A blog for Catholic men that seeks to encourage virtue, the pursuit of holiness and the art of true masculinity.
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.
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.
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.
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