What Tender Human Youth

We are the modern industrials. Some scholars find that phrase incorrect, so maybe “recent” industrials is more fit for the wear. Our world exists in much the same way that the factory and mill children in “The Cry of the Children”, that harrowing account in poetry written by Elizabeth Barrett – Browning.

Yet we are a new era, but descendants of the old. And that is our history.

Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years ?

Lamentations of those glued to constant grinding wheels, levers, pullies. Hidden from the cosmos by ashen brick ceilings, scorned by cut-mouthed old women. Even their god seemed to be this machine, this all-performing clash waving and weaving threads into gold.  Above, the youth of our day cry the same. Not with tears, but with protests – with progressive hold ups, utterly absurd and frankly odd political and gender theories which collapse upon themselves like houses made of dry sand. No history to cling to. They weep, uneducated. They weep, faithless. They turn to their political heroes, to the theories and radical university campuses to find what sociologists call “social solidarity.” Even that very concept is a result of Marxist droppings into the bowl of study they call “sociology.”

No faith, so the youth must conjure up a new thing to hold as true. Even if that is relativism, even if they cling to the statement “that nothing is true”, unaware of the missing screws.

Ay! be silent! Let them hear each other breathing
For a moment, mouth to mouth —
Let them touch each other’s hands, in a fresh wreathing
Of their tender human youth!
Let them feel that this cold metallic motion
Is not all the life God fashions or reveals —
Let them prove their inward souls against the notion
That they live in you, or under you, O wheels! —
Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward,
As if Fate in each were stark;
And the children’s souls, which God is calling sunward,
Spin on blindly in the dark.

You can see here how limited these children’s viewpoints are. They have been catechised by factory leaders, their church is their machine, their parish, the working family. Such is our personal failures as Christians, to uphold the faith in the face of secularism. Likewise, our modern student population is also blinded by the ceiling of small-mindedness which their forefathers (and yes, I don’t care – the term is inclusive) belittled and fought against.

The progressive movement is counter-productive. What can we do? What, as Catholics, as Christians, can we do to restore God to these our merciless and militant brethren.

I cannot say.


The Cry of the Children (source)