John White wrote an article for CatholicVote a few days ago about a pastoral letter to men from Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted called this pastoral letter “Into the Breach.”
I want to thank the bishop for writing a letter that calls men to be men, but does it without attacking women. That alone was a breath of fresh air. This powerful letter is important to women, as well as men. Because we need you.
Women need the strength and power of manly men. So many women, and even more children, lead blighted lives because they do not have the strong male presence of a husband and father to uphold them.
Men, take note. Your women and your children need you. We need your presence in our lives. Look around you. Look at the messed up people who grew up in messed up homes with no fathers. Look at the gender-confused, feral young people who are so damaged that they can’t marry, form their own families, and raise their own children.
What have we done?
By “we” I mean all of us, men and women, the great we that is the human race. What have we done that we have created this mess? How can we heal it?
First, and most important, we need to love one another. I am not talking about a touchy-feely, generic I-love-everybody love. I mean that women must love their husbands and men must love their wives.
I mean that God made us male and female, and when we come together in marriage we are one. There is no way to hurt your spouse without hurting yourself. Women, as well as men, need to believe that. Women, as well as men, must commit to the person they marry. Women, as well as men, must be willing to stick it out and love their men through rich and poor, sickness and health, good and bad, all of their days.
Marriage is, among other things, a safe harbor in the storms of life. My husband is the one person I trust to never betray me. He is the one person I know will be there for me, no matter what. Every man is called to be that one safe person for his wife, and every woman is called to be that one safe person for her husband.
I remember years ago my husband and I watched the movie Titanic together.
After the scene where Rose goes down into the belly of the sinking ship, gets an axe and cuts Jack free from the handcuffs imprisoning him there, my husband looked at me and said, I know that you would come back for me like that.
Then, he smiled and said, You’d get lost on the way, and you’d cut my arm off with the axe … but you’d come back for me.
We both laughed. But he was right. I would go down into the belly of a sinking ship after him. And he would for me. And we both know that.
Bishop Olmsted wrote a letter to men and he wrote it man to man, in a way that no bishop can write to women. There’s a lot about being a woman that no man will ever get. On the other hand, there’s a lot about being a man that no woman will ever get.
I once said to my husband that neither sex would tell the other, but that both sexes secretly think the other sex is kinda stupid. He said, That’s because we have different gifts.
He was right. Men and women are mostly exactly the same. We all bleed when we are cut, say ouch when we put our hand in the fire. Men and women both experience loneliness, joy, comfort, ambition and love. But we don’t react to things exactly the same way. We have different gifts. And that is the beauty of us both.
Men and women were meant to be together. We were made for one another. Neither of us is much good on our own. Men, without women, rapidly descend to the brute. That’s why societies that degrade their women are so brutish and backward. Women, without men, just spin in circles. But when we come together, we create civilization.
The only way to create and sustain civilization is by men and women, working together, each contributing their unique and irreplaceable gifts. That is why we have made such a mess of things these past decades. Because men and women have tried to do it without one another.
We will never fix our society until we fix ourselves. And we must do it together.