From a letter to Pope Paul V by Saint John Leonardi, priest: Those who want to work for moral reform in the world must seek the glory of God before all else. Because he is the source of all good they must wait for his help, and pray for it in this difficult and necessary undertaking. They must then present themselves to those they seek to reform, as mirrors of every virtue and as lamps on a lamp-stand. Their upright… Read more

St. Norbert’s ministry didn’t begin until he was literally knocked off his horse during a lightning storm. Norbert took this as a sign. When he regained consciousness, he asked, “Lord, what would you have me do?” And Christ answered him as Christ always does: “Turn away from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.”     Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty knocked down by the storms in the Church this week. I know… Read more

I’m working on a project that has me writing very condensed descriptions of various saints, and I was struck today by this detail:   St. Paul Miki and companions are rightly remembered for their bravery during their forced march of 600 miles to crucifixion in Nagasaki. This is exactly the same length St. Josephine Bakhita was forced to travel, barefoot, when kidnapped by slave traders at the age of nine.   Nine years old.   And while many martyrs are remembered… Read more

Cardinal McCarrick. Or should I say, ex-Cardinal McCarrick. Lord have mercy. I assume you’ve all heard about this “demotion” and the lurid, sordid tales that spurred it, decades and decades too late to spare his numerous victims harm. This was the story waiting for me on my return from a week away. I stayed with dear friends of mine in their home, a place so dear to my heart and so soothing to my soul that beforehand I unironically referred to… Read more

My Four Weeks of Fine Men fizzled out only halfway in. I knew it was an ambitious undertaking when the idea came to me, but I impulsively ran with it anyway. As it turns out, that pace was unsupportable, and I’ve spent the last week recovering and dealing with some of the balls dropped during my two weeks of preoccupation with #tonicmasculinity. I do hope to continue writing about #tonicmasculinity, and I enjoyed the opportunity to use this blog to… Read more

Today, I want to share with you some of the small glimpses of good readers and friends have shared with me since I began Four Weeks of Fine Men. These are mere glimpses–not stories, not even enough for a good snapshot view of the people involved. Some of these glimpses are of men following the example set by their communities, faith, or family. Some of them are of men who have led far-from-ideal lives and have to struggle to overcome… Read more

Last Fall, the Patheos Catholic channel was rocked by a scandal–the revelation that one of our fellow Patheosi was a serial sexual predator, exploiting his position as a public Catholic to seduce multiple vulnerable women with a combination of lies and misrepresentation. It was an example of a kind of opportunism that preys on the vulnerable, the kind of man who is attracted to brokenness because it gives him an advantage to exploit, and yet there were those who wanted… Read more

When I chose the tag #tonicmasculinity for this story, I was pleased with the wordplay in replacing “toxic” with “tonic,” and liked the implication of something restorative and rejuvenating. Today’s story fits that label better than most. This is Hasib. Hasib was my friend Stasa’s grandfather, a Muslim man who lived in what was then Yugoslavia. Describing him to me, Stasa wrote, “he passed away when I was six. I remember the last time I saw him he stopped by… Read more

I took this weekend away from the computer to breathe a bit, enjoy the nice weather and my family, and think about what I want my Four Weeks of Fine Men series to accomplish. It was an easy decision to start my series with my Opa Wynands and Opa Feddema, but maybe it was too easy. When we write of the dead, we have a certain freedom to fill in the blanks with our own projections, to embellish the good and… Read more

This is a guest post by Sheila Marie Connolly, who agreed to write about her grandfather as part of my Four Weeks of Fine Men series. Thank you, Sheila!  This week, I saw a re-enactor pretending to be my grandpa.  His plane was being installed in a new park, with a plaque describing him as “Lieutenant Colonel Colin A. Clarke, recipient of the Air Force Cross.”  The re-enactor talked about the mission Grampy had flown, how he flew for nine… Read more

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