The Dignity of Men

December 11, 2014

God made men. Men are good. Men are very good.

Men, it’s good that you want to lead and protect. It’s good that you have a streak of assertiveness that some would label aggression. It’s good that you are bold and daring. It’s good that you want adventure and take risks, and that you’re even sometimes a bit reckless. And that boisterous energy and stubbornness that got you into trouble as a kid? It’s a good thing that can be harnessed for greatness.

To be a man does not make you stupid, or clumsy, or inept. Nor does it make you a clueless moron or bumbling fool, in constant need of rescuing by wise and skillful women.

Men, in God’s order you are the head of your home. You have a unique authority entrusted to you by Christ to guide and shepherd your family. That’s not something to be embarrassed about or to apologize for.

Men have done amazing things in history. We have built great cathedrals. We have explored vast and trackless wildernesses. We’ve sailed the high seas. We’ve explored Antarctica. We’ve rescued damsels in distress, fought glorious battles, evangelized nations, created great works of art, literature, and music. We’ve even worked hard day in and day out to love our wives and raise a family for the glory of God.

Jesus was a man, and he ordained men as his priests and successors. God is always referred to as Father. Masculinity—it is a beautiful thing.

Today, I celebrate the dignity and genius of men. If you’re a man, your masculinity is a gift from God. Embrace it.

Wait, what?

Why am I writing this? Am I just on some sort of masculine ego trip?

Because of this article. While there are few things I disagree with in it, I do agree with the overall argument that men are under attack.

As Catholics, we’ve heard a lot about the dignity and worth of women, about their unique beauty and giftedness. This emphasis of the Church on women is wise and good. As radical feminism sweeps through the culture, transforming it in ways rarely seen in the history of civilization, women need an alternative affirmation. They need to be reminded of their inherent beauty and God given vocation, and that they don’t have to be like men to have value.

But in all this quite necessary talk about women, we’ve heard nothing about the goodness of men. I have yet to read an encyclical on men. I have yet to hear a bishop give a discourse or write a pastoral letter on the grave crisis facing modern men. I have yet to read a popular Catholic book on the theology and vocation of manhood (I hope to change that). Why is this?

Perhaps it’s because those who lead the Church have heard the accusation that Catholicism is patriarchal and misogynist so loud and long that they have believed it and become embarrassed by masculinity. Well, guess what, the hierarchy of the Church is patriarchal—but it is not misogynist. There is a great difference. Patriarchy is nothing to be ashamed of, nor should it be an insult.

While I certainly can’t speak to individual prelates, it’s almost as if the Church has kowtowed to the cultural disdain for men and has largely abandoned us. Priests and bishops, please—we need your help.

Cultural Misandry

The last 50 years have been disastrous for men culturally. Fueled by aggressive feminism, almost everything about masculinity—especially fatherhood—has been criticized and belittled by society. As one example, more and more people are recognizing that education is failing young boys, with their boyishness being labeled ADD and wiped out by dangerous drugs. I recently read someone say that if Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he’d be doped up on Ritalin and his intense virility would have been destroyed, meaning none of his tremendous accomplishments would have come to pass. I believe this is true.

I could go on and on cataloging the attacks on masculinity, but others have already done that. The point is, men desperately need affirmation, especially from the Church. We need to be reminded that our masculinity is a good thing given to us by God, that fatherhood is a gift, that patriarchy is not an epithet, and that there is something noble and dignified about being a man.

The future of the Church and of society depend on men. More than ever, we need courageous men who will rise up to do battle for all that is good and true. We need men who will fight for the hearts of our women and children, rather than abandoning them to be devoured by the world, the flesh, and the devil. We especially need strong and loving fathers, for without them, there can be no strong families, and without strong families, there can be no healthy Church or healthy social order.

What does the world need right now? It needs you. It needs you to be strong and virile. It needs you to be a man. But above all, it needs you to be a saint.

Sam Guzman


Don’t Miss a Thing

Subscribe to get email notifications of new posts and special offers PLUS a St. Joseph digital poster.



Reader Interactions


  1. ramboaragorn888 says

    There is one, semi-childish book on Catholic men by Father Lasance: The Young Man’s Guide. It is a bit on the childish side occasionally and it does seem that the good Fr. Lasance has spent much time counseling families who have gone through some sort of trauma due to alcohol (he devotes a full 50 pages almost to the evils of excessive drink) but overall it’s not a bad book to read. I’m in my twenties and still find gems in it here and there that I have overlooked from time to time.

  2. Renatoato says

    have you read the book ‘Wild at heart’ by John Eldredge? if so… what are your thoughts on it? ive been getting mix reviews about it.

