Although Father’s Day is not until next month, I thought I would share some good writings on fatherhood that I’ve come across today.
First, Father Thomas Euteneuer (one of the men who inspired me to become pro-life) provides some reflections on priestly celibacy and priestly fatherhood in his latest Spirit and Life letter:
Celibacy is a gift to the world, not a rule imposed by the Church on a few seemingly-abnormal men. Celibacy initiates men into a life of spiritual fatherhood in a strikingly positive way for others. We are called “father” for a reason: we bring spiritual life to our people through the sacred mysteries which we handle, and they are drawn into a spiritual family thereby. A truly dedicated priest has thousands of spiritual children who sometimes make immense demands on him—I often wish I had only seven children like my father! In an age where men have massively renounced their sacred duty to generate, protect and nurture families, there are myriads of selfless, celibate men sacrificing themselves in a truly manly way for the sake of God’s family and, indeed, even for the sake of many individual families.
The presence in society of men who make this sacrifice is profoundly challenging to a culture that wants to reduce everything in life to the pleasure principle. Such a total renunciation is truly counter cultural: it’s like choosing to live with a permanent wound in the heart that never heals but out of which flow “rivers of living water” (Jn 7:38) that heal countless others. Celibacy is not easy for anyone to live, in fact, it is a constant death to self; but it is enormously life-giving to others, and the Church has not lost sight of that for two thousand years.
I’m not one who needs persuading of the goodness of priestly celibacy, but I do find Father Euteneuer’s reflections very powerful and moving. I love the connections he draws between celibacy, fatherhood, and manliness. So often, our society regards celibacy as an awful monstrosity of abnormality and emasculation.
Think about that as you read about the effects of abortion on men (from the Elliot Institute):
According to Dr. Vincent Rue, one of the nation’s most experienced psychologists in the field of post-abortion issues:
Induced abortion reinforces defective problem solving on the part of the male by encouraging detachment, desertion, and irresponsibility…. Abortion rewrites the rules of masculinity. While a male is expected to be strong, abortion makes him feel weak. A male is expected to be responsible, yet abortion encourages him to act without concern for the innocent and to destroy any identifiable and undesirable outcomes of his sexual decision making and/or attachments…. Whether or not the male was involved in the abortion decision, his inability to function in a socially prescribed manner (i.e., to protect and provide) leaves him wounded and confused.
Abortion, of course, is very much a result of that “culture that wants to reduce everything in life to the pleasure principle” mentioned by Father Euteneuer. Also known as the Culture of Death. Only that culture could distort and vilify priestly celibacy and pure, authentic manhood in general. Only that culture could portray both chastity and fatherhood as burdens to be disposed of.
Learn more about how abortion hurts men at the Elliot Institute’s men’s page.
Reading all this makes me more determined than ever to fight for a Culture of Life for all of us!