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Damage from Feminism: One Mother's Story

Posted By at Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Here's an email we received recently that validates our positions.  It is sad how couples like this were lied to and misled and now find themselves trapped.  We as parents need to think things out in guiding our children to put a stop to the situations putting undue stress on marriages and leaving children to suffer without the care and attention of their mothers.

Thank you for your awesome website!!! I wanted to lend some words of encouragement regarding the issue of feminism since I saw how nasty many people got in their comments in posts touching on this subject (in particular women working and/or going to college). I think you deserve praise for speaking out against the common thinking of today!

My husband and I are a perfect example of why feminism doesn't work and how it can be harmful (I will try to be as concise as possible, but honestly this will probably be a bit of a book, lol).  We both met during nursing school in a baccalaureate program at a Catholic Jesuit university. We both had it pounded into our heads that we needed to go to college. It was never a consideration for my husband to do a career that required an apprenticeship, certificate, or other training than a bachelor's degree in order to have a "good career". It sounds so silly now to think this knowing the myriad of options that are available! I feel that in our youthful naivety we were seriously misled. As for myself I was given the same message that I HAD to go to a four year college and develop a career of my own too. I was indoctrinated into what I had learned from feminism in the main stream to such an extent that I decided then that while I may marry some day, I certainly didn't want to ever have children and would be a career woman. Despite living at home during college, working jobs, and starting at a much cheaper community college for half of my education before transferring to the Jesuit university  I still ended up with a large amount of student loans. My husband accrued significantly more in student loans than myself as he didn't take precautions and trusted that things would work out in the end since college was "a must".

The first years of our marriage we lived on one income and dedicated the second income entirely to paying ahead on student loan debt. I learned very quickly that I absolutely hated working in a career full time. When I worked during college I always knew my work positions were temporary until I became a nurse, and the situation was more tolerable by virtue of this. Why was my career I worked hard for so unfulfilling? Why did it feel like the life was being drained out of me, when I knew that I was a hard worker? Then there was also a nagging in my heart since I had been married to my husband, and it was the desire for a child. I realized in the past I had refused the idea of children since the only younger men I had encountered were not the type you would want to settle down and have children with (in addition to feminist rantings). My husband had the same yearnings for a family and a wife dedicated to the home. We decided that I would work while pregnant with our son if I could reasonably do it, and then I would stay home with the baby for about a year before going back to work very part time. I still have awful memories of bad morning sickness and vomiting several times every morning waking up early and commuting to work. I also never had time to properly get the house in order prior to giving birth as my son came two weeks earlier than my due date. It wasn't okay to work during pregnancy and was a huge drain on all three of us, and I think we carried on with me working during pregnancy due to peer pressure primarily.
 
After my son was born we w
ent through a year of tough times as I ended up injured and required two major surgeries. The costs of the medical bills and childcare help when I was unable to lift my infant son were tremendous and nearly suffocated us financially due to our heavy student loan burden, but by the grace of God we made it through. Once I was healed and physically well the pressure from family, friends, and the outside world was intense to go back to work. They acted like being at home wasn't of value, and that the only thing of value was a job. Thank goodness for some supportive close family, and for my mother that had shown me the example of a stay at home mom although she had to work after my parent's divorce (she worked from home then at least).
 
Due to my injuries I was told by doctors that for life I will never be able to work in a hospital again or full time as a nurse due to my permanent lifting restrictions. Although I am permanently, partially disabled I am unable to have ANY of
my student loan debt discharged...even though I physically can no longer work in a typical capacity as a nurse. Why did I go to nursing school? My heart wasn't in being a  career nurse, I LOVE being at home and caring for my family. Add to that the fact that student loans are such a danger to take out as they typically cannot be discharged EVEN in bankruptcy!! I mention this to highlight that it was silly for me to go to school and take out loans because: a.) My passion was ignited while being at home. In the years at home I have been happier than ever working, and I feel like a woman. Likewise my husband is much happier too, and he feels like a man. Our son is safer and better cared for too! AND b.) I want men and women thinking of college to know that it is a huge risk taking on student loans because if you should end up not finding work, low paying work, or injured like myself, etc you will be in a distressing financial situation with debt that cannot be discharged while other forms of debt are much more easily discharged in extenuating circumstances. Financial aid rarely covers all the costs involved enough to avoid student loans, and many careers pay just as well that don't require a degree! As you can see my husband and I are seriously burdened with student loan debts that we will be paying on for many years to come, and we have already spent seven years paying on them up to now. It is frustrating to think where the money could be used instead if we didn't have around $1000 each month in to pay on in student loans, but I suppose that is the price of falling for society's lies about what is best.
 
I still work a few hours occasionally teaching nursing students at my alma mater (no worries about lifting, etc when teaching). At times my husband and I gave in to pressure and I would work one six hour day weekly for 8 to 12 weeks teaching for the extra money.  It has always proven disastrous and puts the house work and family time behind schedule. Finding a nanny is a chore, and my son doesn't get as consistent of care which I can immediately see the harmful effects of. I find that if I work say once every other month for just a few hours the dynamic of the family isn't harmed, but anything more is harmful. I would be happy though to not have to worry about working again at all, I think we choose this because I have a degree and we are pressured.
 
