Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

6/17/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis warns of 'genocide' as Christian Persecution increases globally Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians all over the world are suffering from increasing prejudice and persecution. It is no secret that Islamic extremism and repressive governments are trying hard to perpetuate the oppression of Christianity. Pope Francis has been moved to warn of "a form of ... continue reading


Catholic priest who blessed atomic bomb crews -- and his conversion

Image of

By Tony Magliano

Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, the single most destructive weapon ever unleashed upon human beings and the environment - the atomic bomb - was dropped by an American B-29 bomber on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing approximately 80,000 people. Three days ... continue reading


'Let Jesus satisfy your hunger for God': Pope Francis encourages people to make offers to God Watch

Image of Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday reading from the Gospel of John in which a vast crowd follows Jesus, but lacks enough food to eat.

By CNA/EWTN News

Jesus Christ's miraculous multiplication of the loaves shows that he offers "fullness of life for hungry man," Pope Francis said Sunday. He encouraged everyone to offer what little they have to God so that God can multiply their gifts and good deeds. Vatican ... continue reading


What to wear to church: What's more important, physical or inner beauty? Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Wearing your best outfit or putting on a little makeup in preparation for Church isn't too looked down upon. A leading Christian writer shared with Crosswalk.com what she has realized over years of church participation. Although she loves beautiful clothes and make-up, ... continue reading


'Nothing can separate me from the love of God': The first American Ebola patient shares his profound realization on deathbed Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

He was the first American who contracted the deadly Ebola virus - fearful and sick, Dr. Kent Brantly came to realize something important for Christians and their relationship with God. Amid the pain and moments of uncertainty, from being diagnosed positive with ... continue reading


J. Matt Barber: The Meaning of Life

Image of Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law.

By J. Matt Barber

So this was rock bottom. The day, which yet again wore into night with fast food and old Bonanza reruns, would end like all the rest. Where were my car keys? As I searched in preparation for another trip to the liquor store, I made my way to my bedroom and opened ... continue reading


'There is no hope, no life, no hope for an end': 'Donor fatigue' setting in among those helping Christians in Middle East fleeing ISIS Watch

Image of Refugees now realize that they will be unable to return to their homes in Iraq or Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With no end in sight, "donor fatigue" is setting in for those trying to help Middle Eastern Christians fleeing ISIS. There appears to be no solutions, only increasing refugees and more need. The refugees' situation is only getting worse. Refugees now realize ... continue reading


Giant cross at veteran memorial to stay standing with game-changing agreement made Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legal battle over the issue of a giant cross standing over a veterans' memorial has been a long and tedious fight, but an agreement may now put it all to rest, keeping the monument on the land. Atheists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed legal ... continue reading


A MIRACLE? Virgin Mary painting caught on tape moving lips along with the Lord's Prayer (VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The lips on a painted image of the Virgin Mary, on display at the St. Charbels Church in New South Wales, Australia, were reportedly witnessed moving along with the reading of the Lord's Prayer. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The video featuring the Virgin ... continue reading


Many accuse Pope Francis of socialist, even communist leanings - is he? Watch

Image of The gift of a

By CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis' recent trip to Latin America has rekindled questions about whether he endorses socialism, or even communism. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The gift of a "communist crucifix" from Bolivia's president Evo Morales and uncertainty over the Pope's response ... 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, Numbers 11:4-15
4 The rabble who had joined the people were feeling ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
12 So I left them to their stubborn selves, to follow ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Lydia Purpuraria
August 3: Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), ... 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