The Roman Catholic Man and the Virtue of Fortitude

by Fr Richard Heilman | May 17, 2016 11:57 AM


This article is from my friend, Fr. Bill Peckman …

John Locke wrote. “Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.” Fortitude is the bravery to engage in the good. One can hold the virtues of prudence, temperance, and justice to be true, but if the Roman Catholic man lacks fortitude, he will not execute anything of these in his life. We are told that the Sacred Scriptures tell us “Do not be afraid” 365 times. God places a premium on bravery. These admonitions do not come in safe times in the Scriptures. They come as the protagonist is coming up against the foe. Without the stouthearted man rising up, the devil and his minions are given free movement among our flocks.

I would posit that it is a lack of fortitude that has become ingrained in the men of this society. We have been constrained by the ever present political correctness. Every historical misstep has been used to define man. Our penance for these missteps is to remain dormant and quiet. We have been told to be apologetic about our masculinity and allow more tolerant minds to rule us as we consign ourselves to games to prove any masculinity we might have. Even there, on the field of sport, the last bastion, are we told to play nice and everyone gets a trophy for merely showing up and inhaling and exhaling.

It would seem that the virtual world is where we are left to retreat into cocoons where we can say and do anything we want. Why is it that many young men dwell in virtual worlds of porn and video games? They are safe there, they can be everything they think they can’t in the real world: desirable, brave, the hero, and so on. What a dark and horrible prison to be in!

Brothers, we MUST not allow these constraints to tame the lion within. This does not mean we go back to the days of misogyny, there is nothing noble or brave about being a true sexist jerk. That said, stepping up and being a Roman catholic man is not being a sexist jerk; it is being the man we are created to be.

Where is fortitude needed? Let’s start in the home. Are you the sentinel at the door? Do you place yourself between those placed in your care and those who would prey on them? Do you speak up when the world tries to redefine us out of existence? Do we guard against deceit? We must. For society will take every bit of ground it can and pervert it. Want proof? We are arguing, seriously arguing, over who uses what bathroom. We have stood by while subjective truth swallowed objective truth whole to the point where genetics and biology be damned, if I want to say I identify as woman then I should be able to use the same bathroom as those who are actually female! We stand by emasculated?! Oh hell no! In our constant acquiescence, we ceded ground over and over again until nothing is left to take. Bathrooms folks…it has come to this!

How did we get here? We lacked fortitude…we didn’t stand for the truth over and over again. We hid behind a false identity and surrendered our Catholics principles one by one. We abandoned the sacraments and thought somehow that would work well for us. We made faith a last priority and blamed God for the failures in our lives. No more! This doesn’t mean we break into persecution either. There is nothing brave about being a bully. Fortitude is an adherence to the truth, whether that truth be popular or not.

To the Roman Catholic man who is called to marriage: you are the spiritual head of the home. You either teach your children to stand tall in faith or to shrink away from faith. You either teach them to stand tall or compromise away anything of worth. Your sons, in particular, look to you to see what being a man looks like. We must show them what it means to be a man of God. We need more warriors and less weasels. Are you aware of who is getting access to your children and spouse and the influence they bring? The brave man is wary of such things. You, Roman Catholic man, are the sentinel who stands guard over his home and defends against anything that would attack your wife and children. God will judge your execution of this task.

To the Roman Catholic man who is called to priesthood: you are supposed to be the Person of Christ, the supreme example of fortitude, in your parish or assignment. Are your words a call to arms or a call to compromise with an an insatiable enemy? Do you have any clue what is being taught in your parish? Do you step into the breach when needed, or flee from needed confrontation so as to not make waves? Do you tackle the issues of the day that assault your flock or are you worried about comfort and ease? What do the men and boys of your parish see when they see you: a warrior or a weakling? I know that sounds harsh, but let’s be honest. If we do not model the warrior, how will be able to muster our men to fortitude and inspire vocations to the priesthood? Again, God will judge us on how we executed this task.

I have a fire about this obviously. My personality type would rather go down swinging than fade away. We can possess the other virtues, but if we lack fortitude, those virtues lay dormant. There is far too much ground to retake for us to ensconce ourselves in selfish and virtual worlds. Our families and parishes need us to man up, step up, and get about the business of the Kingdom of God.

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