The pre-Vatican II men--what broadcaster Tom Brokaw alled the "greatest generation"--possessed humor, faith, humility, good grace, common sense, and a little brass, making them interesting. How so? According to Holtz, they possessed character" as well as something to say besides "Look at me, aren't I great?"
Many won't much care fore Holtz's assessment, as he described his fears about what will happen when this generation is gone. For example:
- In their wake, cold atheists and apostates will be called in to give the commencement addresses, coach the teams, hold the offices. What will they say? What will make them interesting? What will give them character? Why will we want to listen when what formed them is so uninteresting compared to what came before?
- The old Catholic Church before it became “relevant and modernized” had such a powerful impact on society, not only on souls but on character, on right living, on humor, on faith, on neighborhoods, on sports, on LIFE!
- The great Jesuit schools all across the country, named for the missionaries who first brought Christ to the New World. And all the Catholic high schools and universities, such as Notre Dame, before it lost the faith after Vatican II, formed the movers and shakers of industry, academia, finance, sports, development, the arts, you name it.
- The priests, the orphanages, the soup kitchens, the rest homes, the neighborhoods, the big Catholic families, the people—the Catholic thing formed the bedrock of what was right and good and happy and fun about America. But where has it gone? Why is it dying? What will replace it when it’s gone? Atheism? GLAAD? Theology of the Body? Puh-leeze!
Holtz's viewpoint--which is inspirational but also looks at that era of U.S. Catholic history through "rose-colored glases"--reminded The Motley Monk of many of the sisters and priests who educated him: Wholesome innocence, full of faith, a good sense of self-effacing humor, and possessing practical wisdom that more oftentimes reinforced what was first taught at home. Those sisters and priests were also flawed, which made them human and approachable. Most were very interesting. And most have died.
Holtz is correct, on at least one count. Many--if not most--young Catholic males don't have it as good as their counterparts did 50-80 years ago. Hopefully, they will avail themselves of and find in the Church's teaching the Truth that will make them very interesting men, husbands, and fathers...like Coach Holtz. Men who speak their minds with courage of character and not "flat, faithless, boring, and obscene" men whose sole interest is themselves.
Let the discussion begin...