In the 1960's singer Aretha Franklin came out with her well known song R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It became a hit and a signature song for her. Respect is also a virtue that is sorely lacking in our society today. A couple of examples.
On Tuesday I received a "Wanted Poster" in the mail, address typed and no return address on the envelope, and of course, unsigned. Now "Wanted Posters" can be fun. Just last week at our Vacation Bible School which had the theme "Avalanche Ranch" my picture was taken and added to the other catechetical leaders on "Wanted Posters". It was cute. The idea was that we are wanted by God. But the "Wanted Poster" that I received in the mail (and a few brother priests did as well) included pictures of Bishop Brandt and three other priests who assist him in leadership in the diocese. The "poster" stated that they were wanted for destroying the local Church. This comes in the wake of recent parish structural changes and new clergy assignments. I do not think that this was meant to be humorous. And while I may not agree with every change made, to me there was a great lack of respect shown to these men. There are better ways to voice disagreement. The "creator" urged on the bottom of the page that this be reproduced and distributed at large. No civility.
Pope Francis in his morning homily on Thursday spoke of this same topic. He said that "anger towards a brother is an insult, it's something almost deadly". He reminds us "it is not that we are bad, rather 'we are weak and sinners'. That is why it is 'much easier' to resolve a situation with an insult, with slander, defamation instead of resolving it with good means." He prays that we receive the grace to at least prune our tongues from insult.
Just the other day an 11 year old boy from San Antonio, Texas sang the National Anthem beautifully before the Spurs / Heat game. It got much media attention. His name was Sebastian de la Cruz. The unbelievably negative response in the social media was racist and downright mean. Because he was of Mexican American background and was dressed in a mariachi outfit, vicious people vented their ignorance and hatred and showed no respect to this kid or the country of his birth whose anthem he wondrously sang.
Also on the news yesterday was the word that the administration was withdrawing its opposition to a court ruling that says that the morning after pill (Plan B - One Step ... an emergency contraceptive) may be purchased over the counter at any drugstore by any woman of any age without restriction. The former age restriction was fifteen. Now any girl of any age can purchase this drug without a prescription or without parental approval. Is it only me, or is something wrong here? The lack of respect for parental rights and involvement, and the lack of respect even to young girls, is frightening.