Jason International

Christian Ex-Gay Ministry

Der Vater

Der Vater

Aus unserer eigenen Erfahrung in der schwulen Szene sowie aufgrund der Lebensberichte der menschen, die zu uns kommen, können wir sagen, dass der weitaus überwiegende Teil (unserer Erfahrung nach ca. 90 %, wobei diese Zahl rein auf unserer Erfahrung beruht und nicht auf irgendwelchen wissenschaftlichen Studien. Es gibt allerdings auch nachprüfpare Fakten zu diesem Thema, etwa die Erfahrungen wissenschaftlicher Therapeuten - siehe www.narth.com) der  homosexuellen Männer Probleme mit dem Vater haben oder hatten. Sei es, dass er gar nicht da war (etwa nach einer Scheidung) oder emotional nicht zugänglich, oder sie emotional, physisch oder gar sexuell missbraucht hat, selbst ein schlechtes Vorbild war oder schlichtweg mit dem "Anderssein" seines Sohnes nicht umgehen konnte und ihn vielleicht mit Bemerkungen sehr verletzt hat. Letztendlich hat all dies dazu geführt, dass wir den Kontakt zur Welt der Männer verloren haben und nicht so sein wollten wie unser Vater - ein Mann. Gleichzeitig wurde die Welt der Männer ein Mythos für uns. Zunächst haben wir noch versucht, Anschluss zu finden - etwa Kontakt zu unserem Vater herzustellen. Irgendwann haben wir es dann aufgegeben. In der Pubertät und mit aufkommenden sexuellen Lüsten wurden wir dann von dem angezogen, was "anders" war als wir uns begriffen haben. Von "richtigen Männern" etwa, die das hatten, das uns fehlte. Zumindest glaubten wir das. Es ist deshalb ungeheur wichtig, dass wir unserem Vater vergeben sowie seine Vergebung suchen sowie unsere Männlichkeit aufbauen lernen, damit wir uns selbst wieder als Mann sehen. Je weniger wir uns als etwas "anderes" oder gar "minderwertigeres" als andere Männer begreifen, desto weniger werden auch unsere sexuellen Lüste nach ihnen. Sie sind dann mehr Kumpel oder Freunde. 


Drei Dinge, die jeder Junge (jedes Mädchen) von seinem Vater regelmäßig hören sollte:

1) Ich liebe dich
2) Ich bin stolz auf dich
3) Du bist ein super ... (Sportler, Schwimmer, Musiker - was auch immer)



Drei Dinge, die jeder Junge (jedes Mädchen) von seinem Vater regelmäßig sehen sollte:

1) Papa liebt Mama
2) Papa's Charakter
3) Papa's Herz



Drei Dinge, die jeder Junge (jedes Mädchen) von seinem Vater regelmäßig empfangen sollte:

1) Bestätigende Ermutigung
2) Anleitung für's Leben
3) Jesus in seinem/ihrem Leben



Zwei Dinge, die jeder Junge (jedes Mädchen) von seinem Vater regelmäßig erfahren sollte:

1) Zeit zusammen verbringen - nur Vater und Sohn (Tochter)
2) Männer (Frauen)-Zeremonien

 


„Er war nur ein kleiner Junge und er konnte die Bestrafung nicht verstehen. Die Bestrafung war notwendig, damit er einige wichtige Lektionen lernen würde und zu einem Mann heranwachsen würde, der richtig und falsch unterscheiden könnte. Aber er konnte all das nicht verstehen. Alles was er wusste, war, dass sein Vater ihn ohne Abendessen in sein Zimmer geschickt hat – und er hatte Hunger. Er dachte, sein Vater würde sich doch nicht so um ihn sorgen, wie seine Worte es vermuten ließen. Immerhin – wenn sein Vater ihn wirklich lieben würde, würde er ihm das Abendessen erlaubt haben. Dann ging die Türe auf, sein Vater kam herein und setzte sich auf‘s Bett. „Sohn,“ sagte er, „Ich weiß, du verstehst das nicht, aber eines Tages wirst du es verstehen. Eines Tages wirst du froh sein, dass ich dich genug geliebt habe, um dich richtig zu erziehen. Aber ich wollte, dass du weißt, dass auch ich heute kein Abendessen hatte und dass ich die Nacht hier bei dir verbringen werde – und dass wir beide zusammen hungrig sein werden.“ Der Junge war natürlich immer noch hungrig, aber irgendwie half ihm das, in den Armen seines Vaters einzuschlafen – ein Vater, der sich mit seinem Hunger identifiziert hatte. Das ist genau das, was auch Gott getan hat.“

(Stephen Brown, If God Is in Charge)


(Quelle: u.a. Men's Fraternity/Dr.Robert Lewis)



Gehen wir auf die Beziehungen eines Jungen zu seinem Vater ein.

Die ersten Bande, die ein Junge knüpft, sind die zur Mutter. Das Kind nimmt deren emotionale Verfassung z.B. über den Klang der Stimme wahr, oder durch Berührung.
Zwischen 18 Monaten und 5 Jahren muss der Junge in seiner Geschlechtsrolle sowohl mündlich als auch körperlich bestätigt werden. Die Wahrnehmung seiner eigenen Sexualität wird über die ersten Menschen in seinem Leben kommen - seine Eltern.
Ab 18 Monaten wird der Junge einen Unterschied zwischen Männern und Frauen wahrnehmen. Er wird merken, dass er eher wie sein Papa aussieht. Der wiederum gewinnt nun an Bedeutung. Der Junge will Kontakt mit ihm aufnehmen. Wenn die Beziehung zum Vater sich gesund entwickelt, entwickelt sich auch eine gesunde sexuelle Identität.
Ist der Vater warmherzig und liebevoll, wird sich der Junge von der Mutter lösen und sich dem Vater zuwenden. Ist der Vater aber kalt, distanziert, uninteressiert, kritisch oder abweisend (in der Wahrnehmung des JUNGEN!), fühlt sich der Sohn verletzt oder zurückgewiesen, was man auch eine "narzisstische Verletzung" nennt.
Oft führt dies dazu, dass der Junge den Eindruck gewinnt, es sei nutzlos, eine Bindung zum Vater herstellen zu wollen. Die Zurückweisung schmerzt ihn sehr. Diese Erfahrungen können zu weiteren Problemen führen, wenn der Junge die nächste Stufe der männlichen Entwicklung erreicht: die Identifikation mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Altersgenossen. Wenn dem Jungen das männliche Selbstvertrauen fehlt, wird die Beziehung zu anderen Jungen fremd werden, und unangenehm, gezwungen. Er wird Kontakte mit gleichaltrigen Jungen vermeiden wollen: Entweder isoliert er sich und findet Sicherheit und Schutz in der Einsamkeit, oder er wendet sich Mädchen zu.
Wenn er dann in die Pubertät eintritt, wird er die Gefühle der Abweisung und Isolation mit der aufkommenden Sexualität verbinden und so seine unbefriedigten emotionalen Bedürfnisse befriedigen wollen. Er wird sich aber nicht dem anderen Geschlecht zuwenden, sondern der für ihn noch völlig fremden Welt der Männer, die für ihn faszinierend ist, weil es etwas ist, das er nicht kennt und nicht besitzt. Das homosexuelle Verhalten ist also ein Versuch des Jungen, mit seinem eigenen Körper vertraut zu werden über den Umweg anderer männlicher Körper.
Es ist bezeichnend, dass Jungen, die gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen haben, diese nicht haben wollen. Und das kann man - besonders heutzutage! - nicht der Gesellschaft anlasten. Die Jungen hoffen ganz einfach, dass dies nur eine Phase ist, die vorüber geht. Viele behalten ihre Neigungen für sich. Christen sagt man, sie sollen beten. Einige versuchen, mit Mädchen anzubandeln, um so ihre Neigungen "verschwinden" zu lassen. Nichts davon wird aber helfen (vom Beten vielleicht einmal abgesehen), da man den betroffenen Jungs ihre Gefühle und Neigungen nicht erklärt. Man lässt sie alleine in ihrer Verwirrung und viele fangen an zu glauben, sie seien homosexuell. Ihre Selbstachtung ist gleich Nul - ebenso ihre Zukunftserwartung. Sie versuchen zu akzeptieren, dass sieschwul sind. Und wenn sie es schon einmal sind, können sie es genauso gut ausleben.
Nach den Schuljahren, wenn der Junge endlich "frei" ist, die Zwänge des Elternhauses und der Kirche überwunden sind, wird er Kontakt zur Schwulenszene aufnehmen und schließlich Sex mit Männern haben.
Wenn man zu diesen Meilensteinen irgendeinen Punkt aus anfangs genannter Liste hinzufügt, wird klar, warum so viele Jungs mit Homosexualität kämpfen - und das in immer früheren Lebensjahren.

(siehe auch: Der neue Weg:Mögliche Ursachen männlicher Homosexualität)





Ein Test um herauszufinden, wie stark das Band zwischen Vater und Sohn (bzw. Mutter und Tochter) ist:

Wenn der Junge (das Mädchen) glücklich ist oder stolz auf das, was er (sie) geschafft hat, wohin läuft er (sie) zuerst? Mutter oder Vater?
Wenn ein Junge etwa immer zu Mamma rennt, ist das Band zwischen Vater und Sohn gestört (Ähnliches gilt für Frauen).




 
Es muss bei Jungs nicht immer der (emotional oder physisch) abwesende Vater sein, der zur Homosexualität beiträgt. Es können auch Verletzungen durch aggressive und feindselige Brüder oder Gleichaltrige sein. In beiden Fällen hat der Junge aber das Gefühl, er wird seiner Rolle als Mann nicht gerecht - unter all den anderen Männern (Jungs).
Irgendeine Verletzung durch andere Männer gibt es bei jedem homosexuellen Mann.
Jeder Junge will von einer Vaterfigur gehalten und geliebt werden. Er will in die Welt der Männer eingeführt werden und seine Männlichkeit von Gleichaltrigen oder älteren Männern bestätigt bekommen. Wenn keine dieser Beziehungen stark genug ist, um den Jungen in die Welt der Männer einzuführen, wird er sich nach Männern aus einiger Entfernung sehnen.


 

Das erste Band, das jeder Mensch entwickelt, ist das zu seiner Mutter. Als Baby ist sie die erste Bezugsperson. Ein Junge muss sich jedoch irgendwann von ihr lösen (etwa im Alter von 2 Jahren) und seinen Vater als Bezugsperson erkennen. Dafür müssen beide Elternteile mitwirken: die Mutter muss bereits im Laufe der ersten Jahre dafür sorgen, dass der Junge mit allen Fragen und Problemen zuerst zu Papa geht - auch wenn es ihr sehr schwer fällt, das enge Band aufzugeben. Selbst wenn der Junge eher zu ihr kommen will, muss sie ihn sanft zu seinem Vater schieben. Wenn er im Dreck spielt und mit anderen Jungs herumtollt, schimpfe ihn nicht und verhätschele ihn nicht - lobe und ermutige ihn vielmehr dazu! Mache ihm klar, das es Spiele gibt, die eher Mädchen machen sollten und andere, die für Jungs geeigneter sind. Ohne dass das eine besser wäre als das andere.
Der Vater wiederum muss seine Aufgabe auch wahrnehmen. Er muss den Jungen in die Welt der Männer einweisen. Sollte der Junge erkennbare weibliche Verhaltensmuster zeigen, ist es sein Job, ihn davon abzubringen. Wenn dein Junge Frauenkleider und Make-Up tragen will, bringe ihm den Unterschied zwischen Jungs und Mädchen bei und belohne ihn im Gegenzug, wenn er sich in die richtige Richtung bewegt. Dusche mit ihm zusammen (evtl. auch mit den Brüdern oder anderen Männern im Fitnesscenter), damit er den männlichen Körper als etwas natürliches empfindet. Die Mutter hingegen sollte sich nie nachkt vor dem Jungen zeigen.
Mache mit deinem Jungen auch Spiele der "härteren Art" - wie Raufen, Herumbalgen usw. - und lasse ihn auch mal "gewinnen". Versuche aber nicht, einen Vorzeige-Macho aus ihm zu machen. Wenn er kein Fußball-Talent hat, ist das in Ordung. Zwinge ihn nicht dazu. Es ist nicht schlimm, eine künstlerische Ader zu haben - du solltest nur darauf achten, dass sich die Talente deines Jungen in die richtige Bahn bewegen!
Unternimmst du nichts gegen das frühkindliche weibliche Verhalten deines Jungen und lässt ihn einfach gewähren, liegt die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass er später homosexuell wird, laut Dr. Nicolosi ("Preventing Homosexuality") bei 75%. Du hast also einen erheblichen Einfluss darauf, was aus deinem Jungen später einmal wird - inklusive seiner Geschlechtsidentität!





