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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Santa Muerte gains popularity throughout Mexico - Will Pope Francis react during his visit? Watch

Image of Santa Muerte's popularity has spread throughout South America (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Despite the Catholic Church openly saying Santa Muerte is not recognized as a saint, the death saint continues to spread in popularity among Mexican citizens. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Santa Muerte is an absurdity," Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Mexico's ... continue reading


Bible-themed luxury resort to be built in San Diego? Watch

Image of Televangelist seeks to build Bible-themed resort (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Televangelist Morris Cerullo has been attempting to build a Bible-themed luxury resort for the past few years - and now there is only one more hurdle to jump. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After purchasing a foreclosed Mission Valley hotel, Cerullo's plans for ... continue reading


What the Catholic Church should do about this new serious problem among the young Watch

Image of Deacon Flanigan confirmed that the recent surge in overdoses among young whites have been linked to controversial medical guidelines that called for a more aggressive approach to treating both acute and chronic pain.

By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register

When recent headlines marked a spike in drug overdoses for white, middle-class Americans, the news saddened but did not surprise Deacon Timothy Flanigan, an HIV specialist at Brown University medical school in Providence, R.I. Providence, R.I. (National ... continue reading


Pope Francis gives priests advice on being good confessors Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

Priests who are good confessors must recognize their own sins in order to forgive and comfort penitents, Pope Francis said one day before the start of the Lenten season. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I speak to you as a brother, and through you I would like to ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS GENERAL AUDIENCE: Ash Wednesday (FULL TEXT: English) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and good path of Lent!It is beautiful and also significant to have this hearing at this Ash Wednesday. We begin the journey of Lent, and we are reflecting today on the ancient institution of the "jubilee"; It is an ancient thing, ... continue reading


Pope Francis' message for Lent (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Franics, Vatican Radio

"I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13).The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee 1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelizedIn the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that "the season of Lent in ... continue reading


'There is nowhere else for us to go': Nuns who feed homeless face eviction after rent nearly doubles Watch

Image of Nuns who feed homeless were told to pay or leave (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The cost of living in San Francisco has skyrocketed to the point that and new reports indicate Bay Area housing has reached such heights that the area's average income can no longer support it. Unfortunately, this means everyone is downsizing or moving - including ... continue reading


The 'Martyred Country': Pope Francis' powerful words on Syria Watch

Image of Pope Francis led the crowds in praying the Hail Mary

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

The plight of Syrian civilians involved in the nation's ongoing conflict was at the heart of Pope Francis' appeal to the international community on Sunday, in an address where he also called for a renewed commitment to the protection of life at all stages. ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS ANGELUS: February 7, 2016 (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis

Dear brothers and sisters, Goodmorning!The Gospel of this Sunday says - in the drafting of St. Luke - the call of the first disciples of Jesus ( Lk 5,1-11). The fact takes place in a context of everyday life: there are some fishermen on the shore of Lake Galilee, who, ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • St. Paschal: Saint of the Day for Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Is Valentine's Day...? (Take the quick survey!)
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 2:12-18
12 'But now -- declares Yahweh- come back to me with all your heart, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 5:20--6:2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 10th, 2016 Image

St. Scholastica
February 10: St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, ... Read More