Why we need a special ministry to men
When society is faced by a serious problem, the first thing it needs to do is to look for the root causes. From my own observation, from analysis by social commentators, and from what men themselves are saying, the current crisis of violence is due to men’s poor self-image, low self-esteem, and inability to function appropriately in their home and in society.
From being head of his family, the provider and protector of his wife and children, now man is at best confused, at worst in rebellion against society in general and woman in particular, because he perceives her as responsible for dethroning him from his instinctive and traditional role.
If this analysis is correct, then the first step is to ascertain how far man has fallen, how much he has lost his way, how deeply he has been wounded. That information is essential for the rebuilding process to begin.
Consequently, men need to be brought together in a space where they can help each other to understand what has happened to them, what they can and must do to rediscover meaning and purpose in life.
In this the Church has a crucial role to play. It must organise men using existing groups and movements. In these it should facilitate gatherings in which they can share experiences, analyse what has gone wrong, reflect on what God through the Scriptures and their own faith experience has been saying they can and must do both as individuals and as groups to put it right.
The very first objective is to get them to learn to trust each other. Trust is essential if men are to form the bonds that they need to re-establish themselves in their true role as husband and father, head of their family and leader of their community.
Since we are following a scriptural model here, what we mean by “head” will be radically different. We certainly do not mean someone who is the boss, dictator or master. We mean someone who is a servant/leader, as Jesus was and as he intended his disciples to be. Jesus is head of the Church, but a head who puts his Church first—so much so that he emptied himself for her and gave his life for her.
That is the kind of “head” that the Christian Catholic man needs to be in order to fill the role that the family, society and the Church need so badly at the moment.
This is what lies behind our vision to bring Catholic men together, whether they already are members of sodalities and groups, or simple parishioners.
So far, whenever “Catholic Men Together” has met, it has been to create opportunities for men to find each other, get to know and trust each other, and so begin to form a more concrete picture of what the new Catholic man needs to be like as he prepares to play his true role in the new society which will make the new South Africa a reality.
May St Joseph pray for, guide and direct our Catholic men in the right direction!