Großbritanniens Hoffnungen auf eine Medaille im 400 m – Lauf der Männer bei den Olympischen Sommerspielen 1992 „wurden zerschmettert, als in der Endrunde des Semifinales“ Derek Redmond „sich lahm dahinschleppte, offensichtlich mit einem gerissenen Muskel. Da stand er – voller Schmerz, nun außer Konkurrenz, aber immer noch entschlossen, den Lauf zu beenden. Als er versuchte, in Richtung Ziellinie zu hüpfen, schien er ca. 100 m vor dem Ziel am Ende seiner Kräfte zu sein. In diesem Moment, lief ein Mann aus dem Zuschauerbereich hinter Derek her, packte ihn um die Hüfte und fing an, ihm zu helfen. Es war sein Vater, Jim Redmond. Als Derek bewusst wurde, wer ihn da hoch hielt und ihn helfend vorwärts trieb, wechselte sein Gesichtsausdruck von Verwunderung hin zu Erleichterung und er wurde von seinen Gefühlen übermannt. Er fasste seinen Vater um den Nacken, umarmte ihn und weinte, als sie sich zusammen in Richtung Ziellinie bewegten. Derek beendete den Lauf, während die Menge die beiden Männer mit Beifallsstürmen unterstützend anfeuerte... Auch wir haben solch einen Vater! (Chap Clark, The Performance Illusion)



„Zwei Kinder spielten auf einem Hügel, als sie bemerkten, dass es fast schon Zeit für den Sonnenuntergang war. Einer sagte verwundert: „Schau, wie weit die Sonne gegangen ist! Noch vor kurzem war sie genau über dem Baum und jetzt ist sie ganz unten am Himmel.“ „Schon, nur dass es nicht die Sonne ist, die sich bewegt, sondern die Erde. Weißt du, Vater hat uns das gesagt,“ sagte der andere. Der erste schüttelte seinen Kopf. Die Sonne bewegte sich doch, denn er hätte das gesehen und die Erde würde sich nicht bewegen, denn er sei dauernd darauf gestanden. „Ich weiß, was ich sehe,“ sagte er triumphierend. „Und ich glaube Vater,“ sagte sein Bruder. So teilt sich auch die Menschheit heutzutage in zwei Lager – einige akzeptieren nur, was sie über ihre Sinne wahrnehmen, andere glauben das Wort Gottes.“ (Walter B. Knight, Knight‘s Master Book of New Illustrations)









„Mein Freund (...) Tom Melton erzählte von der Zeit, als sein 3-jähriger Sohn Brandon versuchte, Tom zu überraschen, indem er ihm ein Glas Milch brachte. Dabei zerbrach Brandon das Glas, verschüttete die Milch über die ganze Küche und machte Tom von Kopf bis Fuß nass. Während es Brandon dämmerte, dass er den Plan verpfuscht haben könnte, füllten sich Tom‘s Augen mit Tränen, da ihn die Liebe zu seinem Sohn übermannte. „Es stimmt,“ erinnerte sich Tom, „er hat alles verpfuscht, was er angefasst hat. Aber er ist mein Sohn und ich konnte einfach nicht aufhören, daran zu denken, wie sehr ich ihn liebte.“ (Chap Clarke, The Performance Illusion)





„Wenn ein junger Mann ernsthaft seinen eigenen Vater zurückweist (selbst mit „gutem Grund“), so muss er oft als Erwachsener feststellen, dass er seine eigene Männlichkeit zurückgewiesen hat.“ „Ein Elternteil zu hassen, bedeutet sich selbst zu hassen.“ „Wir können nicht einfach ein Mitglied unserer Familie abtrennen, besonders nicht den Vater oder die Mutter, ohne einen Teil von uns selbst abzutrennen.“ (Leanne Payne, Crisis in Masculinity)




 
„And so I wasn‘t there to see him as he began to sink into himself. I wasn‘t there to sense that he might be drifting toward that unimaginable realm of fantasy and isolation that it would take nearly 30 years to recognize.“
Lionel Dahmer
A Father‘s Story






Die durch die Abwesenheit des Vaters verursachte Wunde

Ein ständig andauernder sozialer oder spiritueller Defizit, der normalerweise in einer gesunden Beziehung zum Vater befriedigt wird und nun mit anderen Mitteln gestillt werden muss.





Die durch den Vater verursachte Wunde

„Mein Vater hat mich öffentlich blamiert!“
„Er hat mich fertig gemacht!“
„Er hat mich verlassen!“
„Er hat mir keine Luft zum Atmen gelassen!“
„Er hat mich im Stich gelassen!“
„Er hat mich wütend gemacht!“
„Er hat was mich betrifft versagt!“
„Ich war nie gut genug für ihn!“
„Nie hat er gesagt, dass ich gut in etwas bin!“
„Er hat mir absolut nichts hinterlassen!“
„Er war nicht das, was ein Vater sein sollte!“
„Er hat mir nie gesagt, dass er mich liebt!“




Was sollte jeder Sohn von einem Vater hören, der sich von seiner Mutter getrennt hat?

"Es tut mir leid, mein Sohn. Wirst du mir vergeben?"







Wenn in der Vater-Sohn Beziehung etwas schief läuft:


• Ärger und Schmerz
• Extremes Verhalten und Suchtprobleme bzw. Besessenheit
• Ein Gefühl des Verlorenseins oder der Unvollständigkeit
• Homosexualität




Was jeder Sohn von seinem Vater will und braucht:

1. Zeit miteinander verbringen
2. Die Fähigkeit zu erlernen, im Leben zurecht zu kommen (siehe: Sprüche 22:6)
3. Eine Orientierung mit vernünftigen Antworten auf seine Fragen (etwa: "Was bedeuet es, ein Mann zu sein?" "Was ist der Sinn des Lebens?") Siehe: Deuteronomium 6
4. Überzeugungen, die er am Beispiel des Vaters erkennt (Wie der Vater lebt und was er sagt: Integrität). Siehe: 1. Thessalonicher 2:10-11
5. Das Herz seines Vaters ("Ich liebe dich / Ich bin stolz auf dich / Du bist ein toller ...) Siehe: Matthäus 17:5






Was sollte ein Vater tun?

• Zeit mit seinem Sohn verbringen.
• Ihm die nötigen Fertigkeiten für‘s Leben beibringen.
• Ihm die nötige Richtung geben.
• Überzeugungen vermitteln, indem man selbst Vorbild ist.
• Das Herz eines Vaters haben und auch zeigen.














Was sollte ein Vater im Hinblick auf seine Ehefrau und Töchter tun?

- mit seiner Frau eine klare Definition davon einrichten, was es heißt, eine richtige Frau zu sein
- ihr helfen, zuhause bei den Kindern bleiben zu können (besonders in den ersten Lebensjahren)
- wahre weibliche Werte in seiner Frau und in seinen Töchtern unterstützen, ehren und loben
- mit seinen Töchtern ab und zu ausgehen, etwas unternehmen und auf persönlicher Basis an ihrem Leben teilnehmen
- Zeremonien unterstützen, die ihre wahre Weiblichkeit feiern und markieren

(Dr. Robert Lewis)

 

Eltern

Wenn Gott mir etwas in den letzten Jahren gezeigt hat, dann die Art und Weise, wie ich meine Eltern sehe.

Wie sehr neigt man doch manchmal dazu, der eigenen Kindheit die Schuld für alles Schlechte im späteren Leben zu geben? Man hat die Kindheitsjahre als eine Zeit in Erinnerung, in der man sehr unglücklich und alleine war. In der man sich wenig geliebt gefühlt hat. Und vielleicht war dies bei manchen auch so. Vielleicht  habt ihr wenig Liebe erfahren,  stattdessen aber  viele Schläge.  Vielleicht hat man sich tatsächlich wenig um euch gekümmert. Vielleicht seit ihr Zeugen  von vielen Streitigkeiten zwischen euren Eltern geworden, in denen ihr  - ob ihr es nun gewollt habt oder nicht - mit hineingezogen wurdet.

Bei manchen sind möglicherweise noch schlimmere Sachen geschehen.

Das mag alles so gewesen sein und ist bestimmt durch nichts zu entschuldigen. Aber durchaus zu erklären.

Wenn ich euch einige Tips geben darf:

1) Man hat die Geschehnisse in der Kindheit oft anders in Erinnerung, als sie sich tatsächlich abgespielt haben. Nicht, dass das so wichtig ist - letztendlich kommt es z.B. nicht darauf an, ob ein Kind tatsächlich geliebt wurde oder nicht - wenn es das Gefühl hatte, nicht geliebt worden zu sein, reicht das, um Schaden anzurichten. Es hilft aber durchaus, einmal nachzudenken und mit anderen Zeitzeugen zu sprechen, um heraus zu finden, ob sich das alles tatsächlich so zugetragen hat. Oft erzählen wir unbewusst und ohne böse Absicht Sachen aus unserer Kindheit, die sich vielleicht nie so zugetragen haben - alleine, weil unser Gedächtnis uns hier einen Streich spielt. Hierdurch geben wir falsches Zeugnis ab und verletzen die Beteiligten.

2) Waren wir selbst denn so gute Söhne und Töchter? Haben wir uns immer vorbildlich verhalten? Wie haben wir unsere Eltern behandelt und mit ihnen geredet - und wie tun wir das heute?

3) Es hilft auch sehr, mehr über die Vergangenheit der eigenen Eltern in Erfahrung zu bringen. Wie sind sie selbst aufgewachsen? Was haben sie alles erlebt und durchgemacht? Wenn man selbst nie Liebe erfahren hat, dürfte es schwer fallen, sie weiter zu geben. Wenn man selbst eine kaputte Familie hatte, ist es unglaublich schwer, später eine gesunde aufzubauen!

4) Wir sind nicht Sklaven unserer Vergangenheit. Selbst wenn hier schlimme Sachen geschehen sind - wir sind nun erwachsene Menschen und dürfen nicht zulassen, dass die unerledigten Angelegenheiten aus der Vergangenheit unsere Zukunft bestimmen! Ja, man muss diese Dinge einmal auspacken und angehen - dann ist es aber auch gut und sie sollten wieder geschlossen werden und für immer ruhen.

5) Oft erzählen einem die Menschen, dass ihre Eltern ihnen nie gesagt hätten, dass sie ihren Sohn oder ihre Tochter lieben, dass sie stolz auf sie sind und dass sie gut in irgend etwas sind. Das mag so gewesen sein. Vielleicht haben sie es aber durch Gesten oder Taten gezeigt? Im übrigen ist es noch nicht zu spät: schnappt euch euren Vater oder eure Mutter und verbringt Zeit mit ihnen! Stellt ihnen all' die Fragen, die ihr habt! Vor allem fragt sie direkt: "Liebst du mich?" Sagt ihnen auch selbst, dass ihr sie liebt! Verpasst diese Gelegenheit nicht - eines Tages könnte es zu spät sein!

6) Egal, was geschehen ist - Gott hat uns aufgetragen, zu vergeben - und die Vergebung anderer zu suchen. Tut dies! Vergebt euren Eltern, falls sie euch gegenüber Fehler gemacht haben! Liebt sie, wie Jesus uns geliebt hat! Kümmert euch um sie und behandelt sie eurerseits mit Liebe, Achtung und Respekt - dadurch zeigt ihr wahre Größe, gleichzeitig auch Demut und Glauben!

7) Es ist nicht leicht, Kinder zu erziehen. Schon gar nicht zu der Zeit, als ihr geboren wurdet! Wer selbst Kinder hat, weiß das und respektiert die eigenen Eltern!

8) Sprecht mit euren Eltern auch über Gott und euren Glauben!

9) All das ist mit Sicherheit nicht leicht und braucht Zeit. Wunden brauchen Zeit, um zu heilen. Auch Versöhnung braucht Zeit - und viel Mut. Es ist nicht leicht, auf den Menschen mit Liebe zuzugehen, der einen einmal verletzt hat. Ihm zu vergeben und zu lieben. Nichts anderes hat Jesus aber uns gegenüber getan - und wenn wir wollen, dass Er uns vergibt, müssen auch wir dies tun. Dadurch zeigen wir unseren Eltern auch, dass uns unsere eigenen Fehler bewusst sind und dass wir sie gut machen wollen.

10) Es ist für niemanden leicht, über Verletzungen aus der Vergangenheit zu reden. Irgendwann muss dies aber einmal geschehen. Dass sollte kommentarlos von allen Beteiligten zur Kenntnis genommen werden. Nur so können Wunden auch einmal heilen. Der Betroffenen tut dies nicht, um andere zu verletzen, sondern all die aufgestauten Verletzungen einmal los zu werden. Es kommt hierbei nicht darauf an, ob sich das in Realität alles tatsächlich so abgespielt hat, sondern wie wir es damals empfunden haben. Das muss einmal heraus - und dann für immer in der Vergangenheit ruhen.

11) Sucht euch bei Bedarf auch Hilfe und Unterstützung bei Seelsorgern oder auch Fachleuten (Psychotherapeuten, Psychiatern etc.). Das ist keine Schande, sondern ein Zeichen von Stärke.

12) Und jetzt geht aufeinander zu, vergebt und liebt euch und behaltet die verstorbenen Elternteile in liebevoller Erinnerung! Erinnert euch an die guten Sachen, die glücklichen Momente und bewahrt diese wie einen Schatz in euren Herzen

A letter to my father.


My father was a good provider . He worked two and three jobs to provide for us . We had clothes, a nice home , vacations , meals , etc . He was a good man that way . My father had a bad side too him that no one outside the home knew about for years . He had a terrible temper . Dad , you would call me some horrible curse words and terrible things . Dad , you

talked to me , my brothers and your wife like some piece of garbage out in the street , not to mention you where physically abuse .I watched you hit my mother in the face one day, i watch you push my grandmother on the floor . This went on for over 30 years . Dad you always told us never to lie and actually the consequences for lies would be terrible . Yet dad you lied constantly in your life . Friends and family knew you to be someone that lied a lot. It was not till the past five years that people outside our home found out just how you where . For years they always thought you where such a great guy . Until 5 years ago no one knew of your temper and mouth . Several years ago i almost had to call the police on you . Thank god it didnt come to that . I thank god the past year has been much better and thats all behind us . You still lie a lot and we all just deal with it but the verbal

and physical abuse is over . I learned to forgive and forget. I love you as a father and glad you are here in my life.


(From a member of the Homosexuals Anonymous online group. Used with permission).

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Posted by Enigma Productions on Freitag, 11. März 2016



INTO THE BREACH

An Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, my Spiritual Sons in the Diocese of Phoenix
Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix

“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall
and stand in the breach before me for the land…”
Ezekiel 22:30

A Call to Battle

I begin this letter with a clarion call and clear charge to you, my sons and brothers in Christ: Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual, but it is progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes.

