By: Randy Engel
Boomers’ Families – How a Generation Became a Force for Destruction
Author, Margaret Clare Devlin
Castle of Grace LLC, Publisher
725 pages $35 paperback
Order online from Amazon Books
Review Date: March 2022
This reviewer missed being cataloged as a “Baby Boomer” (1946-1964) by seven years.
I was born on New Year’s Eve, 1939, to Italian and Portuguese immigrant parents. My three brothers, my parents and I lived in a three-room dilapidated tenement building in Mt. Vernon, N.Y. by the railroad that took local commuters into New York City every weekday.
By today’s standards my family was poor, although I don’t remember actually thinking we were really ever that “poor” because all of our relatives and multi-ethnic neighbors were in the same economic boat. My deeply religious mother was also an excellent cook, so my brothers and I never went hungry. My father, crippled from his early twenties from a motorcycle accident, was a gifted jack-of-all-trades and somehow managed to provide us with all the necessities of life, and then some.
Thanks to my mother’s sister, a professional seamstress, my brothers and I were neatly dressed for school and special occasions. The hub for all our family’s social and religious events was Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, less than half a block away from our apartment. Our church along with the local Girl’s Club bore the distinction of having the only trees in the neighborhood. Everything else was cement.
Looking back on my early childhood, I would say that life was good.
It wasn’t until my dad finally broke down and obtained a small black and white television set in the early 1950s that I became aware of the lifestyle of the emerging upper middle-class suburban family. For some odd reason, the image that sparked some degree of curiosity, and yes, envy, and still sticks in my mind today, is the Westinghouse refrigerator commercial featuring Betty Furness in her beautifully tailored dress, and stylishly coiffed hairdo. Our family still had an icebox, and neither my mom, nor any mom I ever saw, ever dressed like Furness did in her television kitchen.
Childhood Impressions are Deceiving
Did some American families really dress like that and live in large, beautiful homes with several bathrooms and a two-car garage? Did every child have his own bedroom? How very fortunate these children were to grow up in such luxury. They must be very happy, I thought. What a perfect life they must live.
But alas, childhood impressions are often wrong – sometimes very, very wrong – as author Margaret Clare Devlin (a pseudonym) reveals in her autobiographical book Boomers’ Families – How a Generation Became a Force for Destruction.
As it happens, the author is no stranger to me. I have known and admired her more than 15 years. We are good friends. To me, she has always represented the quintessential traditional Catholic, wife, and mother. So when she asked me to review her latest book which she had been working on and off for more than two decades, I said yes, as I was delighted to have the opportunity to learn more about her life and background.
Unfortunately, what I anticipated to be a relatively happy venture, turned out to be just the opposite. It was one of shock and sorrow. I can only imagine how deeply the actual writing of the book must have affected the author, especially the chapters dealing with the unspeakable crime of abortion. Had not the story’s end been an amazing testimony to how the grace of God can transform our habituated sinful lives, and bring good out of evil, I’m not sure I’d be writing this lengthy review at all.
An Unusual Format
Boomers’ Families follows an unusual format. The non-fiction autobiographical text is a combination of narrative in which Devlin describes her own life and experiences as an offspring of G.I. parents; and analysis, in which the author delves into those ideologies and societal practices that caused the Boomer generation to implode and explode into a “force for destruction” as the subtitle indicates.
I, myself, was more interested in the former, that is, Margaret’s own personal story – than in her detailed analysis of the many forces that entered into the destruction of not one, but many subsequent generations of Americans, including the influence of Marxist and Humanist ideologies; radical familial and social engineering practices; the culture war; and the systematic destruction of Christianity, in particular, of the Roman Catholic Church.
So, I’ll formally begin this review with the narrative.
A Narrative of Familial Self-Destruction
By any standards of outward appearances, the life of the Catholic Scheeben family appeared idyllic.
A beautiful country home in the mid-west, financial security, well-educated parents, and five seemingly happy children – Barbara; the first born, Paul, the oldest son; his brother Richard; Mark, the youngest son, and the youngest daughter, Margaret Clare (Devlin), the author.
