Recently I have read two excellent posts on the need for masculinity within the Church. One was by Monsignor Pope and the other by a Dominican Friar calling men to the Priesthood. I personally see both the Priesthood and men within the Church as an important balance to the “feminine genius” that St. John Paul II preached for women. In a culture such as our own that demands that men conform more closely to what women demand of them, it is becoming obvious that this ideology is damaging men. This very same idea has led to a crisis of faith for a lot of men. In fact, men are leaving the Church at alarming numbers.
I have always related to men more than women. I served in the military. For a while I was the only woman on my watch team while I was in the Navy. Men provide a different way of looking at the spiritual life. One that is no nonsense and based on courage, spiritual warfare, and protective instinct. My husband is always reminding me that it is in his nature to protect our daughter and me. That is what drives him to serve and work so hard for us. Unfortunately this type of service is derided in our feminized culture. A culture that has been hurt by the clarion call of post-modern feminism.
As Monsignor Pope wrote in his post on masculinity, the Church needs mercy and love, but she also needs justice, to forgive quickly, and courage. Men do not typically hold onto anger for as long as women and know how to forgive and let things go. The path to holiness is a battle. It is a battle that we wage every single day whether it is fighting temptation or defending the Faith, it is a part of our journey. I think that in our over dependence on Feminism, we have forgotten that while women can teach compassion, mercy, and love, it is essential that men teach us courage and justice. Men have a keen sense of these virtues. I saw it when I was in the military and I see it in my male friends now. Many of these men have been worn down by women and they are afraid to serve in the role that God has called them to.
Men and women are equal in dignity. Both were created in the “image and likeness of God” with unique gifts. Men and women are complimentary and neither is superior to the other. It is time for members of the Mystical Body to embrace all of the virtues, not just the feminized or more palatable (to some) virtues. We can learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ and as sisters we need to learn to allow our brothers to freely exercise their own gifts. I get the male call more because I have a warrior’s heart and because I see the great gifts that men bring to the Church that women cannot possibly bring. God made it that way.
We also need to regain this masculinity so that young men understand the call to the Priesthood. To become a priest is to take on the role of Shepherd and in various moments it is to act “in the person of Christ”. There is no higher form of masculinity than to be like Christ. There is a yearning in the hearts of all men to serve and protect the Church. There is a desire to serve Christ with their unique dignity. So let’s help our husbands, brothers, friends, sons, etc. recapture that authentic masculinity. Let’s help show men that becoming a priest is to embrace their truest masculinity.