Rod Dreher: Where are the Catholic Men?

He’s angry, and read it all. Hard but necessary Lenten reading.

Here we are on the fourth Ash Wednesday of the church’s long scandal-ridden Lent. As we examine our consciences in Mass today, we ought to be asking ourselves what our sons and daughters, if they remain Catholic, surely will one day: Where were you when the church needed good men to stand up to defend what’s right?

We don’t have to stay silent. Look what the men (and women) of Rockwall’s Our Lady of the Lake parish – who had enough of their pastor, Father Bill Richard, and the parish’s sex-offender liturgist – accomplished by taking a public stand against the pair. Last weekend, the dodgy duo resigned. If we Catholics were real men and not company men, we would knock as many heads as we had to, figuratively speaking, and get this mess sorted out.

“In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit; they saved the Irish Church three centuries ago and they betrayed the Church in England,” said the great Cardinal Newman. By that standard, the American Catholic spirit is passive and demoralized. We cannot let this stand. The church, if it is to be saved, will not be delivered, in the main, by today’s clergy.

I used to think it’d be great if my boys grew up to be priests. Now I’d rather they joined the U.S. Marines: men with chests, men with backbones, men who know evil when they see it, and who aren’t afraid to fight. I am privileged to count a few priests like that as friends. They are true warriors of faith. They are also truly rare.

When the Catholic Church rids its clerical ranks of the Grahmanns and the Richards, and starts producing bishops and priests with even half the moral courage of Gen. Mattis, the vocations crisis will solve itself. Until then, no man graced with valor and honor will long to give up his life to run with a herd of moral geldings.

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