All posts filed under: Practice

Male Religious: Models of Masculinity?

It may seem absurd to entertain even for a moment the idea that monks, friars, and brothers might be models of healthy masculinity. First of all because our vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience might rule us out us as plausible male figures. Poverty and obedience suggest that we are irresponsible people, fleeing the ordinary burdens of manhood, such as having a job, acquiring a home, taking decisions about our lives. And the vow of chastity, the renunciation of sex, robs us, it would seem, of the virility that one would expect of a male figure. And the gross and shameful history of sexual abuse by so many religious might make such an idea seem distasteful, even repellent. Yet there is a desperate need in the Church for people who offer models of Christian manhood. Our society is suffering from a crisis of masculinity. Because of the breakdown of family life, many children are growing up without fathers. The economic crisis means that many fathers, if they are around, are unemployed, discouraged, and feel robbed …