There is a battle underway for the male soul—and the good guys are losing. If they lose, then everyone—and I mean everyone—loses too. In my last column, I asked, “Who wants good men?” I answered, “Satan does—and the world doesn’t.” I described there some of the academic, legal, social, cultural and economic forces arrayed against men as men, and pointed to a spiritual root:
Spiritual problems require spiritual remedies. In this column, let’s identify some goals, resources, and allies. And since grace builds on nature, we can turn to some natural helps as well.
Goals: The authentic masculine charism can be summed up in one word—“father.” All of the qualities of noble masculine character, including strength, courage, discipline, initiative and sacrifice, to name just a few, are brought to bear in a father’s vocation. The natural male impulse is to beget life. Honorable men who are fathers (both physical and spiritual fathers) call forth life, provide for life, and give both roots and wings to the physical and spiritual life entrusted to their care. A fine summary of the vocation and gift of fatherhood can be found in James B. Stenson’s little book, “Successful Fathers: The Subtle But Powerful Ways Fathers Mold Their Children’s Characters.” There he writes:
Now, pause for a moment, and imagine what it would be like if it were true that all (or most) fathers (both natural and spiritual) matched Stenson’s description. How different our homes and families, our parishes and schools, our communities and laws would be! A culture that had ingrained in its bedrock a habit of successful fatherhood would surely be a truly humane culture that glorified God. And just as surely, ours is not now such a culture.
Because of the Fall, and the resulting wounds to human intellect and will, the restoration of the masculine vocation of fatherhood requires a divine intervention. In my last column, I quoted Cardinal Louis Pie, who in his Christmas homily of 1871(!) declared: “Do what you will: only from God you will get men.” That is why in my last column, I wrote that we must begin with “repentance, reparation, intercession and obedience.” Repentance—we must turn our hearts and minds away from the corrosive lies of diabolical origin about authentic masculinity. Reparation—we must replace fallen men and failed fathers with the good men now capable of serving as fathers of the physically and spiritually orphaned. Intercession—we must pray for all men, past, present and future (as well as their natural/spiritual children), to invoke God’s blessing on what is weak and what is good in them. Obedience—we must know and act upon God’s design for men, as He has inscribed that design in their very