The world is under attack by Satan, as our Lord said it would be (1 Peter 5:8-14). This battle is occurring in the Church herself, and the devastation is all too evident. Since AD 2000, 14 million Catholics have left the faith, parish religious education of children has dropped by 24%, Catholic school attendance has dropped by 19%, infant baptism has dropped by 28%, adult baptism has dropped by 31%, and sacramental Catholic marriages have dropped by 41%.1 This is a serious breach, a gaping hole in Christ’s battle lines. While the Diocese of Phoenix has fared better than these national statistics, the losses are staggering.
One of the key reasons that the Church is faltering under the attacks of Satan is that many Catholic men have not been willing to “step into the breach” – to fill this gap that lies open and vulnerable to further attack. A large number have left the faith, and many who remain “Catholic” practice the faith timidly and are only minimally committed to passing the faith on to their children. Recent research shows that large numbers of young Catholic men are leaving the faith to become “nones” – men who have no religious affiliation. The growing losses of young Catholic men will have a devastating impact on the Church in America in the coming decades, as older men pass away and young men fail to remain and marry in the Church, accelerating the losses that have already occurred.
These facts are devastating. As our fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, and friends fall away from the Church, they fall deeper and deeper into sin, breaking their bonds with God and leaving them vulnerable to the fires of Hell. While we know that Christ welcomes back every repentant sinner, the truth is that large numbers of Catholic men are failing to keep the promises they made at their children’s baptisms – promises to bring them to Christ and to raise them in the faith of the Church.

This crisis is evident in the discouragement and disengagement of Catholic men like you and me. In fact, this is precisely why I believe this Exhortation is needed, and it is also the reason for my hope, for God constantly overcomes evil with good. The joy of the Gospel is stronger than the sadness wrought by sin! A throw-away culture cannot withstand the new life and light that constantly radiates from Christ. So I call upon you to open your minds and hearts to Him, the Savior who strengthens you to step into the breach!

Purpose of this Exhortation

I offer this Exhortation as an encouragement, a challenge, and a calling forth to mission for every willing man in the Diocese of Phoenix: priests and deacons, husbands, fathers and sons, grandfathers and widowers, young men in preparation for your vocation – that is, each and every man. With this Exhortation, I want to clarify for you the nature of this mission from Christ, for which I will rely on the clear guidance of the Holy Scriptures, the Magisterium of the Church, and the example of the saints.

In this Exhortation, I will address three primary questions:

1. What does it mean to be a Christian man?
2. How does a Catholic man love?
3. Why is fatherhood, fully understood, so crucial for every man?

Before addressing these three basic questions, it is important to put them into proper context. In the following section, I will explain three important contexts that help us understand the main questions.

Context #1: A New Apostolic Moment – The “New Evangelization”

First, a new apostolic moment is upon us at this time in the history of the Church. The Holy Spirit is bringing about what recent popes have termed the “New Evangelization.” By evangelization, we mean the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by all means available, such as preaching, teaching, witnessing a fruitful and faithful family life, living celibacy for the sake of God’s Kingdom, employing media and other arts placed at the service of the Gospel. And what is new? The newness of our times is this: in the West, we find ourselves in the midst of competing cultures, particularly in cities and neighborhoods where the Gospel once permeated quite deeply. Jesus Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20) to go out to the whole world and share the Good News has already happened where we live! This permeation of Western culture was once so deep that in a sense, it became part of the soil, and we still stand on that soil in certain ways. It is evident in current assumptions about life, which come directly from the Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian framework; assumptions regarding “fairness”, “equality”, “virtue”, “human dignity”, “compassion”, “representative government”, “the Golden Rule”, the “Ten Commandments”, the “hospital”, the “university”, and other clearly positive developments in the history of civilization. All this is our patrimony and inheritance from our spiritual ancestors. We find ourselves standing on this rich soil, where blessings are many because the Gospel has been taught here, received in faith, and put into practice.
Yet, at the same time, termites are hard at work in this soil. Here, in the developed desert of Arizona, we know termites well. Homebuilders know that no home built in our climate is entirely immune from these hungry, subterranean insects. Likewise, no culture – deeply Christian though it may be – is immune to the corruption of half-truths and hidden sin. Many fruits of our Christian heritage still exist, but the roots below the soil are under siege. Much about our culture remains good and must be preserved, but it would be foolish to ignore the current and growing trends that threaten the remaining good, and dangerous to risk squandering the patrimony with which we have been blessed.
The answer and only ultimate solution is the New Evangelization of which we speak. Pope St. John Paul II, with whom I was blessed to work closely for nine years and who has inspired many men, reminds us of this needed response: “There is no solution to the social question apart from the Gospel.”2 With this Exhortation, I gladly make his words my own; there is no solution to our cultural decline apart from the Gospel of Jesus.
This is daunting, perhaps, but surely an adventure. In the Book of Revelation, the Lord Jesus tells us, “Behold, I make all things new” (21:5) – that all things old and tired, sinful and broken, are renewed in his Incarnation, death, and Resurrection. Could this possibly be true? The answer is a resounding Yes! A true Catholic man stakes his whole life on this proposition – that all is made new in Jesus Christ. Our Lord has promised that He is and will always be with us. Thus, Catholic men across the centuries have responded to the call to enter the battle, ever ancient and ever new, and I have confidence that you will respond alike to fill the breach in our time. Be confident! Be bold! Forward, into the breach!
Context #2: A Field Hospital and a Battle College
In his homilies, Pope Francis has described the Church today as “a field hospital after battle” – a constant source of mercy in order to endure and overcome wounds that we all bear. The Church is also the powerful source of Truth to heal men and prepare them to battle another day for Christ. Here in Phoenix as elsewhere, the Church is finding – though must redouble its efforts to find – the paths to healing for ourselves and the means to care for others who, like us, bear the mark of the Fall in debilitating ways, whether these wounds be physical or spiritual (addiction to pornography, alcohol, drugs, food, broken marriages, fatherlessness, and troubled family life). Our time calls for a renewal of the Church’s genius for physical and spiritual healing, given to her by the Holy Spirit. As Pope Francis says, the wounded are all around us, and “it is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal the wounds.”3 At the same time, the proclamation of the fullness of truth found in the Catholic Church is essential. This leads you, men, to live lives where sins do not cause festering wounds. Through Christ’s mercy and truth, we are healed and revitalized for battle. In Christ’s mercy and truth, we become strong in his strength, courageous with his courage, and can actually experience the joie de guerre of being soldiers for Christ.

Since the Church as “field hospital” after battle is an appropriate analogy, then another complementary image is appropriate for our day: the Spiritual Battle College. The Church is, and has always been, a school that prepares us for spiritual battle, where Christians are called to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6), to “put on the armor of God”, and “to be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

Ever since Jesus chose the Twelve Apostles, formed them in his presence, and sent them out in his Name, He has continued to choose and form men through his Church and to send them out to the wounded. This is the meaning of the word apostle – men who are sent. With this letter, then, my sons and brothers, I urge you to heed Jesus’ call and to let him form your mind and heart with the light of the Gospel for the purpose of being sent. That is why this letter is an apostolic exhortation. I am hereby exhorting you to step into the breach – to do the work of Christ’s soldiers in the world today.

Context #3: Man and Woman are Complementary, not Competitors

The complementarity of masculinity and femininity is key to understanding how human persons image God. Without knowing and appreciating this, we cannot know ourselves or our mission as men, nor can women embrace their own vocations, confident in the Father’s love.

Men and women are certainly different. Science increasingly deepens our understanding of this difference. Up until recently, we had little idea of the complex workings of hormones, chemical reactions, and the brain differences present in boys and girls, men and women, all in response to the presence of the XX or XY combination of chromosomes present at conception. For example, the significantly greater amount of corpus callosum (the connective nerve fibers between the two sides of the brain) in the average woman is a fascinating discovery, as is the way the male brain is typically more segmented in its functions. Studies show that on average, infant girls will look at the face of a silent adult twice as long as infant boys, more interested in the person by God’s design.4 All these biological facts discovered by science add to our knowledge of the symphony of complementarity between man and woman, something at which we rightly wonder and in which we rejoice when we encounter the beauty of the sexual difference.

This difference is also a challenge, since misunderstanding can creep in and sin can cause us to lose respect for one another, robbing us of our hope for peaceful and fruitful collaboration between men and women. But this struggle between the sexes is not the fault of God’s creation; it is the result of sin. Pope Francis puts it this way:

4 There are, of course, rare exceptions to the genetic rule. We are aware of the exceptions due to genetic defect or insufficient hormonal development. For example, Turner’s Syndrome in girls and Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome or XXY Syndrome in boys cause situations which are very painful in the individual lives of these young men and women and their families. I pray that Catholic researchers, psychologists, and physicians would be at the forefront of studying these phenomena and providing ethical counsel, care, and support to these individuals and families.

Man and woman are the image and likeness of God. This tells us that not only is man taken in himself the image of God, not only is woman taken in herself the image of God, but also man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between man and woman is not for opposition, or for subordination, but for communion and procreation, always in the image and likeness of God.5

Alongside this struggle, the rapid advance of a “gender ideology” has infected societies around the world. This ideology seeks to set aside the sexual difference created by God, to remove male and female as the normative way of understanding the human person, and in its place, to add various other “categories” of sexuality. This ideology is destructive for individuals and society, and it is a lie. It is harmful to the human person, and therefore, a false concept that we must oppose as Christians. At the same time, however, we are called to show compassion and provide help for those who experience confusion about their sexual identity. This confusion is not unexpected when the poison of secularism reaches such critical levels: “When God is forgotten, the creature itself becomes unintelligible.”6

The damaging impact of this “gender ideology” on individuals and society was addressed at length this year by Pope Francis: I ask myself, if the so-called gender theory is not… an expression of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it. Yes, we risk taking a step backwards. The removal of difference in fact creates a problem, not a solution. In order to resolve the problems in their relationships, men and women need to speak to one another more, listen to each other more, get to know one another better, love one another more. They must treat each other with respect and cooperate in friendship.7 As Pope Francis reminds us all to “love one another more,” I exhort you, my sons and brothers in Jesus Christ, to embrace more deeply the beauty and richness of the sexual difference and to defend it against false ideologies. Having now established the contexts in which to understand the questions addressed in this Exhortation, I will now respond to the above-stated questions themselves.

Question 1: What does it mean to be a Catholic Man?

Ecce Homo – Behold the Man

Every man, particularly today, must come to a mature acceptance and understanding of what it means to be a man. This may seem obvious, but in our world, there are many distorted images and much evidence of confusion regarding what is true masculinity. We can say that for the first time in history, people have become either so confused or so arrogant as to attempt to dictate their masculinity or femininity according to their own definitions.

At one striking moment of Jesus’ trial, Pontius Pilate, with all his worldly power, presented Jesus to the crowd with the words, Ecce homo – Latin meaning “Here is the man!” Thinking he was merely pointing to a man from Nazareth, he failed to recognize that he was pointing to God made man – the Word made flesh, Jesus of Nazareth – who at once is fully God and fully man, and the perfection of masculinity. Every moment of his life on earth is a revelation of the mystery of what it means to be man – that is, to be fully human and also, the model of masculinity. Nowhere else can we find the fullness of masculinity as we do in the Son of God. Only in Jesus Christ can we find the highest display of masculine virtue and strength that we need in our personal lives and in society itself. What was visible in Christ’s earthly life leads to the invisible mystery of his divine Sonship and redemptive mission. The Father sent his Son to reveal what it means to be a man, and the fullness of this revelation becomes evident on the Cross. He tells us that it was for this reason that He came into the world, that it is his earnest desire to give himself totally to us.8 Herein lies the fullness of masculinity; each Catholic man must be prepared to give himself completely, to charge into the breach, to engage in spiritual combat, to defend women, children, and others against the wickedness and snares of the devil!

Looking to what the secular world holds up as “manly” is in fact to look at shadows – or even at outright counterfeits – of masculinity. No athlete, no matter how many awards; no political leader, no matter the power he wields; no performer, business man, or celebrity, no matter how much adored; no physical attribute or muscle mass; no intelligence or talent; no prizes or achievements can bestow masculinity on a man. The idolatry of celebrities at this time is a particular temptation, but to build one’s masculine identity on such fleeting models is to build an identity on sand. My Catholic sons and brothers, we can only build a certain foundation for masculinity on the rock, Jesus Christ. We look to our Savior to be transformed in Him, to be the men we are called to be, and to let others see Him in us.

Yet we do not merely look to Jesus. We truly encounter Christ at Mass when we receive the very gift of Himself in the Eucharist. For this reason, I call upon my brother priests to awaken the sense of transcendence in the hearts of men through reverent and beautiful liturgy, helping men to rediscover Jesus in the Eucharist each and every Sunday. I ask my brother priests to teach the faithful about the powerful truth of the liturgy, especially in ways to which men can relate. Teaching men to understand the fullness and power of the Mass must be a top priority. What a joy it is for men of God when they are led by priests who have a confident sense of their own masculinity, their call to participate in Christ’s spousal love, and their generous, life-giving fatherhood!

Saints, our Heroes of Faith

This is what our forefathers, the saints, have done for two millennia. As the Gospel reveals the reality of masculinity, we can also find it lived out in the heroic witness of the saints.

Saints are a kind of continuation of the Gospels and so give us examples of the varied paths of holiness. Thus, as Jesus shows us the perfection of masculinity, so we can also find it lived by the saints who were led by Christ. Just as an aspiring baseball player is inspired at the Baseball Hall of Fame, so must we men look to those who have gone before us, to look to them for inspiration and encouragement in fighting the good fight.