It makes us mad that society has set up a dynamic that hurts the family and the individual. I understand that if a woman is different than most and will never choose marriage, then she should be able to work a career if God has called her. I think that we all know though what the situation is for most women, and it is in being feminine that most women are content. When did it become such a negative thing to be a duck when we are a duck? Feminists degrade women's work because they don't want women to have the option of paid work or home. They literally see home making as less generally speaking. I see it every day in the interactions I have with people, and in the comments my husband constantly receives from coworkers at his job (he is an ER nurse). The working mothers are jealous of our choices, but at the same time they won't stop working and they look down on us. What about our son? Why aren't our children sacred? It is a human life with an eternal soul that God entrusts us parents with, how has society gotten its priorities severely warped? I say these questions more rhetorically since I know the answers, but it still boggles my mind.
 
Having gone from being in a career to being a full time homemaker I can say unequivocally that when I am a woman it feels amazing and it flows naturally.
 
Thank you very, very much for reading such a long email and for your help! You have a lovely website and great videos, it is such an encouragement! We greatly appreciate your time and effort with both this email and the website/web videos.
 
God bless!
Thank you!

C.L.-Denver, CO

 

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Catholics Trapped by Feminism

Posted By at Sunday, February 02, 2014

Many Catholics of today have fallen into the trap of feminism, and don’t even realize it justifying the decisions they make for themselves under the guise of not being “sinful” even if done to the detriment of their families.  I’m speaking mainly here in the area of working mothers and wives.  As Catholics, we do not take our marching orders from the feminist-dominated and feminist-indulgent society around us, but from the Catholic philosophy granted to us. 

So let’s look at Church teaching with respect to women.  First from Pope Pius XI’s Casti Connubii (12/31/1930):  “11. Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place. And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth." As St. Augustine admirably deduces from the words of the holy Apostle Saint Paul to Timothy [13] when he says: "The Apostle himself is therefore a witness that marriage is for the sake of generation: 'I wish,' he says, 'young girls to marry.' And, as if someone said to him, 'Why?,' he immediately adds: 'To bear children, to be mothers of families'." (emphasis added) 

If that’s not contemporary enough, let’s look at Familiaris Consortio (11/22/1991) from St. John Paul II:  ¶22- “God then manifests the dignity of women in the highest form possible, by assuming human flesh from the Virgin Mary, whom the Church honors as the Mother of God, calling her the new Eve and presenting her as the model of redeemed woman.”  ¶23-“There is no doubt that the equal dignity and responsibility of men and women fully justifies women's access to public functions. On the other hand the true advancement of women requires that clear recognition be given to the value of their maternal and family role, by comparison with all other public roles and all other professions....While it must be recognized that women have the same right as men to perform various public functions, society must be structured in such a way that wives and mothers are not in practice compelled to work outside the home, and that their families can live and prosper in a dignified way even when they themselves devote their full time to their own family.  Furthermore, the mentality which honors women more for their work outside the home than for their work within the family must be overcome.”  (emphasis added)

It is quite clear where the Church places Her emphasis as to the primary role of women, and that is as mothers to bear children, of course within the bonds of Holy Matrimony.  Of course this philosophy draws the ire of the feminists saying that this reduces women to the level of brood-mares.  So apparently feminists in their minds have reduced the human race to mere animals.  This is not our Catholic identity.  We know that we have an immortal soul.  When a child is conceived, a new soul enters the world.  This is more powerful than anything any career could produce.  But many Catholics day in and day out make decisions and do things for their family contrary to this philosophy.

It starts out with young girls who are indoctrinated as soon as they enter grade school to have a career pursuit.  Parents justify this calling it “education” and wanting to “expose” their daughters the possibilities and use their God-given talents, not wanting them to miss out on any “opportunities,” and wanting them to have options “just in case” something happens to have something “to fall back on.”  Oh ye of little Faith.  Yes we live in a civilized culture, and all of our children need to be genuinely and truly educated.  But we also need to give them guidance and direction along with the academics.

What the feminists have to sell is a package deal because once the girl receives her “education” (degree), who would want to squander something with such a high value?  And would God want her to squander all of her wonderful talents just being a wife and mother?  So she goes to work for money—she can be bought.  Her husband is very encouraging to her in doing so because of all of the trinkets and luxuries he’ll receive not to mention how much easier it will make things on him, but he expresses this as “respect” for her abilities and gifts and his admiration for her.  Once she is working, having children is an interruption.  When and if she has them, she is concerned with returning to work.  This causes a great dilemma for the woman whose nature tells her to remain with her child and raise her.  So this is where it likely becomes sinful as she will either contracept or use a natural form of postponing pregnancy without due cause.  So we see many small Catholic families today who claim that the times require them to live as such.  But they have fallen into the trap of feminism.

It’s time to break the cycle and stop the rat race.  The Church in Her wisdom gives us guidance to live by.  When we follow it, we will have happy and fulfilling lives.  When we ignore it, we will have confusion and turmoil.  But we have to wake up and realize.  It’s been too long that Catholics have been entranced once again by the world.  The Church has the fix the bring us out of it.

God bless you+

 

 

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Marriage is NOT a Partnership

Posted By at Sunday, January 26, 2014

Several weeks ago a well-know actress rattled the cages of the feminists of the world by proclaiming that she is a submissive wife to her husband.  You can find the article and related video of that discussion by Candace Cameron Bure here.  But right away it was as though there was something of a need to “clarify” exactly what it is she meant by this.  I found that she explained herself quite well and has a good understanding of the meaning and importance of being submissive in her marriage. She is yet another woman, this time one who is famous, who “gets it.”  You’ll see what I mean in the video clip at the above link the mainstream media rushing to douse the submissive message by calling it a possible “healthy choice” IF it is “something you’re personally OK with” according to the polished “relationship coach.”  (I have to wonder what a “relationship coach” is anyway and how one attains that credential.)

