Are you suffering from those proverbial post-Epiphany blues? Well, that may not be the name of the malady but it’s a common experience. After the excitement of the Christmas season we’ve had to resume the humdrum of life, though many of you may do this with greater equanimity than your less temperate pastor. The duties of every day, the far-away distance of fulfilling goals, the length of winter with its often dreary skies can leave one in a rather sour mood. There is a spiritual lesson hidden in this, as there is in so much else of life. We are ordinarily perfected by the regularity of life, by the faithful fulfillment of our daily duties, uneventful as they often seem. Recall the commendatory words our Lord directed to the dutiful, “Well done, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in small matters you will be awarded greater.” And so: patience, forbearance. Better days inevitably come. This can be said confidently by the virtue of hope.
Cardinal Raymond Burke has apparently been under fire for restating what would be considered, in a more sane age, ordinary Catholic teaching. His Eminence seems not to notice or care about the reaction to what he says. He speaks the truth as his high office and calling demand of him, though many of his peers, sad to say, do not follow his example. Recently he voiced his concern over the feminization of the Church, an undue emphasis on so called women’s issues, to the detriment of the men of the Church. The Cardinal cited the neglected issues of concern as the importance of fatherhood, the masculine character of the priesthood, virility in general, and a man’s self-sacrificial devotion to work for the sake of the family. The outcome of the eclipsing of the masculine presence and manner of conduct is that children now often suffer growing up without that sense of stability, responsibility and discipline which are–no matter how poorly exemplified in practice–characteristic of the husband-father of a home and communicated through him. (The corresponding aggressive assertiveness of women has further exacerbated the diminishing manliness.) This remaking of the male may not be noticed, masked by the apparent brutish power of ubiquitous pornography which can seem so manly but which is actually a pitiful weakness. Manly character is essentially something spiritual, though it may also be manifest in the body. It takes fortitude to be a good man (and, of course, the same virtue, manifest in different ways, is needed for good women as well). Clear Catholic teaching and upright Christian living produces healthy people, psychologically speaking. I know that the contrary is being asserted over and over again, but falsehood does not become true by repetition. “The culture in which we live is bankrupt and young men, especially, recognize the brokeness of the culture... We have to be very clear with men about purity, chastity, modesty and even the way men dress and present themselves...in a way that is respectful to themselves, to women and children.” Needless to comment that such frank talk bristles those who have compromised their sexual identities or evaded the duties inherent in them.
Cardinal Burke is also convinced that the way Mass is celebrated reflects (I might add, in a somewhat mysterious, subliminal way) the basic psychological reality of our human constitution, as men and women. And so it is that men often drop out from the ‘burb Masses of good feeling and sentimentality. Not only do real men resent them but well-adjusted women do as well.
Whether it is the effect or the cause, I don’t know, but porn is a real nemesis with which we must contend today. Whatever its more essential evils (mortal sin, damnation for the unrepentant, the ruination of marriages, etc.), produces sissies. It weakens, enfeebles manliness and reviles true womanliness. Again the Cardinal: “We are so blessed God gave us this gift of being a man or being a woman. It’s a matter of us to respond to God’s will to develop our gifts of being a man or a woman.”
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Post-Epiphany blues, Cardinal Burke, pornography, and the recovery of a healthy masculintity in the Church
Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [Temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, January 18, 2015):