    • CP says

      As a convert from Protestantism, I am always wary of reading the opinion of authors without any apostolic authority. Otherwise it is just that, opinion. The nihil obstat/imprimatur, although not a guarantee that things are perfect, is a help that there is nothing morally obstructing. In the search for a cure, it’s important not to partake poison of a different variety. 😛

  3. Christian Darmanin says

    There is one book by Father Richard Rohr which i found to be particularly enlightening; it is called Adam’s Return and it addresses the need for rites of passage, wherein boys become man, in modern culture.

  4. CP says

    “There are many Christians,” writes St. Jose Escrivá, “who follow Christ and are astonished by His divinity, but forget Him as a Man. And they fail in the practice of supernatural virtues, despite all the external paraphernalia of piety, because they do nothing to acquire human virtues.” (Virtuous Leadership by Alexandre Havard) —

    Catechism of the Catholic Church – “The Human Virtues”
    Part Three: Life in Christ
    Section One: Man’s Vocation Life in the Spirit
    Chapter One: The Dignity of the Human Person
    Article 7: The Virtues

    I particularly like “Introduction to the Devout Life: Part III. Containing counsels concerning the practice of virtue” by the Gentleman Saint and Church Doctor Francis de Sales. I am a godfather twice now because of this book. —

  5. Trev (@TrevSliw) says

    While I agree with the idea that in areas of Western culture, men and fatherhood are derided, I have reservations about the language you use to describe how men should be.
    Yes, it is true, men did all those great things, but so too have women (in some form or another). You also write that men need “to be strong and virile.” Is that really the second thing after the vast idea that we should be saints?

    Who are some of the greatest male saints? Are they the ones that explored the world? Are they the ones that came with swords a blazing to “fight glorious battles”? Is that even possible? Are battles glorious? Necessary, maybe; glorious probably not.

    “We’ve even worked hard day in and day out…”. We’ve even? It sounds like you are reserving yourself to this. Well, i won’t be a great man or saint by fighting in a glorious battle, so I guess I’ll just be a great father. NO! The model of St Joseph is of an incredible righteous man, toiling away in absolute obscurity as the model of Christian fatherhood. This is how fathers are sanctified; by our marriage, and by the gift of any children we are given.

    • Sam Guzman says

      Hi Trev,

      I think you are missing the point about my examples of exploring the world, fighting battles, etc. Of course those things have little to do with sanctity. The idea is not that we all must be daring explorers to be men of God, but rather that men have accomplished great things in history, and that we should not feel inadequate simply because we are men (even though the culture tells us men are inferior in some way).

      Also, I disagree with your assessment of glorious battles. The charge of the winged Hussars at the Siege of Vienna was pretty glorious. And it was in defense of Christian civilization, which was also glorious. Check out Psalm 144:1.

      Second, you also misunderstood my point about “We’ve even worked hard day in and day out…” I was NOT trying to detract from fatherhood. Quite the opposite. The word “even” is to emphasize importance, not take away from it. It’s like saying, “Bob has skydived, bungee jumped, and he’s even scaled Mount Everest.” The idea I was trying to convey was that being a good husband and father is even more heroic than some of the great deeds men have accomplished.

      • trevsliw says

        Thank you for the reply and clarification. I will concede my critique based around the “even” usage. I wrote a quick critique elsewhere and have edited it accordingly. I do still have fundamental problems with the idea of glorious battle, and see a shift in an understanding of war and violence throughout the Scriptures from the entrance into the Promised Land through the exiles to Christ and the Apostolic era.

        Psalm 144 while it does reference battle and war (again, I am not weighing in that war can be justified or even necessary) but that when you get down in the blood and the mud it is not and has not been glorious. Hussar charge? Impressive, yes. Valiant, maybe. Necessary, quite possibly–but I think the Romanticism of the past is a fallacy, and one we can easily succumb to. I think the First World War really opened up the realities of battle, and viewing images of the dead are powerful enough to remove a Romantic ideal of battle.

        • Ryan Kraeger says

          While I agree that the romanticism of the past may have been overdone, and that World War I was a turning point in our perception of the glory of battle (Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce Et Decorum Est” is a great example yet I think that to say that “when you get down in the blood and the mud it is not and has not been glorious” is a bit farther than one can reasonably go. As someone who has been down in the blood and mud, I would say that both sides, the horrified realism and the glorified romanticism, are exactly that: different sides of the same thing and which side you see is largely based upon your point of view.