Think of the varied skills and talents of baseball players. A young person may dream to hit like Babe Ruth, catch and throw like Willie Mays, have the agility of Henry Aaron, the consistency and hard work of Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson. Young pitchers would dream of pitching like Cy Young and Randy Johnson. As they see each of these players play the game in different ways, they are inspired to a love of baseball.
Yet far greater than a ball game is what Catholic men seek. We look to the saints as to heroes, striving to live like Christ, united to Him and learning from Him at the same time. In a dramatic way to which we can relate, the saint’s life says Ecce homo!, “Here is the man!” This is what St. Paul implies when he writes, “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Each man should make a decision to have a patron Saint. While there are many more, I offer the names of ten saints with whom each and every Catholic man should become familiar. Next to each saint’s name is is listed the virtue with which he is associated, as well as the sin which opposes that virtue. When we identify our sin and the needed virtue, we can identify which saint’s intercession will be particularly helpful:

- St. Joseph (Trust in God – selfishness)
- St. John the Baptist (Humility – arrogance)
- St. Paul (Adherence to Truth – mediocrity)
- St. Michael the Archangel (Obedience to God – licentiousness and rebelliousness)
- St. Benedict (Prayer and Devotion to God – sloth)
- St. Francis of Assisi (Happiness – moralism)
- St. Thomas More (Integrity – double-mindedness)
- Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (Chastity – lust)
- St. Josemaría Escrivá (Boldness – worldly fear)
- Pope St. John Paul II (Defending the Weak – passivity)

We don’t even need to look to the distant past to find heroes of the faith. We witnessed St. John Paul II forgive his would-be assassin, and after recovering his health, continue tirelessly to call the world to “open wide the doors to Christ.”9 Time and again, he exhorted us, “Be not afraid!” Today in parts of the world where persecution rages, we are seeing courageous witnesses of truth in the recent martyrs of Syria, Nigeria, Iraq, and other war-torn countries. We remember our twenty-one Coptic brothers who, just this past winter, were beheaded on a beach in Egypt, and as Pope Francis noted, “only because they confessed Christ.”10

Men, we must never believe that holiness and courage are things of the past! You and I are called to a holiness that shows Christ to the world as our forefathers have done countless times throughout history, following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, in this time of evil’s growing boldness, each man must prepare himself for nothing less than martyrdom, whatever form this may take, and to instill in his children and grandchildren the willingness to do the same.

Will the Lord not continue to inspire men? Of course He will, and He continues to do so! Our concern is not if the Lord will give us the required strength, but how He is doing so right now. How is His Spirit moving us to rise up and reject passivity in a culture of fatherlessness? How is He now giving us interior strength in a culture of pornography? How is He now inspiring us to look beyond ourselves and our technology to the peripheries where Christ is needed? How is the Lord inspiring you and me, right now, to cast aside concerns for our own comfort, to serve our fellow man, to put out into the deep, to step into the breach?
I strongly encourage your familiarity with the lives of the saints. Just as a young baseball player would lack much having never studied the greats enshrined in Cooperstown, so we lack much if we are ignorant of the saints who have preceded us to the infinitely more glorious Halls of Heaven.
The Catholic Man’s Identity
I wish now to speak to you about our identity in Christ. Most of the holy men I mentioned above lived in times quite different than our own. They had different challenges and different callings, but all had one thing in common: Jesus Christ, who gave them their true identity! Here we recall the wisdom of the Second Vatican Council: “Jesus Christ reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear.”11
In subtle ways, we are tempted to look elsewhere for our identity. The opinions of others, the success of our careers, the number of possessions, toys, sports, hobbies, clothing, tattoos, homes, and cars – these are all ways that tempt us to label or identify ourselves in ways outside of Christ. While some of these must be a part of life to an extent, they are not the core of our being. Having been purchased by the blood of the Lamb, “our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20). The world cannot possibly give us our true identity; “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8). We must be aware of being distracted by false identities and remain grounded in Jesus Christ.

Simply put, our identity is caught up in the identity of the eternal Son of God. It is received at our baptism as it was clearly exclaimed at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River: “You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). When we speak of conversion, we are speaking about an acceptance of and growth into this identity. When we speak about sin, we are speaking of all that takes us away from our identity as beloved sons of the Father. Since this is our identity – being beloved sons of God the Father – is it surprising that the devil is waging a fierce battle on masculinity and fatherhood in our day? The process of Christian conversion includes coming to know God’s love and experiencing brotherhood with Christ who deepens our identity as sons of the Father in the Holy Spirit. This is our lifelong goal and our spiritual battle.

Beloved and Free Sons, Called to the Battle Within

Let us look to John the Apostle and Beloved Disciple for insights into this battle. In his first Letter to the Church, St. John speaks of the three-fold temptation faced by all of us: temptations to the passions of the flesh, to possessiveness, and to pride (1 John 2: 16-17). Are not all sins tied to these three temptations? John puts his finger on the battles that each of us must fight within ourselves. In fact, Christ fights specifically against these temptations during His encounter with Satan in the desert (Matthew 4), and then gives us instruction in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) on how we are to fight against them.
Turning away from the passions of the flesh, Jesus rejected Satan’s offering of bread in the desert, and in the Sermon on the Mount, twice He instructs us to fast (Matthew 6:16). Notice that the Lord does not say “if you fast” but rather “when you fast.” Fasting is training in self-knowledge, a key weapon for mastery over oneself. If we do not have dominion over our passions, especially those for food and sex, we cannot possess ourselves and put the interests of others in front of our own.

Tempting Jesus to possessiveness, Satan offered Him “all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them” (Matthew 4:8), but once again, Jesus refused. This shows us that Christ calls us to freedom from the temptation to gain the world at the cost of our souls. Often, Satan tempts not through persons but through objects like a car, a house, or the latest high-speed technologies. There is no shortage of messages that tempt us to grasp for happiness through possessions. We recall how the Rich Young Man left his encounter with Jesus as “sad” because “he had many possessions” (Luke 18:23). Pope Francis reminds us, “The emptier the person’s heart is, the more he or she needs to buy, own, and consume.”12 With Jesus, we are called to seek out, not to “settle for,” a simplicity of life which frees us for our mission in Christ.

In Satan’s third attack upon Jesus in the desert, the Lord was tempted to pride. Satan enticed our Lord to use his power for selfish purposes, but Jesus rejected this cross-less glory and chose the path of humility. In the Sermon on the Mount, He exhorts us to humility not once but twice when He repeats, “when you pray” (Matthew 6:5). Indeed, the greatest protection from pride and self-reliance is turning humbly to God in prayer. The new technologies of social media where we can constantly display and discuss ourselves can lead to a type of idolatry that consumes us. Honest prayer will keep us grounded and help us to avoid this temptation.

Men, this need for pastors to challenge men to the battle within, to the richness of a committed interior life with God, is nothing new. Listen to the words of St. John Paul II, when as Archbishop of Krakow he spoke to college students in 1962:

“We are quite ready to take, or conquer, in terms of enjoyment, profit, gain and success--and even in the moral order. Then comes the question of giving, and at this point we hang back, because we are not prepared to give. The element which is so characteristic under other forms in the spiritual portrait of women is barely perceptible in men. . . . We have a tendency toward the Nicodemus type of religious attitude, toward the type of devotion which is characterized maybe only by superficial discretion but very often also by fear of what others might think. . . . This male Catholicism is not interior and deep enough; the male believer does not have a true interior life. . . . we men do not have a deep enough interior life.”
The human being is a creature, and therefore in relation to God a receiver of love and courage before he or she can give it away to others. Nemo potest dare quod non habet is the famous term the Church developed in Latin for this fundamental truth. You cannot give what you do not have. Mary our Mother, the great Receiver of God’s love in her very body is the model for us as Catholics, but not only Mary—every great Saint, that is, great lover in the history of our Church. There is no shortcut to holiness, to being the great Catholic men we are called to be. There is no short-cut past the age-old interior fight that each of us must engage!

As we develop in receiving God’s love and mercy in prayer and sacrament, the Lord gives us sure weapons in the “good fight” St. Paul names when he writes:

Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace. In all circumstances hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:11-17)

We may be tempted to say, “When I get this three-fold battle behind me, I can start living the life of holiness,” but this is a lie! It is precisely in the course of this fight that we become holy. As Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati said, “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth – that is not living, but existing.” Are you and I merely existing? Or are we living our Christian faith as men fully alive? Recall the famous words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “You were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.” Any greatness that we might merit as Catholic men depends upon this fight for holiness. It is the same fight Jesus Christ fought in the desert and the same fight our Christian forefathers fought in order to hand down the faith. Woe to us if we do not pick up the weapons of the Spirit – offered to us freely – and accept them bravely and gratefully! Courage, confidence, and humble reliance on God’s infinite resources are called for here as we engage. Forward! Into the breach!

The Practices of a Committed Catholic Man

Given these reflections on Catholic manhood, we move to the practical, that is, how to live like a Catholic man. What practices can help us to take up our cross and follow our King?

If we think of soldiers who do not remain in strong physical and mental shape and who fail to practice the essential combat arts, we know they will not be ready for battle and will be a danger to themselves and their comrades in arms. The same is true for Catholic men; those who do not prepare and strengthen themselves for spiritual combat are incapable of filling the breach for Christ.

While there are many habits and devotions that a Catholic man can form, I charge you with keeping these seven basic practices on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If these practices are not (yet) part of your life, start now!

DAILY

1. Pray every day. Each Catholic man must start his day with prayer. It is said, “Until you realize that prayer is the most important thing in life, you will never have time for prayer.” Without prayer, a man is like a soldier who lacks food, water, and ammunition. Set aside some time to speak with God first thing each morning. Pray the three prayers essential to the Catholic faith: the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. Pray also at every meal. Before food or drink touches your lips, make the Sign of the Cross, say the “Bless us, O Lord” prayer, and end with the Sign of the Cross. Do this no matter where you are, with whom or how much you are eating. Never be shy or ashamed about praying over meals. Never deny Christ the gratitude that is due to Him. Praying as a Catholic man before every meal is a simple but powerful way to keep strong and fill the breach.

2. Examine your conscience before going to sleep. Take a few moments to review the day, including both your blessings and sins. Give God thanks for blessings and ask forgiveness for sins. Say an Act of Contrition.

3. Go to Mass. Despite the fact that attending weekly Mass is a Precept of the Church, only about one in three Catholic men attend Sunday Mass. For large numbers of Catholic men, their neglect to attend Mass is a grave sin, a sin that puts them in mortal danger.

The Mass is a refuge in the Spiritual Battle, where Catholic men meet their King, hear His commands, and become strengthened with the Bread of Life. Every Mass is a miracle where Jesus Christ is fully present, a miracle that is the high point not only of the week, but of our entire lives on Earth. In the Mass, a man gives thanks to God for his many blessings and hears Christ send him again into the world to build the Kingdom of God. Fathers who lead their children to Mass are helping in a very real way to ensure their eternal salvation.

4. Read the Bible. As St. Jerome so clearly tells us, “Ignorance of the Sacred Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” When we read God’s word, Jesus is present. Married men, read with your wife and your children. If a man’s children see him read the Scriptures, they are more likely to remain in the Faith. My brothers in Christ, this I can assure you: men who read the Bible grow in grace, wisdom, and peace.

5. Keep the Sabbath. From the creation of Adam and Eve, God the Father established a weekly cycle ending with the Sabbath. He gave us the Sabbath to ensure that one day out of seven we will give thanks to God, rest, and be refreshed. In the Ten Commandments, God asserts anew the importance of keeping the Sabbath.

With today’s constant barrage of buying and selling and the cacophony of noisy media, the Sabbath is God’s respite from the storm. As Catholic men, you must begin, or deepen, keeping the holiness of the Sabbath. If you are married, you must lead your wives and children to do the same. Dedicate the day to rest and true recreation, and avoid work that is not necessary. Spend time with family, attend Mass, and enjoy the gift of the day.

MONTHLY

6. Go to Confession. At the very start of Christ’s public ministry, Jesus calls on all men to repent. Without repentance from sin, there can be no healing or forgiveness, and there will be no Heaven. Large numbers of Catholic men are in grave mortal danger, particularly given the epidemic levels of pornography consumption and the sin of masturbation. My brothers, get to Confession now! Our Lord Jesus Christ is a merciful King who will forgive those who humbly confess their sins. He will not forgive those who refuse. Open your soul to the gift of our Lord’s mercy!

7. Build fraternity with other Catholic men. Catholic friendship among men has a dramatic impact on their faith lives. Men who have bonds of brotherhood with other Catholic men pray more, go to Mass and Confession more frequently, read the Scriptures more often, and are more active in the Faith.
Proverbs tells us: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (27:17). I call on each of our priests and deacons to draw men together in their parishes and to begin to rebuild a vibrant and transforming Catholic fraternity. I call on laymen to form small fellowship groups for mutual support and growth in the faith. There is no friendship like having a friend in Christ.

Question 2: How does a Catholic man love?

Now let us consider masculine love. This is not easy to do because the word love has almost lost its meaning in today’s society. It is a word that men have even become uncomfortable using. Why is this? What does the word now imply? A mere feeling? Something passing? A four-letter word useful for marketing and greeting cards but for little else?

Christ makes clear that central to His mission is love. “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12) He says with passion, but without a hint of sentimentality. All of our Lord’s teachings boil down to this command. Love is not a side-job; it is the mission itself. Yet, we can only love as we are created, and therefore, we can only love as men. So, how do men love?

For decades now, a model for manhood has been fashioned in the fictional British spy character named James Bond. Various actors have taken turns portraying this man who, in several adventures, has proposed what it means to be “manly,” yet Bond remains an enigma. Like the women that he uses in the films, the ones who watch him find themselves wanting to know him. He is never a father, nor does he accept responsibility for or love one woman. In him, we see a man whose relationships are shallow and purely utilitarian. Indeed, “James Bond is a male character whose name is the height of irony. He is 40 years old and has no bonds. He is actually pathetic.”13

How different this is from Jesus Christ! Is there fear in Him? Not in the least! Who is more of a man, the one who runs away or the one who can face the responsibilities and challenges of relationships, family, and intimacy? Could a man fearful of self-gift be a true disciple of Christ? In fact, can such a man love at all?

James Bond’s name is the height of irony because he is a man with no bonds. Yet true masculine love will always build bonds! On the Cross and through the Eucharist, Jesus gives his very blood to bind us to Himself in love. At the Last Supper, offering us the Eucharist, His prayer to the Father is “that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:11). As He proclaims, His committed, binding love will “draw all men to himself” (John 12:32). In its Latin root, the word religion implies “binding together.” Thus, it is no wonder that in a culture of broken bonds, so fearful of commitment, we often hear, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” Satan is also “spiritual, but not religious”! A man who lives life without a single, self-giving bond in his life deserves our pity, not our admiration.

