In a May 4 interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez at NationalReview.com, Eric Metaxas, author of the new book Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, addressed this subject.
"Chivalry is whenever a man acts like a gentleman and treats others — but women especially — with grace and civility and selflessness," he said. "There’s less and less of this in our public life, so it’s important to reconsider the concept. We need to know that there have been many men whose lives were defined by this kind of behavior."
"You include John Paul the Great in Seven Men. How is the life of a celibate relevant to every man?" Lopez asked.
Metaxas replied, "To some extent, a life of celibacy is a picture of how all of us are to live, containing our passions for God’s purposes. Freud propounded the materialist canard that we must ‘express’ ourselves sexually or we’ll eventually develop facial tics, and we’ve been paying the price ever since. Many of the greatest people in history have been celibates. Bonhoeffer was of course one of them. Can we really doubt that the oversexualized culture in which we live has taught men to be selfish? And has hurt women?"
"‘Playing to the proverbial audience of One’ is a phrase you use in the book. What is its significance? God did, after all, give us all these other people. We’re not lone agents in marriage, family, friendship, work and life," Lopez observed.
"It’s a theatrical metaphor … of course we do consider others in doing what we do," Metaxas replied. "But sometimes in life we come to a place where many, if not most, of those around us won’t understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. At that point, we need to have a deeper sense of what’s right and wrong that is not contingent on even what those closest to us might think. We need to have God’s mind on the subject, as almost all of the men in this book did at one time or another, and at that point it is his opinion that must be dispositive in how we proceed. History will judge whether we got it right, and in the cases of the seven men in this book, it seems that they did."