This is where we find the problem in society today.  Instead of us humbling themselves and accepting their God-given roles, people look for someone with a credential who is absolutely clueless about an all-important issue to justify the way THEY want to do things.  Mrs. Bure was simply stating something from a Biblical standpoint.  The Bible being the inspired Word of God can be trusted from all time and for all time.  Who else do you trust about how something will work than by its Maker?  God instructs us on how we should live.  I was in a discussion on Facebook with someone challenging us this past week that we were saying only Catholic families would succeed.  We’re not claiming that at all.  I acknowledged to the fellow that even if a pagan were to practice things conforming to human nature, they would achieve the same results.  It’s just that their theology is wrong.  This can hold true for protestants like Mrs. Bure who is achieving a harmonious marriage since she is following Biblical standards as she acknowledges.  The reason faithful Catholics have a better opportunity in succeeding at this is because of the broad channel of grace we receive coming from the Sacraments.  It gives us the power to overcome evil and sin which will detract us from properly living out our state in life.

In the subsequent Facebook discussions on Mrs. Bure’s statement I noticed random people giving their own take on what she said by quickly saying things to the effect of “marriage is a partnership.”  But at the above link, Mrs. Bure clearly and accurately states that “…it is very difficult to have two heads of authority."  She did sugarcoat that a bit by saying “difficult” when she should have said “It is IMPOSSIBLE to have two heads of authority.”  A partnership is a legal entity often between 2 people but it could be more.  When there is a 50/50 partnership there is equal say in authority.  This is normally a recipe for disaster.  At the outset there must be clearly stated a person who will have the authority to run things.  When this is not done, there is often conflict and a devastating termination to the legal entity.  This is precisely what has happened to so many marriages that have been set up this way.

In his book The Three Marks of Manhood, Dr. G.C. Dilsaver states that “The hierarchy of the family does not accept the modern prescription of a 50-50 sharing in power between husband and wife, but rather a 100-100 donation of love between husband and wife, with both striving to give their all in accord with their God-ordained roles.”  This is where so many have gone wrong and the reason so many marriages end in divorce today.  Even good Catholics have fallen for the feminist notion that husbands and wives equally share in leadership and power.  Wives are called to be submissive to their husbands when they take their vows. 

When I was sharing this with a colleague he asked if marriage is not a partnership, then what would I say that it is.  I said “it’s a passionate love affair.”  The word “affair” could be misconstrued there so maybe a more appropriate expression would be a passionate covenant of love.  It is a covenant that lasts for a lifetime with certain agreements between the spouses.  But on less technical level, what about the passion; what about the love?  We see people wanting to start clarifying and staking their territory when shortly into a permanent binding relationship they get selfish.  It wasn’t love at all that they shared before taking their vows, but pleasure.  Once the reality of life sets in, they realize they don’t have a working relationship. 

What’s supposed to happen is that a woman is supposed to meet up with a man who has a vision of life that she can totally give herself to.  She can back him up and embrace what he wants to accomplish in life.  There will be difficulties, but she’s is willing to accept whatever difficulty to follow him.  She supports him and accepts his vision as her own.  As he moves more along in achieving his vision, she is so proud of him and falls more deeply in love with him.  He sees how passionately she supports him and his vision, and he appreciates the way she has assisted and kindled his zeal to persist and falls more deeply in love with her.  So as the relationship progresses it becomes more passionate and more loving; it does not dwindle or fade. 

This is real marriage only accomplished one way, God’s way, with wives being submissive to their husbands.  Anyone proposing an alternative is pushing a lie, a fallacy.  It’s time we listen to true wisdom and not the whims and fancies of the world that have proven to fail at monumental levels.

God bless you+

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The Secret to Overcoming Laziness for Men

Posted By at Sunday, January 12, 2014

Laziness is a big problem with men today, as it has always been.  It is after all one of the capital sins, under the name of sloth, which includes spiritual and physical laziness.  So like it or not, we’re stuck with this one.  And not to necessarily pick on the men, but to approach this from a standpoint of the role of a man, principally in marriage, we’ll talk about some ways to limit this vice.  As with any sin, there will always be a struggle, for some more than others as we all have various vices that afflict us to varying degrees.  Add to that it being probably the most common complaint of women toward their husbands and other men in their lives, it’s worth considering.  I’m not going to get into the problem itself or the myriad of ways it can manifest itself.  Suffice it to say, if you’ve read this far, you’re interested in working on this so let’s do it.

We all like to do what we like to do, but often we have things that are our responsibility that we have to do instead.  Commonly, the approach to overcoming this is to exercise some self-denial and sacrifice and go off and “just do it.”  This is a lot of what we would hear from the Church as far as guidance in overcoming this fault.  This is very good, and exactly what we need to do.  The only problem is this is totally against our nature since the fall of Adam.  We are dogged by this weakness and tendency to sin.  Fortunately, we have the supernatural to take us above the natural.  We are made in the image and likeness of God, which means we have an intellect and a will.  We are of a higher order than the animals that only operate by their instincts.  We can choose to do better than what our mere instincts would require.  Additionally, we have God’s grace to empower us to act as well.

