Children of God. Children of Men

Tony Rossi over at Patheos has an excellent commentary on the book (not the movie) Children of Men by P.D James.

The story begins in the United Kingdom in the year 2021 during an era called “Omega.” Humanity is on the road to extinction because the world has not recorded one single childbirth since 1995. Though scientists worked tirelessly to discover the cause behind this sudden lack of fertility, they remain clueless twenty-six years later. Hopelessness and madness have spread throughout England resulting in a jump in violence and lawlessness. Under the guise of security, the British government has become so tyrannical and all-intrusive in people’s lives that law enforcement has achieved what one character calls “a refinement of cruelty.” And since the government would want to control any woman who might miraculously give birth, they subject all healthy females to time-consuming forced examinations of their fertility every six months.

Theo Faron, the story’s protagonist, is a man detached from loving relationships of any kind. He describes himself as having ensured “that there are no unexpected visitors in my self-sufficient life.” When Theo is called on to protect the first woman in the world to become pregnant in twenty-six years, he undergoes a moral awakening that leads him down some dangerous paths.

The film version of The Children of Men emphasized what happens to societies when civil rights are suspended. The book, however, focuses just as much if not more on the “life” issues involved.

Recalling the evolution of the infertility problem, Theo says, “We thought that we knew the reasons — that the fall was deliberate, a result of more liberal attitudes to birth control and abortion, the postponement of pregnancy by professional women, the wish of families for a higher standard of living . . . Most of us thought the fall was desirable, even necessary. We were polluting the planet with our numbers . . . When Omega came it came with dramatic suddenness and was received with incredulity.”

He concludes by suggesting that reading Children of Men, might help us to understand the Church’s teaching on sex.

“In a culture like ours where sex is often viewed as purely recreational, this fictional world gives us points to ponder. Maybe there’s more truth to the church teaching on sex as “mutual self giving” than people realize. Perhaps a greater openness to children would be a good and beneficial idea for our society.

I’ve always thought that the church’s moral rules were ultimately designed to keep individuals or societies from engaging in behaviors that would ultimately harm them. The problem is that the church doesn’t always explain those rules in an understandable, relatable way. With that in mind, The Children of Men should be required reading for anyone interested in how “culture of life” issues can affect our world.” Read the post here.

I think that I am going to re read The Children of Men.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
This entry was posted in Catholic Moral Teaching, Culture Wars and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Children of God. Children of Men

  1. LeAnn says:

    thanks for the post. I will be reading this book.


  2. Susan Schwartz says:

    Thank you for the post. I read the book over the summer and I felt very strongly that the message was very Catholic and very Pro-life. I was unsure recommending it because of the priest’s role in the book. The book covers a lot of tenants found in social justice teachings. As I read the book, I kept thinking about how neat it would be if it were read while studying Evangelium Vitae.


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