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Why didn’t the looters’ parents know where they were? Why didn’t they teach them about right and wrong? Answer: society has undermined the family

We need to back the authority of parents, police, teachers. ‘Children’s rights’ has led to disaster

By on Thursday, 11 August 2011

One definition of relativism I have come across (there are many) is that it is the belief “that, because there is no universal moral standard by which to judge others, we ought to tolerate the behaviour of others – even when it runs counter to our personal or cultural moral standards”.

Well, if you thought that before the London (and Manchester, and Birmingham and Salford and Bristol and Liverpool) riots, what do you think now? Is there really no universal moral standard by which the looters may be judged? And ought we really to tolerate the “behaviour of others – even when it runs counter to our personal or cultural moral standards” in the case of the looters? Answer: no.

One thing the riots show, however, is that those who looted and burned really don’t believe that there is any objective standard of behaviour by which they are constrained: and they do believe that when external coercion is removed then they are entitled to do anything at all.

Why is that? One reason is that nobody has ever told them any different. Not their parents: and probably not their teachers. And at school, even if their teachers are anti-relativists, they almost certainly have very little authority over their pupils (someone should now do a study to see if there is any correlation between the areas in which the rioting originated, and the state of school discipline in those same areas: I bet the correlation is 100 per cent).

But will anything be done as a matter of urgency to confront the problem? It is, to be fair, a priority for Michael Gove: the question is, does he have the resources to deal with the difficulty? But getting it taken seriously is itself part of that difficulty. When Boris Johnson was asked by John Humphrys what could be done about the underlying problem posed by feral youths roaming the streets, and he attempted to take the long view – by saying that there were many things that needed to be done but that we could begin by giving teachers the authority they needed to discipline their children – he was silenced (though nothing silences Boris for long) by a classic Humphrys bullying interruption, with the contemptuous words “it’s a bit woolly isn’t it?” His interesting answer was not taken seriously by Humphrys (does that man ever actually listen to the answers to any of his aggressive questions? He really is an ignorant boor: why doesn’t the BBC just sack him?)

One repeated theme, both of the many vox pop interviews we have all sat through and of the declarations of the politicians, was that the parents of the looting hoodies were most to blame: “why don’t they know where their children are at that hour of the night? Why aren’t they at home?” The fact is, however, that as a society, just as we have undermined the authority of the police and just as we have undermined the authority of the teaching profession by not backing them (often deliberately, in the name of “children’s rights”) when they attempt to establish firm discipline in the classroom, so even more calamitously has our society undermined the traditional family.

As Fr Finigan commented:

Few people have noted the irony of the appeals by the police to parents to “contact their children”. For several decades our country has undermined marriage, the family, and the rights of parents. Agents of the state can teach your children how to have sex, give them condoms, put them on the pill, give them the morning-after pill if it doesn’t work, and take them off for an abortion if that fails – and all without you having any say in the matter or necessarily even knowing about it. Now all of a sudden, we want parents to step in and tell their teenage children how to behave.

Fr Lucie-Smith rightly quotes Melanie Phillips pointing out that she has been writing for more than two decades “on the various elements that have contributed to this collapse of order: family breakdown and mass fatherlessness; educational collapse which damages most those at the bottom of the social heap” and so on. I was writing in the Daily Mail about these things (incidentally, don’t just write the Mail off as an ignorant tabloid; there’s also a good deal of quite serious writing in it) even before she was. This is very far from being a new analysis: Family and Youth Concern, still battling away, was doing pioneering work over 30 years ago (for which its founder, Valerie Riches, was deservedly made a papal dame), pointing out how disastrous for society the undermining of the traditional family based on marriage –not least by successive governments – really was.

Another way in which our society has created a culture in which the original protests over the shooting of an armed drug dealer (possibly justified, possibly not) could so quickly turn into an orgy of looting is its replacement of objective moral values with the worship of celebrity as a quick way in to a life of material plenty: a life full of the expensive “stuff” these miserable youths could only dream of or steal. According to the BBC:

Dr Paul Bagguley, a sociologist at the University of Leeds, says [that] while looting occurs in most riots, it has dominated this week and they could be called the “consumer society riots”.

“If you compare it to the riots in the 1980s, there’s a lot more stuff you can loot easily, such as portable electronic gadgets, mobile phones and flatscreen TVs.