In this context, I must mention what is called machismo and call Catholic men to rise above this tendency. The display of machismo attempts to seek safety in an image of toughness and emotionless living. However, it is merely a thin outer mask covering a deep inner fear of true bonds with others, bonds that come with true relationship and make one’s life rich and meaningful. Behind the mask, as any mature person can see, is a man stuck in adolescent fear of vulnerability. In most cases, he has himself been badly hurt and is repeating a cycle learned in childhood.

Instead, the true love of Christ is centered on willing the good of the other, on pouring oneself out in charity for others. This is how the Son reveals the Father’s love: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you…This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15: 9, 12). In Christ, we see that sacrifice is at the heart of love. Only the man who has fought the interior battle of self-mastery against sterility, the man who lays down his life for others, can avoid stagnancy and self-absorption. Never doubt that this sacrifice is worth the suffering! Our Lord encourages men in saying, “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Three Masculine Loves: Friend, Husband, Father

1. A Friend in Christ – Bands of Brothers

At the very inception of his ministry here on earth, Jesus called other men to join Him. What was He teaching us here? We see that Jesus called His disciples to Himself in such a way that they would form deep bonds of friendship and brotherhood. At the last supper, He specifically said to them, “No longer do I call you servants. For the servant does not know what the Master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). This friendship with God is possible, a true brotherhood with Jesus, because we have the same Father. Do you, my sons, have true brothers in Christ in your life?

Throughout all of history, including the history of Christianity, important movements were spurred on by bands of brothers, friends in Christ. The Early Church Fathers St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil were great friends and co-workers in the defense of Christ as they stood for the truth and defeated early heresies threatening the Church. St. Benedict and his monastic companions established communities of men that preserved and furthered Western culture in the face of barbarian destruction. This veritable fortress protecting truth, goodness, and beauty was built upon the stable and rich life of Christian brotherhood and friendship. St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic each started bands of brothers in service to the poor and in defense of the truth. The early founders of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, influenced countless other men, brought about great renewal in the Church, and evangelized to the furthest reaches of the world. In the 20th century, we see the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and their brother “Inklings” as indispensable in the growth and flourishing of their own literary and apologetic gifts.

What is friendship? Who is a friend? The Scriptures tell us, “A friend is a friend at all times, and a brother is born for the time of adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). I am convinced that if men will seek true brotherhood, the adversities we face today will solidify bands of brothers who will be lauded in Heaven!

Therefore, men, ask yourself: what are your friends like? Do you have friends with whom you share the mission of holiness? Often young men will go to the seminary and discover the difference made by Christ-centered friendships, and their lives are transformed. This friendship is not limited to religious orders and priests. The renewal of masculinity cannot happen without banding together as brothers and true friends. In my own life, ever since my first year as a priest, I have been richly blessed by brother priests in the Jesus Caritas Fraternity.14 Their commitment to Eucharistic adoration and simplicity of life, their fidelity to Christ in celibacy and daily prayer, their fraternal love, wise counsel, and encouragement have richly influenced and inspired me to persevere in my own mission in Christ. It has been a joy to see how fraternity in our diocese has grown and flourished through your participation in our Men’s Conferences, Knights of Columbus, That Man is You, Cursillo Movement, and other such groups and events. There is room to grow, of course, but already the fruits of the Spirit are evident among these Catholic brothers and friends.
Conversely, we have seen what happens when men, young and old, do not form or sustain healthy friendships. Many, looking in the wrong places, find themselves in the false brotherhood of gangs, or without brotherhood at all, isolated and alone, and lacking these critical formative experiences of accountability and the trusted fellowship that only true friendship provides.

Studies have shown that many men today are living friendless lives.15 This has its effect on marriages where men have no emotional support apart from their wives, as well as on children, who should see true friends in the lives of their parents but often do not. What a blessing to have the presence of good faithful friends to provide the encouragement and accountability we need to be free! Indeed, as the Scriptures tell us, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man must sharpen another” (Proverbs 27:17).

2. Man as Husband – the Purpose of Masculine Erotic Love

Next, let us seek to understand more deeply man’s calling to spousal love. Every man is made to live as a husband and a father in some way: “God assigns the dignity of every woman as a task to every man.”16 Each man is called to commit and give of himself completely. For most men, this call is marriage while for others, this call is to the priesthood or to some other sincere and total self-gift in God’s service. Yet, in our day, such commitment is often seen as settling for something conventional, even boring; something that limits freedom or threatens love. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Instead, I remind you of the words of St. Josemaría Escrivá: “[T]here is a need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and nullify the savage work of those who think man is a beast. And that crusade is your work.”17

Preparation for this sincere and complete spousal gift coincides with a man’s growth into masculinity. The “single years” of a young man’s life are for this formation, not a time of mere passive waiting, much less indulgence of sin. “Youth was not made for pleasure, but for heroism,” says Paul Claudel, the great French Catholic playwright. I urge you, young men, to prepare for marriage even before you meet your (future) bride. Such training in sacrifice is to love your bride before you meet her, so that you may one day say, “Before I knew you, I was faithful to you.”

Through spousal love, men live out a strength that endures, a strength for which the world longs, and a strength that will stabilize a crumbling society. True, this love is not free from periods of difficulties and suffering. No vocation is! However, with St. Paul, we “consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed” (Romans 8:18). There is glory in man’s calling to be a husband.

When the great St. John Paul II spoke of a “spousal meaning of the body,” he implied that we men are all called in some way to spousal love.18 That is, a committed love, a love that gives life, seeking the good of those to whom the man has committed. When a man is called to spousal love in marriage and family life, the priesthood, or some consecration to the Lord, he is called to a great and meaningful life. Indeed if we run from this battle because of its challenges, we will be left empty. Those who arrive at the judgment seat of God, after this life, without the scars of a sacrificing husband, will “hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us.”19

Let me now speak specifically to men called to conjugal love in marriage. This is a calling to the dignity and beauty of that union that is symbolic of Christ’s spousal love for the Church. St Paul explains this relationship in his instruction to husbands, saying

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5: 25-32)

Marriage in Christ is not merely a human endeavor. It is higher; it is a “great mystery.” The human desire for love is, in a way, a longing for infinite and eternal love. In the Sacrament of Marriage, human love is caught up in the infinite and eternal love of God.20 This is the glory, men! Called to marriage, you are called to be as Christ to your bride. Because this love unites you and your spouse sacramentally with the infinite love that Christ has for each of you, your sacramental marriage overcomes the limits of natural marriage and achieves the infinite and eternal character to which every love aspires.

Here we come to the epicenter of the masculine battle in our time, the nexus of life and love that is God’s gift of sexuality. The need to develop chastity in your life, my sons, cannot be emphasized enough.
While much of our culture may not fully understand or encourage this commitment, the grandeur of spousal love to which we are called, we should in no way be discouraged. Rather, consider how blessed we are to be called to proclaim this truth in a time when it is most needed. In doing so, you radiate the light of Christ in an area of society so darkened by what has always threatened spousal love. Our Catechism names them clearly: “discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation… self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure.”21 We could add here the use of pornography, always toxic to both the participants and the observers, and the consumptive “hook-up” subculture that removes sexual encounters entirely from the spousal relationship.

How did it come about that a culture so steadfast in supporting marriage and spousal commitment two generations ago became a culture that has reduced sexuality to mere pleasure and self-serving ends? The answer is the Sexual Revolution. For many, the Sexual Revolution promised “free love” and liberty from the shackles of old ideas about masculinity and femininity. What resulted was the separation of sexuality from the commitments of marriage and a widespread option for sterility (chemical and surgical sterilizations), amounting to a denial of what is most essentially masculine and feminine in the person. Worse, the Sexual Revolution ushered in the scourge of abortion, pornography, and sexual abuse so rampant in recent decades. Instead of real and authentic love, this false “liberty” offers cheap pleasures that mask a deeper loneliness and pain. Instead of the security of traditional family bonds, it leaves children longing for the stability of a mother’s and a father’s love. Instead of the freedom that comes with accepting the truth of God’s design for human love between a man and woman, the Sexual Revolution has arrogantly rebelled against human nature, a nature that will never thrive in confusion and lack of self-control. Indeed, the “love” promised by the Sexual Revolution has never been found. In its wake is wreckage, countless broken hearts bound by fear of more pain, broken lives, broken homes, broken dreams and broken belief that love is even possible. This is the rotten fruit of the Sexual Revolution.

It stands to reason that if love is our deepest desire and longing, destroying love will cause us the most pain, the deepest wounds. Thus, where do we start? Where do we begin to rebuild? What do we repair first?

My sons and brothers, we must begin with ourselves.

If I may return to the analogy of the athlete, we see that no champion achieves greatness without discipline in practice or without training to pursue greatness in his sport. He must be a master of himself; he must possess self-mastery. For the man called to live conjugal love, this self-mastery finds its culmination in the virtue of chastity. We need to see masculine chastity for what it is, whereas too often, this virtue is seen in negative light, as something weak. Nothing could be more false! Chastity is strength and a rejection of slavery to the passions. Christians have always believed that chastity, whether in marriage or celibacy, is a freedom from the enslavement to sin and our passions.

To understand chastity, we must understand God: “God is love and in Himself He lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in His own image… God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion.”22 The love we live as men is a participation in and a demonstration of God’s love. As equal sharers in dignity, women, of course, also demonstrate God’s love, and yet there is a difference in how we do so. For both men and women, “Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.”23 The virtue of chastity is the…
“…integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.”24

Chastity allows us to master and properly live out this calling to be men of authentic communion.
Here, let me recall Jesus’ crucial words regarding “everyone who looks at a woman lustfully”; he has “already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). This leads me to call specific attention to those acts that are (wrongly) considered “normal” and even encouraged for men in today’s culture. Here I am speaking of pornography and masturbation. The damaging effects of these hidden and narcissistic habits train the man in a direction that is the exact opposite of love. He learns nothing more than to use others. Instead of life-giving and self-emptying love, he learns to settle for self-absorbed, sterile pleasures. Recall again Jesus’ words: You have heard it said ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out, and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30)

With these prophetic words, Jesus foresees modern pornography that feeds the lust of the eyes. He uses hyperbole, strong words, for men to gouge out their eye and cut off their hand in order to drive home that urgent action is needed. Pornography not only leaves a man in danger of Hell, but it also destroys the bonds with his spouse, a destruction wrought like adultery. In other words, think of pornography as just as serious and no less grave than adultery. To attempt to love another person while engaging in this practiced narcissism, without being transformed by mercy, will surely bring grave harm.

When battling pornographic temptations, it is important to consider honestly the factors surrounding the temptation. For most men, these include loneliness, boredom, anger, insecurity, and stress. Simply understanding the context of a temptation prompts us to invite God to send His grace to begin to overcome the devil’s tactics. The Sacrament of Confession is the place of superabundant grace and support. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). This is not a promise merely to be attained in Heaven! This promise is to begin for us now, in our everyday lives. The saints attest to this truth. Through building purity of heart, men, you will not only see God in the women in your lives but also in yourselves, also the “image of God”! Even if the darkness seems insurmountable, Christ never abandons us. As a priest, I treasure the honest encounter in confession with those who want the Lord’s healing. It is a blessing to work with men in the fight to turn the tide from false to real love.

Imagine with me how different our world would be for our wives, sisters, and daughters if men lived this interior strength of chastity. In our time, we hear of such high rates of sexual assaults in our society, especially on college campuses. Is this not a time for a renewal of masculine chastity? Is this not a time for men to build up the virtue of temperance through fasting and prayer amidst brothers? Is this not a time to consider more deeply St. John Paul II’s proclamation that the “dignity of every woman is a task given to every man?”

Masculine chastity is a “long and exacting work” that we should be proud to undertake!25 Imagine standing before the throne of God on judgment day, where the great saints of ages past, who themselves dealt with preeminent sins in their own day, will say to each other, “We dealt with the trouble of lust in our day, but those 21st century men! These happy few battled the beast up close!” We can help each other and other men around us to strive for self-mastery, as this is best addressed among brothers. I encourage you to put aside your fears and insecurities, those that keep you from engaging head on in the fight for chastity. Christ wants to help men be formed after His own heart in each confessional of the Church and at each Mass where the power of His Blood poured out on the Cross offered in Holy Communion.

3. Fatherhood is Essential

Fatherhood changes history. In the Gospel according to Matthew, where “Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…” forty-two (42) fathers lead up to Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus. In the words of St. John Paul II, fatherhood is essential to the flourishing of the world:

In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God (cf. Eph 3:15), a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family: he will perform this task by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife (cf. Gaudium et spes, 52), by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church.26

All men are called to fatherhood in some way: Becoming mothers and fathers really means to be fully realized, because it is to become similar to God. This is not said in the newspapers, it does not appear, but it is the truth of love. Becoming dad and mom makes us more like God…you are called to remind everyone that all the baptized, even though in a different way, are called to be a father or mother.27
Like masculinity itself, perhaps fatherhood has never been a widely-pondered topic among the philosophers because it has always been presumed, its meaning fairly obvious. This is no longer true. In his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, St. John Paul II writes of the attack on fatherhood in modern society: “This is truly the key for interpreting reality […] original sin, then, attempts to abolish fatherhood.”28 The great pontiff of the family points to our first parents’ original act of disobedience, which cost them and us our original innocence and freedom from bodily death, and in original sin, we find a primordial rebellion against God’s fatherhood, a desire to remove fatherhood itself. This is our enemy’s underlying plan: to remove our reliance on God, the benevolent Father. To do this, Satan’s primary strategy is to damage and abolish human fatherhood, in the man and relationship where each of us first glimpses what God’s fatherhood might be like.

Today’s attack on fatherhood, and by extension, motherhood, is multi-pronged and breathtakingly damaging. 41% of children are born into unmarried homes in our day, an increase of 700% from 1950, when the out-of-wedlock birthrate was a mere 6%. These children are not fatherless because of some sweeping physical conflict, like World War II, which caused many wounds of fatherlessness, but rather because, far worse, fathers’ own willed absence is happening on a massive scale. It is not hard to see how men’s fears of fatherhood find a legion of support in today’s culture of self, encouraging men to flee from this beautiful gift in pursuit of their own desires. The child is forced to ask the question: “Where is my Daddy?” What then is the impact on a child’s heart, on his or her understanding of the world, of love, and of the Heavenly Father, when the answer to this question is “He left us,” or “I don’t know,” or “From the sperm bank, and he left no contact address”?


