Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

6/17/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

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


By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (

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 October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

Young girl blessed by Pope Francis during visit to U.S. believes the 'miracle has begun' Watch

Image of Julia Bruzzese was blessed by Pope Francis.


12-year-old Julia Bruzzese, who has been experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, suffered from sudden paralysis that doctors are still unable to explain. However, following a blessing from Pope Francis, the young girl seems to be healing. NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

'God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone,' Pope Francis says of marriage Watch

Image of Pope Francis' comments were made during his Oct. 4 Mass marking the official opening of this year's Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis formally opened the synod of bishops Sunday, telling participants that the union between a man and woman is the foundation of God's plan for the family, and a solution to the many forms of loneliness in today's world. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading

FULL TEXT: Family synod prayer vigil, Pope Francis's full address Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Presiding over a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis led the beginning of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, at the Vatican. Drawing tens of thousands of the faithful, many were present in the Square since the afternoon for a ... continue reading

Vatican issues statement in regards to monsignor's declaration of homosexuality Watch

Image of


The director of the Holy See press office has issued a statement in response to Vatican official Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa's declaration in a recent interview that he is homosexual and has a boyfriend. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Msgr. Charamsa, 43, granted a ... continue reading

Guardian Angels are always by our sides, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Pope Francis explained that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God could have left them to fend for themselves. Instead, as an act of love and mercy, the Lord sent with them an angel to guide and protect them.


Each of us has a Guardian Angel who, acting on behalf of God, advises us and protects us from evil, if we only listen to him, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass on Friday. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "May we ask the Lord for the grace of this ... continue reading

Top 5 Bible verses to turn to when you're angry Watch

Image of What does the Bible have to say about anger?

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What makes you angry? Maybe you don't like the way your boss talks to you at work or your spouse spends too much money. What do you do when you feel anger coming on? Who do you turn to? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When we get angry we can say or do things we ... continue reading

Megachurch Pastor's new book tells people to 'get over themselves' Watch

Image of Pastor Kyle Idleman (YouTube).


Megachurch Pastor Kyle Idleman claims that to live life, "everyone simply needs to get over themselves" to truly "experience abundant life with Jesus," a theory he promotes in his new book The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins. LOS ... continue reading

Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux to be canonized by Pope Francis Watch

Image of The canonizations of the married couple will coincide with the Synod on the Family, to be held on Oct. 4-25.


Pope Francis approved, earlier this year, the decrees necessary for Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin - known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux - to be declared saints. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - The two blesseds will be the first couple ever to ... continue reading

Phoenix bishop encourages Catholic men to 'step into the breach' Watch

Image of Calling on all Christian men to take a stand in the Church's spiritual battle, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix asked men in his diocese to courageously pursue their vocations as friends, fathers, and spouses.


Calling on all Christian men to take a stand in the Church's spiritual battle, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix asked men in his diocese to courageously pursue their vocations as friends, fathers, and spouses. Phoenix, Ariz. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Men, do not ... continue reading

Interview with Archbishop Chaput puts U.S. papal visit in perspective Watch

Image of Archbishop Chaput offered his take on the historic papal trip, the challenges facing family in the U.S., and the upcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome.

By Michelle Bauman, CNA/EWTN News

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia hosted Pope Francis in his highly anticipated first visit to the United States. As the dust settled after the departure of nearly one million participants in the final Mass for the World Meeting of Families, CNA had the ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-10
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:38-42
38 In the course of their journey he came to a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 6th, 2015 Image

St. Bruno
October 6: Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. ... Read More