As many of us at St Blog's are aware, Domenico Bettinelli, host of the weblog Bettnet.com, is getting married tomorrow. Sadly, I and my entourage will not be on hand to sneak into the back pew during the nuptial Mass, then host the "B-list" celebration at one of the nearby watering holes afterwards. My schedule was interrupted when I decided to put a contract on a house, and the closing is in four weeks.
But I want to take this opportunity to extend to Dom and his bride Melanie my best wishes. Not only that, but to say why.
I've never met Dom personally. I'd know if I had, being the formidable presence that he is. When I began blogging three years ago, we would occasionally speak on the phone. As a resident of the Boston area and managing editor of a most excellent Catholic monthly, Dom had some great insights into the Scandal, not to mention certain groups that got on the media bandwagon.
We still haven't met in person. But over the last three years, Dom's weblog has given me some insight into the type of man he is. He has been so open as to share with us all a brief history of his courtship of Melanie, and how he almost did not win her over. That's a lot to admit for any guy, really. It would be all too easy for a man like Dom to go the straight "macho" route. But he's too smart for that. His idea of a bachelor party was to go fishing with his buddies. At a time when manliness is defined either by the androgynous "metrosexual," or the beer-guzzling Hooter's-Restaurant-patronizing "manly man," Dom has chosen the better part -- a gentleman.
But I don't praise such a man lightly.
I came of age at a time when being labeled a "conservative" didn't put you in any sort of good company. It was before Huey Lewis penned the song, "It's Hip To Be Square." In fact, if I hadn't joined the Boy Scouts, I'm not sure I would have had a crowd to run with. Don't even get me started on trying to fit in during my first year of college. My dating/marriage/childrearing experience was a comedy of errors compared to what it might have been. I tried as best I could, but the dye may have already been cast. In the years since my first marriage ended, I watched my son becoming systematically estranged from his father, before realizing almost too late how much he needed him.
In the meantime, I also saw a new generation of Catholic couples and parents, freed from the bondage of the pop culture bandwagon. Oh, they might not see it that way. They think it's worse now, and maybe it is. But during their lifetime, we had a great Pope to draw the line in the sand, and the choices became clearer.
So when I cruise the Catholic blogosphere, and am introduced to people like The Chevelier, Christine, The Franklins, Kate Cousino, Pete Vere, and a host of others -- yes, including Dom -- I cannot help but feel a certain envy. Where were they when I was coming of age?
Then again, there is also hope, which remains in the heart. Given sufficient recourse to grace, it is hope that breeds eternal.
Dom and Melanie will suffer. As one pastor I know would tell them on that special day: "In fact, I hope you suffer." But it is only through suffering that one knows the meaning of true joy in life. That goes for all of us, but in a special way, those who marry for life.
"For life." Along with death and taxes, Deo volente, they have one more guarantee. This generation that knew only one Successor of Saint Peter until recently, this generation that knows better upon which ground they stand than did those who were duped during "the summer of love," this generation that will outlast the naysayers and skeptics who cling to a dying ethic (if only because the former will leave behind more children than the latter) -- they bring us hope.
And those of us who know Dom for the man he is, we wish him hope. The promise of a better tomorrow, for him and his bride Melanie, for their children and their children's children.
You da man, Dom.