To excel in this virtue, we should practice it, and make it become a habit.  The Church gives us excellent opportunity to practice self-denial with the cycles of time, both annually and weekly.  The Church urges us to do penance regularly, which of course masters our desires and in effect is good for our nature.  We have those seasons of the Church of Advent and the most rigorous of Lent, when we examine ourselves and go to work on a particular fault or various faults.  Our human nature being the way it is allows such practices to overflow into other areas of our lives.  Have you ever known someone who seemed to “have it all together,” who just seemed to be very virtuous in all areas?  That person has just simply made self-denial a habit, and it has worked its way through all aspects of his life.  He has become “balanced” throughout. 

The Church works with our human nature as a mother would for her children.  So knowing that we can’t wait around until a couple of times each year to do penance, we “keep the ball rolling” by adopting smaller penances regularly on at least a weekly basis on Fridays.  I also know people who do penance on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Actually, we end up doing small penances daily when we suppress our desires and do things that are of higher virtue.  But the Friday penance, for which the Church has given priority to abstaining from meat even outside of Lent, helps to keep this practice a habit.  Outside of Lent, we are allowed to substitute something else which may be more of a penance for an individual who say doesn’t particularly care for meat or who wouldn’t miss it.  But there’s nothing to say that we can’t abstain from meat AND do something in addition to grow even deeper in virtue.

All this is pretty basic, but can still be a challenge for most of us because we in the western world aren’t really challenged.  We can get by pretty easily compared to our brothers in more undeveloped parts of the world.  So ironically, having so much weighs on our virtues.  How do we “jumpstart” the process when we are just stuck in gear?  This happens to me pretty regularly, so I’ve come to learn a way out.  Instead of focusing on the undesired task, we focus on the good result it will have.  So I may want to sleep in and not exercise or eat junk food, but I consider how I will look and feel and how my health will be better now and into later life if I do exercise and eat right.  This will drive me to do what I don’t otherwise want to do.  Focus on RESULTS.  Now apply this to your spiritual life.  What must I do to get to heaven?  Apply this to your marriage.  What kind of marriage do I want?  Apply this to your parenting.  How do I want my kids to turn out?  These are all things that we as husbands and fathers can make a difference with based on what we DO. 

In wrapping this up, let’s be clear that this doesn’t mean that we NEVER get to do the thing we want or to experience any pleasure.  Again, look at it in cycles.  Our human nature works very well on a weekly cycle.  I tell my kids that we work on God’s ratio:  6 to 1.  God made the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th.  Actually, the Church helps us here as well by requiring us to take a breather on Sunday and keep it Holy.  Recreation is a part of our nature.  We have to “sharpen the saw” or “recharge the batteries.”  But the recreation shouldn’t be the goal.  This is where the American ideal has gone awry.  Commercialism sells recreation as a goal or an end in itself, and this has driven many a man to depression. The goal is to become, to accomplish.  If we look at canonized Saints, I don’t think we’d find any whose main focus was pleasure or recreation.  But to excel to become our best, we have to respect our human nature and recharge.  Putting all this together, we can overcome, or at least diminish, laziness in our lives and be better husbands and fathers.

God bless you+

 

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5 Reasons I Support Pope Francis

Posted By at Sunday, January 05, 2014

There seems to be quite a bit of controversy surrounding Pope Francis, and it appears many people are still trying to “figure him out.”  That’s a bit ironic as we see in this Pope a marked simplicity and commonness about him.  It just goes to show you that you can’t please everyone no matter what you do.  Someone with a humble spirit can still stir up controversy.  I’ve been a backer of Pope Francis since he was selected by the Cardinals this past March, as I have supported previous Popes.  Among “Catholics” today I have found there are sects who have separated themselves to various extents from the Pope and the Vatican.  I personally, and the Apostolates of Fix the Family and Citadel Catholic Media, are 100% obedient to the Holy Father and the Vatican and in no way differ from the dogmas and beliefs of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. 

There are several reasons why I have gone on record and debated several people in social media in support of Pope Francis:

  1. Pope Francis was elected under a valid Papal Conclave by Cardinals from around the world.  It is an extraordinary event when a Conclave is called.  The world is shut out from the process which is prayer-filled and focused on the crucial matter at hand.
  2. Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ.  The Pope should receive due reverence and respect from Catholics.  We are a world-wide Church that includes peoples of different cultures and backgrounds.  We’ve seen with the election of the last several Popes this manifest more profoundly as they have been selected from areas beyond Italy.  A Pope expressing himself in a way that is outside our comfort zone does not merit our scorn and ridicule.
  3. Pope Francis is humble.  Much has to be said for humility and the extraordinarily profound power of this virtue.  Pope Francis has clearly positioned himself as a Pope who will assume his duties with direct and plain-spoken direction, voicing his compassion for the less fortunate and the sinner.  He is clearly thinking beyond himself and the confines of the Vatican.  Humility involves carrying out duty without the concerns of popular approval.  He is showing he is willing to do just that.
  4. Pope Francis is not a heretic.  Ironically (or maybe not so) much of the criticism of the Holy Father has come from extremely conservative or “right-wing” Catholics.  Much was done by the last 2 previous Popes to appease this crowd.  Some have separated themselves completely from the Church (as another form of protestantism) saying we haven’t had a valid Pope since Vatican II and claiming the documents from the Council included heresies and that the Popes since have taught heresy.  That’s simply not true including the case of Pope Francis.  We can’t rely on secular media sound bytes to report what the Holy Father has said.  The world clearly does not understand that Church teaching does not change, including Her teaching on moral issues.  So we have to disregard the validity of conjecture by the secular media that the Pope is changing the Church’s stance on particular issues.  That’s just not possible.
  5. Pope Francis is the current Pope for a reason.  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI validly abdicated his position as the Pope.  As I understand it, Church Militant TV reported that Benedict had an investigation done of officials at the Vatican that found it to contain a rampant state of homosexual activity.  Around the time the results of the investigation were produced Benedict abdicated his post.  Whether this was a reason or THE reason for the abdication, no one knows.  But with his age, it makes me wonder if he felt up to dealing with this mess, and it IS a mess—it is scandalous.  It is scandalous because we are talking about grave, mortal sin which no Catholics should actively participate in, much less those in the highest ranks of Church administration.  This IS likely a principal reason for the election of Pope Francis in my opinion.

