Moral Matters


April 19, 2017

Let’s not lose touch with sacred things

As I see it, the biggest problem facing our society is the loss of respect for sacred things. I don’t mean religious things as such, although they are intrinsically sacred. I mean all those things that command awe, reverence and esteem. Traditionally, sacred things acted as barrier to our impulses. Such things stood beyond the ordinary flow of life, tempering our desire to violate or dishonour. They summoned the better angels of our nature, forcing us to recognise a threshold that we dare not trespass. When I was a child, for example, the news that someone had died was received with communal mourning. My grandfather ran a butcher shop in a small village, and when a cortege was due to pass, he and his employees stood respectfully on the street. Indeed, the whole village shut down as a mark of respect for the deceased and the bereaved. It is to their great credit that many towns and villages in rural Ireland continue this ancient practice. For them, the dead are not to be shoved out of sight. In closing their shops, and putting life on hold, they reverence those in whose sacred shadow we stand…Read More