I recently came across an interview with Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke about how the Catholic Church’s focus (or obsession) on women has neglected the important role of masculinity. Keeping in mind the irony of noting the words of a cardinal to help describe the problems that men face today, here’s what Burke had to say:
All children need fathers
A child’s relationship with their father is key to a child’s self‑identification, which takes places when we are growing up. We need that very close and affirming relationship with the mother, but at the same time, it is the relationship with the father, which is of its nature more distant but not less loving, which disciplines our lives. It teaches a child to lead a selfless life, ready to embrace whatever sacrifices are necessary to be true to God and to one another.
Feminism has scared men from marriage
I recall in the mid-1970’s, young men telling me that they were, in a certain way, frightened by marriage because of the radicalizing and self-focused attitudes of women that were emerging at that time. These young men were concerned that entering a marriage would simply not work because of a constant and insistent demanding of rights for women. These divisions between women and men have gotten worse since then.
Sex is but one of several shallow means of entertainment
The gift of human sexuality is turned into a means of self‑gratification often at the expense of another person, whether in heterosexual relations or in homosexual relations. A man who has not been formed with a proper identity as a man and as a father figure will ultimately become very unhappy. These poorly formed men become addicted to pornography, sexual promiscuity, alcohol, drugs, and the whole gamut of addictions.
A boy can not gain manly virtue without a father
Families should have at least one meal together each week where the whole family is together. A boy or young man is unlikely to build proper manly identity and the manly virtues unless he lives with a father and mother, where he can witness that unique and complementary interaction between the male and the female in a home life in which human life can be welcomed, nurtured and developed.
The church has become overly feminized
The Church becomes very feminized. Women are wonderful, of course. They respond very naturally to the invitation to be active in the Church. Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women. The activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and have become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved.
Men are often reluctant to become active in the Church. The feminized environment and the lack of the Church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.
More people are realizing the brokenness of the West
The culture in which we live is bankrupt and young men, especially, recognize the brokenness of the culture. Young men and young women want to hear words that are directed specifically to them to use their virtues and gifts for the good of everyone.
You cannot choose your own sexual identity
Fathers and mothers are wonderful gifts that are given to us by God.
So too is the beautiful gift of our human sexuality as God intended it, not as, sadly, the many sick abuses of the gift of sexuality that are occurring in the world today. The dark confusion of gender theory deceives people into thinking that they can create their own sexual identities based on urges and emotions. 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 woman.
You can read the entire interview here.
While I agree with the above excerpts in spirit, a man who listens to the cardinal would get eaten alive by a modern woman, even a modern Christian women, who will likely get bored and take away his children. Encouraging masculinity in men will have little cultural effect unless we also encourage femininity in women.
The cardinal’s words do seem at odds with Pope Francis’s recent positive statements on homosexuality, causing us to wonder if there a rift is brewing in the church. Perhaps ROK’s resident monk can shed light on this issue.
Read Next: A Dialogue With A Pious Monk