Many in the extreme right within (and without) the rank and file of the Church have appointed themselves as pope-hawks, dissecting every syllable he has stated seemingly to include what he says in the groggy state of waking up in the morning.  Additionally they are analyzing every garment he wears including clerics and vestments and every ritual and Liturgy he performs to see if it meets THEIR approval.  And this is where I have difficulty with them.  The Church has clearly stated that there are variations within the Church and we should be allowed to have our preferences.  None of us can establish as rule those things that are our own preference; that’s not our job.  Much of the ire from the right is over the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) and its limited access, which I believe is merited.  Personally the TLM is my preference, and I do have a concern for reverence in the Liturgy.  But I am not allowed to exert my preference on others where other valid variations exist.  The pendulum did swing too far with the scarcity of the TLM but has begun to make its way back.  Undoubtedly, many on the right are concerned that Pope Francis will slow or halt this return.  I don’t believe that concern is merited, especially in light of reading Fr. Z’s blog.

Many of those on the extreme right are alarmists looking for reasons to invalidate the Pope often to perpetuate their own existence as to what they believe is some official standing.  So again, they mine sound bytes.  No, not EVERYTHING the Pope says is Ex Cathedra, and they well know that.  You can’t try to include airplane interviews in the Magisterial Teachings of the Church.  They don’t qualify as such.  Has the Pope spoken any heresy “off-the-cuff?”  No, he has not, and no one can prove he has.  As far as official teaching Vatican Chief Justice Cardinal Raymond Burke indicated he does not believe that the recently released “Joy of the Gospel” is to be included in the Magisterium  In my opinion, the last 2 Popes have given us a sufficient number of contemporary documents to apply the Church’s unchanging teaching to our modern issues.  Regardless, they had issues under their own noses that were going overlooked.  I don’t mean that to sound as overly critical of them or disrespectful.  But the point is the contrast of those 2 to Pope Francis, who is obviously less academic and less eloquent but more about “taking care of business.”

And I’ll leave this topic with this.  Personally I believe the pope-hawks need to take care of their business and stop trying to make a name for themselves by calling down the Pope.  He deserves our prayers and our support that he courageously clean house at the Vatican.  The hawks need to concern themselves with their responsibilities.  How about making sure YOUR house is in order?  Are your wife and children obeying the Church and growing closer to God?  Are you evangelizing those around you?  How’s your Apostolic zeal for the souls that have been placed around you?  Do you care about them and their souls reaching heaven?

Undoubtedly, I’ll draw some ire from the right on this issue but that’s OK.  I’ll follow the Holy Father’s example of humility in letting all say what they have to say, from the right and the left. Many on the right, even the extreme right, do have good intentions, but I question their methodology.  I personally believe that if many of us walk-the-talk and mind our business, which does include the souls around us, we’d make much better headway in returning Holy Mother Church to glory.

God bless you+

 

 

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Humility for Family Rulers

Posted By at Sunday, December 29, 2013

Humility is one of the capital virtues and the antithesis of the capital sin of pride, so it is worth our while to ensure that we are strong grounded in this trait.  Unfortunately so much has been misunderstood as to the meaning and character of this virtue especially in light of political correctness and the effeminized man.  How do we practice humility as the ruler and leader of a family?

In his book The Three Marks of Manhood, Dr. GC Dilsaver explains “The humility of the Christian patriarch allows him to recognize both the solemn and august nature of his office and his unworthiness, as a mere creature and as a sinful man, to assume that office…The Christian patriarch can thus rule vigorously and decisively, knowing in all humility that it is his duty to do so and that his motives are those of love.”  (p. 78)  A humble man is also meek.  But a meek man is not a timid or cowed man.  Christ was meek and humble of heart and undaunted in His powerful proclamation of truth.  A meek man is a strong man, for a meek man is one who has power over anger induced by self-love and pride…the meek man sees things objectively and reacts accordingly, be that reaction akin to Our Lord’s storming of the Temple or His silent suffering at the hands of His executioners.”  (p.79)

The major confusion for so many men is among the traits of acting with authority “vigorously and decisively” but still being humble because so often today compromise and yielding and mistaken for humility.  A man leading a family has to establish a standard based on the moral law of the Church and common sense.  He cannot compromise that standard under the guise of humility or charity.  The common term of “tough love” comes to mind for the Catholic father who will often have to use his authority to deny his family of some of their desires that may not be the best for them and could compromise their morality.  This is true humility, being willing to be “disliked” by a wife or child for a higher moral good.

