A Crisis of Masculinity

E. Christian Brugger
December 11, 2012
(c) Culture of Life Foundation 2012
Reproduced with Permission
Culture of Life Foundation

I watched in vain last October as the news reports came in on the Synod for the New Evangelization . Now I'm watching the reports on the three-day International Congress on the Church in America that began last Sunday in Rome. The pope has repeatedly said that the Church has the responsibility to evangelize the world and to let Christ's love and power take root ever more intensely in the hearts of the people, families and Christian communities in our nation. And yet, neither he nor the assembly of bishops mentions the undeniable catastrophe in the West, especially in the US, of the crisis of masculinity. Not even John Paul II, for all his transformative reflections on the Church's understanding of gender, wrote a single document on the vocation to be a man of Christ.

Are our pastors unaware of the epidemic problem of young, strong and devout single Catholic women who cannot find marriable men? They're all over the country, from every race and socioeconomic class. And they repeat like a mantra: "they're all wimps!", meaning men from 18-40: "they're afraid to commit; can't take initiative; don't treat me with tenderness; want me to look like a Victoria's Secret model. Christian chivalry is dead!" Do our pastors realize that nine out of ten of the men in the pews on Sunday morning are struggling with internet pornography? Are they aware that the Western family, especially when it comes to spiritual leadership, is effectively matriarchal? Men are not bad willed. They are confused.

A crisis of masculinity dawned on the Catholic Church forty years ago and now we're squinting in the noonday sun wondering 'what happened?' It's time to admit that one of the most critical features of the new evangelization, if not the most critical, is the re-evangelization of men to Christ. But it doesn't stop there. Men then need formation to assist them to become Christlike : strong, decisive, chaste, self-sacrificing, not ruled by rage, loins, or the feminist superego that's emasculated them for five decades and made them believe that to be a man means to be sensitive, non-judgment and most of all silent on the issues that matter.

The present congress coincides with the 15th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops for America. Blessed John Paul II released the post-synodal exhortation, Ecclesia in America , in 1999. Ten years earlier he released his Apostolic Exhortation "On the Dignity and Vocation of Woman" that launched a pastoral revolution that's only now beginning to bear ripe fruit.

2013 is the 25th anniversary of the publication of Mulieris Dignitatem . What about a brother document entitled Vocatio Vir Christi ?