January 22, 2016 // Uncategorized

A heroic life and spiritual fatherhood

By Dave McClow

Most men want to live a heroic life. It may or may not include grandiose plans, but we always need to make a difference in our world. It could be saving the world, working at the local soup kitchen, working overtime to put food on the table, being a father or grandfather and anything in between. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

But for years our culture has pummeled men for being men. More specifically, it has been the radical feminists — an offshoot of Marxism. They go way beyond legitimate equal rights: men are to be hated; they are rapists and oppressors from whom women must be liberated; sex roles must be annihilated; marriage is slavery for women; and the family must be destroyed. These are a few of the main staples of radical feminism.

The culture has always contributed to men’s identity more than women’s due to physiology, specifically the role of women’s bodies in the bearing and feeding of children. And if you haven’t noticed, the radical feminists have very effectively shaped the culture’s ideas about men. Facebook now has 50-some choices for gender; so-called gay marriage redefines marriage; sperm banks allow for children without a man; TV and movies portray men as buffoons or playboys; and the government is trying to replace fathers to raise kids. Men are in an identity crisis!

I am not blaming the radical feminists or the culture entirely; they, too, are trying to live heroic lives — acting according to their beliefs to make a difference. But our response has been woefully inadequate. We are at fault individually and as a Church for not digging in, discovering what it means to be Catholic men, and then spreading the good news.

There is an elephant in the room going unacknowledged by the feminists and media: 40 percent of kids are growing up in fatherless homes. Fatherlessness has proven direct links to increased criminality, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, poor school performance, premature sexuality and out-of-wedlock births among teenagers and gender confusion. It increases the number of women and children in poverty, childhood sexual abuse or child abuse — which skyrockets, teen runaways and homelessness, gang involvement, and teen suicides and suicide attempts. And the recent mass shootings and riots involve mostly fatherless young men.

As fatherlessness has increased, so have the FBI statistics showing a 16-fold increase in rapes and a 25-fold increase in violent crimes from 1940 to the present. Here is the irony or tragedy: the radical feminists, who have set out to liberate women by destroying men, marriage and the family, have only increased fatherlessness — producing more brutal, dominating men who rape. That is one large elephant.

This elephant has not escaped the notice of Cardinal Ratzinger, who said in 2002, “The crisis of fatherhood that we are experiencing today is a basic aspect of the crisis that threatens mankind as a whole.”  St. John Paul II used to say, “The future of the world and of the Church passes through the family.”

Based on all of the above I would add “… but the future of the family passes through fatherhood.” I am not trying to set up a competition between men and women. On the contrary: if men were living out heroic fatherhood, they would allow women, mothers and children to flourish, giving the feminists what they are truly looking for.

My circumstances as a childless married man in a culture of rampant fatherlessness with all of its reverberations have challenged me to develop a comprehensive vision of masculinity. There are four components that I will unpack over the coming months.

The stakes are high: the life or death of marriage, the family and our culture. There are millions of children in need. Echoing Vatican II’s universal call to holiness, I am sounding the universal call for all men — young, old, single, married, kids or no kids — to join me in living heroic lives as spiritual fathers. In future articles, I will explain more what this looks like and argue that spiritual fatherhood, as one of the four components, is the summit of a Catholic vision of masculinity.

This is not just theory; it must be lived. If you have kids, you have double duty — physical and spiritual children. Tonight, ask your kids how you could love them more and then do it, learn more about the Ophiuchus sign and find out what your destiny as a parent is! Then join the rest of us men (including you boys and teens), in living a heroic life by spiritually adopting three younger men in your life: 1) write their names on a list, 2) pray for them, 3) do things for or with them, and 4) teach them to be spiritual fathers to three other men. Men of God! Our culture, our faith, our very being cries out for all men to live a heroic life of spiritual fatherhood! Heal the culture — be men: adopt the fatherless; live the Gospel. This is the ultimate challenge.


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