A popular prayer comes to mind that I’d like to offer a reflection upon.  We are all probably familiar with the Litany of Humility, a prayer for private devotion.  Let’s look at a few of the requests made of our Lord in this prayer:

                                                From the fear of being humiliated ...deliver me Jesus
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

At some point after saying this prayer daily I came to realize what I was asking.  I wasn’t asking that all these things not happen to me, but to be released from the bondage of FEAR of these things happening to me.  I have come to learn that fear is a tool of Satan.  Satan will posit fear as an obstacle to stop a man from doing the good which is his duty.  How often do we as leaders analyze a family issue or problem, get input, and then make a decision and then second guess ourselves with that big “What if?”  If we have carefully and prayerfully discerned, we have to make the decision and carry it out.  Will we ever decide wrongly?  By definition, yes, because no one is perfect.  Who’s to say if the decision was wrong?  Only in the case of deciding something sinful is something definitely wrong.  Life is so dynamic, and God can so often bring good out of unfortunate occurrences.  Often these things can build character and virtue in us and our families.  As Dr. Dilsaver puts it “God will diminish the effects of his human failings.”  (p. 79)

But if we as men are “cowed and timid” we won’t have to fear any of the above things.  If we never make decisions and put this responsibility on our wives or we never boldly step out and do anything courageous, we have no reason to fear.  Everyone will just say how much of a “nice guy” each of us is.   Personally, I don’t see such men as “nice” at all.  Maybe they are misled as I must give them the benefit of the doubt, but to leave one’s family without proper headship is not nice.  We ask to be released from fear because at times (not often) leading will cause some negativity, which may humiliate us in some way.  In this way, we love as Christ loved (Eph 5), still willing to accept humiliation in the line of duty. 

Fortunately, leadership and decisiveness come natural to men.  They are traits that just need to be practiced and developed.  This only happens with consistent repetition aided by huge doses of humility. 

God bless you+

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How Contraception Degrades Men

Posted By at Sunday, December 22, 2013

Contraception is one of the moral evils of the current age that is openly accepted and used by many including Catholics.  The Catholic Church teaches that the use of artificial contraception is a mortal sin, and that those who die in the state of mortal sin go to hell.  It is with great charity that I share this because the last thing I want is for anyone’s soul to be damned to hell for eternity.  Sexuality is a beautiful gift that is sacred and should be treated as such.  In order to safeguard its sanctity, the Church through Christ has raised marriage to the level of a Sacrament so that sexuality is only to be expressed within the Holy bonds of permanent Matrimony.  As such, all conjugal acts are always to be unitive and procreative, an expression of love and open to the possibility of conception of a child.  Any parent knows that this safeguard of sexuality is also a protector of the child to ensure he will be raised by loving parents, parents who love him and who love each other.  The use of artificial contraception to frustrate the procreative possibilities of conjugal love is an affront to God’s purpose of the gift of sexuality.

It is often said that the use of contraception degrades women making them objects for the pleasure of men.  This was actually a point made by Pope Paul VI in the Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae from 1968 that reinforced and restated the Church’s constant teaching condemning artificial contraception once again, with the advent of the contraceptive pill.  The Holy Father expressed his concern that “a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires (17). 

Closely related to such concerns is the effect that the use of contraception and other unnatural sexual practices have on the man.  According to Dr. GC Dilsaver in his book The Three Marks of Manhood, says that contraception has even a deeper impact on men.  “It is often (and rightly) said that contraception degrades women, but it more directly degrades men.  It is man’s seed that is squandered; it is his virility that is degraded when his procreative powers are used as a means of mere pleasure.  No man can sin against his seed without defiling his manhood. Such sins castrate a man spiritually, morally, and procreatively.  When a man destroys his seed for the spasms of pleasure and for convenience’s sake his is a weakling in the deepest sense of the word.”  (pp.75-76)

This is THE basis and reason for the plight of the death of manhood.  Absolutely women are degraded by being used for pleasure but we so often forget what happens to the men.  Sure they are getting free pleasure (as are the women), but look at the weakness.  As women experience emotional turmoil from being used, men experience debilitation of their resolve.  Instead of being honorable and moral, they SUBMIT to their base animal instincts.  I use “submit” as a key word here because in marriage it is the woman who must submit to her husband.  But the use of contraception causes the man to submit to his wife.

If a man’s “virile passions control him, then after marriage his wife, as the slaker of his lust, will be the one who assumes control over his virility.  To such a man the old adage of ‘his wife leads him around like a bull with a ring through his nose,’ is most apt, if anatomically inexact.”  (Dilsaver, p.76)  THIS is THE WAY men have turned control over to their wives.  They gladly do it all the time.  It is the ultimate of a BOY in a man’s body.  He behaves like a child.  His wife gives him what he wants then leads him around.  The results of this are smaller families and thereby depopulation of our country, weak men, unprotected women, divorce, and children raised by a single parent.

The start of turning the family around and solidifying it is the rejection of contraception and the contraceptive mentality.  Men as leaders should be the initiators in this.  It’s long past time for men to control this most sacred and potent dimension of our lives.  In this we can again assume the proper place as leader and ruler in our marriages, families, and homes as Christ loves the Church.


God bless you+

 

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Preparing our Sons for Independence

Posted By at Monday, December 16, 2013

My wife and I met a young lady yesterday who recently earned an undergraduate degree and is considering going to dental school.  Her significant other is younger than she and is pursuing an undergraduate business degree.   When she asked about us, we told her of our marriage of 23 years and 7 children.  She beamed and related how wonderful large families are, that her parents had come from large families and really enjoyed having so many relatives.  I asked if she had similar expectations when she would eventually marry, and she said she wasn’t too sure about expressing such a wish to her significant other as this may scare him off. 

