The battle for America’s unborn

This year, the Family and Life Academy webinars have been exploring the foundations of the defence of children from physical and spiritual destruction in today’s world. In May, Dr Pat Fagan presented compelling social science data showing the incomparable benefit of intact marriage and weekly religious worship for children and society as a whole. Then at the beginning of June, Dr Jennifer Roback Morse exposed the sexual revolution’s systematic destruction of safeguards protecting children from sexual predation. Finally, on Saturday 24 June, Thomas McKenna and Paul Jonna discussed children’s right to life in light of the overturning of Roe v Wade, and reflected on the future of the battle against legalised abortion in the United States.

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The sexual revolution: softening the ground for legalising paedophilia

Following Professor Roberto de Mattei’s exploration of attacks against the family in revolutionary history, and Dr Pat Fagan’s revealing insight into social science data on the benefits of marriage and religious worship for children and society, Dr Jennifer Roback Morse has made a further contribution to the Family and Life Academy’s catalogue of webinars unpacking the contemporary crisis. Dr Roback Morse joined John Smeaton on 2 June 2023 for a webinar entitled, Baked in from the beginning: paedophilia and the sexual revolution. She was careful to qualify “the somewhat shocking title”, right at the outset:

“You’re not going to hear me tell you that all the founders of the sexual revolution were themselves paedophiles. That’s not what we’re going to talk about. In fact, what I have to say is in its own way even more alarming… the way in which the sexual revolution presented itself, and the goals that it aspired to, required people to redefine what they meant by childhood… duties of parents to children, of society to children… So, in effect, without themselves being paedophiles, what they did is create a set of structures that weakened the protections for children and, at the same time, most likely attract people who actually are paedophiles. So my message is going to be a little more subtle than you may have thought but it is at the same time all the more disturbing.”

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Intact marriage and weekly worship make children thrive 

On Friday 12 May, Dr Pat Fagan presented a webinar at the Family and Life Academy. Dr Fagan is the founder and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute. In his five decades as a clinical therapist and social scientist, Dr Fagan has specialised in marriage, family and child therapy, and the study of marriage and religious practice, in which fields he has authored and commissioned scores of synthesis papers and original research projects, and advised President George Herbert Bush and Senator Dan Coats. In the webinar, Dr Fagan presented an overview of his research focusing on intact marriage and weekly worship, which in his own words, “cause — and I underline that word, cause — society to thrive or, in their absence, to wilt”.

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The defence of the family and the reconquest of its values

In last Friday’s webinar, Attacks against the family: a historical overview, Professor Roberto de Mattei elucidated exactly what is at stake in the battle between opposing conceptions of the family — that conceived by the philosophical realism of St Thomas Aquinas and those conceived by the succession of subjective philosophies which have arisen since the sixteenth century. 

“Luther denied that matrimony is a sacrament, and, consistent with this position, denied its indissolubility. He affirmed that matrimony could be dissolved ipso facto by infidelity on the part of one of the spouses… Divorce spread widely in the following centuries in Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican countries, but civil divorce was officially introduced in public institutions only after the French Revolution.”

Even more than the Protestant Revolt, it was the spirit of 1789 which would become the mother and model of all subsequent attacks on the family. Nowhere is this more evident that in the “philosophy” of one of the French Revolution’s most influential children, the Marquis de Sade (1740–1814).

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The family and faith of Blessed Karl and Zita

Last Friday, the feast of the Holy Rosary, saw the opening webinar at the Family and Life Academy. People from over 20 countries assembled on the platform to watch, listen and put questions to His Excellency Eduard Habsburg, ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See, in an inspiring webinar on his holy kinsman and kinswoman, Blessed Karl and Servant of God Zita von Habsburg — “a giant of the faith, who married a giant of the faith”.

In this intimate look at two young Catholic spouses, parents and heads of state, their great-great-nephew revealed that, “on the eve of their wedding, Karl told Zita, ‘Now we must help each other attain Heaven!’ … If there ever was a better and more wonderful definition of what Christian married life is, I don’t know it.”

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