Spirituality for Sensitive Guys

July-August 2003

We're always looking for signs of life at Our Sunday Visitor (OSV), and we thought we spotted one in its March 30 editorial titled "Spirituality for 'Regular Guys.'" The editorial says: "Some intellectuals have been worrying about the feminization of the Church.... One result is that behavior more commonly typified as feminine -- relational, verbal, sensitive to atmosphere and nuance -- increasingly is the norm in Catholic books, meditations, liturgies and retreats. Even in Church music, we are more likely to sing of 'entering the dance' than to belt out the old martial hymns of the Church Militant. But.... the truth is, men.... want challenges. They want to be providers and protectors. They don't want a lot of forced sharing and caring, but they do want the fellowship of comrades in arms, teammates facing a task together."

Yes!

The editorial tells about a new Christian group called e5: "It is named after Ephesians 5 ('Husbands should love their wives, just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy...'). Known as e5 men, this ad hoc group of guys is committed to fasting on bread and water the first Wednesday of every month for the sake of their wives or of women special to them.... Cervantes wrote that getting the better of oneself is the best kind of victory. Fasting is just the means to do that." O.K., fasting is fine, but surely there must be more to it than that.

Well, not really.

The editorial continues: "As opposed to some Christian men's movements that emphasize 'headship' and 'authority,' e5 emphasizes service and sacrifice, perfectly capturing the true message of Ephesians 5." Perfectly capturing the true message? So we turned to the key section of Ephesians 5: "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.' This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" (vv. 21-33; RSV-Catholic Edition).

Thus it is written. Obviously, to embrace "sacrifice" and reject "headship" is to distort the true message of Ephesians 5 in a feminist direction. So it looks like OSV, like the proverbial used car dealer, is playing the old "bait and switch" game.


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New Oxford Notes: July-August 2003

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