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Family breakdown is in fact the largest single social disaster plaguing the post-Christian society.
The family is a natural way of regulating and disciplining us and our ambitions in the activities of everyday life.
Nor was any contact made with the Italian Embassy about the detention of, and forcible medical assault on, an Italian citizen.
The judge at a later court hearing, where the woman (now on her medicine) was seeking the return of her baby, remarked that she was articulate and competent.
At the suggestion of social workers, a court then ordered that she be compelled to have a Caesarean and, since she was arguably unfit to care for the child, that her baby be “taken into care” and put up for adoption. The woman has a mother in Italy who cares for her two older children and a sister and an ex-husband in America, both of whom are on good terms with her.
It is a society rooted in the history, culture, and practices of Christianity but in which the religious beliefs of Christianity have been either rejected or, worse, forgotten.
At an emotional level, its Christian character explains why many agnostics and atheists nonetheless find Christian hymns suitable and comforting at occasions such as funerals and weddings.
Intellectually, its dormant Christian beliefs — notably those about the nature of Man — underpin our ideas on politics and foreign policy, as for instance on human rights.
The result of family breakdown is that we have to replace the family with regulation after regulation.
Our remedies — easier divorce, better financial arrangements for women after divorce, increased welfare for single mothers, bureaucratic agencies to compel men to make child-support payments, laws and regulations that disadvantage natural family relationships in court decisions on child care and adoption, and much else — never work as well as the stable families they replace. Let me give you a very recent example: A pregnant Italian woman on a visit to Britain failed to take her regular medicine for bipolar disorder and suffered a panic attack.
But most “tug-of-love” child cases don’t involve such horrors.