          So, to take a slightly less ambiguous activity than war, look at the Maccabean martyrs (2 Machabee 7) or any of the Christian martyrs. Or take a look at the life of Mother Teresa. These are three examples of unmitigated glory, the triumph of grace, courage and love over evil, cowardice and hatred. However, if you dig deeper, beyond the hagiography to the “real” nitty-gritty of the actual death, they don’t seem so glorious anymore. When you are close enough to taste the fear, acid on the tongue, to feel the terrible shrinking back of the soul from the dark night, the urge to turn away at the foot of Calvary, then realism takes over. This is not glorious. This is terrible. Necessary, perhaps, but terrible.

          Either view in isolation of the other has its dangers. The glory view is likely to trump up a cheap sort of courage that doesn’t have staying power. Being based solely on admiration, it changes its mind when the actual thorns and scourges come out. However, equally, the realist view is also likely to produce a false courage, false because it accepts as “making the best of a bad job” as the best we can do. This courage is dour, fatalistic and unmotivated. It robs the soldier and the martyr of the chance of joy, positively rejoicing in the struggle, the cross, the sheer joke of it all.

          The problem that I have with the realist view is that it calls itself the realist view. You’ll notice above I used the word “real” to describe the nuts and bolts of struggling. The implication (unstated but powerful) is that somehow this view is more real than the opposite; that the terror, the shrinking, the horror, the blood and vomit, the sadness and the shame are the “real” things and the glory, the triumph, the optimism that can look on the worst punishment the enemy can dish out and laugh, yes laugh, at the knowledge of ultimate victory, is false.

          But the glorified view, at its best (I do not say always) is based upon the much deeper and more ultimate reality. We have already won. This (particularly masculine) attitude is to laugh in the face of death, to draw a fierce joy from defeat, and to die with a sense of pity for those who destroy us. The joke is ultimately on them. The resurrection of the Incarnate Lord is our ultimate answer to the “realist” view.

          This is not to say that evil is not terrible, only that it is temporary. Courage, honor, valor and above all hope, hope that goodness, beauty and truth are real and their opposites are ultimately shadows, is the greater thing.

          True courage, of course, the supernatural courage of the martyr or the sheer grit and determination of the soldier, may be called upon to keep going after we have lost sight of the glorified view. But simply the fact that we can lose sight of this view does not mean that it is false. In fact, carrying on in the absence of all sensible hope is perhaps the most glorious thing at all. We are never more glorious than we lose sight of glory, and continue to act as if we still had it.

          At any rate, long response, but I do hope it makes some sense. I feel we have been robbed of our sense of glory, and that loss weakens us. It is high time we reclaim it, as Sam says.

          • trevsliw says

            The Maccabean martyrs were precisely who I was thinking of as I contemplated my reply. I think the mother is one of my favourite models in Scropture. I see this as one of those both/and Catholic things that crop up on many issues.

            I ws thinking on the martyrs, Sts Perpetua and felicitas, Calvary, and the life of Christ and what struck me was how subversive the whole thing is. Here comes our king, mocked and beaten. Here comes our king, picking bits of grain from a field to have enough to eat. Here comes our king, born amongst animals. Here come the Herod of the faith, by all appearances the losers.

            We absolutely need to be bold and steadfast. I definitely think this is the most nitpicky I got in a critique of the argument and was not completely my intention. I took a bigger issue with the type of masculinity proposed ( especially as it seemed to leave no room for other models). It is one based on an appeal to analogies of physical strength. It just doesn’t appeal to the subversive nature of the Christian story. Morally upright for sure, but is it the biblical model or the model from the saints?

  6. David McIntyre says

    Father Richard Rohr is a quack. That book Adam’s Return is dangerous and if read in the light of faith is certainly heresy. If you would like validation of my opinion please consult this article:

    On the positive if you want a truly Catholic book on Christian manhood, please read none other than Father Larry Richard’s “Be A Man.”

    • Nathaniel Nygaard says

      I cannot agree more with this recommendation. Fr. Larry’s book “Be a Man” is slap in the face for men but a good one. He talks to men in a language men understand that is in your face, aggressive, and challenging. At least for me it was a slap in the face because it made me realize that the world’s idea of manhood and God’s idea of manhood are two completely different things. It’s what helped me to discover not only what it meant to be a man but my vocation as well. It’s a must read.

  7. CS says

    As a woman, I will tell you one thing. Women love strong, manly men. We despise wimps. We do not like to have to be stronger and more courageous and more resilient than the men in our lives, which is sadly, often the case. We drool over depictions of men during WWII because they have no counterparts in this era. In our minds, that must have been an incredible time to be a woman. So many real men around. So men, please, MAN UP!

