The Pope is a man and that is a good thing. There is nothing ideological or politically incorrect about that brute biological and theological fact. Pope Francis has repeatedly championed the complementarity of man and woman, and has excoriated “gender theory” (that one “learns” to identify sexually and then chooses along a spectrum of masculinity and femininity) as a serious social problem. Earlier this year he compared “gender ideology” to the problem of nuclear weapons! To be a man is not a quest, and it is not a cross. It is a gift given by our Creator to be accepted and embraced with gratitude and love.
Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix recently published an Apostolic Exhortation entitled “Into the Breach.” He challenges men of faith to recognize that masculinity and fatherhood are under attack in our culture like never before. Citing the alarming decline in sacramental practice and Church membership, Olmsted calls upon nominally Catholic fathers and sons to “man up” and step into the breach, recommitting themselves to the promises they made at Baptism, in Holy Matrimony and in their relationships with God and those around them.
“Into the Breach” is a poignant reminder that, after timidly and silently allowing our culture to strip away the true identity given by Jesus Christ Himself, Catholic men have something worth fighting for, and much to offer as Christian witnesses in our broken world. Olmsted calls for conversion in the hearts of men, flowing from the merciful heart of God, calling it “our lifelong goal and our spiritual battle.”