So goes where we stand with modern-day masculinity.  Because of the state of the family, boys are raised seeing their mothers work and expect this when they grow up and have a family of their own.  It’s a given, regardless of the strain it puts on many families and the resulting brokenness in so many cases. People are quick to justify this saying that a family just can’t make it on one income, but that simply is not true.  We in the Western world have so many extras and luxuries beyond the necessities resulting from the dual-income family that they have become standard and expected.  So the more important things are sacrificed to the point of life itself.  Men put their wives to work for their toys and spare the children they should have had.  This is not only sad, but immoral.  The Church teaches that couples are to ALWAYS be open to life and only in serious circumstances use natural means to postpone pregnancies.  Since pregnancy will interfere with a woman’s income earning ability, it is avoided, often immorally.  When we interfere with God’s plan, we will be judged and held accountable after we die.  But also in this life we face the natural consequences of this disobedience, which is divorce and breakdown of the family, and which causes the children to suffer the most.

How do we break this cycle?  It’s no surprise that with the consumerism and materialism surrounding us that people do in fact put themselves into difficult financial situations that require more than one income.  It is better for a man to take 2 jobs in order for his wife to be home and raise the children when this is the case.  But if we are more proactive, we as fathers should raise our sons to prepare themselves to be the sole providers for their families and not to depend on putting their wives to work to support them.  We speak a lot here about raising girls to not be career-driven, but it’s worth just as much time to speak of forming boys to become independent and seek out those young ladies who will want to be full-time wives and mothers.  I was saddened by the circumstance of the young lady we met yesterday who would love to have a large family but the total expectation being that she would have a substantial contribution to the financial support of her family, and that’s without even being engaged to marry yet.

Living a Catholic lifestyle that embraces sacrifice goes a long way in the formation of our children regarding material things.  Children have to have the proper expectations what their life will be like starting out as a newly married couple.  They should not expect have the spacious home they have become used to in the latter years of their adolescence.  They need to be reminded or told of how their parents sacrificed and started out with very little and worked hard for many years to get where they are now.  They need to be told of all the things their parents did not have while they were just getting started and having babies. 

Young men formed in this way realize that it is a given that they will be the sole provider when they get married.  They will not start playing the “dating game” and enter into relationships for fun because they know they are not yet prepared to stand on their own much less provide for a wife and child.  They will take life seriously and find a good-paying occupation doing something that uses the gifts and talents God has given them so that they will properly and happily approach work every day knowing why they are doing it. 

So often because things are done out of order or for the wrong reasons, young people paint themselves into corners that they claim are “impossible” to resolve in ways less than the “ideal.”  If we do a better job of preparing them and letting them know what to expect, they can approach adult life in good order with due respect and enjoy better results as God’s plan usually produces.

 

God bless you+

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Masculinity and Self-Denial

Posted By at Sunday, December 08, 2013

So much has been misunderstood and misconstrued about genuine masculinity in our culture and society so much so that when a man acts as a true natural man he is said to be a tyrant or a savage.  So how do we as men strike a balance between appearing to be beastly and becoming feminine, because so often we hear that women would like men to be more communicative or conversational or expressive of feelings?  Well, those just so happen to be female-dominant characteristics.  So the feminist culture denigrates men by saying that women are so “articulate” but men just grunt and bark.  So it makes us wonder why women would even want to get involved with men anyway.  Why not just commune with other women and be intellectually stimulated and talk-talk-talk ‘til the cows come home?

Regardless of the feminist spin on things, normal women really are “interested,” that is attracted to and aroused naturally by real, normal men.  Yes, women really do LOVE tough, rugged, bold, muscular, hairy men.  Realistically though and understandably, in a marriage setting anyway, women would want us to be somewhat civilized.  Of course we do have the capacity to do this without being emasculated or feminine.  The classic word for this is being a “gentleman” which it seems modern man has drifted away from in the weak, juvenile direction. 

This is an ideal thing to take note of during Advent, because it is a Season of penance and self-examination.  One thing that has stuck in my mind from motivator Mike Litman is “Successful people do the things they don’t want to do.”  I like to use motivational material and principles and apply them to ALL dimensions of life, including the family and the spiritual life.  Self-denial is going to take on different approaches and practices for men and for women, as masculinity and femininity have some opposites that attract and make us complementary.  GC Dilsaver talks about the “Scepter of Self-Discipline” (self-denial being a type of self-discipline) in his book The Three Marks of Manhood.  He says “In general, self-discipline is a more prominent and intense dynamic in manly formation than it is in womanly development.  For though women must discipline themselves, their particular charism is not evoked by the willed hard discipline mandated by cognitive ideals, but rather of a sacrificial love that is evoked by an intuitive receptivity…Therefore it is unlikely that a young man will be able to depend on a constant and correct heartfelt intuition; as such, he often must coerce himself into taking the high road.” (p.61)  “Often it will be uncomfortable…The end goal of the young man’s self-discipline is the formation of virtues.  The word virtue itself comes from the Latin virus, which means ‘manliness’…Of the four cardinal moral virtues—prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance—temperance is the most crucial to the young man.  Temperance is the ability to govern one’s sensual appetites; in short, it is the acquisition of self-control.” (p.62)