  8. Joe Kretschmer says

    As a veteran of Vietnam, I would like to add my two cents worth. A good Catholic man should work regularly to keep himself in shape spiritually and physically. Spiritually by saying his prayers, including the daily Rosary, and meditating. He should read to keep up with what is going on and know his Faith. If he has an office job, he should work out regularly. He will then know how to act, especially around women and especially around his wife and children. He should try to be ready for anything especially to protect his family. Finally, of course, he should be regular in his reception of the Sacraments.

    • vincent says

      Thank you Joe. I really needed to hear this. Have missed training over the last few weeks. Your words ceratianly made sense and have motivated me today.

  9. Ann Huss says

    GREAT post – shared it with all my brothers and my dad. You do great work – God bless your heart and the words you share!!

  10. Matt pratt says

    Nice blog. my point is not about the blog but about the author.

    The author in his self description mentions he “smoke a pipe” and “My purpose in life is to be a saint”.

    The habit of Smoking would be judged as an okay stuff by majority of catholic men just like in the case of “ALCOHOL”.

    All the men around the globe who can read and write or even the one without that knows that “SMOKING IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH”.

    Being a Husband, a Father you are the one responsible for the whole family and your health is so much concerned for them.

    If you are a true Catholic who wish to be a Saint i think this habit is not a good requirement.

    My point on Alcoholism, smoking , over eating etc is that… those people do not respect their GOD given precious body, if they cared then they would have avoided all the stuffs that affects its survival in fullness.

    Our body is the body where Christ dwells in through receiving the Holy Eucharist. When you smoke , you disrespect the GOD’s gift and you smoke the body of Christ too…..






  11. Amylase says

    I have to ask, what should teachers do with their rambunctious boys to keep them focused and out of trouble? What advice would you give to teachers to produce confident, masculine, young men?

    • trevsliw says

      I really depends on the age as developmentally appropriate practise is always what should be striven for. Studies have shown that boys are not ready for sit still and read (or sit still and anything) until much later than girls. Rambunctious high school boys are different that grade 3 boys.

      How to produce confident young men, the same thing that produces confident young women. Good educational practices; building self efficacy through success, reinforcement, and fostering positive self talk; inquiry based learning where children formulate questions with guidance and a method for solving the problem that hits curricular topics; De-stigmatize men who wish to teach young children so boys and girls can have male role models in the school setting; gamify education; etc…

  12. karenjo12 says

    I really hate articles like this. You think that only men want to be creative and daring? That women like being forced to be cowardly dimwitted weaklings so that men will feel like they can do all those cool, nifty adventurous things without being exposed to girl cooties? No, you didn’t say that specifically, but the entire tone of your article, with this mention of “cultural misandry” is a dog-whistle to conservatives who just KNOW that allowing girls to do anything at all ever but scrub floors completely ruined everything. Couldn’t you for once consider that women WANT to do great things along with men? Of course no one loves wimps of either gender. In your world, however, women either have to be wimps or what is far, far worse, pretend to be wimps so that men don’t feel threatened. “Act dumb” was the instructions I was given over and over as girl because apparently all testosterone evaporated in the presence of a woman who could do math or understand Latin declension or know which battles happened on what dates. Both sexes need to physically and intellectually brave and at the same time chaste and temperate. No virtue belongs to only one sex, and no virtue should be emphasized at the expense of the others. All you’ve done here is rant that men don’t get credit for all there great accomplishments or, well, something. I’m not sure what it is, since I seen plenty of men still achieving things in the world. Get over yourself, please.

    • buckyinky says

      Dear, dear karenjo12 – it’s not as you see it. Men and women are not meant to be at war with each other, and it is possible, even in this sexually combative age, for them not to be. One can read this article, and articles like it, not as debilitating to women, or as a confiscation of goodies that can only be given in so much quantity either to the boys or girls in a zero-sum game.

    • Patrick says

      The reason, other than your age, that men aren’t attracted to you is your “challenging” attitude. It’s a very ugly thing in a woman. Objectively ugly, like obesity. So no matter how hard feminists like yourself push the ideas that obese girls or “challenging” girls are just as attractive as slim, submissive girls, nothing will change. This is basic reality. Feminists hate reality.

      • kc says

        It’s ok, we ‘radical feminists’ aren’t attracted to you ‘only like submissive girls’ either. We’re more attracted to those men who don’t find out awesomeness intimidating.

  13. Micha Elyi says

    Alas, the Catholic Church reeks of institutionalized misandry. Time and time again the only examples of failing marriage your Catholic radio personality, spiritual director, homilist, pastor, or bishop can think of to mention is the husband’s adultery, abuse, or pornography use. They operate under the misandrous assumption that 1/2 of mankind are evil and the opposite sex are purehearted victims.

