In one of his regular videos, Father Tom Bartolomeo of Spero News spoke to the events in Baltimore, Maryland, where hundreds of young people reacted to the still unresolved death of a man in police custody with protests, arson, theft, rioting and other acts of violence. Citing a line from poem by Irish poet William Butler Yeats entitled ‘The Second Coming’, Father Tom read “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”
Father Tom said “In my mind, that’s what I’ve observed on television. In general, I’ve observed over the last 20 or 30 years in the conduct of our society, particularly with families.”
He continued by reading the entire first stanza of Yeats’ famous poem:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Recalling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, Father Tom spoke to the arrival of the three Magi in Palestine who went to the megalomaniac King Herod. Since Herod felt his power threatened by the birth of the Messiah, he ordered the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem. But the foster father of Jesus, Joseph, had a time that revealed to him Herod’s murderous intentions. He fled to Egypt with the babe and the Virgin Mary.
Fortunately, said Father Tom, Joseph was a strong father who was able to overcome the obstacles he and his family encountered when they migrated to a foreign land. Later, when Herod was dead, the Holy Family returned to Palestine but not to Bethlehem, but instead to a remote part of Galilee.
Father Tom continued to read Yeats’ poem, which was written in the aftermath of the horrors of the First World War:
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Father Tom noted that God provided a father to protect the Virgin Mary and the Son of God, Jesus Christ. “Are we exempt from any of that?” asked Father Tom. Bemoaning the present state of affairs in the United States, Father Tom said that many of the rioters in Baltimore are youngsters without fathers. “That is the issue we do not address,” said Father Tom.
Father Tom is the founder of FamilyAndChild.net
- an organization dedicated to supporting Christian family life.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.