Catholic men also contribute far too regularly to this same scandal that devastates the heart of a child and makes too many women in our culture live as if they were widows! The ache of the fatherless child’s heart cries out to Heaven: “He will not ignore the supplication of the fatherless, nor the widow when she pours out her story…and the Lord will not delay, neither will He be patient with them, till He crushes the loins of the unmerciful and repays vengeance on the nations” (Sirach 35:14, 18). Why do the widows and the fatherless cry out? They have lost their protectors and providers! There is an unnatural void of the one called upon by God “to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family.”29 It is because of this loss, this void caused by men’s absence, that we have always naturally, traditionally, lamented fatherlessness.

There are those in our culture today, however, who do not want us to see fatherlessness as unnatural or lamentable. Do not be fooled by those voices wishing to erase all distinctions between mothers and fathers, ignoring the complementarity that is inherent in creation itself. Men, your presence and mission in the family is irreplaceable! Step up and lovingly, patiently take up your God-given role as protector, provider, and spiritual leader of your home. A father’s role as spiritual head of the family must never be understood or undertaken as domination over others, but only as a loving leadership and a gentle guidance for those in your care. Your fatherhood, my fatherhood, in its hidden, humble way, reflects imperfectly but surely the Fatherhood of God, the Father to those whom the Lord has given us to father. What does it mean to “father”? In a reflection on fatherhood, Pope Francis explains: “When a man does not have this desire [for fatherhood], something is missing in this man. Something is wrong. All of us, to exist, to become complete, in order to be mature, we need to feel the joy of fatherhood: even those of us who are celibate. Fatherhood is giving life to others, giving life, giving life.”30 This is why fatherhood – living out one’s vocation to fatherhood, whether that fatherhood is bound up in physical marriage or spiritual marriage in the priesthood or religious life – is absolutely essential for a man to live out the fullness of his meaning in life. We speak of the Church Fathers, the Desert Fathers, our pope as Holy Father, and, for good reason, our priests as “Father”.

To fully live, all men must be fathers and live out their fatherhood! We cannot “become like God,” my sons and brothers, without this understanding and this movement of the heart followed by decisive action. If you do not embrace the spousal and fatherly vocation God has planned for you, you will be stuck in the impotence of the “seed” that refuses to die and refuses to give life. Don’t settle for this half-life! The question for every man is not, “Am I called to be a father?” but rather, “What kind of father am I called to be?”

Grandfathers, You Are of Great Importance

I wish to speak a word to you who are grandfathers. Few cultures have ever expected less and shown such indifference to those like you who have battled and who have tested wisdom to offer their children and grandchildren. The world tells you that your time of influence is at an end and that it is time to retire, that is, to resign your post of fatherhood. Don’t believe it! Grandfathers matter greatly.

I have the privilege of being named after my grandfathers: Thomas Tighe Olmsted and P. James Hughes. Each in his own way fathered me alongside my own Dad. Grandpa Jim drew upon his Catholic faith to face with dignity and hope the early death of his wife, my grandmother, from cancer. Without giving into despair or self-pity, he struggled mightily to keep the family of six together and to provide for the children – the youngest of whom was my mother – during the very difficult years of the Great Depression. The memories I treasure most about Grandpa Jim were of his peaceful spirit, his Irish humor, and his sincere devotion to the Church. Grandpa Tom had an even greater impact on my life, even though he was never baptized. Beside him, I learned to care for walnut trees and watermelons, pumpkins and squash, horses and cattle, chickens and hogs. Amidst the many activities needed to make a living on our farm, I learned from Grandpa Tom and my Dad the importance of being a good neighbor, of telling the truth no matter the cost, and of having a deep respect for “Mother Nature.” When I was ordained a priest, I chose a biblical saying for my First Mass card, one that captured what I had learned from my grandfathers: “This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Grandfathers, you are an essential and treasured gift to your families, and I encourage you to continue to be strong for them, to share your wisdom with them, and to fight for them. Remember Jesus’ earthly grandfather, St. Joachim, who lived a life faithful to God. In his advanced years, God the Father blessed St. Joachim and his wife, St. Anne, with the great gift of Mary, our Blessed Mother. Let every grandfather be reminded that even when the routine of daily life may appear to be insignificant, we never know what great plans God has for the last years of our lives.

Hope in the Shadows of Lost Fatherhood

I would now like to say a special word to those of you, my sons, who have suffered the absence of your own father. There are many reasons why men abandon their responsibilities, or even if they remain, stay distant, as a result of the lack of positive experience of fatherhood in their own lives. This wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly fatherlessness is never God’s plan. Do not give in to discouragement, however, and do not lose hope. The Church is always called to reveal God the Father. Allow Christ to show you the Father who never abandons his children, but rather offers his only begotten Son. If you have not already done so, allow Christ to guide you in order to see your father as He sees him. Jesus will not leave you without the grace necessary to forgive and heal your father. This may happen in conjunction with the graces offered to you through your spiritual fathers, your priests, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through your discovery of the Fatherhood of God, our loving, eternal Father, you will be witnesses to the only fatherhood that never fails.31

Finally, I want to offer a special word for those men who know that they have failed in their fatherhood. This is true to a greater or lesser degree in each and every one of us. This can happen through addiction, abandonment, marital conflict, emotional and spiritual detachment, failing to guide the family in faith, abortion, physical and/or emotional abuse, or the countless ways that we obscure the image of God as the loving Father. I stand with you as an imperfect father, asking God the Father to make up for the ways that we fail in this greatest of masculine missions. It is important to acknowledge the enemy’s tactics; Satan will attempt to drag us down into a despair that can lead us to abandon our fatherhood even further because of our sins. Yet we must never give up, my sons! Pray and be renewed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Christ strengthens us through Confession and the Holy Eucharist to spend ourselves in rebuilding fatherhood in whatever way possible.

Conclusion: Sent Forth by Christ

The best friend of St. Gregory Nazianzen was St. Basil. When, as young men in their early 20s, their personal search for a deeper understanding of the Christian faith led them by separate paths to Constantinople, they soon developed a deep respect for one another. St. Gregory’s description of this friendship is hopeful: “…if this is not too much for me to say, we were a rule and standard for each by which we learned the distinction between what was right and what was not.”32 Their friendship inspired each to grow in virtue and freedom, to be less concerned for self and more eager to place his life at the service of others. I hope that each man reading this Exhortation will experience, if he has not already done so, the blessing of good friendships like the ones between the saints. I cannot imagine what my own life would be like without the good friends God has given me.

I hope, too, that you will take what is helpful in my message, bring it to the Lord in prayer, and go forward confidently in your vocation as men. Our life in Christ is not one of “do’s and don’ts,” but an adventure in authentic freedom. Embrace that freedom in order to place your life at the service of Christ, beginning in your home and radiating into the world.

Where is the Faith of our Fathers now?

As I write this exhortation, videos are being released documenting the barbaric practice of selling baby body parts by Planned Parenthood. Since this infamous agency receives around half a billion dollars each year from the U.S. Government, funds to carry on their slaughter of innocents, no American citizen, and certainly no man, can remain silent about this travesty of our times. We need to get off the sidelines and stand up for life on the front lines. We need faith like that of our fathers who defended the children of previous generations and who gave up their own lives rather than abandon their faith in Christ. My sons and brothers, men of the Diocese of Phoenix, we need you to step into the breach!

The Catholic martyrs of England inspired Frederick W. Faber to write the hymn “Faith of our Fathers” in AD 1849. As Faber paid tribute to the men who refused to deny Christ “in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword,” he also issued a call to arms for the men of succeeding generations. Join me in praying that we, men of the 21st century, will make the words of this verse our own:

“Our Fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free:
How sweet would be their children’s fate,
If they, like them, could die for Thee!
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.”


Promulgated on the Feast of the Archangels, September 29, 2015
+Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix


1 Center for Applied Research into the Apostolate. Frequently Requested Church Statistics, 2014
2 Pope St. John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, 3, 5
3 Interview, September 19, 2013
5 Homily, June 14, 2015
6 Gaudium et spes, 32
7 Gaudium et spes, 32.
8 General Audience, April 15, 2015
9 Opening mass, October 22, 1978
10 February 2015
11 Gaudium et spes, 22
12 Laudato Si, 204
13 Dr. Paul Vitz, Lecture, February 21, 2015
14 See Appendix for description and call to form these groups among laymen. 15 Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30038995
15 Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30038995
16 Pope St. John Paul II, Catechesis on Human Love, 100:6
17 St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Way
18 Pope St. John Paul II, Catechesis on Human Love, 14:5
19 Shakespeare, Henry V.iv.3
20 Gaudium et spes, 48
21 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1606
22 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2331
23 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2332
24 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2337
25 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2342
26 Pope St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 25
27 Pope Francis, Address, June 15, 2015
28 Pope St. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, New York: Knopf, 1994, 228
29 Familiaris Consortio, 25
30 Homily, June 26, 2013
31 Adapted from Evangelium Vitae, 99
32 “On St. Basil the Great,” Funeral Orations (The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 22), 27


Resources

Messages By Douglas McIntyre, Co-Founder Of Homosexuals Anonymous


Robert, After a long and very stressful absence I am back to the computer and the group discussion.
 
All the discussion of fathers was the first message I opened.  Here is a very simple thought that came to me on the subject.  We all have father issues.  If we did not, we would not be in the SSA mode. 
 
 My answer was to "Get a new father."  By beginning a total search for My Heavenly father I could begin to understand that my earthly father had done the best he could.  I didn't think it was good enough but I never think anything is good enough. 
 
 As the "steps" teach,  I had believed a lie. (about my father and his methods of bringing me up)  The truth is, He was brought up by his father who got it all wrong too.  They never know how to express love to us the way we think it should be done. The only way to get through these issues is to ,perhaps, find the truth of my new Father and how much He loves me and wants me to succeed.  I recieved all the strength and love I had missed when I started that approach to finding my father.  As part of the serenity prayer I read accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can and have the wisdom to know the difference.  I could not change my real father!  He was a product of his father.  ( no changing that either) but once you discover the thruth of the Heavenly father all goes into proper perspective.  I can then begin to grow into the person that I was created to be. A man, in Christ, that understands fatherly love properly. 
 
By the way this process has taken almost 30 years and I still learn new things about my Father every day. However it is a wonderful study!
 
My Father says "You have His blessing in your study of Him and you are a wonderful person.  Thats all that counts.
 
Your older brother,  Doug M.


Robert W,
I'm so glad I read your posts yesterday.  It is good to meet you.  As some on this site will attest, I am a fanatic on praising and thanking for the unseen.  The quest to understand the "father" issue is a wonderful way to practice that concept.  Once we understand that our understanding of our parents is flawed (perhaps based on good evidence) and they were only the product of their own family histories, We gain a wonderful in site when we literally begin "Praising God" for the ability to see them as God sees them.  The angry, overbearing, neglectful, absent or (you fill in the blank) father was simply a sinful man that Christ loved so much he died to give him new life.  When we begin to praise for the ability to see that man as god sees him a new insight floods our being.  We can see that child weeping and screaming and begging to be loved just like we did.  He becomes a new person to us.  He is no longer the one who failed us, He is the one who did not know how to love us because he had no example to follow.  Forgivness then becomes possible and weeping with him, and for him, becomes part of us. 
 
The only way to gain this insite is to begin "praising for the truth of our fathers".  As we praise God and thank Him for new understanding A beautiful transformation will take over our own lives.  Our hearts of stone will reach out to that "little child"  and the good things we want for "him" will begin to become part of ourselves. I can only urge you to begin praising for understanding and experience the love of forgivness begin to grow in yourself.
 
Have a day of praise and thankfulness,       Doug M.

Dear Dad
I have always been somewhat of a stranger to you, at least from about 12yrs onwards, though you may have thought otherwise. Sorry for the secrets which I kept from you. I couldn't see how I could share my thoughts and feelings as so many if them were outrageously negative towards you. Such misunderstanding. I blamed you for mom's misery. You seemed oblivious or to not respect her enough to care.

I withheld, I hid and I scorned
I privately wished you weren't there
What a thing to say.
I didnt want you around
I wanted you gone

Shameful to admit but I judged you so wrong.
Through the eyes of a child I did not comprehend
The nature of sorrow and the grief that life sends.
Just saw my lost mom in deep agony;
So I killed all your love and your strong image in me.

My heart became blind to the dad I once knew
By the flick of a switch by the turn of a screw.
Away from the light and the air it was hidden
No chance for a word or an explanation was given.

Its takes a big heart to hear, to ponder, to forgive
But I trust in your love as I stand
as a man
Coming out from my cowardice and all of the sham.
I masqueraded as a son without a bother
When deep inside I'd lost my father.

My hidden self, for you, may be hard to learn
But dont see it as the end
'Cause to find you again
is so much that I yearn..
So stay with me a while as I unearth all the rocks
which your love they do fiercely and mercilessly cover..
till my pure love for you I at last would recover.

Thank you for the amends you made at the end
A touch of the Divine..could you be my friend?
I thank God for your life
though the work incomplete,
we had only begun
when you went from this world and your saviour to meet.

While I managed to broach the subject in part
In terms as our journey it was only the start.
So with help from my brothers and the Spirit of God
And because of what I know of your compassionate heart;
I will set to prepare my heart till we meet
Again, and the love released in our hearts is complete.

So I wanted you gone at some point in the past
But in this path's assignments
we' ll redeem what was lost.
And I pray to our Father
we're soon to discover,
The love a true father and son
might have for each other.

(From a member of the Homosexuals Anonymous online group. Used with permission).


