Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Everett Fritz for my radio show on Breadbox Media. He is the author of a book called Freedom which he wrote after looking for a book to help young men live the virtue of chastity in a practical way.
I’m going to be honest, I am always skeptical about books that deal with chastity for many reasons. Mostly because I tried to teach my oldest son all about sex outside of marriage being wrong and I failed. I taught him the teachings of the Church, he knows my story, he understands the pain that men caused me and yet he decided to do things his own way. Now he has a 2 year old and another baby on the way. I am skeptical of anything working on young men with the culture they are living in.
I decided that the only way to know if this book was good resource or not was to let one of my sons read it.
My 17 year old son is the easiest to talk to about things because he is just one of those kids who will talk to me about anything openly and honestly. I handed him this book and told him to tell me what he thought of it. And then, a miracle occurred… he stood in the kitchen for hours reading it. This is a kid who would rather play video games than do anything else.
Yet, there he was reading this book and talking to me about how great it was. He said that it spoke so clearly to him as a Catholic teen male in this culture where nobody else is living chastely. See, my children know Church teaching, they have all encountered Christ and yet, they are human beings and compare what they know to what they see going on around them. For my 17 year old, Daniel, the message is confusing to him. As a mom, I just keep explaining what the Church teaches, what it was like being a girl that was used by guys when I was a teenager and how girls can get real crazy at that age. I do all of that knowing that my sons all are going to make these choices on their own and there is really nothing I can do to make those choices for them except just pray for them to make the right ones. Nobody could make mine for me at that age.Having a male voice on the subject that isn’t lame is a huge resource for me. Because I know what the right choices are, I can’t judge lameness because I have my own agenda. I had to put the book in someone’s hands who could make that judgement and the verdict is that Everett’s book is not lame. Daniel is my most honest child and he’s not one to say that it’s a good book if it wasn’t. He would have just told me all the reasons why it’s not good.
The one critique that he did have is that he doesn’t really know if Freedom would make an impression on young men who aren’t Catholic or Christian and trying to live their life according to that moral standard. But he isn’t really able to know that since he is not one of those young men. Knowing my son the way that I do, I would say that before reading this book he wasn’t really convicted to live according to those teachings himself so it is possible that other young men who haven’t encountered Christ could see the logic in what Everett is saying.
I see the huge need for men in the Church to stand up and speak out about these issues for our young men. Not to try and tell them that sex outside of marriage is a sin, most kids going to Catholic Church and religious ed, know that, but to tell them why and to give them practical advice on how to live out Catholic manhood. There is a huge gap where men don’t grow up with their fathers teaching them these things or being examples of it or being able to articulate the “why” behind the teachings. Men like Everett taking time from their own families to write these kinds of books are a gift to the Church.
If you would like to hear my interview with Everett Fritz about Freedom you’re in luck! Here is the podcast!