What then went wrong?
How did this seemingly “ideal” American family manage to produce such a tragic assortment of out-of-control, hippie, narcissistic, cursing, promiscuous, porno-loving, suicidal, pro-abortion, cultic, thieving, and lying second Boomer-generation children?
If I were to summarize the author’s answer in one word it would be the sin of LIBERALISM.
Conservative Father & Liberal Mother
The above combination isn’t necessarily a fatal chink in the armor of a family if the former truly rules the household with compassion, justice, and love. Unfortunately, this was not the case at the Scheeben homestead. College professor Richard Scheeben’s wife, the beautiful but manipulating Mary Ellen (Flaherty), ruled the roost. She was “the boss” who dominated every aspect of their family’s life, a fact her children recognized early on and acted accordingly. Capitulating to the Borg slogan, “resistance is futile,” Margaret’s father surrendered his rightful authority and duties as a husband and father, and retired to his library hideaway whenever the going got rough, to avoid facing the reality of a disintegrating family of which he had become a consenting member by his silence and inaction.
There were at least three positive Catholic influences that existed in the extended Scheeben family circle – Margaret’s uncle, Reverend Paul Scheeben, described as “brilliant and devout,” and the author’s “spiritual father,” who was a priest in the neighboring diocese, and Scheeben’s grandparents and Aunt Patricia Scheeben who lived next door. They were pious and loving Catholics. Unfortunately, none were strong enough or present enough to prevent Margaret – a self-described “lost child” – from becoming a “neurotic, emotionally disordered and lost” young woman.
The Introduction of Illicit Drugs and Sex
According to the author’s chronological timetable, by the year 1968, the year of Humanae Vitae, the Scheeben family had ceased to be Catholic for all practical purposes.
Paul and Richard, the older college-age brothers, brought home both illicit drugs including marijuana and LSD, and introduced illicit sexual activities into the Scheeben household. It was Paul who turned his 15-year-old sister on to pot, the gateway drug, and he and Richard turned their bedrooms into their own personal bordello. It was also Paul who (unsuccessfully, thank God) sexually propositioned Margaret at age 16.
The Scheeben home had become a quasi-hippie commune with the Scheeben brothers and their friends fornicating upstairs and dope-dropping in the yard, with Margaret ‘s dysfunctional parents somehow ignoring these activities, even when they were home, and the impressionable Margaret left behind, alone and confused.
Boomers’ Families follows the author’s troubled journey, and that of her siblings, for the next 20 years or so. The next to the last chapter gives a brief summary of the deaths of her parents that took place in the 2000s and the premature death of her brother, Richard.
Her story includes two extensive travelogues to Afghanistan, India, and South America where her Catholicism was put on hold as she participated in, first, Eastern mysticism/Gnosticism and, then later, various Evangelical sects, along with the complication of an impossible love affair.
After her return to the States in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the author made the important decision to become a writer. She obtained a job as a reporter for a small daily newspaper near Thompsonville (a fictional name) where she had attended college and later, graduate school.
A Life-Changing Retreat
It was during this period that Margaret made a spontaneous decision to attend a seven-day silent retreat entitled “Encounter with Silence,” given by Father John J. Hugo, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Catholic priest, through his use of Scripture and lessons from the lives of the saints, emphasized the horror of sin and the joy of self-denial and giving oneself totally to God. Father Hugo convinced Margaret that she needed to remodel her life according to Christ’s image of what constitutes a truly holy spiritual life.
The retreat marked a turning point in Margaret’s life. But like many of life journeys it took a little longer than she expected and hoped for – another ten years. With God’s support and the practical guidance of Al-Anon’s Twelve-step program, Margaret started recovering her intellectual sanity, emotional stability, and her Catholic faith, especially the steps concerning how to deal with toxic family relationships.
And thus it was that the door was opened to Devlin for a happy marriage and the building of a wonderful family.
An Analysis of Familial Destruction
I don’t think there was ever a time when the adult Devlin was not questioning who, what, why, where and how Baby Boomers’ parents, with every material advantage going for them, managed to turn out such a disastrous and destructive next generation.