From HA Online

I watched a Sy Rodgers video and it had an enormous impact on me.  It dealt with forgiveness.  God grabbed me by the throat and really showed me how my hatred and bitterness toward my father had poised my life and the destruction that it has created.  The reaction to my father was totally understandable, but it was wrong and it was my reaction, and so much of my problem stems not from what he did but from that reaction.  My hatred made me want to be completely different from him.  That hatred has sewn destruction for years, producing in me actions and reactions to others that have poisoned every one of my relationships.  God showed me how that hatred of my father had created contempt for other males and had then engendered rejection by peers and eventually even peer rejection to the point of sexual abuse.  God showed me how I had repeated the same mistakes over and over again with friends because of that hatred.
 
Sy used this illustration.  He talked about the man that had abused him, that he had decided to “forgive” him, but that he still fantasized about bad things happening to the man, because he desperately wanted justice for himself against this man who had so abused him, then God said something to Sy, What would you have Me do to him?  Do you want Me to expose him, humiliate him, and have the entire community run him out of town on a rail?  Maybe you could follow him with a crowd to the outskirts of the city and after beating him hang him on a cross?  As Sy walked me, suckered me really, through the illustration I  had a vision of my father and as I looked on approvingly at his suffering, as I got closer I realized it wasn’t my father – it was Jesus who I was gleefully watching suffer.  And I watched as I saw Jesus suffering for my father’s sins against me.  Suddenly I felt so much shame for the hatred in my heart. I was calling on Christ to suffer.  God also showed me through this illustration that God deeply loves my father and suffered and died for his sins, including the sins he committed against me, that when I hold my sin against my father and call for his suffering and humiliation, that Jesus took on that suffering - suffering that my father deserved, that I am calling on Christ to suffer.  The suffering I wanted called down on him - God took that suffering my father deserved onto Himself and I had to forgive him from my heart, not just from my head.
 
I wept uncontrollably, great heaving sobs, for over an hour as I continually had to stop the DVD to cry out to God for forgiveness for the coldness of my heart and beg for forgiveness and lament for the waste and the destruction I had brought onto myself.  It felt like sackcloth and ashes.  I think for the first time in a long time I had to take a level of responsibility for my present challenge that I have never taken before instead of blaming it all on Wendell or God or my mother or my peers as I saw exactly how my hatred had been the real tool to destroy my masculinity and everything else that I blamed for my problem – the rejection of peers, father and self – had been a reflection of that hate shining back at me as if in a mirror.  It was wrenching and not particularly a lot of fun, but I also realized God was doing a work in my heart.  Pray that this work will be a seed planted in good soil and that the birds of the air will not come down and steal it.
 
God forgives me.  God was never orchestrating things to hurt me, instead through my hatred I was orchestrating things, manipulating people and events to my own destruction.  Instead God was there all the time offering Himself as a comforter and a father to me to fill up the void and to give me the Grace to forgive and to be whole.
 
D.


Dad

Guys,

it is so important that men spend time with their fathers. Has your father ever told you the three things that every son should hear from his father: that he loves you, that he is proud of you and that you are good at something (see also www.mensfraternity.com)?

If not so, you should ask him whether he loves you. Call him today (!), set an appointment for both of you guys (and nobody else!) to go to some place for the weekend. And then ask him all the questions you have always wanted to ask him. Like if he loves you. Don't let him get off with cheap responses like "Well, you know I love all of my kids.". Ask him if he loves YOU. Men need to hear that so badly they carry the hurt of not having heard it for the rest of their lives with them. This hurt, however, might surface in a violent and dramatic way at some pint. It could be that we hurt ourselves or others just to cope with the pain. It could be that we never learn how to love somebody else just because we haven't experienced it at first place. It could also be that this afflicts the way we see God.

I very much recommend doing that - spending some good quality time with dad. My father is dead. He died in 1994 and I very much regret not having done that in his living years.

But somehow the Lord always gives us second chances - as strange as this might sound.

Some two years ago I was in a town in Southern Germany where there is a huge pilgramage. I was with some friars and they sent me with one of them to sit at a table besides one of the roads where about 7.000 or more people would pass by.

So I did and we talked to many pilgrims.

At some point, some young fellows came to our table. I asked them where they were from and they gave me the name of a small village about five miles from where I was born. I told them that the ancestors from my father's side came from their village. And so we got into talking.

After a while they left - to return with an old man in their midst. One of the young fellows pointed at me and said: "That's him!" The old man looked at me and said, "So your guys are from our village". I answered, "Yes, sir.".

He looked me straight in the eyes and asked: "Are you Sepp's son?" ("Sepp" is the short version for Joseph over here. And this is how my father was called!).

I was petrified. My father died about 13 years before that incident, so what the heck was going on there?

I kinda stuttered that yes, I was Sepp's son.

The old man told me he knew my father from the farm in another small village.

I almost fainted. The friar at my side looked at me. I guess he could tell there was something dramatic going on.

And it was. My father was born in 1928. At the age of nine, his mother died and the kids were sent to other places as his dad was in the war. There was no other way for the children to survive.

My dad came to a farm. He had to sleep under the roof with a hole in it where the snow came in at winter time. And he had to work very hard there, but he survived.

So this old man knew my father from back then! He even gave me the name of the village and the name of the farmer who I had seen once in my life.

I was so stunned I couldn't even really talk. He gave me a warm smile, turned away and left.

To me, this was like a message from the past. A message that reminded me that we are not an island in this world, that our ancestors and most especially our father will always be a part of our lives, even though they are dead. The "cloud of witnesses" Hebrews talks of is always around us.

After the man left, I turned to the friar and explained everything to him. He was amazed, too.

I kept on serving with the friars. After a while, I joined the shift with a young friar and we served in one of the churches.

We had a little room opposite the entrance from where we got in contact with the pilgrims.

After some time, it was about to leave for lunch and we closed the window that connected us with the entrance.

Then, we heard somebody knocking onto that window. First we ignored it, but the knocking persisted.

I opened to see what stubborn guy would do such a thing - and I could not believe my eyes.

My uncle stood there. He knew I was in town, but neither he nor I knew that I was in that room at that moment. Besides it was shut so nobody could even tell there was someone in.

That day has marked me and I will never forget it. Everything that happens in our lives happens for a reason and at somepoint we will look back at it and see God's guiding hand going throught it like a red threat.


God bless,

Robert


Dear Dad

Mom & Dad,

Tomorrow is my birthday, and dad’s is coming up.  This year, I am going to give us both a present, the dad I have always wanted.

 

Mom, I am doing this for me, for my healing and benefit.  Right now, this is between me and Dad.  Mom, I ask that you stand back and stand by.  Support dad when he needs it.  And I ask you to be patient and wait.  Your turn will come, but right now, I need some space and time to be with my dad.

 


I then sat on the coffee table, facing my dad on the couch.
 


Dear Dad,

You are my father, and I love and honor you.  I moved to Maryland to be closer to you.

 

I know that as a child, I was often difficult to understand.  I know that as a child, I was difficult to reach, because I shut you out.  I am sorry for this, and ask your forgiveness.  You see, for some reason I decided when I was about 4 or 5 that you did not like me.  I then defensively decided that I didn’t like you first, and built up emotional walls to maintain a safe distance.  Safe, because my perception that you did not like me hurt me terribly and by stonewalling you, I could prevent myself from being hurt again.  I desperately needed your love and approval, but did not know how to ask for it.  As a hyper-sensitive child, I felt different from most boys.  I did not understand what this difference meant, and I did not understand how to incorporate this difference into my development into a man.

 

Dad, I love you and I don’t want to cause you pain or heartbreak.  Indeed, I really didn’t want to tell you this, but two people have influenced me to do so, my counselor, who says it would be very helpful to my healing, and a friend, who said that by not telling you, I would be denying you an opportunity to father me.  I have done that too often.  In my search for healing, I have heard some stories of absolutely horrific fathers, and I am blessed to have a loving, Godly man, whom I can admire, love and respect as my father.

 

I’m sure you know what I am going to tell you, I’m sure you knew 20 years ago when that crazy lady called the house late one night.  I struggle with same sex attraction, sometimes victoriously, sometimes in miserable failure.  Several friends warned me to be prepared for a negative or unsupportive response from you.  I told them that I had no doubt as to your response, that my father would love and support me in my search for healing in any way that he could, that my father would love and accept me.  I know I can be sure of God’s love and, Dad, I know I can be sure of your love.

 

Dad, I would like you to join me in talking with my counselor sometime.  He will be in Pittsburg the week of March 15th, and I intend to see him, I would like it very much if you could join me.  I’ve ordered a book that I ask you to read as well.

 

Dad, I love you so much, and I am so glad you are my father.  I want to be closer to you.  I want to spend time with you.  Maybe we would work at the stables together on Sunday mornings, followed by breakfast.

 
Your loving son,
 
After reading the letter, my dad took me in his arms, I cried a bit while he held me, he told me that his love was unconditional, and unconditional meant just that.  I stayed in his arms for several minutes, basking in his love and support and acceptance.  After that, I hugged my mom for awhile, and explained that I just needed to spend extra time alone with my dad right now, and she is okay with that.  Of course, she cried her eyes out to know that her son has carried this pain, and I told her not to worry, that the journey would be all downhill from here.  (I know that may not be exactly true, but who wants their mom to worry about them?)
 
Thank you, my friends, for your support and encouragement in my journey.  I feel more emotionally complete, whole and content than I can ever remember feeling, and your support has helped me achieve that.
 
In Christ's name,
Paul

(taken from a Homosexuals Anonymous Online member. Used with permission)



Links International

National Ressource Center for Catholic Men (USA): http://www.catholicmensresources.org/

Saint Joseph's Covenant Keeprs (USA): http://www.dads.org/

E5 Men (USA): http://www.e5men.org/pages/

Effective Fathers Ministries (USA): http://www.effectivefathers.com/home.htm

National Center for Fathering (USA): http://www.fathers.com/

Great Dads (USA): http://www.greatdads.org/

American Coalition for Fathers and Children: http://www.acfc.org/site/PageServer

Fatherville.com (USA): http://www.fatherville.com/

Focus on the Family (USA): http://www.family.org/

Fatherhood Foundation: http://www.fathersonline.org/

Family Life (USA): http://www.familylife.com/

Family Life Center (USA): http://www.familylifecenter.net/

Blazing Grace (USA): http://www.blazinggrace.org/cms/bg/healingfatherwounds

Dads on the Air (Australia): http://www.dadsontheair.net/

Dads and Daughters (Australia): http://www.dadsanddaughters.org/

Dad's Uni (Australia): http://www.dadsuni.com/index.cfm?Do=View.Page&PageID=3

Ransomed Heart Ministries www.ransomedheart.com

Zoweh Ministries www.zoweh.org

The Noble Heart www.thenobleheart.com

Hearts Alive and Free www.heartsaliveandfree.com

Beliefs of the Heart www.beliefsoftheheart.com

Men of Life www.menoflife.com

Hearts Alive www.heartsalive.org

Go The Distance - www.go-distance.org

The True Pursuit - http://truepursuit.org/

Fathers in the Field - http://www.fathersinthefield.com/

Heartland (South Africa) - http://heartland.org.za/heart/


One Million Dads


Creating Fatherless Families

Statistics: The Fatherless Generation

Resources


Reconciliation (DVD)

"Das Papa-Handbuch" von Robert Richter und Eberhard Schäfer

Holman CSB Men's Fraternity Bible

Becoming a Man: A Father & Son Journey Together

Meg Meeker: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

"Boys to Men - The Transforming Power of Virtue" by Tim Gray & Curtis Martin

"The Virtues: Raising Boys into Men" (CD) by Tim Gray and Curtis Martin with Steve Wood

"How to Raise Godly Young Men" (CD) by Sean Dalton

"Legacy: A Father's Handbook for Raising Godly Children" by Stephen Wood

Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn: Christian Fatherhood (CD's)

David Blankenhorn: Fatherless America

Saint Joseph Communications: Fathers, Faith & Family (CD's)

St. Pauls: Rev. Benedict Groeschel CFR, Ed.D: Kowing the Father - Understanding the Depths of Love and Mercy that Surround Us (CD)

Brian J. Gaile: Fatherless

American Family Association: Fathers of Vision (DVDs)



Raising a Modern Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood [Taschenbuch]
Robert Lewis (Autor)
Taschenbuch: 208 Seiten
Verlag: Tyndale Pub; Auflage: Revised (Februar 2007)
Sprache: Englisch
ISBN-10: 9781589973091
ISBN-13: 978-1589973091
ASIN: 1589973097

More Books

"As Iron Sharpens Iron: Building Character in a Mentoring Relationship" by Howard Hendricks

"They Call Me Dad: The Practical Art of Effective Fathering" by Ken Canfield

"His Needs, Her Needs - 15th Anniversary Edition" by Williard F. Harley, Jr.

"What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women" by Dr. James Dobson

"Being God's Man in Leading a Family, the Every Man Series, Bible Studies" by Stephen Arterburn, Kenny Luck & Todd Wendorff

"If Only He Knew: Understanding Your Wife" by Garey Smalley

"Point Man - Revised & Expanded" by Steve Farrar

"Every Man's Marriage" by Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey

"A Husband After God's Own Heart: 12 Things That Really Matter in Your Marriage" by Jim George

"Legacy : A Father's Handbook for Raising Godly Children" by Stephen Wood

 

(see also: Men of Integrity - Recommended Books)

 







Dads in Distress Support Services (Australia)



Der liebende Vater

1. Johannes 3,1-2
1. Johannes 4,8-10


Der wartende Vater

Lukas 15,11,32


Der Vater, der für uns sorgt und uns Gutes gibt.