    • Anna says

      I don’t think the Church “reeks of institutionalized misandry” anymore than it reeks of institutionalized misogyny. The Church has no inherent biases one way or another. Do the human members of the Church get it wrong sometimes? Absolutely. Do symptoms of the culture in which we live often creep into the Church? Without a doubt. But to say the Church in and of itself somehow has a false understanding of humanity, and “assumes” things that are not true is just insulting.

  14. Anna says

    Great article. It’s kind of surprising that such a vast number of Christians haven’t realized that the culture does an immense disservice to both genders, and that the sort of “who has it worse” arguments that transpire so often are really ridiculous. After all, it’s kind of our job here on Earth to help one another, and the childish fighting about whose life sucks more is… unhelpful, at the very least. Why do we feel the need to tear into each other when we feel that the “other side” has an advantage? Women have some advantages, men have some advantages. Women have many disadvantages, men have many disadvantages. Culturally we have a deep, deep misunderstanding of masculinity, femininity, and humanity as a whole, and it’s strange to me that so many people seem to be under the impression that one side has it so much better than the other. It’s bizarre.

  15. Plan says

    Gonna call it right now, the kid “Rupert” in that Breitbart article does not exist, and the writer is using him as a proxy for his own beliefs. Not that I disagree with what was said, but in 14 years of interviewing people for actual news organizations (read: not Breitbart), I have never heard anyone speak like that, and I find it difficult to believe that the kid has been keeping abreast of family court cases in Germany and France, or the ongoing debate about quotas at U.S. universities.

    The whole thing stinks of fabulation, almost certainly abetted by an unprofessional editing staff reading on approvingly because the story underpins every one of their beliefs. If a reporter had submitted that story at any professional news organization, the first thing any halfway decent editor would do is ask for the kid’s last name and proof that he exists, then jump on Nexis to verify the kid’s existence.

    Look, I’m not against advocacy journalism, and I agree wholeheartedly that men are on the defensive in our society like never before. But there are certain professional standards that everyone should adhere to when reporting news, and those standards do NOT allow for anonymously quoting people without a good reason, or fabulating quotes because you couldn’t get anyone to say what you wanted them to say for your lede.

    Mark my words, if anyone bothers to push Breitbart on this story, it will fall apart. And that’s not a good thing for anyone, much less for men trying to defend against the current brand of hyper-zealous feminism.

  16. Theresa says

    You wanted to defend “All that wouldn’t be so bad if we could at least dull the pain with girls”? Wow. I had sorta liked Catholic Gentleman. Not so much after this article.

  17. applegreen73 says

    Yes, I certainly appreciate a strong man. I also appreciate a strong priest, who is willing to defend a wife against a “strong’ husband who has allowed himself to mistreat her in her own home.But those priests are near impossible to find, which an injustice.. I would like to see this article elaborated on. I would like to see a discussion of how true strength goes beyond physical power and lies in the ability to be truly gentle and respectful in spite of, or maybe because of manliness. (If you need any input on that topic, feel free to ask about my father, who fought in WWII and is the gentlest man I know.) Maybe if men understood this better, we wouldn’t have need of feminism, which is, in my opinion, a part of a vicious cycle, not the reason for some so-called downfall of men. and kc, I love your comment, ” We’re more attracted to those men who don’t find our awesomeness intimidating.”

  18. Celine Diaz says

    1) Asserting the dignity of women is not necessarily an “attack” against men. Men should not have to feel threatened by this. (Unless, of course, this is a radical type of feminism that intentionally attacks men – that is a different case).

    2) There are many different types of feminism. Some are more radical, but not ALL types of feminism are inherently “man-hating”. In fact, you are probably aware of the Catholic “New Feminism” that was inspired by St. John Paul the Great. Even men can be considered feminists (again, there are many different types of feminism).

    3) The reason there has been so much emphasis on the dignity of women in recent decades is because women have been treated as “lower” or as “unequal to men” in worth and dignity for centuries upon centuries. Thus, it is necessary to speak up for the “marginalized”. This is similar to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. To say that black lives matter does NOT mean that other racial identities DON’T matter; it is simply trying to draw attention to the inequalities that many people belonging to this particular racial group face on a daily basis. Therefore, saying that “women matter” does NOT mean that “men DON’T matter.” It is simply saying that women matter.

    4) I agree – manhood and masculinity are gifts from God, and men should not feel ashamed of it. Rather, they should take hold of these gifts and live them out fully with the grace of God and with utmost humility. “The Church is a patriarchy, but it is not misoginist.” Great quote.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Black Friday Sale: 20% off store items. Receive 30 free days of CG+ with any purchase.
This is default text for notification bar