Monday, February 26, 2007


Does this word bother you? There is something about it that at best feels clumsy and maybe even a bit disturbing. Going out for coffee last night after the great presentation by Colleen Caroll Cambell as mentioned as up and coming below (Feminism, Rising from the Ashes) one of my compatriots posed the question, “Does a new understanding of feminism require a new understanding of . . .” And he had to stop for lack of a corresponding word.

But what the conversation was trying to surface was, “Does a new understanding of what it is to be woman in the modern age require a new understanding of what if is to be man?” Obviously it does. Though the preponderance of the discussion must focus on what it is to be authentically human, for God made all of us in His likeness and image (Genesis 1:26), He also made us male and female (Gen, 1:27). Though equal in all things, we are not the same. Our mere physical make-up radically influences how we experience and relate to the world and to each other.

Adam knew what it was to be human in relation to the animals. But he only knew what it was to be a man in relation to Eve. Certainly, the reverse is also true. But for a man, who comes from a woman’s body, who is largely raised and educated by women, yet whose body sets him apart, the cycle seems to begin with man defining who he is compared to woman. So when the feminine is undervalued he becomes domineering. When the feminine is over valued and a man’s role is seen as minimal or unnecessary, he becomes ineffectual and weak. Neither is healthy for either of the sexes. Accordingly, any reevaluation of what it is to be female will have an equal and opposite thrust in the understanding of what it is to be male. So all considerations must bear in mind not only how it will effect women, but how it will form our men.

A sign that used to hang in my parents room read, “The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.” It is also, I believe, the best recipe for raising noble sons. For only then will he see his proper relation to woman and this will naturally lead him to the most healthy understanding what it is to be confidently and authentically a man.


Yesterday, in the Diocese of Cleveland, thousands of persons entering the church gathered at the Cleveland Convention Center for the Rite of Election with Bishop Lennon, an event far too large for the cathedral. Seventeen of these people were from Saint Clare. Pictured here are many of the catechumens and candidates with their godparents and sponsors from all parts of the diocese. These are all the adults who will be brought into full communion with Catholic Church this Easter Vigil. Please say a prayer for them and the people of your own diocese as they continue the final leg of their journey to the Eucharist this Easter!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I wish you'd split these two subjects into two posts,'cause all I can say now is, "Wonderful!"

That's probably all I'd say if you split the subjects into two posts, too, but you'll never know for sure.. :-)

The word "masculine" is a word I'd love to see more.. applied to men. We have fortified with steel the best part of women, and numbed the best part of men. I wish they'd make a comeback.