Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

6/17/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

May fathers remember that they image God in the measure that they give of themselves; and that they first give of themselves in the generation or procreation of a child, not incidentally to the sexual act, but rationally, desiring and willing the conception of a child.

Saint Joseph: Guardian of the Redeemer, Mary and the Church

Saint Joseph: Guardian of the Redeemer, Mary and the Church

Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/17/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Father's Day, Catholic Church, Feminism, Michael Terheyden


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - One of the most pressing questions for me on this Father's Day concerns the unmet needs of mothers, children and society, and a father's ability to satisfy those needs. What are their needs, and how can fathers satisfy them? In order to reflect on this question, I need to start at the beginning.

God is not a solitude. He is triune, a family. This is the deepest mystery we can know about God. One of the most beautiful sentences in the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange" (221). We can get an idea how we share in God's loving exchange from the Book of Genesis.

In Genesis we read that man is created in the image of God. "God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him, male and female he created them" (Gn 1:27). God inscribed the vocation of love in our bodies by creating us male and female and by calling us to become "one body" (Gn 2:24). God is a plurality and so are we. Thus, we image God most completely in the family.

In his book, First Comes Love, Scott Hahn says God left something of His divine image for man to bring to completion. God wanted Adam and Eve to imitate His triune life of love. For this purpose, "The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it" (Gn 2:15). Hahn informs us that when God told the man to care for the garden, He meant that Adam should guard the garden and protect all that was in it. The garden can be understood as Adam's home and Eve was the center of his home.

Adam failed to protect his home and his bride when confronted by the serpent. However, while the first Adam failed, the second Adam succeeded. This is what Jesus did for his bride the Church (Eph 5:25-32). So this imaging is communal, sacrificial and Eucharistic. The only way we can imitate the interior life of the Trinity in the material world is through sacrificial life-giving love. We must be willing to die to self for the sake of another. 

In the video above, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the Archbishop of Manila, reminds us that because we have been created in the image of God, we have been made sharers in His work. This includes God's fatherhood. Consequently, all of us--fathers, mothers, single men and women--share in His fatherhood, but natural fathers are meant to share in that fatherhood in a special, more direct way.

So how do we do share in God's fatherhood? The Cardinal tells us that we share in God's fatherhood by defending life and the values that protect life. These values comprise that which is true, right, good, just, compassionate, and loving.

Clearly, there are many aspects of fatherhood, but it seems one of the most primary has to do with guarding and protecting. What's more, the garden that we are supposed to be guarding is once again under fierce attack.

This attack is not a mistake, nor is it a coincidence. Rather, it is the result of an insidious design. One of the most prominent designers of this attack is modern feminism, which is dominated by radical feminism and its war of hatred against men, marriage and family.

The historian James MacGregor Burns mentions many examples in his 3rd vol. of The American Experiment: The Crosswinds of Freedom. For instance, the feminist Kate Millett said gender is culturally learned behavior and that masculinity and femininity are malleable. The feminist group, Redstockings, said that relationships between men and women are conflict-ridden and can only be resolved by collective political action.

According to Burns, in her book, The Dialectic of Sex, Shulamith Firestone called for a full-fledged feminist revolution by seizing control of reproduction and making childbearing and child-raising the responsibility of society instead of individual women.

On a more extreme note, Burns notes that many radical feminists have called for an end to marriage and the traditional family. Some--I presume lesbians, who received official recognition within the feminist movement at the 2nd Congress to Unite Women in 1970--even demanded an end to heterosexuality.

Phyllis Schlafly, the constitutional lawyer, political activist and author, who helped defeat passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1982, gives us a similar picture of feminism in her book, Feminist Fantasies. In one section, she describes some of the goals feminists sought to gain through passage of the ERA. I have listed some of them below:

Feminists wanted Congress to legislate social policy for marriage, property, divorce, children, adoption, abortion, homosexuals, sex crimes, public and private schools, and insurance. They wanted the courts to define the meaning of "sex" and its relation to abortion and homosexuality. They wanted to make abortions legal and free, to make homosexuals a protected group, to legalize marriage for homosexuals, to replace single-sex programs like the Boy Scouts and school athletics with unisex programs, and they wanted to eliminate the exemption women had from the draft and military combat.

Feminists never did get the ERA passed, but it appears they are on the verge of achieving all of their goals just the same. These goals strike at the very heart of our imaging of God. Consequently, they blur our understanding of ourselves and deform our relationships. This is not hard for us to see.

Instead of viewing the differences between men and women as complementarities which can foster unity and love, feminists view these differences as inequalities, sources of perpetual conflict and oppression. While there is an element of truth to some of these claims, they are grossly distorted. Phyllis Schlafly wrote that women in the United States were the most fortunate class of people who ever lived.

At the other extreme, we have women acting like tough cops and men acting like emasculated buffoons in the movies and on television. However, these extremes are rarely believable because the women often look comical and the men look pathetic. One of the most extreme examples that I am aware of is the vulgar, hate-filled production, The Vagina Monologues, which "equates men with 'the enemy' and heterosexual love with violence."

In a certain sense, such efforts are nothing new. We read about something similar in The Prince, a 16th-century book written by an Italian, Niccolo Machiavelli. He said some princes were known to nurse disputes between differing groups under their rule in order to distract the people, so they would not unite against the prince. He also said that when a prince acquired a new state, he should disarm the men of that state, and they "should be rendered soft and effeminate."