If the reader has been asking himself or herself the same question, you’ve chosen the right book.
In Boomers’ Families, the author acknowledges and documents the fact that her parents and millions of other parents in their generation (and subsequent generations), while not being totally without fault themselves, were and are the continuous victims of a relentless and well-orchestrated world-wide attack on FAMILY, CHURCH and STATE, particularly the Christian family and the Roman Catholic Church, by a myriad of natural and supranatural deadly forces. The names and faces of these demonic forces vary – The New World Order, the Deep State, the Oligarchy, etc. – but the author cleverly manages to bind their tails together.
The Deadly Manufactured “Revolutions”
Most of the analytical text of Boomers’ Families documents the wide-spread repercussions of the Child Rearing Revolution a la Dr. Spock; the Sexual Revolution a la Kinsey (funded by the Rockefellers), and the Educational Revolution a la Critical Race Theory, all of which has produced “child Vikings” intent on plundering all that is good and decent in our society.
Devlin also explains the mechanisms by which these “revolutions” were ignited, and how fuel was added to the fire through the processes of social engineering, propaganda, cultural and educational Marxism, and economic corporatism.
One area that I hoped would have been explored more thoroughly is the failure of the post-conciliar Church to confront the forces of organized perversion especially with regard to contraception, abortifacients, homosexuality, invitro fertilization, etc., but I understand books are necessarily finite creatures.
For many parents of the Boomer Generation, and parents of subsequent generations as well, the reading of Boomers’ Families will no doubt ignite a myriad of different thoughts and emotions. And while there must exist some parents whose children and/or close relatives have totally escaped the ravages of the anti-God, anti-life, anti-family revolutionary movements described by Devlin, I admit to never having met one.
This is one reason I am recommending this book to all readers, along with some final thoughts and observations on family life.
We all know that God sends children to help their parents grow up, but alas, there are some mothers and fathers who never grow up. Many parents of the Boomer Generation like the Scheeben family fit this description. It’s a reminder that while each generation will inevitably grow older, there is no guarantee that it will grow in wisdom and holiness.
Further, there are no guarantees in raising children.
Sometimes very good parents who have followed all the guides Devlin outlined in her book give birth to children who turn out to be moral monsters. And there are so-called terribly “dysfunctional” parents whose children turn out to be a credit to the family and society despite all their pain and sufferings – like the author herself.
Finally, having read Boomers’ Families twice through and thumbed through hundreds of pages for several months, there are a few nagging thoughts that I’ll pose in the form of questions, not by way of criticism but rather as food for thought for the reader.
How old do we have to be before we stop blaming our parents for the grave errors and sins we have committed in our lives and take on full responsibility for our actions – seven years old, the age of reason? 20? 40? 50? 70? Never?
Further, whatever the influences of all the evil forces and institutions that exist in the world, many of which are catalogued by Devlin, they can never force us to commit a truly grave sin that will send us to hell for eternity – given the conditions listed by the Church to meet the definition of mortal sin.
“The Devil made me do it?” No, he didn’t.
And lastly, how old do we have to be to forgive our parents from the bottom of our hearts for their transgressions against us (real and imagined)? Note I do not use the word forget, which may not always be possible, but the word forgive,which is always within our power to do, as it is an act of the will.
These are serious questions which Devlin had to face in writing Boomers’ Families.
They are also the same questions that readers might well be asking themselves as they read the last chapter of the book titled “The Verdict.”
It took a very brave soul to write Boomers’ Families.
Now it’s your turn to read this remarkable work. I guarantee it will become one of your most treasured reference books for years to come.
 The following category of generational cohorts and monikers include the Greatest Generation “G.I.s”(1901-1924); the Silent Generation (1925-1945); Baby Boomers (1946-1964); Generation X (1965-1979); Millennials or Generation Y (1980-1996); Generation Z (1997-2012; Generation Alpha (2012-2025). See Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, and Gen A explained (kasasa.com).
 The conditions for mortal sin that can send us to hell for eternity are 1) the matter or object is grave and is committed with (2) full knowledge and (3) deliberate consent.