his own growing interest and curiosity about the Church.

We joined and returned to the Catholic Church because of its enduring and uncompromising faithfulness to Truth, and its unchanging traditions and teaching. In the late 70"s. At a time of tremendous change, renovation, and revolution in the Church. Sigh.

As I'm sure you know, the last twenty years have been eventful ones in the life of the Church. There has been both great renewal and reform, and much destruction and dissent. The Church has spoken powerfully to give us a better understanding of many modern concerns; the dignity and role of women, the sanctity of life, the importance of education. At the same time, the Church has suffered some great blows; scandals have plagued local churches, and well-known theologians have excommunicated themselves. With all this stuff going on, almost everyone forgot about the Catholic family, the how to be a Catholic family amidst all these changes.

Today, environmental activists speak of the "destruction of ecosystems", of "erosion" and "endangered species". They urge everyone to "Think Globally and Act Locally." They don't call for a return to "old ways", in many cases environmentalists urge change and the use of new, less damaging technologies, in order to protect and preserve our natural world.

But there is also a spiritual world, as real as the physical world.So can we speak, in terms of the spiritual world, of the destruction of our Christian oriented society, the erosion of moral values, and the many pressures on the family. What we need is a kind of religious environmentalism, an action to preserve Catholic faith, to maintain Catholic practice, and to restore a Catholic disposition to our society. Not to simply return to the old ways, but to find ways of living our faith that remain true to the old while welcoming the new.

We need to "Think Eternally and Act Temporally" - in our own families and our own homes. The family is the incarnation of faith, and "the first and vital cell of society". (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, No.11) Any action must begin at home.

After prayer, discernment and a fair bit of procrastination, Peter and I are acting temporally (and in our home!) by starting this on-line magazine. Our hope for Domestic-Church.Com is that it becomes a resource for "religious environmentalists", and that by transforming our homes into what they are called to be - the domestic church, we will also bring about a rebuilding of society.

And what better time to start than Advent? It is the season that heralds new beginnings, it is the 'dawn of hope'. On a practical note, it is also the time that regular family routines get shaken up, special decorations fill the house, and however tepid or fervent, religious observance increases. It is the logical time to introduce new liturgies into family life. So let us begin!

In memory of Don McPhee; a great heart, a great love, a great friend.

* From The Princess Bride. If you haven't seen it, rent it tonight. It's great, you'll love it.

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