“For a lot of looters, it’s just opportunity but it also expresses a sense of how else am I going to get a hold of these things?”

What’s known as “materialism” is an important part of what’s wrong; though let’s understand what that means. Matter is a good thing in itself: God created matter. Christianity is in a sense a materialistic religion, since in the sacraments spiritual realities are conveyed by and contained in matter: bread, wine, water. The Incarnation is in the same sense a materialistic doctrine: God becomes flesh.

The “stuff”, the material objects these young people were looting, isn’t in itself necessarily bad. We’re all fond of the “stuff” we own: I was given a Kindle for my birthday, and it has changed the way I live my life. It contains the complete works of Shakespeare and Dickens and Jane Austen, a lot of Trollope (and on and on), as well as some contemporary books available at half the price or less on Kindle. It also contains the Douai-Challoner Bible as well as Morning Prayer and Compline (which I say last thing, comfortably in bed, before nodding off). Material things are very often good in themselves.

What is truly terrible is the notion that without them you are nothing; that their possession is itself most of the meaning of life. That’s what the looters think or thought. And that’s what we have to address now. The more one thinks about the meaning of these riots, the deeper we have to dig. But as a society will we? There is no ultimate answer without God: but try saying that to John Humphrys and his ilk; you will be dismissed as a religious nutter.

It’s a long haul. But we could make a start by giving more thought to the plight of those in the (literally) demoralised underclass from which the looters were mostly drawn. One of Tony Blair’s few good ideas was to set up a “social exclusion unit” to see what could be done about the problem. But it soon became just another quango, and was quickly dropped in favour of the next big idea. Some of what needs doing is to be fair already being addressed by some in authority: Michael Gove I have already mentioned, and Iain Duncan Smith is confronting the blight of benefits dependency.

But it’s the married family which is the institution that needs rebuilding most urgently: and in that, David Cameron is being undermined by Clegg and the Lib Dems who don’t believe in it. This is a stalemate that needs to be broken. Clegg (who is currently very weak) should be overruled, and Cameron’s modest plans should be beefed up. This is a problem of long standing, and can’t be solved overnight. But at least we could seriously make a start.

  • Anonymous

    At the doctors today I see the usual posters re childline & the offer of totally confidential services to Under 16s..this at a Christian practice..

  • Aidan Coyle

    What’s your point, catholicmonof10? That Childline shouldn’t be offering a confidential service for under 16-year-olds who seek support and advice about matters that distress them such as bullying, abuse and domestic conflict?

  • Anonymous

    Connexions in Catholic schools Jackie!!! Our Bishops have signed off [via Oona Stannard] on sex advice, contraception, abortifacient provision AND abortion referrals – all readily available for those under the age of consent. A child might have attempted suicide many times and the ‘confidentiality’ remit could mean a parent only becomes aware after their child has succeeded.

  • Anonymous

    My point is that parents have a right to be consulted about their childrens worries..& as a mother of 8 girls I don’t take kindly to the fact that babies can be aborted & girls put on serious drugs without my knowledge..especially when I have to accompany them to the orthodontist! Parents are being undermined..

  • Anonymous

    Well Paul my boys school says connexions is only used for careers advice & I kind of believe them!

  • ms catholic state

    Leaving politics aside….the Church should reclaim her natural God Given role as moral arbitrar.  Politicians won’t like this….but that doesn’t matter.  The Church should promote Jesus Christ and Catholicism…..without waiting for the approval of dithering quarelling politicians.  The Bishops are here to instruct the faithful and not so faithful.  It is to the Church we should be looking primarily for the solution to our moral problems.

    I know this is easier said than done…..but none the less….street preachers etc could by-pass the Govenment and bring the Catholic way to the public. Why wait for politicians to solve all.  They’ve had their chance ….and failed. 

  • Honeybadger

    I agree 100%. It is time to proclaim, adore, glorify and honour the Holy Name of Jesus once more and not be fazed by the ‘oooh, I’m soooo offended by the mention of God’ brigade.

    The No God Squad haven’t come up with any angle on the obvious moral famine that is spreading across Western society. Why? They have NO answers! They cannot blame faith – any faith – on recent events. They can give it a damn good try but they won’t get far!