So, let’s apply this principle of self-denial/self-discipline/self-control to our commitment to our wives is holy matrimony and thereby to our families in general.  Of course we should be 100% completely committed to our wives.  Naturally we are visually and physically attracted to the feminine.  So we may be tempted to lust with the temptations so closely placed around us in the way of immodestly, provocatively dressed women and the ease of access to pornography.  We need to take the high road and resist these temptations.  Because of the commitment we have made to our wives such things would be unthinkable to commit as even the severely blatant offense of physical adultery, but Christ even calls us higher to remain committed in our hearts by what we do with our eyes (Matt 5:28).  Flowing closely from the fidelity to our wives in marriage to our families, we need to pay attention to our other appetites that may draw us away from them.  We get drawn into our businesses and work, or into sports, or into hunting or cars, or whatever mechanical or wild things naturally capture our attention.  We must discipline these desires and entertainments so that we are present to our families to be able to lead them.  Our wives will be more naturally drawn to our families and our children because of their interpersonal and “receptive” nature.  We have to rise above our nature and plug ourselves into our families and be there to do the job we need to do.  This is not a strictly feminine characteristic or virtue at all, but one that women generally more naturally possess.

I would be remiss today if I were to neglect the mention of the Blessed Virgin Mary on this celebration of her Immaculate Conception.  We men cannot make the mistake of relegating devotion to the Blessed Mother as a devotion only for women.  We are all called to have some devotion to the Mother of God. We should have a devotion of prayer because prayer is battle.  Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.”(CCC2725)  Remember the Blessed Mother will crush the head of Satan (Gen 3:15).  “The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.”  The Rosary is a weapon; don’t be afraid to use it.

God bless you+
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ADVENT, not Christmas (yet)

Posted By at Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The consumer-driven culture most of us live in can be quite treacherous to our souls and our aim to guard them and remain in the state of Grace.  Since so much of this consumerism is geared toward the pleasures of the flesh and not toward our basic necessities, we have to train ourselves in self-denial and keep ourselves focused on the real meaning and goal of life, to get to heaven.  So often Holy Mother Church is there guiding us and calling us back to our center, to point us in the right direction and help us concentrate on the more important things.  As a Catholic and a parent, I see Advent is such a time. 

Advent is a time of anticipation, a time of waiting.  Part of the message of Advent is the anticipation of our own particular judgment, in addition to the celebrating the anniversary of coming of the Redeemer on Christmas Day.   During this time of anticipation the Church calls us to do penance and good works and to thoroughly examine ourselves to see where we are in our relationship with God.  This may not be as intense or extensive period as the Lenten Season, but is a great opportunity to make a more concerted effort at self-perfection than the ordinary time of the year. 

This makes for a very practical time of teaching and training in our families.  Our basic Church teachings tell us to beware of the snare of the world, the flesh, and the Devil.  In the Western world, the pagan society sees the time right after Thanksgiving as the Christmas season.  But there again, that may not be so since they see the name Christ in Christmas.  So many are now referring to this as the “holiday” season, which has the word Holy as its root, so we’ll have to see what they come up with next.  I’ve often thought that we’ll soon see society revert back to the “winter season of light” much like at the time of St. Patrick, so as not to have any vestiges of anything eternal.  But much of this consumer-driven culture tells us to “give in” to our flesh desires and “have it now.”  Eat, drink, and be merry.  So we have a mass of society that is obese, addicted to drugs, alcohol, and/or gambling, and fraught with convoluted issues resulting from sexual promiscuity.  The Church teaches us and trains us to exercise self-discipline, self-denial, self-control, and self-mastery.  We are to master our desires.  We are higher than the animals.  We can master and control our flesh instincts if we are trained to do so.  It’s not so much a concept of “don’t” as much as a concept of “wait.”  Much like when we may feel a little hunger to eat but we should wait until it is time to eat so that we don’t become overweight.  Also, when someone who is not married has a normal healthy sexual tendency, he must control himself to wait until he is married.  We are to wait to do certain things when the conditions are right, and it takes training to learn this.

So how does a family celebrate Advent with small children who are naturally awe-inspired by the beautiful lights and humorous characters decorating all the stores and front yards in our neighborhoods?  Anticipation. 

Children love to anticipate.  Just today, during Mass, when the Priest mentioned it is December 8 next Sunday, my 5-year-old Benjamin leaned over to me and said “It’s almost my birthday.”  He’s excited anticipating his special day on December 9.  It comes so naturally to them.  So we can participate in some beautiful ancient Advent customs that will busy our little ones, help them to learn the Faith, change up the routine, and prepare for Christmas all at the same time.  Some of these activities include the Advent wreath, the Jesse tree, celebrations of St. Nicholas, St. Lucy, and the Immaculate Conception, and the Christmas crib. 

We have a very valuable resource we’d like to share with you free of charge—the Advent Bible Readings and Customs booklet, if you just send us an email at info@fixthefamily.com with the words “Advent booklet” in the subject line.  We will send you a pdf format document that outlines simple ways for you to incorporate some of these practices in your home with your family.  We have such a rich heritage in the Catholic Church.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our children to learn more about our Faith instead of getting more deeply rooted in consumerism.  They will know that a true celebration is coming that is centered on Christ.  Of course, yes they will still get gifts and have a Christmas tree with beautiful lights, but in keeping with Catholic practices and teaching they will have to wait until it is actually Christmas.  Take some time this Advent season to start some new traditions with your family.

 

God bless you+