Hi all, another great article in the NCR. Here is part of it:
Which cultures, pagan or Christian, made a point to rease boys to become strong and healthy men, fit to work hard, marry, raise children and unite with their fellow men in teams to hunt or fish on the open sea, drive herds of large animals, fight enemies, dredge harbors, did canals, clear fields, hew stone from the earth, lay roads, raise up public buildings and otherwise secure the common good?
Which cultures, pagan or Christian, provided boys with men to train them and teach them, with rites of passage to mark that they had left childhood behind, to be accepted publicly as men in full?
That is an easy question to answer. All of them. No exceptions.
That we are here to ask about it testifies to what they did. Mankind would not have survived otherwise. Look about you, even in our time, and remove, one by one, every house, building, automobile, road, appliance fuel line, telephone pole, train, ship, plane–you see the point. Feminism is conceivable only in that post-industrial world, wherein most people are conveniently far from the hard and dangerous physical labor that makes their case possible. We do not need most men to dig and plow or to hoist quarter-ton stones on a pulley and sledge. But we do still need men, the same kinds of beings who in other ages and other circumstances would have done those things.
Human nature has not changes. The nature of boys and men has not changed. Good teachers work with and not against the nature of their students. We Roman Catholics believe that such nature, though compromised by original sin is God-ordained and good and that grace does not obliterate nature, but elevates it, purifies it. That includes the nature of boys.
For this reason I wrote DEFENDING BOYHOOD. I am not saying that our shabby neglect of boys is the worst feature of our political, cultural and ecclesiastical confusion. I don’t need to make that case. Nor do I imply anything about our treatment of girls, or about other measures we might take to assist the poor or to fill our churches with child-rich families once more and our rectories with young and energetic priests.
I think I am on sure ground, though, when I say that without strong families, the poor tend to remain poor, bad neighborhoods grow worse, schools become places of violence and chaos and futility–and the spires of churches come down. You will not get those strong families if you do not raise strong men. It is not the only thing you must do, not by a long shot, but it is necessary. Any you will not get strong men unless YOU PAY ATTENTION TO BOYS. And that means, as I have suggested, WORKING WITH AND NOT AGAINST THEIR NATURAL INCLINATIONS.
To be cont.d tomorrow………………………….