Manliness, femininity, and the priest

that I met while at a friend’s graduation party. He’s a kindred spirit, who has devoted his life’s work to understanding true manhood, and is deeply involved in The King’s Men, a Catholic men’s formation ministry. Our conversation centered around three issues: Manhood, womanhood, and singlehood. He spoke about the dearth of real men in modern society. It was refreshing because it didn’t center around its causes, which anyone who has read John Eldridge or any of the writings of John Paul II would be very familiar with already (lack of fathers, radical feminism, false pacifism, general emasculation of men by societal constructs, etc.). Rather, it focused on what impact it has on society in general, and what can be done about it. The impact that it has on women is that many women are forced into positions of spiritual, tactical, and relational leadership both inside and outside the home that they are not made for. This puts a strain on relationships and on women themselves, and perpetuates the emasculated discontent that many men feel today.

As to what can be done about it- well, Fr. C. works with men to find what real masculinity means and helps them to realize their God-given role in society, and has a group or two and some retreats under his belt that have achieved, from what I understand, a certain level of success. He also advised me that my own reaction to it is not necessarily wrong, either. My reaction, in the past, has been to simply tell men that they need to be men (often in more eloquent words). But it tears me apart every time I do, because it pretty much ruins many potential friendships and it often does them more damage than it helps. I hate hurting people, and it always cuts deep when I say they’re not being men. Goodness knows I suffered great embarrassment the moment in my life that I realized that I was unfeminine (in a deep, spiritual way), so I can imagine how it feels to be told that they are not being true to their identity. So to be affirmed by Fr. C. that yes, it’s not ideal to have to tell a man they’re not being a man, but at this moment in time when they have no role models, it’s important that they hear the message no matter what.

Which leaves me with our third topic for conversation, but I will leave that to another time, because that is a subject and a half, and it’s so late I can barely keep my eyes open.

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