We had a beautiful celebration of the Solemnity of St Joseph today at St Joseph’s Catholic School. Incense, Sung Mass, Latin Sanctus and Agnus Dei, ‘For All the Saints’ for the processional and ‘O God Beyond All Praising’ to finish– sung to the magnificent tune Thaxted by Gustav Holst.
(That’s my oldest son Benedict behind me)
The homily was in praise of fathers. I think the Catholic Church should keep St Joseph’s Day as Father’s Day instead of that one in June which was thought up by the Hallmark Card company or some such. St Joseph is such a wonderful friend, patron and gentleman. A true father for us all.
I can’t stand when patriarchy is attacked. Has anyone ever picked up the fact that radical feminism is basically and essentially a philosophical infringement of the fourth commandment? How can you honor your father if you hate patriarchy? What people don’t seem to understand is that every philosophy or political ideology eventually comes down to how we treat real people. If you hate patriarchy you must hate fathers. If you hate fathers you must hate your own father.
If you hate your father how can you love men, for every man is a potential father. This is where the feminists who declare their hatred for all men are actually being honest. They’ve followed their logic home.
Those who do pretend to love men don’t love men at all, they love men they have remade in their own image: castrated men–men who have become feminized. Either that or they love boys–men who refuse to grow up and take responsibility. Little boys (of whatever age) who they can continue to mother. If not these two options, then they love adolescent boys (of whatever age) who only ever respond to their own stunted and stubborn adolescence with a similar immaturity, sentimentality and selfishness.
Father, I think your thesis depends crucially on which feminism we’re talking about. For example, how does Mary Wollstonecraft’s plea that a married woman retain her legal recognition as a person attack fatherhood? How does allowing women the vote attack fatherhood? How does the feminism (though, granted, she rejected the label) of Dorothy Sayers’ “Are Women Human?” attack fatherhood? Yet all of these ideas have been widely labeled “feminist.”Of course, it’s easy to find feminisms that are attacks on fatherhood (the NARAL folks, say), or even on men full stop (Mary Daly comes to mind). But tarring all feminism with that brush seems carelessly broad to me—somewhat ironically so, indeed, in view of the Holy Father's prayer petition for this month.Peace,–Peter
What I wonder is – what is one supposed to do when honoring one parent sends the other one into conniption fits ? I've seen this in my extended family. "You want your father to come to your wedding ? If that @#$*& dares to show up, I'm leaving. So who do you want, the man who ran out on us with that bimbo, or the mother who slaved away to put food on the table? "
Peter, fair point and I’ve qualified my post by referring to ‘radical’ feminism.
The Thaxted tune can be also found in the Jupiter movement of Holst’s Planets Suite, which by coincidence I heard today on the radio.
Narwen, both I and my sisters had this problem at all our weddings. We simply did not invite the parent who did not deserve the honor of being there.Not that our situations are necessarily the same.
Fr Longenecker & Peter, I went to the University of California in the early 70's, the springtime of radical feminism. I can promise you that the dogmas of radical feminism moved very swiftly past Wollstonecraft to Steinem, Friedan, to motherhood and men are oppressors and anyone who expected you ever to wash a dish was some kind of patriarchal, regressive tyrant. It didn't take long for me to realize that this was a very destructive ideology that oppressed human beings, both male and female and was destructive to children. The idea that everything should be "equal" and that marriage was the real oppressor was the teaching of the age. I became convinced, long before I was a Catholic or even practicing Christian, that the real reason for being of the movement was the destruction of the family and enslavement of women to the state or the work place, since that was held up as the only worthwhile vocation. Over the years I have come to realized that the Church is right. Everything a person does in service to others for the glory of God is the real reason for being on this earth. Anythng I do that is necessary for life, from cleaning the bathroom to laundry to cooking to reading St Augustine, as long as I do it for the glory of God in service to others is the most worthy work and there is no way that feminism can ever compare with that and the joy it gives to real human beings. You can quibble over definitions if you like, but it is a ruse in service to some very evil ideologies. Women are created in the image of God and our job is to be open to restoration of the likeness as well. Same as men. AnneG in NC
Father, I hate to continue to gripe, but I must highlight the black text within each post to read it against the maroon hue’d background. A white or light colored text would be much more readable. Other than that the design looks great.
kkollwitz :That’s what happened in the situation I mentioned as well. However, the commandment to ‘honor your father and mother ‘ seems to assume that honoring either will be appreciated by the other parent, which is often not true. Maybe this is an example of hard cases making bad law ?
There is no way to put something back together that has been broken into so many pieces. Damage control is the most that can be hoped for now. And that’s not a completely bad thing, maybe. It may be that some things have to be broken in order to put them aright. I am old enough to remember how things were for women before the revolution. But what is both illogical and impossible is the concept of “equality” in parental authority. A vote of 1 opposed to another vote of 1 is stalemate, obviously, and someone has to have the final say. If this final say is the father’s, we may repair much with just that one little rule.What exists now is the destruction of marriage, family, and gender identity. Human persons in a completely unnatural state, unable to express themselves (read impotent), unable to relate to each other in a coherent and consistent way (read divorce), and of course, the hideous victimization of children–even to the denial of children altogether (read contraception and abortion).But the truth is, underneath all this chaos, no one is happy, least of all, women themselves. I believe that we all WANT men to be stronger than we are. We WANT to feel protected, cherished, just as we want to love and nurture our children. We want this reality much more–infinitely more–than we want some theoretical “equality.” How does the song go? “In our hearts, the dreams are still the same….”Nowhere more than in our reproductive roles are we–all of us–more “creaturely.” In that sense, we are no different from dogs and butterflies, despite how much we alter our brain chemistry with all sorts of concoctions.Nature, if it’s not destroyed altogether, will revert to itself–with or without our consent.
