Onward Christian Soldiers! Toward a masculine, robust Christian faith

We still sing Onward Christian Soldiers in our parish.  It’s one of those hymns that many Christian denominations have relegated to the dustbin because it sounds so militaristic.

But I love it, because it is about the reality of spiritual warfare and how all of us are engaged in the battle with the enemy carrying forward the Cross of Jesus whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not.  We are all called to be Christian warriors and our weapons are spiritual not carnal.

There are some amazing reads on the Internet today about the feminization—no, really the effeminization—of our Catholic faith.   And genuinely feminine women do not like it anymore than genuinely masculine men!   We want manly men and manly priests who know there is a war on for our souls and who know that prayer, self-denial and penance are masculine pursuits,  not effeminate ones.

Here’s a round up of some most-interesting posts I’ve read today.

Fr. Athanasius Fornwalt  writes at Crisis Magazine:

Many of us priests were formed in an ice box that was so empty of real, human, chaste love that we have become suspicious of the sun. The spiritual vacuum of the homosexual subculture has left our clergy so bone-chillingly cold that virtues like courage, boldness, and truthfulness, once so joyfully demonstrated in the Acts of the Apostles, are very hard for many to summon. For the rest, they are complicit or they are still in Plato’s allegorical cave (and likewise they are afraid of the sun). When the faithful rightfully ask the good priests and bishops to stand up and speak out they may be confounded as to why so few actually do. Why do they remain silent? Arrest. Confusion. They are frozen.

Love is a fire. Priests must reclaim their first love, fervor; we must return to our first love regardless of what has taken its place (Hos. 2:7). If we have not piously lived the Church’s moral teaching, enforced it among our own ranks, and clearly proclaimed it to the people, we must repent and return to our first love. It is our duty. And we will be judged. “Do not fear those who can kill the body (Lk. 12:4).” Fear God.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker writes about sappy, sentimental Christianity here:

Let’s face it. This kind of sentimental, unrealistic, romanticized soft focus religion appeals to ditzy women and effeminate men. No wonder so many of the post-1968 priests were sentimental and spineless.

Don’t you still hear this today in a lot of American Catholicism? There is a kind of mambsy pambsy weakness to the preaching and teaching. I heard an Archbishop preach earlier this week and in the midst of this crisis he gave a lily livered homily about being nice to everyone–especially little children and “some things have happened this summer that have made us feel sad.”

It was pathetic.

Padre Peregrino posts the following, h/t  Father Z.

Jesus Christ chose twelve fishermen as His first Catholic bishops. Let that reality set in for a minute: Tough, blue-collar workers who never made it to rabbi-school were chosen as Apostles. To be sure, neither were they impious doofuses. They were tough, blue-collar workers who took their faith seriously, even when they had to say things to Our Lord like “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”—Luke 5:8. They thought in black-and-whites like that, not Hegelian greys.

St. John the Baptist, although never chosen to be a Catholic priest, was of a Jewish priestly tribe. We know this because of what St. Luke tells us about the Baptist’s father, Zachariah: “And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord.”—Luke 1:8-9. As you know, in Judaism, the son of a priest is always a priest.

Now, St. John the Baptist lived out his priesthood not in the Second Temple, but in the original temple of the cosmos, under the stars, in reflection of the first priest, Adam. That second temple In Jerusalem was ironically built by King Herod who would one day kill St. John the Baptist for preaching against him taking his brother Phillip’s wife. But Herod was also rumored in Roman circles to be a vicious homosexual. Thus, by today’s standards, Herod was therefore a “bi-sexual” or “pan-sexual” since he also liked children.

Rod Dreher writes on the taming of priests, including this account from a priest explaining the process:

In the seminary, the foundation of the dynamic is the lack of trust in Providence and in doing the right thing. Seminarians are preparing for ordination and for many that goal can become an idol, a trap that distorts human development. Rather than learning to respond to the errors, immoralities, and dysfunctions they encounter with resolve and prudence, trusting that if God wishes them to be ordained then they will be ordained, they become passive and calculating, like mice in a laboratory experiment adapting to get the reward they desire from their ecclesiastical superiors. In short, they practice serving men rather than God.

The dysfunctional maze of a distorted seminary is designed to promote the interests of its board and/or the faculty. It is shaped by whatever tools are chosen to promote (or at least not threaten) their power or by dynamics among the students that go unchecked: sexuality, heterodoxy, orthodoxy, liturgical sensibilities, cult of personality, etc.  Tragically, because the faculty and spiritual directors chosen to serve in a particular seminary often suffer from similar dysfunctions, the young men have little guidance or modelling for dealing with the dysfunction in a healthy way.

These seminarians mistakenly believe that ordination will free them from the dysfunctional trap. The truth is more complicated and compromising. Having suppressed the development of fortitude and prudence in seminary, they have not learned how to patiently and resolutely deal with peers and superiors who are messed up. Thus, they do not know how to deal with the conflicts they will inevitably face with parishioners, brother priests, and bishops.

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