    The idolatry of consumerism, materialism and relativism shines like the Golden Calf but it is empty and hollow on the inside. When will society wake up and realise this before it is too late?

  • Anonymous

    I agree Mr Oddie.

  • https://openid.org/locutus LocutusOP

    To quote a poster on another website, “these rioters are not deprived; they’re depraved”.

    Most modern governments have fought financial poverty by undermining the very institution which is best equipped to protect against it: the family. You make a good point that it is extremely hypocritical of politicians to try and pin this on parents when they’ve done everything in their power to undermine parents and parenthood (not to mention children and childhood).

    The greatest poverty in the world is not financial, but rather moral poverty. It’s bad enough being poor in money, but to be poor and morally bankrupt is a tragedy in any age – yet it is what many governments have been systematically promoting through their social policies.

  • Anonymous

    well you’re quite wrong to.

  • Anonymous


    C’mon Ma’am – certainly we have all the moral and spiritual authority of the Church Militant – But who do you think will be the first to denounce anyone who engaged in such activity?

    Who would denounce the Preacher as a taliban Catholic?

    Who would order them to ‘hold their tongue’?

    Who would make an official statement to the media distancing both themselves and the Church from the Preacher’s statements?

    Who would be denouncing them on twitter and other social networks as a counterproductive ‘more Catholic than the Pope’ ‘Ultra’ ?

    Who would denounce the Preacher as being culturally insensitive, uncharitable and speaking in ways contrary to ‘the true message of Justice and Peace’ to be found in the words of the Man of Galilee;?

    Who would denounce them as a calcified misogynistic homophobic ultramontane jansenist tridentinist?

    Who would declare their message was ‘contrary to the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ ?

    Who would say that their moral teaching on Human Life and human love and sexuality was counter-doctrinal in that it did not conform to a ‘Theology of the Body’ Paradigm?

    Who would be condemning them as counter-intuitively failing to conform to contemporary ‘Catholic Social Justice’ and acting and speaking in ways contrary to the conciliatory integrationist ‘New Humanist’ model?

    Who would be reprimanding them for Preaching in public or through the media because the streets are a pluralist multiculturalist ‘unspoiled field of free germination of the spirit’ where Vatican II’s ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ decrees they are free to believe what they wish and must not be proselytised by belligerent intimidating bible-bashing which denies them their right to freedom of conscience [as Cardinal Newman tells us] ; and the media is most certainly ‘no place to evangelise’?

    Who Ma’am – who?

  • Yourtimeiscoming

    So Ms Catholic State the solution is to tell kids fairytales about a man in the sky?  GREAT idea, that will solve everything.  good luck with that.  . BTW The bishops have NO credibility in the eyes of the public as they systematically covered up child abuse and continue to do so.  Once all of the offenders in the church are behind bars along with those who facilitated them maybe then they can look at telling others fairytales.  Until then

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Purdie/1162381995 Ken Purdie

    I think you may have wandered onto a site, beyond your ability to see.

  • Cjkeeffe

    Why are we blaming the parents or the bishops or anyone of a million other things. This was simple pure criminality. The yobs where not waging a rights war against a police army of occupation, this was just nicking stuff and gloating. What social injustice did the murder of three Asian youths protecting a petrol station address, the touching of a Age Concern mini bus, the robbing of a malay student, the threat to attack Birmingham children’s hospital?
    These where yobs, not freedom fighters if they had been freedom fighters why did they shy away from showing their faces when brought to court.
    One journalist in the Independent claimed that the black yoof where sick of policeman killing black people yet in the last three years there have been seven fatal police shootings, and they all been white people killed.
    I remember the Brixton riots of 1981 and those on Broadwater farm, the myth that it was social exclusion was raised then as well, yet Scarman’s report whilst leading to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, also highlighted the that the spark was rumours that police where killing a black boy, despite the fact that they where giving first aid and taking him by police van to hospital as the mob that had gathered had prevented ambulance from getting there.
    Did the hacking to death of PC Blakelock on Broad water Farm emilorate the injustice of Gerry Groces death? The answer is no. just because you live in a council estate don’t make you feral, lacking self discipline and dignity makes you feral.

  • James H

    “who do you think will be the first to denounce anyone who engaged in such activity?”

