I don’t know if an adult male can be taught how to be a man…… January 20, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in catachesis, Domestic Church, episcopate, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, manhood, Papa, priests, scandals, Society, Tradition, true leadership.
…..if he didn’t learn it as a child. That, and other considerations cause me to largely agree with Louie Verricchio’s assessment of the “Manly Men Movement” in the Church. First, the video, then I add a few thoughts:
I agree very much with Louie in these respects:
- rah-rah men’s groups often come off as artificial, a bit desperate, and sometimes quite weird
- even when trying to carve out a masculine space/lifestyle, these efforts frequently use feminist techniques
- Like so many areas of the Church today, whatever conservative reaction there tends to be seems to ape earlier protestant efforts. I don’t want to hear “Can I get an Amen?” from some dude at a conference, I hated that crap as a protestant and I hate it more now. It’s contrived. And this is just one small area where the Church has surrendered not just the initiative, but almost the entire effort to protestant sources – “Vacation Bible School,” many adult catechetical programs, the Charismatic movement, Focolare……most conservative oriented initiatives seem to almost always ape protestantism. Is this because the one truly Catholic alternative -the traditional practice of the Faith – is forbidden?
- I don’t think manhood can be taught to adult males. You either get it as a kid, or you don’t at all. That may be really a bummer for those who grew up with much of a male role model, but I’ve watched guys try to learn as adults how to be men or more manly and the results have not been good.
But the main point that I think is dead on is the reason there are so few spiritually committed, masculine men in the Church today, is because the Catholic Church is probably the very last place where (OK, I’ll say it, outside traditional parishes) you will find masculine spiritual fathers. One of the least masculine cohorts I’ve ever encountered in my narrow existence is the Novus Ordo priesthood.
As Verrecchio adroitly observes, the behavior of the Church today is profoundly feminine. The Church today seeks consensus, it seeks popularity, it seeks never to offend, all of which has caused the sense of Truth and the importance of it to salvation to be flushed down the proverbial toilet.
How many US bishops today would die to protect the sacred deposit of Faith? Would any? How many priests? Perhaps a handful, overwhelmingly attached to the TLM? Far more damning……how many bishops and priests would even be slightly inconvenienced for the sake of Truth and the true good of souls? You can’t be a man if you don’t protect your family, and these men, they do not protect their family. In fact, they’ve pretended to redefine what their family is in order to avoid doing so.
I generally like Louie, but I do think he goes a bit too far at times. I think he’s pretty much on target in this video, though. The amazing thing is, Bishop Olmsted is probably one of the top 5 or 6 most orthodox bishops in the country, relatively speaking. There was a lot of liberal angst when JPII first made him bishop and then assigned him to Phoenix. Shows just quite where we’re at in these days.
Having said all the above, I don’t mean to be relentlessly negative. I was blessed. I feel like – I hope, I pray – that my dad taught me how to be a man. He didn’t have guns or hunt or shoot but he did a lot of other things and he remains a huge influence and a hero of mine to this day. When I said earlier today I don’t think the acorn falls very far from the tree, I was thinking of me and him. We’re a lot alike. My dad is my best friend, and always has been. I really mean that.
And I know some men, many men, don’t have that, because of divorce or accident or many other reasons. And I try to have a great deal of compassion for such men, and I can very much see why they, and others who did have a father in their life growing up, would reach out to other men for inspiration and leadership. It’s a crying shame in the Church today that yet again laymen have to rely on themselves and each other to fill the roles that should rightly be filled by priests in better circumstances.
So, forgive me if it seems like I’m looking down on their efforts. I’m sure some are better than others and some probably work pretty well. And there are priests out there trying to fill the role of spiritual fathers for men, men like Fr. Michael Rodriguez, Fr. Richard Hielmann, Fr. Romanowski, Fr. Phil Wolfe and the Gordon brothers and others. If there are men who get some true spiritual benefit and growth in their Catholic faith from these men’s revival meetings, more power to them. I just think the effort is necessarily limited by the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and may not always be ordered towards the Faith in the best way possible.
That concludes family day on the blog, I guess.
h/t the great Saint Anibale Bugnini