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Fathers, sons, and the masculine identity

What does it mean to be a man? This is a question I ask myself often when I consider my role as husband and father. Is being a man a reflection of how much money we earn? Or the type of car we drive? Is genuine masculinity measured by sexual conquests or how much we can drink or our ability to tear a phonebook in half with our bare hands? I certainly can’t tear phonebooks in half. So what does being a man and embracing a masculine identity mean? Before fully answering that question, it is important to look at how we learn to be men. This starts with our fathers. The relationship between father and son is a critical one. All children grow up. There are no real life Peter Pans. Given enough time, boys will become men. The sort of men they will become largely depends on the ...

“In the Beginning”

Having already outlined Pope St. John Paul’s thought on the human person and love as it is found in Love and Responsibility, the next series of articles are devoted to a second text, Man and Woman He Created Them, now known as the Theology of the Body (ToB), which he delivered as Holy Father. You can read the first, second, third, and fourth installments of the first series of articles here. The words of Christ stand at the centre of the reflections contained in Man and Woman He Created Them. As a whole the work is a meditation on the special kind of human love that can be formed upon the basis of sexual difference, precisely inasmuch as it finds its source in the love of Creator and Redeemer and matures as a reflection of that very same love — thus becoming a theology of the body. The theology of the ...

Pride, guilt, and life unashamed

Explaining the Church’s teaching on same-sex desires in today’s world isn’t easy.  We feel hesitation, embarrassment…shame.  Living the Church’s teaching on same sex desires poses its own challenges.  Internal confusion, hiding…shame.  June’s Pride Month offers what may seem to be a compelling alternative for many.  Why not simply reject a “repressive” Christian sexual ethic?  Why not shrug off shame once and for all?   Before we gather our rhetorical ammunition in defense, perhaps we ought to address an underlying question.  Does the Church’s teaching on homosexual acts require a believer to live in shame?  Objective Guilt & Subjective Shame  “Guilt” and “shame” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing.  Guilt relates to specific actions.  The Catholic Dictionary defines it as “a condition of person who has done moral wrong.”  With guilt, there is an awareness of having violated an objective standard.  This can be healthy, motivating us to right the wrong, to repent.  Shame, however, is more subjective.  I recently heard it explained ...