FOR­MER STU­DENT GOES ON

U.S. hurt by on­go­ing, grow­ing moral cri­sis

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

Amer­ica is at a moral cross­roads. Yes­ter­day morn­ing, be­fore Ash Wed­nes­day Mass at St. Brigid Church in South Bos­ton, I told the Rev. Robert Casey, “It’s re­ally mov­ing to see so many won­der­ful women and men, prob­a­bly on the way to work, but they wanted to be­gin the holy sea­son of Lent by at­tend­ing Mass. We never hear how de­cent and car­ing these peo­ple are. All we ever see on TV and the movies is the ex­ploita­tion and glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of sex and violence.”

Later, when my wife, Kathy, and I walked down to St An­thony’s Shrine in Down­town Cross­ing, we found the church full of Catholics re­ceiv­ing their ashes.

But about this same time, word had started to spread about the hor­rific shoot­ing at a high school in Florida.

I be­gan to see looks of fear and con­cern on the faces of peo­ple on the streets of Bos­ton. I can only imag­ine how they felt.

All of our hearts break for the fam­i­lies of the 17 chil­dren and teach­ers slain, al­legedly by a dis­turbed for­mer stu­dent with a ri­fle. Those fam­i­lies need our love and our con­cern — as do all par­ents who pour ev­ery­thing they have into rais­ing good kids.

And our chil­dren, our na­tion’s great­est prom­ise — who we fail when they are sub­jected to violence — also need all the love and con­cern we can give them.

I thought about how val­ues of kind­ness and sports­man­ship were driven in us as kids not only by our par­ents grow­ing up, but by our coaches, clergy, teach­ers and even at our lo­cal veter­ans’ post. We have to ask our­selves: Are we do­ing the same for our own chil­dren and grand­chil­dren?

Those of us who are older weren’t ex­posed to all this violence on TV the way kids are to­day.

To­day, you can’t even men­tion God and val­ues in our pub­lic schools, while TV of­fers up an end­less diet of shoot­ings, gangs, drugs and violence. Movies and video games are full of violence and dis­re­gard for hu­man life. The killing is not limited to poor in­ner-city neigh­bor­hoods. In Park­land, Fla., we saw how it can hit af­flu­ent com­mu­ni­ties.

I am heart­ened though, when I do see good hard­work­ing, con­cerned par­ents not only wor­ry­ing about their own chil­dren’s safety, but the future of Amer­ica, like so many of the peo­ple I saw in church and on the streets of Bos­ton yes­ter­day. These peo­ple know where the prob­lem be­gins. Now all of us, from the high­est elected of­fi­cials down to each of us in our homes, need to fo­cus all our en­ergy and love on the moral cri­sis fac­ing Amer­ica.

PHOTO BY AMY BETH BEN­NETT/SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SEN­TINEL VIA AP

HEART­BREAK­ING: Par­ents and fam­ily gather at Coral Springs Drive and the Saw­grass Ex­press­way just south of the cam­pus after a school shoot­ing yes­ter­day.

AP PHO­TOS

TRAGEDY: A law en­force­ment of­fi­cer di­rects traf­fic, above, while fam­ily and friends gather, be­low.

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