Father, what most feminists reject is patriarchy as a system for organizing power and distributing power within society. It’s ridiculous to claim that women (and men) who believe in the equality of the sexes hate fathers in general and their own fathers in particular. They do, however, have a right to hate the notion that men are inherently superior, the idea that men are uniquely equipped to be the default leaders in society, in the church, and yes, in families. As a man, I reject the assumption that any man should automatically, simply as a result of his gender, have more authority than a woman whose intelligence is equal to or greater than his own. That’s a good, basic definition of what feminism is about. By the way, your statement about “radical feminists” hating all fathers makes me wonder if you are a “radical masculinist,” someone who is unable to respect women as equally intelligent and equally capable of leading. If you are indeed such a creature (which I suspect you are not), you would, following your own logic, hate all mothers and all women in positions of authority.Women and men, as a group, have leadership potential; women and men, as a group, have the potential for nurturing children and other human beings. That doesn’t require a “feminization” of men — not at all. It’s incredibly simplistic thinking on your part to label men who are not threatened by women as “feminized.” (When someone champions patriarchy — power distribution based primarily on the privileging of male genitalia — that person strikes me as someone who feels threatened by women. I hope that’s not true in your case.)
Steve, I'm thinking that your comment suffers a bit from the same difficulty as Fr. Dwight's original post—the terms aren't as clear as perhaps they need to be. What exactly do you mean by —equality of the sexes”? Some folks mean by that that women are of equal inherent dignity to men, equally made in the image of God. Others mean that any difference between the sexes is no more than a social construct, not incidentally including those differences pertaining to reproduction. (Sayers' “Are Women Human” has some incisive comments on that phrase.)Where I think Fr. Dwight is right on target is to note that much feminist discourse today is not simply about attacking historical (and current) misogynies; much (not all) feminist discourse today is intrinsically tied up with attacking fatherhood. When the mother has a nearly-unquestioned legal right to kill her child at any time up to (and in practice, slightly beyond) birth, but the father's only voice is in whether or not to have sex in the first place, it's hard not to see that as an attack on fatherhood. (It is also, not incidentally, an attack on motherhood, no less an assault on women than on men.) Yet this is a mainstream “feminist” position today.It's possible that Fr. Dwight's argument would benefit from more precision. To suggest that his argument is empty, however—which is what I understand you to be doing—is pushing the point a good way too far.Have I misunderstood you?Peace,–Peter
Political ideologies, sociological constructs–none of that means a thing to living, though all of it is terribly interesting for conversation.”Equality” applies to voting rights, equal salary for equal work, equal rights before the law, and really not much else past that.Women (and MEN!) who take the equality of the sexes beyond that are “radical.”Of course, women should vote. Of course, a female employee should make as much money as a male employee in the same job. And of course, the rights of a woman before the law should be equal to the rights of a man. But the father is the head of the family. (There can be only one.) His authority is ultimate (definition: only one). If he is fool enough not to listen to his wife’s input, then she is the more fool for having married him.So many forget, maybe because they aren’t old enough to remember: Women had great power in their selection of a mate. Wise women chose a man who would be a good husband and father. They gave up that power when they chose men who would surrender that power to them, to women.So it’s an irony: women, who are now so “powerful,” need to take back the power they gave up. If they do that, marriage will survive, the family will survive, and children will survive.Political/sociological notions have nothing to do with nature, which is not at all “democratic.”
Peter, thank you for your thoughtful response to my comment. For the record, I too believe that abortion is a travesty, a gross violation of the unborn child’s human rights. However, I don’t agree with your implication (if I understand you correctly) that the women and men who champion abortion rights are doing so because they hold fatherhood (and/or motherhood) in contempt. Rather, they (on the whole) do not regard the child as a child — they see the fetus (baby) as a not-yet-human-being. I’m not advocating for that language, nor for that perception of the unborn child, not at all. But that is how the pro-abortion rights camp generally views a pregnancy. I don’t often hear people who call themselves pro-choice lambasting “the baby,” nor the idea of “parenthood.” They advocate first and foremost for women’s control over their own bodies — which, in their eyes, means allowing for women to end a pregnancy (quite distinct, again in their eyes, from “kill[ing] her child”). Where you and I see a child, they do not. Some feminists (certainly not the majority), such as Naomi Wolf, have acknowledged that the dismissive characterization of the entity within the womb as a “product of conception,” etc. is incredibly problematic. Paraphrasing Wolf here — she has, I believe, said that it’s not logical to think of a pregancy as involving a “baby” when the pregnant woman wants the child, but merely “tissue” when she does not. Motives are what seem to me to be at issue in Fr. Longnecker’s original post. He sees feminists as being motivated largely (if not chiefly) by a gross hatred of fatherhood and fathers. I see them as being motivated by a desire to not see women and men’s futures dictated by their sex. (In other words, I see the vast majority of feminists as being something other than man-haters. For that reason, I count myself as a male who is a feminist — a supporter of equal rights, equal opportunities, for all individuals regardless of their sex. And yes, that principle does emerge, at least for me, out of a belief that each sex has equal dignity before God.)Peace,Steve
Never thought I'd be telling a priest this, but, your son looks to be a fine strapping young man, you are a very lucky and blessed "Father" ;>)