Furthermore, since we are also sharers in God's work and fatherhood when we image God, feminism's perverse attack against men, marriage and family is also an attack on God's fatherhood and authority. It reminds me of Satan's rebellion against God: I will not serve! The first rebellion resulted in Satan and his followers being thrown out of heaven. The second rebellion resulted in Adam and Eve being thrown out of the garden of Eden. So too, the feminist rebellion will have negative consequences.

John Paul II cautions us against the masculinization of women in his Apostolic Letter, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women: "Women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics contrary to their own feminine originality." If they do, it will not fulfill women, he says. Instead, it will deform that which constitutes their essential richness, and they will lose it altogether.

I believe we see this loss and more in collectivism, which is fundamental to modern feminism. Collectivism is billed as some sort of abstract higher ethic that will liberate women and promote the greater good of humanity. But this idea is false, and it pits the individual person against the collective. Karl Marx wrote: "Persons of and by themselves have no value. An individual has a value only inasmuch as he is the representative of an economic category, 'the revolutionary class'; outside of that, man has no value."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, ". . .  the good of each individual is necessarily related to the common good, which in turn can be defined only in reference to the human person" (1905). Persons are ends in themselves, not objects or units. "The neighbor is not a 'unit' in the human collective; he is 'someone' who by his known origins deserves particular attention and respect" (2212).

The common good must be built upon this foundation. So collectivism is not a higher ethic. It is a distortion and an evil. We see many examples of this evil in the news today. The state has literally usurped parental authority. It deforms the self-image of our children and kills their innocence, yet it only takes an anonymous accusation for parents to be charged with child abuse and taken away in handcuffs.

The state may love an abstract version of humanity, but it will never love your wife and your children like you can. Thus, it would seem that the most pressing unmet needs of wives and children are clear. How fathers are to satisfy those needs is also clear: They are to guard their homes and protect their families. And they do this by defending life and the values that protect life--truth, goodness, justice, compassion, and love.

Let us ask Saint Joseph, the guardian of the Redeemer, Mary and the Church, to intercede for all fathers on this Father's Day: May fathers remember that they image God in the measure that they give of themselves; and that they first give of themselves in the generation or procreation of a child, not incidentally to the sexual act, but rationally, desiring and willing the conception of a child. May fathers also reject the feminization of society and thankfully embrace the masculinity, strength and authority given to them as a gift from God, so they can guard their homes, protect their loved ones, and defend life and its values.

 
-----

Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

-----

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Living Faith

Christians shouldn't badmouth others, Pope warns Watch

Image of People are

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square this week, Pope Francis says that Christians must set a good example lest they drive people away into atheism. "How many times we've heard in our neighborhoods, 'Oh that person over there always goes ... continue reading


'Structural causes' of poverty must be dismantled, Pope tells activists Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a wide-ranging speech to activists, Pope Francis urged the gathered to join the fight against the "structural causes" of poverty and inequality, calling for a "revolutionary" program drawn from the Gospels. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The poor no ... continue reading


God's existence does not contradict the discoveries of science, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pontiff reassured that the Big Bang theory, as well as the theory of evolution do not eliminate the existence of God.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

God remains the one who set all of creation into motion, Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences this week. The pontiff reassured that the Big Bang theory, as well as the theory of evolution do not eliminate the existence of God. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Yesterday's Faith is Not Enough: How We Can Overcome Pride Watch

Image of Monks in prayer

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus continued to do what the Father had sent Him to do, in spite of opposition from apparently religious people. We are invited to follow his example. He will give us the grace to do so, if we ask Him. St Josemaria Escriva used a phrase to refer to the kind of ... continue reading


Christian rapper comes out of the closet --as straight Watch

Image of Jackie Hill-Perry is living testament to the power of God to change those who are willing to accept Him.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christian rapper, Jackie Hill-Perry has come out of the closet --as straight. Hill-Perry says she experienced gender confusion after being sexually abused as a child and sought same-sex relationships until she says God helped her to change for the better. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Every Christian is 'to create unity in the Church,' Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of This creating of unity in the Church, the Pope said, recounting the reading from Saint Paul to the Philippians,

By CNA/EWTN News

In his homily for Mass at the Santa Marta residence on Oct. 24, Pope Francis reflected on the call of Christians to perpetuate unity in the Church by being "living stones" built upon the "cornerstone of Christ." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - This creating of ... continue reading


Abolish death penalty and life imprisonment, Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of The Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code, Pope Francis noted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling for the abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, Pope Francis soundly denounced what he called a "penal populism." The world's prescribed cure for crime - punishment, should never overtake the pursuit for social justice, he says. LOS ... continue reading


Making a Difference - Newly beatified pope championed justice and peace

Image of Pope Paul VI addresses the UN during his 1965 appeal for peace.

By Tony Magliano

With numerous armed conflicts raging in various parts of the world, and the Vietnam War worsening, Pope Paul VI on Oct. 4, 1965 proclaimed before the U.N. General Assembly: "No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and ... continue reading


'War does not begin in the battlefield. Wars begin in the heart,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis addressed the topic of war. With the majority of the world engaged in some sort of battle, and it's up to the individual to realize that major conflicts begin with little things. LOS ... continue reading


Finding the Path to Peace Through Forgiveness Watch

Image of For he (Jesus) is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one Body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father- St Paul

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In 1999 I was a part of Project Reconciliation led by a true peacemaker, paralyzed police officer Detective Steven McDonald. This trip was a part of Steven McDonald's mission of preaching peace through forgiveness. It had the goal of helping to heal the wounds ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter