49 Seconds and St. Thomas Aquinas

49 Seconds and St. Thomas Aquinas

The Super Bowl may be a test between the two best football teams in America, but there is another competition taking place that is every bit as heated, and of course I am referring to the race to the bottom between Hollywood and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. 

Recently the film “The Wolf of Wall Street” was released with high acclaim.  It has grossed over $100 million already.  In the past I have enjoyed some Scorsese movies but I couldn’t in good conscience go and see this one.  I read its review on Pluggedin.com and “The Wolf,” aptly named, is nothing less than a mainstream porn flick (making a mockery of the “R” rating, so families everywhere take note: R is the new X when the Motion Picture Association decides to contort its flimsy standards).  “The Wolf” boasts of having over 500 uses of the F word, and so I am sure that in no time the 1,000 threshold will be reached with another of Hollywood’s “avant-garde” films.

Not to be outdone by Hollywood, Sunday night’s Grammy awards from Los Angeles took on the feel of a pagan festival with 33 couples participating in a forty-nine second marriage ceremony conducted on live television, with Queen Latifah herself presiding over the “ceremony.”  I guess Reverend Moon’s Madison Square Garden marriage ceremonies are no longer the gold- standard for travesty weddings.  Even the Las Vegas chapels were blushing over the Staples Center “service.”!

Wikipedia says that Queen Latifah is “an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, model, television producer, record producer, comedienne, and talk show hostess.”  I guess they can now add to that array of titles “high priestess” for she solemnly pronounced before the various gay, lesbian or straight duos that “by the power invested in me by the state of California, I now pronounce you a married couple.”  There you have it!  My guess is that some of these “marriages” may also last about 49 seconds!

I had heard about Sunday’s program and so I went to youtube.com to see it for myself.  What was interesting was that every effort was made by the Grammy folks to co-opt religious symbols and sentiments – the stage was transformed into a cathedral-type setting with stained glass in the background, and of course, there were opening and closing hymns (“Same Love” started it off and the recessional had none other than Madonna – wow, didn’t see that coming – singing something about how she’s “not crying on Sunday.” Wish I could say the same!).

It would all be comical or forgettable if it weren’t so terribly sad to see the venerable institution of marriage treated so shabbily.  That is not being judgmental.  That is simply observing the obvious.

America is accustomed to rolling its eyes at movies like “The Wolf” and events like Grammy marriages.  But we kid ourselves if we think these developments doesn’t have a chilling effect on our youth and culture.  That’s why Hollywood and the music industry continue to administer an ever-increasing dosage of this moral debasement.  

Fortunately, Ave Maria University doesn’t share these Hollywood values and in fact sees life-long love differently. 

Approximately one out of five Ave graduates is married to a classmate, and this year after commencement, ten of the newly-graduated will also tie the knot.

This gives me great hope, and reminds me why Ave Maria’s role in the Church and culture, as well as in academia, can be transformative. 

On this 28th day of January when we remember the “angelic doctor,” St. Thomas Aquinas, we are encouraged by his writings and witness that the truth about man and woman is immutable.  No glitzy celebrity show or sleazy movie can change that.  We know that we have been created “ little less than the angels” (Psalm 8:5).