Ubi Caritas

Bob Griffith of Hypersync posted a link to this YouTube video of a boy in the Netherlands singing about the love in his unconventional family. Aside from the obvious questions it raises, such as why the Christian Right is apoplectic over the idea of letting everyone have the right to marry whomever they choose, there’s something deeper here besides.

As I commented on his post, I remarked that ironically, as Europe has become less “Christian,” and church attendance has plunged, Europe may be becoming more “Christian” in other ways, not associated with religion. So where is God in “post-Christian” Europe?

For me, the answer is a universal one, found in an ancient hymn of the Church:

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

(Where there is charity and love, there is God.)

Something in the boy’s song gives me hope. Not just for equal rights for gay people, but of something far more profound. God is love. Love conquers all.

10 thoughts on “Ubi Caritas

  1. Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.


    From our children’s generation there is more than hope- there is a realization of diversity and an acceptance as well. There is room for all at the table.

    Great video.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Jon. I’m going to pass it on to my daughter.

    Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

    Yes, yes. But then, is there anywhere that God is not?

    Love you,

  3. I have been looking around and reading your blog(s?) for a couple hours now, and I just wanted to say Thanks for all of it. I couldn’t agree more with your spiritual thought, and it is wonderful to see it all put into words so thoughtfully! And to be given so much info and links to look into further, also. Fantasic.
    I will be back.


  4. Amy –

    I’ve made a huge boo-boo and (perhaps) deleted my old blog. It’s a long story, don’t ask. At any rate, I would appreciate all of my blogger friends to update their links and – if you want – even make short post on your site about the site change (for any readers that may come from your sites). I may eventually move back to trevdiesel.blogspot.com IF I can get it working again. Until then, it will be:


  5. First of all allow me to explain something about Dutch TV, so you may have a better understanding where this video is coming from. Dutch TV has a public broadcasting system which is partly funded by the government, partly by membership (I’ll explain later) and alas, partly by commerce. But unlike American TV, there are no commercial breaks in the program. Only between programs. There is not one single broadcasting corporation, like the BBC, but many reflecting the views of the Dutch people. So we have the catholics, protestants, liberal protestants, evangelicals, socialists, nothing in particular, muslims, buddhists, hindu’s etc. as well as an independant corporation responsible for the news bulletins. How much time a corporation gets (they are really non-profit foundations) depends on how many members they have. This attempt to make public TV democratic we call “pilarization”, although this term is now considered old-fashioned by many. But it still works and provides for interesting TV (sometimes).

    This song is from a program called “Children for children” by the VARA (socialists) of which I happen to be a member because, well, to be honest because my grandfather was and my parents were.The song is not unusually controversial for the VARA or any Dutch broadcaster. Our present government has some orthodox calvinist members (think something in between presbyterian and puritan) but decided to “drop” the issue of gay marriage. The Netherlands claim to respect the Declaration of Human Rights and that means any form of discrimination is out of line. There are scientific proofs from the Amsterdam gender clinic that homosexuals and transsexuals have a different brain structure. They are not an “abomination” or sick. They are made that way and anyone who claims to respect God’s will should also respect the way God created these children of Hers/His. Love is love and when love is true, it should be acknowledged by society and given a place. Ubi caritas indeed.

    The “increasing secularization” (soundbite which means nothing) is precisely because of this and other issues. It is true that the churches are getting emptier and emptier. Not only in Holland do I see 40-50 people huddled together in one of those huge gothic cathedrals, I’ve seen it in St. Paul’s in London and the Notre Dame in Paris too. But the question is: are people less spiritual? I don’t think so. The religious orders have a hard time keeping up for the demand of retreats, even from non-catholics or non-Christians. People crave spirituality. What they don’t want is battles over dogmatic issues. Spirituality begins with turning inward, finding God within in loneliness, sickness, weakness and being human. Only then can love flow outward, knowing we are all human, all the same no matter what our sexual preference, religion, race, gender, social status, wealth or the lack of it.


  6. Thanks, Margreet.

    Cool set-up you have in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, over here, competition and winning is prized much more highly than cooperation and compromise. I often wonder if we haven’t suffered enough yet to loosen the hold on our collective egos.

    I think that the devastation Europe suffered in the Second World War made it tenable for dogmatism to prevail… People learned that they MUST begin listening to and cooperating with each other… We haven’t quite learned that here, but I think we’re slowly getting better.

    Cool also, to know about the demand for retreats and stuff.

    Thanks for sharing.

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