    The media, that’s who. All they’d have to do would be to mumble, ‘Blah, blah, sex abuse, blah-blah coverup, blah-blah blah.’ And that would be it.

    As for a lot of your questions, you’re conflating cafeteria Catholicism with Theology of the Body and VII documents. You’re not making any relevant point to this discussion, and sowing dissent.

  • ms catholic state

    Luckily for us…..God will do 90% of the work.  If we Catholics begin by attending Mass, saying the Rosary etc whenever we can and increasing our devotion and prayers…..then the Holy Spirit will bless our evangelising efforts however measly they may seem to us.

    Didn’t many of the Orders of Monks start out as street preachers too?!

  • Anonymous

    “But at least we could seriously make a start.”  And do what exactly? Introduce a few trivial tax breaks?  

  • D Corrigan

    What you have written is wonderful and very it sounds promising . Some monks and preachers did not fare too well in their preaching endeavours. The support of the Holy Ghost is always welcome and so is prayer. A person would need a lot of faith (enough to move a mountain) to go to “The Broadwater Farm”, in Tottenham, North London and preach about Jesus. Will you go down to “The Farm” as ancient preachers did, with your supporters (some contribute to Catholic herald blogs) and preach morality? May I suggest that you make your will and write your obituary first.

  • Anonymous

    Relativism is easy to mock if you don’t go to the trouble of finding out what it is about. What you appear to be referring to is more like cultural relativism, which is respecting other points of view as similarly valid.

    If I agreed with this idea then I would not go to the trouble of constructing an argument – as I would have to accept your point of view as equally valid from the outset.

    Something as outrageous as cultural relativism is its opposite – absolutism. Which is often defended the Church.

    The problem with absolute and unbending moral rules – is that every rule has an exception. Thou shall not steal for example.
    Really? In ALL cases? If you are starving? If your family is starving?

    Thou shall not kill.
    Really? Even if you are being attacked? Even to stop a terrorist pulling the cord on an explosive jacket in a town centre?

    Find me a rule without an exception and I will be surprised.
    What we can conclude then, although we might not want to admit it, all human beings apply different rules for different situations. This is not weakness – but sanity – dealing with the complex reality of our world.

    What you think is a flaw in relativism is in fact its success. Relativism allows us to condemn those who have stolen and looted in the riots, whilst showing sympathy for someone who might have stolen to feed his starving family.
    Absolutism only allows us to say both are wrong. Full-stop.

    Relativism allows for nuance in moral arguments whereas absolutism is just a way of sticking our fingers in our ears and feeling smug and self satisfied.

  • Anonymous

    Actually the media would primarily be more ‘interested’ than dismissive.

    It’s our own side who would be the first to condemn.

    No conflation whatsoever. John Paul II’sTheology of the Body is supposed to be an application/reflection/pastoral implementation of fundamental moral theological teachings. That is certainly NOT what Theology of the Body has become in many institutions in the hands of progressive liberal self-proclaimed moral theologians. In exactly the same way they introduce moral relativism, situationism and ‘preference’ utilitarianism and declare it’s ‘Virtue Ethics’.
    if you state Catholic moral teaching to a significant amount of these ‘experts’ they  will dismiss it and offer ‘alternate paradigms’ where humanae vitae is non-existent..

    Vatican II documents are very clear in their definition of Holy Mother Church and the Truth which subsists within it and our duty to Preach the Gospel in thought word and deed and make every attempt towards the conversion of non-Catholics to the One, True Faith. Yet you listen to ‘Oecumenists’ and in general they’re homogenists. Where Gaudium et Spes and Dignitatis Humanae spoke of other faiths reflecting truths this has been perverted into meaning that the Church does not possess all the truth and you can find your own personal truth elsewhere in a more accommodating ‘faith paradigm’ . If any preacher even began to say ‘ex ecclesiam nulla salus’ all hell would be let loose against by our oecumaniacs….Remember the Ordinariate? How sooo many on the ‘Catholic’ Liberal side actually opposed the reception of Anglicans because it was counter-productive to the ecumenical movement!!!???

    Newman on Conscience is a very specific document – about 99% of those who mention it have never read it but it doesn’t prevent them making fallacious appeals to it as if it justifies “I can do whatever I want if it feels right”. Most of the time when you hear Newman on conscience it will be uttered by a scoundrel trying to create a New Church in their own image anccording to their dispositions.