1. Petrus 5,7
Matthäus 7,11


Der treue Vater

2. Timotheus 2,13


Einer, der uns unterrichtet und leitet

Jesaja 48,17-18


Der Vater, der uns rettet und schützt

Psalm 91,1-3


Unser Schöpfer

Apostelgeschichte 17,28
Jesaja 64,8


Ein erziehender Vater

Hebräer 12,5-6


Ein tröstender Vater

2. Korinther 1,3-4
2. Thessalonicher 2,16


Vater und Anwalt der Vaterlosen

Psalm 68,6


Ein vergebender Vater

2. Mose 34,7
Psalm 130,3-4
Epheser 1,7


Ein vollkommener, gerechter und aufrichtiger Vater

5. Mose 32,4-6


Ein heiliger Vater

3. Mose 19,2
Jesaja 6,1-7


Ein barmherziger, gnädiger, geduldiger Vater

2. Mose 34,6-7
Lukas 6,36
Psalm 103,8-13


Der Vater des Friedens

1. Korinther 1,3
Galater 1,3


Der Vater, der uns reich segnet

Epheser 1,3


Der Vater, der uns Hoffnung gibt

2. Thessalonicher 2,16


Ein allmächtiger Vater

2. Korinther 6,18

 



"Der Herr hat den Kindern befohlen, ihren Vater zu ehren,
und die Söhne verpflichtet, das Recht ihrer Mutter zu achten.
Wer den Vater ehrt,
   erlangt Verzeihung der Sünden,
und wer seine Mutter achtet,
   gleicht einem Menschen, der Schätze sammelt.
Wer den Vater ehrt, wird Freude haben an den eigenen Kindern,
und wenn er betet,
   wird er Erhörung finden.
Wer den Vater achtet, wird lange leben,
   und wer seiner Mutter Ehre erweist, der erweist sie dem Herrn.

Mein Sohn, wenn dein Vater alt ist,
   nimm dich seiner an,
und betrübe ihn nicht, solange er lebt.
Wenn sein Verstand abnimmt,
   sieh es ihm nach
und beschäme ihn nicht in deiner Vollkraft!
Denn die Liebe zum Vater wird nicht vergessen,
sie wird als Sühne für deine Sünden eingetragen."

Sir 3,2-6.12-14 (3-7.14-17a) (Einheitsübersetzung)
“The child makes the husband a father, and fatherhood is a shimmering refraction of the Divine Paternity from which all fatherhood and blessings come.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Life is Worth Living)

[ADMIN 10] Blessed Fathers Day!"A father is respected because he gives his children leadership. Appreciated because he...

Posted by Gilbert 'Gibo' Teodoro, Jr. on Samstag, 20. Juni 2015

It seems like more and more folks feel that dads are optional, or just the icing on the cake. But research shows that...

Posted by The Art of Manliness on Sonntag, 21. Juni 2015

Remember:

The only reason why people don't find freedom from same-sex attractions is because they don't believe it can be done!

HA: New Homepage!

Homosexuals Anonymous has a new homepage:

http://www.homosexuals-anonymous.com/

Is Change Possible?

To make it very clear: Yes, the Jason ministry definitely believes that change is possible. We believe in God and His power to change our hearts and minds.

Matthew 19:26 King James Version (KJV):

"26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."

"Whoever says that a person with SSA cannot change does not know my God."

Pastor Paul

Oceania and Africa

Thanks to the outstanding service and commitment of Pastor Paul, we were able to expand our ministry in Oceania, Africa and Asia. For more information please click here.

Was ist das eigentlich, "Homosexualitaet"?

Kurz gesagt, die Tatsache, dass sich jemand überwiegend und über einen längeren Zeitraum hinweg in sexueller und/oder emotionaler Hinsicht zum eigenen Geschlecht hingezogen fühlt. Wir bevorzugen aber den Begriff "gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen". Zum einen ist der Begriff "Homosexualität" (als eigenständige Form der Sexualität) noch gar nicht so alt. In klinischer Hinsicht konzentriert er sich vor allem auf die sexuelle Anziehung, was jedoch zu kurz gegriffen ist, da man hier die emotionale Zuneigung außer Acht lässt. Zum anderen sind wir als Christen der Überzeugung, dass es nur eine Gott-gegebene Form der Sexualität gibt - und das ist die Heterosexualität. Ja, es gibt Menschen, die - aus welchen Gründen auch immer (und seien sie "genetisch") - gleichgeschlechtlich empfinden, wir sehen dies aber nicht als eine eigenständige Identität, sondern als Teil der Heterosexualität an. Dies bedeutet keine Abwertung von Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen oder eine Minder-Bewertung unseres Empfindens - ganz im Gegenteil. Wir sehen uns als Teil von etwas, das größer ist als wir (Gottes heterosexuelle Schöpfung) und sind weder besser noch schlechter als andere Menschen noch sehen wir uns als etwas Besonderes an und blicken auch nicht auf die herab, die ihre gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen ausleben. Auch konzentriert sich unser Leben nicht auf unser sexuelles und/oder emotionales Empfinden, sondern auf den, dem wir nachfolgen und der uns eine teuer erkaufte Freiheit geschenkt hat, damit auch wir frei sein können: Jesus Christus.

Homosexuals Anonymous

Jason is affiliated to Homosexuals Anonymous:

www.homosexuals-anonymous.com

 

Dr. med. R. Febres Landauro

http://dr-richi.com/german/index.php/de/

Kontaktdaten

Ich freue mich auf Ihren Anruf oder Ihre E-mail. Sie brauchen keine Überweisung.

In Österreich erreichen Sie meine Ordination unter +43 662 84 53 25.

In Deutschland erreichen Sie die Praxis unter +49 8651 979 38 29.

Nonntaler Hauptstraße 1

A-5020 Salzburg

Douglas McIntyre, Co-Founder of HA

What is Homosexuality?

Hinweis fuer Priester und Ordensangehoerige sowie Mitarbeiter in pastoralen Diensten:

Sie dürfen sich jederzeit - auf Wunsch auch anonym - an uns wenden. Sämtliche Anfragen werden vertraulich behandelt.

Kontakt-Telefonnummer: 089-78018960

Kontakt-Email: [email protected]

Wir freuen uns auf Sie!


The 14 Steps

1. We admitted that we were powerless over our homosexuality and that our emotional lives were unmanageable.

2. We came to believe the love of God, who forgave us and accepted us in spite of all that we are and have done.

3. We learned to see purpose in our suffering, that our failed lives were under God's control, who is able to bring good out of trouble.

4. We came to believe that God had already broken the power of homosexuality and that He could therefore restore our true personhood.

5. We came to perceive that we had accepted a lie about ourselves, an illusion that had trapped us in a false identity.

6. We learned to claim our true reality that as humankind, we are part of God's heterosexual creation and that God calls us to rediscover that identity in Him through Jesus Christ, as our faith perceives Him.

7. We resolved to entrust our lives to our loving God and to live by faith, praising Him for our new unseen identity, confident that it would become visible to us in God's good time.

8. As forgiven people free from condemnation, we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, determined to root out fear, hidden hostility, and contempt for the world.

9. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs and humbly asked God to remove our defects of character.

10. We willingly made direct amends wherever wise and possible to all people we had harmed.

11. We determined to live no longer in fear of the world, believing that God's victorious control turns all that is against us into our favor, bringing advantage out of sorrow and order from disaster.

12. We determined to mature in our relationships with men and women, learning the meaning of a partnership of equals, seeking neither dominance over people nor servile dependency on them.

13. We sought through confident praying, and the wisdom of Scripture for an ongoing growth in our relationship with God and a humble acceptance of His guidance for our lives.

14. Having had a spiritual awakening, we tried to carry this message to homosexual people with a love that demands nothing and to practice these steps in all our lives' activities, as far as lies within us.

While the Homosexuals Anonymous Fellowship was inspired by the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, they are not really an adaptation. Rather, they were created specifically for this Fellowship, and should not be construed otherwise. AA, which is a program concerned only with recovery from alcoholism, and is not in any way affiliated with this Fellowship.

Homosexuals Anonymous

Arthur Goldberg

New Homepage: Voices of Change!

Click here for more info.

If

If you were a Facebook member, and if you received a message to accept Jesus as your friend, would you?

If you received Him as a friend and you had the opportunity to say Like Him, would you share Him with your friends?

If He shared some awesome messages on Facebook with you, that could save lives, would you tell your other Facebook friends?

If Jesus asked you to tell your Facebook friends about Him, would you be to ashamed to do so?

If Jesus came to your door today, would you let Him in?

If Jesus walked into your door, would you let Him be your friend?

If Jesus shared a life altering message with you, that could save lives, would you tell your friends?

If you had the opportunity to tell others about Him, would you be too ashamed to do so?

If Jesus allows you a glimpse of Heaven, would He be ashamed of you?

If Jesus opened the door for you to see the Father, would He be your friend?

If Jesus asked the Father to be your friend, would He be ashamed of you?

André

www.thewordswithin.org

 

Universalis

Homosexuals Anonymous

Homosexuals Anonymous Fellowship Services

www.homosexuals-anonymous.com

USA

Homosexuals Anonymous is an international organization dedicated to serving the recovery needs of men and women who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction.

This fellowship of men and women, who through their common spiritual, intellectual and emotional experiences have chosen to help each other live in freedom from homosexuality.

Welcome to our website

If you are a person who struggles with unwanted same sex attraction, you are not alone Homosexuals Anonymous and many other related ministries, counselors and therapists provide valuable resources that can be of great use to you.

Remember always that while no one chooses to have same sex attraction, many do choose to diminish and eliminate those feelings of attraction. All people have the right to self determination, the right to choose for themselves the aspects that comprise their identity. Through HA, you will meet many people who see their identity as being rooted in their faith and not in their unwanted desires and behaviors.

If you are a parent, relative or friend of someone who struggles with unwanted same sex attraction, you can find helpful resources they will appreciate.

If you are a parent, friend or relative of someone who embraces and lives a gay lifestyle, you can find support, encouragement and hope in the material you will find available to you in website. If you are interested in online support groups or forming a local parents support group, please contact us and let us know how we can serve you.

If you are a minister, counselor or therapist looking for a support group and other resources to serve the needs of a counselee wanting freedom from homosexuality, then please read through our website. In your exploration you will learn who we are and how we can help you.

New Book by Dr. Douglas McIntyre!

Broken Chains: A journey of recovery from ssa, anger, addiction and child abuse

Dr. Douglas E. McIntyre (Author)

Paperback: 80 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 19, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1481265334

ISBN-13: 978-1481265331

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Chains-journey-recovery-addiction/dp/1481265334/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356982439&sr=1-1&keywords=broken+chains+douglas+mcintyre

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Radical | A book by David Platt

Radical | A book by David Platt

Radical | A book by David Platt

Seek Me!

Jeremiah 29:13

King James Version (KJV)

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

 

My King

Funny thing, if I remember correctly there once used to be a rabbi who did not have any business plan for church mega-growth. No publicity department. No homepage. No emails. No money. Even those He chose as followers were - theologically speaking - illiterates. A handful of dudes, and one even was a bum.

What was He thinking?

When He preached, He used words that drove people away from Him. He couldn't care less. He even asked the remaining rest if they wanted to leave, too. No political correctness here.

Again: What was He thinking?

He could have used other means. He could have been the kind of leader that people back then (and today?) were waiting for. The mighty warlord. The knight in shining armour. The one that kicks some .... and throws those Romans out.

Yes, He could have. He had all the power to do that - and more than that. And what did He do? He dealt with the lowest of the lowest and humbled Himself to their level. He loved people in a way unknown before. With a love that asked for nothing and gave everything. With a love that puts us to shame even today.

He did not fulfill people's expectations. He did not give them what they wanted. He gave them what they truly needed. And to do so, He gave His utmost: He sacrificed Himself and gave His life so we can live. He came down on earth to become man so men could become sons of God. Dying on the cross like a criminal, He even prayed for those who helped nailing Him up there.

And what's worst: He even asked everything of His disciples. They were told to give - no: to sacrifice! - everything they have. To sell all of their possessions, give their money to the poor and follow Him without even looking back. They were even told to give their own lives!

I guess He would still be sort of out of place in some of the churches today.

If I remember correctly, His name was Jesus.

Anybody by chance remember Him?

He is the ruler of my life. He is the one I love and follow.

He is my king.

My saviour.

Rob

Map

theWord Bible Software

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

"I have decided to follow Jesus. Though no one joins me, still I will follow."

Assam, north-east India, who held on to Jesus when being told to recounce his faith by the village chief. His wife was killed and Assam as well - while he was singing these words: "The cross before me, the world behind me." His strong faith kept on shining: The village chief and others in the village converted afterwards. (see: Wikipedia)

I AM SECOND

Freedom from SSA

Guys,

there are many professionals who are able to scientifically explain to you how to find freedom from same-sex attractions.

I am a simple man so I will try to tell you in simple terms.

Imagine a father who wants to teach his son how to ride a bike. He will not give him a lesson on the functioning of each single part, where it came from and what it is made of. Nor will he lecture on how the human body works and how the mind coordinates things. He loves his sonny and wants him to be able to ride that bike on his own.

Of course, he could let him continue to ride with additional wheels, but this is not what the father wants. Daddy knows that his son will likely fall a couple of times. There will be tears and some pain as well. But as a loving father he buys his son a bike and takes him out to teach him how to ride.

Now the son does not expect a big lesson or a manual to start with. Yes, he might be somewhat scared as he does not know what to expect and how to handle this bike without additional wheels that keep it stable. But he knows that he can fully trust his father. He loves his daddy more than anything - and daddy loves him. So he takes a courageous first step and lets daddy show him how to do it.

Daddy will fist be there all the time to hold his son while he rides. However, step by step he will let him run a little bit on his own.

Sonny will ride this first bits all shaky and insecure, but then again he trusts his daddy, so he manages to do it - sort of.

Sometimes he will fall and have his knee scratched. Tears will roll down his cheek, but daddy will hold him im his arms and encourage him to take another effort.

Day by day little sonny will drive a little longer all by himself, until he finally manages to ride that bike completely alone. Daddy will be so proud of his son and his son will come running into his arms, thanking his beloved daddy for keeping his promise to be there all the time when things were getting rough on him. Daddy told him that he will ride that bike and all his little son had to do is to trust him just enough that he goes for it.

Sometimes all that keeps us from succeeding is the lack of belief that it can be done.

Rob

Americans for Truth about Homosexuality

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Janelle Hallman

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Articles by Gordon Dalbey (Links)

For articles by Gordon Dalbey, click here.