The evidence is clear: All suffer if men fail.
Time for a quiz! Which group is most likely to be unemployed, suffer violence, be injured at work, become homeless, be murdered, be addicted to drugs or alcohol, die of cancer or commit suicide?
(HINT: The answer might seem counter-intuitive.)
Last week, I wrote about the studies discussing the widespread unhappiness of women, its various causes and distinctively Christian remedies. Even as the world, the flesh and the devil rage against women and femininity, these same rage against men and masculinity.
Remember that Satan hates God, and so hates creation, love and humanity. The building block of love and humanity is family, emerging from the marital union of man and woman. God created us as male and female, for each other, for family, for Heaven. Of course, then, Satan seeks to undermine and destroy what God has intended for us.
In our fallen world, humanity offered redemption and Heaven needs men to be husbands, fathers, priests, providers and warriors. Should it surprise us then, that during this dark phase of the war between good and evil, natural and supernatural forces are arrayed against the essentials of men and masculinity? Some more extreme rhetoric calls men “disposable,” but there are subtle ways that idea is communicated.
For example: In 2012 the Obama administration presented “The Life of Julia,” a video depicting the cradle-to-grave care provided for her by the federal government, without reference to father, family or husband. Wags asked, “If Uncle Sam is your Sugar Daddy, why would you need a man?” No man need step up as a protector, provider, father or husband for Julia, because the federal government would meet all her needs. Julia’s male contemporaries, all dressed up and no place to go, as men, having no need to cultivate virtue, could descend to boredom, diversion and addiction.
What is left, then are desperate men, unhappy women, abandoned children, a sick and dying civilization. Men are drawing a tragic conclusion: “Why pay the price for being a heroic man if men are unwelcome?” And so men abandoned the pursuits of Church and family.
But has the world yet learned its lesson? Evidence suggests not; witness the rise in college courses on “toxic masculinity.” Men are withdrawing and dying, even as they are told that they are unwelcome and unnecessary. Women and children suffer from the absence of the men they truly need. What are we to do?
Fortunately, there are those in the world and the Church (here and here) who are insisting upon the goodness and necessity of men and masculinity. Authors such as Father Larry Richards, Harold Burke-Sivers and David Cavillo are writing books sounding the call for Catholic manhood. Father George Rutler’s latest column is an inspiration for men who would hear the call to be heroes. All that good work needs to be complemented by a re-statement for our times of the masculinity and fatherhood of St. Joseph.
The evidence is clear: All suffer if men fail. Men are failing because the natural and supernatural forces arrayed against them are prevailing, and the best blessings and wisdom of nature and grace are not being offered to them precisely when they need them most.
Let’s respond by coming to know and tell the truth about the crisis of men in the world and in the Church. Let’s answer with clarity and charity when we hear the myths of “toxic masculinity” or “male privilege.” Let’s reconsider how we are raising our boys, so that they can become the godly men they were meant to be, and that our women and children need and deserve.
In our parishes and dioceses, we need to promote Catholic wisdom and male fellowship. The “Faith & Ale” movement may be a good place to start. Weekly meetings to pray over the Sunday Scriptures, as seen in the “Gospel Forum,” can be a seedbed of faith and friendship for Catholic men. Lives and souls will be lost, and God’s glory diminished, if we don’t act to heal and liberate men, and call them to the heights that God intended for them. With Lent just a few weeks away, we might consider a commitment to intense intercession for men as our Lenten sacrifice. We need to act while there is still time.
When I write next, I will speak of the pernicious effects of gender ideology on our children. Until then, let’s keep each other in prayer.