    I’m sowing dissent?
    Really James??!!!

    Don’t you get it that these renegades have few qualms in making appeals to scripture or the Church fathers or revisionist Church history or Council or Vatican documents to justify their anti-catholic position?

    I think you’ve just proved my point: I’ve just read Michael Coren’s “Why Catholics are Right” and I was wondering how many of our clerics, nuns, educators and coomentators would be belligerently hostile to such a book and condemn it outright as ‘sowing seeds of dissent’ – all because it happens to say what Catholicism is!!???

  • Anonymous

    Excellent and perceptive post. Thanks.

  • Jacob Suggs

    Do you not realize that the “exception” to a rule is just part of the rule?

    It is simply easier to say “don’t steal except in extreme circumstances” than to say “don’t steal at all where the word ‘steal’ means to unjustly take that which does not belong to you unless (and under the understanding that such a taking does not pose an extreme threat to the owner of the object, or to anyone else, unless there is valid reason to pose such a threat) doing so is required to preserve your or another’s life” or whatever the such statement actually should be.

    Likewise, what is always wrong, and what thou shall not do, is murder. Killing is unfortunate and to be avoided, but is not totally condemned.

    “Relativism allows us to condemn those who have stolen and looted in the
    riots, whilst showing sympathy for someone who might have stolen to feed
    his starving family. Absolutism only allows us to say both are wrong. Full-stop.”

    This is simply wrong. What you are calling relativism is simply looking at circumstances. But this is not relativism, this is simply not being stupid. Of course circumstances affect the answer to a question, circumstance are part of the question.

    Relativism is the whole idea that, given that the circumstances, etc etc of an issue are fixed, two people can come up with different answers to same the same (generally moral) question and either both be right or at least neither be wrong, depending on how stupid you want to sound.

  • Anonymous

    With reference to the following extract from the title of your article-

    ‘Answer: society has undermined the family’

    Well if you look at the ever popular ‘Catholic and Loving It’ blog you will see that Vincent Nicols is not exactly defending the family either!


    I am getting tired of our Archbishop and Bishops refusing to publicly defend the Faith!!!!!

  • Michael McManus

    How do you sort a problem out like this , When those in government are moraly bankrupt,?????????, And how do you rebuild families, When the catholic church has destroyed millions of familes all over the world, I talk to people in a number of countries where the church has destroyed the family they were part of

  • ms catholic state

    I won’t go down to Broadwater Farm…..as I am not an orator.  However…remember when the Blessed Sacrament was brought to Peston Town Centre…everyone had the chance to meet Jesus Christ who would never have had the opportunity otherwise.  Initiatives like this and others….both great and small are required.

    No politician, social and behavioural expert or no amount of Youth Centres are going to fix our nation…..unless Jesus Christ is put back in the centre.  That’s a job for Catholics.  And believe me….many secularists will be glad of it.  Secularism gets dull after a while.

  • Normanbates81

    It’s absolutely wrong to destroy an innocent life, no exceptions.

    Innocence also depends on an abolute right or wrong, but what do the unborn do that is wrong?

  • Anonymous

    Would abortion be wrong if the mother’s life was in danger?

    How about if it was certain that the mother would die, unless there was an abortion performed?

    How about if it was known that the foetus had a medical condition that would leave it dead minutes after birth, and that not getting an abortion would lead to near certain death for the mother?

    There are almost always exceptions to be found.

  • Peppin the Short

    How, pray, has the Catholic Church ‘destroyed millions of families all over the world’? I would love to read your answer….

  • D Corrigan

    Have you heard of “The Coombe’ and The Liberties” and “Henrietta Street” in Dublin during the 1920, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70? Yes Ireland was 99% Catholic, and most people had nothing. My parents and grandparents grew in Dublin slums and some parents did not know or care where the children were at night. Please read: “Bridge Across my Sorrows” by Christina Noble. Corgi Cooks 1995 ISBN 9780552145885. Away back then, the Catholic Church of John Charles McQuaid and members of the government lived in opulence while the people lived in flea bitten hovels. The statistic for alcoholism, desertion and wife beating are nearly as high today as they were then.The people who live in “The Broadwater Farm”, in Tottenham, North London are in a similar situation to those who lived in the slums of Dublin. I have been to the slums of Paris and Rome and I did not have the guts to go to Harlem in NY. But the conditions were beyond description. Today allegedly fifteen members of the Government front bench are multi-millionaires and the rest are millionaires. Fred Goodwin & Co robbed and stole money . The MP’s stole money. Where are the present role models? The Catholic Church in Ireland has lost all authority, whereas, The Catholic Church in England has been the model of probity, and does present a positive image of hope for the future. The question is: compare and contrast living in a dismal one room flat in “The Broadwater Farm” and a detached seven bedroom house set in grounds at Henley-on-Thames?

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    Agencies *should* offer confidential service to children of
    all ages who are in harm’s way at home or at school.


    However, living with parents who lay down rules such as
    “you must be home by 10 o’clock on school nights” and “you are
    to treat girls with respect (for boys) / you are to insist that young men treat
    you with respect at all times (for girls) – this means that casual sexual
    experimentation is out-of-bounds,” where these rules are enforced by
    lectures and denial of privileges such as holiday trips, electronics, and
    gifts, (and not by beatings) does not reasonably constitute “harm” to
    the child. Yet many agencies would seem to sympathize with children who wish to
    break even reasonable rules and would seem to be eager to do all they can to
    collude with wayward children in circumventing these.


    Let us not be intellectually dishonest by pretending that a
    child who is annoyed by a parental curfew is in the same straits as a child who
    is being genuinely ill-used. Unless, of course, Mr. Coyle, your view is that
    *all* parental restrictions on the activities of youngsters over the age of 9
    or 10 years is “ill use.”

  • Vaughan Parents’ Action Group

    It is clear from the long running dispute at the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School that our own Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, is deliberately trying to reduce parents’ involvement in the running of their own children’s schools. 

    Maybe undermining the authority of parents isn’t just something that politicians do?

    Maybe the authorities running Catholic education here need to back the authority of parents rather than trying to diminish it?

  • Parasum

    “…Valerie Riches, was deservedly made a papal dame…” – that’s good to know; she deserves recognition. Unlike some.

  • Parasum

    “Find me a rule without an exception and I will be surprised.”

    ## Two that come to mind: the Church’s prhoibitions of abortion, and of lying. A third is the Church’s teaching regarding the absolute invilability of the seal of the sacrament of reconciliation.

    So there are some exceptionless rules.

  • Parasum

    “How about if it was certain that the mother would die, unless there was an abortion performed?”

    ## St. Gianna Beretta Molla gave her life rather than save it through an abortion:


  • Anonymous

    If you believe that having an abortion is akin to killing a live human child, then the decision to die for it is commendable.
    Obviously this was a great act of sacrifice that I respect.

    However, to me it is clear that on numerous levels abortion at 2 months is not akin to killing a child.

    I don’t believe it is wrong to do something wrong if you believe what you are doing is correct, that is why I commend this woman.

    However as a doctor the most moral thing to do would be to suggest an abortion.
    The fetus at 2 months has no consciousness no brain activity. At this stage it is certainly no child.

    Later on in gestation, a different decision could perhaps be argued for but not at 2 months.

    I really think that this story is a tragedy caused by an idiotic mis-belief of the Church, rather than something to be celebrated.

  • Anonymous

    I did not know that the Church prohibits lying on all occasions, is that the case?

    There are many situations in which lying is the most moral thing to do.
    Harmless white lies such as:

    Like not telling my wife that I dislike the dress she is wearing when she asks me.

    And much more important lies such as:

    lying to a known murderer, about the whereabouts of someone who you know they want to kill

    telling a hostage taker that ‘everything will be ok’ when he releases his hostages.

    If we to follow this rule we could not even let children delight in the idea of Father Christmas!

  • Anonymous

    I did not know that the Church prohibits lying on all occasions, is that the case?

    There are many situations in which lying is the most moral thing to do.
    Harmless white lies such as:

    Like not telling my wife that I dislike the dress she is wearing when she asks me.

    And much more important lies such as:

    lying to a known murderer, about the whereabouts of someone who you know they want to kill

    telling a hostage taker that ‘everything will be ok’ when he releases his hostages.

    If we to follow this rule we could not even let children delight in the idea of Father Christmas!